Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Mother's Day!

This week we went to the drive in and my two youngest fell asleep in the cutest positions, but my camera battery was dead and my cell phone doesn't take good shots in the dark, so we were unable to get a shot of them.  I was looking back through my pictures and found the ones I took of the flower arrangement I got for Mother's Day.  It was beautiful and I'm not sure this picture does it justice, but my children picked it because purple is my favorite color.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Once Upon a Crime (Sisters Grim #4) by Michael Buckley

Once Upon a Crime (Sisters Grimm Series #4)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The Grimms take Manhattan in the fourth book in the New York Times bestselling series!
When fairy-tale detectives Sabrina and Daphne Grimm venture back to the big city to help a friend, they land in the middle of a big mystery. Puck’s father, King Oberon, has been murdered, and the Grimms suspect one of the many famous (and infamous) fairy-tale folk who call the city home. Can they find the culprit while coming to terms with their mother’s secret life? And will Sabrina ever accept her family’s destiny?

Funny and fast-paced, this series puts a fresh spin on girl-detective stories and has won an everexpanding number of fans.

My thoughts:
This is our latest car audio book.  This is the first book set outside of Ferryport Landing as the Grimms are taking Puck back to his family so he can be healed after having his wings ripped off by Little Red Ridings Jaberwocky at the end of the last book.  Going to NYC has Daphne and Sabrina excited because they are going home to the city they lived in with their parents before the Red Hand kidnapped Veronica and Henry and put them into an enchanted sleep.  Unfortunately the girls discover that the city is full of Ever Afters and always has been.  Their mother had been working with the Ever Afters and her best friend, Oz, to try to get everyone united and working together before her kidnapping.  It is a surprise to the girls to learn that their mother was so entrenched in the secret society.

As usual, there is plenty of action and mysteries to unravel.  Mr. Cainis is undergoing even greater transformation, new Ever Afters are met, more fairy tales are exposed to children.  Last week at the library we checked out a huge book Grim Fairy Tales and I have already seen my daughter reading it.  I wonder how many of them she will go through!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810995499
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Sisters Grimm Series , #4
  • Pages: 296
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White


                                             Charlotte's Web

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web was published. It's gone on to become one of the most beloved children's books of all time. To celebrate this milestone, the renowned Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has written a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the book that is itself a beautiful translation of White's own view of the world—of the joy he took in the change of seasons, in farm life, in the miracles of life and death, and, in short, the glory of everything.
We are proud to include Kate DiCamillo's foreword in the 60th anniversary editions of this cherished classic.

Charlotte's Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn.

With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig.

How all this comes about is Mr. White's story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language.
The forty-seven black-and-white drawings by Garth Williams have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work. Incomparably matched to E.B. White's marvelous story, they speak to each new generation, softly and irresistibly.

Wilbur the pig is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte decides to help him.

My thoughts:
My two older children were reading this book for a book discussion group at the local library and I decided to check out the audio version of the book a day before their meeting to allow all my children to enjoy the story.  I don't know how many times I've read this book, and I know I have read it to or with my children before, but there is just something about it.  I tried to get my children to dig a little deeper into the story this time, since it is familiar at this point.  They've read it with me, at school, on their own and seen both versions of the movie so I wanted more than just what parts they liked and didn't.

The main things we narrowed it down to is that people are afraid of things they don't understand, as Charlotte tells Wilbur during the story and that words have power.  All it took was five words in Charlotte's web to save Wilbur.  He was "Some Pig", "Terrific", "Radiant" and "Humble".  We talked about using words and talking things out whenever possible before resorting any sort of physical or violent method of communication.  Later we went to the drive-in to see Man of Steel and the exact same line about people being afraid of what they don't understand was in the movie and my son turned to me and smiled, so at least I know he remembered what we talked about!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064400558
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers                 
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 6 - 11 Years

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This Is How: Help for the Self: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike by Augusten Burroughs

This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

If you're fat and fail every diet, if you're thin but can't get thin enough, if you lose your job, if your child dies, if you are diagnosed with cancer, if you always end up with exactly the wrong kind of person, if you always end up alone, if you can't get over the past, if your parents are insane and ruining your life, if you really and truly wish you were dead, if you feel like it's your destiny to be a star, if you believe life has a grudge against you, if you don't want to have sex with your spouse and don't know why, if you feel so ashamed, if you're lost in life. If you have ever wondered, How am I supposed to survive this? This is How.
My thoughts:
I've never read or listened to a Burroughs book before, but in my mind he was similar to David Sedaris and I remember watching the movie for Running with Scissors.  I listened to this audio book last week.  His take on why people are having the problems they have in their lives and how to overcome them is interesting and refreshing.  We could all use more reminders to live in the present, to not allow ourselves to be influenced so greatly by the past and to realize if we truly want to change, we can and will.  It is easy to blame the past or parents or weight or age for why we can't do something, but for many things we have the power ourselves if we choose to exert it and use it.

Our local library is having a summer reading program for children and adults and for adults they have an added incentive.  There is a book full of brown paper wrapped books, with only the barcodes showing and a brief summary of the book glued to the front.  Last week I selected one book and took it home, when I unwrapped it this was the book.  Since I had just listened to it I did not read it again, but I wonder if that is a sign that I read too much!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594497011
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 240

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

The summer reading program has started at our local libraries and my children are excitedly reading books.  My daughter wants to be the reader with the most books, so I find her reading multiple books a day, both chapter books and picture books.  She loves to read as it is, but it is neat seeing her devouring so many books!

Here is my week:
Finished reading:
Ever After by Kim Harrison
Lethal by Sandra Brown
Sisters Grimm:  Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley
This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike by Augusten Boroughs

I'm still not totally back into the habit of posting about what I've read, but I've enjoyed getting back into it.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.  In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his  cash.  He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.  Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away.  Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life.  Admitting an interest that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the  desires that propelled McCandless.  Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris.  He is said  to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity , and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding—and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.

My thoughts:
A number of years ago I watched the movie based on this book and I was struck by how selfish McCandless was and I did not seem to come away from it the same as other viewers.  I found it profoundly sad that he did not realize how important it is to have connections and share experiences with others until he was close to death.  I decided to give the book a try as I often feel the book is better than the movie.  While it was helpful to gain insight into why McCandless was angry with his parents and felt the need to distance himself from them, he still seemed remarkably immature and egotistical.

McCandless left his college apartment after giving his parents the impression that he planned to attend law school at the end of the summer and disappeared.  He never contacted them or his sister again.  He reinvented himself, renamed himself and lived off of the grid.  He became close to people for a time, but he seemed to have a much greater impact on them than any of them did on him.  He was befriended time and again and lived with and among people for stretches of time, but always later left to pursue the dream of being alone in Alaska.  He purposefully set off into the wilderness of Alaska ill prepared and carrying no maps. 

There are times when many of us would like to gain a little distance from society, but I can't imagine letting those who care about you and love you to be totally in the dark as to where you are and if you are safe and fed.  He never even talked to his parents about what it was he was angry about, never even told them that he knew some facts from the past that they believed were in the past.  His anger may have been justified, but he never found out more than a bare outline of the details and never gave them the chance to explain.

McCandless's adventure wasn't even all that far into Alaska.  He felt like he was all on his own, but he was within ten miles of civilization and everything he was trying to get away from.  He lived his dream, but his dream ended up killing him and I do not believe that he died happy knowing he had achieved it, but that he died alone realizing that he did indeed need and want to have other people in his life.

I wish the author had stuck to just McCandless's life and veered away with examples of other young men who behaved in a similar fashion, including himself.  Shorter examples would have been plenty and the long passages took the reader away from the story in a sometimes abrupt manner.  I am glad I took the time to read the book, and I understand his motivations a bit more, but I still have trouble seeing this from an overwhelmingly positive perspective.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385486804
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Pages: 224

Friday, June 21, 2013

Saturday Snapshot-Last Day of School

Summer is going by so fast already, we are already a week and a half into it!  The end of the school year just seemed to creep up so fast, but it has now been and gone.  I have to start taking pictures of the things we are doing as this is my most recent shot.  So far this summer my children have gone to the pool, gone to the water park, been to an amusement park twice, watched a movie in the theater, had a movie night at home, watched a children's play, gone out to eat, played in the backyard, started the summer reading program at the local library, played baseball and gone to karate class.  It makes me tired even looking at the list.  They  have had downtime as well, but there have been very few "I'm bored" utterances. 

The Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child by Michael Buckley

The Problem Child (Sisters Grimm Series #3)

Overview by Barnes and Noble:

A mystery story with a monstrous twist

In book three of the series, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm tackle their most important mystery: Who kidnapped their parents more than a year ago? Sabrina enters the hideout of the Scarlet Hand, the sinister group of Everafters who are keeping her parents prisoner. She has a chance to rescue her mom and dad but is foiled by the most famous fairy-tale character in the world. With the help of her little sister (who might be tougher than Sabrina realizes) and a long-lost relative, Sabrina finds a powerful weapon for fighting her enemies, and discovers that magic has a high price.
My thoughts:
As Daphne and Sabrina solve a mystery or two, more mysteries reveal themselves.  Not only do they have a grandmother they thought was dead, but they  have another relative that no one has told them about and no one talks about.  Even more mysterious, someone used forgetful dust to make the rest of the town forget him too, because of something he did, but what did he do?
Sabrina sees her parents, but she cannot seem to get them away from their pint size captor.  How could a character who seemed so nice in her story have turned out the way she is now and what is the monster that she is treating as a pet.  Using the family journals and the stories they get from their grandmother, Mr. Cainus and their long lost relative they piece together the past and make progress in rescuing their parents.
The find out more about the Red Hand, but there is still more to discover.  In the battle that ensues someone close to them is hurt and brought close to death.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810993594
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Series: Sisters Grimm Series , #3
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley

The Unusual Suspects (Sisters Grimm Series #2)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In book two of the series, the Sisters Grimm start school at Ferryport Landing Elementary. Daphne's lucky enough to get Snow White for a teacher-she loves little people-but poor Sabrina's stuck with Mr. Grumpner and a class of mildly psychotic sixth graders. When Mr. Grumpner is found hanging in a spider's web, it is up to the Grimms to find the Everafter who did it. If only Sabrina can get over her distrust of all fairy-tale folk. But how can she trust those who just might be responsible for the disappearance of her parents?
My thoughts:
This is the book we started the series with, things from the first book are mentioned and reviewed which was very helpful.  I think it would also be helpful if you have taken a break from the series as well, as we discovered when we jumped back into book four and had to readjust and remember what had happened after book one.
The girls have been living with their grandmother for a few weeks, but have yet to start school.  For their first day Puck plays a mean trick on them and they end up with a gluey mess in their hair that they are unable to wash out, which does nothing to help them make a good impression on their first day.  Daphne loves her class and teacher, but Sabrina has an awful time in her class of misfits.  When her teacher is killed in a suspicious way and they encounter a strange creature when they come back as detectives they are on the case to discover who and what is behind the attacks at the school and the red hand print they find.  New Everafters are introduced in this story and this time they get a chance to work with the police department.  Plus, their are repercussions from actions in book one.
The girls learn more about themselves and what they are capable of and see that some of the Everafters are more willing than others to work with the humans of the town.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810993235
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Sisters Grimm Series , #2
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley

The Fairy Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm Series #1)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In paperback for the first time, the Sisters Grimm take readers to a world where fairy tales are fact and not everyone is who they seem!

In book one of this bestselling series, sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm. The sisters learn they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files. The girls are the latest in a long line of fairy-tale detectives, and their new hometown is filled with Everafters (as magical folks like to be called)-some good and some very, very bad. When a mysterious Everafter sets a giant loose on the town, it's up to the Sisters Grimm to save the day.
My thoughts:
I love discovering series that grab my children's attention and get them all involved and interested.  We are enjoying this series so far on audio.  I am behind on reviews so currently we are listening to book four.  Unfortunately we started out of order, so we listened to book 2 and 3 before going back to book 1, it depends on what we find on the shelf at the library!  I'd recommend starting in order, but know that they can be read out of order if you need to.
This book sets up how Sabrina and Daphne came to live with their grandmother in Ferryport Landing and who some of the Everafters who populate the town are.  It introduces the tensions that come into play in later books and gives some clues as to what became of their parents a year and a half ago when they disappeared, seemingly abandoning their two children.
Along with setting things up for the series there is the fun of encountering Jack and some Giants, Prince Charming, the Big, Bad Wolf, Puck and the Three Little Pigs.  I plan on using this series this summer as a springboard to learn more about some fairy tales and nursery rhymes for my children.  Some of the characters they have heard of, but not all, so I think it will be fun to learn more.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810993228
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Sisters Grimm Series , #1
  • Pages: 312
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Buckley
Michael Buckley's previous books include a New York Times bestseller, a Kirkus Best Fantasy Book, and two Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum winners. He has written and developed television shows for several networks. He lives with his wife, Alison, in New York City.
Peter Ferguson is a comic book and editorial artist living in Montreal, Canada.

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

After a bit of a blogging break I am back and trying to get myself back into the habit of posting again.  I have a whole bunch of books to think about reviewing, since my blogging break was not a reading break, I guess it will depend on how well I can remember them!  Here is my past week:

Books read:
A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison
Good Night for Ghosts by Mary Pope Osborne

Still Reading:
Ever After by Kim Harrison
The Sisters Grim: Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley

Hope everyone else had a good reading and blogging week!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Color Me Rad!

A few weeks ago I did a Color Me Rad race with my children.  They had a great time and loved it and it was a really nice way to start getting them into thinking about running as fun.  We mostly walked with short bursts of running, but no one complained or asked if we were almost done and no one thought it was too long.  I love the fact that my children were unphased by a 3 mile walk, and realzie that we generally walk a lot in our daily lives.  I really hope this is instilling healthy habits in them for later in their lives.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger (An Origami Yoda Book)

Darth Paper Strikes Back (Origami Yoda Series #2)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The hilarious, clever, and much-anticipated follow-up to the breakout hit, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda!
It is a dark time at Ralph McQuarrie Middle School. After suffering several Origami Yoda–related humiliations, Harvey manages to get Dwight suspended from school for being a “troublemaker.” Origami Yoda pleads with Tommy and Kellen to save Dwight by making a new case file—one that will show how Dwight’s presence benefits McQuarrie. With the help of their friends, Tommy and Kellen record cases such as “Origami Yoda and the Pre-eaten Wiener,” “Origami Yoda and the Exploding Pizza Bagels,” and “Origami Yoda and Wonderland: The Musical.” But Harvey and his Darth Paper puppet have a secret plan that could make Dwight’s suspension permanent . . .
With his proven knack for humorously exploring the intrigues, fads, and dramas of middle school, Tom Angleberger has crafted a worthy sequel to his breakout bestseller.

My thoughts:
This was another fun read that engaged my children while we listened to the audio book in the car.  Harvey makes his own origami character calling him Darth Paper and brings him to school to counteract Dwight's Origami Yoda.  The tone and content again reminded me of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

The chapters are short and easy to follow, even for younger listeners, and I love how the students are writing a book or as they call it, a case file, to prove that Origami Yoda and Dwight need to stay at school and not be suspended.  Harvey is always there to fight them on their facts and add his sarcasm.  It was nice to see the boys working towards helping a friend that they aren't even sure they really like.

I think this series is good for taping into the interests of all readers, but especially boys, who at times are less likely to want to sit down with a book.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419700279
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Series: Origami Yoda Series , #2
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau

The People of Sparks (Books of Ember Series #2)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The People of Sparks picks up where The City of Ember leaves off. Lina and Doon have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above, and it isn’t long before they are followed by the other inhabitants of Ember. The Emberites soon come across a town where they are welcomed, fed, and given places to sleep. But the town’s resources are limited and it isn’t long before resentment begins to grow between the two groups. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it’s up to Lina and Doon to discover who’s behind the vandalism and why, before it’s too late.
My thoughts:
After a little break, my children were curious to find out what happened once Lina and Doon made it out of Ember following the builder's directions.  Where they able to get the rest of the town to follow them?  Where were they going to go and what were they going to find outside of the cave they had lived in for over two hundred years?

The note that the children sent down was found and many of the townspeople made it out alive.  After walking for three days they found the city of Sparks.  The townspeople have been working for years to get everything running smoothly and to have enough food and supplies for their inhabitants, so they are wary about more than doubling their population, but at the same time they are not near any other settlements to send these weak, pale people on to.  The three city leaders try to work out a plan together to help these new people, people many of them cannot believe actually came from living in a cave, and teaching them skills so that they can one day be independent and start their own settlement.  In Ember the people had electricity and plumbing, while Sparks has no electricity and pumps and wells to provide water.  They cook with fire while the Emberites are terrified of fire as it had the potential to kill them all back in their city.

Some relationships go well, others get hostile pretty quickly.  There is resentment from both sides about having to share food that the one group didn't work for and the other group does not feel they are getting enough of as they are always hungry.  The Emberites have to deal with sunburn and heat for the first time ever.  Some of the acts of vandalism are not what they seem.

When things get to a breaking point it is again Lina and Doon who step in to show children and grow ups alike how to move forward.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739331699
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/9/2006
  • Series: Books of Ember Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 6 CDs, 7 hrs. 55 min.
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. In this 
children's fantasy about two young heroes who attempt to solve an ancient mystery in time to prevent their underground city from being swallowed by darkness. The City of Ember was built over 200 year ago, deep below the earth, where the destruction of a mass-scale disaster couldn't reach it. Equipped with a massive generator and vast supplies, the people of Ember have thrived happily for generations -- but the city wasn't meant to be lived in forever. The generator is breaking down and the supplies are running out, but two centuries in isolation have robbed the Emberites of their knowledge -- nobody knows how the electric lights work anymore, and nobody understands that there's something beyond the city besides darkness. Nobody, that is, besides Lina  and Doon , two twelve-year-olds who still have the hope that everyone else has lost to ignorance and apathy -- not to mention a sheet of instructions left by the Builders themselves explaining how to leave the city. But the 200-year-old paper is falling apart, and pieces are missing. So with the lights threatening to flicker out for the last time and leave Ember in darkness forever, Lina and Doon set out on an adventure through the streets, sewers, and dark caverns of Ember to put the pieces back together. To solve the mystery, they'll have to get inside the Builders' heads, and avoid the grasp of corrupt Mayor Cole, who wants to keep Ember the way it is -- no matter what the cost.

My thoughts:
I listened to this audio book with my children.  I had never heard of it, but one of us picked it out at the library and we listened to it together in the car.  In writing this post I found out that not only is it a book, but there is also a graphic novel and a movie from 2008, which makes it seem like I should have heard of it.  Since reading it together it was also picked by the children's librarian at one of our local libraries for a summer discussion group.  Plus it is just the start of a series of books.  I love making new discoveries!

Lina and Doon were childhood friends who grew apart, but the mission of putting together a secret message found in a box but chewed up by Lina's little sister reminds them of why they became friends years ago.  The City of Ember has prescribed times of light and dark, at 9PM all the lights go out and at 6AM they come back on.  All citizens receive a job assignment when they are 12 by picking them from a hat.  Some work at the pipe works, some work with electricity, some go to the green house, others are messengers and some work in the store room and so on.  Lina longs to be a messenger, but gets a job below ground as a pipe worker, by trading with Doon they both start to get a new view of the city.  The shortages that are coming about in the storehouses, the flickering of the lights, the sicknesses and failed crops in the greenhouse start suspicion that the city is failing.  Then Lina finds a message in a box, a message her grandmother is looking for but unable to find with her failing memory, unfortunately Poppy, her two year old sister, finds it first and mangles it up.  Lina can't get anyone but Doon to take the message seriously.

The children work together to find a way to solve the riddle and save the city while dealing with some society members who have been hoarding supplies and want to keep the status quo.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375822742
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/25/2004
  • Series: Books of Ember Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years