We love the cover of Tom Swift and his Repelatron Skyway. The book, which we found at Pegasus, is one in a series of 1960′s sci-fi stories staring the son of the original Tom Swift. Like his father, Tom Jr. is a young inventor with a spirit of adventure. This one took him to Africa where he and his friend Bud confront a reclusive scientist, an evil mining company executive and dinosaurs! We’ll be looking for more of Tom’s Atomic Age adventures. Nettie has just finished Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh, the fourth book in the Theodosia Thockmorten series by R.L. LaFevers. And we’ve just started reading the fourth book in her Beastology series, The Unicorn’s Tale. All highly recommended.
Archive for the 'The Library' Category
This is the weekend for the College Prepatory School Book Fair. Annabel and Nettie worked the opening hours reorganizing the stacks, following the wake left by the pros – used book salespeople with big blue Ikea bags. We left with our own treasures: Peabody found a DK lego book and Nettie took home a first edition Nancy Drew and “What People Wore” a big book of clothing illlustrations from ancient Egypt to the 1920s.
On my return trip from the GamesCom game convention in Cologne, I picked up some chocolate treats and magazines for the Derringdos. In Germany I found the new Kinder Joy egg. It has a white chocolate cream filling that you scoop out with a plastic tab (picture here). During my brief layover at Heathrow, I found my new favorite (or should that be favourite) magazine, How it Works. It covers almost 1000 individual science and technology subjects, in a concise and straightforward style. This issue’s short articles included Super Earths, laser power, massive mining machines and the IKAROS solar sail. Directions on how to mod a Nerf Maverick increasing its range by 60% sold me on a subscription. They have a special offer for US subscribers at the moment. Check it out here.
Saturday’s Financial Times had a feature on the downturn in the guidebook publishing and the rise of travel applications. The FT likes “augmented reality” tools that let you scan the horizon with your phone’s camera and see hotels pointed out over the screen or take a snapshot of a museum’s painting to get its history. I’ve played with some of these apps and found them slow and finicky. And the the information provided isn’t usually what I’m looking for. My iPhone’s GPS map and web browser are the only apps I regularly use for travel help. Even with those, we still carry a traditional map and usually a walking tour book or two. On our summer trip to London we used Andrew Duncan‘s Favourite London Walks (we have been using his books for years) and an old copy of Walks in London, written in the late 19th century by Augustus Hare.
While we were in London, I was finishing the third book in my new favorite series written by R.L. LaFevers about Theodosia Throckmorton, an eleven-year-old girl living in turn-of-the-century London. She has the special ability to detect vile curses on the Ancient Egyptian artifacts brought to the museum her parents run (The Museum of Legends and Antiquities), and, while working to remove them, gets caught up in many exciting adventures involving secret societies, mummies, and valuable antiquities. Since the books note many specific sites in London, I decided to find out if I could visit them while on our trip. I won’t put in any spoilers, but my sites do include the second and third book. Here are the places I visited:
- The Seven Dials: The scene of an exciting chase in the first book, “Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos”. In the book, the Seven Dials is in a crime-ridden, seedy neighborhood, but today, it is a nice, friendly section of town. No people getting stabbed here!
- The British Museum: Theodosia visits this rival museum once in “Serpents of Chaos”, and again in the third book, “Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus”. It’s also just a really big, interesting museum that we go to every time we’re in London.
- Cleopatra’s Needle: Scene of a large battle between two secret societies that want something (I’m trying to not give anything away!) in the end of ” Eyes of Horus”. It is so cool to see an Egyptian obelisk just standing in the middle of London!
- Chesterfield Street: is where Theodosia lives. It is also the location of the Embassy of the Bahamas! The street is filled with old townhouses, exactly as described in the books.
- Charing Cross Station: The main train station used by Theodosia’s family and enemies. I’m afraid it doesn’t look quite as it used to.
- The Alcazar Theater: is now called the Phoenix, but looks pretty much the same. Theodosia first visits in the beginning of “Eyes of Horus”, and continues to visit throughout the book. It is at Charing Cross Road.
- Somerset House: The former inhabitance of the Society of Antiquaries, and also, in the Theodosia series, the Brotherhood of Chosen Keepers. It is now “an inspiring space for art, culture and creative exchange”. It looks very grand, and you can just imagine Theo visiting here. It is located on the Strand.
- Burlington House: The current location of the Society of Antiquaries. Not in the Theodosia books, but I wanted to see where the Society was now. It IS a really pretty building, and you can eat lunch in the courtyard… You can find it at: 31 Burlington Arcade.
I didn’t go to any sites particular to the second book: “Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris”, but there are plenty. This was a really fun tour to do: one of my favorite parts of our London trip. I loved being able to actually SEE the places that are in the books.
Recently I have been reading the Cherry Ames mystery series, about a young nurse in the 1940s. The pink hardcover on the far left of the photo is “Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse”, the last in the series, the first one I read, and the funniest so far (the department store Santa frequently visits her for aspirin). In the book I just finished, “Cherry Ames, Army Nurse”, Cherry is in the army, making new friends (and enemies) and saving lives. “Cherry did not know what new life she would find [in the Pacific], what new challenges she would face. But whatever it was, she was ready for it!”
I have just finished rereading “The Worst Witch in Trouble” which is one of the books in a series about a witch named Mildred Hubble who goes to Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. This may sound like Harry Potter, but was published before Harry, and is much much better. One confusion, though, was about the latest publishing putting two books in one. For anyone who is insanely confused (as I was) here is the book order: The first book is “The Worst Witch at School” which has “The Worst Witch” and “The Worst Witch Strikes Again”. The second book is “The Worst Witch in Trouble” which has “A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch” and “The Worst Witch at Sea”. The third book is called “The Worst Witch Saves the Day” and the fourth book is “The Worst Witch to the Rescue. Hope this helps!
We turned in a box and two grocery bags to the used book store and got enough cash (this one doesn’t take trade) to buy bubble gum tape, water and a couple books. Nettie got “The Official Book of Hanjie.” Hanjie is a logic puzzle where you fill in squares on a grid based on clues. The resulting pattern of filled-in squares creates a picture and solves the puzzle. What makes it ”official” isn’t clear. Peabody picked up “Incredible Everything” by Stephen Biesty who created several cross-section books for DK. While his other books go deep into particular subjects (my personal favorite explodes a British Man-of-War), Incredible Everything has more variety, perfect for an almost six-year-old. It was $9.00 at Half-Price Books, but can be found used on-line for $2.00 plus shipping.
Peabody has a bad cough and it’s damp outside so Nettie is reading us Emil and the Detectives as we brunch on carrot cake, coffee and tea. Emil is a classic children’s story written in 1929 by German author and screenwriter Erich Kästner. In the story, a couple dozen boys try to recover money stolen from Emil on his train ride to Berlin. The book has been made into several movies including a 1931 version filmed during the Wiemar Republic and a Disney TV special released in 1966. I’m heading to Munich soon and will be looking for Emil movies to bring home.
Nettie has been enjoying The Daring Book for Girls. NPR Weekend Edition had an interview with one of the authors, Andrea Buchanan. You can listen to the interview and read an excerpt from the book here.