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The Danger Box
The Danger Box
by Blue Balliett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.85
124 used & new from $0.01

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zoomy rules, November 2, 2010
This review is from: The Danger Box (Hardcover)
Sweet story of a legally blind 12-year-old boy who lives with his grandparents in a rural town in Michigan. Zoomy is isolated, both because he's in a classroom for special needs kids, and because he has no friends (he can't see well enough to play games or ride a bike). He spends his time out of school helping his grandma in the kitchen and grandpa in the family's antique/junk shop in town. He also obsessively writes lists in his many notebooks with purple pens.

This quirky kid is happy until his alcoholic father stumbles into their lives after a several-year absence. He is menacing and unkind, denying any kinship with Zoomy. The father has stolen a truck with a shrink-wrapped box in the back, and he deposits the box at Zoomy's house and disappears again.

Zoomy's grandpa opens the box and they find a small, hand-written notebook which Zoomy and his new friend Lorrol (pronounced Laurel) eventually discover is written by a world-famous scientist. That's the main mystery of the book.

Scary parts are: the father each time he shows up; and late in the book, a criminal seeking the return of the notebook sets a huge fire.

But "The Danger Box" ends well. Great messages about families coming in all shapes, outcasts finding their place, and kids doing amazing things, even in a tiny town in the middle of the country.

The Crowfield Curse
The Crowfield Curse
by Pat Walsh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.25
67 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric mystery great for Potter lovers, October 27, 2010
This review is from: The Crowfield Curse (Hardcover)
Very atmospheric, for the reader who would love to read about snowy life at a remote monastery in the 1300s. William is an orphan who has "the Sight." This allows him to see and befriend demons and "fay," fairies in human form, and strange animals too. One new friend is a hobgoblin the size of a cat. The mystery part of the story involves the search for a buried angel who will spring to life if a person of good soul pulls an arrow from the body. Of course William is that person and must achieve this task, guided by a Leper (Jacobus Bone) wearing a mask, and his inhuman guardian Shadlock.

There are several references to Christianity with the monks and the angel, who arrives at the time the Abbot dies to take his soul away. At the same time there is a Dark King who shows up late in the book but kills innocent woodland animals. Not for sensitive kids! Will finds these still warm, dead animals hanging from a tree and cuts them down to lay them on the ground.

Harry Potter lovers should like this, although it doesn't have the humor that JK Rowling puts into her books. The good and evil sides become clear at the end of the book, so the reader is kept guessing.

Will has a future so I'd expect sequels about this "sighted" boy. Not for all 4th graders. Fine for Harry Potter types but some kids might wait until 5th grade to read this one as it's a bit creepy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2010 5:53 PM PDT

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