More Hunger Games Casting

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Entertainment Weekly has the news that Lionsgate has cast the District 11 tributes, Thresh and Rue.  Nicely, they are both played by newcomers.  Thresh will be played by Dayo Okeniyi.  The vital part of Rue will be played by Amandla Stenberg.  Look at that face! 

You can keep tabs on the casting via Liongate’s Hunger Games Tributes Casting Tab on Facebook

Board Book Reviews–Hello Friends Series by Emma Quay

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Good Night, Sleep Tight by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Let’s Play House by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Puddle Jumping by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Yummy Ice Cream by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Four new board books welcome the youngest readers into a group of three friends.  There is Panda, Sheep and Owl, who are all different, enjoy different things, but manage to be the best of friends despite that.  The series has warm illustrations that are done with a mix of paint and fabric.  This lends a real richness and friendliness to them.  The text of the books is brief, humorous and engaging.  These are stories that are simple and great fun.

Good Night, Sleep Tight is a bedtime story.  The three friends decide to go camping in their sleeping bags.  They all settle in, but both Owl and Sheep are uncomfortable.  Only Panda is cozy, so the other two decide to join Panda in the one sleeping bag.

Let’s Play House has the friends building a play house together out of a blanket and some chairs.  But the house doesn’t work out so well, especially after Panda stands up to leave, taking the roof with him.  But all is not lost, as a new game is invented.

Puddle Jumping is about bravery.  Owl and Panda have great fun jumping over a big puddle the three friends discover.  But Sheep is scared to try, scared she will fall on her bottom and get hurt.  Eventually Sheep does try to jump the puddle, and she ends up having a lot of fun in an unexpected way.

Yummy Ice Cream is about sharing.  Sheep and Panda both have ice cream cones that are very yummy.  But Owl doesn’t have any.  The three friends find a very inventive way of making two ice cream cones into more.

As you can see, children will recognize their own play and activities in these books.  These are modern, stylish board books for the youngest of children.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copies received from Penguin Books.

Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

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Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Deuce lives underground in her enclave where life expectancy is short and live is brutal.  From the time she was a brat, she knew that she wanted to be a Huntress.  Now that she is 15, she goes through the naming ceremony and is given the role of Huntress in her community.  It is her job, along with her partner, to protect the enclave from the strange beings, Freaks, that share their underground world.  Deuce is paired with Fade, a Hunter who was not born in the enclave, but found wandering underground.  As Deuce learns more about their society, she begins to question the enclave’s rules and the injustices she sees.  When she sacrifices herself to save a friend, Deuce is thrown out of the safety of her community and forced to survive with just Fade to help her.

The strength of this book was in the underground world, the enclave and its lies, the brutality of the life, the unquestioning people, the darkness and danger.  The world Aguirre created underground is compelling and intriguing.  Deuce’s character is equally successful.  She is a strong heroine whose weakness is ignorance thanks to the enclave.  She experiences real growth as a character as she learns the truth.

Unfortunately, the book does not stay underground.  When Deuce and her partner head to Topside to survive, the book loses some of its strength as well as its unique society and setting.  For me, the book seemed to drag despite the high level of violence.

But for me, worst of all was that the world building that worked so well underground began to fall apart.  The Topside misuse of women angered me, but even worse was the insistence that one of the raped women accept one of the gang as a compatriot in their travels.  That she had to let her repeated rapes go and learn to cope seemed to trivialize rape and survival at the same time.

Readers of dystopian fantasy may enjoy this series, but I will stop reading with this first book.  Appropriate for ages 15-18.

Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel and Friends.

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