Sunday, December 31, 2017

eGranth - Books Newsletter, December 2017

Editor’s Note: - This is the December Newsletter, that I, Anvita Agarwal, am editing. This time, we have many books in the Fantasy section, and all of them are books you will love to read. During this month, I managed to complete another Rick Riordan series, and have shared that with you. Along with that, I have included a book that will simplify your History and Geography lesson’s. ‘The Incredible History of India’s Geography’ is a book that will surely spark you interest in these two subjects. Two other famous series have been included in this newsletter. The ‘Tom Gates’ series, a series of side-splitting books on the life of Tom Gates, and his journey through school with Mr. Fullerman, his grumpy teacher, and Delia, his annoying sister, and a lot of unexpected accidents. Enjoy as you delve deeper into the mystical world of Narnia, as you read the adventures of Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy, as they solve the different issues that keep popping up in the wonderful world of Narnia. Join them as they visit different lands and meet different creatures. Hope you enjoy this newsletter!     - Anvita 
 



A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle
category: fantasy, science fiction, adventure
Age: 9-11 years
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 
 I was confused on what to borrow next from my school library, and was browsing through shelves when I came across this book. I had heard of it, and it was supposed to be very good. This book is written by Madeleine L’Engle. It talks about Meg Murray and her brother Charles Wallace, who have gone to find their father with their friend Calvin. They are helped by Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, some strange old ladies, who know Charles Wallace. The book talked about even the most difficult concepts, like where she talked about the tesseract, with a lot of ease. I found her description of characters the best, as it told you a lot about the person, so you could understand what the character was going through. An example of this is seen when she talks about Aunt Beats. Aunt Beast is a character who appears for a very short period of time. Despite that fact, you can understand her character so well that you understand everything about her, like she is nothing but a part of yourself.
 
 Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead
by Rick Riordan
Books in this series: The Sword of Summer, The Hammer of Thor, The Ship of the Dead
category: Fiction; Adventure; Fantasy
Age:  12+
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
This is the last book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, and in my opinion, the best. In this book, Magnus, Blitzen, Hearthstone, Alex, Sam, T.J, Halfborn Gunderson, and Mallory Keen have to find Loki, and defeat him, before he triggers Ragnarok, the ultimate doomsday. Magnus promises Aegir, that he would defeat Loki in a flyting contest, and take Aegir’s revenge. He had said this as all of them were trapped by Aegir, husband of Ran, a goddess who hated Magnus, and wanted to kill him. He never actually meant it, as Loki was the trickster god, and was very clever with words.  This was truly a unique idea. A flyting contest, is a contest of insults! No one would have expected this twist. They would think that Loki would be defeated through war. The plot of this book was very strong, as the sub plots in them also held some importance in the book, and they did not feel out of place. The character development of even minor characters who appeared for short scenes was strong, so you could understand the importance of that particular character.
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor
by Rick Riordan
category: Fiction; Adventure; Fantasy
Age:  9-11 years
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor: Magnus has another crisis on hand. Thor has lost his hammer, and has fallen into enemy hands, the giants. Without the hammer, the giants wil not be threatened by anything, so they can cause whatever damage they want in Midgard, the human world. Sam (Samirah), is being forced to marry the giant king Thrym, as they later find out that Thrym has the hammer, and it will be handed to Sam once she is married to him. I loved this book, as they added Alex Fierro to it, a gender fluid and transgender teen who is a child of Loki (these kinds of people are also called Argr). This adds complexity to the book, as Alex is very comfortable in using Loki’s powers. This makes her a dangerous enemy, but a powerful ally, so they always have to be on the lookout. It gets comical when Magnus or anyone else calls Alex a ‘he’ on days when Alex is a ‘she’, and vice versa. The plot has a lot of suspense in it, which holds the reader’s interest throughout. You particularly enjoy the parts when they talk about Otis and Marvin, Thor’s goats who are always filled with a ton of sarcastic comments.
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan
Books in this series: The Sword of Summer, The Hammer of Thor, The Ship of the Dead
category: Fiction; Adventure; Fantasy
Age:  9-11 years
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 This is the first book in the Magnus Chase and the God’s of Asgard series, and is also written by Rick Riordan. Of all the Rick Riordan series that I have read, I found this series to be the best. In this book, Magnus Chase, a young teenager who has lost his mother, and does not know who his father is, has to find the Sword of Summer. He is told that the Sword belonged to his father Frey, the Norse god of peace and fertility. This opens him to the world of the Norse gods. Along with his search for the Sword, he must find replacement ropes that hold Fenris Wolf, a son of Loki. He is helped on his journey by Hearthstone, a deaf and dumb elf, Blitzen, a dwarf and Samirah-al-abbas, a Valkyrie. This book has a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and the dialogues that go between the characters are hilarious. Each challenge they face feels more like a challenge you are facing, as it is described so well, you can imagine the scene unfolding before your eyes. You read how they solve the challenge with bated breath, wanting to know whether they succeed or not. It is a fast-paced book, and all the mythologic gods and other beings are talked about without making it too packed with facts.

Mistress Masham’s Repose
by T.H White
category: fiction, fantasy;
Age: 9-11 years
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 This book was recommended to me by my librarian. It is written by T.H White, who also wrote ‘The Sword in the Stone’. It talks about an orphan called Maria, who discovers a bunch of Lilliputians on an island near her estate. She manages to guard their secret safely, until Mr. Hater, the vicar, who is also her evil guardian, and Miss Brown, her governess, find out about them. They now plan to capture the Lilliputians, and sell them. Will Maria be able to prevent their plans with the help of the cook, and an old Professor? This book took inspiration from Gulliver’s travels, and also links the two books together, though it does not have a very high opinion of Gulliver. I really liked the character development, and the book was very good overall. The part that I found could have been better was when they described the Lilliputians. A lot was described about their livelihood, but less about their character.

The Incredible History of India’s Geography
by Sanjeev Sanyal
category: non-fiction, history and geography;
Age: 11+
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 This book is written by Sanjeev Sanyal, and is an adaptation of his book ‘The Land of the Seven Rivers’ for a younger audience. Though it is a book on geography, it covers a lot on India’s history, from the time the continents were fused together as one super-continent, till the time India got independence. He has cleverly related History and Geography in this, as when he is explaining India’s History, he adds the main turn in geographical events, and explains how the towns and cities changed, or which monument was built and its importance. It is divided into eight chapters, each describing a different era. It is more suited for kids in middle school, as it includes many concepts that children of ages younger that that would not know about. The first chapter was a little slow, as it talked about how the continent’s position came to be how it is, but the second chapter talks about the Harappans, and that chapter is very interesting when it talks about their lifestyle. It then proceeds to other chapters like ‘Not Just the King of the Jungle’, which talks about the Mauryans. I loved this book, as it included facts that I had never read about.
Book Uncle and Me
by Uma Krishnaswami
category: fiction, comedy;
Age: 7 - 11
Reviewed by: Anika
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 My dad bought me this book a few years ago. I started reading it and loved it immediately. It talks about a girl named Yasmin who loved reading books. She felt very happy as there was a free lending library just around the corner. The man who ran the library was called Book Uncle and was a very kind man. Yasmin would borrow one book everyday and this way she had read more than four hundred books. She felt that she was the luckiest person in the world. One day, out of the blue she finds out that Book Uncle gets a notice and has to shut the library down because he doesn’t have a commercial establishment which makes his library an illegal operation. It is now up to Yasmin and her friends Reeni and Anil to save the library. With the upcoming elections for the mayor she starts getting an idea that might just save the library. I loved this book. My favourite character was Yasmin as she was very ingenious and clever. Her idea to save the library was very unique and very successful. She was very determined to save the library as it was her favourite place in the world. The plot was simple and very interesting. The English was simple too. It was a very nice experience reading this book.

James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl
category: fiction; adventure, comedy;
Age: 7-9 years
Reviewed by: Anika
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 This book was written by Roald Dahl. I have seen the movie many times and have the book many times too. This book talks about a small boy named James whose parents get eaten by a giant rhinoceros. He is sent to live with his two cruel aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. One day he receives a bag full of magic worms from an old, mysterious man. He accidentally drops them and they crawl into the roots of an old peach tree. The next day he discovers a peach growing on that tree when it had never borne fruits before. The peach keeps on growing. He somehow gets into the peach and meets many insects who soon become his best friends. The peach breaks away from the tree and rolls into the sea. They have many adventures and have lots of fun. It was very funny too. The Caterpillar was my favourite character as he kept on giving funny comments all throughout the book. The Spider was very wise and kind. She would comfort James when he thought about his parents and felt sad. My favourite part is near the end when the peach lands on top of a building. It gets very funny when Aunt Sponge and Spiker climb out of the car and try to convince James to come back when they are sopping wet and covered in slime. This is one of my favourite books. It was amazing.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
by C.S Lewis
category: fiction, fantasy, adventure; Age: 10+
Reviewed by: Anika
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
 Four kids are staying at an old professor’s house. Their names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. One day while playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers a strange new land named Narnia at the back of an old wardrobe. Soon the other three kids see it too, and they discover something terrible. The ruler of the land was a woman named the White Witch. She always kept the land in winter and was very cruel. The only person who could defeat her was Aslan a very powerful and kind lion. They also discovered that if two sons of Adam (boys) and two daughters of Eve (girls) sat on the thrones near the Stone Table, the White Witch’s magic would break. The White Witch knew about this so she would turn any boy or girl who came to Narnia into stone. Unfortunately, Edmund had already met the White Witch and liked her. Since he was also angry with his siblings, he slipped away to her palace to tell her about Peter, Susan and Lucy. He hoped that she would turn his siblings into stone and make him a prince and the future king. Would Peter, Susan and Lucy escape and reach the Stone Table in time and rescue Edmund from the White Witch?? This book had a very interesting plot.  My favourite character was Aslan, the lion as he was very wise and kind. He listened to everyone and gave judgement wisely. I also liked him because he had a fun side too and was not serious all the time. He would play with the others too. This is the 2nd book in the series “Chronicles of Narnia”. My librarian recommended this series. I had heard of it but I was not too keen to read as I had not understood it before. But this time I just loved it. This book as it was full of suspense and mystery which made it amazing and made you want to know what would happen next. Anyone who likes fiction, fantasy and adventure should read this book.

Tom Gates: Genius Ideas Mostly
by L. Pichon
category: fiction, comedy;
Age: 11+
Reviewed by: Anika
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
I had heard about this series of books but I didn’t think it would be nice. I decided to give it a try and loved it. This was a very funny and hilarious book. It’s about a boy named Tom Gates. This year his school is celebrating their sports day and how his teacher Mr. Fullerman has them all practicing in all the ways possible. On the other hand he is given the job of a student ambassador so he has to take care of a kid named Joey who causes disaster and accidents everywhere. Tom is worried because he also has a talent show coming up. He plans to enter his band Dogzombies but once again disaster strikes in the form of Joey which gets them knocked out of the competition. What will happen next? This was kind of like Diary of a Wimpy Kid except that it’s a thousand times better. It made me laugh a lot. It describes Tom’s worries and fantasies.  It contains a lot of his doodling. Most of the book talks about his daydreaming and how his perfect life would be. This was the fourth book in the series. It was an amazing experience to read this book. I kept laughing throughout the book. Every kid should read this series.

© 2017, Anvita and Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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