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The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
**spoiler alert** Clearly Gregor was merely the prelude. Suzanne Collins, you’ve been holding out on us, missy. As an author we were accustomed to you ...more
Jun 07, 2008
Jun 02, 2008
The Graveyard Book
I’ve noticed that there’s been an increased interest in the macabre in children’s literature lately. Sometimes when I’ve had a glass or two of wine an ...more
Jul 09, 2008
Jul 01, 2008
The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)
How do librarians decide what children's book they want to read next? Well, there are professional reviews, online reviews, and good old-fashioned wor ...more
Nov 2007
Nov 15, 2007
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
I'll give it this much. Few books have caused me to actually shake SHAKE in anger. Wow. I think I need to go boil my eyeballs for a while. What was th ...more
Nov 08, 2008
Nov 08, 2008
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
You can credit Junior with this much; he's not a complainer. Not really. I mean, sure he was born with an enormous head, gigantic feet, crazy eyes, te ...more
Dec 2007
Dec 30, 2007
The Underneath
I review lots of books. Oodles of caboodles of books. And a lot of the time my thoughts can basically be boiled down to very simple sentences. "Me lik ...more
Apr 22, 2008
Apr 15, 2008
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
I like a bit of subtlety with my “meaning”. What I mean by that is that when I pick up a book for kids, it’s tough on me, as a reader, to go through s ...more
May 03, 2013
May 01, 2013
How Not to Review a Book: Do not begin your review by jumping off into some big old rant about how you never liked anything the author wrote before, p ...more
Feb 18, 2008
Jan 19, 2008
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Well devil if I know what to do with it.

Never complain that you are bored, ladies and gentlemen. Say such a thing and you might find that the universe
May 08, 2011
May 03, 2011
Waiting for Normal
Once in a while a reviewer of children’s books likes to sit down and reassess their occupation. Here I am. I am an adult and I review books for kids. ...more
Mar 06, 2008
Feb 06, 2008
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Calpurnia Tate, #1)
The spunky girl heroine. She’s an enduring character in our middle grade fiction. From 1928’s The Winged Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry to Caddie Wood ...more
Mar 17, 2009
Feb 24, 2009
Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo, #1)
By this point I think the nation's readers of children's fantasy novels have hit a kind of boredom plateau. You get a new fantasy on your desk and you ...more
Dec 2007
Nov 11, 2007
It's a Book
Where to begin? Begin at the beguine, I suppose. I’ve had It’s a Book sitting on my shelf for months and now the time is ripe. As you may have heard o ...more
May 30, 2010
May 30, 2010
The Riverman (The Riverman Trilogy, #1)
When a book has worked its way into your cranium and is making a home for itself within the darker recesses of your very soul, the natural inclination ...more
Jan 17, 2014
Jan 13, 2014
The Clockwork Three
I’m in a weird position. I’m tired of Steampunk, and yet if I say that word to most kids that walk into my library they’ll give me a blank stare follo ...more
Nov 24, 2010
Nov 14, 2010
The Wind Singer (Wind on Fire, #1)
Children's books about the horrors of standardized testing are increasingly popular these days. From Edward Bloor's well-intentioned, Story Time to Th ...more
Oct 2004
Sep 28, 2007
Doll Bones
I don’t watch much horror in general. I’m what you might call a chicken. When I do see it, though, I’m not particularly disturbed by random splatterin ...more
Jan 09, 2013
Jan 02, 2013
Chains (Seeds of America, #1)
My discovery of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains came at the best possible time. I had recently read and reviewed Steve Sheinkin’s, King George, What W ...more
Sep 20, 2008
Sep 12, 2008
When You Reach Me
I’ve been struggling over how to begin this review. I want to get it exactly right. I want to convey to you precisely what it is that I mean to say. I ...more
Apr 08, 2009
Apr 07, 2009
The Boy on the Wooden Box
One Sentence Review: Absolutely beautiful and in a perfect world would replace The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as the customary middle grade WWII Holoc ...more
Sep 11, 2013
Sep 08, 2013
The Night Gardener
For whatever reason, 2014 is a dark year in children’s middle grade fiction. I speak from experience. Fantasy in particular has been steeped in a kind ...more
Feb 20, 2014
Feb 16, 2014
Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me
There is a perception out there amongst certain types of parents that the only picture books worthy of their little geniuses are those that reflect th ...more
Apr 17, 2013
Apr 17, 2013
Bink & Gollie (Bink & Gollie, #1)
I eye Bink and Gollie across the room with a slow reptilian stare. I yell at it, “I refuse to be charmed by you!” I throw a shoe. Bink and Gollie, to ...more
Sep 06, 2010
Sep 06, 2010
Heroes of the Valley
Jonathan Stroud simply is not a fan of innocent protagonists as pure as the newly driven snow. He has little patience for innocents as main characters ...more
Jan 10, 2009
Jan 01, 2009
Jefferson's Sons
When I was in high school I started reading Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved on my own. At the time, my mother said something about the book that I’ve be ...more
Aug 20, 2011
Aug 13, 2011
Under the Egg
Let me ask you a question. You seem like an intelligent individual. Have you ever read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? And, if y ...more
Dec 02, 2013
Dec 02, 2013
The Cabinet of Wonders (The Kronos Chronicles, #1)
It seems to me that today's average everyday fantasy author for kids has to walk a delicate line. You want to create an alternative history novel lade ...more
Aug 11, 2008
Aug 01, 2008
Brown Girl Dreaming
What does a memoir owe its readers? For that matter, what does a fictionalized memoir written with a child audience in mind owe its readers? Kids come ...more
Apr 30, 2014
Apr 29, 2014
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
As I see it, there are two different ways to adapt a fairy tale into a full-length novel. You can either reinterpret the entire shebang with a whole n ...more
Feb 10, 2008
Jan 25, 2008
They say if you want to win an Oscar you need to play somebody with an extreme personal difficulty (terminal illness, disease, etc.). They do not, for ...more
Feb 16, 2012
Feb 09, 2012
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