Full marks

My library has an ongoing trivia competition, with new questions twice a week. Kids answer what they can by popping their answers into a box and it's one of the favourite parts of my day to collect them and see what is in there. Kids being kids, I get my fair share of donkey vote style entries - blank papers, fake names, the odd rendering of genitalia now and then. But today I got quite the nice one.

I can give them full marks for this, yes?

Holiday Reading

With the holidays soon upon us (can you here the faint cheering? It's very real.) I'm doing all I can to encourage kids to pick up a book or two to take home with them for the holidays. So far I've managed to slip a few kids a book I think they'll love and I've sent off a teacher with a lovely pile to keep her going on a family vacation on the Ghan. But now I have to sneak up on them and hook them against their will. And how will I do that? By making it too hard to miss.

I've setup a display right by the door to our library, where everyone must pass and the light is catching it. It's drawn a few kids so far so I'm hoping to reel a few in who wouldn't normally pick something up. Wish me luck!

Thanks for the love

My work computer gained a little (self-directed) heartfelt decoration this week from two of my students.

I'm fairly certain they placed it there as a reminder so I let them carry on with their antics instead of studying, but it was much appreciated all the same!

Adventures in Librarianing

At the beginning of this year I was fortunate enough to be employed as a full-time librarian at a local high school – my dream job. Since then I’ve been learning the ropes, getting to know the kids and the collection. Basically having a lovely time in which my job is hardly work.

Since then I’ve been meaning to come along and repurpose this blog a little, incorporate some of my library fun, rework how I review (especially since I’m reading a higher number of books, including ones I wouldn’t normally have read), and generally just give it new life.

For anyone who has stuck with me through my sporadic postings since the earlier days of reviewing just when I felt like it, there will be three main ways in which you will see a change here:
  1. Cosmetic – The blog has a new name and address to reflect its repurposing. ‘Just One More Page’ has become ‘Adventures in Librarianing’ (yes I know that’s not a word, leave me to my fun). The layout has also been refreshed.
  2. Structurally – Reviews have been shifted to include more specific notes on audience (age groups, specific interest groups, content warnings etc)
  3. Content – Hopefully more consistent reviewing, but also an inclusion of library happenings and thoughts: displays and projects my students and I are working on here at school – hopefully these will help fellow librarians with their plans (I’ve certainly been inspired by the ideas of other librarian bloggers!) or maybe you have a great suggestion to help me out, that’s always appreciated!

So yes, I hope to see you all around on the blog, maybe jump in and give me a comment now and then to keep me on the right track, that would be fantastic!

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

Title: Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy
Author: Karen Foxlee
Published: 2014
Pages: 233
First Line: In the end the Queen was nothing like she was in the stories the Marvellous Boy had been told, first as a child beside the hearth and later by the wizards.

"She was running out of the room as fast as she could, with the sword raised before her. She called back to her father. "I'll be back soon. I've just got to save the world."

Ophelia’s father is the world’s leading expert on swords, which is why she, and her sister Alice are staying in a fancy museum while her father curates a much-awaited exhibit. Alice, fourteen and distant since the death of their mother, has little time for Ophelia, preferring instead to enjoy the privileges and treats laid out before her by the cold and aloof museum director, Ms. Kaminski. With her sister and father busy, this leaves Ophelia to explore the museum largely unchaperoned – except for the guards knitting in the corners, that is (I would love to be a knitting guard, by the way).
I’m not entirely sure what kind of museum this is (it’s either unclear or I completely missed it) but it is housed within a palace and has pretty much everything you could imagine – dinosaurs, armour, doll houses, clothes, paintings, everything. While wondering, Ophelia comes across a room with beautiful mosaics set into the floor and walls, mosaics and sea creatures, and a boy her age, a boy holding a sword and referred to as “The Marvellous Boy”. It is while admiring these that she hears a voice, a call for help.

“And you might think a name is just a name, nothing but a word, but that is not the case. Your name is tacked to you. Where it has joined you, it has seeped into your skin and into your essence and into your soul. So when they plucked my name from me with their spell, it was as heavy as a rock in their hands but as invisible as the wind, and it wasn't just the memory of my name, but me myself. A tiny part of me that they took and stored away.” 

Locked in a bare room is the Marvellous Boy himself. He has been imprisoned by the Snow Queen and has mere days remaining to claim his freedom, find “The Other One” who will recover his lost sword, and help him defeat the Snow Queen. Unfortunately, he has enlisted the help of a rather scientifically-minded young girl. She has no time for his talk of wizards, magic, swords, and evil queens. She is going to stay out of trouble and go ice-skating with her sister, not go on a crazy hunt for keys, dodging man-eating misery birds. Right? Of course not.
I really wanted to love Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, going in I felt the story had the right level of simple magic and straight forward quest to really hit the nail on the head for a quick younger read. Unfortunately, I felt it dragged a bit, to the point where I even considered putting it down (very unlike me). It had a lot of promising elements – I loved the idea of the wizards taking away the boy’s name to keep it safe, and I would have liked to have explored the museum a little more, because it’s range of exhibits fascinated me, but ultimately these elements did not outweigh the holes in the plot (more information on the Snow Queen’s motivations, what happened to the King?) and the repetition (go here and find a key, then go there and find another key, oh but then the key you really need…). The novel had its charms, but not enough to make me love it. 3/5

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!