New books in Room 3 – January 25, 2012

Review: Stealing Magic

Cover © Random House Books for Young Readers

We’re all about guys here at TMCE Guys Read. I am here to serve you, guy reader. We won’t turn away girls from the blog, of course, and if they find our blog useful or interesting, that’s great. But here, we ooze guyness. Sticky, slimy, nasty-colored guyness.

There are some books that are marketed specifically to girls or specifically to boys. There just are. Boys don’t usually read the “girl” books (though in March you’ll find out that real men read Babymouse). It seems to be OK and common for girls to read “guy” books.

But then there are books that are kind of in between. They’re not just targeted at girls, and they’re not “guy” books. There are lots and lots and lots of books in this in between land. Most books exist there. If you read my review of Vanished over the summer, you know that I don’t necessarily review only “guy” books. I want you guys to find books that are fun and interesting, and I’m not that concerned about the gender of the main character, or the content, or whatever. If I think you guys might like it, I’ll review it here.

One thing that I think is very important to note: If you only read the “guy” books, you’re going to miss out on a lot of wonderful stories. That’s why I read everything!

Stealing Magic is the sequel to Marianne Malone‘s first book, The Sixty-eight Rooms, which I finished earlier this year (when we were riding the bus home from our Mt. Baker field trip). They are both about a boy and a girl, Jack and Ruthie, who live in Chicago. One of their favorite places is the Art Institute of Chicago, in particular the Thorne Rooms, a collection of sixty-eight miniature rooms depicting different time periods and places in world history. The first book is about a discovery of some particularly fantastic magic.

The second book, Stealing Magic, takes that fantastic magic and throws in an art thief, more magic, snippets of world history, elaborate traps, and apples. Like the first book, I found it to be a pretty enjoyable read. I think Mrs. Malone did a great job of expanding on her idea, giving the Thorne Rooms’ magic much more depth and history.

The only thing I didn’t like was not much of a biggie. Jack and Ruthie were just way too bold and brash this time around. They used their magic so many times when people could have seen them. They practically did get caught a couple times. It reminded me of Harry and Ron in The Chamber of Secrets. They totally should have gotten kicked out of Hogwarts for all the sneaking around and stuff they pulled in second year. Maybe it has something to do with the second book in a series? Because Jack and Ruthie went crazy with the risk-taking. It’s OK, though. It kept things exciting. Of course, I know kids seem to love this sort of thing in books. So maybe it’s a plus.

One thing that Stealing Magic, The Sixty-eight Rooms, and another new book from last year, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, have done for me is made me really interested in visiting some museums. As a kid, I went to a lot of museums. They were always cool, but I would go through them pretty quickly, just looking at displays and pictures and not really thinking much about them. Now, I want to go to the Art Institute of Chicago and check out these Thorne Rooms. I want to go to New York City and visit the museums featured in Wonderstruck. Not only are these books fun and entertaining reads, but they’re also great advertisements for the real life exhibits in these museums, and for museums, in general.

I liked both of the first two Sixty-eight Rooms books. Enough that I’ll probably read the third when it comes out. Mrs. B doesn’t have them in the library yet, so I’ll mention them to her as something to check out. The public library has the first one, and will probably get the second one soon.

I read a lot of books over winter break. How about you?

Keep reading!

Stealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure [Sixty-Eight Rooms #2]

By Marianne Malone

256 pages

Genre: Fantasy, time travel, magic, historical fiction

Source: NetGalley

This book releases on January 24, 2012.

Summer is for reading

Specifically, reading whatever you want! No tests, no quizzes. No AR. Just words and story and pictures and fun.

We’ve had a great year, highlighted by an author Skype with Mac Barnett and a great afternoon launching rockets we built ourselves. I can’t wait to raise the bar even higher next year.

What will you be reading this summer? Any plans to take on some new series? Feel free to keep us updated in the comments. I’ll do the same.

Have a great summer!

Guys talk about writing scary stories, and other stuff

Hey guys. I found this video of a bunch of guy authors talking about writing for guys and the next book in Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read Library of Great Reading, Guys Read: Thriller. Mac Barnett is part of the group, and some other great writers. There’s some sort of ‘grown up’ talk, but there’s also some good silliness and some interesting thoughts.

From BookExpoCast.

May Book Post – When You Reach Me

Cover © Random House Children's Books

Well, here we are, at the end. I’ve had a great time this year. I hope you have, too.

Our final book is When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. This Newbery Award-winner is pretty confusing. But in an awesome way. The first time I read it, I kept going back and finding things that happened before, when I realized they were clues. This is definitely a book you might want to read with your parent, like actually with them. Then you can talk about all that awesome confusingness.

As an optional bonus, you could also read A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, which is the main character’s favorite book. This is a former Guys Read selection. If you want to read it, I’ve got copies, and so does the library.

Finally, this last meeting will be a big combo BBQ and meeting with the Mother/Daughter Book Club. They’ll also read WYRM. This has been tons of fun the last few years, and I’m sure it will be this time around. We’ll start a half hour earlier, at 6:00. You can RSVP on the note I send home.

Super! Can’t wait until the meeting! Keep reading!

Meeting + BBQ: Thursday, May 26, 6:00 pm

“General George Washington!”

Oh, man. Was that better than launching rockets? I think that was better than launching rockets.

We had a great chat with Mac Barnett. Topics discussed included future books (including a sneak peek at the cover of the next Brixton Brothers book, due out in October), facial hair, double-sided tape, and his new dog, Henry. I was still buzzing about it when I went to bed three hours later. How about you?

I tried to video the chat, but I ended up with a “Cannot merge audio and video streams” error message. I think the video is lost, but the audio remains, and here it is:

I’ve already listened to it twice.

Mr. F. took some pictures and a short video, as well. Check them out!

If you want to go crazy on Thursday…

You could see author D.J. MacHale at Village Books at 5 pm, and then come to Guys Read at 6:30 to video chat with Mac Barnett!

Have any of you read the Pendragon books? They look good. I’ll have to try one this summer.