Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The End of the Line by Sharon E. McKay

The End of the LineBeatrice's Jewish mother is taken off a train in Holland by the Nazi police. To save Beatrice, Hans and Lars tell the Nazis that she is their niece. It's hard for two old men to raise a six-year-old girl, so they get help from their neighbors, Mrs. Vo and Lieve. Lieve is a young woman, and she was once a teacher. She helps Beatrice learn English, and all four of the adults protect her from the Nazis. However, food is hard to find, there are spies everywhere, and the Nazi police are constantly stopping people to see their identification papers. Beatrice doesn't have any papers, so it's only a matter of time before she's found.

It's not hard to connect with a book about an innocent child caught in the middle of World War II. She only wants to be back with her mother. It's amusing and heart-warming to see two men in their sixties trying to help a small girl. They give her a metal train car one night to help her stop crying! It doesn't work. The story captures the fear and bravery of citizens trying to help innocent victims during the war. Love is the common bond of all the people helping Beatrice.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Secret of Ferrell Savage by J. Duddy Gill

The Secret of Ferrell SavageFerrell and Mary have been best friends since they were in diapers, and they're each entering the annual sledding race. Mary's "sled" is an old sink, and Ferrell decides to use a beat-up lawn chair. Ferrell doesn't win, but he becomes famous for the most spectacular wipe-out. Later, the boy who actually won the race enrolls at the school and seems to be angry with Ferrell. This boy says he knows a terrible secret about Ferrell and Mary's ancestors that could devastate their lives. He later learns that a long time ago, his ancestor survived a journey across the mountains by eating the other people with him. The new boy says he won't tell everyone about the cannibalism if Ferrell will race again. However, Ferrell doesn't know this race will be held on the most dangerous hill around. Even skiers won't go down it. Is it worth the risk to keep his family's history a secret? Maybe not, but is it enough to save Mary's secret?

The focus of the story was unusual, but it kept my interest. A huge sled race for kids that had the whole town talking for days was strange. Ferrell's principal even asked him to visit a first-grade classroom, because her son wanted him for Show and Tell. The idea of Ferrell's relative being a cannibal was a little gross, but Mary's connection to it added an unexpected twist. I liked how Ferrell was naive and how others had to explain things to him. It gave him an innocence that was easy to like, but he also was brave to stand up for Mary. I enjoyed it!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Surrounded By Sharks by Michael Northrop

Surrounded By SharksDavey's family takes a vacation on a tiny island off the coast of Key West, Florida. He wakes up early one morning and decides to secretly explore the beach, looking for a peaceful place to read. After a little while, he decides to wade in the ocean, but he slowly moves into deeper water. Before he knows it, a rip tide carries him a couple miles off shore. Davey finds a large bottle to keep himself afloat, and he starts to watch the curious, little fish around him. However, he soon notices a larger shape about twenty feet down and realizes a large shark is circling under him. When he notices more sharks, he's not sure if there will be any pieces of his body left for searchers to find.

The title of the book describes the plot. The plot moved a little slowly for me, but the suspense amped up once the sharks arrived. It was frustrating to read about all the time wasted in searching for Davey, but I guess that was to create a larger problem. No one knew where he had gone, and the family insisted he would not have gone swimming. If you have the patience to continue reading until the sharks show up, you'll probably enjoy this book.