Archive for December 14, 2010

Encyclopedia Brown

Encyclopedia BrownRemember Encyclopedia Brown? I loved the series as a kid, and I have to say that I even love it now as an adult. I remember trying desperately to figure out the mysteries, and never being able to do it. One great thing about getting older is that finally as an adult, I can now figure them out! Now as I listen to them, I hear the out-of-place detail, I can figure out the type of clue that Encyclopedia looks for.

I don’t need to describe the series by Daniel J. Sobel because I’m sure you know them well. They’ve aged pretty well — I think I’m the only one who notices how many mysteries depend on not having had a cell phone or the fact that there’s no internet… There’s a little colorful ethnic stereotyping going on, so you just need to watch out for that.

My editionMy seven-year old has been reading my old copies, and then we’ve been listening to the stories in the car. Just good clean stories — the kind that still makes me smile. Do you remember any Encyclopedia Brown mysteries from when you were a kid?

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This Totally Bites

I can’t believe I hadn’t blogged about this before (OK, so it’s probably because it’s been a little while since I last blogged).

This Totally Bites

This Totally Bites by Ruth Ames ROCKS. Emma-Rose Paley is a fantastic heroine who looks a little more vampire-ish than the rest of her family. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that her great-Aunt Margo is coming for a visit from Romania and looks a lot like Emma-Rose. And for the fact that Great-Aunt Margo is clearly up to something other-worldly. Could it be that Emma-Rose’s aversion to garlic and sunshine are more than just a question of taste?

Clearly, This Totally Bites is playing off the current vampire craze, setting this story up for the 8-12 crowd who are a little young for Twilight. But it’s way more than that. The storytelling here is way beyond what you get in most young chapter books — it really moves and the plot builds and the characters are remarkably developed. I’ve given this to a few reluctant readers who plowed through it and demanded more! What I really like about the story though is the ending, which I won’t give away. I expected that she couldn’t be a vampire. Or maybe Ames would make her a vampire? But the ending is much more inventive than I could have predicted.

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