The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 18, 2010

Jeana Gockley, book review: Fathers featured in book selections

JOPLIN, Mo. — Unbeknownst to me until I started compiling reviews for this week’s column, several of the books that I recently read placed fathers in pivotal roles -- or at least as much as they can be in children’s and young adult literature.

In a tribute to fathers everywhere on this special day, here are two such reviews. Happy Father’s Day!

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

4th-8th Grade

Due to his large size and mature looks, people frequently mistake 12-year-old Liam for an adult. Sometimes he is able to use his size to his advantage, such as when he was the only student in his class that was tall enough to ride a gravity-defying amusement park ride.

But mostly it just causes immense frustration for Liam and the adults in his life -- they forget that size does not equate to age and scold him because he should have known better.

Little does he know: Liam’s life is about to change forever when he decides to impersonate his father and enter himself in the Greatest Dad Ever Contest. The prize is a trip to a unique new theme park in China, where the four winning father/child pairs get to ride the Rocket -- billed as the “Biggest Thrill Ride in the History of the World.”

Liam gets more than he bargained for when he ends up aboard a top secret special flight into outer space, as the adult chaperone for a group of kids.

Award-winning, English author Frank Cottrell Boyce hooks readers from the beginning, as Liam begins relaying his story from outer space where something has gone terribly wrong. Readers are sure to devour this adventure where Liam and his compadres explore what it means to be a dad.

Heist Society by Ally Carter (sound recording)

Young Adult

Katarina Bishop, 15, the only daughter of one of the world’s most gifted art thieves, is happily ensconced in a New England boarding school until she is accused of a practical joke she did not commit.

Her attempt to leave the family business comes to an abrupt close as she is expelled and in turn learns that her father has been wrongly accused of stealing five priceless paintings from a merciless Italian mobster. She is sure of her father’s innocence and makes it her mission to find the painting and return them to their owner, thus clearing her father’s name.

Kat has only two weeks to return the paintings, but she is determined. After a whirlwind trip throughout Europe with her wealthy, good-looking friend Hale spent gathering clues, she hastily assembles a team to pull off the impossible.

Angela Dawe’s narration is satisfying. She does a first-rate job; listeners will have no trouble determining which character is speaking.

The eye-catching cover of a dark-haired girl in oversized, dark sunglasses is sure to garner interest, and the movie-like action of this sound recording is sure to hook any listener. In fact, most will long for a sequel.


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