Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

This novel was about a boy called Rory. He and His Granda are on the run from the police, the council and their friends. His Granda however is very rail and needs a lot of medication. On the way they meet a lot of people who have recognised them from the news. These people have actually helped them in their venture. Rory and his Granda travelled by train, boat, caravan, cars and most of the time with their feet. In the end, sadly, Rory has to end the venture, but not by being caught, he actually had to go to the police to find help for his Granda, whose heart had stopped…

 

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Five classmates find a journal kept by a boy who ran away from his stepfather, which prompts them to tell their own stories of stepfamilies. Rarely has any author so effectively gotten inside the heads of children from broken homes with such insight and clear-eyed understanding.

Anne Fine does so much right in the book, beginning with the spooky old mansion and the finding of the journal and its Dickensian melodrama. But it’s the stories the modern children tell that resonate with readers, both those who have had similar experiences and those who haven’t. The book is not about solving problems, but about simply dealing with them. All of the children get a chance to express themselves, and to realize (along with readers) that they are not alone.

The children are sometimes too sophisticated in their insight, becoming merely the mouthpiece for the message, but the way they think and feel is on target. Notably, and most important, the author recognizes and validates the anger many children feel when the adults who should be caring for them cause their lives to spin out of control, and then expect them to just adjust and be happy. It’s not all happy endings here, but it does have the taste of reality.

 

Novel : The Curse by Lee Su Ann

Posted: November 12, 2010 in Book Reviews


The Curse showcases village girl Azreen, who takes a sabbatical from her studies overseas and returns to her hometown in her sleepy village in an island south of Langkawi. Her homecoming is greeted by the tragic death of her sister Mahduri, the fair blossom of the unnamed village. The incident leaves her parents traumatised, especially her mother, whose senility becomes more pronounced.
In the aftermath of her sister’s end, possibly due to foul play, a strange pall hangs over the village. There’s the token ghostly figure in white. Making things worse with allusions of a curse is Puan Normala the village gossip, who is guaranteed to get under your skin.
Sinking into that familiar fugue that follows the loss of a loved one, Azreen revisits memories of her youth, good and bad. She finds no comfort from her sullen father or delirious mother. Thankfully, at no point does our heroine go into Nancy Drew mode. Throughout the novel we are informed via flashbacks that our heroine is no typical village girl, even in her younger days: tomboyish, headstrong and not above talking back to her elders. Which might explain her estrangement from her parents.
Main distractions come in the form of Mohd Asraf, the hot-headed village hunk, whom Azreen had a crush on in her younger days. There’s also the mysterious outcast, an old lady whom Azreen befriends. Spicing things further is Mahduri’s recent marriage to the village headman, the jealous fits of the headman’s first wife, and some livestock that shared the victim’s fate.
Was Mahduri murdered? Is there really a vengeful spirit stalking the village? Will Azreen get the guy? Who, or what killed the animals? Will it ever stop raining? Are Mahduri’s parents Bollywood fans? And why won’t that irritating Puan Normala just shut up?

 


This story is about a seventeen – year – old girl called Anna,who had just received a diploma from a secretarial college. With the diploma, she hoped to secure a job as a secretary. Her principal,Mrs Price however did not have much confidence in her because she was small, she looked timid and could only type at a slow speed.

Anna too was not very confident in her own self. She feared that she would not get a job. So, getting a job at the first interview she went was really a blessing. On her first day, she was surprised by a spirit of the former secretary, Miss Broome. The spirit communicated with her using the electronic typewriter. At first, she was horrified and frightened. Yet when she thought about the many luxurious things she could buy with her salary as a secretary, she became determine to fight the spirit.

She discovered from Harry Darke, an old man who worked at the firm that Miss Broome was a lonely woman who dedicated her life to her job as secretary. She was asked to leave by the late Mr Bannister after working for 43 years. She was reluctant as the office was like her home and she had no family. Even in her death, she was adamant to keep her job and frightened off many young girls who wanted to take her job.

Finally, Anna was able to persuade the spirit of Miss Bloome to leave the job to her. She told her that Mr Bannister had passed away and he desperately needed her to take care of him in the new world. Anna related to Miss Bloome that she was told to leave because Mr Bannister was worried about her health.

 

QWERTYUIOP – Vivien Alcock

Posted: November 12, 2010 in Book Reviews


This story is about a seventeen – year – old girl called Anna,who had just received a diploma from a secretarial college. With the diploma, she hoped to secure a job as a secretary. Her principal,Mrs Price however did not have much confidence in her because she was small, she looked timid and could only type at a slow speed.

Anna too was not very confident in her own self. She feared that she would not get a job. So, getting a job at the first interview she went was really a blessing. On her first day, she was surprised by a spirit of the former secretary, Miss Broome. The spirit communicated with her using the electronic typewriter. At first, she was horrified and frightened. Yet when she thought about the many luxurious things she could buy with her salary as a secretary, she became determine to fight the spirit.

She discovered from Harry Darke, an old man who worked at the firm that Miss Broome was a lonely woman who dedicated her life to her job as secretary. She was asked to leave by the late Mr Bannister after working for 43 years. She was reluctant as the office was like her home and she had no family. Even in her death, she was adamant to keep her job and frightened off many young girls who wanted to take her job.

Finally, Anna was able to persuade the spirit of Miss Bloome to leave the job to her. She told her that Mr Bannister had passed away and he desperately needed her to take care of him in the new world. Anna related to Miss Bloome that she was told to leave because Mr Bannister was worried about her health.

 


A  little girl on a two year journey to a space station bored out of her wits decided to use the space-ship lab to clone herself with the help from a machine called the Voice-Printer. Having a clone as a companion was fun at first but soon the clone wore the girl down. She was so fed up that she decided to get rid of the clone. However, there is a twist to the story.

As clones can think alike, it was Clo who actually got rid of Trish by dumping her outside the space-ship as space rubbish. She then took on the role of Trish for the rest of the journey.

A short story is written in prose form. It has a plot which is a sequence of events. The plot has to deal with a central conflict faced by the protagonist. The events also carry a message about life and human nature.

Let us analyse the title. ” Flipping Fantastic”. We know what fantastic means. It refers to something  extraordinary, out of the usual or norm. So when some one says something or an act  is ‘fantastic’, it means it is extraordinary or superb.’Flipping’ in the context of this short story means ‘to react strongly and especially enthusiastically’. So the title,”Flipping Fantastic” could mean ‘extraordinarily superb’.

Set out in the form of diary entries by twin brothers and their mother, the story starts with the last day of primary school at Peter Hill where the  twin brothers both acted parts in a school play. Then out of the diary pages, is reflected the thoughts of both the twin brothers, Tristan and James on the new schools they will be attending shortly. The diary pages of the mother will reflect her thoughts on the behavioral aspects of her twin sons.

Tristan is no ordinary boy. He is physically challenged and is wheel-chair bound. He has  always been pushed around by James or his mother. Interestingly, Tristan has developed a ‘can do’ spirit and he is most confident for a person who needs help to get around. James, on the other hand, is shy. He is the exact opposite of Tristan, needing words of encouragement to spur him on.

In fact, James feels that having Tristan go to a special school called Chesterlea Grange, where Tristan will be home only during week-ends, is somewhat disadvantageous to him as he needs Tristan’s help in Highfields, the new school he will be attending which is a day school for ordinary students. Moreover, he is shy and believes there is  no one there whom he will be able to depend upon.

Literature Component for 2010

Posted: November 11, 2010 in Book Reviews

Lower Secondary: Form 1 to Form 3

Poems

1. I Wonder – Jeannie Kirby
2. The River – Valerie Bloom
3. Mr. Nobody – Unknown author
4. Heir Conditioning – M SHANmughalingam
5. A Fighter’s Lines – Marzuki Ali
6. Leisure – William Henry Davies

Short Stories

1. Flipping Fantastic – Jane Langford
2. One Is One and All Alone – Nicholas Fisk

Drama

* Rumplelstiltskin – Angela Lanyon

Upper Secondary: Form 4 to Form 5

Poems

1. In the Midst of Hardship – Latiff Mohidin
2. He Had Such Quiet Eyes – Bibsy Soenharjo
3. Nature – H.D. Carberry
4. Are You Still Playing Your Flute – Zurinah Hassan

Short Stories

1. QWERTYUIOP – Vivien Alcock
2. The Fruitcake Special – Frank Berman

Drama

* Gulp and Gasp – John Townsend

Novel ( Form 5)

The Curse – Lee Su Ann

Step By Wicked – Ann Fine

Catch Us If You Can -Catherine McPhail