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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chin and the Magic Stones - L. J. Salazar

If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, this may give you a glimpse into your pooch's mind...and an alternate universe. But that's neither here nor there.

Kirkland, Washington resident Chin and his lovable dog Eagle latch onto every adventure they can get in the small city. But when Chin happens upon a glowing stone, his life (and Eagle's) changes. For the better or worse is only Chin's guess, since the stone magically enables Eagle to talk. But there is so much more to it than a dog's chattering about food and...well, more food.

The pair happen upon a world of magic and mayhem, assuming the roles of spirit hunters in this energetic tale. As Chin and Eagle battle dark influences and draw ever closer to defeating the Shadow Lord, the team's tasks become wilder and wilder, extending the realms of their imaginations (which is a difficult task for a ten-year-old). Though short, this first book of the series sets up Chin and Eagle for their next few discoveries, equipped with silver- and gold-tipped arrows and the ability to walk through walls.

And, of course, a talking dog.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dreamer - Phillip Davidson

Let's just say there's a whole new meaning to the word 'haunting'.

Phillip Davidson crafts an interesting tale revolving around former Green Beret David and his wife Sunny, who, following a disruptive bout of recollective dreams and nightmares her husband experiences, is taken hostage in Argentina. It is this that brings together David and his former Vietnam teammates together one more time - along with the encouragement of an assumed dead comrade, of course. The reluctant allies, using a stolen helicopter, traverse across the world to save Sunny, and one of the men along for the ride has other ideas for their adventure...

Though slow to start, the story grasps the reader later on, when David advances beyond having just strange delusions recalling a failed hit on a close target and begins to bring his associates, both allied and rivaled, into the mix. The story stays strong throughout, but maintains a lot of unresolved issues towards the end once it begins completely focusing on Sunny's rescue. But, much of the tale is very realistic and draws off of Davidson's own experiences as an infantry captain. An interesting tale to be appreciated not for the end, but for the journey to it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Messy Tessy - Leah Orr

Who says you can't both wreck the house and stay out of trouble? Messy Tessy does!

This adorably-illustrated tale of a rather...well...messy kid using an afternoon with her sleepy aunt to have unlimited amounts of fun should hit home with every child and parent...which can be both good or bad, depending on how much havoc the little squirt likes to cause. Even still, everything Tessy does, from getting peas stuck in her curly hair to painting her Aunt Fran's hair with red streaks, are meant in good fun...and can hopefully be cleaned up in time before Mom gets home from the gym!

The illustrations are particularly fun and vibrant with color, beautifully crafted to the story by author Orr's mother, Josephine Lepore. They paint the perfect portrait of a girly girl finding enjoyment in trying on her mother's makeup (and doing it quite well, I might add) and giving her dolls - and herself! - new haircuts. A cute, vivacious tale of adventure and light-hearted mischief...but let's just hope the red paint in Aunt Fran's hair will wash out.