Archives for January, 2011
BOOK NAME: Masters of Disaster
AUTHOR: Gary Paulsen
Hey guys it’s me Reed. This time I’ve got an action and comedy book. Gary Paulsen is an amazing author, and you can read my interview with him. In this book he’s just amazing.
Henry, Reed, and Riley are best friends. Henry is the leader of the three. He also comes up with some of the most wacky ideas ever. He always uses Reed as a test dummy. Riley is always doing the research and he also is always prepared.
Here is an example of a crazy idea Henry came up with. A house in their neighborhood is perfect for an extremely high bike jump, and it also has a pool. The owners of it happen to be out. So Henry decides he’s going to try for a world’s record. He dresses Reed up in a lot of protection and even ties his hands to the handle bars. Riley says Reed can ride down the roof, hit the diving board and bounce really really high. He hits the diving board perfect on the first try. On the second bounce after hitting the diving board, he skids off at a 45 degree angle and slides into the back alleyway where he runs into about 4 trash cans. He got covered in baby diapers. And as Reed says later in the book: “The smell doesn’t come off. It gets worse.”
The book isn’t about one single story. It’s a mix of different stories like the one above.
This is another masterpiece by Gary Paulsen. You should definitely read it. And it’s not very long, only 102 pages!
BOOK NAME: The Landry News
AUTHOR: Andrew Clements
Cara Landry was barely noticed. She liked it that way. She was a quiet, but very intelligent girl. She was very unlucky to end up in the worst teacher’s class, Mr. Larson’s class. Mr. Larson never taught. He just sat at his desk, every day, reading the newspaper and drinking coffee from his big, red thermos. Every parent hoped that their children wouldn’t end up in his class.
One day, Cara decided to put up her own newspaper, The Landry News, on the bulletin board. In it, she put an article stating that “there has been learning, but there has been no teaching” in Mr. Larson’s class. Mr. Larson banned the newspaper from the classroom. Cara then decided to work on her own project.
In this book, you will join Cara and Mr. Larson as they begin hating each other at first in the story, and end up being very close at the end. You’ll even accompany them as they try to save Mr. Larson’s job!
I really liked this book. I feel it is a great book for all ages. It was fun, cute, and very good. I kept on wanting to know what would happen next! I think I am the complete opposite of Cara, though. She’s quiet, while I am loud and outgoing. But even though she is so different from me, she’s my favorite character in the book. Reading The Landry News won’t be a waste of your time! You should read it!
BOOK NAME: 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System
AUTHOR: David A. Aguilar
I’ve read a lot books about the solar system, but this one is not at all like any of the others. While they teach in most schools that there are eight planets in the solar system, this book takes a look at 13 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars (the rock planets), Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune (the gas giants), Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris (the dwarf planets).
This book doesn’t only talk about the planets, it also talks about the moons of each planet, the Asteroid Belt and the Kuiper Belt (a larger version of the Asteroid Belt). It also explains which planets and moons might have water and even how the solar system likely will end someday. (The good news is this won’t happen for another seven billion years, so don’t be too freaked out.)
I like how the book also tells the mythology behind every planet’s name. My favorite planet is the dwarf planet Haumea. It has the shape of an egg and rotates like a football being kicked off for a field goal. It is named after a powerful Hawaiian sorceress whose name is pronounced “Hah-oo-MAY-ah.”
The inside front cover of 13 Planets also shows what each planet would look like if you saw it through a 100x-power telescope, with the Earth’s Moon filling up the entire lens and Neptune barely appearing as the size of a speck of dust.
I would definitely recommend this book because it is a very fun and interesting way of learning about our solar system.
Many errors made by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean that led to the explosion
of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, “place in
doubt the safety culture of the entire industry,” says the final report
from President Obama’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon
Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.
The companies and the government
agencies that oversaw the drilling operation were not prepared for the
risks of drilling in deep water. “The technology, laws and regulations,
and practices for containing, responding to, and cleaning up spills lag
behind the real risks associated with deepwater drilling” offshore
and thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. The commission
recommends that the government close these safety gaps and the industry
should follow suit.
Beginning in February, when you visit NG Kids website you’re going to find an amazing new design. You’ll see more animals, bigger photos, and all the great games, videos, and news you expect–plus more facts and fun at your fingertips! And we’re making it super easy to navigate to cool areas like NG Kids My Shot, blogs, Animal Jam virtual world, NG Little Kids, and our Shop.
So stay tuned and get ready to explore the fresh new look of kids.nationalgeographic.com and let us know what you think!
Photograph by rosella, NG Kids My Shot
BOOK NAME: All Shook Up
AUTHOR: Shelley Pearsall
After his grandmother is in the hospital and is in need of the care of Josh’s mother, he finds he has to stay with his father for a few months. When he meets his father at the airport, he is surprised to see the sudden change in his father’s appearance and attitude. Elvis Presley. Elvis hair, Elvis clothes, Elvis voice. Not only does his dad LOOK like Elvis Presley, but his job is to impersonate Elvis! Dreading the stay with his father, Josh gets mad and it shows in his every move.
When Josh goes to a new school and becomes popular, he decides it’s not too bad living there. Until his father plans to be impersonating Elvis at his school concert. Josh makes up a plan. A plan to save him the embarrassment and get him back to being the popular guy he originally was.
All Shook Up was an okay book. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have with the other books I’ve reviewed, but it wasn’t a bad book in general. I have always loved Elvis Presley so the fact that Josh’s dad was an Elvis Presley impersonator thrilled me. I laughed at the quotes the author put in between the chapters. The quotes tickled my funny-bone and sent me into a fit of overwhelming giggles.
I’d suggest this to anyone of any age, but I must say this book revolves around the divorced issue of the family and although the problem isn’t resolved–it contains a lot on how Josh feels. Overall, it’s a great book for anyone who is interested!
BOOK NAME: H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education
AUTHOR: Mark Walden
School can definitely be scary, but imagine if your school specialized in training young super villains! That is exactly what H.I.V.E. does! The Higher Institute of Villainous Education (aka H.I.V.E.) trains the criminal masterminds of tomorrow. Just a few of the courses available at H.I.V.E. are Villainy Studies, Stealth and Evasion, and Tactical Education. Otto Malpense, however, isn’t interested in staying at H.I.V.E. for six years of training. Kidnapped and transported to H.I.V.E., Otto simply wants to get out. Easier said than done! No one has ever escaped from H.I.V.E. before. An immense techno-security system, squadron after squadron of armed guards, and a labyrinthine system of passageways are all standing in the way of Otto’s escape. Can he and his friends Wing, Laura, and Shelby beat the odds and escape from H.I.V.E.?
This book was an awesome read! It was one of the best science-fiction books I’ve ever read! One thing I like about this book is that it is mysterious and leaves you with some questions. For example, a dangerous super villain has some sinister intentions for Otto, but the book leaves those intentions a mystery, and it makes you want to read the next book in the series. The book is fast paced, and each page has a new situation. On one page it might be bullies, on another it might be a man-eating plant. Students can somewhat relate to this book because H.I.V.E. has all of the elements of a regular school; classes, homework, grades, tests, and even bullies, but the major difference is that the education provided at H.I.V. E. is strictly for evil purposes only.
Man’s best friend has been living in North America for over 9,000 years! Scientists recently discovered a small piece of domesticated dog’s skull in a cave in Texas and it’s about 9,400 years old. Early North Americans kept dogs not only for companionship or to help protect them, but they also probably ate dogs during ceremonies or during famines. This skull fragment was found in a piece of fossilized human poop.
Learn more about the bone fragment on National Geographic News.
How much do you know about different breeds of dogs? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Check out pictures of dogs with jobs on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Samuel Belknap
BOOK NAME: Bridge to Terabithia
The book Bridge to Terabithia is like a roller coaster of emotions which rides you through feelings of sweetness, happiness, sadness, and comfort. The author, Katherine Paterson, brings out all these sentiments in this Newbery Medal award-winning book. It is a realistic fiction book with a touch of tragedy. The theme of this book is that best friends can have lasting changes on one another’s lives.
Ten year old Jess Aarons lives in countryside Virginia. He becomes best friends with Leslie Burke, a ten year old girl who has recently moved into the neighboring house. With Leslie’s imagination, the two of them create the secret, magical land of Terabithia where they reign as king and queen. In Terabithia, they build a castle for themselves, fight off imaginary enemies invading Terabithia, and pray to spirits in the pine grove. However, a tragedy strikes, leaving Jess sorrowful and heartbroken. It is painful for Jess to go through this challenge, but slowly he gathers the courage to cope with it.
I would recommend others to read this outstanding book. The author’s writing style makes it easy to follow and simple to comprehend. One doesn’t need to run away from this book because there is a sad part. There are many moments of adventure, happiness, and friendship, too. I like how the woods are transformed into a magical land, sparking imagination–turning the ordinary into extraordinary. Bridge to Terabithia is an exceptional book to grab off the shelf and start reading.
Want another opinion? Check out Sheila’s review!
BOOK NAME: Turkish Delight & Treasure Hunts
AUTHOR: Jane Brocket
This book is unique from all the rest of the books I have reviewed, but yet includes books that I have read and may have even reviewed. This is one of those activities books that list things to do and how to do them. What’s special about it is that the activities come from the stories themselves such as Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe among others.
What I like about this book is that it’s fun to do activities, but it’s even more fun when you recognize them from books that you have read. Many recipes are given and not all of them are that difficult to follow. I was able to make some yummy hot chocolate by following the “Campfire Cocoa” recipe from the chapter on The Secret of Spiggy Holes book. Some chapters include instructions on how to do something such as “master the art of breakfast in bed”. But I’m not sure if I’ll follow Paddington Bear’s advice that states “leftover bacon can be put in a suitcase and eaten later.”
I can’t wait to try making a rope swing like the one Fern had in Charlotte’s Web. I can imagine Fern swinging on a rope under the shade of a tree. I think I’ll have to wait until next spring to give it a try though!
It’s also nice that you don’t have to read this book chapter by chapter. You can simply look through and stop on the stories or activities that interest you. I’m sure you’d find some things to share with your siblings, parents, or friends. I’d say it’s a great book to have on hand for a rainy day!
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti. In the year following the devastating quake, there has been slow progress in rebuilding the country. With international help (including help from you!), some of the debris has been cleaned up and some buildings have been rebuilt, but lots of rubble still remains. There have been other problems, like a cholera epidemic that has sickened thousands of people. Cholera spreads in areas with bad sanitary conditions, and the earthquake made Haiti’s sanitation worse.
Why has recovery been so slow? One big reason is that Haiti doesn’t have a stable political environment, which makes cleanup efforts difficult. “So what’s going on is what we used to call stovepipe reconstruction, where certain areas and types of structures are being reconstructed or built anew but there is no overall plan. Because, among other things, it’s really unclear if there is a Haitian government at this point,” says Richard Olson of Florida International University and director of the Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas program.
Read more about the state Haiti is in on the anniversary of the earthquake on National Geographic News.
Read about the earthquake on the News Bites blog.
Read about how you helped Haiti by sending in donations on the News Bites blog.
Get facts about Haiti on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Eduardo Munoz, Reuters
BOOK NAME: A Crack in the Sky
AUTHOR: Mark Peter Hughes
Eli Papadopoulos is a teenager who lives in a futuristic America. Global warming has gone extreme, and most of the human race lives in enclosed domes. The insides of the domes are screens that simulate the sky or run ads, and everyone lives fairly happily. Eli’s grandfather was the one who ‘saved humanity’ by thinking of the domes and having his company, InfiniCorp, build it all and take care of everyone. Eli has many relatives, and they are all expected to get a job within InfiniCorp’s ranks. Eli has a pet mongoose, Marilyn, who was given to him by his grandfather. She has been genetically engineered, and can communicate telepathically with Eli. One day, Eli notices a spark on the inside of the dome, and runs to investigate. He doesn’t see anything suspicious, but he begins to be worried and tries to find out more about what is happening. Soon, he discovers a conspiracy plot to escape from the domes because everyone is going to die already. The conspiracy theorists, or foggers, believe that El Guia, a man of the desert, will guide them to safety. Eli begins to doubt his own family, and eventually embarks on an adventure involving a fogger named Tabitha, Marilyn, and his entire family to discover the truth.
As many of you know already, I love science fiction, especially futuristic stuff. I’ll read virtually anything, but this book was really a gem. I’ve recommended it to most of my friends already, and you guys should read it, too! One of the things I liked most about this book was that it gave all perspectives. You got Eli, Tabitha, and Marilyn as well as some people who lived outside the domes. It was good to figure out what the different people were thinking as well as what they knew and didn’t know. It was also cool to see all of the different paths converge at the end of the novel. If you like global warming, this is a great book for you. It’s fairly realistic, and kind of scared me when I thought of how close we are to this coming true. My favorite character would definitely have to be Eli, because he is dedicated to his friends and to finding the truth.
The U.S. and Canadian winners of the International Photo Contest 2010 for Kids have been announced! Click here to check out the gallery on National Geographic Kids and see the winners.
The cool cats in this winning picture don’t seem to be too worried about the dog in the house. Maybe they didn’t read the sign!
Photograph by Laura Bleacher
BOOK NAME: The Great and Only Barnum
P.T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum was considered the greatest showman on Earth and the inventor of the three-ring circus. He was one of the people behind the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, which started more than 100 years ago and I’ve seen in person. This book is about Barnum’s life, which was crazy.
Barnum was born on July 4th, 1810, on the 34th birthday of the United States. He was named after his grandfather who was a comedian and prankster. Barnum, who was called Tale as a boy, grew up to be a performer and tricked people out of their money with a fake lottery. His grandfather even tricked him by giving him five acres of land called “Ivy Island” that Barnum soon found out was useless because it was infested with snakes. However, Barnum traded the land with someone else and eventually opened his first museum of human curiosities.
My favorite part of the book was when they explained the human curiosities like The Highland Mammoth boys, who were three fat guys from Scotland; Anna Swan: a 7-foot, 11-inch giant woman; Madame Clofulia, a bearded lady; Isaac Sprague, who was called “The Human Skeleton” because he was so skinny; and Chang and Eng, the Siamese twins who shared one stomach. Another curiosity that wasn’t in the museum was Charley Strattons, a 25-inch tall man they called Tom Thumb.
This was a very interesting book and what made it most interesting is that it all happened and wasn’t made up.
BOOK NAME: Num8ers
After her mother’s death, Jem started to notice numbers in the eyes of
people surrounding her daily. As an infant she vocalized every number
she saw until it bothered those around her. Later on in life Jem
figured out the numbers were the dates of when people were going to die.
A long-term curse in her life, the numbers haunt Jem’s every
move–making her avoid any kind of relationship with people in her life.
When she meets Spider, another outsider, she takes a chance, dreaming
of a happy ending with this boy. Very little time passes before the
date in his eyes shows itself to Jem. Witnessing Spider’s death
herself, Jem is broken and her hopes of a new beginning fade away with
the beats of his heart.
I absolutely loved this book and there was only one downside; the book
had a tremendous amount of content that would be inappropriate for
younger readers. Although some concepts in this book were hard to
understand, it had an amazing plot and was unlike any other book I’ve
read. As disturbing as it seems, I truly enjoyed when the author
unfolded the deaths of those around Jem. Her following the characters
around her, only to find that the numbers in their eyes are correct and
death waits for them around the next corner.
Rachel Ward wrote this book with lovely detail and the plot unfolded
perfectly –introducing new characters and obstacles smoothly. I plan
to read more of her books and I suggest you read this book if you are of
the appropriate age.
Four common species of bumblebees have been disappearing over the past 20 years. A new study estimates that these populations have declined as much as 96%. The disappearance of the bees is still a mystery, but some scientists think that the bees may have been infected by a fungus called Nosema bombi, which is an invasive fungus from Europe.
Bumblebees pollinate important crops, such as blueberries and tomatoes. They are more efficient pollinators than honeybees.
Read more about this study on National Geographic News.
Read about the honeybee mystery on National Geographic Kids.
Get the facts on honeybees in the Creature Feature.
Photograph by Bill Beatty, Visuals Unlimited
Here at DogEared, we love all books! We have a special place in our hearts for series books. When you finish a book, and you wish the story would just keep going, you get your wish with a series.
What’s your favorite book series? Do you plan to start a new series in 2011?
Zookeepers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed a new male elephant calf into the herd last week! The calf’s mother also has an older calf, who is almost four years old. The new baby hasn’t been named yet, but he has been busy exploring with his mother. The park’s elephant herd gave birth to four male calves in 2010.
See pictures of the baby elephant on the ZooBorns website.
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park website to see a video of the baby.
Get the facts on African elephants in the Creature Feature.
Photograph by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
BOOK NAME: Mockingjay
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
A mockingjay is a mix of a mockingbird and a bird from the fictional future called a jabberjay. A jabberjay was a bird that could bring messages because it could talk by memorizing the words people said. The Capitol created the jabberjay to use it as a spy against the Districts because they were afraid the Districts would start an uprising and attack the Capitol. In the Hunger Games world, these mixed animals are called “mutations.”
Katniss Everdeen won the 74th Hunger Games and became a national hero. She wore a pin of a mockingjay throughout her the Games. The mockingjay became the symbol of a new rebellion against the Capitol.
In “Mockingjay” which is the final book of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen is living in the underground city of District 13. At the end of book two, Catching Fire, nobody won the 75th Hunger Games because the rebels in District 13 saved Katniss and some of her allies by helping them escape from the games. But they did not save Peeta, her fiancé. She is very sad and upset that the Capitol has captured him and they’re using him against her.
There’s another Hunger Games in this book, but it’s doesn’t take place in the arena. The book is really about how Katniss fights against the Capitol and tries rescue and fix Peeta. Most of the characters from the previous books are back, like Katniss’ allies Finnick, Johanna, and Beetee (who’s my favorite character), her sister Prim and her ugly cat Buttercup, her friend Gale, and of course Haymitch and Effie, her prep team, but sadly not Cinna.
I can’t tell you anymore because I don’t want to give it away. Sorry, folks!
This book is probably the best of the series. You have to read the other two in order to understand this one. This is a book for anyone above 10 years old. My Dad’s even reading the series, and that’s a good sign.
Until next time…seeya!