Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anvita and Anika's Book Newsletter - May 2017

Editor: This is the May issue of our newsletter. It is the second issue. This time I, Anika Agarwal, am the editor. In the previous newsletter, we had written about the reading that we had done in March. This time we have written about the reading that we have done in April. You might have noticed that we have changed the template of the heading. It might continue in the next few issues before we decide on one that we like best. You also might notice that there are few different books with the same authors as in the previous newsletter. This time we have concentrated the newsletter on many series of books. Read and enjoy!

Puranas: This book is about a Purana. A Purana is one of the sacred texts of the Hindus. a sacred text. There are many Puranas. The truth is that no one person wrote the Puranas. Many people wrote them. There are 18 main ones. These main ones are known as Mahapuranas. It is believed that Vedvyasa wrote the Mahapuranas. Vedvyasa is the same person who wrote the Mahabharata and compiled the Vedas. Mahapuranas are mostly concentrated on the three main Hindu Gods. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is considered the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. The Vishnu concentrated Puranas are called the ‘satvik puranas’. The Brahma concentrated Puranas are called the ‘rajsik puranas’. The Shiva concentrated Puranas are called the ‘tamsik puranas. All lists widely agree on the numbering of the Puranas except the fourth Mahapurana. Some people say the fourth Mahapurana is the Shiva Purana. While others say the fourth Mahapurana is the Vayu Purana. My sister and I have read four of the Puranas. They were really nice. We have even reviewed them on our bog. The versions of the Puranas that we read were unabridged ones. They were written by Bibek Debroy. His versions were easy and simple to understand. I enjoyed reading them. [Brahmna Purana, Shiva Purana, Padma Purana, Matsya Purana]

Magic Tree House: This series is about two siblings, Jack and Annie. One day they stumbled upon a tree house that was filled with books. Unknown to them the tree house was magical. Jack and Annie soon figured out that they just had to point at a place and make a wish to go there to make the magic work. On their fourth tree house adventure, they found out that the tree house belonged to an enchantress named Morgan Le Fay. From that day, onwards they started helping Morgan to collect things for her library and to do so they went on many more tree house missions. From narrowly escaping Vikings to facing and escaping deadly King Cobras. I really like this series. Mary Pope Osborne has mixed fiction with facts. She gives out information through the research book given in the stories. I find these books interesting because it has lots of facts and at the same time you don’t get bored reading the book because of the story given. I have read at least 45 books in the series. I have learnt a lot through this series. [link]

Awful Auntie: This book revolves around a young girl named Stella Saxby who is the heiress of the enormous Saxby fortune. She wakes up one day to find herself wrapped tightly in bandages. Her aunt tells her that her parents had died in a car crash and she miraculously had survived. Stella finds an unknown friend/ghost named Soot in the cellar. She is shocked to discover that her aunt had poisoned her mum and dad due to which the car had crashed. She also finds out that her aunt was planning to turn Saxby Hall into an Owl Emporium and does everything to stop her aunt Alberta in succeeding in her plans with a little help from Soot. I was a little sad that this book didn’t include Raj the hilarious newsagent. It didn’t have as many funny bits as I expected it to have. The book was a bit of a letdown in the David Walliams series. Otherwise it was a nice book. [link]
Editor’s note: David Walliams is the same author of Mr. Stink and Gangsta Granny. These two books are mentioned in the April issue of the newsletter.

Squiggle: This book is about a Squiggle. She finds herself on the pages of a notebook She travels through many pages and meets people such as the inquisitive question mark?, the excited exclamation mark ! , the smart colons : , the naughty quotation marks “ ”, the ellipses …, the friendly comma , or the important full stop . . On her journey, she learns about all these punctuations and at the end she finds out that she is an unusual and unique doodle. This book teaches you all about punctuation in a fun way. At the end there are different games and exercises on punctuation. Natasha Sharma has described and taught punctuation in a wonderful way. I loved reading this fun book and doing its even more fun exercises. [link]

Sanctuary Magazine {January 2016}: In the previous newsletter I had just described what was the general idea of the Sanctuary Magazine was. This time I would like to describe the January 2016 edition which I liked very much. This issue described many different and interesting animals. It has talked about the Dumbo octopuses. These creatures are cute and small octopuses that have a bell-shaped appearance. They live about 3000 to 5000 meters deep in the sea due to which they have an amazing eyesight. This edition also talks about the amazing country of Bhutan. Bhutan is an amazing place that has preserved 70 percent of its wildlife. It is home to the snow leopard, clouded leopard, rhino, tiger, the Tibetan wolf and much more. Bhutan is considered to be one of the top 10 of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The edition includes the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2015. All the award-winning pictures were amazing and beautiful. I am going to be presenting one of the pictures in the ‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words’ section where you can be a judge for yourselves. This was the first Sanctuary Magazine that I read. I loved it. It described all these different things that I didn’t know about. It was amazing and a promising start to an amazing series.

The Wizard’s Wand {Geronimo Stilton}: I have decided to talk about a special edition in the many Geronimo Stilton’s that I read. This book is about Geronimo’s 9th adventure to the Kingdom of Fantasy. This time he has to rescue Blossom who has been kidnapped. On top of this the three most powerful objects in the Kingdom of Fantasy had been stolen! The objects were the: 1. The Book of a Thousand Spells that was guarded by the Kingdom of Fairies, 2. The Crystal Sphere that was guarded by the Ruby Dragons and last but not the least the Whispering Wand that was guarded by the Slithering Serpents. At each kingdom, Geronimo found three clues, a golden buckle, a rare bird’s feather and a tuft of cat hair. Geronimo has to pass dangerous forests, talk to dangerous serpents and what not so that he can rescue Blossom before he himself is killed! This book was nice to read. However, I am getting slightly bored with the same sort of plot in all the special editions. Each time Geronimo rushes of to the Kingdom of Fantasy and finds out someone is kidnapped or something is stolen. He is very near his goal when he is thwarted by someone evil. Geronimo is successful in defeating the person and completes his mission. Ta da! I would like it if there was a different storyline for at least two or three of them. I thought that this book was slightly boring too. To others it might be nice but I didn’t enjoy it that much. [link]

Taranauts: This series is set in an entirely new Universe named Mithya. Mithya has 8 worlds, Shyn, Lustr, Sparkl, Glo, Syntilla, Shimr, Glytr and Dazl. These worlds bob around in an endless sea called Dariya. They have one super sun named Tara. Tara is made of 32 small stars called Tarasuns. Each world has 4 Tarasuns. N ow that I have done the introductions let me start. It was the Octoversary {ruling anniversary that happens every eight years} of Shoon Ya, the Emperaza of Mithya. This time the 32 Tarasuns would come and dance on the stage for 10 minutes and then go back to Tara. Unfortunately, before they could start dancing, a silver net captured the Tarasuns. It turned out that Shaap Azur, Shoon Ya’s evil twin brother had escaped from the Fiery Lands and captured the Tarasuns. The only way to free them was to find and solve 4 riddles in each world to free the 4 Tarasuns of that world. Fortunately, the Elders of Mithya had seen a Great Crisis coming and had forewarned Shoon Ya. Shoon Ya had picked three children 8 years before when he had been warned and blessed each of them with Spirit parents. These children were: Zvala, the child of Fire, Zarpa, the child of the Superserpent Shay Sha and Tufan, the child of Wind. These three had to pass through terrifying places from the Jungle of Jeopardy to the cave of khoonsucker Venompires. As a team they had to solve and crack the riddles and try to bring back light to Mithya. The stories are amazing. I have read and reread it many times. Roopa Pai has created many amazing places in these books. I sometimes feel like going to Mithya. I never get bored reading them again. My sister came across the first book of the series in a library. She borrowed it and soon I found myself reading it too. It was really nice and I wanted to read the next one in the series too. Each book in the series has a different mystery to solve. It is a very nice and interesting experience reading these books. [link]

Harry Potter: I’m sure this world-wide series on which a movie has been based, is known to most people. This popular series has been written by J.K Rowling. To those of you who do not know the story, I have given a general idea below. Harry Potter, the only person known to have survived the greatest Dark Wizard, Voldemort’s attack, as a baby, is sent to live with his only living relatives, who despise him. Eleven years’ pass, and he has no idea about his past and his true identity, until a letter comes to him from the greatest school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hogwarts. After the letter, his life changes completely. His life is full of adventure, horrifying incidents and two steadfast friends. He also must escape from Lord Voldemort repeatedly, as the dark wizard is bent on killing him. This series of seven books is loved by me. I read each book with bated breath, wanting to know what would happen next. I took it to be extremely well written. Each story is original and different, a person wouldn’t expect the sudden twist in the story. The emotions of each character vary according to age, making the series feel more realistic. I am partial to three books in this series. They are the fifth, seventh and second books. I liked the seventh one because the whole mystery and a few unanswered questions are answered in it and the fifth one as Dumbledore’s army is introduced and Fred and George’s Skiving Snack boxes are ready, along with a whole lot of other tricks. The second one is hilarious with an overconfident, vain professor, Gilderoy Lockhart. The parts where his appearance is made are usually funny and enjoyable. This is my favourite series, as it talks about witches and wizards as humans, not cartoons. [link]
Editor’s note: J.K Rowling also appears in the previous newsletter, in the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The Midnight Gang: In the previous newsletter, I mentioned two David Walliam books – Gangsta Granny and Mr. Stink. In this newsletter, we introduce two more books – Awful Auntie and the Midnight Gang. The Midnight Gang is his latest book. I have always loved David Walliam books, but my sister is more of his fan. I expected this book to be as good as the rest, and I was right. This book was hilarious and surely better than his other books that I have read. It had my favourite character Raj, the Newsagent. The story in short is about a gang called the Midnight Gang. It is made of children from Lord Funt’s hospital. The main characters are Amber, George, Sally, Robin and Tom. Matron is the evil archenemy of the children. She tries to find every way to punish the children and hurt them. David Walliam books are usually a delight to read. He particularly focuses on books which involve children. He makes sure to keep the storyline simple, but full of adventure and quite a lot of laughs. In this book, the way he describes Amber’s leadership, the Midnight Gang’s achievements’ and Sally’s illness is fabulous. You feel that you are transported to that exact scene at that time. [link]

Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You: This book is written by Barthe De Clements. One of my cousins suggested this book to me. For a while it lay ignored in my bookshelf, but later as I was sorting my books, I came across it. I happened to be exactly in the sixth grade at that time! Interested, I read it. The book I thought was interesting, funny, but I felt it to be slow moving at times. The whole story revolves around a sixth grader named Helen, and the difficulties she faces throughout the year. Her reading problems, her ability to never stay away from mischief, her over defendant mother, etc. I suggest kids of 11-13 to read this book. Barthe De Clements has described the difficulties and the shame that Helen feels so well, you can almost understand the feelings going inside Helen. She manages to describe the emotions of Helen’s mother when Helen fails her exams to perfection. In a few chapters the story loses its touch, which was the part I was not exactly happy about. In this series, I know of two more books – ‘he Fourth Grade Wizards’ and ‘Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade’. Other than this, she has also written quite a few children’s books. [link]

Just add Magic Season 2: In the last season, Kelly, Darbie and Hannah, three BFFs manage to break the curse that was on Kelly’s grandma. Their recipe did not only break her curse, but it broke all curses in town. Chuck Hankins, a boy who had vanished 50 years ago, due to a curse laid upon him is back, stronger and is thirsting for revenge. Grandma Becky, Miss Silvers and Mama P are afraid, as they know how dangerous Chuck can be. Kelly, Hannah and Darbie have to stop doing whatever he wants to do, and protect the book. On their journey, the find out a lot about Chuck’s past, which helps them in their quest. I enjoyed the second season more than the first season. It got so mystifying at the end of the first episode, that I could barely contain myself. Each episode has a new, intriguing twist to it. You would take it to be the end of the season after a few episodes, but there is something new at the end, stretching it to 13 episodes. You understand how friendships can be broken, importance of family members and many other things. Through a fun-filled serial, a lot of messages are conveyed. My favourite part is when the book selects the recipes that they want, and when Kelly, Hannah and Darbie cook the recipe. [link]
Editor’s note: In the April issue, we have mentioned Season 1. This time we are introducing Season 2. There is also a book on this serial that is written by Cindy Callaghan

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: This is another world-wide series written by Jeff Kinney. It is written in a diary style with a good storyline. All his books talk about the life of a lazy, video game addicted boy. His trouble with his parents, his time spent with his partner and best friend Rowley, his position in school, etc. The boy’s name is Greg Hefley. He has an elder brother Rodrick, whose old stuff he owns, and a younger one named Manny, who his parents are partial towards. Of all the books, I liked the sixth one ‘Cabin Fever’ the best. Recently, Jeff Kinney has written his latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, ‘Double Down’. The book is one worth reading as it’s filed with a lot of laughs. Parts which are mainly filled with laughs are the parts where Manny comes into the picture. Greg takes all of this from a different point of view, making the parts that are not funny, to be extremely funny. Throughout the book, you rarely feel that this is a diary. The animations that accompany the text helps emphasize the scene better. Sometimes the pictures are so good, you will want to read that page again and again, without getting bored. Each book portrays a different part of life. Greg’s lame time with his parents, his stupid antics with his best friend Rowley, the horrifying moments he sometimes has to spend with his disgusting neighbor Fregley, and his repeated attempts to gain fame and have his talents recognized. [link]

[The April 2017 newsletter is available on Anvita's blog]
© 2017, Anvita and Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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