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December 19, 2010


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Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #2) by Christopher Paolini: Book Cover


Author: Christopher Paolini


Page Length: 668  


Reading Level: 8


Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Eldest begins where the first book of the Inheritance trilogy, Eragon, ends. The land of Alagesia is threatened by Galbatorix and his Empire.  Eragon and his dragon Saphira, last of the Riders, are the only hope for survival of the inhabitants of the kingdom.

They travel to the elven city of Ellesmera, where both Eragon and Saphira are taught magic, fighting skills, and the ancient language. While Eragon and Saphira are undergoing training, Roran, Eragon’s cousin is the target of an attack by Ra’zac and it is his responsibility to lead the villagers out of danger.

Both Eragon and Roran engage in many obstacles while they unknowingly move in the same direction.  When their forces meet up, they must engage in a battle with the forces of Galbatorix.  Eragon learns a shocking secret about his parents, is put off by a romantic desire, and commits to saving his people.

REVIEW: This is the sequel to Eragon, the first of the trilogy, Inheritance.  Paolini was only 15 when he began his writings about Eragon, also a young teen. The adventure involves many characters with distinct gifts of magic, intellectual, and athletic abilities.  The setting covers a vast area of mountains, “The Swine”, oceans and rivers.  The battles are described in detail and emotions are drawn as the reader becomes involved.

I would recommend this book to higher level readers who enjoy extensive reading and vocabulary.  Those who enjoyed The Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy would especially like this book.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Vocabulary, Character, Conflict, Compare/Contrast, Cause/Effect, Setting, Theme, and Sequence of Events


RELATED BOOKS: Eragon and Brisingr


RELATED WEBSITES:…/Novel-Ideas-ChristopherPaolini-s-Eldest

 REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

November 29, 2010


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Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini: Book Cover


Author: Christopher Paolini

Page Length: 497

Reading Level: 8

Genre: Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy

PLOT SUMMARY: A battle between the forces of good and evil is being waged unbeknownst to most. Eragon is just a young man growing up in a rural area until the day he discovers a strange object in the field…a strange object that will lead his life in a direction he never thought possible. An ancient legend is awakened. Eragon discovers he’s been chosen as a dragon rider to lead the battle and wage war against the Urgals, Durza, and Galbatorix. Can he learn everything he needs to know before the enemy discovers his secret? Will he be able to gain the trust of those he desperately needs as allies in time to save the Empire?

REVIEW: This is a great fantasy story with dragons, elves, and plenty of evil creatures engaged in an epic battle. Eragon is an admirable young man who adheres to norms and seeks to do what is right and just by all the honorable creatures he meets; thus, he’s an excellent character for study with students. The story is entertaining and fast paced. This is a must read for fantasy lovers! Students of a lower reading level would benefit from having the novel read aloud or played from a CD recording.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: sequence of events, connecting text to historical time period, imagery, comparing and contrasting, plot, conflict, character traits

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: use of weapons, attempted murder, torture

RELATED BOOKS:  Eldest, Inheritance, Inkheart, Artemis Fowl series

RELATED MOVIES: Eragon (2006)


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

August 12, 2008

Susanna of the Alamo

Susanna of the Alamo

Author: John Jakes

Illustrator: Paul Bacon     

Page Length: 36

Reading Level: 3

Genre: Non-Fiction           

PLOT SUMMARY: This is the story of the battle of the Alamo fought in San Antonio, Texas. The Texas army, made up of famous volunteers such as Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, fought the huge Mexican army led by Santa Anna for 13 days.  But on the 13th day, Santa Anna gave the order to fight and leave no one alive.   Susanna Dickinson and her infant daughter were the only Anglo survivors.  They were released and traveled to warn General Sam Houston of the Mexican invasion.

REVIEW: This is a true an accurate account of the thirteen day battle of the Alamo.  Susanna Dickinson traveled courageously through Texas to share the story of the many who fought for Texas’ freedom.  It is believed that had she not survived, that the true story of the Alamo may never have been shared or the cry of “Remember the Alamo” familiar to Texans of all ages.

This book is an easy to read book which will help the lower level reader be able to competently comprehend the historical events.

This book could be used in an elementary study of Texas history or for the older student to read and write a report.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Sequence of Events, Texas History

RELATED BOOKS: Voices of the Alamo

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: “The Alamo” (2004)

RELATED WEBSITES:…/trc/2002/manual/elementary/waybackwhen.html

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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