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review 2019-02-17 03:33
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Pashmina - Nidhi Chanani

Audience: Grades 4-8

Format: Graphic Novel - Library Copy



Priyanka! Watch out for that tree!

- first sentence


Priyanka (Pri) has a lot of questions. Why did her mother leave India for the U.S.? What was it like there? Who is her father and what happened to him? But her mother doesn't want to answer any of these questions. Pri is dealing with typical teen issues, learning to drive, dealing with bullies, and trying to figure out who she is. She finds a pashmina in a suitcase in the closet and it transports her to India in her imagination. This only fuels her desire to travel to India, but will her mom let her go?


I enjoyed this book. Pri is a multi-dimensional character - she has flaws but is still relatable. She is trying to figure out her identity while trying to fit into two different worlds. Her journey of self-discovery is heartwarming and her determination is inspiring.


The magical element to the story adds another dimension. The panels are black and white until Pri puts on the pashmina when they become full of color. Indian culture is woven through the story beautifully. 


I highly recommend this book and it would be a great addition to any library serving elementary or middle school children. 



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review 2019-02-16 02:30
Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows
Dragons and Marshmallows - Asia Citro,Marion Lindsay

Audience: Grades 1-5

Format: Hardcover - Library Copy



"What is it, Sassafras?" I crouched down and ruffled my cat's fluffy fur.

- first sentence



This book is a fabulous early chapter book. Zoey and her cat Sassafras both love bugs and science and when Zoey discovers that her mom secretly takes care of magical creatures, she is eager to help. Zoey, a budding scientist, wears her thinking goggles on her head when she needs to concentrate. And when she finds a baby dragon, she uses the scientific method to determine how to help him.


So, not only is this book fun, but it also explains the scientific method (including a glossary at the end). It is much more meaningful than I thought it would be. With a strong female lead who happens to be African American, and all the science thrown in, it goes above and beyond what you expect from an early chapter book. The entire series is a must-have for any elementary library collection.


Highly recommended.


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review 2019-02-04 05:24
Brief Thoughts: The Neverending Story
The Neverending Story - Michael Ende,Gerard Doyle

The Neverending Story

by Michael Ende
audio book narrated by Gerard Doyle



The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted place by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the courage to face unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart.

Readers, too, can travel to the wondrous, unforgettable world of Fantastica if they will just turn the page...

I honestly don't think I'm the type to openly trample all over people's favorite childhood classics, but this is probably the second or third one I've read that I just wasn't feeling.  The book was fascinating in it's own way, but to be completely honest, I was pretty bored through most of the story.  I'm suspecting that this book might have been better experienced in print.  I noticed that an illustrator is listed, so out of curiosity, did some Google research.  While I'm not entirely sure which illustrations depicted are from the print book and which ones aren't (or if there are illustrations in the print book at all), I still feel like those visuals would have been a wonderful addition to this book's reading experience.

It wasn't that this was a bad story or anything, but it definitely wasn't as adventurous or exciting as I'd been expecting, being a fantastical tale of the standard boy hero and his journey in both vanquishing evil as well as self-revelation.  There's a pretty nice message in there somewhere that I'm sure I might have found once or twice.

But in the end, this book didn't really speak to me.  Maybe had I been much younger, I might have found this book much more interesting.  Maybe.  I want to say that it's possible I'm too far removed from my childhood years to really give this book a fair chance, but it's not like I haven't read and loved childrens or young adult stories as an adult with a great amount of enjoyment.

As far as characters and story goes, the formula is rather standard and predictable; although while the first half of the book was set up well, despite how long it took for me to get into it, the second half of the book was where the entire story kind of starts falling apart.  Forgive me for the blasphemy, but I honestly feel like that second half didn't need to be so long.  So much could have been left out and still had an agreeable conclusion to the book, and some side tangents didn't really feel as if they contributed much.

If I wanted to be honest, even as the second half of the story progressed, I wasn't entirely sure I knew what was going on.  And as the book came to an end, I still had no idea what was going on... and was quite eager to have this book over with.

Even so, the story itself had it's interesting points.

So I'm probably just going to chalk this up to being a book that's really not for me.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/brief-thoughts-neverending-story.html
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review 2019-02-04 05:05
The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux - Timothy Basil Ering,Kate DiCamillo

Join Despereaux on adventure to save Princess Pea from mangy rats. This book is divided into four section and told from multiple different characters point of view. The leveling system is The Lexile, reading level 670L. Students can practice their writing skills by writing a letter of encouragement to Despereaux.

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review 2019-02-04 02:35
Matilda Review
Matilda - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

Matilda, is a must read book for all children. I would use this book with higher grades, 3rd-5th. This book is about a little girl who must put up with her crazy family and evil principal, and uses her powers of telekinesis to protect herself and those she loves. I think students would really enjoy reading this book. I would use this book in my classroom to have students practice reading comprehension by having whole group/ or small group discussions of the story. (Book Reading Level: Lexile 840L)  

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