Tuesday, 27 March 2012
THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
By Jacqueline Kelly
352 pp. Square Fish. $7.99. (Ages 9 and up)
Rating: ? Stars
I came to read this book because my mom had bought it from America. She had read some of it first. She thought it would be nice if I read a book about a girl born in the same place as herself, Texas, and liked that it talked about evolution and nature.
You might be wondering what this book is about. It is about a girl called Callie. She turns into a naturalist, but then faces the problem of what she is expected to do. The moral off this book is that it’s not really fair that girls are expected to be house wives. The truth is that some girls want to do other things for their life. I completely agree with the author’s point. This book teaches you about naturalists and how a long time ago in Texas girls weren't allowed to be naturalists but had to be housewives. A naturalist is a person that studies nature, like plants and animals.
Callie (Calpurnia tate) is a bit realistic and a bit unrealistic. I think she is a bit realistic because she is not “Mrs Perfect” and acts like a normal person. However Callie is a bit unrealistic because most people don’t find a humming bird’s nest a few weeks after they start looking for a new species. In contrast J.B. (Callie’s younger brother) is definitely realistic because he is a lot like my younger sister who always wants cuddles.
The setting was quite realistic because it wasn’t magical or anything. I do acknowledge, though, that they must have been one of the richer families to have everything they had. Ages nine and up should read this book because if you are any younger you will think it is boring because it's not magical or silly.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
By Morris Gleitzman
192 pp. Puffin. £6.99. (Ages 12 and up)
Rating: ? Stars
We borrowed this book twice from the library but the first time I didn’t read it because I was busy reading other books. You may think that I finally started reading this book because it had a really cool cover or because the name sounded exciting. If you did think one these things then you are completely wrong because the front cover was only a picture of a girl and the name of the book was the name of the girl, Grace. The reason I read this book was actually because I had been to the Red House Book Awards and he was one of the people that might have won the award, so I thought it must be a good book then and decided to read the book.
You are probably wondering what the book is about. It is about a girl called Grace who starts doing what she calls ‘sins’. In her church the dad always gets the blame. Because of this her dad gets expelled, which means he has to go away and never gets his family back. Grace is for most of the book doing more sins while trying to get her dad back so that she doesn't have to do sins anymore and so that she can be a whole family again. You probably think that she is breaking a car killing a person or something like that. If you did think one of these things then you are completely wrong because she only did things that were bad for her religion like touch an outsider.
This book was set in Australia. It takes place in Grace’s house, Grace’s new house, the farm of prayer, the zoo, Kyle and his dads house and finally in the hospital.
This book gave a really good moral that suggests it is fine to have a religion as long as you respect other people’s religions and don't go to crazy about your religion. I completely agree with the author’s opinion. In this way the book is really similar to My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece. If you have read this book and liked it I greatly recommend to you My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece.
There were some parts of the story that I wish were longer, like the part where she got her dad back. In contrast, I despised that it never actually tells you why the project she did was so bad and when her dad's there and when he's not. There are actual, real religious sects like the one in the book all over the world, like in Arizona, USA, and they have lots of people that are extremist Christians just like in the book like that there. I discovered that this book is similar to My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece except the crazy people in that book are Muslims and the person that isn't crazy is Muslim. When I came to the part where they were taking her dad away I started to tremble and feel my eyes moisten with tears because he was expelled, and when you were expelled you normally never saw your family again. I would absolutely hate if we had that rule and if my dad ever got expelled because I like my family and never want to have it be broken apart.
The characters were quite interesting because Grace (the main character of the title) who completely loved and believed in God (not too much though, like the crazy people) became friends with Kyle. Kyle did not believe in God and when he did believe in God at all he definitely didn't love him at all and sometimes when he was in a bad mood he would completely hate God.
Ages nine to twelve should read this brilliant book because if you are younger you won’t understand and your brain will be bursting and if you are older you won’t like that it has lots of adventure and action.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
By Michael Morpurgo
196 pp. HarperCollins. £6.99. (Ages 8 and up)
Rating: 5 Stars
Michael Morpurgo is FAMOUS. Michael Morpurgo is so famous that at today’s book fair everyone was shoving past each other to try and find one of his books. However, “Running Wild” sat on my shelf for over a year unread. It is by Michael Morpurgo and I am not interested in most of his books, unlike most people in my class who have his whole (or nearly whole) collection. Michael Morpurgo’s books are less appealing to me for three reasons: most of them are about domestic animals, most of them start off with an adventure but then they quickly detour into drama before getting on with the story, and because he uses some description that is not needed.
This book was set in the Indonesian rainforest. It is about a boy named Will who is saved from a tsunami by a very unusual elephant called Oona. Will has to try and learn how to survive in the rainforest with the help of Oona. You might guess that I read this book because of the adventurous cover, which is actually misleading because the cover looks Indian, although the story is set in Indonesia. Anyway the actual reason I read this book is because my mom urged me to after reading it herself and liking it, and because we were going to The Red House Book Awards and we wanted to have read it before having it signed by Michael Morpurgo.
I think that the story would be much better if Michael Morpurgo took out the first two chapters. They have absolutely nothing at all to do with the rest of the story and don't even really make any sense. You might not figure out how good the rest of the book is if you start snoring before you are even on the second chapter. Besides taking away the first two chapters, I think he could expand the part about the bad people who catch him in the forest. The villains are based on real-life threats to the rainforest. The baddies cut down the forest to plant palm oil trees, kill mommy orangutans to steal their babies and sell them as pets, and kill tigers to sell their fur.
I really liked how the author noted some real life problems like illegal hunting and burning trees to grow palm trees in place of them for palm oil. I wish the writer would write more about the growing of palm trees in place of the rainforest because that applies to the whole forest and is serious. The author gave some hints about his own opinion because most writers make the main characters have the same opinions as themselves. I discovered from the subtle hints in the book that the writer thinks that what people are doing to the rainforest is bad and I completely agree with his opinion. The reason I agree with the author is because I've actually been to the Indonesian rainforest. While I was there I learnt about what people were doing to the rainforest and how it was affecting the orangutans, gibbons and lots of other animals. I thought it was really sad. I even saw illegal logging and saw people cutting down the rainforest.
The writer may think that he can write about just any animals and no one will notice but he is completely wrong because in Indonesia they do NOT have any long tailed lemurs or any humming birds! In spite of these big differences between my adventure and Will’s adventure, there were some similarities, for example he did see some of the same animals as we saw such as gibbons and poisonous snakes. When I came to the part where the bad people had him locked up in a cage and were deciding what to do with him I started to shiver with fright that the boy and the three orangutan babies would never get out again and felt a bit like I was there, in that situation.
Meanwhile the writer could have written about the characters in much more detail because sometimes I didn't understand what the characters look like or who they are. Provided the information I did get about the characters, I think Oona was a bit like the guide we went to the rainforest with, and I think that Will is a bit like ME. I think that the writer made the characters a little bit unrealistic because wild orangutans do not just come down and hold peoples’ hands, people cannot swing in trees that well, and elephants don't understand humans. Besides these things that make the story unrealistic, there are some things that make Will realistic, like feeling sad about death, not knowing what to do, and getting angry from sadness.
I think that this book is similar to “The Primate Puzzle” because they are both about going to the rainforest and trying to save the animals. For anyone who has read this book and liked it, I strongly recommend to you “The Primate Puzzle”.
This book was so good that I wish the writer would write more good stories like it. I think you should be at least nine to read this book because you may not understand the boring parts and it will be twice as boring for you if you are not nine and up, even the exciting bits might be a little bit boring if you are too young. This book has taught me that Michael Morpurgo is actually quite a good writer and has inspired me to read another book by him ("Escape From Shangri-la") and swap one of my books for his book ("Adolphus Tips").