Monday, 30 January 2017

Dreaming the Bear

The first book to be read in preparation for our trip to the North Herts Book Awards ceremony is 'Dreaming the Bear' by Mimi Thebo.

This novel actually divided opinion amongst our members, with some rating it more highly than others.

But first, what does the blurb tell us?  Well it starts off with introducing us to our protagonist, a girl called Darcy.

"When I get up, there's nobody home. Even Mum has gone out. The note says, 'I have to check my emails. I'll snowmobile to the meltline and be back soon. XX Mummy'. 
And I think, 'Good. I can feed my bear...'" 

We learn that Darcy is recovering from a severe illness in her parents' cabin, spending most of her days alone, until she comes face to face with a grizzly bear; this encounter blossoms into a surprising friendship.

The setting is gorgeous; Yellowstone National Park in Montana, with so much description, you almost feel like you are there with Darcy and the bear.  However, it is this description which divided our BOOKClub members:  

"It's a bit slow."  "There's too much description; not enough action."  "I like books that make you want to turn the page; this one went on too long describing the setting."

"I like how it's described as if you're there."   "I don't know anything about places like that, so the description helped."  

The other element that split the group in two was the ending.  Without giving away any spoilers, this was a real discussion point.  Some of us thought it was a nice change to have an unexpected ending like this - particularly in a book for children.  Others would have preferred a more typical ending.  

Overall, this is a book we would recommend, but only if you're not a fan of fast-paced, non-stop action!

Friday, 13 January 2017

BOOKClub trip - Book Awards Ceremony

We have our first BOOKClub trip coming up after half term.  

Fearnhill are really excited to have been invited to a presentation, author talk and creative writing workshops, part of the North Herts Librarians Book Awards Ceremony, on 15th March.  

       Kim Slater wrote 'Smart' which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and nominated for the 2015 Carnegie Medal, so we're looking forward to hearing from her and having the opportunity to pick her brains. 

       But, before we even get there, we've been presented with a list of books to read in advance:  

For Younger readers
  • 'Gorilla Dawn' by Gill Lewis
  • 'Dreaming the Bear' by Mimi Thebo
  • 'Jessica’s Ghost' by Andrew Norriss

For older readers
  • 'Girl on a plane'  by Miriam Moss
  • 'We Are All Made of Molecules' by Susin Nielsen
  • 'Denton Little’s Deathnote' by Lance Rubin

Our Key Stage 3 BOOKClubbers have finished
'Dreaming the Bear' already.
Watch this space for reviews.  

Friday, 6 January 2017

Book review: The Nest

Initially overlooked in favour of 'The Graveyard Book', 'The Nest' by Kenneth Oppel was the second book to be read by all of us*. 

It seems that this one just pipped Gaiman's book and is currently the group's favourite.  Have a read of the blurb to give you a flavour of what it's all about:  

""The first time I saw them, I thought they were angels." The baby is sick. Mom and Dad are sad. And all Steve has to do is say, "Yes" to fix everything. But yes is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back? Treading the thin line between dreams and reality, Steve is stuck in a nightmare he can't wake up from and that nobody else understands. And all the while, the wasps' nest is growing, and the 'angel' keeps visiting Steve in the night. A haunting coming of age story that will hold you captive, The Nest is lyrical, surreal and one of the most moving stories you'll read this year."

Here's what Dan in year 7 says about it:  

"This is my favourite book that we've read in BOOKClub so far...  For once in a book, I actually got a little bit scared!  I loved the way the author linked 'dreamland' with the real world and had special links.  Definitely a 5 star review!"  

For more information about Kenneth Oppel, see his website here or his blog here

*Miss Corbishley was shamefully slow in finishing hers.  Poppy and Dan finished first.  Hats off to them!