Monday, January 30, 2006

We are back from a fruitless attempt to get in for a massage today. Three tries and I was ready to come back home to my heating pad! But Steve was so wonderful to drive me all over the island checking for openings. We should have known better during high season. It seemed to take forever to get back home as traffic is terrible this time of year. We were chuckling about the woman walking back from KMart pulling an empty suitcase with the labels still on it. Guess she got carried away with her shopping. :-)

While at Midwinter I went to the teen input session of the Best Books for Young Adults Committee meeting. There were 75 teens there from ages 12 to 17. It was surprising to see so many older teens as it is often a group of younger teens. Many of them were extremely articulate and had strong reasons for liking or disliking particular titles. I had not read yet read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, but after listening to the teen input I knew I had to. My wonderful fellow YALSA member and friend Julie Scordato had sent me an ARC when it first came out but she got the envelope back - empty. Someone else had a great reading experience! So when I stopped at the Little Brown booth Victoria Stapleton gave me a copy of it. Now I know why the teens and most of the YA librarians I have talked to loved this book. What wonderful vampire romance. I didn't think any vampire book could topple Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss from the top of my list, but Twilight did.

Bella moves to Forks to live with her father even though she hates the cloudy and rainy NW weather. She loves the dry heat of Phoenix, but with her mother remarried to a baseball player who travels she knows she is in the way so she moves in with her quiet father, who is the chief of police. Bella makes new friends and has three guys wanting to go out with her, but she is fascinated by Edward Cullen, her incredibly attractive and remote biology partner. At first he acts like he is furious with her. He looks at her with eyes so black they are bottomless - eyes filled with anger and hatred. Bella is totally taken aback, but still strangely attracted to him. Edward is gone for days and when he returns he begrudgingly begins to talk to her. But it is when he saves her from being crushed by an out of control car in the HS parking lot that Bella realizes that there is something very different about Edward. Instead of killing him, the van that hit him is dented from where he held it back from crushing them. It doesn't take long for Bella to put the legends of local natives together with the knowledge that Edward does not eat to detetmine that he is not human. Even when he admits he is a vampire Bella does not run in terror. Yes, Edward is a vampire, but she is in love with him. Their relationship slowly grows as Bella learns more about Edward and his family. Some critics have said the middle part of the book drags a bit. If you are reading this as a vampire tale only, it does. But, if you are reading it as a romance as well, it doesn't. Edward and Bella have to form a strong enough love and bond to keep them together when the Tracker finds Bella and Edward must save her, without killing her himself. At 498 pages this is not a quick read but it is still on Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and I agree that it should be there. Reluctant readers can read, they choose not, but a book like this will get even the most reluctant teen reader involved.

All for now.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Second day from the feather bed. GRRRR!! Steve wants to go to a play at the historical theater in Tillet Gardens tomorrow night so this darn herniated disk had better settle down. Besides, I don't want to miss my 1/2 of a Shipwreck burger tomorrow for lunch. The remodeling is gorgeous and there are now TVs all over the place with at least one of them playing a music concert DVD. I like those better than the soccer, which is always on the big screen. Some woman won $20,000 on the slots in there two weekends ago. Have yet to try them out myself though. Just isn't the same as playing nickle slots with my Mom at the Indian casinos in Upper Michigan.

Was looking through the 2006 YALSA lists and see that John Coy's Crackback is on the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list
Although I watch football with Steve every weekend and we had season's passes to the Texans before we left Houston, I am still a football novice and did not know what a crackback is. After reading it is a nasty type of hit in football I am very glad I only watch the game. I do miss sitting in our seats at the Texan's games. It was as much fun to people watch as it was to watch the game, especially the Sunday we had a wannabe model type in front of us by a few rows with low rise jeans and a tank top on. I'd say quite a few of the guys around us missed seeing a play or two! Watching them was quite entertaining! :-)

Back to Coy's novel about Miles, a football player who loves the game but not enough to buy into the BS the over zealous new coach is dishing. Miles is smart enough to see beyond the narrow sighted world the coach and some of the players live in, including Miles' best buddy, Zach. When Miles refuses to take the steroids Zach and many of the other players are taking to bulk up he finds himself pretty much alone in the locker room. Life isn't any easier at home as his father was once a college football player and praising Miles for anything he does on the field, even a great play, isn't within his capabilities. And when Miles has to run laps for thinking on his own and running a play the coach didn't call his father knows about it. There is no where for Miles to hide from his father's disapproval and verbal abuse in their small town. His mother and little sister avoid much of his anger be lowering their eyes and becoming mute, but Miles is a constant target. It isn't until a class assignment causes Miles to ask questions about his family that Miles learns the secret his family has been hiding for years - a secret that has helped make his father the angry and quiet man he is. Now Miles must decide what he will do with the information and how it will affect his relationship with his father. Offer this one to those jocks who are only reading a novel because they have to. They may just find out they are finishing this one because they want to! :-)

I have always been into knight and dragon stories. Never wanted to be a damsel in distress about to be eaten by a nasty dragon and saved by a knight. I wanted to be the feisty girl who befriended the dragon instead. So I found a new favorite picture book called The Knight Who Took All Day by James Mayhew. You may recognized Mayhew because of his highly acclaimed prehistoric picture book called Boy. His newest picture book for Scholastic is humorous both textually, with the adjectives (terrible, marvelous, gloomy, etc.) in bold print, and illustratively, telling my favorite part of the story about the princess. While the knight is busy making his squire run up and down 101 steps to get his armor for him, the princess is donning hers and has already tamed the dragon (children are happily riding on him) before the knight arrives intent on a fight. The disgruntled knight trudges back to the castle while the princess marries the squire and they ride off on the dragon to see the world. My kind of dragon book and certainly my kind of princess!

All for today.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I am blogging via the laptop from the feather bed with a heating pad on my back. Who knew picking up lots of ARCs (Advance Reading Copies of new books) could be dangerous? Well, I should have since I have a "little problem" with a herniated disk, but a bad back was not going to stop me from hauling those books home. I could have mailed them but I would have been waiting for over 2 months for the books like I did last Midwinter. I probably would have been fine if I had set the alarm correctly and not woke up an hour and 1/2 before my flight went out. My suitcases looked like monkeys had packed them! I am lucky the only thing I forgot in the room was my phone charger. I was yanking the two suitcases full of books and a few clothes down the hall as fast as I could when I felt the "pop" in my back and I knew I was in trouble, but I was going to make that flight no matter what. And so were my books! Thank goodness the airport is only 15 minutes away from downtown San Antonio. As Steve was grunting while loading my suitcases into the car he told me it was clear I had "sacrificed" filling my suitcases with mall bargains for books! I sure did and the books I didn't pay for! It was like Christmas unpacking them.

The cat and I read Patrick Jones' Nailed yesterday. Sophie loves the heating pad! This is one gutsy book about a teen who has been struggling to find his inner strength. Yes, non-violence is good, but by not standing up for himself, long-tinted-haired grunge dressing Brett is called less than macho names, especially by the jocks. His life revolves around quietly resisting and rebelling against his angry father and playing music with his buddies Alex and Sean. Then petite and worldly Kylee steps into his life when they both work on the same play together. Kylee is rebelling in her own way and wants to be the center of Brett's world, that is until she gets bored with him having other things to do in his life than spend all his time with her and moves on to her next conquest, Sean. Brett is devastated and for the first time turns to his Dad for help. Brett isn't through rebelling and a speech before the student body results in ACLU lawyers becoming involved. But when Brett and Alex step out on the loading dock behind the school during the Prom, Brett realizes now is the time he has to stand up for himself, even if he is physically beaten into the cement by the jocks. The message about the nail that sticks out the farthest gets hammered hardest is a bit heavy at times, but this is a book that all teens should read, conformists and non-conformists alike. Certainly had me thinking about what is "normal" in the world of today's teens.

Did you know that Ann M. Martin's The Baby-Sitters Club are back? But this time in graphic novel format, with Raina Telgemeier doing the b/w illustrations. They are a Scholastic Graphix series so now a whole new generation of upper elementary and middle school girls can read about the antics of 7th grade Mary Anne, Kristy, Stacey, and Claudia. I think the 4th -6th grade girls will love them.

All for now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Have been running around here like a chicken with my head cut off trying to pack, grade, and catch up on email, etc. before I leave for San Antonio tomorrow. ALA Midwinter here I come! I already have my time pretty much booked with meetings I have to attend and those I would like to attend as well as publisher functions in the evening. Can't wait to catch up with YALSA friends and see my colleagues from ECU. Hopefully my plane isn't late tomorrow so I can go to dinner with them.

Wow! There is a huge Carnival cruise ship going by. It looks like a moving hotel with all the rooms lit up. They are so pretty at night. But, I am looking forward to being on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. It is one of my favorite places to be in Texas. And I am going to have real Texas fajitas. That is the one food I really miss from Texas. They can't make them work squat down here. It is in the 70s in San Antonio during the day but I did pack a light coat as it will get cold at night. I remember one Midwinter in San Antonio that was bitter cold. We were all bundled up in wool coats, scarves and gloves.

I finally found my copy of Poison by Chris Wooding. It was worth searching for! What a fantastic fantasy about a girl who renames herself Poison after her mother dies and her stepmother has made it very evident that she is bug in the ointment, so to speak. So when her little sister is snatched by the phaeries Poison enters the Phaerie realm to insist she be given back. But, the Phaerie Lord is not to be trusted. Even though she steals the dagger from the queen of spiders, the price for her sister's freedom, the Phaerie Lord insists he didn't receive it. What a journey Poison and her friends go on to get the dagger only to have it magically snatched from them. What Poison discovers about herself and her role in the phaerie world proves to be worth all the trials she, and her friends, endure. I was "itchy" while reading the part about Poison crawling across the huge spider web. I detest spiders! What a creepy, gruesome read. I loved every moment of it. Poison is one strong willed young woman - a great teen character with a zest for adventure. :-)

That's it. I need to relax a bit before I call it a day. The alarm is going to go off early tomorrow morning and I am going to get nervous like I always do before I fly out of here. I have three layovers between here and San Antonio and am dreading any late planes. No postings until I get back next week - hopefully with lots of great ARCS.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My brain has not wrapped itself around the reality that I basically "lost" a day. Last night I was contentedly working on a cross-stitch Christmas ornament and watching a show on Lincoln on the History Channel with Steve. I was thinking about how I would enjoy today (which I thought was Monday - even though I should have realized it couldn't be as we wouldn't have gone to the dentist on Sunday) catching up on grading and going through my warmer clothes in preparation for my trip to San Antonio. Crawling into bed I realized today was Tuesday and it is my Montessori day. I have been "out of sorts" ever since. I hate losing a day in my mind!

To top that off my impression of Lincoln is not what it used to be. I could have done without knowing that he frequented ladies of the night and that he slept with soldiers, even lending them his nightshirts.

I was also coming down from the adrenalin shock of having a cavity filled without novacaine. I thought I was going in to get my teeth cleaned and the dentist was under the impression I was in for a bad tooth. Unbeknownst to me I had a cavity on a back molar and before I knew it he was drilling and filling. I think I still have the fingernail marks on my arm from digging my nails into it to keep from coming out of the chair while he drilled away without numbing it. I walked out of there on shaky legs. Took a buffalo burger and a Corona to calm me down! In other words - a lot happened on my "lost" day - most of it either quite weird, or downright painful!

Most people think of the Shadow Children series when Margaret Peterson Haddix comes up. I am not a big fan of that series, but I just read The House on the Gulf, again a book where the title isn't quite right. The house isn't on the gulf - Britt and her family have to lug their stuff about 4 blocks to get to the Florida beach. Britt may be only 12 and her 16 year old brother Bran basically her dad since her own father left when she was 5, but Britt knows that he isn't his usual self. It all started when he said they had a housesitting job for the summer for the elderly couple whose lawn he had been cutting. They were going north for the summer and they were to housesit for them. When Bran removes all of the Marquis' belonging, pictures, etc. out of the house Britt knows things aren't right. He has a lock on the closet door he has their stuff stored in and he keeps checking the electricity meter. Britt is also bored so she starts running errands for the old people in the neighborhood and becomes friends with the lonely woman next door. Britt wants nothing more than loving grandparents and she figured out that Bran has found her mother's parents and they are in their home. But, things don't turn out quite the way Bran had expected. And Britt learns that families can be created by more than blood bonds. A very touching Middle School read.

For fun browsing and quick tidbits to amazing friends with, check out Scholastic's Book of Firsts: More than 1,000 of the Coolest, Biggest, and Most Exciting First Facts You'll Ever Read by James Buckley, Jr. Did you know that the first American supermarket chain was the Piggly Wiggly? It opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee. I remember the first time I went to one with my older brother when he moved to Lower Michigan. I giggled every time I said it! What doesn't entertain a little girl who grew up in the backwoods of Upper Michigan!

Off to Montessori!

Monday, January 16, 2006

A cloudy Martin Luther King Jr. Day here. Lucky us - our dentist is open today! Both Steve and I have appointments. I have disliked dentists since I was a little kid and threw up every time I had to go through those nasty fluoride treatments. I shudder remembering the taste of that stuff. And, it isn't like I don't have a mouth full of fillings anyway!

You know how you loved a movie and wasn't at all impressed with the sequel. Happens with books too. I loved Cherry Whytock's My Cup Runneth Over but am not impressed with the sequel My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings. It is partially because of the cover and the title. The cover art shows the bottom of a girl's face, which looks nothing like the drawings of Angel, the chubby main character, that Whytock includes in the book. Also, the huge "dumplings" in the pot look like mounds of mashed potatoes. The British title - Angel: Haggis Horrors and Heavenly Bodies is so much better and indicative of the story. Let's just say there is not Scottish scrumptious anything. After a trip to Scotland and the factory that makes the haggis, Angel's eccentric father, Potty, decides to picket Harrods because of their bogus haggis - a Scottish dish consisting of a mixture of the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal. (from He is arrested and horrors - the family is banned from Harrods. How can that be for an ex model mother and a cooking crazy daughter who wear out their shoes between their front door and Harrods? At a 169 pages, with lots of white space and many drawings, this is a very quick read and lacks the flavor of the first Angel book. Recipes are still included, but not one for Scottish dumplings. Oh - the heavenly body is the chef at the spa her mother insists she go to - where Angel spends her time in kitchen cooking. Only Angel can gain weight at a spa! I love this character, just not this book.

For the itty bit crowd, try I Will Kiss You (Lots & Lots & Lots) by Stoo Hample. A cute book for Valentines day - about a mommy bunny kissing her baby "on the floor, in the air, and I'll kiss your teddy bear" etc. With the romping silly rhyme this will be loved by little ones at bed time. The rhythm and rhyme remind me of a Dr. Seuss book. Sadly, no babies in the family anymore to read to sleep. This one is too cutesy for my 4 year old grandson.

Off to dentist. GRRR!! Hope that isn't the sound of a drill!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Just about the beginning of a three day weekend, which means island roads will be busier than ever. Steve and I stopped to listen to the Mighty Whitey sing for a bit on the way home last night. He always has a story or two along with the music. Found out where the title of the song, American Pie, came from. The song is about Buddy Holly and the small plane that he went down in was named American Pie. Oh the things you learn from island troubadours! :-) Then one of the other local singers got up and sang some crazy song that is always sung at Italian weddings and wanted us to sing along - in Italian. Add to that a sing along to The Lion Sleeps Tonight. I was laughing so hard I was crying!

You know those books you just can't put down. I just finished one this morning. I was going to read for an hour - well, I read until I finished it. Tell Me What You See by Zoran Drevenkar is one of the most deliciously creepy books I have read in ages. It crawled into my head like the purple haired plant that grew out of the dead little boy's body in the crypt. If only Alissa hadn't fallen into that very crypt when she and her best friend Evelin where at the cemetery late at night visiting Alissa's father's grave. What possessed Alissa to open the tiny coffin and find the plant is weird enough, but the plant "convinced" her to pluck it from the dead boy's chest and then ingest it herself. As much as she tried to vomit it out, it was still there and changed what Alissa saw. No one else could see them, not even Evelin, no matter how hard she tried. Why did it have to be Simon, the ex-boyfriend stalking Alissa, that saw them? What did she do to him when he forced her to kiss him? Did she give him the ability to see them? Drevenkar pulls the reader deeper and deeper into this suspense filled supernatural/spiritual story of a German teenager grieving the loss of her father and the addition of a little brother to her new family. Let me tell you what I see - one extremely well written and translated YA novel that I am going to recommend to everyone I see who loves a creepy but well written read! I could feel myself shivering as I sat in the canoe in the middle of the ice filled river while Alissa and Evelin sought them out. Oh what a delicious shiver of anticipation it was!

Okay - creepy to the common place. Many of us grew up with Curious George or our own kids did. The movie came out in the theaters this month and the movie tie books hit the stores at the same time. My favorite of the three is Meet Curious George. The subtitle states: "A picture reader". To me it is a rebus book, with fun pictures of bananas, cars, taxis, yellow hats, etc. in place of the words, so early readers can read it themselves. Not that I love movie tie in books, but I am into any way to get kids reading, even it is about their favorite movie character, who may have been their dad's favorite book character as a child.

Now to work on writing an exam for the children's literature and materials course I am teaching this semester. I am so glad ECU uses Blackboard - I am such a fan of this easy to use online teaching software after struggling with WebCT.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It is 10:30 a.m. and just now a cruise ship is coming in. I can see the pilot boat out there waiting for him. Odd at this time of the day. We had 5 ships in yesterday and Steve decided he wanted to watch one of them navigate between St. Thomas and Water Island as it left Crown Bay. So we sat on the balcony of the Oasis, a restaurant and bar in a building that used to be the Russian consulate years ago (or at least that is what I over heard someone say last night). It was a sight to see. The ship looked huge as it came through the passage between the islands. Beautiful to watch the lights fade out into the ocean. Was a relaxing way to end the day. Then we went out for dinner in Frenchtown and I made the mistake of ordering the spicy pasta. The waitress warned me, but I went for it anyway. Bad mistake, even though it was delicious. So hot that I drank two bottles of water while I ate it and my lips and mouth were on fire. That was nothing compared to the indigestion I got from it later! Let's just say the bland Finnish food I grew up with sounds really good on my poor sore tummy right now.

Have had an interest in translated titles for children and teens as of late. So I picked up An Innocent Soldier by Josef Holub (born in Bohemia and lived through WWII). The title page indicates Russlander English. Holub's writing is certainly not overly descriptive or sentimental in any way. The narrator is an uneducated farm hand who is conscripted into the military in place of the farmer's own son. Adam becomes George in a matter of minutes and finds himself fighting in Napoleon's Grande Armee as they march across Europe to conquer Russia. Well, the Russian weather and lack of supplies conquers Napoleon's great army. Adam keeps himself and his lieutenant alive through the worst of conditions. There are no pretty words here and rightfully so as Holub starkly portrays the brutality of this war and the corruption within the ranks of the army. Although Holub's abrupt style of writing caught me off guard a number of times, I was swept into his tale of a frail 16-year-old boy fighting to keep himself and his rich young lieutenant alive as the world was being blown apart or freezing to death around around them. Give this one to the boys who liked Paulsen's Soldier's Heart.

One of the small publishers I watch closely is Illumination Arts out of Bellevue, WA. Their books are visual delights. Heidi Cole, the mother of a bi-racial child, has written Am I a Color Too? to addresses a young boy's questions about why people focus on skin color rather than who we are inside. "My dad, my mom, and me... Black, White, and am I a color too? I think I'm just a person, A person just like you." The text is thought provoking, but the beautiful illustrations of children and adults of every color are breath taking. I find myself flipping through this book again and again, enjoying the variety of smiling faces.

All for now, need to make my airline reservations for a trip to Greenville in February. I will be presenting a booking session at a conference, which I love to do.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy Three Kings' Day! It is a VI Holiday so schools and government offices are out today. So far not a great beach day for the locals who have the day off, but most of us think the water is too cold this time of the year. It is mostly tourists you see in the water during the winter. There is a parasail boat out in the bay right now. Haven't done that but I think it would be fun, even though I am a bit afraid of heights.

We watched an old Christian Slater movie last night - Untamed Hearts. A delightful Christmas romance story about a reclusive young man with a congenital heart condition (he thinks he has a baboon's heart) and a wild waitress who has had, and lost, way too many boyfriends. Adam is in love, actually obsessed, with Carolina. Because he follows her home from the restaurant they both work at, he arrives in time to stop her from being raped in the park. Slater has such expressive eyes. Mic loved Pump Up the Volume - I don't even want to think about the number of times we watched that movie. Wonder what Slater is doing now - can't think of a recent movie I have seen him in.

Also watched a quite interesting movie that came in the wrong envelope from Blockbuster. We hadn't heard of Almost Normal, so we weren't expecting anything in particular when we put it in the DVD player, but what a surprise. A gay 40 year old professor crashes his car into a tree and wakes up back in high school, but in this dream the norm is gay couples and heterosexuals are called breeders and are beat up and abhorred. Interesting to consider. Best line in the movie - "When you accept yourself as you are, that's when you are normal." Not a well made movie by any means, but it certainly makes you think.

Finished the second book in the Mitford Series, A Light in the Window, by Jan Karon. Who would have thought I would enjoy these novels about an aging rector and his life in a small mountain town in North Carolina. The fact that his new wife is a children's book author/illustrator adds to the appeal, as does Dooley, the teenage boy who lives with Father Tim.

I commented yesterday about not liking the cover for Revolt. Well, I love the cover on David Klass' Dark Angel. It is as dark and thought provoking as this multi-layered look into the family dynamics when the convicted murderer is released from prison after serving 6 years of a life sentence and returns home. Jeff's "normal" life is thrown into turmoil as his girlfriend's family no longer wants him dating their daughter and the other students talk about his murderer brother. Jeff's parents want to give Troy the benefit of the doubt and are totally taken in by Troy's act of being reformed. Jeff thinks his brother is evil, plain and simple. And, he is sure Troy is involved when Fraser, Jeff's rival on the soccer field, disappears. The question - can someone be pure evil? Troy sets out to discover what role his brother plays in Fraser's disappearance, but has no idea what he will do with the answers when he finds them. A definite guy book! Pulls you in and doesn't let you go until the end, if then. Klass is a gifted author of thought provoking YA novels for the older teen reader, with tremendous guy appeal. My favorite is still California Blue, about a runner who discovers a unknown species of butterfly in an area that is about to be logged. Ecology vs. economy and then some. Also, You Don't Know Me blew me out of the water with the intensity of the yearning and pain felt by a young man being abused by his mother's boyfriend. And Danger Zone, a look into reverse discrimination as a white basketball player joins an all black team that will play around the world. In other words - I think Klass is one of the best YA authors we have to offer to the older teen reader.

That's it for today.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I am marking it on my day planner - at slightly before 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 5th, I brought up my first course for East Carolina University on Blackboard! Yahoo - the course site is ready to go so I now really feel like a part of the Library Science and Instructional Technology Department. Can't wait to work with the ECU LS graduate students. I am teaching a Books and Other Media for Children and Young Adults course, much to my delight. I had fun designing the course assignments and discussion boards. This is my first semester with ECU - I am a Visiting Associate Professor, still teaching from down here in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but we will be finding a place to live in Greenville, North Carolina come summer time. Greenville is such a pretty town and it isn't far from the Outer Banks! How can I miss - spending part of my time in lovely Greenville and and part of it in the tropical Virgin Islands. I'm getting excited about wearing more than tank tops and shorts all the time.

To celebrate getting the course online, I munched a few of the delicious dark chocolate kisses that I have "hidden" in the refrigerator so I don't scarf them down all at once. (Lara - thank you for these delicious goodies - the calories are worth it!) They are so good cold and last a little bit longer. Add that caffeine to the Diet Coke I am drinking and I should be pretty animated by the time poor Steve gets home from work and is ready to relax!

On to books! I don't care for the cover of the third book in Gloria Skurzynski's The Virtual War Chronologs. I enjoyed the first book, Virtual War, with the cartoon like cover. I could create in my own mind what genetically engineered Corgan looked like. Let's just say the dark-haired Corgan I created in my mind looks nothing like the teenage guy on the front of Revolt. What irritated me even more was the abrupt ending to the book - clearly there is a book 4 coming. Yup - it is called The Choice. Anyway, Corgan escapes from the Wyo-DC (Wyoming Dome City) and crashes an old plane into the ocean by the Florida dome city since there was no opening to put a plane down in. The robotics retrieved both him and the clone Cyborg before the mutant sea creatures got them. But Corgan isn't safe from Cyborg's clone twin Brigand. Brigand and Cyborg can read each other's thought and Cyborg knows his brother is on his way and plans to kill Corgan. So it is time for Corgan to escape again and this time it is into space and up to the Space Station, where no one is sure anyone is still alive, but Thebos, the aging scientist who helped create the spacecrafts that flew to the space station thinks there is a scientist there who can keep rapidly aging Cyborg alive. Corgan is an arrogant, self centered teen in this third installment, but his attitude is not surprising considering what he has been through since he fought for and won the only piece of uncontaminated land during the Virtual War. Offer this series to the guys who like Ender's Game.

The next holiday that will be upon us before we know it is Valentine's Day. Kids will love Barbara Samuels' Happy Valentine's Day, Dolores. I chuckled at Samuel's expressive illustrations of both Dolores and her cat Duncan. Poor Duncan - he is one accepting cat, even while having catsup squeezed on him so that Dolores can convince herself it is an emergency so she and Duncan can get a taxi and go to the Broadway Animal Hospital. In reality, she has to go to the store, Heart Etc. that is near the pet hospital and buy a froggie necklace in a heart shaped box since she lost the one she "borrowed" from her older sister Faye's dresser drawer. That Dolores, she just can't seem to keep out of her big sister's things, but sisters love each other - no matter what. What a fun book!

Okay - now to finish putting away the Christmas decorations! I should have left the tree up as tomorrow is a Holiday down here - Three Kings Day. Steve has the day off! :-) Excuse my typos - can't get the spellchecker to work without losing my postings.