Thursday, November 7, 2019

Charlie Bone and the Hidden King by Jenny Nimmo

Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
(c) 2012 by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King by Jenny Nimmo is an entertaining middle grade tale continuing the adventure of Charlie Bone and his family and friends. I had not had the chance to experience the previous books in the series (it appears to be the fifth book of an eight book series) but still I was able fairly easily to get into the story. On Charlie Bone's 12th birthday, the flame cats, (a group of three cats his ancestor, the Red King asked to watch over his descendants, of whom Charlie Bone is one) warn him that an ancient evil has awoken. Charlie and his friends have to worry about that, while also worrying about bullies at school and other sinister forces out to get him. Adding on to that, his mother is acting strangely and Charlie fears she's been bewitched. Also, his father, who has been missing for ten years is on Charlie's mind, having been brought up in conversation which Charlie overheard and he wonders what he can do to find and rescue his father.

The action is fast paced and fun, and middle grade readers would enjoy this story.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Thoroughly Modern Millie- Playing at Hale Center Theater in Orem

Thoroughly Modern Millie (c) 2000
by Dick Scanlan and Richard Morris
This past Friday, my younger son and I watched a fantastic play performed by the cast at Hale Center Theater in Orem. Thoroughly Modern Millie, a musical I really enjoy for the fun songs, and the underlying message that caring about people matters much more than money, is playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem until Nov. 23rd.
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a musical based on a movie from 1967 of the same name, which itself was based on a play called Chrysanthemum from the 1950s. The first performance of the modern play was in 2000. The lyricist was Dick Scanlan, the composers were Jeanine Tesori and Doug Besterman, and the playwrights were Dick Scanlan and Richard Morris.

I enjoyed the cast's performance at the Hale Center Theater, and especially appreciated the actress who portrayed Mrs. Meers. She managed to make the character sinister and lovable at the same time. The expressions that Mrs. Meers made and her escapades throughout the play were hilarious, and kept me laughing. The rest of the cast did great as well, and I really enjoyed the performance. I'm glad we went! There are scenes where the characters are drinking alcohol and getting drunk, and many of the actresses are dressed like 1920's flappers similar to the picture above, which are both things of which parents may want to be aware.

I personally recommend the performance, and think the play is well worth going!

It will be playing most nights between now and the 23rd of November. You can buy tickets here.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart

Mysterious Benedict Society and the
Perilous Journey (c) 2009
by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart comes after The Mysterious Benedict Society and before The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.

The four friends, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are set to have a fun, non-dangerous vacation with their good friend Mister Benedict and Miss Number Two (whose real name we do not learn in this book) when they discover that Mister Benedict and Number Two have been kidnapped by the sinister Mister Curtain, Mister Benedict's evil twin brother! Though there are dangers aplenty, the kids take off to rescue their beloved mentor and his assistant. Along the way, they have many and varied adventures, and are given aid here and there, especially by Kate's dad, Miligan, when he finally is able to catch up to the swiftly traveling kids. What happens next, is an exciting adventure, and I highly recommend it to children and adults alike who enjoy clean, fast paced adventure stories!

The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (Focus on the Family version)

Magician's Nephew, The (c) 1955 by C.S. Lewis
Radio Theatre: Focus on the Family version (c) 2005
I recently listened to an entertaining version of The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It was not a word for word reading, but rather a dramatized version, with some narration, and dialogue spoken by actors, all accompanied by music and sound effects. The story is a version produced by Radio Theatre: Focus on the Family, and published by Tyndale Entertainment.

The original story by C.S. Lewis was published in 1955, and this version was recorded in 2005.

The story follows the adventures of two friends, Diggory Kirk and Polly Plummer as they are tricked by Diggory's dastardly Uncle Andrew into traveling to a new world. Through their adventures and mishaps, they come into the company of Jadis, the tyrannical queen of Charn whom they do not want to take with them, but she comes along with them anyway by force. Through another series of mishaps, the children, the wicked queen, Uncle Andrew, an innocent cabby named Frank and Frank's horse Strawberry, find themselves in a new world that is just beginning, being brought to wake by Aslan. Read the book, or listen to the story to find out what happens next!

While I personally prefer the book, I did like this version very much, and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys C.S. Lewis.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart

Mysterious Benedict Society and the
Prisoner's Dilemma, The
(c) 2010 by Treton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart is a fun ending to the first trilogy of the Mysterious Benedict Society. This time, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance embark on a new adventure, rather against their wills, but with all the pluck and courage they showed in the first two books. When a blackout washes over Stonetown, the kids quickly find out it isn't an accident, and the sinister Mr. Curtain, the evil twin of their beloved mentor, Mr. Benedict, is behind it, and, as usual, is out to get them. How will they outsmart Mr. Curtain and the ten-men, his evil henchmen?  Read the book to find out! I recommend this fun book to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, middle-grade books that have riddles and clues for the characters, and readers, to solve along the way.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Abridged Version, read by Martin Shaw

Hobbit, The, by J.R.R. Tolkien,
Abridged Version (c) 2005 read by Martin Shaw
I enjoyed listening to an abridged version of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien recently, read by Martin Shaw. The story was entertaining, and moved through the plot more quickly than the original. People new to Tolkien, or who don’t mind key scenes (like the description of Bilbo’s house, or the iconic scene where Bilbo climbs up to the top of the canopy in Mirkwood and sees the butterflies) being left out, would really enjoy this. Even those who miss such scenes may still like this reading. I did. Mr. Shaw did an exceptional job. The basic plot was still there with Bilbo and the dwarves and Gandalf, and their struggles getting to the Lonely Mountain and their problems with Smaug. I recommend this story to listeners who enjoy well-read fantasy.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Performed at the Scera

The Scera, Orem, Utah

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber will be performed at the Scera in Orem Utah until October 5th. I went the other day with my parents, and it was a great performance!
Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat
(c) 1972 by Tim Rice
and Andrew Lloyd Webber

The cast did a fantastic job, and had a lot of energy. I really appreciated that Benjamin, Joseph's little brother, was cast as a young person, and really appreciated the young actor's performance. One of my favorite scenes, was when the 12 brothers were tossing little Benjamin back and forth between them!

The story of Joseph being betrayed by his older brothers and sold into Egypt, rising through the ranks from slave to second in command to Pharaoh, etc. with the story told through hilarious and varied songs was exciting and funny. As always, I highly recommend this play, and in addition, I recommend this particular performance at the Scera in Orem.