Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ultimate Book Guide

Welcome to the drifter notes :)

The previous entries were originally posted on my 1st blog, iKzut, but I've moved them here for the convenience of my readers *ahem* Thus, I have 2 separate blogs, each dedicated to my 2 loves: my bizarre little sketchbook, iKzut, and my launch pad for book reviews, the drifter notes. Feel free to explore/enjoy/comment on/criticize either one ^_^

In honor of the drifter notes' 1st post (the previous posts are 2nd hand so they don't count -_-") I will introduce The Ultimate Book Guide by editors Daniel Hahn, Leon Flynn, and Susan Reuben, which boasts over 600 great books for 8-12s. (See cover ;P)

Books like these kinda make you wish you were that age again. But then again, like someone once said: the best children's books can have an arguably enormous adult appeal (think Roald Dahl). The Ultimate Book Guide not only gives a basic plot summary (with a miminum number of spoilers ;) and review of each book, but also gives several varied suggestions which answer the question that every librarian dreads: I loved that book! Now what the heck I read next?

There are few readers who are untroubled by the what-the-heck-do-I-read-next question and I am (fortunately/unfortunately) not one of them. An example of how helpful this feature is: 

Book: Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen. [which is a story involving students from a local school, a runaway, unethical property developing, wildlife conservation, humor, and a whole lot of plot twisting]  

Suggestions for what to read next list as:

1. Holes, by Louis Sachar "is amazing and equally twisty"

2. Kite, by Melvin Burgess "another book about conserving wildlife"

3. The Big Bazoohley, by Peter Carey "is another author [like Hiaasen] who usually writes for adults; his funny snappy book for younger readers" 

Thus, the suggestions pinpoint on why the reader might have liked the book, and thoughtfully offer a myriad of choices. 

Personally, I found The Ultimate Book Guide especially useful for reminding me of the (too) many books I read when I was that age...many of which I (regrettably) could remember neither title nor author of. A quick glance at the plot summary would result in a sudden flash of enlightenment (Oh, yeaah!! That was a great story! How could I have forgotten all about it??)...and, yes, I now have the presence of mind to note the author's name for future reference should anyone ask me to recommend a good book :)

Apparently, The Ultimate Book Guide(8-12yrs) is the first of a 3-book series. I'm hunting for the others now... I am NOT going to become some old granny bemoaning the ignorance of my youth (Augghh!! This book!! I would have loved it in my [insert younger age here]!!)

hit wall  Yeah...that would be my reaction, I think -_-"

But, yeah, I'll say it again: the best children's books can have an enormous adult appeal. Thus, I give The Ultimate Book Guide two thumbs up: 1 for kids, 1 for adults :) There's 600 great books for everyone to choose from. Enjoy!! ^_^

Btw, check out this blog by The Ultimate Book Guide's three editors featuring the same name. This eponymous blog updates pretty consistently - it features a Book of the Week plus a plethora of suggestions for what to read next. Click here now to find out what's hot in the children's world of literature :)