Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Winter is here in full force. Schools in other parts of KY have been out this week but our Fayette county kids aren't so lucky. That may change as we may get another 3-5 inches today. We already have a couple of inches as it is been slowing falling for the last two days but it hasn't been enough to cause real problems. Very cold though. It is currently 14 degrees and 5 with the wind chill factor. With this weather I don't even mind being house bound. Sophie is curled up on the bed at my feet instead of standing at the backdoor pleading to go out. She gets a runny nose and eye if she goes outside so we haven't been letting her out to make sure the neighborhood cats haven't had the audacity to come on our back deck! I'm nice and toasty with a heating pad behind me and covered with a down comforter. I am planning on spending some of the evening hours in the tub now that we have a hot water heater than can fill it. Word of advice for anyone else with a jetted tub - don't put too much bubble bath in before you turn on the jets! I've been in the tub quite a bit as the hot water helps with the fibro aches and pains. It is also my "non-work" related reading area as I am known to drop paperbacks in the tub. I am working my way through a few more of Christine Feehan's The Ghostwalkers series. There are currently 8 books in this series about a group of men and women who have genetically altered by an unscrupulous scientist. Of course, the men meet up with the women (who were trained as children and are emotionally/psychically vulnerable). I'm reading the 6th title, Predatory Game . I enjoy reading about the scientific experimentation as well as the steaming romances, this time between Saber, who can kill with her touch, and Jesse, a SEAL who lost the use of his lower legs. Saber learns her touch can heal as well as kill. These are not books to be put in high school libraries as they are more than "spicy"!

Certainly not spicy is Steve Lohr's Revolutionaries: The Men and Women Who Brought Computing to Life. I read this one because it is so difficult to keep the computer section of a school library up to date. This is a paperback with grainy black and white photos that may not draw tweens in but the easy to read narrative style will keep them reading if they are researching the history of innovators in computing. Included is a series of articles, from 1948 to 2006, that will also help the young researcher, as will the Further Readings section. Appropriate for upper elementary and MS, this is also a possible addition to HS libraries - for those teens resistant to the titles filled with computer jargon. This is a New York Times title written by a journalist so the writing is general audience friendly.

Another title for the upper elementary/MS readers is the boldly illustrated The Secret Science Alliance and the Copy Cat created, written and drawn by Eleanor Davis . Eleven-year-old Julian Calendar thinks he can change his geeky persona when he moves to a new school but his intellect and innovative nature show through. Greta Hughes (a feisty African American girl)who wears a bike helmet at all time to protect her very amazing brain and Ben Garza, the tall lanky basketball player who doesn't realize just how important he is to the completion of their inventions, see a kindred heart/mind and invite Julian into their super secret lab. They become the Secret Alliance and their inventions take on a new edge. They are so innovative an unscrupulous scientist steals their plans. The Alliance uses their intellect and a little help from Greta's eccentric curator father to save the day, and to solve a museum robbery. Personally, I had difficulty with this book as the illustrations are so detailed. The very reason I didn't enjoy reading Richard Scarry books to my kids - the detail - was the reason my son spent hours with them. I responded to this book the same way - too much to look at! This graphic novel will be devoured by detail oriented tweens, both male and female as Greta is a great character! But, this graphic novel reminded me why assuming graphic novels are for poor readers is often inaccurate - this one requires a great deal of visual and textual comprehension skills but I anticipate the characters will win over even readers like me who skimmed over much of the detail in the drawings.

Time to finish up a couple of book reviews and find the top of my desk before things get really busy - Spring 2010 classes begin on Friday. Time to take a deep breath and hang on until May!