Tag Archives: childrens

The Talisman of Elam by Jim Mastro

The Talisman of Elam by Jim Mastro: Jason Hunter has troubles. New school, new friends, weird neighbors, weird parents. The next thing he knows, he’s escaping evil aliens, riding in a flying saucer, and zipping off to the other end of the galaxy in order to save the planet. Along the way, he meets several memorable characters and has adventures on numerous worlds, with barely a moment to catch his breath. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any YA science fiction, and this was a very fun return to the genre. The setting, though clearly inspired by such SF giants as Stargate and Star Trek, is detailed, plausible, and fairly original – and best of all, not dumbed down. My favorite character, by far, was Takkadian Pheno. Scary, hilarious, and all-around awesome. I do hope he shows up again sometime. Now, I will admit to having a pretty good idea of how the other two books in the trilogy will play out (there’s reason Jason brought two friends with him, after all), but I’d still like to read them, if only to revisit the universe of these stories. I can see this series becoming very popular among junior high school SF fans.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (unabridged audiobook read by Simon Jones; 8.5 hrs on 7 CDs): Young brothers Prosper and Bo are on the run in Venice, having escaped their aunt Esther who intends to separate them. Esther hires Victor, a private investigator, to find them. Soon Victor finds himself in the middle of a complex plot involving orphans, mysterious counts, and a certain Thief Lord with secrets of his own. Though the fantasy element was an interesting treatment of classic Bradbury, it came out of nowhere and left me a little cold. If the story leading up to that part hadn’t been so thoroughly within the realm of Realistic Fiction it would not have been quite so jarring. That said, it was still a fun little tale with likable characters, and I am still a little bit in love with Scipio.

A note on the audio: Though his use of voices is a little strange with some of the female characters, Jones is a thoroughly entertaining narrator.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Marooned in Fraggle Rock by Barbara McClintock

Marooned in Fraggle Rock by David Young, illustrated by Barbara McClintock: Red and Boober wander off together so the others can finish preparing for Boober’s surprise birthday party, and are trapped by a cave-in. The characterization and dialogue were spot-on with my memories of the show (a favorite from childhood), and the illustrations were great. The story was surprisingly dark and scary. A happy ending is assured, of course, but there’s a lot going on here. Which is what made Henson’s creations so compelling: even the children’s shows have layers and complexity. Add some wonderful music and you have the show distilled into book form.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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