Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Hunting down the books

Jay Writes -
Hi everyone,
A few people have offered (here or on Facebook or by email) to loan us us some of the books from the list. Below is a list of those we've not got yet. If you have any you'd be willing to lend Luke, could you let us know? I'm running up quite the tab with Amazon - which I must confess isn't unusual for me - but I'd like to only buy those books we can't get elsewhere.
  • Swallows and Amazons (promised to be loaned to us)
  • The Happy Prince, Oscar Wilde
  • The Singing Tree, Kate Seredy
  • The Secret Garden (promised to be loaned to us)
  • Refuge Boy, Benjamin Zephaniah
  • The Tygrine Cat, Inbali Iserles
  • Carry On Jeeves (got lots of Jeeves but not this one)
  • The Story of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
  • Little Women, L M Alcott (promised to be loaned to us)
  • How To Be Topp, Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
  • Animal Farm (I think I had this at one point but can't find it on the shelves)
  • After The First Death, Robert Cormier
  • The London Eye Mystery, Siobhan Dowd
I'd also like to thank Luke's school library, who have promised to get him any of this list they have on their shelves. Librarians rock.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Emil and the Detectives

Hello. Luke here. This is my first review out of the 50. I thought I would start with a positive review so I chose this book and I have to say that this book is great.
When I started I have to say I had my doubts but they were soon gone as I was sucked into the world of Emil. Emil is set in Germany and it is about when a man with a bowler hat steals Emil's £7. He then goes on to retrieve his money from the thief with the help of most of the boys in the city. It was fast paced, interesting and went straight to the action. On my scale of 1 to 100 this book claims a well earned 70.

Jay Writes - Emil and the Detectives is by Erich Kastner. Luke read this edition. There's a sequel called Emil and the Three Twins. We'd like to point out that this Emil is a totally different one to the hero of Astrid Lindgren's series, also rather confusingly called Emil and the Clever Pig/Sneaky Rat/Great Escape. Luke liked Mr Kastner's Emil much better.

The 50 Books

Here are the books Luke will be reading. We've included links to Amazon in case you are interested in reading any of them with us, although there was one we could not find. We might make a couple of tweaks to the list but I'll explain about that in a minute:
  1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass - reviewed here
  2. Pinocchio - reviewed here
  3. Emil and the Detectives - reviewed here
  4. Swallows and Amazons - reviewed here
  5. Blackhearts at Battersea - reviewed here
  6. The Owl Service - reviewed here
  7. The Phantom Toll Booth - reviewed here
  8. Moominsummer Madness - reviewed here
  9. A Hundred Million Francs - reviewed here
  10. The Castafiore Emerald - reviewed here
  11. The Star of Kazan - reviewed here
  12. A Christmas Carol - reviewed here
  13. Just William - reviewed here
  14. The Happy Prince - reviewed here
  15. The Elephant's Child - reviewed here
  16. Treasure Island - reviewed here
  17. The Old Man and the Sea - reviewed here
  18. The Man Who Planted Trees - reviewed here
  19. The Singing Tree - reviewed here
  20. The Secret Garden - reviewed here
  21. Refugee Boy - reviewed here
  22. Finn Family Moomintroll - replaced by this review (see notes below)
  23. Diary of a Wimpy Kid - reviewed here
  24. I Capture The Castle - Luke played a wild card, reviewed here
  25. The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings - reviewed here
  26. The Tygrine Cat - reviewed here
  27. Carry On Jeeves - reviewed here
  28. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - reviewed here
  29. Moving Pictures - reviewed here
  30. The Story of Tracy Beaker - reviewed here
  31. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - reviewed here
  32. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - reviewed here
  33. Mistress Masham's Repose
  34. Little Women
  35. How To Be Topp - reviewed here
  36. Stormbreaker - reviewed here
  37. Private Peaceful - reviewed here
  38. Artemis Fowl - reviewed here
  39. The Silver Sword - reviewed here
  40. Animal Farm
  41. Skellig - reviewed here
  42. Red Cherry Red - reviewed here
  43. Talkin Turkeys - reviewed here
  44. Greek Myths - reviewed here
  45. People Might Hear You - reviewed here
  46. Noughts and Crosses - reviewed here
  47. Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved The World - reviewed here
  48. After The First Death - reviewed here
  49. The London Eye Mystery - reviewed here
  50. Beano Annual - reviewed here
Those that chose the Moomin books both said any one of the series would do, so we think reading just one of them will satisfy the challenge. Luke's read a few of the titles on this list already himself (although he was faintly insulted by the inclusion of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, which he thinks is for 9 year olds). As long as he can remember enough about them to do his review we'll tick them off his list. We don't think we'll bother with the version of Greek myths listed here and Luke has pretty much memorised them from the wonderful D'aulaire's Greek Myths so I think we've got that covered.
I'm relieved to see we own a fair few of the books already. Otherwise it might have become a rather expensive project as not all that many seem to be available at the library!
Personally, I think Little Women will present the biggest challenge for Luke in both style and content, but I look forward to seeing what he thinks of them all.

Where it all started

It started with Michael Gove.
That is not a sentence I thought I'd ever type, I must confess. However, he made a comment which inspired a newspaper article which inspired an email which inspired a conversation which inspired a bet which inspired this blog.
It seems Mr Gove thinks Y7 pupils should aim to read one book a week, 50 a year (maybe he thinks they should get Christmas holidays off? Or perhaps maths is not the Education Minister's strong suit) The Independent asked 5 authors and journalists for 10 books they'd recommend to Y7 students, making a list of 50 for the year.
My partner emailed me the list to show to our rather fabulous Y7 son Luke. He was unimpressed, "Did grown ups write this list? I think they did. Real 11 year olds would put stuff with more action and chases and adventure. Modern children want action." We had a chat about why classics were regarded as classics, that all old books were not necessarily ones that came out when I was a kid, some were even older than me and I still enjoyed them.
Upon hearing of Luke's disdain, his dad laughed and said, "Bet him a quid he can't read them all by Christmas."
I rather liked the idea, but knowing the pecuniary demands of today's 11 year old, bet him a tenner. "Will you provide the books? OK then, prepare to lose your money, Mum," said my supremely confident offspring.
Luke and I are blogging the bet - he'll be writing reviews of the books as he goes along and I'll probably get roped in as chief typist. I'm Jay, by the way. I'm a self employed baker (here's my website and here's the blog about my baking adventures) and mum to Luke, his younger brother and sister.
Welcome to our book journey!