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Search tags: Childrens-fiction
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review 2017-09-04 04:05
Castle Hangnail
Castle Hangnail - Ursula Vernon

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a marvelously dark and dour twilight at the castle.

-opening sentence

 

This book is so cute.

 

All the minions are waiting for their new owner to arrive. They are expecting an Evil Wizard, a Dark Sorceress, or maybe a Wicked Witch. But what they aren't expecting is a twelve-year-old girl. Molly is a Wicked Witch; after all, she is a twin and definitely the bad one. (Her sister loves pink and glitter.) But she is only twelve and the castle guardian has his doubts about her. And what if the Board doesn't accept her as the new master of the castle? 

 

Molly is a great character. She is a wicked witch in the nicest possible way. She is a strong, brave girl who doesn't fully believe in herself but doesn't give up either. The minions are delightful. Pins is a fabric stuffed doll who loves to sew and Fish (a neurotic goldfish) is his best friend. Cook is a minotaur who hates any words that begin with the letter "Q", and Edward is a magical suit of armor. And that's just a few of them.

 

The story is cute, even though parts of it are a bit predictable. Molly is a great role model for standing up for the little guy. And she can talk to animals and turn some of them into dragon hybrids (at least for a minute or so). What's not to like??

 

This will be a favorite among readers in grades 3-5, and maybe older.

 

I'm using this book for the Free Space on my Bingo card. :)

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review 2017-08-07 05:00
A Whole New Ballgame
A Whole New Ballgame - Phil Bildner

 

 

I bolted toward the chain-link fence.

- first sentence

 

 

This is a story about best friends Rip and Red, and their experience in 5th grade. They expect things to go a certain way but are greeted with unexpected change everywhere they look. The school district budget has been cut and with these cuts come staff changes and changes to the sports program. Rip and Red have been looking forward to playing basketball together and having a certain 5th-grade teacher. Red has some issues, but Rip has always been there to guide him through. But the changes this year challenge both of them.

 

This is a fun realistic fiction story that kids who love basketball (and others) will enjoy. The friendship between Red and Rip is special and meaningful. The new teacher, Mr. Acevedo embodies the naivete and hope of teachers fresh out of college. He really wants to make a difference in the lives of his students. The book is well written and fun to read.

 

This is another book nominated for the 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 3-5. I'm sure there will be more than a few fans of this book in our school. 

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review 2017-08-07 04:42
Dragon's Guide...
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans - Joanne Ryder,Laurence Yep

 

 

It was a lovely funeral for Fluffy, the best pet I ever had.

- Opening sentence

 

Avoid spoiling your pet with too many treats; however, spoiling yourself is all well and good.

- Chapter 4

 

Be firm with your pet and make it clear what is acceptable behavior. Both you and your pet will be happier for it.

- Chapter 6

 

This is a cute book told from the point of view of the dragon (Miss Drake). Amelia was Miss Drake's pet (although she called Amelia Fluffy). Amelia left the dragon to her great neice, Winnie. But Miss Drake doesn't want a new pet and Winnie seems untrainable. The book tells how Winnie and Miss Drake get to know each other and become friends. Dragons and other magical creatures hide themselves from humans (unless they are trustworthy). Miss Drakes can transform into a female human when she needs to. There are plenty of other magical creatures who also hide themselves from humans in this story.  

 

I really enjoyed this book. Miss Drake is sarcastic and controlling and Winnie holds her own in the friendship. Winnie finds a journal that ends up wreaking havoc, but together, Miss Drake and Winnie find a way to fix things.

 

This book is nominated for a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 3-5. I think it will be a popular one this year. I am a bit interested in the sequels, but my classes start again soon, and I don't think I'll have time to read them.

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review 2017-08-02 05:18
Pugs of the Frozen North
Pugs of the Frozen North (A Not-So-Impossible Tale) - Sarah McIntyre,Philip Reeve

 

Winter came in the night, like a white sheet laid over the world.

- first sentence

 

 

Shen is on a ship called the Lucky Star when all of the sudden winter comes, but not just any winter... it's a magical winter (True Winter). The ocean freezes and then Shen saves the cargo... 66 pugs. While Shen is trying to save the pugs, he gets left behind by his captain. He is alone, walking with the pugs across the frozen ocean. Then he gets to a Post Office (whose letters only say "Po Of ice". There he meets Sika, who ends up bringing him and the pugs, on an exciting adventure.  Together, they enter the Great Nothern Race, and whoever wins gets a wish from the Snowfather.

 

This is a cute story. I read it in one sitting and liked it. There is a great deal of adventure and danger that Shen, Sika, and the pugs have to face. But, they do it together and help each other, and their competitors along the way.

 

The ending is pretty predictable, but the journey is still fun. 

 

This book was nominated for a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award in the 3-5 grade category. It's a quick read and fun. I think it will appeal to reluctant readers, and pug lovers of course! :)

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review 2017-07-31 04:27
Coral Reefs
Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean - Maris Wicks

 

 

The Science Comics series uses the graphic novel format to inform kids (and adults) about popular topics. In this case, the topic is coral reefs. The narrator is a sassy yellow goby fish who explains the facts about coral reefs and their inhabitants. There is a wealth of information in this book, and it may be a bit much for younger kids. Then again, if they are interested in the subject, kids can remember a surprising number of facts. The illustrations are bright and beautiful, and labeled diagrams are provided to help explain the facts. In the back of the book, readers will find a glossary, bibliography, and a list of additional resources. The book also gives information about conservation and real examples of what kids can do to help.

 

The book was a fun read and I learned a lot about coral reefs. 

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