Thought for the Day:
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
~ Maya Angelou ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I sometimes see calls for fairy tale retellings or stories based on myths or legends. I had better know what is what, or I may mess up and may not be able to submit to that publisher again. HERE is an excellent post from Caitlin Hobbs at Book Riot to help you be sure you know the difference.
Common sense tells us we need to use all our senses when we write. Alison Williams has a good post HERE to help you with that.
It’s important for us to show (not tell) our characters reactions to what is happening to them, but Nathan Bransford reminds us HERE to Avoid These Generic Reactions. Some very good advice here.
And the 2020 slog goes on and on. To me, it’s kind of an extraordinary level of cruelty for this year to present us with all the horror of the pandemic and to pile on a presidential election with debates that, as informed voters, we really should watch. I could have done without that. And then we have the World Series. For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you know I love baseball. But with such an abbreviated season, the World Series doesn’t seem quite what it should be. In my mind, this World Series will always have an asterisk. One never knows what would have happened with a full season with the possibility of slumps, injuries, trades, and more. That said, yesterday’s game had the most unusual and exciting finish of almost any game I’ve ever seen. If you missed it, hit your favorite browser for the last play of game 4. It was a real 2020 kind of finish. And as a Giants fan, it was the very best outcome that could have been without the Giants being in the game. Once the Giants have been eliminated, I become an ABD fan. That’s Anybody But Dodgers. Go, Rays!!!
Last year I read a super fun book called The Last-Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles. You can see my review of that book HERE. When I received an email recently offering me an ARC of the second book in this series, I signed right up. The new book, The Last Mirror on the Left, which also has fun illustrations by Dapo Adeola, and is every bit as interesting and fun as the earlier book.
Our intrepid heroes, cousins Otto and Sheed, have been called by Officer Nedraw. She insists they come down immediately to the Rorrim Mirror Emporium to help her with a big problem. The evil Nevan has escaped from his mirror cell and has freed a lot of other inmates. Officer Nedraw takes the boys through a mirror into an alternate universe, Warped World, in some ways like their hometown of Fry, but in many ways very different. The boys are captured by a band of escaped prisoners of the giant spider variety with alliterative names like Spencer and Spenlope. These escaped jailbirds turn out to be more helpful than harmful, while the boys are with them. When one of the spiders breaks some legs, Dr. Medina is called, and Otto discovers there is a medicine in Warped World that seems to cure anything. Otto is worried about Sheed facing an serious illness sometime in the future, and Otto decides he needs to get that medicine. This goal causes the boys to become separated, and then things get really interesting. Will they be able to make it back to Fry? Can Otto get the medicine and, if he does, will it do the trick? There are a lot of questions to be answered and a lot of excitement to get to those answers.
Lamar Giles must have a wicked sense of humor and a great imagination to come up with these wonderful books. The characters are well-rounded and have problems kids will relate to. The writing is casual and will welcome all young readers, even reluctant readers. The dialogue is snappy and fun, the story is very compelling, and there is room for more books, which will make middle-grade readers very happy. The cute illustrations support the story well and will bring those reluctant readers along for this fun ride.
I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.