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Search tags: age-middle-grade
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review 2018-12-10 22:24
You Better Watch Out, You Better Be Good
Benjy and the Belsnickel - Swinehart, Bonnie

Heartwarming and charming, “Benjy and the Belsnickel” is an all-around fun read for children whose reading skills are advanced enough for chapter books, and the hand-drawn illustrations add to the appeal. With Christian underpinnings, this book reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie series as well as the lesser-well-known “Younguns of Mansfield” by Thomas L. Tedrow. Benjy is an eleven-year-old boy growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch town of Landisburg in the 1930s, and this quaint setting includes a one-room schoolhouse and rural farms where adventure is never far away. Unfortunately for Benjy, neither is trouble. Poor Benjy doesn’t mean to be so naughty, but he can’t seem to help himself, and as a result he fears a visit from the Belsnickel at Christmastime. A more benign version of Krampus, the Belsnickel is associated with southwestern Germany and also the Pennsylvania Dutch. Benjy’s encounter with this mysterious creature might be slightly scary for younger kids, but the overwhelming majority of this delightful book is amusing and pleasant. Reading about a time when kids played mostly outside and used their imaginations to have fun is such a relief from today’s technological age and will hopefully inspire young readers to engage in some of these “old-fashioned” activities!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-12-08 02:01
Book Review : Harry potter and the half blood prince J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling,Kazu Kibuishi,Mary GrandPré

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet…

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.



Review : I freaking loved this book I cried and laughed so the war on voldemort is going on Dumbledore picks up harry at his house and ends up talking to the dursly's which was hilarious I love Dumbledore . Harry and Dumbledore visit this old professor to convince him to teach back at Hogwarts and Harry does . Dumbledore ends up teaching a lot to harry during this year he ends up showing Harry a lot of memories of people dealing with voldemort . Harry thinks Draco is up to something . Snape makes the unbreakable vow to help Draco . While taking potions Harry finds this potion book in class with notes from the Half blood prince that help him in class . Harry and Dumbledore are trying to get this memory from slughorn so harry uses felix felicis to help him get the memory and he gets it and goes to dumbledore . Ron ends up starting dating this girl named Lavender, Herminne is jealous like ugh just be together already and Harry is starting to have feelings for Ginny . Ron eats these chocolates filled with love potion from a girl who sent them to Harry . So Harry goes to slughorn to have him help and they have a glass of meed to celebrate ron's birthday but it was poisoned but Ron was okay . griffindore wins there last quiditch match and Harry kisses Ginny . Dumbledore asks harry to help him find this horcrux and they get it and Dumbledore has to drink this stuff which is pretty much poison and he's loosing his mind and they get back and Draco is there planning to kill Dumbledore but snape kills him and I was sobbing and angry ugh I hate snape .

Quotes :


Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?"
"Yes," said Harry stiffly.
"Yes, sir."
"There's no need to call me "sir" Professor."
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying.”

You'd think people had better things to gossip about," said Ginny as she sat on the common room floor, leaning against Harry’s legs and reading the Daily Prophet. "Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it’s true you’ve got a Hippogriff tattooed across your chest."
Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them.
What did you tell her?"
I told her it's a Hungarian Horntail," said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. "Much more macho."
Thanks," said Harry, grinning. "And what did you tell her Ron’s got?"
A Pygmy Puff, but I didn’t say where.” 


Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my 'furry little problem' in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit.


What do I care how 'e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!” 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-12-05 23:41
Like sand through the hourglass
5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior - Boya Sun,Matt Rockefeller,Xanthe Bouma,Mark A. Siegel,Alexis Siegel

5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Alexis & Mark Siegel with illustrations by Boya Sun & Matt Rockefeller is the first book in a fantasy series set in a place where magic plays a distinct and politically polarizing role. In this universe, all 5 worlds in the system (different types of beings live on the different worlds) are kept in careful balance with one another until they suddenly start to die for unknown reasons. There are some that believe their only hope of survival is to light all 5 beacons (one in each world) but the Toki peoples are adamantly set against this course. Our heroine, Oona Lee, is a less than stellar student of the Sand Dancer Academy (inexpertly wielding magic sand) and suddenly she finds herself swept up in a seemingly foolhardy attempt to save the universe before time runs out. There's intrigue, danger, and a health dose of racial tension just to stir the pot. I've recommended this to quite a few kids and all of them have enjoyed it because all of those heavy topics are real and kids can spot a fake from a mile away. Additionally, I thought the art style of this book was really unique and beautiful which made it even more astounding when I discovered that the book was a collaborative effort between people living in different parts of the world. Talk about life not imitating art! 10/10 and you can look forward to my review of the second book in the series in a few days. XD

 

SO. GORGEOUS. [Check out the source for larger images: 5 Worlds Team]

 

What's Up Next: Tucker Grizzwell's Worst Week Ever by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-05 01:13
Heavy material in a light package
Sunny Side Up - Matthew Holm,Jennifer L. Holm

Sunny is looking forward to her awesome summer vacation going to the beach with her best friend...and then she gets sent off to stay with her grandfather at his retirement community in Florida. What Sunny views as a punishment is actually her family trying to shield her from her brother's trip to rehab. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm looks at substance abuse from the viewpoint of a younger sibling which is rather refreshing and ultimately important when a child is trying to find books that relate to themselves. (I don't know anyone with a picture perfect childhood so it's a good idea if children's literature reflects that.) The references to substance abuse are rather oblique for the majority of the book so it's not heavy handed in the slightest. For the most part, we see Sunny acting pretty snotty as she comes to terms with the fact her summer is not going to be anything like she had planned but intermixed with that is a healthy dose of fear, anxiety, and shame. Remember she has no idea what has caused her family to send her away but she think she must have done something terribly wrong. (Also, her grandfather is the mack daddy of the retirement community and it's hilarious.) She does manage to make a friend of commensurate age though and the two of them develop a mutual interest in superheroes and comics. 

 

It's hard to say where the author lands in terms of keeping family secrets (they experienced something similar to Sunny in reality) but what the reader does see is Sunny learning about the difficulty of maintaining secret identities as she gets into reading comics. By the end, she is told what has happened with her brother and the reader (if they hadn't already figured it out) sees all the puzzle pieces fall into place. Because the reader is seeing everything through the eyes of Sunny the reading experience is quite different from some of the realistic fiction on this topic that I've read before. I think from that standpoint this is quite a unique and important book especially for children who have experienced this and are feeling quite alone and isolated. In fact, at the end they tacked on a bit about talking to someone if you know a family member is struggling with substance abuse. If you're creating a booklist for your students and you're looking for material that touches on substance abuse and/or family dynamics you could do a lot worse than picking Sunny Side Up. 8/10

 

The illustrations reminded me of Sunday newspaper comic strips. [Source: Scholastic]

 

What's Up Next: 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Alexis & Mark Siegel and illustrations by Boya Sun & Matt Rockefeller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-03 20:30
Child detective on the case
Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training - Joris Chamblain,Aurelie Neyret

Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training is a middle grade graphic novel by Joris Chamblain with illustrations by Aurélie Neyret. The reader follows a little girl named Cici (obviously) who has designs to be a detective and writer hence the writing of her journal (the book flip flops between narrative style and journal style) which is chock full of her observational notes. She lives alone with her mother who she has a strained relationship with (and they haven't even hit the troubled teen years!). Next door is an older woman who is an acclaimed mystery writer and the motivator of Cici's interests. The plot contains solvable (and believable) mysteries for a child detective/writer and are full of imaginative characters. [A/N: The book is divided into sections with discrete (somewhat overlapping) mysteries.] Chamberlain explores but ultimately doesn't solve the mystery of the relationship between the mother and daughter (series teaser?). There's no explanation given (or mention of) the father's absence or why Cici has such a reticence to sharing or even experiencing her feelings. The more I dwell on it the more complex I realize this story line actually is which I think is great in a middle grade novel.


Picking up this particular graphic novel was a roll of the dice for me but I ended up absolutely loving it. The book seems to be set up as the start of a series which I wouldn't be mad about at all. I haven't seen any buzz over this title online as yet but I highly encourage you to pick this one up especially if you've been wanting to dip your toe into the graphic novel pool. The illustrations are GORGEOUS. 10/10

 

I'd love to have some prints of this artist's work. [Source: GramUnion]

 

What's Up Next: Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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