Tag Archives: wendy mass

Bob & Mason

2 Aug

Sometimes, book covers are remarkably similar and I get confused. Take these two, for example.


Both have trees in the center. Both have names in the title. Both feature the main character and a diminutive companion. Both are done in shades of browns and reds, oranges and yellows. Both have mysteries that need solving, though neither is a mystery book. I picked one up thinking it was the other. I read both. Both were great – sad, poignant. Funny, too.

Bob, by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, is set in Australia during a drought.

Publisher’s Summary: It’s been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Now that she’s back, Livy has the feeling she’s forgotten something really, really important about Gran’s house.

It turns out she’s right.

Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn’t forget Livy, or her promise. He’s been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can’t remember who—or what—he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it’s time to keep that promise.

Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever.

The Truth According to Mason Buttle,  by Leslie Connor, is set in a family that has seen better days.

Publisher’s Summary: Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.

But will anyone believe him?

Both were full of hope.

I hope you read them.

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Pie vs Pi

14 Aug

A little homage to Mad Magazine in my title today, but let me start with a funny story I heard years ago, which might be a Canadian urban myth.

Many years ago, when a member of the Royal Family was visiting some rural location in Canada  and a dinner of some sort was involved. (I always envision a church basement sort of affair, with lots of folksy rural people about.) When the main course was over and desert was about to be served, the woman serving the royal person is reported to have said, “Keep your fork, Duke. There’s pie.”

I got to thinking about this story while reading Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass. Joss, the main character is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. his job is to deliver pies. But these aren’t ordinary pies; they are the glue that holds the fabric of the universe together.

Unknown

This was an OK read. Here’s the upside:

Mass has created a unique world in The Realms, which exist in dark matter. She tells a great story of friendship and perseverance. I like the cool quotes from scientists that introduce each chapter. And I like that it explains dark matter and gets readers thinking about the nature of the universe and life after death. I also like the fact that Carl Sagan makes an appearance.

The downside is that I wasn’t really that engaged by the story. There seems to be a lot of rushing about and it feels like things are being made up as we go along. I realize that is what actually happens in literature, but the reader isn’t supposed to notice it.

I don’t really see many kids at my school reading this. They might pick it up because they’ve liked Mass’ previous books, but I don’t think most will enjoy this book as much as they did her others.

Jone Rush MacCulloch

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