One last page of Summer Book Reviews!

Everyone is back to school, but we still have a few reviews from our summer readers! If you’re looking for something good to read this fall, these were proven popular with kids!

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What Comes Next by Rob Buyea!

I loved this book, What Comes Next by Rob Buyea because it was a heartwarming, and adventurous read! This book was about a girl named Thea who recently lost her BFF, Charlie, to a car crash. She becomes mute and doesn’t speak AT ALL, because of the pain. Then, her mom and dad agree to get a cute new dog for the family to have named Jack-Jack! He changes Thea’s life by putting her out of her misery! I liked this book so much because it teaches readers to be resilient, even through hard times!

-Josie D, grade 6

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets By J.K Rowling

This book is about Harry Potter. It starts off with Harry stuck in his Aunt and Uncle’s house. Then a house elf by the name of Dobby appears and causes trouble and Harry is not allowed to go to Hogwarts again. Then while Harry is asleep he wakes up to find his friend Ron at the window with his brothers Fred and George riding their dad’s flying car. They came to take Harry to their house for the remainder of the summer. When Harry went to Hogwarts, there started to be attacks from a basilisk which petrified people. Hermione is one of the people who got petrified. Harry finds out how to get into the Chamber of Secrets and finds out that Tom riddle is actually Voldemort and Harry saves Ginny by destroying Tom Riddle’s diary with a Basilisk fang. I liked the book because it is interesting.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire By J.K Rowling

This book starts off with Harry in his aunt and uncle’s house like always. Dudley (his cousin) is on a diet and Harry is just not enjoying anything at all. After a while the Weasleys come and pick harry up and take him to the Quidditch World Cup. Then Death Eaters come and ruin the whole place but everybody gets out. Once Harry was at Hogwarts someone at school entered him into the Triwizard Tournament and he had to participate. Once he reached the cup he teleported to a graveyard where Voldemort regained power but Harry made it out safely. I liked this book because it is interesting.

-Danesh M, grade 5

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters By Lenore Look

Alvin is a boy. He is afraid of many things. He is scared of camping. But they are going camping, so Alvin packs up, trembling. They hop into the car and drive of. They drive into a rainstorm. They need to go back but they can’t go back. ”We need to go back” “How?“said Alvin. “ We’ll just have to figure it out.” The rainstorm stopped. They got out and set up the tent in the wood. Alvin got mostly all the stuff. They stopped. There was an alien that stood in front of him. “My name is Beaufeuillet. He joined their camping. At the end of the day they all camped under the stars. Then they went home. The End
I like this book because I like Alvin’s bravery, because he has to climb a tree to save his dad. I like this book because this book is really realistic. I like this book because it is adventurous.

-Carter M, grade 2

Beach Day by Patricia Lakin

This book is about four crocodiles named Pam, Will, Jill and Sam. They think it is hot outside so the think about going to the beach. They put their swimsuits and hats on, and sunscreen and sunglasses and they go to the beach, but they get lost and see a playground and stop and have a picnic and take a nap. They go up a big hill and finally get to the beach but it’s night and they go swimming. I like the book because it is funny and it has good pictures.

-Wesley G, grade 1

Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

The book was about a bunch of boys who play baseball and a person on their team was sick. So Amelia said she would play for him but she had no idea how to play. They tried to show her how to play. But she did not understand. Still, later that day she went to play and in the end they won. I like this book because it is funny.

-Olivia G, grade 3

The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada and Jamie Smith escape their cruel mother, and ride a train far away from their current home in London. Children are given away for anyone to take at the train station. Everyone gets chosen besides Ada and Jamie. People looking for children ask Ada what happened to her foot.
“Got run over by a brewers cart,” she would say. The truth, though, was that Ada had an untreated clubfoot. She didn’t want people to be scared away because of her foot.
When no one took in Ada or Jamie, Susan Smith, whose last name being the same as Ada and Jamie’s being completely coincidental, was forced to take them in. Reluctantly, she took them in. She warns them that she is not a nice person. But Ada doesn’t understand how she isn’t a nice person if she’s so much nicer than their mom. The only reason that Ada and Jamie were able to escape was because of WWII, which was allowing children to escape London and go to Kent. Ada wasn’t sure she liked Ms. Smiths parenting methods, however, she much preferred them over her mom’s. The War starts getting worse, and going into the Anderson shelter(a small room buried underground) every night was growing to be a pain. When Ada and Jamie’s old mom came back to fetch them, just realizing she paid for them to be gone, she brought them right back. Their mom was very cruel to Ada, always shaming her for her foot. When they got back, tons of bombs dropped on London, as Ada and Jamie tried to escape the bombs, they saw Ms. Smith. They ran to her. Ms. Smith brought them back home to find out that their house was bombed. Butter, Ada’s horse and Bovril, Jamie’s cat, are both alright. Ada was scared, and she had just realized how serious the war was.
I rate this book a 9/10. It was full of action and fun to read. I would totally recommend this book to a friend. The character buildup could’ve been a little bit quicker, but other than that, this book was really good and I totally recommend it

-Sahana K, grade 6

The Terrible Two Get Worse by Jory John and Mac Barnett

I like this book because it is about two friends pranking together. It is about the two friends who get their principal fired by accident and get a very strict principal and have to prank him so bad he has to leave of embarrassment and their first principal comes back.

-Linnea S, grade 5

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

The book is about two sisters who can stand each other, but one day, a snake shows up and they have to work together. I really liked that book because it shows what happens with siblings. And even if you fight, you have to get through things together. That is why i really like the book.
I give the book 100,000 stars!

-Melody W, grade 5

Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea

I liked this book because it is about helping people friendships and love. This book is about seven friends going into 7th grade. It is very different and they are missing their teacher from last year (Mr. Terupt). It talks about school and challenges they have to face. That is why I liked Mr. Terupt Falls Again.

-Linnea S, grade 5

Ivy’s Ever After by Dawn Lairamore

The dragon in my book is named Eldridge. My book was about a giant named Largessa who needs her magical harp back. it was stolen after Ivy’s fairy godmother Drusilla gave magic beans to Jack, they grew into a giant beanstalk which lead to Largessa’s kingdom. Jack stole a bag of gold, a magical harp, and a goose that laid golden eggs. Jack later founded a kingdom named Jackopia that was COMPLETELY made out of gold. The harp put Largessa to sleep but without it, she hasn’t slept in nearly 1,000 years and she is very grumpy. Ivy, Eldridge, and the stable boy from the castle (Owen), must travel to Jackopia to retrieve the harp or else Largessa will crush the kingdom with giant boulders and feed Toadstool (Drusilla’s fairy goat) to the Meanstalk (A new type of magical living chomping beanstalk Largessa created. I like this book because it teaches Jackopia’s kingdom a lesson.

-Isabelle M, grade 4

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And there you have it…the last page of reviews by kids until 2022. (Unless you want to send us a review to share.)

But it’s not the end of reading! Just visit the library and we can give you a million (okay, a dozen) suggestions for a book you might enjoy to check out and take home for a cozy day of reading. We love to help kids (and parents) find their next favorite book…

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

More Summer Book Reviews

Check out a few more of our favorite book reviews by kids this summer! I think some of these kids have a future in writing ahead of them…

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Restart by Gordan Korman.

I like this book because it shows anyone can change and become a better person. The book is about a bully named Chase Ambrose falling on his head and forgetting everything. Chase has a chance to become a better person and change. That is what Restart is about.

Linnea S, grade 5

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl is about Zita, she accidentally opens a portal to space and ends up becoming a hero! But, in the third book, (this one) Zita gets sentenced to the dungeons by the Dungeon Lord. Even worse, her companion Mouse is sent to an execution. She sees a blue figure but doesn’t say anything about it. In the dungeon she finds Raggy, who developed from a rag pile in the dungeons. Then, there is Femur, the skeleton. They can both talk and when Zita escapes, it’s thanks to Femurs pinkie finger! She finds the blue figure again and follows it. They find a Leviathan which is suppose to be floating in space but is really giving the Dungeon Lord all of it’s power. Zita tries to free the Leviathan but ends up getting back to the dungeons. The blue figure does escape though.

The Dungeon Lord sentences Zita to the mines and says that every day she works for him he will put off Mouse’s execution. He also tells her that he plans to destroy her world!! But meanwhile, all of the friends she’s made are going to look for her! After a day after working in the mines, she thinks now she does belong in a cell. Raggy and Femur try to cheer her up but it’s no use. The next day in the mines she needs to break open a rock but instead she hits the screed. (A type of robot that’s evil) She gets saved by the blue figure again and actually gets out; but while they are jumping into a huge void Zita gets the blue figure unmasked and realizes that its Joseph, her old friend.

They get a connection with Piper and Madrigal, some other friends, they even have Strong, Strong and One. They also found… a time jump crystal! They go back to the dungeons and start their plan. Joseph betrays Zita and Raggy and Femur start a prison riot. They free Mouse and Joseph almost gets killed but they save him! Leviathan gets freed but the planet is going to implode. Joseph and Zita are about to board Zita’s spaceship but then she tells it to pick up Raggy and Femur. They start running to go to Piper’s spaceship but the Dungeon Lord grabs them. One shoots at the Dungeon Lord and Randy the Robot blasts a portal back to earth for Zita and Joseph.

Jessica M, grade 4

Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins

I read Upside Down Magic. It is about a girl named Nory, and she is a Flexer. Flexers have special powers, like transforming into animals. I really liked the book because Nory isn’t a normal Flexer–she turns into two animals at once. Elliot is Nory’s friend and he is a Flare but instead of fire, he makes ice. Together they make a great team.

Toby F, grade 3

Who Was Maya Angelou, by Ellen Labrecque

The book, Who Was Maya Angelou by Ellen Labrecque, is a book about Maya Angelou. I think this person is inspiring because she wrote beautiful poems and said nice speeches. But most of all I am inspired by how she kept going even with all the sorrow in her life.

Lila P, grade 4

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

The book, The Mysterious Benedict Society, was a great book with many plot twists and a-lot of adventure. This book is about this group of scholars that go on a trip to a secret boarding school under-cover. On their trip they go through many secret passages and inhale huge secrets. Though they go through many challenges they have a choice to leave but they don’t…..

Lila P, grade 4

Linked by Gordon Korman

Linked is about a town in Colorado. In this town someone sprayed a swastika symbol on a wall. It happens more and more but no one knows who’s doing it. Plus, there is only one Jewish girl, or so they thought…. In the end, the first person to solve the crime was the famous Adam Tom, the YouTuber. Then the principal found out. There are no animals helping, only kids. Even though there was no detective (Police don’t count?) it was still a great mystery book! This book is definitely a 10/10!

(for the Mystery Challenge, which for the Tales & Tails summer reading program asked if any animals helped to solve the mystery)

Jessica M, grade 4

Magic Tree House: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne

A piano was playing by nothing was playing it. Then Jack and Annie heard a noise. It was loud. They went outside. They saw a troop of horses. They hid in the barrels that they saw. When they got out they saw a man with a six shooter gun. He was about to shoot when Jack and Annie told the real story. “Very brave of you taking care of my little horse” said the man. Then the troop of horses came back. Jack and Annie and the man quickly got on the horses. When they got to the Grand Canyon they drank tea and ate biscuits when it was morning. And then the man left. The End.

I like when the piano was playing by itself. The story was interesting because the man actually helped  Jack and Annie get away from the horses.

Logan M, pre-K

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Do you see any books you’d like to read? Just come by the library…we have them all!

We should have one or two more entries of Summer Reading Reviews. Then on to some of the topics suggested for our blog in the BellaOnBooks Reading Challenge!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Summer Reading Reviews for kids, by kids…take two!

Here are more of our favorite reviews of this summer…

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Smile, by Raina Telgemeier
Smile is about a girl named Raina that accidentally tripped and two front teeth fell out from Raina’s mouth. Raina goes to school and everyone is asking her what happened. Raina doesn’t like going to the Dentist appointments, AT ALL. Her friends make fun of her sometimes and eventually Raina yells at them and leaves their friend group. Raina does make new friends and Raina is happy again! She and her new friends are VERY happy and Raina’s teeth are better too. I really liked Smile and would rate the book five out of five stars!

– Jessica, grade 5

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Al Capone Does My Shirts was a great book! It is about a 12-year-old boy named Moose Flanagan in 1935 who moves to the prison island Alcatraz which houses infamous criminals known as notorious Roy Gardner, Machine Gun Kelly, and Al Capone. He meets kids that plan so many schemes they might as well be criminals themselves, and has to protect his older sister Natalie, who is not as normal as other kids. I really liked this book, because Moose really cares for his sister!

– Victoria, grade 6


Storm Runners By Roland Smith
Chase is a boy. He lives on a farm. Chase lives with Mama Rosa and Nicole. One day it is time for Chase to start school so Nicole takes him to the bus stop. The bus arrives and Chase hops on and goes to school. Chase meets Ricard Krupp. He is Chase’s teacher. “Hi,” says Mrs. Krupp”. “Hi” Chase says back. Chase sits back in his chair. Mrs. Krupp gave chase a math problem. Chase solved it quickly. Five hours later…RING RING! “School’s over,” said Mrs. Krupp. The bus came immediately. Chase refused to get onto the bus. “It’s dangerous,” Chase said. “Get onto the bus,” Mrs. Krupp said. “No”! Chase said. “GET ON THE BUS!!!!!” shouted Mrs. Krupp. So Chase ran onto the bus and forced the doors closed. The driver turned the key and drove away. “First stop Chase’s farm house. He lives in a…” ”Uh-oh” Chase interrupted, “Look at the sky.” Something was swirling in the sky. Suddenly the bus was lifted into the air. It fell and almost killed the driver. Two hours later….. Chase met Nicole and a new person Rashawn. They walk up a hill and saw something. “A crocodile!” They ran to Chase’s house. They all panted. “Home,” Chase said. I love this book because Chase is adventurous like me.

– Carter, grade 2

Roller Girl By Victoria Jamieson
Roller Girl is about this girl named Astrid. She has a friend named Nicole and they go to a roller derby bout and Astrid really loved it! So, Astrid goes to a junior roller camp and she assumes that Nicole wanted to go too but instead Nicole went to a Ballerina Camp. Astrid goes to the derby camp and walks or skates home, but her mom thinks that Nicole’s mom is driving her home. Nicole and Astrid get into a fight but then Astrid meets Zoey, and they become very good friends! Astrid decides to get her hair dyed and soon she has blue hair!! Her mom found out she was skating home and Astrid made up and apologized to Nicole. Astrid also gets into a fight with Zoey. She makes up with Zoey. In the end Astrid helps Zoey get a point to win the game in the bout! I really liked Roller Girl a lot and would rate it 5 out of 5!

– Jessica, grade 5

Secrets and Scones by Laurel Remington
Secrets and Scones is a really great book about a mom and a daughter. The mom has a blog and the daughter (Scarlett) does not like it because her mom is always blogging about her. Then a new girl (Violet) moves to town and she and Scarlett start cooking together! They form a club with some other people and they leave desserts at school. Scarlett keeps the cooking a secret from her mom because she is afraid that her mom will blog about it. But in the end Scarlett and her mom end up working it out and Scarlett even lets her mom help her with the blog.

-Ellie, grade 5

Breakaway by Andrea Montalbano
Breakaway is a book about a girl named LJ. LJ loves soccer more than anything, and when she’s on the field, everything’s perfect! But when she starts being selfish on the field, everything goes wrong. She lets her temper get ahead of her and takes her teammates and family for granted. What can she do to learn to be better? Read on to find out!

-Josie, grade 6

Music for Tigers By Michelle Kadarusman
This story is about a teenage violinist named Louisa who is sent to her family’s Australian bush camp with her uncle Ruff. She also meets a boy named Colin who has trouble making friends with people and cooks delicious meals. Louisa also meets Colin’s mother, Mel. Uncle Ruff is strange. He sometimes tells her about a haunted island named Convict Rock. Soon Louisa discovers that Convict Rock is a sanctuary for Tasmanian Tigers that were thought to be extinct. There is still one tiger at the sanctuary named Ellie. Convict Rock was established by Louisa’s Great Grandmother Eleanor. Then one night, Uncle Ruff brings home some bad news. The bush camp and Convict Rock are being destroyed by miners building a mine path to the mine caves. Convict Rock will be dynamited. Together Louisa, Uncle Ruff, Colin, and Mel must take Ellie deeper into the lush forest where Mel suspects there are other Tasmanian Tigers. They only had two weeks before the bush camp was bulldozed by miners. It turned out Ellie was attracted to Louisa’s violin. Uncle Ruff, Louisa, and Colin sailed to Convict Rock. Together they came up with a plan. The plan started at dusk. Uncle Ruff would put out a piece of meat. Then Louisa would play violin. Colin was ready with a lasso to lasso Ellie gently and a flashlight (Uncle Ruff called it a torch). Uncle Ruff had a net and a tranquil dart to make Ellie fall peacefully into sleep so they could transport her deep into the forest without pain. Their plan worked and when Ellie was caught in the net, Uncle Ruff called, “Torch!” Colin immediately turned on the flashlight so Uncle Ruff could see. He stuck the dart in Ellie’s leg and she fell into a deep sleep. Uncle Ruff radioed Mel and told her Ellie had successfully been rescued. She came in her truck and picked Ellie up. Mel took Ellie safely off into the deep forest. Their mission was complete! I like this book because it shows an appreciation for nature.

-Isabelle, grade 4

Lost at Sea By Nathen Neale
Orrie is a boy. Orrie goes onto a boat called good company. Skip a boat driver owns the boat. Jack is Orrie’s brother. They eat at the bottom of the ship which is the kitchen. Suddenly Orrie throws his plate of pasta at mom. He ran to the dock but it was too late the boat sailed into the far out sea. Jack and Skip fell into the water. Jack caught himself but Skip drowned. Orrie got the rope and caught Jack but when Orrie pulled out Jack mom gasped. Orrie caught a dolphin. He let the dolphin go and pulled up Jack. Mom hurt herself. So Orrie took the wheel. He steered left than right the left then right until dark. Orrie stopped the boat and handed Jack the wheel. Jack was driving like crazy. He was going left, left, right, left, right, right. Finally he stopped the boat. They reached their destination. Their destination was going to dad’s old home where dad was standing. “Yay”! Orrie said. They were here. The End I love this book because I love adventures and the sea.

-Carter, grade 2

A Possibility Of Whales By Karen Rivers
This book was about a girl named Natalia Rose Baleine, but a lot of people can her Nat. She had a really famous father and her mother left when she was a baby. And she just moved to Canada for the year. She makes one friend named Harry. She has a friend who she has never met (this friend dies in the end of the book) she calls this person Bird or Bird (Mom). There is one bad guy in this book–Nat and her Dad call him Loin. He is a photographer and takes pictures of them when they don’t want him too. I liked this book because Nat was very brave and she stood up for herself.

-Phoebe, grade 5

The book Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Front Desk is a sweet and terrific book. This book is about a Chinese immigrant, Mia, and her parents who are looking for a job, which is particularly hard for their race, because at the time Chinese people were not respected as much as other Americans were. They start out rough but find a job as a hotel manager, and work as hard as they can. They dealt with a mean owner pushing them to do what he wants and blaming them for others mistakes. Mia makes it all happen when one of her brilliant ideas is heard by not one, but thousands of people. They take a stand to stop Chinese racism and buy a hotel that welcomes everyone to space they all enjoy.

-Isabelle, grade 5

Crenshaw, by Kathrine Applegate
This is an extraordinary book. It starts off with Jackson, a young boy, who appears to be like any other intelligent ten-year-old boy dealing with the return of his childhood imaginary friend, the larger-than-life cat Crenshaw. As a result, the book draws you in to a very sad but realistic story about family problems. Although the story has elements of fantasy, the author includes sections that make Crenshaw seem real.

-Jenna, grade 6

El Deafo by Cece Bell
This is a auto biography and it is a amazing story and book. It’s about Cece and how she became deaf. In a movie a girl like her with a hearing aid (like her) was called “deafo” by a bully. She could not stop laughing until she hod to use the restroom. She thought “Deafo, hm… Well you gonna call me deafo, that’s right call me El Deafo.” She imagined herself everyday saving herself from her bullies and friends that betray her. In this book she goes through many frendships and struggles.

-Alyssa, grade 5

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
Coyote Sunrise is a 12 year old adventurous girl who lives and travels all over The United States in a school bus with her caring father while they try to forget and escape their past. Coyote heard that her childhood park in Poplin Springs, Washington, was going to be ripped down and Coyote was determined to travel back across the country to find her buried time capsule. The time capsule holds many locked up secrets of Coyote’s life. Coyote’s mother and two sisters passed away in a tragic car crash leaving just Coyote and her father. The time capsule contains everything from old pictures of her mother along with locks of hair from her two sisters. Coyote’s main focus is to return back to Poplin Springs in time to retrieve the time capsule before the park gets destroyed. However she cannot openly tell her father that they need to return back home because he is trying so hard to forget the pain of losing a huge part of their family. Along the way back to Washington, Coyote and her father find hitchhikers stranded along the road. Coyote has no choice but to have the hitchhikers pitch in on her journey as her father is always wanting to help anyone in need. In conclusion, I rate this story a 10/10 as, this story is remarkable with many cliffhangers that will keep you engaged page after page. The depth and intrigue of this story will leave you with a very memorable impression. If you like realistic fiction, then you will definitely love this book.

-Jenna, grade 6

Jenny and the Cat Club, by Esther Averill.
A cute yet interesting book. In the book Jenny goes though five adventures. Becoming a member of the Cat Club, losing her scarf that her master, Captain Tinker, knit for her, going to her first party, Captain Tinker adopting two stray cats that become her brothers, and her brothers joining the Cat Club. If you like cats, then you should read this book – Jenny and the Cat Club.

-Lyla, grade 2

Upside Down Magic: The Big Shrink by Sarah Mlynowski
Marigold has size changing magic that she is still learning how to control. She has a tutor named Layla. When Nory’s sister Dahlia tells her about something amazing called a Dregg (dragon egg), everybody in the Dunnwiddle fifth grade wants one. They became distractions during school and so Principal Gonzales had to ban them from school. Any Dregg taken out of backpacks at all during teaching, recess, and lunch were confiscated. The Upside Down Magic Class decided to make a peaceful protest against this new rule. Marigold shrunk most of the Upside Down Magic Class and any other fifth graders from the five Fs of magic. So many students wanted to be shrunk. Principal Gonzales finally offered Dreggs on Fridays out in the recess yard. Nory loved this idea but Marigold refused to back down and said she wanted Dreggs every day. Because everybody was tiny, their magic was also tiny so Marigold couldn’t unshrink anybody. Everybody had to go to the hospital but then Marigold had an idea. If she was unshrunk by the hospital, she could unshrink everybody else instead of them having to go through the ten shots and 18 glasses of coconut water. It worked. And Principal Gonzales still was letting people bring their Dreggs on Fridays during recess. I like this book because the message is it’s okay do make mistakes.

-Isabelle, grade 4

The Boys Start the War Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Hatford family has four boys. Jake, Josh, Peter, and Wally. Their best friends the Bensons just moved to Georgia and a boring new family has taken their place. It is a family of three girls. The War of Pranks starts when the boys dump dead animals into the river so the girls wouldn’t swim in it. Then the girls pretend the youngest sister Caroline is dead and dump her into the river. Then Mrs. Hatford made the boys give the girls her special Chocolate Chiffon Cake on her best plate but the girls think it is a trick and dump the cake into the river along with the plate. Then they have to retrieve the plate and unluckily, it has a single hairline crack. Mrs. Hatford keeps asking about the cake, but no one knows what she was talking about because it was dumped into the river. Then the girls climb up onto the Hatford’s roof at night while it is raining and sing a long, eerie call. The boys take away the girls’ ladder so they can’t get off the roof. The girls open the trapdoor on their roof and let the rain in along with themselves. Then the boys make a haunted face by Beth’s window (the oldest sister) by sticking a flashlight under a rubber mask Josh is wearing. Then Caroline goes to spy on the Hatfords along with a snack of marshmallows and cheese and crackers in their shed. The boys find out and padlock the shed so Caroline can’t escape. Caroline pretends to be rabid by sticking marsh mellows on her lips and melting them in the hot sun. I like that this book is really funny.

– Isabelle, grade 4

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and Leuyen Phan
I read the book Real Friends about two girls Shannon and Adrienne who have been best friends seen they were little but when Adrienne come back from her little move. She starts to play with someone else at school. There friendship get torn is two. I really like this book. I think it might be the author’s childhood because it show pictures in the back

-Alima, grade 6

The Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell
The book was about a girl named Ruth who went fishing. She saw in the water that it was all black and there was a dead fish in the water. She thought it was weird so she got a little bit of the water and did a test on it at school with the teachers help. The teacher realized there was something bad in the water. The rest of the book was about her figuring out the problem with the water. She started a blog about the water problem. She realized it was a leak from a Country Club. There were chemicals going into the water. The water was giving people cavities and hurting people. She gave a speech and people starting using better water and get new tap water. The were able to stop the Country Club from leaking. Why I like the book was because Ruth was really determined to find out the problem. I really liked that it was a graphic novel because I think they are fun to read.

-Olivia, grade 3

Demon Dentist by David Williams
Demon Dentist is such a good book. It is about a boy named Alfie who hasn’t gone to the dentist in years. But then a evil dentist named Miss Root comes to his school and sees Alfies teeth. She gives him a toothpaste that burns through stone. But she didn’t tell Alfie that. Read the book to find out what happens to Alfie and the toothpaste will he figure out that it burns through stone or use it on his teeth? With its humor, sadness and scariness this is definitely one of my new favorite books.

-Katerina, grade 5

Clash By Kayla Miller
Clash is about a girl named Olive. Natasha had just moved to her town and Olive is Natasha’s buddy, Olive shows her around the school and Natasha meets all of her friends. Natasha doesn’t seem to like Olive that much and soon is taking Olive’s friends. Olive decides to hang out with her other friends but Natasha still is bugging her. Then, it’s Halloween and Olive is having a party because one of her friends, Willow isn’t allowed out this year. During the party, Natasha gets a lot of people to go trick-or-treating with her and ends up throwing an egg and Olive’s house. Suddenly, no one likes Natasha and doesn’t do anything with her. One day though, Olive decides to sit with Natasha and they may not become friends but they won’t hate each other. I really liked Clash and can’t wait to read Kayla Miller’s next book!

-Jessica, grade 5

Who Is Malala Yousafzai by Dinah Brown.
This book is about the life and achievements of Malala Yousafzai! I think Malala Yousafzai is very inspiring because she fought for girls school rights, and was the youngest person ever to win the famous Nobel Peace Prize!

-Josie, grade 6

Big Nate Blasts Off By Lincoln Peirce
Big Nate Blasts Off is about Nate, and he meets a new girl named Ruby. Instantly he falls in love but the school jerk, Randy likes Ruby too! When Nate gets hired by the weekly Bungle he wrote about Randy as a guess the person. But, he made it mean so Randy got SUPER mad!! Ruby seems to like Nate more and when she gives him some Root Bear, Randy gets in on the action by shaking it up and getting Nate all sprayed up. Nate’s dad says that they might move to California so Nate is down in the dumps and gets paired up with Randy for a field trip. Of course, they don’t get along but =by the end they’ve come to an understanding. They team up for the 37th annual Mud Bowl against Jefferson and guess what? They win! When Nate says that he isn’t moving Ruby kisses him and Randy gets mad and jealouse. Nate talks to Randy and they may not become friends, but they are not enemies. I really like Big Nate and I can’t wait to read the next one!

– Jessica, grade 5

The Baby-Sitters Club; Kristy’s Big Day By Ann Martin and Gale Galligan
Kristy’s Big Day is about Kristy’s mom and Watson, a millionaire getting married! in this book, Kristy and the rest of the Baby-Sitters club has to baby-sit 14 kids! They work it out though and Kristy and her mom faces many problems but they successfully complete the wedding! Kristy is happy for her mom and Watson! I think this book was great and I really can’t wait to read the 7th book!

-Jessica, grade 5

Magic Tree House #35; Camp Time in California By Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie see two blank sketchbooks, two magic drawing pencils, a rhyme from Morgan, and a book about Yosemite National Park when they climb into their treehouse at dusk one evening. The rhyme goes: The trees are calling Hurry and go Into the forest, Through sunshine and snow. Call yourselves artists. Draw what you see. Give help to others. Give it for free. Before you go home, Speak truth to power. Help save the wilderness By Sunday’s noon hour. Jack and Annie are whisked away to Yosemite National Park and meet four horsemen. They let Jack and Annie travel with them. They help the horsemen (for free), draw all the simple but amazing sights of Yosemite in their sketchbooks, and help President Roosevelt save Yosemite by putting it under protection from the wildlife societies. I like this book because it is showing an amazing example of how to protect nature and its natural beauties.

-Isabelle, grade 4

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Whew!

That was more reviews than planned, but I enjoyed hearing about all the titles so much, it wouldn’t have been easy to cut any of them!

So what has been YOUR favorite books this summer? Feel free to share it with library staff…either in your reading log, at the library, or here in the comments!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Summer Reading Reviews–From Kids!

Here are some of our favorite Summer Reading Reviews!

If you’re looking for a book to read, try one of these–recommended by kids, for kids.

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I liked Invisible Emmie by Terri Liberson because I like the idea of how Emmie, the most invisible kid in the school that’s shy, turns eventually to be very popular. Kate, on the other hand, was very, very popular but that all changed. To add onto that, when Katie starts to help Emmie after someone found her love note to Tyler and her world becomes a disaster. She even lost her best friend, Brianna. Emmie likes Katies help but then just wants her to stop. Furthermore, I also like how the author separated this book from two different perspectives and you know both sides of the story. This is why I like invisible Emmie. I would recommend this book to anyone and I rate it a 5 out of 5!

-Jessica M

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This is a book review for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K.Rowling. I really like how the author includes the details in the book and a lot of imagination about the wizard world. It is about a young boy named Harry Potter who is actually a wizard raised by muggles! He goes to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. He makes friends like Ron and Hermoinnie and learns different spells. But, there a really evil wizard named Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents and also wants to kill him. This book has a very creative world, and while I was reading it I felt that I was in it! I recommend you should read it. It’s even better than the movie!

-Anay M

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The title of this book is Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling. The book was about Harry Potter (who is a wizard) survives when Voldemort (who is a bad wizard) try’s to kill harry. harry is sent to his aunt, uncle and cousin who are all very mean to him. Then one day letters start coming in and his aunt and uncle don’t let harry see it. Then so many come in that they go into a houseboat. Then exactly on Harry’s eleventh birthday an expelled wizard (who is also the gamekeeper) named Hagrid smashes down the door and gives harry his letter. It is an invitation to Hogwarts a school of witchcraft and wizardry. After that harry see’s Voldemort again trying to steal the sorcerers stone (he is not really Voldemort and his Professor Quirrell with Voldemort’s head). He defeats Professor Quirrell by touching him and the stone was destroyed. I liked this book because of when harry touched Professor Quirrell. That is the reason why I liked Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone.

-Danesh M

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The Heroes of Olympus, Book Four: The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan The fourth book in the second Percy Jackson series starts off when Leo Valdez, Piper McLean, Jason Grace, Hazel Levesque, and Frank Zhang are flying through an angry mountain gods area in their flying ship: the Argo II, and are getting pelted with giant rocks. Meanwhile, Percy Jackson and his girlfriend Annabeth Chase are falling down into Tartarus: a giant pit of doom where gods imprison their enemies known as the Underworld. My favorite part of the book was when Bob the nice titan brings Percy and Annabeth to Akhlys, who can make them invisible. “His whole body was dissolving. He held up his hands and found they were fuzzy and indistinct,” the book stated. “Her skin was sallow, her eye sockets dark and sunken.” In this part, I think the author did a great job of describing the scene and creating a visual for the reader to see in their head. Overall, I think this was a great book and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

-Bogdan C

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I read the book Just Jaime by Terri Libenson, the book was about a girl whose best friend got influenced by the popular girls, and they made her say mean things about her, because she was a late bloomer, but she meets nice people and the girls friend relzies what she did wrong and they become friends againI loved the book because it shows the meaning of true friendship and having real friends. I give it a 10 star!

-Melody W

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Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom By Teresa Robeson The Queen of Physics is about an Asian woman named Wu Chien Shiung. Her name means courageous hero. Her parents were also courageous. They opened a school for only girls. Shien Shiung learned all she could there and then she went to Suzhou, fifty miles away. At night after her classes were over, she read textbooks about physics and electricity and atoms. She was not afraid of challenges. She was chosen to lead their “underground group” a group to fight against the unfair government. Chien Shiung traveled even farther away. She went to the National Central University. And she studied some more physics. Later, she was chosen to lead the march to General Chiang’s headquarters. Then she traveled to Berkeley, California to get deeper into her studies of atoms. She proved other people’s theories right or wrong with her knowledge and studies. Many people say she should have won the Nobel Prize but she didn’t. Chien Shiung helped two physicists Yang Ning and Lee Dao. She even cancelled her trip to China to see her parents in her commitment to her work. She proved Lee and Yang right. They won the Nobel Prize but again, she didn’t. Another two physicists Richard Feynman and Murray Gell- Mann needed Chien Shiung’s help. She proved yet another theory but for the third time, they got the Nobel Prize and she didn’t. Chien Shiung worked so hard that a little while later, newspapers declared that she had been given a new title: The Queen of Physics! I like this book because Chien Shiung proved persistence and she tried her best and faced challenges even when things were hard.

-Isabelle M

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The book, Who is Ken Jennings? by Kirsten Anderson is all about Ken Jennings who holds some records on the game show Jeopardy. In the book it is mostly about his time on the show. Did you know that Ken won his first game because of the answer, “Jones”? Ken Jennings won 74 games in a row! Did you know that Ken had less than a month to get ready for Jeopardy? Ken Jennings practiced using a buzzer and one of his sons toys became a practice buzzer? In the end of his time on Jeopardy he won a total of $2,522,700! I think that Ken Jennings is inspiring because he worked really hard to try his best when he was playing Jeopardy.

-Jessica M

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These were some of our favorite reviews of the summer so far. Have you read any of these books? Do they sound good to you? Check one out and see what you think!

Check back next week for more!

Book & Audio Review: City Spies

So do you think you have what it takes to be a spy? Would you like to travel the world, crack codes, face danger and rescue innocents? Would you do it if you had the chance?

Here’s a series about some kids who DO get the chance. And they’re not just good spies, they’re City Spies.

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City Spies
by James Ponti,
read by Lisa Flanagan
6 CDs; 6 Hours, 50 minutes

City Spies: Golden Gate
by James Ponti,
read by Lisa Flanagan
6 CDs; 7 Hours, 46 minutes

Sara Martinez is a hacker.  She’s not a famous hacker, in fact she’s a foster kid in Brooklyn, New York.  And she doesn’t even have a phone, let alone a tablet or computer.  All her hacking is done by cabling together ten-year-old PCs in her school’s computer lab or by using the computers at the public library.  But it’s amazing what she can do with the tools at her disposal. She has even managed to hack into NASA.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the best of luck in foster parents.  So when the couple she’s living with lock her and the five year old boy she’s taken under her wing on the roof of their house overnight, she uses all her hacking skills to reveal their bad decisions (and illegal activities) to the authorities.  But instead of causing them trouble, it lands Sara in jail.  Or juvenile detention.  Same thing.

It seems her fate is sealed–there’s no way Sara will be able to get out of this. The public defender assigned to her case says that she can plea bargain her case down to two and a half years in juvenile detention–kid jail. And no computer access until she’s eighteen! But her meeting with the public defender is interrupted by someone new. A very fancy, well-dressed man with a British accent who claims to be her lawyer.  Sara hasn’t hired a lawyer, she definitely hasn’t got the money to do that! And who would do it for her? This new guy claims he can get the charges dropped, Sara is suspicious, but willing to take a chance.  She can’t face life with no access to the thing she does—and loves–best. No computers would make life unbearable.

Sara’s a little worried when, once they’re alone in the dingy little court office, the man pulls out a bunch of passports to pick a name–Croydon St. Vincent Marlborough the Third? Nigel Honeybuns?  Gerald Anderson?  The man tells Sara that none of these are actually his name, and tells her to call him Mother.  Mother?   

In the courtroom, “Gerald Anderson, Attorney-at-Law” takes on the judge in a battle of wits.  He asks Sara to trust him, and for some reason, even though trusting adults is very difficult for her, she does.  Even when it looks like there’s no way out of the charges, and Mother…Gerald…seems to be trying to get a LONGER sentence than ten years…Sara trusts him.  And she walks out of the court with him into fresh air.  She’s been sentenced to Crunchem Hall, for six years under Miss Trunchbull.

(as an aside—anyone recognize that name and place? Think hard!)

Crunchem Hall a fictitious school, and Miss Trunchbull is a fictitious woman in charge, from a book written by Roald Dahl.  Mother tells Sara that Dahl is his favorite author.  His books are okay, but mostly, he loves them because the author was a spy for British Intelligence.  Just like Mother.

After a little payback with her foster parents (and making sure that the other kids are going to good homes) Sara boards a plane with Mother and her cell mate from the detention center, Sydney, another spy who’s just about a year older than her.  Sara is to be enrolled in Kinloch Abbey, a school in Scotland.  Once Mother, Sara and Sydney get home to the FARM, Sara becomes Brooklyn, and meets the other kids living there:  Paris, Rio and Kat (short for Katmandu).  All of them are spies for the British Secret Intelligence Agency.  The FARM is their home, but it’s also a cover.  It stands for The Foundation for Atmospheric Research and Monitoring…which gives Mother and the kids an excuse for people arriving and departing at all times…and to have Beny, the supercomputer that takes up practically the whole basement.

Brooklyn just has time to settle in when they’re off…on an adventure to Paris.  Brooklyn might not be trained yet, but she’s quick on her feet, and no one can beat her hacking skills.  Disguised as part of an international youth summit, Brooklyn, Sydney, Paris, Rio and Kat…along with Mother and Monty, their guardian, are ready to save the world from a notorious villain.

If they can…

The audio book for City Spies is just as good as the book.  It’s a roller coaster of adventure and friendship, spies and villains, feats of daring and sneaking around in the Paris underground.  Sara/Brooklyn bonds with her new family, and they take her under their wings.  The pacing will leave you on the edge of your seat, and I pretty much guarantee that you’ll put the next disc in as soon as the previous one finishes.

I loved the narration for both City Spies books, the first two of (I hope!) many about these young British Secret Intelligence Agency spies.  The narrator is able to do many accents—from Brooklyn’s East Coast American accent to an Australian accent for Sydney, British for Mother (along with a few others when he disguises his identity), Irish for Monty and a mix of accents for Paris, Rio and Kat.  (In fact, the only slight issue I has was that while Paris does sound like he might be Rawandan via France, the accents Kat and Rio have are less distinct;  Kat sounds soft, and Rio sounds young.)  The villains also have distinct voices, and sound appropriately menacing and tricky…with a variety of accents from around the world.

Although the synopsis above is for just the first City Spies book, the second book, City Spies: Golden Gate, is just as good.  It’s slightly longer, and the plot is a bit more intricate.  I am looking forward to books three…and hopefully more!  It looks like the plots will be global, and the kids will be traveling all over the world.

City Spies would probably be best read by third through seventh grades, but the audio recording would be great for a family car trip with kids as young as five or six, or as old as ninth or tenth grades.  Adults would enjoy it as well.  Some read-alikes would be the Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs, Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series by Beth McMullen, Winterborne Home books by Ally Carter, The League of Unexceptional Children trilogy by Gitty Daneshvari,  and the Jackson Greene books by Darian Johnson.  And, of course, James Ponti’s other books.

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So there you have it.  Excitement!  Travel!  Danger!  And with Brooklyn, we’ll all learn that spying isn’t just fun…it’s also a lot of hard work and training.  But would you take a chance and be a teenage spy?

I would…maybe. If I could go back to those teenage years. 

If you need help finding these or any other books on this list, just ask one of our librarians.  We’re always happy to help you find your next favorite book..!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Book and Audio Review: Level 13

It’s almost summer, so it’s time to travel! What better to bring along on a trip than a book…or a book on CD? Here’s one the whole family will enjoy!

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Level 13: a Slacker Novel
By Gordon Korman

performed by Jessica Almasy, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Christopher Gebauer and Jonathan Todd Ross
5 CDs, 5.75 Hours

Cameron Boxer is a dedicated student. Dedicated to beating online video games, that is! His grand goal in life is to make a living (and a fortune!) streaming online for other gamers. So his whole being is wrapped up in besting his last score and learning all the cheats and hacks for his favorites. Someday, he wants to be like Draja Dubrovnik, his online gamer hero. School? Who needs it! Cam knows he can get enough of an audience to become famous.

His friends don’t really seem to know that through. No, they think he’s some kind of hero for coming up with the P.A.G.–the Positive Action Group. What is the P.A.G.? Only the best thing to happen to Sycamore Middle School in, like, forever! (according to the Daphne Leibowitz anyway, one of the girls in the school). Cam actually came up with the idea to get his parents off his back about spending too much time online. It wasn’t supposed to be a REAL club! But now there are 874 group members, and Cameron is the head of it. The club has done all kinds of community service–from walking old ladies across the street to painting orphanages to picking up garbage. The funny thing is, everyone thinks Cam is some kind of genius for coming up with the P.A.G., although he mostly wants to slither out of those responsibilities.

So when Cam is invited to a party when he would rather be gaming, he has no idea that it’s the first step in a slippery slope leading to more P.A.G. stuff. He was just going to make an appearance! But no, cool kid Jordan is asking him–Cam Boxer!–for advice. Xavier, the school delinquent, has brought him cookies for some bake sale he seems convinced Cam knows about, and worst of all, he discovers that know-it-all Daphne Leibowitz is dating one of his two best friends–Chuck.

Things go downhill from there. Daphne has decided that the P.A.G. need to raise funds to repair the Library. Not only does that suck up all Cam’s gaming time, but the Awesome Threesome–Cam, Chuck and Pavel, their third best friend–now have responsibilities! But at the first event for the Library Fund Raiser, Cam finds a discarded copy of Guardians of Geldorf. And it’s not the ordinary version, but the very first version of the game. A first edition with the secret level–Level 13–that was banned in 47 states. The game was pulled from the market and an updated version re-released with Level 13 deleted in future editions because of “inappropriate content.” But Cam has the original right in his hands.

Can he use Guardians to become famous?

Take one slacker gamer, add a few classmates with no clue, one annoyed sister who does have a clue, and two best friends, one of whom is part of the new ‘ship Duckne. Add a suspicious teacher, a video-obsessed beaver named Elvis and a suspected stalker. The problems pile on, and Cam is soon running himself ragged trying to be famous. Not everyone is on board with his plan, but he’s going to make a valiant effort! It’s a lot of work to be a slacker in Level 13!

The audio recording of Level 13 is absolutely, hysterically wonderful! The chapters in the book alternate between Cam, Chuck, Pavel, Daphne, Mr. Fanshaw, Melody Boxer and brief appearances from other characters in the book. This means that different voice actors provide each character, making it much easier to distinguish between points of view. The kids sound like kids, the teacher sounds like a teacher, and everyone is spot on with their characterizations. I loved all their voices.

This is an extremely funny book. It’s the sequel to Slacker, and although it would probably be best to read that first, it’s not necessary. Slacker is basically the story of how the P.A.G. got started, and where Elvis came from. You can enjoy Level 13 without that background knowledge, but of course, it is better with it.

Cam Boxer reminds me of a younger Ferris Bueller. He’s spends more energy trying not to expend energy. His schemes to more good than harm, and he has the unknowing support of an entire school behind him. Even his “enemies” are annoyed with him because he’s successful. But in Level 13, you can see the scheming from inside…and figure out why things fall the way they do. Plus, there’s the added viewpoint of all Cam’s friends and acquaintances.

Level 13 is probably best for kids grades four through seven, who like humor and wacky plots. It’s classic Gordon Korman at his scheming best. The audio would be good for all ages. If you haven’t, you could also read or listen to Slacker, the first book in this set.

Some read-alikes are all the MacDonald Hall books by Gordon Korman, the Charlie Joe Jackson series by Tommy Greenwald, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson, The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea, The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon, and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

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So is Cam Boxer an over-achiever or a slacker? You’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself.

I think he would be an interesting friend to have though. And he makes me want to go find my really old Gordon Korman books to see how his characters evolved. Cam is a lot like Boots and Bruno, Bugs Potter and Rudy Miller. Don’t know who those people are? Maybe it’s time to shop Canadian bookstores!

As always, if you need help finding these, or any other books, ask one of our librarians for help. We love matching books and readers!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Book and Audio Review: The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue

Looking for a good read? (Or listen?) Look no further!

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The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue
by Karina Van Glaser, Narrated by Robin Miles
5 CDs, 6.25 Hours

The Vanderbeekers live in New York City; on 141st Street in Harlem, to be precise. In a lovely brownstone in a tight-knit neighborhood. Twins Jessie and Isa, Oliver, Hyacinth and Laney all love their home, and think it’s the only place in the world to live. (It would have to be, with how hard they fought to keep it in the first book in this series–The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.) And it’s not only the Vanderbeeker kids who love the brownstone…it’s also Franz the basset hound, Paganini the rabbit, George Washington their tabby cat, and even their visiting upstairs neighbor’s cat, Princess Cutie. Over the years, they’ve befriended the entire neighborhood and even created a beautiful garden to share. But as life goes on, things are always changing…

In The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue, the third in the series, word of Mama’s delicious baking has spread far and wide. Every day, she has more customers calling on her skills for cookies and pies and other baked goods. She’s becoming so successful that she’s left her horrible accounting job and started a home bakery. The kids definitely don’t mind…not when they get to try out new recipes and eat the extras! Mama has become so popular, in fact, that a famous New York magazine reaches out to her to do a story on her bakery. The kids all promise to help get the kitchen ready for a magazine photo shoot, but between homework and music lessons and tree house planning and a variety of illnesses and emergencies, it just doesn’t happen. So when Mama has to rush out to meet with the editor of Perch Magazine in preparation for the article, she shouts to Jessie that she should be home before the inspector arrives, and leaves. What inspector?

The inspector arrives before Mama gets home, and the kids decide to let him in. Mama knew he was coming, after all, and an inspection of the brownstone is probably something the city has to do. Plus, it’s raining, and the poor man doesn’t even have an umbrella.

Mr. West is not an animal person, and although the house is clean, there are rabbits and dogs and cats and kids everywhere. Mr. West is NOT impressed. In fact, he’s extremely grumpy about all the animals, and how they seem to be able to roam anywhere in the house. The kids show him around, but he only seems to be interested in the kitchen, not the rest of the brownstone. When Paganini and Franz start playing and knock over a plate of cookies, (which Laney promptly picks up and offers Mr. West following the “five second rule”) Mr. West gives the kids a copy of the papers on his clipboard and tells them that the license for their mother’s home baking business has been revoked, and she can no longer use their kitchen to run her baking.

The kids are shocked. This was not a building inspection, but a kitchen inspection for Mama’s baking business? How can they possibly tell Mama they’ve ruined her dream? That she can’t continue to bake and has to go back to being an accountant? They can’t. So the Vanderbeekers come up with a plan. They’ll reschedule the inspection and plan to get everything fixed up before the inspector returns.

But when Isa calls, pretending to be their mother, it turns out the only appointment they can get gives them only a week. A week? There’s no way that’s enough time! But they are the Vanderbeekers, and they can do anything.

Right..?

Wrong.

Between Isa’s violin music school entry exam, a box of kittens left on their doorstep, chickens appearing in the yard, Mama’s birthday, mysterious packages arriving and tree house building, cleaning up the kitchen in a week is definitely not happening. Will the Vanderbeekers be able to fix their epic mistake and help Mama keep her business? Will enough love and friendship get them through this new catastrophe? The Vanderbeekers are willing to try!

The audio of The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue is beautifully done. I listened in the car on a long drive, and it definitely made the time pass faster. Robin Miles has a lovely voice, and her narration is wonderful. The individual voices of all the adults are excellent; she does a range of accents and vocal timbres, and the listener might even think it’s a full cast reading, they sound so different. I did feel like the kids sometimes sounded a little too alike–occasionally I couldn’t tell who was talking–but that’s a relatively small issue in the grand picture. There’s enough description in the narration to pick up the clues. This is definitely a story that can be enjoyed over and over by families.

In a previous entry, I had reviewed the first book; The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and loved it as well.

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue is a wonderful addition to this series, which now stands at four titles, with a fifth book coming in September 2021. Although each of the stories build on the previous one, it is possible to read them out of order, as each episode is self-contained. It’s not easy to come up with normal true-life stories for a family of five, but this wonderful series keeps the characters alive and changing in each volume. The Vanderbeekers are slated to join the Penderwicks, the Quimbys, the Moodys and the Hatchers in well-known families of children’s literature.

The kids in the Vanderbeekers book series range from five years old to seventh graders (as of this title), but the book is probably best enjoyed by third through fifth grade readers. (Although readers who love the family will probably enjoy it right to the final volume, no matter how old they are.) For listening, it would be fun for all ages, and perfect for a wide range of listeners. There’s something here for everyone.

Some read-alikes for The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue are The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan, The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio, The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy, and A Long Line of Cakes by Deborah Wiles.

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So check out this wonderful family, their pets, their neighbors and their friends next time you need an audiobook. You will be happy you did!

As always, if you need help finding these, or any other books or audiobooks in our collection, please ask one of our librarians for help. And if you would like a new suggestion, ask us that too! We love matching readers and books…or audiobooks!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Good Wolves!

Wolves get a bad rap, there’s no disputing that. From knocking down little pig houses to gobbling grannies to following a boy named Peter…there’s no end to the Big Badness of Fairytale Wolves.

But really, wolves are admirable animals. They educate their young, they’re playful, and most of all, they’re completely devoted to their families. So here are some GOOD wolves in fantasy literature…something to get the image of wolves as bad characters out of your mind forever!

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (occasionally with a few extras) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like. Five Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)!

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Loki’s Wolves by K. L.  Armstrong

While thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen has always known he’s a modern-day descendent of Thor, he’s been living a normal kid’s life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.

But now Ragnarok is coming, and it’s up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor’s hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

Rowan is destined to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the oldest child is always next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her monster hunting aunt’s glorious sword and joining her queen mother for boring diplomatic teas. But tragedy shatters the longstanding rule, and Rowan finds herself hunting the most dangerous monster of all: a gryphon.

Accompanied by a feisty baby jackalope and a giant wolf that barely tolerates her, Rowan sets off on a journey that will see her join other unlikely allies: a boy with monster-hunting ambitions of his own, and a girl hiding dangerous motives. It will take all of Rowan’s skills, both physical and diplomatic, to keep this adventure on track. The future of her kingdom depends on it.


Escape from Wolfhaven Castle by Kate Forsyth

Tell your lord to beware, the wolves smell danger in the wind… Wolfhaven Castle has been attacked, and only four escape capture …

Tom is trained to scrub pots not fight, Elanor is the Lord’s daughter, Sebastian is a knight in training and Quinn is the witch’s apprentice. They’re the only four to escape capture after Wolfhaven Castle is attacked. Somehow, if they are to save their people, these unlikely heroes must find four magical beasts from legend. But first, they have to make it out of the castle alive…

The first book of The Impossible Quest series

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded.

But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her–and learn from her wolves how to survive.


Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman

Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives.

So when orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Family or not, Rayna is Anders’s only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away.

To rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all. Will he find Rayna again, and if he does, will she be the same sister he remembers?

A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart

John and Margaret Begbie are picnicking with their parents in the Black Forest when they are mysteriously spirited back through time into the Middle Ages. There they meet Mardian, one-time servant and closest friend of Duke Otho, ruler of the country. He tells them a terrible secret – he is under the enchantment of the evil sorcerer Almeric, and is forced to assume a wolf’s shape every night. Unable to return to the castle, the children are his only hope.

And so John and Margaret disguise themselves as children of the court and embark on a thrilling and frightening quest to reveal Almeric’s true nature and gain the Duke’s confidence. But then Almeric becomes suspicious, and suddenly all their lives are in danger…

A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton

Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans–especially witches–but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing . . . Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut–and Baba Yaga’s body!

Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft. Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help.

United in purpose, they work to save Tam against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old.

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And there you have it! Good wolves, helping people, protecting family and saving their world. Do you know of any other good wolves in books of fantasy? There are several books that are realistic fiction featuring wolves too…A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry, Lone Wolf by Katherine Lasky, Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles, and Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George all come to mind. But there are many, many more.

If you would like to learn more about real wolves, the Dewey Decimal number is J 599.77 or J 599.773.

As always, if you need help finding any of the books on this list, or if you would like assistance finding these, or any other titles, just ask one of our librarians. We love to match readers and books!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Mars!

So if you’ve been watching the news at all lately, you’ve probably seen Mars come up. Yesterday, scientists flew a droid/helicopter over the surface of the planet! Although it’s only one small thing, it’s a giant step for knowing how Mars works. Maybe the first step towards eventual colonization of the red planet…

In these books, Mars has already been settled, and people–families–are already living there. What would it be like to live on Mars? Glitz and glamor…or a lot of hard work? Check out these 5 Books Featuring Kids who Live on Mars!

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (occasionally with a few extras) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like. Five Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)!

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Once Upon a Space-Time! by Jeffery Brown
Jide and Petra are just two normal kids until they are selected to leave Earth and join their new alien classmates on an intergalactic research mission to Mars. Too bad Petra has no idea how she ended up in the program, seeing as the closest she wants to get to space is being a sci-fi writer. Jide, on the other hand, is the brains of the mission, but his helicopter parents make it clear he hasn’t left their gravitational pull behind quite yet.  What is meant to be an intra-species bonding experience soon turns to hijinx as the kids discover The Potato orbiting around their new space classroom and accidentally launch a mission of their own without any adult commanders around to supervise–or help!

Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson
It is Earth year 2213–but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we have prepared for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home. Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed. Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival.

Lion of Mars by Jennifer Holm
Bell has spent his whole life – all eleven years of it – on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid – he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don’t have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It’s up to Bell – a regular kid in a very different world – to uncover the truth and save his family … and possibly unite an entire planet.  Mars may be a world far, far away, but  it can’t help but feel like home.

The Winds of Mars by H.M. Hoover
Annalyn Reynolds Court is one of many children of the powerful, handsome president of Mars. Like her favorite half-brother Evan, she must enroll at the elite military academy There they will train to be presidential bodyguards and alwao learn how to defend their fragile, crystal-domed environment.  But at school, Annalyn learns more about the real problems on Mars—the struggle between the commoners and the elites.   When rebel forces strike against her father, Annalyn finds her comfortable existence turned upside-down and her life threatened from unexpected sources.

The Moon Platoon by Jeramey Kraatz
In the year 2085, Benny Love is pretty used to surviving on what he and his family can scavenge on Earth. But when he wins a scholarship for a life-changing trip to visit the Lunar Taj, the first-ever resort on the Moon, Benny thinks he finally has a chance to give his family a better life. Benny can’t wait to fly his very own Space Runner, practice reverse bungee jumping, and explore craters on the dark side of the Moon. But he gets more than he expected when he and the other kids discover the Moon has secrets no one else knows about. Benny is a long way from home–and soon there might not be an Earth to go back to.

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougal
When Earth comes under attack by aliens, hilarious heroine Alice Dare and a select group of kids are sent to Mars. But things get very strange when the adults disappear into thin air, the kids face down an alien named Thsaaa, and Alice and her friends must save the galaxy!  For when plucky twelve-year-old Alice Dare learns she’s being taken out of the Muckling Abbott School for Girls and sent to another planet, no one knows what to expect. This is one wild ride that will have kids chuckling the whole way through.

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey
The first time I heard about Planet Choom, we’d been on Mars for almost a year. But life on the Mars station was grim, and since Earth was no longer an option (we may have blown it up), it was time to find a new home. That’s how we ended up on Choom with the Zhuri. They’re very smart. They also look like giant mosquitos. But that’s not why it’s so hard to live here. There’s a lot that the Zhuri don’t like- singing (just ask my sister, Ila), comedy (one joke got me sent to the principal’s office), or any kind of emotion. The biggest problem, though? The Zhuri don’t like us. And if humankind is going to survive, it’s up to my family to change their minds. No pressure.

The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky
Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission–and everyone’s lives–are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them. 

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I guess I went a little over this time…so many Mars books. Of course, I can’t find the one book that I remember reading years ago that was “the best one ever!”. It’s not Have Spacesuit, Will Travel or The Lotus Caves...those are both set on the moon. It’s not Podkayne of Mars, because we don’t own that one. It’s not something by Monica Hughes, H.M. Hoover or Alexander Keys, because those are all on unnamed planets.

Oh well. If you know of a great story that takes place on Mars that was written sometime between 1960 and 1985-ish, let me know! Maybe it will be the “old book” I remember reading. Until then, enjoy these selections.

As always, if you need help finding these or any other books, just ask at the desk. Our librarians love to help match books and readers!

Happy Reading!
::kelly::