LIBRARY IDEA FOR NOVEMBER:

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA GAME: Looking for zero-prep Thanksgiving activities for middle school? This trivia game helps keep your students learning and engaged, even in the days before a holiday break. It’s zero-prep for you, and text and images are 99% editable.

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CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK:

Since Ragnarokthe great war between the gods and the forces of chaos—the human realm of the Midlands has become a desperate and dangerous place, bereft of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones—his family has remained prosperous. But he stands to lose everything when he’s wrongly convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is Eiric’s half-systir, Liv, who’s under suspicion for her interest in seidr, or magic. Then a powerful jarl steps in: He will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reginn Eiklund has spent her life performing at alehouses for the benefit of her master, Asger, a fire demon she is desperate to escape. After one performance that amazes even herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make Reginn an irresistible offer: return with them to the Temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric’s, Liv’s, and Reginn’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, a paradise fueled by magic and the site of the Temple. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.

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Review: Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty (Heppermann)

AUTHOR: Christine Heppermann
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow
PUBLICATION DATE: Sept. 23, 2014
ISBN: 9780062289599
PAGES: 128
SOURCE: Edelweiss
GENRE: poetry, fairy tale spin-offs
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS

SUMMARY: A collection of 50 fairy-tale themed poems that tackle problems modern teen girls face.

REVIEW: Incredibly creative! These 50 poems are all short (one page or less), and many contain illustrations. Some of the illustrations really fit; others left me a little confused. Some poems, such as “Big Bad Spa Treatment,” are light-hearted and humorous. Others, such as “Spotless,” reflect deeper emotional and societal problems. All have a feminist slant.

Like some of the illustrations, a few of the poems, such as “Boy Toy Villanelle” left me scratching my head. There were also a few that didn’t seem to follow the fairy tale theme at all. For example, “Human Centipede Two” is about horror movies, and “Pink Champagne” tells of girls getting drunk at a slumber party.

Here’s a brief summary of a few of my favorites:

  • “Prince Charming”–Turns on the charm to meet the parents. On the date, not so charming.
  • “Retelling”–The Miller’s Daughter stands up for herself and gets a new life.
  • “To My Sheep, Wherever You Are”–After losing his sheep, Little Boy Blue finds a new job at the library.
  • “Thumbelina’s Get-Tiny Cleanse–Tested”–Miss Muffett goes on a diet and loses so much weight, she is eaten by a spider.
  • “Red-Handed”–Little Red Riding Hood steals beer, smokes cigarettes, and makes out with the wolf.
  • “Life Among the Swans”–The Ugly Duckling wishes she had stayed ugly. Life was safer then.
  • “Spotless”–Desperate for release from the daily drudgery of keeping a spotless cottage, Snow White begins to cut herself, like her mother before her.
  • “Big Bad Spa Treatment”–How Big Bad Wolves prepare their dinner.
  • “The Beast”–Beauty and the Beast poem gets a cool twist in the last line.
  • “Assassin”–A Wicked Witch’s work is never done.

THE BOTTOM LINE: For the most part, the poems are creative, funny, and thought-provoking. In a poetry book, there will always be a few that don’t make sense. To each, her own poem. The ones that didn’t make sense to me may speak perfectly to someone else.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. Poisoned Apples is a must for all middle and high school libraries.

READALIKES: Grumbles From the Forest (Yolen); Follow, Follow and Mirror, Mirror (Singer); for younger readers, Dark Sparkle Tea and Other Bedtime Stories (Myers)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5–very creative and very few like this for teens
  • Engrossing: 5/5–all poems are short, fun and easy to read
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5–great for reluctant readers, too
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:

  • Language: mild–one F-bomb; nothing else
  • Sexuality: mild-moderate–references to menstruation, sex, breasts; Red Riding Hood makes out with the wolf
  • Violence: mild–fairy tale violence–poisoning, witches eat children, cutting
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild–teen alcohol use, smoking
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