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 :)


  1. OOH. I came across a book like that once. At the airport in bangkok (of all places). The only difference is that it was a list of adult, not kids books.

    Oh so THAT explains why Eugene was *influenced* to borrow Hoot and Holes - in consecutive weeks ;)

    Great post, girl. I'm waiting for more!

  2. To Stephie: Hmm...what book was that? TUBG is a 3-book series - there's apparently one for teens and one for 1st-time readers. I don't know if there's one for adults...

    The suggestions for "Holes" include books by the same author as well as Jerry Spinelli's "The Mighty Crashman" and "Stargirl" and Natalie Babbitt's "Tuck Everlasting".

    Btw, I found a blog by TUBG's 3 editors. I've attached the link to my post (see last line ;)