Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Our rating: ****

A young girl named Alice sees a mysterious white rabbit one day and follows it through a rabbit burrow into a magical and somewhat strange land. Cakes and drinks that change her size, a Hatter and a March Hare, a baby that is literally a pig, and conversations with walking packs of cards confront Alice as she makes her way through Wonderland.

The cards are quite fun. They play a game of croquet with Alice using flamingoes and hedgehogs as mallet and ball! I found the court scene amusing. This is a sort of book that doesn’t really explain things. It’s a string of strange adventures, but still enjoyable. By the way, a pun with the Mock Turtle struck me as funny. I found this book pretty good, and perhaps some day I will read the sequel, Through The Looking Glass.


Our rating: ****

Camp Green Lake doesn’t really have a lake. And it’s not a fun camp. It’s a punishment camp for bad boys, where every boy digs a hole every day to build character. If you find anything interesting, you give it to the Warden. If she likes it, you get the day off. Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t do. He doesn’t mind, because things like this are always happening to his family. They all blame it on his great-great-grandfather, who stole a pig, and seemingly caused the family bad luck. Somehow, the camp’s past is entangled with his family’s past, and with the past of Zero, a supposedly brainless camper.

If Holes sounds like a boring story, let me tell you, it’s not! This is an unbelievably tall tale that is amazingly believable. Sachar’s story is interesting, quirky, funny, and a bit tense. On the subject of tense, I would suggest that if you have anything against poisonous lizards that you don’t read this with the closet door open, at night, or anytime you might feel like you could be assaulted by lizards. The only big problem I found in Holes was a few places where the writing style changed.

Boomerang Hunter

Our rating: ***

Balulu is an Australian aborigine hunter. His tribe is suffering from a drought, and is slowly starving. Setting out with his dingo named Warrigal, Balulu searches for a better place for his tribe to live and hunt in. But, when he finally finds the perfect place, it proves to already be inhabited by another tribe, which might have hostile intentions.

There’s a lot of neat stuff in here, although, quite honestly, Balulu’s diet is rather, shall we say, different. Anyway, it’s interesting to read about how the aborigines lived and what they did. It also makes you appreciate even something like brussel sprouts! At least they aren’t sun-dried frog skins! (Although. . . I guess that point is debatable.)

Lizard Music

Our rating: ***

Victor’s parents leave him at home with his sister, who quickly leaves with a bunch of her friends for a camping trip. He’s alone in the house and can do anything he wants: eat anchovy pizza, watch TV all night and build model planes on the dinner table. Victor meets a strange black man, who takes his pet chicken everywhere and goes under several names, with Charlie being the most prominent. Then, long after the TV stations stop broadcasting for the night, lizards take over the station and put on their own shows. Afterwards, Victor notices lizard music records, posters and advertisements all over his town. Victor thinks this is strangely connected to a movie he sees about Pod People from another planet who take over people one by one. He knows that Charlie holds the key to the whole mystery, but can Victor convince Charlie to tell him?

Lizard Music is probably one of Daniel Pinkwater’s weirdest books. Every little thing fits together and points to giant lizards. You may not want to read this if you’re not on good terms with reptiles. Otherwise, it’s pretty good, although I question Victor’s activities at home by himself. A thrilling story with many unusual twists and turns. Just don’t read it at night!