Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Hork-Bajir Chronicles by K.A. Applegate

Title: The Hork-Bajir Chronicles
Series: Animorphs (book 22.5)
Author: K.A. Applegate
Length: 206 pages

The Story

This book is a sort of prequel to the Animorphs series, much like The Andalite Chronicles. It is the story of how the Yeerks came to the Hork-Bajir home world in search of hosts they could use to fight the Andalites. The main characters are Dak Hamee, a Hork-Bajir seer who is more intelligent than the rest of his species, Aldrea, a young Andalite girl, and Esplin 9466, a Yeerk who will do anything to gain more power.

When the Yeerks attack, Aldrea calls to her people for help, but the Andalites send too little too late, leaving the gentle Hork-Bajir to desperately defend themselves.

My Thoughts

Readers of the Animorphs series already know how things end for the Hork-Bajir. In the present day when the main series takes place, the Hork-Bajir are used as hosts for the Yeerks. This makes the story sad to read, since we know all along they aren't going to be successful. It's also sad because we see a darker side of the Andalites, who are supposed to be the good guys. K.A. Applegate is great at showing that moral issues aren't always black and white. Still, the story ends on a hopeful note, with a promising future for the new free Hork-Bajir.

If you're reading the main series, don't skip this book! There's lots of backstory on the Hork-Bajir, the Andalites, and the Yeerks. Events of this book are also mentioned in the next Animorphs book (#23 - The Pretender).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From Anna by Jean Little

Title: From Anna
Author: Jean Little
Length: 205 pages

The Story

Anna doesn't fit in with her family, or at school. She's clumsy, can't read, and can't knit or do other household chores. Her siblings nickname her Awkward Anna, and her teachers constantly scold her. The story begins in Germany, just before World War II, and the Solden family is worried about the changes happening to their country. When the opportunity arises, the family moves to Toronto.

When the Soldens arrive in Canada, Anna soon learns the reason for her clumsiness, and with the help of a friendly doctor, a caring teacher, and great new friends, she begins to learn that she can have a better life than she'd ever imagined.

My Thoughts

I couldn't put this book down, and read it in a single day. I felt so sad for Anna right from the beginning, and then so happy for her as her life improved. This is a really heartwarming story. It has a main character who has a disability, and addresses the issue of bullying.

From Anna is a middle grade novel, so it's aimed at ages 8-12. However, the story is a good one for any age group.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires

Title: Binky the Space Cat
Author: Ashley Spires
Length: 64 pages

The Story

Binky is a pet cat who orders a space cat kit so that he'll be able to go into outer space (outside the house) to protect his humans from aliens (bugs). He believes that the house is a space station, and that he needs a space suit or rocket ship to go outside. He gets to work building himself a rocket ship, while he continues to protect his family from the aliens and keep the alien spies from discovering his secret identity.

My Thoughts

This is a fun story about what your house cat might really be thinking. The simple illustrations and funny writing make for an engaging read. It's a short graphic novel, so it's a pretty quick read, too. I like the way Binky tries to make sense of his world, and how he's always trying to protect his family.

Binky the Space Cat is aimed at readers aged 7 to 10. I think its fun story and simple format could make it a good choice for reluctant readers in that age group.