Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Thirteenth Tale

Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale .NY:Atria Books, c2006, 406 pages #1 New York Times Bestseller

This is a book about about twins, sometimes dark and twisted, sometimes tender and sweet. It is a mystery as well. 

Margaret Lea has been chosen by the reclusive writer Vida Winter to write her biography. Vida is ill, and Margaret must go to live with her until the real story is told.  Because there are stories within the story, Margaret's job is not easy.

Margaret is a twin, as are Adeline and Emmeline Angelfield. Margaret found out about her twin by accident and never admitted to her parents that she knew.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes.  

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

"In a single moment, a moment of vertiginous, kaleidoscopic bedazzlement, the story Miss Winter had told me unmade and remade itself...Like those images that reveal a young bride if you hold the page one way, and an old crone if you hold it the other."

If you love books and reading, if you love the way words become magical, this book is for you.  Recommended for advanced readers.

Review by Mrs. Belknap

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Kinney, Jeff.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid NY: Amulet Books, c2007.  217 pages, mixed cartoons and printed text (journal) #1 New York Times Bestseller

Greg Heffley is told by his mother to keep a “diary” which he insists is only a “journal.” He is in junior high and very self-conscious of all the social aspects he faces and tries hard to be normal and not noticed in a bad way.

This book had me laughing on every page. Whether or not you are/were a nerd, (which is what he is trying hard NOT to be), you will have at least thought about or witnessed the situations Greg finds himself in. 

His story is told simply, but the wording puts a hilarious spin on everything and the cartoons completely illustrate what is happening. One of my favorites is the letter from Fregley about the booger on page 194.

It's no wonder it was a New York Times bestseller...whether you are 9 or 90, this book will make you smile.

Review by Mrs. Belknap

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Creech, Sharon.  Heartbeat.  NY: Scholastic, c2004.  180 pages

Written as poetry, this quick read is both touching and insightful.  It doesn’t read like poetry, it reads like carefully crafted journal entries, full of meaning in few words.

Annie loves to run.  She loves to run alone and she loves to run with her friend Max, but she doesn’t want to run in competition.  She hates the thought of someone winning, because then someone has to lose. 

Annie has a good home life, but her beloved grandfather, who lives with them, is slowly being stolen by Alzheimer’s Disease.  In addition, her mother reveals a surprise to everyone.

Annie also loves to draw and the art teacher gives them the assignment of drawing an apple every day for 100 days.  Annie finds this more challenging than the others and soon becomes very passionate and creative with her drawings.

Full of wonderful, thoughtful passages, this book is good for runners, artists, and anyone struggling to find out who they are.  Annie is a great kid.  You can’t fail to love her and Max is a strong contrast.  He is possessed with the thought of winning so he can get scholarships to leave their small town.  Read it! You'll like it!

Review by Mrs. Belknap