Thursday, February 14, 2008

Click by Linda Sue Park and others

I was intrigued by the concept of this one. Ten authors each wrote a chapter. I’d love to know what the process was. From what I’ve read (one interview is here), it seems that the chapters were completed individually, in order, although perhaps not the order they appear in the final book. I enjoyed seeing how it starts out as Maggie’s story, but is really Gee’s, despite a half-hearted return to Maggie at the end. I don’t remember who was responsible for the fantastical twist (it might have been Nick Hornby, but it was developed by Greg McGuire), but that element didn’t quite fit in. Besides, I’ve never really been able to just accept fantasy elements in an otherwise realistic book without some kind of explanation. “Just because it’s magic” doesn’t cut it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Iron Thunder by Avi

I picked this one up because I have a whole slew of third grade boys who want to read about battles, including a few who are excellent readers. If we’re not careful, they’ll end up finding and reading accounts that they’re not emotionally ready for.

Considering how much of the book is spent watching the ship get built, it’s surprisingly exciting. I found myself really thinking about the extraordinary idea that we can get enormous amounts of iron to float. Avi does a great job of capturing the cultural moment of innovation and the response to an idea that will change everything. I also really liked the bits of historical information and diagrams throughout the book. They were good reminders that what I was reading had really happened without pulling me out of the story, and the afterward did a nice job of distilling the fiction from the fact.

This is the first in Hyperion’s “I Witness” series, which seems like it will be worth keeping an eye on.