Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Scorpio Races

Stiefvater, Maggie. 2011. THE SCORPIO RACES. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 978-0545224901 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

The Scorpio Races occur every November on the small island of Thisby when the men and boys race their colorful but dangerous water horses, often to their deaths as the horses try to either drown their riders or eat their flesh. Sean Kendrick, a stable hand, has won the race for the last several years, but this year the stakes are especially high. Enter Puck Connolly, the only girl ever to enter the Scorpio Races. Despite the citizens of the island not wanting her to race, she chooses to race because she needs the money to save her home and her small island pony that she will use to race against the much stronger, much larger, and much faster water horses. In a somewhat predictable turn of events, she and Sean fall in love, despite the knowledge that only one of them can win. This book is dark, often disturbing, brutal, spine-tingling, impossible to put down, and unforgettable, despite its rather slow start. Not only will Stiefvater fans embrace this book, but so will readers who want to read something a little different from the usual young adult fare. This book was a Michael Printz Honor award winner.

This book is a perfect selection for book club discussion. Have students draw or paint their impressions of what a water horse really looks like. Have a contest to choose the best depiction.

Books with other unusual creatures:
Childs, Tera Lyn. FORGIVE MY FINS (mermaids). ISBN 9780061914676
Cremer, Andrea. NIGHTSHADE (shape-shifters). ISBN 9780142419809
Papademetriou, Lisa. SIREN’S STORM (sirens). ISBN 9780375842450
Pike, Christopher. THE SECRET OF KA (genies). ISBN 9780547577296

By Janet Hilbun

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