Monday, February 15, 2010

The Face on the Milk Carton Booktalk

“The girl on the carton was an ordinary little girl. Hair in tight pigtails, one against each thin cheek. A dress with a narrow white collar. The dress was white with tiny dark polka dots.

“Something evil and thick settled on Janie blocking her throat, dimming her eyes. ‘Sarah-Charlotte,’ she said. She could hear herself shouting Sarah-Charlotte’s name, yet her lips were not moving; she was making no sound at all.

“She reached toward Sarah-Charlotte’s sleeve, but her hand didn’t obey. It lay motionless on top of the carton. It looked like somebody else’s hand; she could not imagine herself wearing that shade of nail polish, or that silly ring.

“‘You drank my milk,’ accused Sarah-Charlotte.

“‘It’s me on there,’ Janie whispered. Her head hurt. Was the milk allergy already setting in? Or was she going insane? Could you go insane this fast? Surely it took years to lose your mind.

“‘On where?’ said Peter.

“‘The girl on the back of the carton,’ whispered Janie. How flat her voice sounded. As if she had ironed it. ‘It’s me” (10-11).

Can you imagine how you would feel if you saw yourself on the back of a milk carton? You grew up with loving, wonderful parents who have done everything they could for you, and now you don’t know who they are. Did they really kidnap her? Are they that good of actors?

Title: The Face on the Milk Carton

Author: Caroline B. Cooney

Publication Information: Published by Laurel-Leaf a division of Random House

Age Group: Grades 7 and up

Topics: Suspense, family, self-identity, first romance

Walk Two Moons Booktalk

My parents were apparently very uncreative when I was born. They chose to name me Sarah. I can’t stand being called Sarah, because there is always inevitably another Sarah around. Someone calls out, “Sarah,” and I turn around only to discover that they are talking to a different Sarah. So, I start ignoring people when they call out my name, assuming that they are talking to someone else, and then they are really calling for me and get mad because I am being rude by not answering. I just can’t win.

Salamanca Tree Hiddle doesn’t have that problem. No one has her same name. And no one has quite the same adventures as she does. Sal has to move to a new neighborhood after her mother leaves her and her father. They move to Euclid Ohio, where she doesn’t even feel connected to her father anymore because he spends all his time with a lady with spooky red hair, named Mrs. Cadaver?

Sal finds a friend named Phoebe, but things start to get real strange for Phoebe and Sal when they see a lunatic on the street, and then they think the lunatic must be the one leaving random notes on Phoebe’s porch. Notes like “You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair,” or “In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter?” What do these messages mean and why is Phoebe’s mother missing. What is going on? Is Mrs. Cadaver responsible? Who is the lunatic? Salamanca does a lot of discovering about others while she discovers a lot about herself.

Title: Walk Two Moons

Author: Sharon Creech

Publication Information: Scholastic Inc., 1994

Age Group: 4th Grade and Up

Topics: Self-Identity, Don’t Judge Others

Coraline Booktalk

Have you ever played the game Clue?

My favorite part of the game, is the secret passageways. I have always wanted to have secret passageways in my house, so I can sneak from the Lounge to the Conservatory or the Study to the Kitchen. Secret passageways are usually dark, narrow hallways, and they seem as though they would be covered with spiders and bugs and undesirable things. If I really found a secret passageway, would I be brave enough to go in it? I am not sure if I would. Would you be brave enough?

Well, in this book, Coraline finds a secret passageway. The scariest part about Coraline’s secret passageway, is that when she is with her mother it’s not there at all! You see, Coraline just moved into a new flat, it’s an old, big house that they have turned into several flats. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible live downstairs, and upstairs is a crazy old man training mice for a circus. But next to Coraline’s is an empty flat. Coraline asks her mother to unlock the old door, that used to lead into the other flat, and when her mother does, Coraline sees that they have bricked the other side of the door for privacy.

The next day, while both of Coraline’s parents are out, Coraline sneaks down the key to the old door and unlocks it. When she opens the door, there is no longer a brick wall but a secret passageway.

Coraline thinks of herself as an explorer, so of course she heads down that secret passageway. What do you think she will find? You will be just as shocked as I was, at what she finds. Read Coraline, to find out.

Title: Coraline

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publication Information: Harper Trophy, 2002

Age Group: 9 and up

Topics: Family Love, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense