Sunday, March 18, 2012

Minute Physics

Hello! sorry I haven't been posting! I started middle school so I haven't had the time for posts.

Something I've been a lot lately (and it's not my homework) is a You Tube show called Minute Physics. There are lots of videos, and they are all about really interesting stuff. I've been spending my spring break on all the old ones, learning about things like the tides, and Albert Einstein's theories, and quantum tunnelling (which is really really complicated and I can't explain it).

Here's the link--enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two from Doug Tennapel--Bad Island and Ghostopolis

Hello! I'm back with something really special--a double review of two great graphic novels by Doug Tennapel.

First up, Bad Island. In this book a family of four go out for an outing in a small sailboat, but when the weather turns nasty, they are blown to an unusual island where they meet some of their fiercest, wildest, and weirdest creatures on earth (maybe in the whole galaxy). With something hunting them, they can't afford to care about health and hygiene-- they're caught in a battle of life and death! Thrills, chills, and excellent pictures!

Ghostopolis. In this book, what seems to be a normal boy is transported to the spirit world, where the laws of the real world are turned on their head (which is why ghosts are able to fly). In his perilous adventure, he meets a nightmare--a skeleton horse--he calls Skinny, and the ghost of his long-dead grandfather. A ghost hunter who has been fired and a ghost who escaped to the living world try to find the boy and return him to his proper place, while evil bug creatures under the ruler of the ghost world try to find and destroy him...

I think this is a brilliant use of art to help tell an exciting story! I'd have to say I liked this one best, but Bad Island is pretty great as well.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

A few weeks ago, I read the book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin. It both won the Newbery Honor and is the book for Kids Reading Across Rhode Island. I got a copy for free at the kickoff event for that.

This book involves the old man of the moon, a dragon who can’t fly, a talking goldfish, and a girl who’s determined to change the fortune of her family. The book starts out in a small village where everything is muddy. And by everything I mean everything. Then one day a man selling goldfish comes, and the girl, whose name is Minli, buys a goldfish with one of her two coins that she got when she was a baby. Her mother is furious, but her father points out that it is her money, and she can spend it.

With the advice of the goldfish, who can talk, Minli starts out on a journey to find the old man of the moon, to ask him how to change her family’s fortune. On the way she meets a dragon who is tied down and can’t fly. She unties the dragon while the dragon tells her his tale. In this story, a painter was painting a dragon for the emperor, who is a very, very angry fellow. He did not put eyes in the painting, and when he gave it too the emperor, he was furious that the painting was unfinished, but when he saw that he could make a simple brushstroke to finish it, he did. But then the dragon came alive, broke through the palace wall, and ran away. That’s just one of the stories within the story, of which there are tons.

With the dragon, Minli and the goldfish travel to a city where they borrow a page from the book of the future, and a string of destiny. Then they find another village, but when she came there she was almost killed by the green tiger, the spirit of the emperor described above. Two of the children of the village defeat the green tiger, by tricking him so that he falls into a well. Then after a brief stop in the village they escort Minli up the endless mountain.

She then gets to the man of the moon, but what question will she ask him? And will Fruitless Mountain ever bear fruit? Find out by reading the book yourself!

I loved this book so much because of the plot, the characters, and the magic of it all. Also I liked this book even though most “common sense” says white boys only like to read books bout white boys, and books with short sentences, few words, and lots of action. I fall completely out of this category, and completely loved this. Because of the talk she gave, I know that the second book she tried to write, the publishing company tried to whitewash her book, and told her to make the Chinese girl into a white boy. Thank goodness she didn’t do that here with this story!

Here's a picture of me listening to Grace talk (borrowed from Grace Lin's blog). I am the one in the maroon shirt on the right.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And Tango Makes Three

Today I read "And Tango Makes Three" a book that you've probably all have heard of, and some of you might even have read. We've been meaning to get it out of the library for ages, but never got around it until now. Tango Makes Three is one of the most challenged books children's books in the United States. In this book, there were two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo. They acted to each other as though one were male and the other female. The two male penguins started building a nest, as all penguin couples did, but got no eggs (because of both being male). So the zoo keeper gave them an egg that wasn't being looked after. And Roy and Silo looked after it. Eventually, it hatched, and out came Tango!

Roy and Silo were good parents. Tango was the first penguin in the zoo (perhaps in the world) to have two daddies.

I loved this book because it's a very sweet story! I recommend it to kids aged five and up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, is a classic that I just read (although I'd seen the movie). I'm reading the sequel, Prince Caspian, now.

In the L., the W., and the W., four ordinary kids--Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy--are evacuated to an old house in the countryside in World War II. In this house, they find in a spare room a wardrobe. Lucy hides in the wardrobe and finds that it is a doorway to the fantastical country of Narnia! Eventually, they all find their way through to Narnia, and are swept up into an adventure where they have to pit their wits and everything else they have against the White Witch! She has made it always winter in Narnia, and never Christmas.

But Edmund had made it to Narnia by himself, and met the White Witch. She had made him think that she was the Good Guy! So he betrayed his siblings, only to find that she herself had planned to betray him...and he became her captive.

The real Good Guy is Aslan, the magical lion. He comes back from over the sea and sets in motion the fall of the White Witch. But she still has a lot of power....

Who will win? What will happen to the children? And will Christmas come?

(of course you've probably read the book or seen the movie, so you know the answers).

I liked this book because of all the action, and because the story was utterly amazing and fascinating. My favorite character, was Peter, the oldest--I could sort of relate to him, because I am an older brother too.

For the next Pickled Times, I'm going to rank this against another fantasy classic--The Lord of the Rings! I might even throw in a few other books.... possibly even Zita the Space Girl....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zita the Spacegirl

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (2011) is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. in two days, I had read it 5 times!!!!!!!!!!!

Zita and her friend Joseph are ordinary kids. While running around, they find a crater with a mysterious device inside a rock at the bottom of it. This device has a big red button. Zita, being the more adventurous type, presses it. Nothing happens. She presses it a few more times, and a portal opens, much to their surprise. Out of it comes the tentacles of an alien, tentacles that snatch Joseph and pull him back through the portal. The portal closes again, and Zita, horrified by what she has done, runs away. Then she decides to rescue Joseph, gets the mysterious device, and hits the button. When the portal opens again, she jumps through it.

When she lands, she finds herself in an alien world with mysterious creatures at every turn. She runs off through the strange streets, and once again sees the tentacled alien, pulling Joseph along. She reaches for the mysterious device, but a creature (who Zeta eventually finds is named Strong-Strong) steps on it, breaking it.

Will Zeta be able to rescue Joseph and get back through the portal? Why was Joseph captured? And where in the galaxy have they ended up? Find out in Zita the Space Girl!

This book I suggest for ages seven up. It is a bit scary, and some of the characters are a bit creepy (like the tentacled thing, and other strange creatures). But she makes friends with some of the aliens (like Strong-Strong), and they help her along the way.

I loved it because it was so exciting. It was really good. Zita is a very good character; she reminds me of my brother in personality because both are adventurous and mischievous (which sometimes gets them into trouble), daring, loyal, and determined.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Candy Bomber, by Michael O. Tunnell

Candy Bomber, The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot", by Michael O. Tunnell (2010, 104 pages).

This book is about a pilot who drops candy over East Berlin, so that the kids have a treat. You've probably heard of the second world war, and probably about the Berlin War...but here's some background information.After WW II, Germany was divided into 2 parts--the allies of Great Britain, the US, and France took one half, and the Soviet Union took the other. Berlin was in the Soviet half, East Germany, so the western alliance decided that Berlin should be split as well, into east and west halves. Then in 1948 the Soviets decided to starve out the West Berliners, and so giant aircraft started flying from the west to bring food to the western half, because there was no other way to get food into that part of the city.

Back to the story. One US pilot, Gail Halvorsen, saw a bunch of kids backed up against a fence on one of his missions. He saw that they wanted more than just food, so he gave them the only candy he had, two sticks of gum. To his surprise, they didn't fight over it--they broke into many pieces, to share. And he went back to his plane, and flew off.

He soon decided that he easily drop parachutes with candy attached, and so the candy bombing of West Berlin began. When he had candy to drop, he would wiggle the wings of his aircraft--and so Operation Viggles was underway. It brought happiness and hope to the children, many of whom still remembered the deadly bombs from the end of the war.

An excellent piece of non-fiction, with lots of information contained in both historic pictures and words. I greatly enjoyed reading this!