Saturday, February 12, 2011

First Review

This is my first post on my new blog.  I am both excited and nervous, excited because I love talking about childrens books, and nervous because these words will be out there and available for anyone to see.

The name of my blog comes from the fact that my undergraduate degree was in geography education and my graduate degree was school library services.  I currently work as a elementary school librarian, which I love.  But my love for learning more about the world around me has never left.  This blog gives me an opportunity to share both my love for books and reading and my love for the fascinating world around us.

This blog is still under construction, so I hope you will be patient as I try to put it together in a pleasing way.  Since the bulk of the posts on this blog will be about books, I will go ahead and share my first blog review.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, April 2011. 432 pages.
Reviewed from ARC received from publisher.

 The title of this book caught my attention from the beginning.  The idea of an enchanted atlas sounded very interesting.  The book did not disappoint.

Kate, Michael, and Emma have spent their lives being shifted from orphanage to orphanage.  They have very little to remind them of their parents, not even a last name.  Kate vaguely recalls her mother kissing her goodnight and promising that they would be together again.  Michael recalls only a little and Emma recalls nothing.  Everything changes the day the three children are moved to an old collapsing mansion by a lake near an abandoned town.  While there, they discover the a realm of magic and the power of space and time contained in the atlas.

After inadvertently traveling back in time, the three children witness a sorceress holding the town's children hostage, forcing the townspeople to search for the atlas, supposedly buried under a local mountain.  When the sorceress spots the children, the frantically open the atlas to return to their own time.  In the process, Michael gets left behind. Now Kate and Emma have to find a way to rescue their brother, while avoiding the evil plans of the sorceress.

With the help of a magician and some friendly (and not so friendly) dwarfs, the children face the destiny before them.

This book is strong in every way.  For me, the mark of a well-written book is it's ability to get the reader so focused on the story, that the reader doesn't even notice the writing.  This book has that kind of writing.  The story moves along quickly, providing the kind of plot momentum that so many children today crave, which is important because of the length of the book.  The plot twists and turns make it difficult for the reader to predict where the story ends up.  The setting becomes so real, the reader can almost feel it around them.

However, please keep in mind, the book is very detailed and not every reader likes this amount of detail.  Character development is also a big part of the story, which I like in the books I read.  Kate, Michael, and Emma all struggle with weaknesses and fears brought on by the seeming abandonment of their parents.

All in all I highly recommend this book and willingly add it to my shelf of favorites.  The only real problem I had with this book, is knowing that I'll have to wait for the sequels.

2 comments:

  1. Welcome to blogging! Have you found the kidlitosphere yet? There's an email group that is very helpful for posing blogging questions etc to the group mind--KidLitosphere at Yahoo! Groups

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am very much aware of the kidLitosphere and am eager to join the group. Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

    ReplyDelete

 
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