Junior Owlets: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The final book for the year in Junior Owlets was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Nobody Owens escaped when he was 18 months old from an assassin who murdered his family.  Bod, as he is known, climbed out of his crib and toddled out the door into the neighbouring graveyard.  The ghosts took him in and decided to raise him as a member of their extended family.  They call him ‘Nobody’ because nobody knows his name, and he is like nobody else in the graveyard.

Comments from the Junior Owlets:

- Scary at the beginning but cleverly written so reader’s imagination took over.
- Found parts confusing ie: Dreamwalking.
- Liked how tings that we find scary such as ghosts & vampires were normal and caring.
- A little creepy in places.
- Chapters were very long as they were more like a short story.
- Drew the reader in.
- Liked the concept of a child being raised by ghosts.
- Some readers found it a little confusing.
- Illustrations were excellent.
- The whole idea of ghosts was quite appealing.
- Violence at the beginning was scary.

Final score out of ten: 7.7928564

And that wraps up Junior Owlets for another year.  Check back in at the end of June to hear what we’ll be reading in September!

Published in: on June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fledglings: Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Back in February, our teen book club, Fledglings, read Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka.

Celeste was born in Unity.  Taviana was brought into Unity from the outside.  Unity is an isolated community.  People live simple lives there as members of the Movement, a religious sect that practices polygamy.  Celeste wishes to believe and be pure of heart like her sister Nanette.  But Taviana’s stories have started Celeste asking questions and wondering about the world outside Unity.

Comments from the Fledglings:

- Introduced reader to a different culture.
- Made reader think and realize that people live by their beliefs.
- Gave insight into the life of religious sects and the lack of knowledge of the outside world.
- Enjoyed the three different perspectives, although at times the voices sounded too similar.
- Found the naivete of the women very upsetting.
- Felt that the author didn’t let Celeste reach her full potential.
- Wanted Celeste to run earlier
- Felt characters were shallow.
- Found language was unbelievable in points.
- Liked discussion potential.
- Liked three different narrators.
- Felt that the ending was rushed.

Final score: 6.8333333 out of 10

There’s still time to read the March selection before the meeting, though you can always come just to hear the discussion.  We’ll be talking about Fire by Kristin Cashore on Tuesday, March 20th at 4:30pm.

It’s not a peaceful time in the Dells.  Young King Nash clings to the throne, while rebel lords, in the north and south, build armies to unseat him.  War is coming.  The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves.

This is where Fire lives, a girl whose startling appearance is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Everyone…except Prince Brigan.

If you’re a teen in grades 10 through 12 and are interested in joining Fledglings, please email us at owlsnestbooks@shaw.ca, call us at 403-287-9557 or just drop into one of the meetings.

Junior Owlets: Where the Moutain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

For January, the Junior Owlets read Where the Moutain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.

MinLi and her parents live in the shadow of the Fruitless Mountain, a bare mountain where nothing seems to flourish.  They work hard, but have barely enough to eat.  Every night, MinLi listens eagerly to the stories her father tells about the Jade Dragon, the evil Magistrate Tiger, and the Old Man in the Moon.  MinLi’s mother hates the stories.  She says they are useless, and only make MinLi a dreamer.  MinLi decides she will find the Old Man in the Moon to try and change her family’s fortune.

- Really liked how the legends tied into the story.
- Liked the characters, particularly Minli.
- Really kept your interest.
- Liked mystical creatures & magic.
- Liked how the characters evolved and came to udnerstand the true meaning of happiness.
- Very thought provoking.
- Lots of adventure.
- Ended way too soon.
- Good book for all ages.
- Loved the illustrations.
- Liked the multiple storylines and how they tied up. Stories within stories.
- Loved the language.
- Feel good book
- Some parts were slower.
- Liked everything tied up together.

Final score: 9.166661 out of 10.

The next meeting of Junior Owlets will be on Saturday the 4th of Feburary 2012 at 9:00am.   The book up for discussion is Feather Brain and we we have a special guest, the book’s author, Maureen Bush!

From the book’s description:

Lucas has dinosaurs on the brain, but he’s a little short on friends. When he gets a new book on how to make model dinosaurs, he’s inspired to make one immediately. He’s not so inspired by his new dinosaur-making kit: all the box contains is a test tube of clear liquid and a few instructions. But when he mixes the liquid into his papier-maché goop, he gets much more than he bargained for, including the most unlikely friend.

If you’re a kid in grades 3 to 6 and are interested in joining Junior Owlet’s, we’d love to have you.  Membership is free and open all year.  Just give us a call at 403-287-9557, email us at owlsnestbooks@shaw.ca or just drop in to one of the meetings.

Senior Owlets: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This month, the Senior Owlets read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

Todd Hewitt has never seen a woman. His mother was the last to die. He doesn’t remember her. When his people came to the planet to colonize it, everyone was infected with the Noise germ. The infection caused men’s thoughts to become audible. The infection also killed all women. Todd is the youngest, counting down the days until his 13th birthday. The he will be considered a man, and let into the secrets. But the, Todd from the girl in The Swamp.

Comments from the Senior Owlets:
Believable characters.
Really liked the dog, Manchee
Author did incredible job with all characters.
Characters were all very distinct and believable.
Really liked the portrayal of The Noise. The different fonts helped.
Some parts dragged.
Possibly more for a male audience with some of the violence.
Very deep themes.
Very symbolic.
Great discussion.
Made reader think.

Final score: 8.025

For the next meeting (on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012) the book up for discussion is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

From the book’s description:

Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.

Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love.

If you’re a kid in grades 6 to 9 and are interested in joining Senior Owlets, we’d love to have you. Membership is free and you can join any time. If you’d like more information, call us at 403-287-9557, email us at owlsnestbooks@shaw.ca or just pop into one of the meetings.

Senior Owlets: Aarial by Collin Paulson

This month’s selection for Senior Owlets was Aarial by local author Collin Paulson.  Mr. Paulson was kind enough to join us for the meeting and we had an interested chat about the book and his writing. 

Dylan has never known a loving home and family.  He has been passed around through different group homes his entire life.  He is a troubled boy, miserable with his life and its challenges.  Dylan creates a fantasy world where he can do anything.  He is no longer at the mercy of others.  He is able to control is own destiny and make decisions for himself as the power of Aarial guides him on his quest. 

Character and setting excellent.
Drew reader in.
Some language seemed out of place. 
Some bits in Aarial were a bit awkward.
Enjoyed references to Calgary.
Really enjoyed realism of classroom.
Charcters in classroom were realistic.
Interaction between characters was excellent.
Favourite characters: Mr. Peters, Ted Dylan, Acorn.

Final score: 8.6


The next Senior Owlets meeting will be Tuesday, November 1st at 4:30pm.  The book up for discussion will be The Maze Runner by James Dashner. 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

If you’re in grades 7-9 and are interested in joining Senior Owlets, please give us a call or visit us to register, or just drop into one of the meetings!

Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Junior Owlets: Attack of the Growling Eyeballs by Lin Oliver

The October selection for Junior Owlets was Attack of the Growling Eyeballs by Lin Oliver. 

Daniel Funk always wanted a brother, but he’s got three sisters instead. Until he shrinks to the size of a toe—and discovers Pablo, his twin brother who’s always that small! Together, they have mountains of tiny-size fun. In Attack of the Growling Eyeballs, they release a hissing cockroach at one of their sister’s slumber party and learn that tiny-size trouble can cause mega-size danger. In Escape of the Mini-Mummy, Daniel enters the school diorama contest against Vince the Pizza Prince. Pablo comes along, disguised as a toilet-papered mummy. Can Pablo help Daniel win big, or will he create big-time Egyptian chaos?

Comments from the Junior Owlets:
Characters well done. 
Funny book.
Would have liked it to be longer.
Bit repetitive.
Really liked the tiny brother, Pablo.
Liked how the characters were/seemed true.
Grabbed you attention.
Liked the detail.
Would have liked more action.
Liked the idea of having fantasy of miniature brother within realistic situation.
Felt characters were very believeable. 
Liked how the characters interacted.
Excellent book for younger readers.
Would have liked the book longer with more action.
Liked how inventive Pablo and Daniel were. 
Felt there was some parts that didn’t really add to story.
Would like the ability to shrink.
Good representation of family dynamics. 

Score: 7.9447368

November’s Junior Owlets meeting will be Saturday, November 5th at 9:00am.  We’ll be discussing The Boggart by Susan Cooper. 

When Emily and Jess Volnik’s family inherits a remote, crumbling Scottish castle, they also inherit the Boggart — an invisible, mischievous spirit who’s been playing tricks on residents of Castle Keep for generations. Then the Boggart is trapped in a rolltop desk and inadvertently shipped to the Volniks’ home in Toronto, where nothing will ever be the same — for the Volniks or the Boggart.

In a world that doesn’t believe in magic, the Boggart’s pranks wreak havoc. And even the newfound joys of peanut butter and pizza and fudge sauce eventually wear thin for the Boggart. He wants to go home — but his only hope lies in a risky and daring blend of modern technology and ancient magic.

If you’re in grades 3-6 and are interested in joining Junior Owlets, please give us a call or visit us to register, or just drop into one of the meetings!

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fledglings: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

On Tuesday, Fledglings had their first meeting of the year.  The book up for discussion was City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

Comments included:
Picked up as the book progressed.
The opening drew reader in.
Excellent imagery. 
Liked writing style.
Secondary characters were the extremely well-drawn.
Underlying current of humour…very subtle.
While romance is part of the story, it is not taking primary place.
Characters are very complex.
Enjoyed how author used different mythologies in the story.
Demons were more true to recognized original forms. 
Liked the author’s writing stle and language. 
Stands up to a second reading. 
Lots of attention to detail — ie: rune mark and scarring. 

Final score: 6.7195714

The Amanda Project by Amanda Valentino and Melissa Kantor

The next Fledglings meeting will be Tuesday, October 18 at 4:30pm.  The book selected is The Amanda Project by Amanda Valentino and Melissa Kantor.

Mysterious, charismatic, and one of a kind; the only way to find Amanda is to think like Amanda.When enigmatic freshman Amanda Valentino arrived at Endeavor High, she chose three people; Callie, Hal, and Nia; to guide her through the choppy waters of her new school. Except she didn’t tell them about each other. When Amanda leaves, the three must reluctantly work together to figure out why. But once they start piecing together the cryptic clues that Amanda herself is leaving for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew about her is false. The more they dig, the mystery of where — and who — Amanda is deepens.

If your a teen in grades 10 through 12 and are interested in joining Fledglings, please email us at owlsnestbooks@shaw.ca, call us at 403-287-9557 or just drop into one of the meetings.

Senior Owlets: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon got a score of 6.65 out of 10 from the Senior Owlets

Senior Owlets held their first meeting of the year yesterday afternoon.  On the table for discussion was The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. 

Max Carver’s father decides to move his family out of the city and onto the seacoast during the Second World War.  Right away, Max senses the strangeness of their new home.  The clock at the station keeps perfect time, but it is running backwards.  There is a creepy garden with statues.  The house they’ve moved into has a shady past, and with the new family living there, old secrets are starting to resurface. 

Here are some of the comments from the Senior Owlets. 

It explains the writing when you know that Zafon was a screenwriter. 
The transitions would work in a movie, but lost ground in the writing. 
Liked the premise, but the writing lacks. 
Liked the building of suspense.
Wanted more details.
Disconcerting to change narrators although needed to see things from their perspecitves.
Good idea, but didn’t live up to its full potential. 
Writing style more appropriate for younger audiences, but subject  matter isn’t. 
Doesn’t stand up to a second reading. 

Final score: 6.65

Aarial, by Calgary author Collin Paulsen, will be the October Senior Owlets selection

The next Senior Owlets meeting will be on October 4th at 4:30pm.  The book under discussion is Aarial by Collin Paulson and will include a visit with the author!  (Be sure to bring your questions!) 

Dylan has never known a loving home and family.  He has been passed around through different group homes his entire life.  He is a troubled boy, miserable with his life and its challenges.  Dylan creates a fantasy world where he can do anything.  He is no longer at the mercy of others.  He is able to control is own destiny and make decisions for himself as the power of Aarial guides him on his quest. 

If you’re in grades 7-9 and are interested in joining Senior Owlets, please give us a call or visit us to register, or just drop into one of the meetings!

Fledglings: Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Impossible by Nancy Werlin, paperback, $12.50

Yesterday, the third of our book clubs, Fledglings, wrapped up a year’s great reading with Impossible by Nancy Werlin. 

Comments included:

Really enjoyed the book.
Liked the mix of realism with fairytale
Pierre was a great dog.
Book did slow down as Lucy’s pregnancy progressed.
Very well written.
Liked the concept of linking the story with the song “Scarborough Fair”.
Pace sped up in the last third of the book.
Excellent description of relationships.
Liked depiction of many different loves.
Zach is the best love interest ever. 
Very believable relationships. 
Slowed down in the middle of the book. 
Really liked the relationship development. 

Final score: 8.355

Still to be annouced: The Fledglings Best Book of the Year and summer reading for all three book clubs.

Junior Owlets: Fang of the Vampire

This month’s selection for Junior Owlets was the first in the Scream Street series: Fang of the Vampire by Tommy Donbavand. 

“When Luke Watson turns into a werewolf for the third time, the Government Housing of Unusual Lifeforms (G.H.O.U.L.) moves his family to Scream Street — a frightful community of vampires, zombies, witches, and sundry undead. Though Luke quickly makes friends, he vows to find a way to take his terrified parents home. The secret to opening the exit, he learns, is collecting six powerful relics the founding fathers left behind. But with a sinister landlord determined to thwart Luke at every turn, will he even get past the first hurdle alive?”

Comments included:
Good story.
Would have liked a bit more detail.
G0od intro to series.
Would have liked more tension.
Very creative look at vampires, werewolves, etc.
Pace was too fast…a lot happened very quickly.
Liked the deception.
Quite humourous.
Quite predictable.
Good, quick read.
Kept your interest.
Good choice for younger readers.
Liked the names.
Thought could be adapted for older readers by incorporating whole series. 
Enjoyed the humour.
Liked the writing style.
Fast, easy read.
Would have liked more explanation of some of the incidents.
Would have liked to know motivation of Sir Otto.
Really good start.  Hooked the reader right away. 

Score out of 10: 7.3441413

The next Junior Owlets meeting will be Saturday, May 7th at 9:00am.  The book under discussion will be Dragon in the Sock Drawer by Kate Klimo. 

“Ten-year-old cousins Jesse and Daisy have always wanted something magical to happen to them. So it’s a wish come true when Jesse’s newly found thunder egg hatches and a helpless, tiny, but very loud, baby dragon pops out. Soon the two kids are at the dragon’s beck and call, trying to figure out what to feed her. An Internet search leads them to the library, which leads them back to the Internet, where they find a very strange Web site called foundadragon.org. Here the cousins discover that the dragon’s hatching has designated them “Dragon Keepers.” Not only do they have to feed the dragon, whom they named Emmy, but they also have to keep her safe from the villainous Saint George, who has kept himself alive over centuries by drinking dragons’ blood!”

Junior Owlets is a book club for kids in Grades 3 to 6.  If you’re interested in joining Juniors or one of our other clubs, check out the Book Clubs page on our main site, chat with us at the store, or just drop in to one of the meetings.

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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