I just finished listening to The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood, which has been on my mental “to read” list since it was published. I love the audio version and can easily see myself restricting my listening to British novels since I am in love with the accents (one strong perk of listening to Bindi Babes on audio which was fun). In this story (which continues with at least 2 sequels I am looking forward to reading-since they are not available on audio!) the orphaned Widge finds himself stuck between gaining and keeping a real family of friends and trying not to get murdered by his master’s henchman, Falconer. I love this story for it’s historical elements as well as the intrigue and adventure. Widge is a great character, actually everyone in the book is well developed and interesting, but you just really fall in love with Widge who has had such a dismal life and is finally learning what friendship and honor are all about.
~posted by April
Bauer, Marion Dane. The Double-Digit Club. Holiday House, 2004. ISBN 978-0823418053 116 pp. $14.99
The Double-Digit Club by Marion Dane Bauer brought up some interesting issues relating to cliques and true friendship. Paige and Sarah have been best friends since they were babies. Now they are approaching that milestone birthday where they turn ten years old. One of their classmates, the snobby, bossy and mean Valerie started a club earlier in the year that girls are invited to join when they turn ten. After they turn ten and join the club they are no longer allowed to associate with the 9-year-olds.
Sarah and Paige are the last in the class to turn 10 and Paige goes first. Since they both dislike Valerie and think her club is dumb, they create a scheme to put Valerie in her place and refuse to join her Double-Digit Club. But, it’s really Sarah’s plan. As are the names she and Paige give to all their dolls and the games they usually play together.
Sarah has a bit of a bossy streak in her. And even though she and Paige are so close, Paige grows kind of tired of this bossiness. She ignores the plan they made together and joins the Double-Digit Club leaving Sarah on her own. Then there’s this whole part with a doll that I found really annoying… and then Sarah and Paige have it out. Paige has the courage to tell Sarah how she really feels about the Double-Digit Club and that Sarah and Valerie, archenemies, probably hate each other because they are so much alike.
The book has an uncertain and therefore, realistic, ending predicting that the girls will probably remain friends, but their friendship will be different. Great book except for the doll bit in the middle–ugh!