Thursday, 9 June 2016

Snowboard Showdown by Matt Christopher

Out-of-control competition leads to disaster. When Freddie Ruiz and his brother, Dondi, compete, it's like two mutts wrestling over the same bone-neither one is willing to give an inch. Unfortunately for Freddie, older, stronger, better-looking Dondi usually comes out on top in every contest. Except in one area: snowboarding. Here, Freddie is clearly king of the halfpipe. So when Dondi finally pushes Freddie too far, Freddie cooks up a snowboard showdown to make Dondi look foolish and himself the star. But will Dondi take the bait, or will he somehow turn the tables on his brother yet again?
Product description; Goodreads

What did I think?
The book is full of conflict and competition sure to entertain young readers, but I did have some concerns with as to whether or not I could recommend it.

There are 2 storylines that drive this book:
1.         Freddie’s competition and rivalry with his brother Dondi.
2.         Freddie trying to impress a girl.

There is a lot of anger and fighting in this book between the brothers, and the conclusion seems to be that this is normal between brothers. I don’t think that’s great advice.
Freddie desired to impress a girl whom his brother Dondi has taken an interest in, and Freddie will do whatever he sees necessary to accomplish this.
You can’t expect great maturity from a young guy in grade 7, but Freddie did not prove to be a great example for the kids reading this book I don’t think.
There are some redeemable aspects to this book such as Freddie’s father being involved in helping Freddie on his journey, the value of good friendship, and showing initiative from kids to work hard for something.
Saying all of this, I struggle with a recommendation. The book might connect with a kid in grade 7, but having a heated rivalry between brothers and desiring a girl because she looks good isn’t something I can recommend.

Matt Christopher is the writer young readers turn to when they're looking for fast-paced, action-packed sports novels. He is the best-selling author of more than one hundred sports books for young readers.

You can learn more about Matt Christopher at his website.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too.
Recommended for ages 10+.
Product description;

What did I think?
Where the Red Fern Grows was one of the first novels read to me; and was immediately a favorite. Years later, I am still impressed by the story.
Not only am I impressed by the story, but I am more impressed with how faith in God is included in this novel. I never took notice of Billy Colman’s prayers or the prayers of his mama the first time it was read to me.
I believe this book is best if it is read by a parent to their children over a long period of time. I don’t find it’s a typical novel that makes you flip page after page, but you are still interested to see how the story will play out. A chapter a day with your kids could be just great.
There are great lessons in this book for people of all ages. It’s possible some people won’t be interested in the middle of the book where we see Billy’s hunting adventures, but if  a kid’s parent is reading the book; they’ll enjoy it. 
There are lessons that will last for life. What an endearing story it is.

Wilson Rawls grew up on a small farm in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma. There were no schools where he lived so his mother taught Rawls and his sisters how to read and write. He says that reading the book The Call of the Wild changed his life and gave him the notion that he would like to grow up to write a book like it. He shared his dream with his father, and his father gave him the encouraging advice, "Son, a man can do anything he sets out to do, if he doesn't give up." Rawls never forgot his father's words, and went on to create two novels about his boyhood that have become modern classics.

You can buy Where the Red Fern Grows at