Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Odysseus in the Serpent's Maze by Jane Yollen and Robert J. Harris ✮✮✮✮✮

A review by Reagan (6th grade)

So guess who’s back with another great book to review? Me! Reagan! This time I am reviewing an even better book than Mara. I am reviewing…ODYSSEUS!! Yes, I am reviewing Odysseus in the Serpent’s Maze by Jane Yollen and Robert J. Harris. This book is about Odysseus and his adventures. Odysseus and his friend Mentor are visiting Odysseus’s grandpa, and then they are on their way home when (plot twist) there is a major storm and they get thrown into the ocean. Some pirates find them, and that is where Penelope and Helen come into the story.  What will happen next? They die! Just kidding! They don’t die, but you will have to read the book to find out. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Overall, I loved the book. I never felt like it was just dragging on an on, and I would read it again. I also really loved Penelope and Helen, who are both clever in their own ways.

I liked Penelope more, because Helen is spoiled rotten, and Penelope puts up with it. She always puts the others’ needs first, and we have got to consider the fact that she volunteered to go inside the maze so that Helen wouldn’t have to.

I hated Helen in the beginning, but towards the end she shows that she is much more than just a pretty face. She uses her beauty to distract the guards multiple times, and when facing lack of food, water, and bathing facilities, she handles it decently. When they go to Crete and stay at the prince’s palace, she is treated like royalty (because she is), although Odysseus and Mentor are not. However, when Penelope is thrown into the maze, she gives up all the comforts that they have given her to help Odysseus and Mentor so Odysseus can go into the maze and save Penelope.

Mentor is a good friend, but when Helen comes along he is too mesmerized by her beauty to be of any use.

Odysseus is seriously heroic. He saves Mentor, Helen, and Penelope way too many times, he goes into the Labyrinth to save Penelope when she is thrown in, he slays Ladon, and he helps kill the bore. Sometimes, he does want to be a man a little too much, but in this book he was much more heroic than your average man. 

The scene and setting description is pretty good. It doesn’t mention any years really, but if you know when Odysseus lived that shouldn’t be a problem at all. Except for when they are lost at sea, you can always tell where they are.

I think that the book is very good, and I rate it 4.9/5 stars. Anyone who likes mythology would love this book. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A PLACE IN THE SUN by Jill Rubacaba ✮✮✮1/2

A review by Chloe (3rd grade)

A Place in the Sun by Jill Rubalcaba is about a boy named Senmut, whose dad gets attacked by a cobra. Ooops! Can’t tell you what happens next, ‘cause that would be a spoiler! He goes into a desert with a group of people, and the rest of the book is about what happens to them.

I would say that my favorite character was the head guard, who had the greatest lion’s roar ever. The mother was also a good character—she was really caring. My least favorite character was the cobra. I mean, look at it on the cover of the book! It’s really scary!

The story takes place in Egypt, in the region of Nubia. You know it takes place in Ancient Egypt because of the gods they worshipped and because it is during the reign of Queen Nefertari and Ramses II. When Senmut’s dad was bitten by the cobra, they went to the pharaoh for help, because he was kind and they believed he could help, instead of the hospital, where we would go today.

This was about a pretty good book—I would give it about three and a half stars. I liked this one much more than I liked Casting the Gods Adrift, the the ending was sadder than I wanted it to be. Those who are interested in Ancient Egyptian mythology, like my brother Quinn, would like this book. 

MARA DAUGHTER OF THE NILE by Eloise Jarvis McGraw ✮✮✮✮

Welcome to Reagan's (6th grade) first book review!

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, is about a girl named Mara who was a slave and then some dude freed her. Not really though because it turns out he makes her go to be the interpreter for a Syrian princess, but she’s actually secretly a spy. SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??!?!?!?!!?!?

If I were to just hear the plot of the book, I would think it sounded lame and stupid, but it had great reviews on the back, so I read it. However, I loved how Ms. McGraw wrote later on in the book, but it was very hard to get into in the beginning. It wasn’t until pretty far into the book that I was actually agreeing with those reviews. I also loved how she wrote her characters.

I liked Mara because she was sly, witty, smart and brave, but after she met Sheftu, she started getting a little bit annoying because she was so lovesick. Sheftu was, well, um, he was odd. Yeah he is very hard to describe. He has a lot of mood swings. One moment he’s all happy and chill, and then the next he’s all mad at random people for no reason. I don’t think I would want to be his friend. Innanni was really sweet, and I really liked her. She was the Syrian princess that Mara had to be the interpreter for.

A couple of the secondary characters were Thutmose and Hatshepsut. Thutmose was silent, but when he did talk he could be very mean. Nobody really liked Hatshepsut, because she wasn’t a very good ruler, at least, not in the main characters’ perspectives. I thought that she was actually a great person to take the throne of Egypt. 

Even if they didn’t mention they were in Egypt, it was very obvious that they were, but only because they went to a pyramid and Hatshepsut went the ruler. I think the setting was very shoddily described because she didn’t mention any dates or cultural things.

Overall, I loved the book, and I would really recommend it to anyone who likes a smart female main character who is brave, sly and witty, and who likes a loooooove storyyyyyy. Ooooooooohhhhhhh… <3 <3 :) :)