Monday, March 31, 2014

Review of "The Trumpet of the Swan" by E.B. White

Review of The Trumpet of the Swan by Alana Gerdes, student at Bradley Beach Elementary School

A trumpeter swan without a voice is a tragic thing.There can be nothing worse! But for Louis, it is his life. The Trumpet of the Swan, a classic children’s novel by E.B White, is a fine fiction book about Louis, a trumpeter swan, and his struggle to find a voice. 
In this book, the main characters are Louis, the determined swan without a voice; his encouraging parents; and Sam the kind-natured boy who helps Louis. Sam lives relatively close to Louis’s peaceful home pond in the spring and summer. In the spring and summer, Sam and his dad go camping near Louis’s home pond. Once Louis finds his mate his children will be raised there too!
This book has many major plot events including when Louis found his mate, Serena. The first major plot  event was the private conversation between Louis and his father to find out if Louis really does have a hidden voice. At that moment, Louis’s father discovers that Louis truly could not trumpet like the other swans. After that, the family flies to their new home and Louis runs away to find Sam. 
Once Louis finds Sam, he tells him he wants to go to school to learn to read and write. Miraculously, Louis learns to read and write, but to his dismay the other trumpeter swans couldn’t understand his writing. Then he sees Serena  and he knows that they are two halves of the same heart. But poor Louis can’t get her attention. Shortly after that, Louis’s father knows he has to help his son. So, he sets off to town to get a trumpet for his son. With a bang and a crash, Louis’s father broke into a music store and stole a trumpet. When he returned, the family heard about his stealing and felt bad. Then Louis learned to play the trumpet, found Sam, and got a job at camp Kookoookoos to make money to pay of the stolen trumpet. 
I recommend this award-winning book to all readers for its interesting plot -- with twists and turns -- and its beautiful descriptions.
Here is one example: “A long word,' he thought, 'is really no harder than a short one. I'll just copy one letter at a time, and pretty soon it will be finished. Besides, my life is a catastrophe. It's a catastrophe to be without a voice.'" 
In conclusion, The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B White is an amazing book that everyone should read. It is a true classic. Like John Updike, an author, said, “We are lucky to have this book.” 

Review of "Allegiant" by Veronica Roth

Review of Allegiant  By Kiliko Lowe, seventh grader at Bradley Beach Elementary School

Veronica Roth’s Allegiant is the third book in a series about a sixteen year old Dauntless girl named Tris Prior. Tris has been in a revolution, has been in jail twice, and has danced with death countless times. Now that she’s outside and away from the fence that contained her family for generations, she will do whatever it takes to find out the truth.

    Allegiant takes place in multiple settings: Erudite compound, Abnegation compound, and  Dauntless compound, which are all inside the Chicago experiment. The Chicago experiment is a program by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare to monitor people who live in factions inside the fence. Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless, and Amity are all the different Factions. The Bureau of Genetic Welfare controls people who are Genetically disabled (GD). The book also takes place at The Fringe, the rundown section of the United States which contains all the genetically disabled people from experiments that failed in the past.

    The main character in this book is Beatrice (Tris) Prior. She was born in Abnegation and later switched to Dauntless. But she  is Divergent. Divergence is where you can resist things such as the truth serum or simulations. You are also qualified to join all the factions based on your aptitude results. In the first book Divergent,  there was a Civil War because of that. Tris is extremely stubborn and doesn't like being talked to condescendingly. Tobias (Four) Eaton is Tris’s boyfriend. He was born in Abnegation and later switched to Dauntless. Tobias was thought to be divergent in the test because he could resist Simulations. He later finds out in the Bureau that he is not actually Divergent. Four is a very independent person. He never asks for help. So being with Tris is tough for him because he is very independent and Tris never wants to be in the dark. 

    The Factions have just finished a war. The Divergent were being killed off by Jeanie Matthews, and her assistant Caleb (Tris’s brother). The factions were able to stop her and the new leader is Evelyn (Tobias’s Mother) a factionless woman. Tris does not like being in the fence and wants to leave, but doesn't know how. A group called the Allegiant confront Tris and say that the can't take her and whoever else she wants outside the fence. They are able to escape outside of the fence and they come across the Bureau of Genetic Welfare.The Bureau treats Genetically Disabled (GD) people and Genetically Pure (GP) people differently. They believe that GP’s are better than GD’s. The Bureau started to realize that the Chicago experiment- where Tris and Tobias came from- started to fail so they decided that they were going to erase the minds of everyone in the experiment. Tris wasn’t about to let this happen so she decided that she was going to get a group to try and stop the Bureau from erasing the minds of all their loved ones by erasing the minds of the experimenters. 
In order to do this Caleb is going to go on a suicide mission to get the memory serum out of the weapons lab. Tobias, Christina, and Peter are going to go inside the city, to try and resolve the problems that were happening inside. Tris and Matthew are going to escort Caleb to the weapons lab. When it comes time to carry out the plan, Caleb is caught by guards, Tris takes off running towards the weapons lab in an attempt to get the memory serum. And ... well you will just have to read the book to find out what happens next.
 I found this book and the entire series amazing. There were lots of twists, and I felt like I was a part of the book, inside the experiment fighting the same battles as Tris did. This book is meant for teenagers, because they can relate to the feelings and experiences of Tris and Tobias. This book is for people who feel like they don’t belong, or who are just trying to find a place for themselves in this world.

Review of "The Hallowed Ones" by Laura Bickle

Review of The Hallowed Ones  By Annalise Giuliano, eighth grader at Bradley Beach Elementary School

In the action-packed book The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, Katie, a teenage Amish girl, is on the verge of adulthood, ready to partake in Rumspringa with friends and her boyfriend Elijah.  Rumspringa is the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there. It is killing people without faith; and it is bloodthirsty.
The main characters in this book are the narrator Katie; Elijah, the boy Katie is planning to marry; Alex, a boy Katie found outside the Amish gate; Joseph and Seth, Elijah’s brothers who go missing; Katie’s loving but stern parents; Ginger Parsall, an English woman who gets trapped inside the Amish gate when the world goes haywire; Katie’s sister Sarah; The Hexmeister, who listens to and helps Katie; and the Elders who run the Amish community, including the stubborn and ignorant Bishop who puts the community in danger.
I found The Hallowed Ones to be a fast read that was  impossible to put down due to the suspense of seeing which characters would and would not survive in this new world. I would recommend this book to teenage girls who enjoy futuristic stories that are set in a post-apocalypse world.  I give this book a five-star rating, and I am really looking forward to reading the sequel.