Thursday, 12 July 2018


Wildwood Chronicles

Wildwood, by Colin Meloy

Prue McKeel is a 12 year old girl from, Portland, a small town across the ravine from Wildwood, known to her townspeople as the Impassable Wilderness, due to its inhabitability, dangerous creatures and overall wildness. One Saturday morning Prue is playing with her baby brother, Mac, at the playground, when he is suddenly and inexplicably carried off by a murder of crows into Wildwood. Prue follows him as far as she can, but quickly realizes she has lost Mac to the crows. 
Formulating a plan, Prue gathers supplies and goes into Wildwood with Curtis, a classmate, to rescue Mac. Once they enter the woods, they meet the animals and people that live in the different neighbourhoods of the woods.  Prue and Curtis become separated and they discover that not everyone is as they appear. In these woods lies good and evil and a history that has divided the woods, causing wars and political upheaval that is unresolved. 

As outsiders, Curtis and Prue each become involved with different factions - the Mystics, the Coyotes, the Bandits, and the Dowager Governess to name a few, as they struggle to learn the whereabouts of Mac and enlist the help of people and animals they meet to rescue him. 

Wildwood is the first in the trilogy of  the Wildwood Chronicles and sets the stage for other adventures involving Prue and Curtis. This volume can be a bit daunting at 541 pages and it uses a lot of uncommon vocabulary, but this only adds to its descriptive writing and its fantastical setting.

This book, intended for middle graders, is worth the journey into Wildwood, it does not move quickly, but there is a lot going on that is all explained and nothing is taken for granted.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Wild Robot Escapes

The Wild Robot Escapes
The Wild Robot Escapes
By Peter Brown

Our beloved robot, Roz, returns in Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot Escapes.  This time, Roz finds herself at Hilltop Farm where her job is to manage the animals, grow the crops, fix the farm machines and make sure everything runs smoothly.  

The farm is owned by Mr. Shareef.  He and his two children, Jad and Jaya, can give Roz any orders they like and Roz must obey.  Roz is programmed to do as she is told, yet she cannot stop thinking about her son, Brightbill, and her old life on the island.  Naturally, she begins to plot her escape.

Roz befriends the farm animals, of course, all of whom want to help her reunite with her son.  To her surprise, she also begins to care about the Shareefs, especially Jad and Jaya.  Although she knows she must leave them, she is torn by her “feelings” for them and her desire to help them.

But how can a robot with a built-in tracking device escape?  Can a robot really grow to care for people and animals?  After all, Roz is not supposed to have feelings.

Join Roz on another can’t-put-it-down adventure as she battles against wolves, the RECOs, and even her own programming to return to the island where she belongs.

This is the second book in the series, so make sure you read The Wild Robot first.

Highly recommended!

Hello, Universe

Hello, Universe
Hello, Universe
By Erin Entrada Kelly

Virgil Salinas is a shy boy who finds himself the target of bullying by Chet “the Bull” Bullens.  Virgil desperately wants to stand up for himself, but he just doesn’t have the confidence to do it.  Even his parents call him “Turtle” because he is so quiet.  The nickname makes him feel bad about himself, but he can’t even muster the courage to ask his parents to stop using it.

Virgil starts going to see a psychic to help him solve his problems.  Her name is Kaori Tanaka, and although she is a kid too, she believes she can tap into the powers of the universe to help guide other people.

Valencia Somerset is another of Kaori’s “clients”.  Valencia is deaf, but is able to rely on hearing aids and lip reading to help her communicate.  She is also the girl that Virgil most wants to talk to, but of course, he’s too shy to do it.

Alone in the woods one day, Virgil encounters Chet, and ends up in a dangerous, even life-threatening situation.  When he doesn’t meet Kaori at the appointed time, she begins to look for him.  By coincidence, Valencia joins the search.  But Kaori doesn’t believe in coincidences.  Did fate intervene to bring these kids together?

Hello, Universe is a novel about friendship, bullying, confidence and the power of the universe to bring the right people together at the right time. If you are looking for a feel-good, uplifting novel, try this one.