Annie's difficult grandmother is dying and her mother takes her to Baltimore to be with the family. Annie doesn't know much about her grandmother andAnnie's difficult grandmother is dying and her mother takes her to Baltimore to be with the family. Annie doesn't know much about her grandmother and is shocked by her hateful attitude. When Annie wakes up the next morning, she realizes that she's been transported back to the family's 1937 hotel and that her new friend Molly is actually her grandmother. Molly has been stuck living in her Lonely Room due to pneumonia and asthma. And while Annie initially feels sorry for her, she quickly realizes that Molly has an unkind and impatient side. The two girls escape into Baltimore, exploring the city and returning to the Lonely Room as if they've never left. After a few days, Annie begins to really miss her mom and wonders how she will ever return home. Both girls end up solving their problems, creating a satisfying ending for the characters and their families.
A lovely, sweet book. It combines the magical time travel of 11 Birthdays with the struggles of a lonely, sick girl from the Great Depression. And best of all, it's set in my city -- Baltimore -- with plenty of references to the city I love. ...more
Princess Annabelle, Sleepy Beauty's younger sister, helps her sister with her wedding and then sets off to help her friend Snow White. Annie's fairy tPrincess Annabelle, Sleepy Beauty's younger sister, helps her sister with her wedding and then sets off to help her friend Snow White. Annie's fairy tale princess twist is that she was 'cursed' by being immune to magic; those who are under a spell are rendered nonmagical when coming into contact with her. Plagued by crows clearly sent by a witch, Annie teams up with her prince boyfriend Liam to figure out what's going on.
Fans of princess stories without a bunch of silliness will enjoy the Wide-Awake Princess series. Recommended for grades 4 and 5. The story includes some minor kissing but nothing that raised my concerns for elementary school readers. ...more
I'm an elementary school librarian and I feel that I should know what my students are reading. And I'm ashamed to admit that, despite the popularity oI'm an elementary school librarian and I feel that I should know what my students are reading. And I'm ashamed to admit that, despite the popularity of the Warrior series and its spin offs in the media centers I've worked in, I hadn't actually read one. So I picked up the first book in a series and got myself started.
Though this was the first book in the Omen of the Stars arc, I had a bit of a hard time in the beginning of the book -- lots of characters and the premise assumes that the reader has some back knowledge. On the whole, I enjoyed the series -- lots of action, the cats have a variety of interesting problems, and it was fun to try to figure out what people things the cats were confused about.
I'm in a new media center this year and I will definitely purchase the first Warriors arc for my students. We'll see how it goes and if more purchases are warranted/demanded.
Recommended for grades 4 - 6. There is some mild cat violence and characters die; I believe that readers who can comprehend the text will be able to handle these themes. ...more
Billy Bartram's father belongs to an American colonial philosophical society. Determined to prevent war between the British and French while protectinBilly Bartram's father belongs to an American colonial philosophical society. Determined to prevent war between the British and French while protecting colonial interests, a group of men sail a flying ship to the Ohio River valley. They each pursue their own academic interests while searching for a lost, almost mythical Welsh settlement. After being chased by the French, working with some reluctant Native Americans, crashing the ship, and being chased by a wolf-bear, the men find the settlement. This Welsh empire disappoints the group but after fighting the French to protect the settlement, the philosophical society learns far more than they ever dreamed of.
An interesting combination of historical fiction and fantasy, in the spirit of On the Blue Comet. While I enjoyed this read, I found it somewhat long. Recommended for readers in grades 5 - 7 who have a sense of American history and enjoy fantasy and science fiction. ...more
A great fantasy series for upper elementary school readers. I love that Celie, the main character is a pretty normal girl, despite being the younger pA great fantasy series for upper elementary school readers. I love that Celie, the main character is a pretty normal girl, despite being the younger princess and having a brother who is a wizard. In this second book in the series, Castle Glower continues shifting and adding rooms, eventually revealing that it is in distress. Celie hatches a griffin, names him Rufus, and struggles to keep her sweet, flying beast a secret. The story ends in a cliff hanger with Celie and Rufus stuck in an unexplored and alternate world. Looking forward to book 3!...more
Kendra and Seth are sent to stay with the grandparents while their parents go on a cruise. Despite strict rules from Grandpa Sorensen, Kendra begins uKendra and Seth are sent to stay with the grandparents while their parents go on a cruise. Despite strict rules from Grandpa Sorensen, Kendra begins unearthing strange clues and Seth begins exploring the property. The two discover fairies and learn that the Sorensen home is a preserve for magical creatures. Seth accidentally turns a fairy into an imp and Grandpa Sorensen is kidnapped on Midsummer's Eve. After rescuing Grandma Sorensen, they family fights evil forces to save Fablehaven.
A really solid fantasy choice for students in upper elementary and middle school. Fans of Percy Jackson and 39 clues may also like this book -- while mythical forces are an important part of the story, the real story is rooted in family and its legacy. ...more
Charlie, a princess in the kingdom of Quale, is a neglected 11-year-old misfit. Her mother has been missing for over five years and her father is obseCharlie, a princess in the kingdom of Quale, is a neglected 11-year-old misfit. Her mother has been missing for over five years and her father is obsessed with his literal house of cards. When Charlie finds an old letter from her mother, the prime minister takes a special interest in her. His direction is at odds with the beliefs of the Resistance members that she meets and Charlie is stuck trying to find her mother amid a very confusing situation. Tobias, the gardener's boy, is a fun character to contrast Charlie and help her fight through to the truth.
Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book, though I expect my fantasy loving elementary readers will be disappointed by the abrupt and somewhat emotionally unfulfilling ending. ...more
**spoiler alert** Molly is sent to work in the castle as a young girl. Before her father takes her to her new job as a scullery maid, her not-quite-sa**spoiler alert** Molly is sent to work in the castle as a young girl. Before her father takes her to her new job as a scullery maid, her not-quite-sane mother gives her a beautiful silver necklace. Once in the castle, Molly learns to control her wild and disruptive ways, eventually becoming an assistant to the silver keeper. She has visions and hears voices when she polishes a beautiful silver bowl and learns that the royal family is in danger. During the prince's wedding banquet, wolves attack the family, though Molly and Tobias save the youngest prince. Molly and her friend manage to save the prince, but face more obstacles as they fight for his life and right to reign. The ultimate fight to defeat the evil curse was fairly interesting and quick, though regular readers of fantasy may be a bit let down.
My biggest complaint with this book was that the king's sister, Gertrude, is eventually revealed as the bad guy. She came up with the curse because she was angry about being passed over in the line of succession simply for being a woman.
The Glower children, daughters and sons of King and Queen Glower the 79th, live in an incredible, growing castle. Cecelia seems to be the favorite dauThe Glower children, daughters and sons of King and Queen Glower the 79th, live in an incredible, growing castle. Cecelia seems to be the favorite daughter and can communicate with the castle. When the King, Queen, and elder son are reported killed, ambassadors from nearby countries threaten to take over the small kingdom. Cecelia, Delilah, and Rolf find creative ways to avoid nefarious schemers.
Recommended for kids in grades 4 - 6 who like a touch of fantasy with their adventure stories. ...more
I have really enjoyed listening to Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet and I'm kind of sad that I'm going to have to choose something elseI have really enjoyed listening to Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet and I'm kind of sad that I'm going to have to choose something else for my daily commute. I'll miss you, Lady Knight Keladry of Mindelan!...more
Emmy, a sweet and kind girl, is thoroughly ignored by everyone in her life. Her newly wealthy parents are constantly traveling, leaving her in the carEmmy, a sweet and kind girl, is thoroughly ignored by everyone in her life. Her newly wealthy parents are constantly traveling, leaving her in the care of the brusque Miss Barmy. When Emmy's class rat starts talking to her, things take an interesting turn. A new friendship, talking rodents, and some exciting action help Emmy find out the truth about Miss Barmy and save her parents.
A great book to recommend to Roald Dahl lovers in grades 4 and 5....more
Wabi, a young owl, and his great-grandmother cannot only speak owl, they can communicate in other animal languages as well. After being rescued from aWabi, a young owl, and his great-grandmother cannot only speak owl, they can communicate in other animal languages as well. After being rescued from a tough childhood by his grandmother, Wabi begins following human life in a nearby village. He falls in love with Dojihla, the willful daughter of the chief. Wabi is able to turn into a man and wins a contest to become Dojihla's husband, but he quickly realizes that while he has won her hand, he has not won her heart. Instead, he sets off to rescue the wolves who have disappeared from the valley. After several intense and exciting battles, he returns to the village to find that it is also under attack. He and Dojihla defeat the enemy, return to the village, and Wabi is accepted as a hero in her community.
An interesting middle grade read, this will appeal to students who enjoy books with talking animals and nature. It reminded me of Helen Frost's Diamond Willow because of its magical elements and animal spirits. ...more
I was surprised by how much I liked this book! It's a little bit historical fiction and a little bit fantasy. Oscar, a boy growing up during the GreatI was surprised by how much I liked this book! It's a little bit historical fiction and a little bit fantasy. Oscar, a boy growing up during the Great Depression, is forced to live with his horrible aunt while his father looks for work in California. Both Oscar and his father love trains and one night, during a bank robbery, Oscar accidentally 'jumps' into the model train set. The trains are real and Oscar travels to California, meeting a young Ronald Reagan along the way.
Once he reaches California, Oscar discovers that his body is that of a young adult, old enough to be drafted into WWII, though his mind is still that of an 11-year-old. He manages to jump back into another train set, this time traveling with a young girl to New York City. Finally, Oscar manages to make his way back home, both in time and in place.
A wonderful fantasy that takes some unexpected turns. My reader's advisory for students is that it's okay to be confused. I was confused, Oscar is confused, and the time travel is confusing. But Rosemary Wells keeps things on track (ha ha!) and clears up the confusing parts as she weaves her fabulous upper elementary story. Recommended for fantasy lovers!...more
Four children find a small silver talisman and discovers that it grants wishes. Except that, like all things magic, there's a catch to how the wishesFour children find a small silver talisman and discovers that it grants wishes. Except that, like all things magic, there's a catch to how the wishes are granted -- the talisman only grants half of what is wished for. When Mark wishes to be on a desert island, the four children find themselves in the middle of a desert. Each child has a magical journey with mishaps and wonder. Their mother even ends up involved, along with a wonderful and somewhat mysterious Mr. Smith.
This fun and clever fantasy is just right for third graders. My only complaint is that it feels a bit dated. The children have quite a bit of freedom and their dialog definitely isn't fresh. There are a few moments that will raise a critical reader's eyebrow -- several comments about Mark being brave because he is a boy and the children attempt to use some 'How' Native American dialog when they meet a Bedouin during their desert adventure. ...more