Thursday, December 20, 2007

Garden of Eve by K.L. Going

I was really looking forward to this book because I enjoyed Gabriel King so much. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed by it as much as I don’t think it’s really finished. It has that have-to-fulfill-the-contract feel to it. Some of the imagery of the trees is fantastic, but the magic didn’t really work for me. It’s not enough to have a simple, yet cryptic, prophecy to make me accept strange coincidences.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

I enjoyed this so much more than I expected to. The cover art is really unappealing. I like the British one (on the right) so much more. Apparently this was originally published in German in 1998 but only just translated. I can see some of my second graders picking this one up after we finish The Castle in the Attic.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking

I really thought this one was terrible. The science was interesting, but too much like science fiction, so that it seemed like fantasy. The writing was good enough, but some of the themes were disturbing. I think the ending was supposed to be a coming-together of all the different factions, but it message of the book seemed to be that environmentalists are against all technology and innovation, and that it’s okay if we destroy this planet because science can find us a new one.

I would love someone to explain to me the visual references to The Little Prince. They were far too obvious to be accidental, and yet nothing was really made of them. I just can’t see George as a modern-day Little Prince.

The book design was atrocious. My reading was often disrupted mid-sentence by sidebars and pages of photographs. I enjoyed the sidebars- they were better than the story, but the placement of them was problematic. Likewise, the photos were cool, but they weren’t placed near the relevant content in the book, and often came in the middle of the chapter. When I reached the end of the photos, I had to go back and reread the last page of text to get back into the story. We’ve made such strides in design recently, that there’s really no excuse for this.

It always makes me sad when books like this get so much press because of their authors when so many wonderful books are ignored.