Ryan’s Review: Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Although this is the second book in this series, I have not written about it before. The Wildwood Chronicles are about a girl named Prue who lives in Portland. Right next to Portland is the Impassable Wilderness, which is a big forest that people have entered but no one has ever come back out of. One day, when Prue is out taking her baby brother for a walk, a flock of ravens swoops in and steals her brother away from her. The ravens take Mac into the Impassable Wilderness and Prue follows them in with her friend Curtis. They have an adventure together and eventually get Mac back. Curtis decides to stay with the Wildwood Bandits, who are the people who live in the section of the forest called Wildwood.

In Under Wildwood, Prue’s new science teacher, Darla, attacks her while she is walking home from school. Prue manages to fend off the attack because Curtis flies in on the back of an eagle in the nick of time and saves her. They fly into the Bandits’ camp and Curtis tells Prue that someone sent her science teacher as an assassin. Darla comes and attacks the camp with three other assassins. Prue and Curtis are away during this attack and when they return, everybody is gone….missing….poof!

Prue and Curtis are attacked by Darla and they get knocked into a canyon. In the canyon, they find a cave, which leads to Underwood…which is under Wildwood. Prue and Curtis have adventures in Underwood, which include helping a mole army defeat another mole army. They eventually escape Underwood into a small junkyard outside Portland. They manage to get back into Wildwood. We still don’t know why Darla is trying to hurt Prue, but I think that Prue is going to turn out to be a Mystic. The Mystics are a group of people who lead Northwood, which is another part of the Impassable Forest. The Mystics have special powers, such as controlling plants. Prue has some of these powers and I am guessing she is not only a Mystic but probably a special one. I am hoping to find out the truth in the third book.

For this post, Mom asked Ryan questions, Ryan talked, and Mom typed.

Maegan’s Summer Reading Log #5

Alexander Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

So I don’t think Alexander was rich last week. He only had a dollar. To be rich you have to have at least a thousand dollars. If I had a thousand dollars, I would give half of it to charity. Then I would take the other $500 and split it between a Bermuda vacation and buying other stuff, like more books and things from my favorite store, Justice. But it is funny to hear how Alexander spent his one dollar.

A Princess, a Pirate, and One Wild Brother by Cornelia Funke

There are three stories in this book.

One is about a princess named Violet. She has three brothers and their mother died a long time ago. Their father is the king. Her father didn’t know how to raise a girl, so he just treated her the same as his three sons. Later, Violet’s three brothers started to make fun of her because she wasn’t as good at things like using the sword. So Violet practiced in the night in her own, quiet, swift way and became very good. When it was time for her to get married, there was a tournament to see who would be her husband. Violet didn’t like this, so she put herself in as a knight. Her title was “Sir No Name!” Violet’s maid, Emma, stood in as Violet. Violet defeated all the knights and then revealed herself as the true Violet. Violet chose her own prize, to go far away, and she finally married a rose keeper’s son.

The next story is about a pirate girl named Molly. She is going on a little ship to visit her grandmother. The ship runs into some scary pirates. They make her peel the potatoes, scrub their shoes, and srub the deck. Every night, they party on their boat. Molly puts a message in one of the empty rum bottles and sends it out to sea. One night, they partied until dawn and fell asleep on the deck. So Molly stepped through the tangle of arms and legs sleeping on the deck and tossed her message out to sea. One of the pirates heard her and said “Hey, what was that?” But they saw another pirate ship on the horizon. It was her mother, Barbarous Bertha and her scurvy crew. Barbarous Bertha fought and defeated the mean and scurvy pirates. Molly thought up a great punishment for them: they had to peel the potatoes, scrub the boots, and scrub the decks. And Molly was finally able to visit her grandmother.

The third story is called The Wildest Brother. This brother (they don’t tell you his name) has a big sister named Anna. He pretends there are monsters in Anna’s room and she has to hide in the wardrobe until he defeats them. But then he can’t clean up the blood drops on her dresser because there are ghosts moaning in the bathtub again! He makes a lot of messes that he can’t clean up. This brother has to protect Anna from all the wild bears that are going to eat her up while she collects dandelions leaves. He is a wild brother because he pretends all these things and they are not really happening. But the truth is that at night he is scared and crawls into Anna’s bed. And she protects him!

Usborne Book of 100 Illustrated Stories

This book was a surprise for my birthday! I like it as much as my true favorite book, The Usborne Book of Illustrated Fairy Tales. The pictures are very nice. Some of these stories are repeated from my favorite book but there are new ones, too. There are stories of the gods and of fantasy. I love the ribbon book marker.

“My Weird School” series by Dan Guttman, #s 10-13

10 Mr. Docker is Off His Rocker!
11 Mrs. Kormel is Not Normal!
12 Ms. Todd is Odd!
13 Mrs. Patty is Batty!

I still really like reading the “My Weird School” series because it is very funny. It is nothing like my real school. There are very weird teachers that do silly things, like Mr. Docker, who eats bugs, sets his hair on fire, and takes his students on a field trip that is literally a trip to a field. These books are quick and easy to read and I really like the stories.

Isabelle by Lawrence Yep

Isabelle is the American Girl doll of the year for 2014. This book is all about her. Isabelle is a dancer like me and she has blonde hair like me, but hers has pink streaks in it. I do not have pink streaks in my hair. In this story, it is Isabelle’s first year at Anna Heart, a dancing school. It is not an easy year for her because she is falling behind in her dance steps. Her friend Luisa and her teacher help her to catch up. By the end of the story, Isabelle learns that she is a good dancer but she must try her best.

For this post, Mom asked Maegan questions, Maegan talked, and Mom typed.

Maegan’s Summer Reading Log #3

Right now I am going to a camp called College Gate. When my Mom drops me off in the morning I have some time before the day starts. I was very glad when the camp director told me I could bring a book with me!

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald and Peter Reynolds

This is one of my choice books for Mrs. Kelly’s second grade. Judy Moody is a series. This book is not the first but it is my first Judy Moody. This book is special because the illustrator (the person who draws the pictures and makes the cover design) is Peter Reynolds, who is one of the owners of our favorite bookstore, Blue Bunny Books & Toys in Dedham Square.

I liked this book because it was funny. Judy is going into fourth grade and she is determined to have an awesome summer. Her plans are smooshed because her friend Amy is going away to a country called Borneo and her friend Rocky is going to circus camp. Frank, who is staying nearby, does things like go on a roller coaster with her, but then he pukes! On top of everything else, Judy’s parents have to go to California to help Judy’s grandparents and Judy and her brother Stink must stay home with their Aunt Opal/Awful. Judy expected Aunt Opal to be Awful, but in the end, Opal was Wonderful.

Judy makes a plan for her and her friends to earn thrill points and she makes a chart. Riding a roller coaster that goes upside down and sideways would earn a lot of thrill points. It has to be something weird or scary. It’s a contest between her and her friends to see who has the most thrill points by the end of the summer. By the end of the summer, Judy does have a good summer even if she doesn’t have the most thrill points.

I liked it when Stink’s friend, Zeke, ran around like he was Bigfoot. That was really funny. I didn’t like it when Judy had to go on the poop picnic…there was poop on her sandwich! I also didn’t like it when Judy and Frank were at the Creature Double Feature movies about zombies. I kind of had to skip that part because it was too scary for me.

I want to read more Judy Moody books because I like Judy and I want to support Peter Reynolds and the Blue Bunny store. I’d also like to see the movie. My Mom is getting it from the library for me.

In this post, Robin asked questions, Maegan talked, and Robin typed.

Ryan’s Summer Reading Log #4

Last week I finished two books. I read the first book in a new “Warriors” series called “Dawn of the Clans” by Erin Hunter. The book itself is called The Sun Trail. The other book I finished was Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier and I’ll tell you about that one first because I have a lot to say!

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is one of my “choice” books for summer reading for 6th grade.

Peter Nimble is a ten year old blind orphan who has learned to be a thief. He is a very good thief and he steals everything: food, jewelry, money, art work. One day he steals a mysterious locked box from a carriage. This is the first lock he has ever come across that he cannot open. It takes him a long time but he eventually opens the box and inside he finds three pairs of eyes. When he tries on the first pair, or the golden pair, he is transported to the last place the golden eyes had been, which happens to be an island on top of the world. There he meets Sir Tode, who is part man, part horse, part cat. Peter Nimble and Sir Tode are sent on a quest by Professor Cake, who owns the island.

All the messages people send out in bottles end up at this island. The most recent message in a bottle came from the Vanished Kingdom on the island itself. Together Peter and Sir Tode must find the mysterious Vanished Kingdom because someone inside the Vanished Kingdom is in serious trouble.

One exciting thing that happens on the quest for the Vanished Kingdom is when Peter finds out he is a prince! He is actually the prince of the Vanished Kingdom. This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Spaceballs, in which the character Lonestar finds out he is an “honest-to-God prince.”

Peter and Sir Tode become good friends, and they make other friends along their journey. They meet up with Peter’s long-lost sister, Princess Peg. Actually, Peter is kind of the long-lost brother. They also make friends with good old Frederick, the giant dogfish. Unfortunately, they also make some enemies: King Incarnadine, who is Peter and Peg’s uncle, and LongClaw, who is the captain of the King’s Royal Night Patrol.

In about the middle of the story, Peter tries a second pair of eyes, the amethyst eyes, which are purple. The amethyst eyes turn the wearer into the last animal they’ve seen. While wearing the amethyst eyes, Peter turned into a beetle, a sparrow and a sea serpent. This helped him out of several unpleasant situations.

Spoiler alert! By the end of the story, Peter and Peg eventually kill the King and become King and Queen themselves. When Peter puts on the third pair of eyes, the emerald pair, they eventually become his own, normal eyes.

I loved this book. I mean, I didn’t kiss it or anything, but the idea of seeing things with different eyes was really cool.

You can read my overview of Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” series by clicking here.

“Dawn of the Clans” is a prequel series to the other “Warriors” series. In The Sun Trail, the tribe of Rushing Water, who live in the mountains, is starving. Two brother cats named Clear Sky and Gray Wing lead most of the tribe in search of a new land. They are kind of like pioneers. They arrive at a forest where there is a lot of prey available. Some of the cats want to live on a moor nearby instead because those cats are better at hunting in that area. Gray Wing leads the cats that want to live in the moor and they set up their own separate camp. The two groups are separated for so long that they start to become hostile toward one another. Gray Wing and Clear Sky become enemies. Their conflict does not resolve by the end of this story and because I have read the series that come later, I don’t think it ever will. I love the “Warriors” books so I am glad to have another series to read.

In this post, Robin asked questions, Ryan talked, and Robin typed.

Ryan’s Summer Reading Log #3: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl #4: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

The Artemis Fowl series is set in Ireland, and it is about a very rich boy who has a big, tall bodyguard named Butler. One day Artemis and Butler meet Captain Holly Short, who is a fairy. Together with Butler and Holly, Artemis Fowl has many adventures in saving the fairy world and human world from different evil enemies that threaten it.

In book four, The Opal Deception, an evil pixie named Opal wakes up from a self-induced coma after a whole year. Opal wants the human world to find out about the fairy world, but that could be dangerous to the fairies. She wants to make this happen to get revenge on the Fairy Police because they stopped a rebellion she started right before she went into the coma.

Holly comes back together with Artemis and Butler after being separated from them for the same year that Opal is asleep in the coma. Holly is a fugitive from the law as she is suspected of murdering someone even though Opal is the real killer. Together they stop Opal from making her evil plan happen and Holly eventually clears her name.

I recommend this series to readers who like science fiction and fantasy. Recently I heard Eoin Colfer speak at the Mega Awesome Adventures event and I thought he was very funny. Hearing him speak made me want to read more of his books. I think he should be a comedian, too!

In this post, Robin asked questions, Ryan talked, and Robin typed.

Maegan’s Summer Reading Log #3: the Araminta Spookie series

Araminta Spookie #’s 1 & 2, My Haunted House and The Sword in the Grotto by Angie Sage

Hope you had a great holiday! It rained all day on the 4th but we celebrated on the 5th.

Araminta Spookie is a little girl who lives with her Aunt Tabby and her Uncle Drac in a haunted house. The house is haunted by two ghosts: Sir Horace and his page, Edmund.

In the first book, My Haunted House, you learn about the family living together in a haunted castle. Araminta finds Sir Horace’s secret room. It has a balcony! There is another family, The Wizards, who want to buy their house, but Araminta plans an awful ambush to try to stop this from happening. In the middle of the awful ambush, Aunt Tabby catches Araminta and stops her. Intead, Aunt Tabby agrees with Mrs. Wizard to share the house. Wanda Wizard can turn drinks blue and make them fizz!

In the second book, The Sword in the Grotto, it is about to be Sir Horace’s 500th birthday, and Araminta wants to get him a present. Wanda Wizard, who has become Araminta’s friend, helps Araminta to find Sir Horace’s sword in the grotto. A grotto is a cave and this one is located near the castle.

There is a really exciting part in this story. When Araminta and Wanda are in the grotto, they get trapped inside! The sea comes up and is about to fill to the top of the grotto. Edmund comes in and saves them by showing them another way out through a gap in a rock. Sir Horace’s birthday party turns out great and he loves his present because his father gave the sword to him a long time ago and he had lost it.

This series is not spooky or scary. It is adventurous and sometimes funny. Now I am reading the third book in the series, called Frognapped. I’ll report back in about it when I’m done but in the meantime I recommend Araminta Spookie to anyone who likes a little adventure.

Mom’s note: for older readers who also like a little adventure, fun characters, spells and charms, Ryan and Mr. Horrigan recommend Angie Sage’s middle grade series about a character called Septimus Heap. In this post, I asked questions, Maegan talked, and I typed.