#Cybils reads: Oyster War


imageBlood’s Haven, Maryland, post-Civil War. The oyster trade makes for booming business, and watermen all across Chesapeake Bay are keen on cashing in on this lucrative business. Regulations have been drawn with regards to oyster harvests, but oyster pirates, a small but vicious group led by the nefarious Treacher Fink, have not only been harvesting oysters without a license; they’ve also been using destructive oyster dredges that would render the bay barren within a few years.

To curtail the pirates’ activity, the governor and town mayor establish an Oyster Army (with Commander Davidson Bulloch and his motley crew aboard the Layla) to deal with the pirates once and for all.

From the time the Cybils finalists were announced, I was immediately drawn to Ben Towles’ “Oyster War” because of its cover art – it seemed to promise a great maritime adventure, and I must say it did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel.

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Timeless Fun

Good, old-fashioned fun is pretty hard to beat, even with all the technology today’s kids have at their fingertips. Looking back at my childhood, I spent an inordinate amount of time reading, but I did come away from the books long enough to create some awesome memories: making bubble blowing solution from hibiscus; sailing paper boats in the gutter; chasing shadows under the street lamp; and drawing chalk pictures on the pavement.

Nostalgia kicked in when I first saw the hardcover volumes of The Dangerous Book for Boys by Gonn and Hal Iggunen and The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz a couple of years ago at the bookstores. I got The Daring Book for Girls when I swapped a book internationally, and just a few weeks ago, I got The Dangerous Book for Boys in the bargain pile at the Manila International Book Fair.

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Peter Pan flies again

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Growing up, Peter Pan was one of my favorite fairy tale classics. I remember having a well-thumbed Little Golden Book of the Disney cartoon, which was also a great favorite of mine. I  also remember playing Peter Pan with my younger brother  — he was Michael, I was Wendy, and we had an imaginary Peter Pan. I would sprinkle some baby powder around us then we would romp about pretending to fly, chorusing, “second star to the right and straight on ’til morning!”

When I was in second grade, I also faithfully watched Saban’s The Adventures of Peter Pan (Peter Pan No Boken), which came on every morning at ten-thirty.  It was a great series with lots of little stories, but I really loved the character of Luna, the princess of darkness and the scary elements her story added to the cartoon. I was so obsessed with the cartoon that my mom bought me the Peter Pan book by Apple Classics, and I read it from cover to cover in one sitting.

Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” is also another favorite from childhood. I really loved Tinkerbell in this movie, especially when she says to Peter, “You know that place between sleep and awake? That place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” Aww…

Anyway, this love for Peter Pan drew me to Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s retelling of  the classic story of the boy who never grows old, starting with Peter and the Starcatchers (book #107 for 2009).

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