Fantasy

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Book jacket for BruiserWhen I picked up Shusterman's Bruiser, I expected to read a book about an angry kid who taunts and punches away his insecurities. While this book does deal with bullies, Brewster, the character of the title, is almost the opposite of a bully and a bit magical to boot. A hulking and shabbily dressed 16-year-old, Brewster is an outsider who people vote to be the Most Likely to Go to Jail, and generally treat as if he's not there. Which suits him fine, even if he's never stepped on an ant, because he takes on the physical and emotional pain of anyone he gets close to.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

ImageIn 1984, Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg compiled a storybook made up only of images with captions that hint at the fantastical and the scary, the strange and the beautiful. These mysterious illustrations were said to come straight from a man named Harris Burdick and, in the years since the pictures reached the public, the illustrations in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick have been used as a storytelling guide and even a jumping off point to help kids to their own fiction. 


 More recently, Van Allsburg hired a list of favorite children's authors to interpret the images from Van Allsburg's popular work. The result is The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, a 221 page compilation of short stories that flesh out the weird and fantastical elements present in Van Allsburg's original images. Authors ranging from Sherman Alexie to Stephen King, from Walter Dean Myers to Kate DiCamillo and many, many more all lend their voices to very different types of stories. The compilation also features an introduction from favorite, but oddball, author Lemony Snicket.

The Green Lantern

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For some reason The Green Lantern was panned by most critics and many comic book fans. For my part I don't understand why. I've long awaited a movie version of The Green Lantern and this film fit the bill as far as I was concerned.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

The importance of storytelling is beautifully emphasized in this 2010 Newbery Honor title, written and illustrated by Grace Lin, with the audiobook version narrated by actress Janet Song. Minli is the daughter of poor farmers who live in the barren land shadowed by Fruitless Mountain. She is inspired by the mystical folktales of her father, and the sadness of her mother, to try to improve their fortune by traveling to meet the Old Man of the Moon, a character in her father's stories. On the way she meets a talking fish and a dragon who can't fly, as well as other animals and people, both good and evil, who help her realize what good fortune really means. Highly recommended, either in print format (enjoy Lin's lovely illustrations!) or as an audiobook, for ages 8-12. Watch a book trailer and an interview with the author, and discover other books written and illustrated by Lin, such as Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, a 2011 Geisel Honor Book, and picture books including Dim Sum for Everyone! and Fortune Cookie Fortunes.

Rubber

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The first thing I want to tell you about Rubber, directed and written by Quentin Dupieux, is that I really wanted to hate this film. I mean it, I really wanted to hate the film; but I couldn't.

Tales from Outer Suburbia

Tales from Outer SurburbiaWho says suburban living has to be dull and unimaginative? Welcome Shaun Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia, which takes traditional suburban ideal living and turns it on it's head. This book is bursting with imagination as it tells 15 short, illustrated short stories filled with wonder, loss, peace, hope and redemption. Not to make it sound all like butterflies and flowers, there is a slight bizarre and surreal edge to these tales that will leave the reader both wondering and and inspired.

Watership Down


Are you a fan of Erin Hunter's Warriors Series or the swashbuckling adventures of Redwall Abbey? If so, you owe it to yourself to check out Watership Down by Richard Adams, one of the greatest animal fantasy novels of all time.

A band of brave rabbits sets out from their doomed warren on an epic journey across a dangerous land. Along the way, they must face weasels, birds of prey, cats, men, and hostile bands of other rabbits. Filled with nail-biting escapes, brave heroes and terrifying villains, Watership Down will keep you up way past your bedtime. It's one of those rare, "stand alone" fantasy novels, but the characters searching for a new home in this story will stay with you for years to come. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

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I wasn't sure what to expect when I first put Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in my DVD player. It was not even close to what I got. For those who are not familiar with the plot Scott Pilgrim [Michael Cera], the bass player in a small band, has fallen for the new "cool girl" in town, Ramona Flowers [Mary Elizabeth Winstead]. In order to date her he must first defeat her seven "evil exes".

The Girl Who Could Fly

Doesn't everyone wish they could fly? Well, if that wish were to come true, it might cause a lot more problems than you think! Meet Piper McCloud, born to loving but simple parents who strongly believe in doing things the way they've always been done. When Piper accidentally reveals her talent, her parents are horrified that others might find out. Soon their worst fears are realized, and to protect her and themselves, they agree to have her go with Dr. Leticia Hellion to an institute that deals with children with special talents.
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