Friday, February 25, 2011

Irish Kate

Today's post is a plug for Irish writer Kate Thompson. Now, I will admit to being somewhat prejudiced in that anything from Ireland is going to be something I want to like anyway, but I can tell you that Kate's work is very fine and would be no matter where the stories were set.

The New Policeman is a wonderful combination of "real boy" in "real world" and the world of fantasy. This is not the kind of fantasy where the main character disappears into some alternate place and "real" time and place are forgotten (well, sort of -- but you'll have to read it to see what I mean). In fact, it's a great story about how time can get distorted between our world and the land of Faerie. The Last of the High Kings is a very satisfactory sequel. I will get the third and final book in this series, The White Horse Trick soon.

For those of you who can access the Junior High shelf, Thompson has written a wonderfully eerie tale about an Irish city boy who is forced to learn about the mysteries one finds in the country. It is called Creature of the Night and I liked it because it wasn't frightening like Stephen King, just really, really suspenseful and creepy.

Our library has the first two books in her new series called The Missing Link. The first book is called Fourth World and the second is Only Human. They are a cool look at the future and the possibilities (both good and bad) of genetic cloning and manipulation.

Check out Kate Thompson next time you're in the library. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hidden Gems -- The Last Dragon

My primary purpose for this blog is to highlight books that are quite wonderful but often overlooked. Many times they have won awards, but they are not as well known, or as well read, among the students at any given school. For the sake of the great story alone I will attempt to bring some attention to books that I think merit it.

My first entry for this would have to be The Last Dragon by Silvana de Mari. This book has won the Batchelder Award and deservedly so. When I present it to my students, I usually preface it this way: "If I told you this book was about an elf who must find the last dragon, you might roll your eyes and think Another one? But, trust me, this one is different." I go on to explain that what is great about a book is not always the story line, for it can seem quite similar quite often, it's the ability of the author to tell the story. Silvana de Mari knows how to tell a story. The prose is beautiful without being stuffy and the reader is drawn immediately into the world of the main character.

For any fantasy reader, it's a must. It's also for anyone who just likes a good story told well.