Caroline the Future Librarian

Caroline Davis | LIBR 265-10 | SJSU | Wrenn-Estes

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Name: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo DS
Date: October 2007
ESRB Rating: Everyone
UPC: 4902370516081

Summary: The fourteenth installment in the popular Legend of Zelda video game franchise, the story of Phantom Hourglass follows hero Link in his attempt to rescue his friend Tetra from the evil Bellum, a life-eating monster.  With the help of his fairy companion, Ciela, and the assistance of mariner Captain Linebeck (and his ship, the S.S. Linebeck), Link must travel through the islands of flooded Hyrule to find hidden maps and clues in order to help him on his rescue mission.  The Phantom Hourglass helps Link discover the Spirits of Wisdom and Power, and he discovers the true identity of the Spirit of Courage and the Ocean King, all who are supporting him on his quest.  In order to defeat Bellum, Link must forge the Phantom Sword from metals collected from various islands in the archipelago.  Will Link reach Tetra in enough time to save her?

Critical Evaluation: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a great addition to the popular video game series.  The game really translates well into the Nintendo DS platform.  A portable gaming system (great to bring on the go!), the DS features two screens, including one touch screen.  In Link’s voyage, the touch screen frequently displays the map, while the action takes place on the top screen.  This means that certain actions, like moving the ship in a certain course, can be achieved by drawing the desired course on the touch screen with the provided stylus.  I liked that it was possible to skip through many of the video portions – while they were nice for providing background to the plot, it was also great to have the option to skip ahead and get to the action!  In addition to the main adventure plot, it was also possible to play in “Battle” mode – an unrelated mode that allows players to hone their skills, and even challenge friends!  If two players have Nintendo DS systems and a WiFi connection, they can play against one another.

Annotation: Link, the hero of the Legend of Zelda videogames, is assisted by Captain Linebeck in his voyage to rescue his friend Tetra.

Company Information: Nintendo Co., Ltd. was founded in Japan in1889 as a playing card company.  Over the years it developed side businesses, including a cab company, before transforming into a major video game company, one of the most influential in the industry.

The CEO of Nintendo is Satoru Iwata, and the company is based out of Kyoto, Japan.

Genre: Action, Adventure

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas: N/A

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: None.

Challenge Defense Ideas: This game has no apparent challenge issues, but if a challenge comes up:

• Become familiar with the game and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the game from teens who have played it.

Selection: I loved the Nintendo 64 game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” when I was younger, and was interested in evaluating a newer game in the series.

Extras:

Official Phantom Hourglass website.

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May 16, 2010 Posted by | Games | , | Leave a comment

Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

Title: Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know about Fast Food
Author: Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson
Publisher: Sandpiper
Date: April 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0618593941

Plot Summary: An adaptation of the bestselling book Fast Food Nation for a young adult audience, Chew on This takes a critical look at the fast food industry and food production, seeking to inform the readers about what goes on behind the scenes.  It also explains the history of fast food and the impact that eating so much processed food can have.  The book starts off with the history, from the invention of the hamburger in 1885 to the creation of the first fast food chains, including McDonald’s and KFC.  The next section deals with the business side of the industry, particularly how the restaurants are marketed to kids in order to ensure brand loyalty, and even describes the poor working conditions for the laborers who produce Happy Meal toys in China.  This transitions into what it looks like to work at a fast food chain as a low-income worker, including a story about a teenage worker who once worked a nightmarish nineteen and a half hour shift, with only a half hour break.  Next, it covers food production, from how fries are made to what artificial colorings really are, to the practices of the meat industry.  There is a chapter on obesity, then the book wraps up with some promising information about reform in the food industry, from fast food chains offering some healthier options on their menus to the work of Alice Waters, who is reforming school cafeterias.

Critical Evaluation: Chew on This is full of great information about the real workings of the fast food industry, a business that we just take for granted and often don’t think twice about eating.  Like the original book, Fast Food Nation, it starts a discussion about the choices we make – both what we choose to eat and where we spend our money.  Many teens have never received good information about nutrition, so Chew on This has the potential to make a great impact in their lives.  It could definitely be used in a classroom to prompt discussions about these issues.  I would have liked to see a bit more information on the environmental impact that the fast food industry has, including clear-cutting rainforest in order to graze cheap beef for burgers.  The information is presented in a very accessible way, and might appeal more to teens on the younger end of the 14-19 spectrum.  Older teens and those seeking more in depth information could pick up a copy of Fast Food Nation.

Reader’s Annotation: An adaptation of the bestselling book Fast Food Nation for a young adult audience, Chew on This takes a critical look at the fast food industry and food production, seeking to inform the readers about what goes on behind the scenes.

Author Information: Born in Manhattan in 1959, Eric Schlosser is an investigative journalist best known for his books Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness.  Schlosser studied American History at Princeton and received a graduate degree from Oxford University in British Imperial History.  He is also an aspiring playwright – in 2007, he wrote the play We the People about the writing of the US Constitution.

Schlosser lives in California.  He is married to Robert Redford’s daughter, Shauna, and has two children.

Genre: Non-Fiction, Food Industry

Curriculum Ties: Health, Nutrition

Booktalking Ideas:
1) Did this book cause you to reexamine your eating habits?
2) Was there anything you learned that surprised you?
3) What kind of change can you make to impact the way you (and those around you) eat?  What do you think of the work that Alice Waters does?

Interest Age: 12 and older.

Challenge Issues: None.

Challenge Defense Ideas: This book has no apparent challenge issues, but if a challenge comes up:

• Become familiar with the book and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the book from teens who have read it.

Selection: I thought this was an great contribution to my collection because it is such an important topic, and it provides information for teens in a clear and interesting way.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Books | , | Leave a comment

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Title: Something Like Fate
Author: Susane Colasanti
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Date: May 2010
ISBN-13: 9780670011469
Reviewed from Advanced Reader’s Copy from publisher

Plot Summary: Lani and Erin are best friends, but total opposites.  While Lani is completely content doing her own thing, Erin is totally outgoing and loves being the center of attention.  Even their zodiac signs are complete opposites, as Lani, a Taurus, notes (Erin happens to be a passionate Leo).  The friends complement each other well and have wildly different taste in everything.  At least, they used to…before Erin started to date Jason.

Lani can’t deny that she is totally attracted to her best friend’s guy, but she could never betray Erin’s trust by trying to be with him, so she’s doing her best to get over her feelings.  But she can’t stop feeling a strong connection when they’re hanging out, and when Erin leaves for the summer, Lani starts seeing a lot more of Jason.  Of course it’s not okay to steal your best friend’s boyfriend.  But what if it turns out that he’s your soulmate?

Critical Evaluation: Something Like Fate sets up a premise that many teens have experienced – the complications of a love triangle, particularly the difficulty that arises when one of your best friends is involved.  The story is told in the first person from Lani’s point of view, a character who places lots of faith in her horoscope readings – an indication that the turn of events may have indeed been fated to happen.  Lani, who has never had a boyfriend before, is facing one of the toughest decisions of her young life – choosing between her long time best friend, and the boy who might be the love of her life.  The guilt and confused feelings she experiences are well captured by Colasanti, as is the development of her friendship with Jason while Erin is out of town. The characters weren’t particularly well developed – their circumstances may change, but they don’t undergo much transformation – but they still provided a light and enjoyable story of love and friendship.

Reader’s Annotation: Lani and Erin are best friends, but have completely different personalities and interests, until Erin starts dating Jason and Lani can’t help but feel totally attracted to her best friend’s guy.  What happens when your soulmate is with someone else?

Author Information: Raised in northern New Jersey, Susane Colasanti studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Pittsburg, and received her master’s degree from New York University.  Colasanti began teaching at a wealthy school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, then switched to a position as a high school physics and earth science teacher in the South Bronx, where she taught from 2000 to 2007.

She wrote her first two young adult novels, When It Happens and Take Me There while she was still teaching, before deciding to become a full-time writer.  Colasanti says it was a difficult decision to make, but that she “could reach more teens as an author than [she] ever could as a teacher” (Source).

Genre: Romance

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas:
1) Was Lani wrong for feeling attracted to Jason?  Would it be better for her to be faithful to her friend, or true to herself?
2) Why do you think Jason dated Erin if he had such a great connection with Lani?
3) What did you think about the ending?  Who do you think Jason should have ended up with?

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: a reference to partying

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the book and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the book from teens who have read it.

Selection: There were a few reasons I wanted to include Something Like Fate in my collection – it is a very new book (I received the advanced copy a few months ago, and it has just recently been released in hardcover), I needed more romance titles in my collection, and Colasanti is a rising star in the young adult literature world – I have heard her described as the “next Sarah Dessen.”

Extras:

Susane Colasanti’s website and blog.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Books | | Leave a comment