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Search tags: grade-3
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review 2018-06-04 03:13
Ride Wild, Ride Free
Mary's Song - Ruth Sanderson,Susan Count

Texas, 1952. Twelve-year-old Mary has spent much of her young life in a wheelchair due to a virus that also took her mother’s life. Despite her disability, she has big dreams, and one of her favorite activities is drawing the horses that live in the neighboring fields. “Each sketch was a wish to ride, wild and free, someday.” She becomes friends with fellow horse lover, Laura, and together the two strive to fulfill their aspirations.

Poignant and inspirational, “Mary’s Song” takes young readers along for a spirited ride. Along with a strong theme regarding friendship, the story has a gentle faith angle and also explores other issues germane to modern readers. One girl’s parents are too uninvolved in her life, while the other’s father is overly protective. The narrative delves into tough subject matter such as dealing with loss and disappointment and persevering amidst trials while still maintaining an overall optimistic tone. Middle-grade readers will be encouraged and entertained by this horse tale, which will appeal to those who enjoy some of the horse classics such as “Black Beauty”, “National Velvet”, and the works of Marguerite Henry.

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review 2018-05-29 03:17
Curse of the Boggin - audiobook
Curse of the Boggin (The Library Book 1) - D.J. MacHale,Keith Nobbs,Mark Bramhall

 

This is book one in The Library series, about a magical library that helps spirits whose stories have been disrupted by supernatural events.  After Marcus finds the key that opens the door to the library, he is confronted by a creepy old lady who demands that he "Surrender the key." Along with his friends, Lu and Theo, Marcus must fight an ancient enemy and protect the library.

 

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job. The forward gave interesting information about the author and the other books in this series, complete with creepy laugh. The only slightly annoying part was when the narrator read for the librarian who has a Scottish accent. It was a bit distracting.

 

While this book was much shorter than what I'm used to, the length is perfect for young readers. I was a bit disappointed when it ended so soon. Middle grade readers will want more of this scary, thrilling adventure. Some may find they want to leave the lights on after reading, but the story is worth it.

 

This book has also been released as Surrender the Key. There is one more book in the series so far (Black Moon Rising), and book 3, The Oracle of Doom, will be released in October of this year. After reading this book, I am interested in checking out other series by this author including The Pendragon series, and The Morpheus Road series.

 

Has anyone out there read either of those or something else by MacHale?

 

Recommended to: Readers in grades 5-8 who are looking for a scary adventure series.

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review 2018-05-25 19:43
Women of Our Time: Golda Meir
Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader - David A. Adler

When I was a child we had a cat which my mom christened Golda My Ear (he was a yellow tabby) which was a clever play on words that went completely over my head. Therefore, when I came across a book while shelving entitled Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader it felt like fate was telling me to take it home and read it. (It's so short that I finished it on my first train home.) David A. Adler decided to write about Golda for the "Women of Our Time" biography series which covers a wide array of spectacularly talented, intelligent, and strong women. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of who Golda Meir was which is pretty shocking seeing as how she was Israel's Prime Minister. She grew up in Russia but her family moved to Milwaukee when she was a young girl in the hopes that they could improve their quality of life with the opportunities that America promised were available to all within its borders. Much like her sister, Golda was homesick and longed to be a part of the larger Jewish nation and to build it in Israel. That determination never left her and she made it a reality after she married and moved to Palestine to be an active participant in the political party that wanted to build the Jewish nation. It covers not only her childhood and her move to Palestine but also her political career as Prime Minister and her meetings with Nixon (as well as her secret missions to the enemy's camps). Lest you picture her as a pacifist, she was not against using weapons to protect her people against the encroaching Arabs, Egyptians, and Syrians which threatened daily to drive them out of the space they had carved for themselves. Overall rating from me is 8/10 because I wanted a little more depth to the narrative.

 

As this is written with a younger audience in mind the chapters are very short and not exactly chock full of details. If you want the bare facts (or want to teach them to your child) then this is a great resource. I think this book and the rest of the books in the series would be a great resource in a classroom or home library as the women discussed come from different parts of the world and worked in various fields/capacities. It can never hurt to teach children about powerful women who paved the way!

 

Source: Penguin Random House

 

What's Up Next: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

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review 2018-05-24 23:36
The Reckless Rescue (The Explorers #2) by Adrienne Kress
The Reckless Rescue - Adrienne Kress

Huzzah! Another excellent installment in The Explorers series! To say that I've been waiting eagerly for this book is an understatement. When last we left Evie and Sebastian, they had both grown so much as characters. They had struggled with their views of the world being thrown in chaos, come out the other side, and found themselves in situations that they never could have expected. If you missed my review of the first book, I'll quickly tell you that I loved it. I've been so ready for more, for so long.

This book did not disappoint! It starts with a bang as we find our characters on separate, but equally harrowing, journeys. I have to say, the amount of character growth that Adrienne Kress manages to fit into this second installment is admirable. Instead of leaving Sebastian and Evie at the level of that they achieved at the end of the last book, she pushes their limits even further. I loved watching Evie, our brave but still nervous heroine, learn to believe in her abilities. Equally so, watching Sebastian overcome his fear of being in the spotlight made me grin from ear to ear. There are so many lessons to be had in this story, but they never overpower the action and adventure on the pages. In fact, this book is beautifully balanced. I loved it for that.

As for the plot, there's a ton of forward movement in this story. We meet a new member of the Filipendulous Five, and find new clues in the mystery surrounding Evie's missing grandfather. We visit strange new lands, and dive further into the imaginative world that Kress has built. I'll admit, since I wasn't sure how many books will be in this series, I was worried that this story might suffer from middle book syndrome. It did not. It was fun, fast-paced, and full of wonder. As an adult reader, I was enhanted. I can only imagine how much fun the age group this book is aimed at will have!

Long story short, this book is wonderful. It's an excellent second installment to this series and, once again, I can't wait to see what happens next! If you haven't started adventuring with Evie and Sebastian yet, please do! There's a pig in a teeny hat waiting for you, and so much more.

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review 2018-05-23 02:45
What's that joke about a gorilla and a typewriter?
The Murderer's Ape - Jakob Wegelius

I love a good Swedish to English translation (except for that one time I attempted Wallander) so I thought that The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius would be no exception. However, I cannot unequivocally state that I loved this book...or that I loathed it. The book is told from the standpoint of a gorilla who has been christened Sally Jones. She's been around humans her entire life and therefore not only understands what they are saying but can read as well. She's a gifted engineer who the reader discovers has the ability to figure out most mechanical devices be they accordions or airplanes. (This is integral to the storyline.) Her best friend is a (human) man she refers to as Chief and who took her on as a partner when he got his own ship. But all of this was before they ran into some trouble. Without giving too much away, the two are separated and Sally is forced to adapt in order to survive. At its heart, this is an adventure story with a lot of drama. What I enjoyed were the illustrations which were done by the author and accompanied the heading of each chapter as well as a gallery of character portraits at the very beginning. Some of the issues I had with this novel were in its dealings with race, religion, and ethnicity. It was hard for me to pinpoint if the problems I had could be explained by viewing it through the lens of the time in which the novel took place but I found them unsettling nonetheless. Overall, I wasn't totally blown away but I wouldn't throw it out of an airplane door either. 4/10

 

Source: American Library Association

 

Examples of the illustrations. [Source: Playing by the book]

 

 

What's Up Next: Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader by David A. Adler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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