Thursday, December 6, 2007


Fablehaven was a very pleasant surprise for me. One of the kids in my class showed it to me, yet another great book that I didn't even have on my list. I am normally not a fan of fantasy and this book looked too fantasy like to me, but I like to read what my students are reading so I figured I would give it a try.

This is one of those books I am coming to love. It is an explanation of fantasy things with use of realistic devises. Peter and the Starcatchers did the same thing and I thoroughly enjoy them.
This story is about a brother and sister pair, Kendra and Seth, who are sent to stay with their grandparents while their parents go on a vacation. They end up at their grandparents estate called Fablehaven. This is obviously, now that I look back on it, a set up for future books because they do spend a lot of time setting up the background of the events that will take place. It takes a while for Kendra and Seth to figure out the difference their grandparents home has in comparison to other places and their grandfather does everything he can to keep it from them. Seth's disregard for the rules gets everyone in all kinds of trouble which forces him and his sister to go on an amazing adventure. The second half of this book is packed with action, adventure and magic. The children encounter all kinds of magical characters and are forced to plead with many for help. Some are there to help and some are not. It ends just as you would expect and leaves questions for what the second installment will present.

This is a fun book and would be great for any older child. I am already on the waiting list at the library for book two and will tell you all about it once I get it finished.

Good Dog. Stay.

Good Dog. Stay. is basically a long eulogy of Beau, a great black lab. Anna Quindelen has apparently won writing awards, but I have not previously read any of her writing, or even heard of her (oops!). I am glad that I picked this book up despite the fact I had no previous knowledge of this person. Just on a side note, I don't always have to have heard of, or read a book by an author, but I often have heard of well known authors and was surprised to have not known this one.

I finished this book in about an hour I think. It is filled with adorable pictures of all kinds of dogs and moves quickly. My favorite thing about the book was the way Anna Quindelen generalized the lessons she learned from Beau to apply to all dogs, in all stages of life. I only read this book a day or so ago and already forget the particulars of Beau's life, but I do remember the day they put Beau down. It was a family event and all were crushed because of the effect this animal had on their lives. That part will stay with me.

If you enjoy reading about the relationships between animals and their families then you will enjoy this really quick read. There have been other dogs in Anna Quendelen's life and I beleive she wrote about this dog in particular for a reason.

I will leave you with my favorite quotes from this book:

"For children, the point of having a dog is something like the point of having a mother and father. Our job is not to do but to be, not to act but to exist."

"Dogs make messes, it's true, but they clean them up as well."

And my favorite: "In a world that seems so uncertain, in lives that seem sometimes to ricochet from challenge to upheaval and back again, a dog can be counted on in a way that's true of little else."