Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt and Phil Gosier: Book Review

Friday Barnes: Girl Detective
Author: R.A. Spratt
Illustrator: Phil Gosier
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2016 
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age: 8 to 12, Middle Grade
Pages: 255


Possibilities soar when spunky eleven-year-old Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery and receives fifty thousand dollars as reward. Emboldened, she announces she’s sending herself to a boarding school with the money, Highcrest Academy. “But why,” asks her father. “Because I want to do something different,” Friday replies. 

Friday’s parents and four adult siblings, all of whom are geniuses, have devoted themselves to studying theoretical physics. They only assumed Friday, also a genius, would do the same. Friday was born to her mother late in life, and with the exception of a doting uncle, often fends for herself alone. She even made an electric bicycle once when her parents failed to pick her up from school events. Friday’s vast knowledge from reading books and learning how things work has made her into a good debater—and a detective. Friday uses her gifts to convince her parents. Now the plan is to attend school unnoticed, so she can quietly observe and learn. 

The first day at school goes wrong when a car accidentally bumps into her in the school parking lot. She is only slightly hurt, but word gets out she is different. Not only does Friday dress weird in brown cardigans, she is extremely smart. Acceptance comes from her equally geeky roommate Melanie, and oddly, from Friday’s ability to solve mysteries at school, one being the strange swamp yeti. 

She ends up solving a diamond smuggling operation, but Ian Waitscott, the smartest and cutest boy in class remains her enemy. Unfortunately, Ian’s dad went to prison as a result of the bank caper Friday had solved earlier. When police arrest Friday at the end, readers may wonder if Ian played a role. The next edition reveals the outcome. A rollicking read overall, Gosier’s cartoon illustrations are entertaining and a good match. A cute story, and one I would give my granddaughter.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

"Only two more things need to be told. One is that Caspian and his men all came safely back to Ramandu's Island. And the three lords woke from their sleep. Caspian married Ramandu's daughter and they all reached Narnia in the end, and she became a great queen and the mother and grandmother of great kings. The other is that back in our own world everyone soon started saying how Eustace had improved, and how "You'd never know him for the same boy," everyone except Aunt Alberta, who said he had become very commonplace and tiresome and it must have been the influence of those Pevensie children." (Published 1952)

I love the classics and plan to alternately share more "CLOSING lines" over the coming months. Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, or were they really? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

"Lieutenant Berrendo, watching the trail, came riding up, his thin face serious and grave. His submachine gun lay across his saddle in the crook of his left arm. Robert Jordan lay behind the tree, holding onto himself very carefully and delicately to keep his hands steady. He was waiting until the officer reached the sunlit place where the first trees of the pine forest joined the green slope of the meadow. He could feel his heart beating against the pine needle floor of the forest." (Published 1940)

I love the classics and plan to alternately share more "CLOSING lines" over the coming months. Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, or were they really?