Friday, October 9, 2020

The Indian In The Cupboard-Movie

The Indian in the Cupboard was based on the book by the same name by Lynne Reid Banks. It stars Litefoot as Little Bear, and Hal Scardino as Omri. The movie was directed by Frank Oz. There were some things I liked more about the movie than the book, in particular Little Bear's character. His character wasn't unbelievable in the book, it was however, less likable; particularly his views toward women. In the book, he asked Omri to find him a wife, which Omri did. Little Bear didn't think at all about how they were taking the young woman (Twin Stars) possibly away from a home and family that she might not see again. He just wanted a wife. It worked out that Twin Stars liked him back, but the uncertainty of whether she would or not before hand, and his not considering that, bothered me. In the movie he is more sympathetic and actually tells Omri not to turn the plastic figure Omri had gotten, into a real young woman and expressed concern about taking her from her family. But there were parts of the movie that I didn't think were appropriate. There was one scene, very brief, where the boys were watching scantily clad women dancing before they changed the channel. That part wasn't in the book, and in my opinion, should not have been in a movie made for children. The movie otherwise follows the plot of the book, and has an appropriate amount of suspense, tension, and a dangerous race against time and a (to Little Bear) race against a giant rat as well! I would recommend parents reviewing the movie before showing it to their children because of that one unnecessary scene. The Indian in the Cupboard movie came out in 1995.

The Indian In The Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks tells the story of a young boy, Omri, who gets, among other things, an old medicine cabinet for his birthday, and a small plastic Native American. He puts the little toy indian in the cupboard, and with a key that his mother gave him that he finds locks and unlocks the cupboard, locks his toy in for the night. In the morning, he discovers, to his surprise and delight, that the plastic figure has turned into a human! But it isn't just that the plastic figure came to life, the tiny (from Omri's perspective) man is an actual Iroquoi from the past transported forward in time, and made tinier in the journey! Things are made complicated when Omri's friend Patrick finds out, and then brings a cowboy from the 1800s along with the cowboy's horse, forward in time as well! While the title may be out of date, I do appreciate the way the author handles Little Bear's culture, and explores ideas of racism and prejudice that Boone and Little Bear face and deal with. This begins an adventure that is both exciting and dangerous! I recommend this story for young middle grade readers who like time travel adventure. The Indian in the Cupboard was first published in 1980.
The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan is an exciting fantasy adventure follows the story of Halt, a successful and famous ranger in the kingdom of Araluen. While I have not read any other stories in this series, I was able to follow this story fairly well, and did not find myself wondering overly much what was going on. Halt clearly had established himself already from a previous book, but the way this story was written, I wasn't confused about anything. The evil Baron Morgarath (which reminded me somewhat of Morgoroth from Spiderwick at the beginning, though the names are pronounced differently) has recruited an apelike species known as the Wargals to help him try to take over Araluen. But will Halt, King Duncan, the rangers, and the soldiers of Araluen be able to stop them? I enjoyed the story, and while there is violence, it is not descriptive or gratuitous. I believe that readers who enjoy fantasy that is clean, though with a lot of action and a little bit of violence (there is a war after all) would enjoy this book. The Battle of Hackham Heath was published in 2017.

The Navigator by Eoin McNamee

The Navigator by Eoin McNamee is a book written for middle grade readers. It follows the adventures of a boy named Owen on a bizarre adventure. He starts off on what seems an ordinary walk to a favorite spot away from his house when he encounters a group of folks who have woken from ages old sleep to battle a group of villains known as The Harsh. The story is rather difficult to follow and what exactly the bad guys want is never really defined during the book. The main protagonist is never really defined well for me, and because of the vagueness of the story despite so much going on around Owen, the narrator has to constantly explain what's happening. As a result, very little time is spent on developing the characters. And while there is a lot of exposition, I still can't see things very easily. For example, the propeller, which is an important part of the story, I never get a clear picture of. At first, I think it's big. Like the size of an airplane propellor. Then I think it's small. Then I think it's... Because of its importance, the author maybe should have been more descriptive in describing its proportions. One good thing is that this book is extremely imaginative, and it is possible that younger readers might enjoy it more. There is an imaginitive story there, but it takes a lot of patience to get through. The Navigator was published in 2008.

Monday, September 21, 2020

My Book Kits and Cubbyholes is a Whitney Award Nominee!

I am really excited to announce that my book Kits and Cubbyholes is an official nominee for the Whitney Awards! There are several categories that are recognized during the Whitney Awards, General Fiction, Romance, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense, Speculative, YA General, YA Speculative, YA Fantasy, and Middle Grade. There are also overall awards for Novel of the Year, Novel of the Year Youth, and Best Novel by a Debut Author. After books are nominated, and placed into their categories (mine is Middle Grade) a committee assigned to that category reads the nominated books and they choose the five finalists. The finalists in each category will be announced in early February of 2021, and the Whitney Award Gala will be held in May of 2021. Even if I'm not a finalist, I enjoy going. It's a wonderful event, and I love the opportunity to support the authors of great books!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

My Newest Book: Kits and Cubbyholes!

 I am so excited to announce that my latest book has been published!  D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review had this to say about my newest book, Kits and Cubbyholes

Kits and Cubbyholes (c) 2020

'Twelve-year-old Will leads a good life. He's found work and a home in Mister Wilberforce’s house, a friend in eleven-year-old Nellie, who is teaching him to spell words, and leads a fine life, for an orphan, after living alone on the streets of London.

 

His memories of the day he met Mister Wilberforce, when everything changed, feel murky and incomplete, however. When he encounters strange little animals that appear to be speaking to one another, some pieces of the puzzle of his life begin to fall into place.

 

As Will stumbles into an adventure that includes a group of disparate children and a fireplace that leads him into another world, young readers are treated to a story that is peppered with observations about social and cultural relationships and different forms of adversity: "Will found himself smiling hesitantly. Jax appeared to be the leader of this group of friends, but he didn’t seem domineering. Despite their different races, the children treated each other like equals. Was that how life was in America? But it couldn’t be so. America was terribly dependent upon slavery from all that Will understood. This comfortable amity between these children befuddled Will, yet at the same time, it pleased him."

 

Will's search for the portal that will lead him back home isn't the only purpose of this story. The tale moves from raccoons and time travel to encounters with historical figures and kids charged with finding their way home under impossible circumstances that challenge their perceptions of the world.

 

Loralee Evans crafts a fine adventure in Kits and Cubbyholes that moves from a boy's singular good fortune in a revised life to his ability to take charge of his own future.

 

Middle grade readers will find the characterization well-done, the dialogue and dialect particularly convincing and believable, and the adventure portion nicely paced. It's not too fast, but is captivating, as Will participates in an adventure with newfound friends from the 21st century and confronts the mystery of what his future will bring.'

 


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie
(c) 1935
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder is an enjoyable tale about little Laura moving with her parents, Mary, and baby Carrie from their home in the Big Woods, to a little house they build on the prairie. Through various adventures, from a prairie fire to meeting Native Americans for the first time, Laura learns and grows, finds new things, and learns to let things go.

The novel is told in chronological order, though each chapter is very much its own short story, and is good for bedtime reading between parents and children.

It is an enjoyable tale for children who are interested in learning about the settling of the west by white pioneers.