Saturday, December 20, 2008

Robin Hood (1991)

This is an imperfect-but-creditable movie. Robert Hode is a landowner who loses his holdings through the machinations of tax collecting turncoat Deguerre. In response, the Saxon hero takes up with a band of robbers, organizing them in an effort to remove Deguerre and the other villainous Normans from power. The baron’s niece is a feisty Maid Marion (Uma Thurman) who isn't afraid of a little swordplay.

This was the first television movie to be released by the Fox network. The 1938 version called The Adventures of Robin Hood was also about the struggle between the Saxons and Normans. Unlike many modern versions of the story, King Richard does not appear at the end.

The Great Brain is Back

I loved this book written by John D. Fitzgerald. Tom has turned 13 and pretty Polly Reagan has put a spell on him. But when it comes to swindling his younger brother J.D. and all the other kids in Adenville, Utah, Tom hasn’t changed a bit. From thinking up the slippery soap deal and the numbers game to outwitting a band of murderous outlaws, The Great Brain is at the top of his form and life is more interesting when he is around.

This is the eighth and final book in the series. The book was actually published after the author’s death. He passed away in 1988. A loose manuscript was discovered a few years later that had the chapters spread out and a title for the book. The editors compiled it and printed it 1995, 19 years after the release of the previous book. This was the only book that Mercer Mayer did not illustrate. The author originally intended these stories for adults, but his editor convinced him to change the stories to interest children. In 1978 a movie was made based on the series starring Jimmy Osmond, who was 15 at the time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Great Brain Does It Again

I loved this book written by John D. Fitzgerald. This is the seventh book in the series. Tom Fitzgerald, alias The Great Brain, is back, as crafty and conniving as ever. Although he occasionally uses his great brain for the general good, Tom can’t keep his yearning for money and his love of a good swindle under wraps for long. Whether he’s solving the mystery of his foster brother’s stolen rocking horse, operating a homemade carnival ride, writing to the President of the United States, or helping a fat boy lose weight, his antics are hilarious.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Return of the Great Brain

I loved this book written by John D. Fitzgerald. Tom Fitzgerald, alias The Great Brain, is back, struggling to stay reformed now that his friends have threatened to ostracize him if he pulls even one more swindle. But his brother J.D. knows that new Tom is too good to be true, and as a reformed Great Brain makes for a dull life, J.D. isn’t exactly unhappy – or blameless – when his brother’s money-loving heart stealthily returns to business as usual. Under the watchful eyes of parents and friends, Tom has to be craftier than ever, and indeed he is.

This is the sixth book in the series. Tom concocts a game, like a roulette wheel, where players win prizes depending on the number on which the wheel stops spinning. Half of the prizes are Cracker Jack boxes that have a separate prize included inside. However, prizes did not appear in Cracker Jack until 1912 and this book takes place in 1898.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Brisingr

I loved this book written by Christopher Paolini. The title of the book means “fire” in the ancient language. Eragon, Roran, and Saphira travel towards Helgrind, the dwelling place of the Ra'zac, to rescue Roran’s fiancé. Roran trains for large battles, by helping small fighting groups. He tries to prove that he is capable of leading an army into battle. Eragon continues to learn new things about his family and magic and tries to keep all of the various groups in harmony so they can prevail. Nasuada tries to overcome challenges to her power and maintain unity in her army.

This is the third and most recent book in the Inheritance Cycle. Originally this was intended to be the last book of a trilogy, but the author had too much to write and so he is now working on the fourth book. The book sold 550,000 copies on its first day of release; the most ever for a Random House Children's Book.