goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Thing About Jellyfish
Author: Ali Benjamin
Genre: Childrens/YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 352
Date read: September, 2015

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.


A quick read - I finished it in a day.

"The Thing About Jellyfish" is a sweet childrens/YA story that tackles a difficult subject - how do you cope with grief? Especially if your feelings about the deceased are conflicted.

I liked the way the story was interspersed with facts about jellyfish as well as flashbacks to Suzy's childhood and friendship with Franny. It worked well and gave us the background without resorting to telling rather than showing. I did think there were some things left unanswered or unexplored which pulled the end rating down to 3.5 stars, but as a whole, I enjoyed the book.

And it had was is possibly the best description of what ADHD is like - both with and without medication - that I've ever read. That was both very powerful and very poignant for a non-ADHD sufferer to read and gave me an understanding of it, that I hadn't had earlier.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Boom!
Author: Mark Haddon
Genre: childrens, sci-fi
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 208
Date read: August, 2015

Jim and his best friend Charlie bug the staff room, and overhear two teachers speak in a strange language. What does "spudvetch" mean? Why do Mr Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says spudvetch to him? A high-powered adventure can end only with a Boom!


A fun story that I would probably have liked a LOT more if I'd been closer to the target age group. It was well written and focused on elements that kids would find amusing. A fun read that I'd recommend to my nieces and nephews in a heartbeat if it got translated into Danish.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Bimbi er frihedskæmper (Bimbi as Freedom Fighter)
Author: Estrid Ott
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 142
Date read: October, 2014

Bimbi is finally back with his beloved Babsi. But war has come to Denmark, and though he is just a toy elephant, Bambi and Babsi find ways for him to join the resistance movement and join the fight against the Germans.

The "Bimbi" books used to be among my favourites as a child, so I was keen on rereading them for the read-a-thon. Unfortunately I discovered that they are just slightly too 'twee' for my tastes now, but I have a feeling that they probably work much better when read aloud than when read to myself.

Plus, nostalgia always helps as well ;)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Sideways Stories From Wayside School
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 115
Date read: October, 2013

There was a terrible mistake - Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.

Weirdest book ever! But not bad-weird, just weird-weird. I wish I had known of it when I was young enough to fully appreciate it. Also I wish it had been translated to Danish so I could introduce my nieblings to it! Reading it now I can't figure out whether I love it or whether it's OTT, but as a kid I would have gobbled it up!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Shangriman - eventyrlandet
Author: Peter Sonne
Genre: Fantasy, Childrens
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 156
Date read: September, 2013

Benjas far er forsvundet, og den eneste der tror på at han stadig er i live og vender tilbage en dag er gamle Noah. Men selv han kan ikke fortælle Benja hvor han er, eller hvornår han kommer tilbage.

Men en dag viser Noah ham et gammelt, gulnet kort over landet Shangriman og fortæller at Benja er udvalgt til at tage dertil for at hente eventyrets Magiske Amulet tilbage for at redde menneskenes verden. Benja er ikke sikker på at han er modig nok til det - han er jo kun en lille dreng - men da han opdager at hans far også er i Shangriman er beslutningen pludselig taget for ham... selvfølgelig skal han hjælpe!

Hvad følger er en eventyrlig rejse gennem Shangriman, hvor Benja møder Skovfolket og opdager at de er i krig med Sølvmaske. Men da selv Sølvmaske anerkender at Benja er den udvalgte som skal finde amuletten, må Benja søge dybere for at finde ud af hvem der er venner og hvem der er fjender.

Ganske vidst er jeg aldersmæssigt noget over målgruppen for Peter Sonnes "Shangriman", men jeg blev alligevel fanget ind af historien. Han skriver i den gode, gamle fortællestil ellers ofte fundet hos Astrid Lindgren, og bogen mindede mig skiftevis om "Mio, min Mio" og "Brødrene Løvehjerte" (dog med en bedre slutning!) med en lille smule af Bjarne Reuters "Shamran" smidt ind i blandingen for en god ordens skyld -- forhåbentlig ikke forfattere Peter Sonne har noget imod at blive sammenlignet med.

"Shangriman" har en ganske åben slutning, så jeg forventer at den er første bog i en serie, og hvis efterfølgerne kan leve op til standarden sat her, er Peter Sonne absolut en forfatter man skal holde øje med.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Un Lun Dun
Author: China Miéville
Genre: Childrens fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: Audiobook ~13hrs
Date read: August, 2013

Zanna and Deeba are two girls leading ordinary lives, until they stumble into the world of UnLondon, an urban Wonderland where all the lost and broken things of London end up... and some of its lost and broken people too. Here discarded umbrellas stalk with spidery menace, carnivorous giraffes roam the streets, and a jungle sprawls beyond the door of an ordinary house.

UnLondon is under siege by the sinister Smog and its stink-junkie slaves; it is a city awaiting its hero. Guided by a magic book that can't quite get its facts straight, and pursued by Hemi the half-ghost boy, the girls set out to stop the poisonous cloud before it burns everything in its path. They are joined in their quest by a motley band of UnLondon locals, including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas, Obaday Fing, a couturier whose head is an enormous pincushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle.

My expectations were totally off with this one. I'd heard it compared to Neverwhere so I expected a novel for grown-ups - or YA at the very least. But it's a children's novel. Not that I have a problem reading books aimed at children, and it was really well written, so definitely appropriate for grown-ups as well. It just meant that I had to do some serious mental readjustment along the way to figure out that the book was not at all what I thought it was.

That said, I really liked the book. I thought the characters fun and quirky and liked the traditional fairytale structure to the story. The plot wasn't anything special, which is probably where my mistaken expectations come into play, as there was less depth to it than I would have thought, but once I realized that and took the story for what it was, I found it a very enjoyable tale.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Skammerens datter (The Shamer's Daughter) (Skammerens børn #1)
Author: Lene Kaaberbøl
Genre: Fantasy, Childrens
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 220
Date read: July, 2013

Three people have been murdered, and Dina's mother has been summoned to confirm the guilt of young Nico, who was found standing over the bodies with bloody hands. She is a Shamer, and to meet her gaze means confronting all the shameful acts one has ever committed. Yet she finds no guilt in Nico, and will not accuse him, although Drakan is strangely, and menacingly, insistent that she do so.

Dina has inherited her ability, but finds it alienates her from everyone in the village. She longs for just one friend who will look her in the eyes. But now Drakan has threatened to use his dragons to execute her mother publicly on the morrow, and Dina must find allies to save her.

I first read this series several years ago, but have been wanting to reread it ever since seeing the musical based upon it last year. The funny thing is the musical was excellent, but the book only so-so... probably because I'm way outside the target age group for it. While well written, it's obviously a childrens' book, and aimed directly at them. It was still reasonably entertaining though, and the sequels are being adapted for stage this autumn, so I think I might as well go ahead with the rest of the series :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Gregor and the Mark of Secret (Underland Chronicles #4)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Childrens, Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 343
Date read: April, 2013

It's only a few months since Gregor and Boots returned from the Underland, leaving their mother behind to heal from the plague. Though Gregor's family receives frequent updates on her condition, they all know Gregor must return to fulfill his role as the warrior who is key to the Underlanders' survival. Accompanied by his now-talkative little sister Boots, still considered the honorary "princess," Gregor joins forces with another princess--12-year-old Luxa--and Ripred the rat to defend the Underlanders and the vulnerable "Nibblers," or mice, from the rat army.

If possible, even darker than the other books in the series, and the only one to end with a cliff-hanger as well! Of course now I HAVE to read the last one... only I hope that it actually is the last one, and that Suzanne Collins didn't just leave the series hanging to focus on The Hunger Games instead.

Anyway, I'm still enjoying this series. I couldn't find this one as an audiobook so read it as an ebook instead, and while it did loose a bit of its charm by not having a narrator to do the voices of especially Boots and Temp, the plot and the growing relationships between the characters still made it well worth reading. I especially enjoy seeing the relationship between Gregor and Luxa and Gregor and Ripred.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Wind on the Moon (Part 1)
Author: Eric Linklater
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 201
Date read: March, 2013

In the English village of Midmeddlecum, Major Palfrey asks his two daughters to behave themselves while he is off at war. Sighs Dinah, "I think that we are quite likely to be bad, however hard we try not to be," and her sister Dorinda adds helpfully, "Very often, when we think we are behaving well, some grown-up person says we are really quite bad. It's difficult to tell which is which." Sure enough, the mischievous sisters soon convince a judge that minds must be changed as often as socks, stage an escape from the local zoo (thanks to a witch's potion which turns them into kangaroos), and - in the company of a golden puma and silver falcon - set off to rescue their father from the tyrant of Bombardy.

My school library back in primary school had this book, and it was one of my absolute favourite books. I think I must have taken it out about once every 6 months on average. Then I left primary school, and somehow didn't think about it in years. When my grandparents died, I inherited their copy of the book, but just never got around to rereading it. All in all, I think it's been 15-20 years since I read it last.

Somehow I got thinking about it recently, and got an urge to reread it. I was a tiny bit reluctant to start, as I wondered if it could at all live up to my expectations. Not all books can stand the test of time and be equally as good at age 33 as at age 10. However I really wanted to read it out loud to my nieblings.

And fortunately it turned out that "The Wind on the Moon" is just as good at age 33 as at age 10, and I loved every minute of rereading it. The edition I've gotten hold of has been translated by Queen Margrethe II, and I must say she's done a TERRIFIC job! Nothing shows a translators faults (or linguistic mistakes in general) as clearly as reading the book aloud, and her language just flows and makes it a delight to read.

It's wonderfully gratifying to revisit a childhood favourite and still find it worthy of your love.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (Underland Chronicles #3)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Childrens, Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: Audiobook ~8hrs
Date read: March, 2013

Book Two left off with Gregor reading the Prophecy of Blood: a prophecy that calls for Gregor and Boots to return to the Underland to help ward off a deadly plague. But this time, Gregor's mother refuses to let him return to the Underland... until the rat Ripred assures the family that Gregor and Boots are just needed for a short meeting, which the crawlers will attend only if their "princess" Boots is present. Gregor's mom finally relents, on the condition that she go with them. The Underland plague is spreading, and when one of Gregor's family is stricken, he begins to understand his role in the Prophecy of Blood, and must summon all his power to end the biological warfare that threatens the warmbloodedcreatures of the Underland.

A children's book, and like the earlier books in the series, actually nothing special to look at. Yet it has charmed me completely. I think this may have a lot to do with the narrator - I think it might just be one of those books that's better read aloud than read yourself. The plot is fairly standard, but it is a nice comfort read that doesn't even need the rosy glasses of nostalgia to make me enjoy it.

A few surprises about the plague in this one though. I'll be interested to see what happens next.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Underland Chronicles #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Childrens, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: Audiobook ~8hrs
Date read: February 2013

In the months since Gregor first encountered the strange Underland beneath New York City, he's sworn he won't ever go back. But when another prophecy, this time about an ominous white rat known as the Bane, calls for Gregor's help, the Underlanders know the only way they can get his attention is through his little sister, Boots. Now Gregor's quest reunites him with his bat, Ares, the rebellious princess Luxa, and new allies and sends them through the dangerous and deadly Waterway in search of the Bane. Then Gregor must face the possibility of his greatest loss yet, and make life and death choices that will determine the future of the Underland.

I'm "reading" these as audiobooks, which I think is a good thing. The plot itself is nothing special, but the writing works nicely as a story read aloud, and I find myself utterly charmed by the tale. Especially Boots who's just plain adorable :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Phantom Tollbooth
Author: Norton Juster
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 256
Date read: February 2013

For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason.

A mix of several different books like "The Little Prince", "The Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland". I can't quite figure out what I think of it. Parts were rather slow-moving and "weird just for the sake of being weird" (much my problem with Terry Pratchett as well. I love good-weird like Douglas Adams, but some people just try too hard), but other parts I really liked!

In the end, I'm glad I stuck with it, because it's quite a fun and quirky book in parts, but I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more - even loved it - if I'd first come across it as a child rather than in my thirties.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Djævelporten (Devil's Gate)
Author: Vibeke Appel
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 178
Date read: January, 2013

Der skal bygges en stor domkirke i Axels landsby, og da Axel er gammel nok til at være til gavn på byggepladsen, insisterer hans far på at han skal droppe skolen og hjælpe til i stedet. Axel er ikke meget for det - han har ikke specielt lyst til at være murer, men da han finder ud af at billedskæreren, Mester Jacobus, også har brug for en lærling bliver det pludselig en helt anden sag. Han har altid elsket at snitte i træ, og er også god til det.

Men der sker mange mærkelige ting på byggepladsen... en håndværker falder ned fra et stilads og er dræbt på stedet, Axel's far falder igennem et råddent brædt og må ligge i sengen med en brækket fod i flere uger, en af Mester Jacobus' andre svende dør pludselig af noget der ligner pest, og hvad er det for nogle mærkelige papirer Mester Jacobus går og gemmer for sig selv?

Der er noget der slet ikke er som det bør være, og det er op til Axel at finde ud af hvad.

"Djævleporten" er en meget underholdende og velskreven børnebog som man sagtens kan få stor fornøjelse af som voksen med et barnligt sind. Vibeke Appel taler ikke ned til børnene, men henvender sig til dem på deres eget niveau. Handlingen er spændende og medrivende og lige tilpas skræmmende til at give et godt gys, uden at forårsage nogle mareridt.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Key and the Fountain
Author: John Pinkey
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 98
Date read: July, 2012

Who were the young people whose voices Robin could hear, coming from a locked room in her aunt's ramshackle mansion? Why did the old crumbling ball she found in the latticework of the summerhouse stir such a rush of memories? And what possible explanation could there be for the astonishing photograph she saw in the library? Or for the letter that had been written and forgotten, and written again, a thousand times?

The beginning of the answers to Robin's questions lies in an ornate moonlit fountain at the bottom of the garden

Very charming story for kids. Most of all it seemed like an Australian version of "The Secret Garden" with a bit of magic tossed in for good measure. I think I would most possibly have adored it if I had read it as a kid. As it was, I was definitely taken in by its charm, but did find the ending a tiny bit lacking.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Gregor the Overlander
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Fantasy, Childrens
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook ~6.5hrs
Date read: July, 2012

When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats) but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.

Very sweet story about a boy on an unusual quest to find his father. It was a fun 'read', and the narrator (Paul Boehmer) did an excellent job reading it. I fell completely in love with Boots and loved seeing her interact with the various characters of the Underland. She was absolutely adorable :)

The plot itself isn't anything out of the ordinary, but it's well-written and entertaining.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Little House on Rocky Ridge
Author: Roger Lea MacBride
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 353
Date read: May, 2012

Rose and her parents, Laura and Almanzo, say good-bye to Ma and Pa Ingalls and Laura's sisters. In a covered wagon containing all their possessions, they make their way across the drought-stricken Midwest to the lush green valleys of southern Missouri. The journey is long and not always easy, but at the end is the promise of a new home and a new life for the Wilders.

I wasn't sure if this follow-up series to "The Little House" would work - especially not when reading it as the first time as an adult - but it did. I absolutely adored it. Roger MacBride manage to capture much of the charm of LIW's books, and recreate it in this series about Laura's daughter. There isn't much to it, but it's a comfort book of the best kind.

I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more books in the series.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Rose and the Lost Princess
Author: Holly Webb
Genre: Childrens fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 268
Date read: April 2012

Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can't believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, and now an apprentice to the King's chief magician!

But when the country's beloved Princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumours of dark magic fly through the city, the King asks Rose for help. She must find the missing Princess - before all is lost.

Just as charming as the first book in the series. It's childrens literature of the best kind in that it can just as easily be enjoyed as an adult. I missed some of the character building from the first book, as this was much more about the action. But I loved Gus and Princess Charlotte.

A perfect book to wrap up a read-a-thon.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Shamran
Author: Bjarne Reuter
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 318
Date read: April, 2012

Filip and his parents move to a new house and here Filip discovers a giant painting that seems to draw him in. One night three dwarfs step out of the painting and take him with them to the country Tronn, whose mighty ruler nobody has ever seen and whose inhabitants are either deaf, mute or blind.

I think that if I had read this at the target age, I would probably have loved it. Unfortunately I am about twenty years too old, and so it didn't blow me away like I would have liked it too. There were MANY similarities between this and both "Dystopia" (one of my all-time favourite books) and "Mio, My Mio", but I don't know if that was deliberate or just a coincidence.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Ronja Røverdatter (Ronja Robber's Daughter)
Author: Astrid Lindgren
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 226
Date read: December, 2011

On the night Ronja was born, a thunderstorm raged over the mountain, but in Mattis' castle and among his band of robbers there was only joy - for Mattis now had a spirited little black-haired daughter. Soon Ronja learns to dance and yell with the robbers, but it is alone in the forest that she feels truly at home. Then one day Ronja meets Birk, the son of Mattis' arch-enemy. Soon after Ronja and Birk become friends the worst quarrel ever between the rival bands erupts, and Ronia and Birk are right in the middle.

I grew up with Astrid Lindgren's books, and "Ronja" is still one of my favourites. Ronja's fearlessness in exploring the forest, and her growing friendship with Birk never fail to charm me. This read-through was no exception, and went to prove that "Ronja" passes the test of time better than most.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Beasts of Clawstone Castle
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Genre: Childrens, Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 192
Date read: October, 2011

When their parents go to America for the summer, Madlyn and Rollo are sent to their great-aunt Emily and great-uncle George at Clawstone Castle, home of the legendary and mysterious Wild White Cattle of Clawstone Park. But times are hard at Clawstone, as the fancier castle down the road attracts all the tourist traffic. Determined to save the castle and the herd, Madlyn and Rollo audition a cast of ghosts to add some thrills to the Clawstone tours, and soon visitors are pouring through the gates. But just when things are looking up, the ghosts and children find themselves facing a great mystery, and some very sinister enemies. Will Madlyn, Rollo, and their ghostly friends find a way to save the day?

I've wanted to read this for so long, that I can't even remember who recommended it to me in the first place any longer! Finally it became available through interlibrary loan, so I could get my hands on it, and wouldn't you know - I ended up being ever so slightly disappointed! Go figure. The story was decent enough, but much more of a children's book than I had expected, and while I liked the characters well enough, there were too many holes in the plot for me to really appreciate it.

Had I been meant as the target group I would probably only have rated it 2 stars, but since it's so obviously a children's book - and I can definitely see the appeal it would have for children - I've given it one extra.

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