Friday, April 22, 2011

Review: BETWEEN TWO ENDS by David Ward

Product Description from Net Galley:

When Yeats and his parents visit his grandmother's creepy old house, Yeats reunites a pair of pirate bookends and uncovers the amazing truth: Years ago, Yeats's father traveled into The Arabian Nights with a friend, and the friend, Shari, is still stuck in the tales. Assisted by the not-always-trustworthy pirates, Yeats must navigate the unfamiliar world of the story of Shaharazad--dodging guards and tigers and the dangerous things that lurk in the margins of the stories--in order to save Shari and bring peace to his family.

David Ward has created a fantasy rich with atmosphere and full of heart-stopping drama.

Title: Between Two Ends
Publisher: Abrams Books
Imprint: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/01/2011
ISBN: 9780810997141

My Review:

Characters: The reader can't help but like Yeats, a twelve-year-old boy willing to jump into the dangerous unknown to save his family, which is being torn apart by his father's depression. The magical pirate book ends kept me smiling and actually had me laughing out loud during the trip back into the book.

Setting: David Ward has created interesting surroundings both at Yeats' grandmother's house and in the world of Shaharazod. Although I haven't recently read One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, I felt like David Ward knew every possible detail about the setting.

Plot: The action is non-stop from the time Yeats finds the magical book ends through the time he completes his quest. The action and plot twists made it difficult to put the book down. The one problem I had was the story did not take off until about Chapter Three.

Overall: I highly recommend this book for middle grade boys and girls. My caution is to make sure young readers are not discouraged by the opening chapter. I fear some of them might find the multiple points of view hard to follow while Ward initially introduces us to the characters at Grandmother's house. I might add the issue disappears for the remainder of the book. Find a way to keep them interested through Chapter Three -- they won't be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

(Galley supplied via

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Poetry Month Review

Review: Your Own Sylvia: a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill Stephanie Hemphill (left) with Alison Hertz at the 2011 Anderson's Breakfast.
What could possibly be more appropriate than reading the story of a gifted American poet during National Poetry Month? And the answer is: reading that story written in verse by another gifted American poet.
Stephanie Hemphill has taken the story of Sylvia Plath and told it using a series of moving verses through the eyes of the people in Sylvia's life. Each verse is accompanied by a short, unobtrusive history of facts surrounding it.
If you're looking for a great National Poetry Month read, I highly recommend YOUR OWN SYLVIA. The book was published in 2007 by Alfred A. Knopf and was a Printz Honor Book recipient.