At 9:59 on Thursday morning, Jodie adds two silver buttons to her picture of a duck. While she bends to add a third, her brother takes his first step....moreAt 9:59 on Thursday morning, Jodie adds two silver buttons to her picture of a duck. While she bends to add a third, her brother takes his first step. In the other room, her mom plays a penny whistle. Cars rush by on the street outside. A jogger passes. Seagulls fly by. A baby is born in a nearby hospital. By the time the clock ticks another second and Jodie draws the final silver button, everyone in the city has moved and changed. It turns out one second really can make a difference.
The Silver Button is a great reminder that while we are living our own lives, everyone else is living theirs. It would be especially good for younger children who are naturally self-centered but beginning to become curious about what goes on when they are not around. It would also be a good lead-in to discussions about what else could be happening at this very second in other parts of the school, or neighborhood, or city, or even world.
Also published here for those who prefer blog format.(less)
Buddy is NOT a good listener. When his dad asks him for a pen, for example, Buddy brings back a hen. And when his mother requests a slice of bread, we...moreBuddy is NOT a good listener. When his dad asks him for a pen, for example, Buddy brings back a hen. And when his mother requests a slice of bread, well, he slices his bed instead. So it's no surprise that when Buddy is sent on an errand, he forgets which way he is supposed to go and ends up at the home of the Scruffy Varmint. But even the terrifying Scruffy Varmint can't get through to Buddy. Not until Buddy mishears something crucial and gets the fright of his life. That day Buddy learns how to run fast -- and how to finally listen.
This is a cute story with a good lesson about listening. Children will delight in Buddy's silly misunderstandings and cheer for him when he finally gets it right. Contains a link to a free download of the audio version.(less)
Lost Lake may not seem like a magical place to many people. It's a bit swampy. Definitely humid. Overgrown and rundown. But for the people who live in...moreLost Lake may not seem like a magical place to many people. It's a bit swampy. Definitely humid. Overgrown and rundown. But for the people who live in the backwoods there, and those who regularly visit the rental cabins, it feels like home. So when the owner of the property decides to sell, the regulars return for one final vacation. But there's one person no one counted on joining them: the owner's grand-niece and her daughter, both of whom are hoping to escape a difficult year. Luckily, Lost Lake's most important magic may be its ability to heal.
I always enjoy Sarah Addison Allen's books, and this one is no exception. The characters felt very alive, and I found myself rooting for them throughout. While the book was not as infused with magical realism as some of Allen's other works, the mystical elements that were there lent a feeling of possibility to the entire story, as if anything could happen. Finally, the ending left me smiling and wishing I could stay a little longer at these swampy summer cabins. All in all a very enjoyable read.(less)
When elderly Mr. Putter realizes that he and his cat Tabby are spending too much time resting, he decides to join a seniors baseball team with his fri...moreWhen elderly Mr. Putter realizes that he and his cat Tabby are spending too much time resting, he decides to join a seniors baseball team with his friend Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke. But Zeke's enthusiasm is too much for their team to handle; he keeps stealing the ball and charging off with it. Will Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry be able to save the game and stay on the team, or will Zeke's puppy-dog antics relegate them to less-active pastimes?
This five-chapter beginning reader tells a cute story from a viewpoint that is rarely represented in children's books, and the humorous twist at the end should leave many children smiling.(less)
When Cara reluctantly agreed to take on an exchange student from the planet L'eihr, she never anticipated how Aelyx's presence would disrupt her famil...moreWhen Cara reluctantly agreed to take on an exchange student from the planet L'eihr, she never anticipated how Aelyx's presence would disrupt her family, drive away her friends, and tear her school apart. And, above all, she never, ever anticipated falling in love with the coldly handsome (and extremely arrogant) boy living in the bedroom next to hers. But Aelyx is keeping secrets, and as their relationship heats up so do tensions on planet Earth.
This is a fun, very fast read with plenty of romance and humor -- not to mention one of the best first kisses I've read. Best of all, Alienated has a cover that will draw students from across the library, helping the book find an audience that much faster. Although it is a little difficult to believe humanity's extreme reactions to the alien presence -- especially after the people of L'eihr helped humans cure cancer -- the increased conflict adds both tension and fodder for discussion. Because this is the first in a series of at least two, those who enjoy the first book will have a sequel to look forward to.
Note: Review also posted here if you prefer blog format.(less)
Cooper is having trouble falling asleep, so he begs his mother to sing him a few songs. She sets her own lyrics to the tune of such numbers as "Rock-a...moreCooper is having trouble falling asleep, so he begs his mother to sing him a few songs. She sets her own lyrics to the tune of such numbers as "Rock-a-Bye Baby" and "Jingle Bells." At the end Cooper thinks of a perfect way to put both of them to sleep: by making up his own words and singing them to the music of "Lullabye and Good Night."
Rather than being a traditional going-to-bed book, this story is all about the singing. Even the text amongst the tunes is lyrical, with a sing-song rhyme to it. Little ones who enjoy music will have fun joining in once they learn the new words to each song, though practice is recommended before sharing with a group, as the unique style may make it a little rough to read aloud the first time or two. The juvenile approach makes this one more suitable for young children -- perhaps as a pre-bed lap read, or at a preschool or daycare just before nap time.(less)
Sloane Devon Jacobs and Sloane Emily Jacobs run into each other -- literally -- while in Canada for summer sports camps. When they discover they each...moreSloane Devon Jacobs and Sloane Emily Jacobs run into each other -- literally -- while in Canada for summer sports camps. When they discover they each want to escape their own lives, they decide to switch places. Now Sloane Devon is off to Sloane Emily's figure skating camp, while Sloane Emily gets to learn ice hockey at Sloane Devon's hockey camp. But keeping up their ruse is not the only thing these girls have to challenge them over the summer. For one thing, there are boys. And competitive skaters at each camp. And, well, learning that there's more to both figure skating and ice hockey than being good on the ice. But maybe running away from themselves is the way to find out who they truly are.
This is a fun, fast, heart-warming, satisfying, and romantic read that would appeal to girls who enjoyed such books as Anna and the French Kiss and Dairy Queen. Both Sloanes learn a lot throughout the book, but they still retain who they are at heart, which makes their transformations more believable. The details about both figure skating and ice hockey added plenty of color and interest to the world of the story without being overwhelming; Morrill clearly knows her stuff, and her love of sports comes through in every page. Yes, it takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to go with the incredible premise, but it's worth it for the enjoyable adventure and the many laugh-out-loud lines.(less)
When Alexa's parents are killed, she chops off her hair and joins the prince's royal guard as "Alex," a talented (male) fighter. It's that or be sent...moreWhen Alexa's parents are killed, she chops off her hair and joins the prince's royal guard as "Alex," a talented (male) fighter. It's that or be sent to the breeding houses, where girls are repeatedly raped by soldiers in order to produce yet more soldiers for the country's endless war. But when she; the prince; and a fellow guard are all captured by the enemy, Alexa learns secrets about her country and begins to rethink her loyalties.
With a kick-booty heroine who disguises herself as a boy, death-defying adventure, sorcery, a potential romance with a prince, and a love triangle, there are endless possibilities for entertainment and enjoyment in Defy. Alexa is a protagonist to cheer for, although her ruminating about which boy she liked better did slow down an otherwise fast-paced plot in a few places. Due to the inclusion of the breeding houses -- which are described in enough detail to make them truly horrifying -- this one may work better for a more mature audience than the cover implies.(less)
In this reimagining of the "Snow Queen" fairy tale, eleven-year-old Ophelia moves to a mysterious new town with her father and sister. While her fathe...moreIn this reimagining of the "Snow Queen" fairy tale, eleven-year-old Ophelia moves to a mysterious new town with her father and sister. While her father spends each snowy day working on a sword exhibit for the local museum, Ophelia wanders the museum's halls, becoming lost in the seemingly random collections. But when she discovers a mysterious boy locked away in a tiny room, she is sent on a journey that will test everything she ever believed about magic, love, and, most of all, herself.
The rich details, strong heroine, and sense of adventure on every page lend this book the feel of a classic adventure story in the vein of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or A Wrinkle in Time. Although many elements of the overall plot are fairly predictable, there are plenty of twists to make the journey feel interesting and new. Should appeal to both boys and girls, especially those who love to become lost in intricately-built fantasy worlds.(less)
After surviving a car accident that killed the boyfriend she had just dumped, Wren retreats to her father's secluded house in the wild woods along the...moreAfter surviving a car accident that killed the boyfriend she had just dumped, Wren retreats to her father's secluded house in the wild woods along the New England coast. There she spends her days running through the forest, sleeping, moping, and avoiding contact with other people. But even in this small, backwoods town it is impossible to escape making connections with others.
While not a light, fun read -- and by no means a quick one -- this journey through grief and depression felt very authentic. I found myself wanting to shake Wren many times and tell her to shape up, get on antidepressants, get counseling, something, but that would have belied the point somewhat. At least the ending, while not totally resolved, has enough hope that perhaps Wren will someday be okay. Teens going through grief may find solace in Wren's tale, and those looking for meatier books may enjoy the writing style of this character-driven novel.(less)