Tag Archives: magical realism

Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits, by Michael Beil

28 Sep

I knew I had to read this book.

Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits

When I read about the book, I learned that there is a talking cat, and I feel like my cats at home would love to talk to me! I also knew the book took place on a train from New York City to Chicago, and I thought that would be cool. I had no idea I would have so many personal connections to this book, though!

In the first few pages, the book mentions Albany, which is where I live. That’s kind of cool, right? It’s not often you can read books that mention your hometown. However, Albany is the capital of our state, so I wasn’t that surprised. I was surprised, however, when Ashtabula, Ohio came up as the main character’s hometown. When I was younger, my grandfather had a farm very near Ashtabula. I spent 2-3 weeks there every summer for almost 15 years when I was growing up! I was so excited to have that personal connection, but it got even better!

Another major character is on her way to Conneaut Lake Park. Conneaut is the actual town my grandfather’s farm was in – and it’s a REALLY small town! Every summer, my grandfather took all his workers to Conneaut Lake Park. I was there many times myself. It is a really small amusement park, and it’s very old. There is a roller coaster there called The Blue Streak, like the title. I was never old enough to go on it, though. 🙂 I did, however, ride a roller coaster called the Wild Mouse. I hated it! It was so scary because the cars seemed like they would shoot off the edges of turns instead of going around a curve smoothly. I love roller coasters now, though.

One of my favorite things when reading books is an unexpected personal connection. It makes me feel like the book was written just for me – like the author and I have really important things in common. Being surprised by a book in that way doesn’t happen very often, so I feel lucky when it does. Has that ever happened to you? Let us know in a comment!

I’ll keep you posted about Lantern Sam! On top of the personal connections, it’s a very intriguing mystery!

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Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson

7 Jul

My heart is racing because I just finished a really great book! Check out the cover of N. D. Wilson’s Boys of Blur:

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.54.17 PM

Because there are two boys running on the cover, I thought this book was going to be about sports – but it’s not. It’s got magic, mystery, and zombies! The setting of this book is really unusual. It takes place in a fictional town in Florida. In this town, they grow sugar cane, and much of the story takes place in these sugar cane fields – “the muck.” Creepy!!

I love the way that N.D. Wilson writes – I was on the edge of my seat! If you are looking for a slightly scary, fast-paced read, this is the book snack for you!

 

A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff

24 Jun

I’ve finished my first chapter book of the summer, and I loved it! A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff, is an interesting story told from many different points of view. Sometimes the story can be confusing because I wasn’t sure how all the pieces fit together, but if you stick with it, it all becomes clear!
In this book, people have Talents, which means they can do something (usually something ordinary) really well. For example, there is a character who is Talented at knitting, and can knit sweaters, scarves, and other things really quickly. There are other characters in the book who are Talented at tying knots, matching people, and spitting. The main character’s Talent is baking cakes. Yum! The author has included several cake recipes, too!

I would recommend this book snack to anyone in grades 3-5, especially to anyone who loves a little dash of fantasy. If you like this book, I would also recommend Pie, by Sarah Weeks, and Everything on a Waffle, by Polly Horvath. We will have this book in the library when school starts again, but I have to warn you: if you want to borrow it, you’ll have to make a cake from the recipes and bring me a slice! 🙂

A Tangle of Knots

 

By the way, what do you think of the cover?