A Whole Nother Story–Dr. Cuthbert Soup

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About halfway through this book, I had doubts. This is a children’s book (or YA? I can never tell where they draw that line) that I read with my kids. I love children’s books (and YA books) so I enjoy reading books with the kids. Some are better than others, and I had, as I said, doubts about this book halfway through.

The book follows a scientist and his three kids, on the run from a wide range of nefarious people. They’re being stalked because the dad is thisclose to completing a time machine. Everyone wants it. Our government, foreign governments, creepy corporations…everyone is after them.

They move whenever the bad guys get too close. Much of this book involves them on the run and the random people they encounter as they look for a new place to live. About halfway through I started to wonder if there was any plan or if the entire thing was a loosely connected series of adventures.

However, once they DID find a new town to settle down in, the pieces started to come together and it started to all work. There’s a sequel–maybe more than one, I haven’t looked–that the kids want to read. I am not opposed. This book reminded me a bit of the Series of Unfortunate Events in the snarky cleverness, and the little jokes that the kids may or may not have actual understood but I appreciated.

This is a fun and playful book. I enjoyed it, the kids enjoyed it. If you’re interested in a fast fun kid’s read, this is a good choice.

 

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Into the Wild–Erin Hunter

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Ok, full confession time. This is totally a children’s book.

It was recommended to me by someone that knows that I will read YA books if they’re good–I’m looking at you, Hunger Games–but children’s books are generally not on my reading list.

Tragically (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) I was solidly into this book before I realized that it was a children’s book.

And you know what? This isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty solidly done.

Plus it gets added points for adorableness.

Ok, this is your basic situation: a group of cats live in a forest somewhere in rural England. They live in a structured society. This society includes role definitions: warriors, queens, elders, apprentices, medicine cats, leader, deputy. It also includes a formalized warrior code they live by.

There are four clans of cats, each with their own defined hunting area. Shadowclan lives in the marshes, Riverclan lives (oh just guess, you know you want to) by the river, Windclan lives on the highland moor, and Thunderclan lives in the woods proper.

We follow Thunderclan, whose leader, Bluestar, has just gotten a prophecy from Starclan (heaven cats) that “fire will save the clan.” Obviously, fire and forests don’t mix, so she’s all confused.

Enter Rusty. Rusty is a kittypet, a housecat. He’s been dreaming of a life in the wild and one day he meets a warrior and decides to go for it, run away and become a warrior before the unthinkable happens and he gets fixed.

Thunderclan accepts him as an apprentice warrior, although a lot of the other cats don’t really think a kittypet can be a warrior, mostly because he’s a bright orange/red cat and Bluestar is thinking about the prophecy.

Enter Tigerclaw. Tigerclaw is a warrior in the clan. He’s a badass. He’s also pure evil. Tragically for the clan, they do not realize it. But one of the other apprentices does realize it and tells Rusty, now renamed ¬†Firepaw.

Firepaw has to endure the rigors of training, the loneliness for his old life, his crush on the medicine cat Spottedleaf, all while keeping an eye on Tigerclaw.

And while that’s happening, Shadowclan is plotting something nefarious, which is pretty normal for them.

Can Firepaw save the clan? From what? What’s Tigerclaw up to?

If you’re interested, go ahead and read it. At 200-300 pages each, these are short, easy books and you can knock it off quickly. Also there is an abundant supply of Warrior-themed parody videos on youtube, if you’re into that sort of thing.