Friday, September 20, 2013

Sci Friday - Review of Guys Read: Other Worlds anthology


Short story anthologies are sometimes a bit hit or miss. You may adore a few stories in the bunch, but find some of the others rather forgettable. The latest anthology in the Guys Read series, though, is a work of art all the way through.

Guys Read: Other Worlds 

(side note from me - the "and more" includes a masterful story by the classic author Ray Bradbury!) 

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Walden Pond Press
ISBN 0061963801 (ISBN13: 9780061963803)

Source: I received an ARC from the publisher, but I've also asked my classroom parents for a copy of the newly released book for my library! 


Summary
There isn't really a "summary" of this book to share, since it is filled with many different tales of speculative fiction. Don't you just love that genre name - "speculative fiction"? I love how it encompasses everything I adore about reading. Let me peek into a world of wonder, awe, and "what if?". 

My Thoughts:
Let's start with that cover, shall we? I love the planets and the mysterious setting with the boy floating above it. I think this will appeal to middle grade readers - catching the eye and pulling them in.

The mix of stories is wonderful. Some have magic, some rely on science. Some are silly fun and some are spooky. There is even a story by Shaun Tan done in sequential art (comic style). 

If your kids already know many of these authors, they'll be thrilled to get another little glimpse of their storytelling style. Fans of Percy Jackson? Riordan delivers with a more about Percy and Grover. Origami Yoda fanatics? Angleberger dispenses more of his zany style. Students who've just discovered Stead through Liar & Spy? Plan B is full of her trademark twists. If your students DON'T know these authors? There's no better way to get them curious enough to try out a new series than to give them small samples of each author's style. 

My personal favorite stories were completely different in tone. Bouncing the Grinning Goat, by Shannon Hale, was magical and humorous. I loved the fact that no one shied away from including a strong heroine in a book targeted toward "guy readers". 

Frost and Fire, by Bradbury, is a work of art. Seeing a short story by a classic science fiction author in this anthology made me giddy with delight. Hooking kids on speculative fiction is a grand endeavor. I've devoted many posts to explaining just why I think science fiction and fantasy is good for the brain and the soul. Giving middle grade students exposure to one of the "old guard" storytellers is a great entry point for getting them interested in some classic tales. Bravo! 

While the book is part of the Guys Read series, it has something to hook every reader. Be sure to point it out to ALL the students in your classroom, regardless of their gender! 



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