Book Review: The Knights’ Tales

Sir Larrabee on his third birthday

I recommend Gerald Morris’ The Knights’ Tales series to any kid who ever donned chain mail or brandished a sword.

The books in this series are The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great, The Adventures of Sir Givret the ShortThe Adventures of Sir Gawain the True, and The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated. All four are retellings of Arthurian legends for young readers.

Both of my boys read these books to themselves, but they would also be great for reading together. They’re a quick read and they’ll make you laugh out loud.

And Gerald Morris also has a series of books for older kids called The Squire’s Tales. We haven’t read them yet, but we’d love to hear from you if you have.

Book Review: Nuts to You

By Larrabee (based on the squirrel drawing tutorial in the back of Nuts to You)

A fun book for this Thanksgiving weekend is Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins. It’s a book about squirrels. It’s also about the importance of friendship, the importance of stories, and the importance of community.

The story begins when a squirrel named Jed is snatched by a hawk. Luckily, he knows Hai Tchree (the ancient squirrel defensive martial art) and wriggles free. But he’s far from home. His friend TsTs sees him fall, though. So, she and Chai set off across the buzzpaths (utility wires) to find him.

Part of the charm of this book is getting the squirrel point of view on everything from chainsaws to bobcats to peanut butter. Also amusing are the footnotes and annotated illustrations from the human narrator. All in all, a sweet and funny read. Larrabee and I recommend it.

Happy Thanksgiving. And nuts to you, my friends. Nuts to us all.

Book Review: Shark Wars

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-9-54-14-amFans of Erin Hunter’s Warriors series will like Shark Wars by E.J. Altbacker. The first in a six-book series, Shark Wars tells the story of a young shark named Gray who is exiled from his clan (called a “shiver”) and must make his own way in the Big Blue.

Blaine devoured this series several years ago, and now Larrabee is following in his wake. These books feature friendship and rivalry, loyalty and treachery, action and suspense, and lots of different kinds of sharks!

An added benefit: Larrabee has been drawing sharks and other sea creatures non-stop.

Gray and the other members of Rogue Shiver by Larrabee

Book Review: The Tapper Twins Run for President

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-10-17-04-amThe third book in Geoff Rodkey’s Tapper Twins series is the perfect Election Day read!

The Tapper Twins Run for President is an “oral history” of the Culvert Prep sixth grade class elections for the second semester. It consists of interviews conducted by Claudia Tapper with her handwritten commentary in the margins. Photographs, drawings, school newspaper articles, and text and chat exchanges are included too. The result is a funny and fast-paced tale of middle school politics.

Claudia Tapper is the three-term incumbent with a long career in student government. Her twin brother Reese Tapper is more into soccer and video games. He only decides to run for class president because he’s upset that the school banned soccer balls from the rooftop playground (and because he’s competitive with his sister). James Mantolini is the third and zaniest candidate, running on a “free range education” platform to get rid of classroom furniture.

This election story features everything from polling data to scheming campaign managers, from an in-game campaign rally to secret Starbucks meetings, from allegations of media bias to debate drama (with a live squirrel). And it has a happy ending. Enjoy!



Boys of Summer

Photo credit: Douglas P. Mitchell

In honor of the end of the baseball season, I thought I’d pass along Blaine and Larrabee’s favorite baseball books of the past summer.

Blaine’s Pick:  The Closer: Young Readers Edition by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey and Sue Corbett.

You don’t have to be a Yankees fan to enjoy pitcher Mariano Rivera’s autobiography. From his childhood in Panama to his long Major League career, Rivera’s story is interesting and inspiring. Blaine particularly liked his descriptions of life in the Yankees clubhouse.

By the way, I do not know how the Young Readers Edition differs from the original. We just happened to find this one in the library.

Larrabee’s Pick: Ted & Me by Dan Gutman.

Ted & Me is the 11th book in the 12-book Baseball Card Adventures series about a boy named Joe Stoshack who can travel through time using baseball cards.

In this adventure, the FBI gives Joe a Ted Williams card from 1941 and asks him to warn President Roosevelt about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Larrabee likes history and baseball, so this book was right up his alley. He especially liked the (true) Ted Williams tips about hitting and fly fishing and has quoted them often.