Thursday, March 11, 2010

Boys and books ... and Cheesemonkeys (?!)

This week it was my turn to lose track of the days due to a Monday public holiday, and I very nearly missed posting today. Strangely, panic doesn’t seem to help when scrounging for topics at the very last second, so I gave up hyperventilating and recruited a guest blogger to save my bacon – my eleven year old son. He did have one condition, however – that, for the sake of anonymity (and to avoid the shame of being associated with his mother’s dorky blog, quote/unquote) he be referred to here as … “Cheesemonkey.”


(I blame his father. For everything.)

Cheesemonkey reads books like he breaths air, so I asked him to blog about the books he adores; I simply typed as he spouted on. So, if you have an eleven year old lad you’re looking to buy a book for, read on … and over to you, Cheesemonkey (I should SO call him that when we’re out in public: like in the ten-deep line at McDonalds - “Hey Cheesemonkey, do you want fries with your burger?” Heh. That’d learn him.)

LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld is a book with lots of action and a good story line full of creativity. It’s set during WWI, but the technology is much more advanced than it really was. The Allies use fabricated animals for weapons, and the Germans and all their henchmen fight with massive walking machines. There are two main characters. One of them is Aleksander Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. He is declared a threat to the throne and runs away with a band of loyal men and a walking machine, trying to escape to the Swiss Alps. The other main character is Derryn Sharp, a girl passing herself off as a boy to get into the air force so she can pilot flying air beasts against the Germans. Their stories intertwine in an amazing turn of events.

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman is about a young boy named “Nobody” Owens who would be a completely normal boy if not for the fact he is being raised by ghosts, in a graveyard. He goes on amazing adventures in the graveyard, discovering its ancient history and many amazing characters such as the Witch Ghost, ghouls and the Dreadful Sleer. However, he is not allowed out of the graveyard because the man who murdered his whole family is still trying to murder him.

CONSPIRACY 365 is a cool series. It’s about a fifteen year old boy called Callum Ormond whose father was killed by an unknown disease. On New Years Eve a crazy man tells Callum that someone created the disease on purpose to kill his father; and also tells him he must survive the next 365 days. He’s thrown into a life on the run as the government and various agents try to capture him when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. A fast paced book with excellent action. This is part one of an entire series with one book coming out every month this year.

And then my nine-year old son walked past and wanted a couple of his favourites to be included: so, without further ado, I introduce Cheesemonkey’s guest co-blogger, “Henry Blah-Blah” (good grief):-

THE BIG BOOK OF TASHI is cool. It’s a whole lot of stories about a boy called Tashi. A lot happens in the stories. There’s lots of adventure and fantasy – like dragons, and boots that make you walk really far really quickly. Tashi is brave and smart, and works out how to solve lots of problems for the people in his village, and also fights the evil war lord who everyone hates.

SPIT IT OUT is a book of riddles and jokes. They are massively funny, with cool illustrations, and heaps of the jokes are about wee and poo and vomit. It's so cool. (Yeah, thanks for buying him that book, grandpa; like he needs any encouragement to discuss bodily functions at inappropriate times!)

And we’re done, before things turn really gross.

So, those of you of the YA persuasion, what other books would you recommend I throw at the lads? And what were your favourite reads when you were a kid?

Cheesemonkey and Henry Blah-Blah, when they were still young and uncorrupted. Sort of.


  1. OMG, child labor! That's brilliant, Rachel! (And I almost spit my coffee all over the screen. Warning next time, eh? Cheesemonkey...ROLF!!) That pic is too cute.

    Great reviews. Very, ahem, in-depth -are you sure you didn't help Cheesemonkey and Henry Blah-Blah out? :) Please tell them to come back anytime!

  2. Cheesemonkey's tastes seem to mirror those of my 13-year-old son. Has he read Terry Pratchett's 'Nation'?

  3. ROFL!!!

    Welcome, Cheesemonkey and Henry Blah-Blah. I do hope you'll blog again in the future. (very big grin)

    First, let me commend you on your chosen names. I'm not likely to forget them.

    Cheesemonkey--I'm a HUGE fan of Scott Westerfeld. I haven't tried Leviathan yet, but I definitely need to add it to my pile. And I've had Gaiman's book for-ever. That too shall be bumped up in my list.

    Henry Blah-Blah--Those books sound most awesome. Thanks for telling us about them!


  4. Welcome, Cheesemonkey and Henry Blah-Blah! Thanks for the great book reviews!
    Have you guys read The Lord of the Rings yet? I first read it when I was 10 and have read it every year since then!
    Also, um, may I recommend a great new book called The Face of A Lion. It's about a boy named Austin who meets a talking cat and goes on all kinds of crazy adventures. :-)
    Could we hear some of the riddles? I love riddles!

  5. Great reviews, Cheesemonkey and Henry Blah-Blah (and despite your protestations, Rach, I can see the creative apple doesn't fall far from the tree (g)).

    You won me over on The Graveyard Book so quickly that I had to go straight to the Kindle store and buy it- I read the first chapter last night and I'm really enjoying it so far. So, thanks!

  6. Hi Rachel and co bloggers Cheesemonkey and Henry Blah Blah. Thanks for giving me a giggle and some recommnedations for my boys.
    On series of books I can't praise highly enough are John Marsden's Tomorrow series staring with Tomorrow when the War Began, about a resourceful group of kids managing to survive and inflict guerilla warfare against and invading army in Australia. Brilliantly written, gripping and "real" (and from a Mum's POV the best books ever cause these are what make my 11 yr old decide he actually wanted to read books himself!!!! Yes!)
    You guys probably know them already.
    Thanks for sharing

  7. Kristen - ah, yes, one of the joys of parenthood is as your kids get older, the more chores you can lump on them. (g) And I swear I just typed as they talked; in fact, I told Cheesemonkey (groan) he sounded like a blurb ... which resulted in an episode of eye-rolling and a "WHATEVER..."

    Sallie - No, he hasn't read Nation. But we just googled it, and from his reaction, I can safely say it's on his list to buy when next we visit a book shop. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Jen - The boys say "no worries." (g) And Cheesemonkey would like to add the following. "I forgot to say that Leviathan is a "steam punk" book, and is also part one of a series. The next book is called Behemoth and will be out later on this year." (To say he is counting down the days until he can get his hands on that book is a gross understatement!)

    Claire - again, they lads say "no problemo." (g)

    Jill - Cheesemonkey is also adding that book to his list. Hmmm ... I guess I should pay him for his blogging efforts, so he can actually go buy all these books!(g)