Day: September 29, 2010

Where the Sunrise Begins

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Where the Sunrise Begins by Douglas Wood, illustrations by Wendy Popp

Wood’s poem asks the question “Where does the sunrise begin?”  He then offers ideas of where it might begin.  Perhaps the mountains?  Maybe the treetops?  Could it be the marsh, the lake or the sea?  Maybe different regions of the world?  The Middle East, Africa or the Far East.  In the end, readers will be warmed by his answer of where exactly the sunrise begins.  Written in beautiful language, this book truly celebrates our world and each one of us. 

Wood has written a lengthy poem that is ethereal and beautiful.  At the same time, he doesn’t rely on large words to convey his message.  His writing is simple yet compelling.  The use of the question as a refrain offers a necessary structure to the poem, giving young readers a place to return to and start again on another quest for the answer. 

Popp’s illustrations really make this book glow.  Each page is a powerful image, filled with light and softness.  The images are done in conte crayon and pastel that have a depth of color that is amazing.  The complex colors of daybreak are captured in the pages, with their pinks and blues that mix at no other time of day.  Popp has captured the special texture and weight of this light.

A beautiful book, this is a poem worth reading combined with illustrations that elevate.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

StarCrossed: Uncover an Amazing New Heroine

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StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Published on October 1st, 2010.

When I find a book that is entrancing and beautifully written, I want to linger with it.  So this book took me an awfully long time to read as I savored each page. 

Digger is a thief on the run after her partner is captured by the Greenmen.  Wounded and afraid, she finds escape from the city with a small group of aristocrats on a boat.  This turns into more than just a way to escape the city, as Digger, who now calls herself Celyn, is slowly drawn into their world.  She accompanies the family to a rebuilt fortress in the high mountains, even farther outside of the city.  There she finds herself looked after and cared for in a way that she never has been.  But as a thief, she cannot relax.  Her forays to find information get her blackmailed by one of the family friends, who wants to use her skills for personal reasons.  The more secrets Digger uncovers, the more alarming they are, as the country heads to war.

The world building in this fantasy novel is beautifully done.  The world is completely envisioned and brought to life for the reader.  Each piece makes sense, from the banning of the use of magic to the Inquisition itself.  The turning away from a pantheon of gods and goddesses to a single God makes for an additional layer to the story, adding to its depth. 

Digger herself is an incredible heroine.  She is strong, independent and smart.  At the same time, she doesn’t lose her femininity at all.  I really enjoyed a teen heroine who is not crushing on a boy, but rather is consumed with the mysteries before her.  While others do play a part in uncovering some of the mystery, Digger does all of the work.  As she uncovers each piece and is confused by the details, readers will be right there with her trying to puzzle it all out. 

Highly recommended, get this into the hands of fans of Tamora Pierce and Shannon Hale.  Appropriate for ages 12-14.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.

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