This week I read..
by James Ponti
Molly Bigelow has always been a wee bit strange. She attends a school for gifted children, took Jeet Kune Do classes instead of ballet, and was a New York City Audubon Society Junior Birder. Not to mention, she enjoys hanging out at city morgue with dead people. Like I said, Molly's not your normal teenager. However, all these out of the box activities and unusual hobbies were really part of her training to become an Omega, a New York City zombie hunter, just like her late mother. It turns out Molly has just the skills she needs to set her apart, make life-long friends, and follow in her mother's footsteps to become a zombie hunter legend.
I'll be honest, when this book arrived on my doorstop courtesy of Amazon, I openly mocked it. I thought are you kidding me? Zombie fiction for fourth graders, yuck! Where has all the good literature gone? I was ready to hate it. I put off reading it. I judged the book by the cover. And then...I read the prologue. Five pages entitled "Your Probably Wondering Why There's a Dead Body in the Bathroom" and I was HOOKED. The story is told from Molly's perspective and I loved her! Molly is witty, sarcastic, and a character worth rooting for from the beginning. Here's a little sneak peak into the writing style and the beginning that kept me begging for more.
"I hate zombies. I know that sounds prejudiced. I'm sure some zombies are really nice to kittens and love their parents. But it's been my experience that most are not the kind of people you want sending you friend requests. Consider my current situation...I'm trapped in a locker-room toilet stall. With a dead body. (Ponti, 5)
Dead City was excellent. Great voice, very funny, and non-stop action throughout the book. It is appropriate for grades 4 and up and would be a fun read aloud. In many ways it reminds me of The Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan. I couldn't put those books down because I loved Percy and his band of friends out there fighting the good fight. This is similar, expect instead of gods and goddess, they are fighting the undead. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and I am already looking at picking up the sequel.
43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to Meet You
by Kate Klise
Ignatious B. Grumply, a once famous children's book author, moves into a Victorian mansion on 43 Old Cemetery Road to try and cure his writer's block. Hoping for some peace and quiet so he can work, Ignatious B. Grumply finds more than he expects. He is not alone. There is an 11 year old boy living on the 3rd floor and a ghost named Olive living in the cupola. Hmmm... Can all three of them live and possibly work together or is it time for someone to go?
I pulled this book out of my classroom collection, because so many of my students had enjoyed it last year and I was curious to know what all the fuss was about. Told entirely through letters and newspaper articles, the book is so different to read I can see why so many kids gravitated towards it. I give huge credit to Kate Klise who developed such memorable, flawed, but very likable characters using only letters.
The guided reading level on this book is a U, but I think it is more readable than that. I would recommend it for grades 3-5. As I said, my fourth graders loved it, so you already know it is kid approved! It's unique story, word play (I. B. Grumply and Anita Sale for example), pictures, and format make it a delicious read. I devoured it in one sitting and closed the book with a smile on my face. The sign of good read.
That's it for me. More books to come next week. Has anyone read these two novels? What did you think?
Don't forget to add your own book reviews by linking up to Fiction Friday anytime. I'm off to pack.