I absolutely loved this book! It is written in such a clever way, with a smarmy yet charming narrator consistently warning the reader to 'turn back,'I absolutely loved this book! It is written in such a clever way, with a smarmy yet charming narrator consistently warning the reader to 'turn back,' and to 'read no further.' The story of Cass and Max-Ernest and the 'secret' they unearth is a wonderful mystery and adventure story, full of suspense, humor, and smart dialogue. I thought the two main characters (Cass and Max-Ernest) were so well-written and likeable...I love stories where the kids get to be heroes! This book will appeal to both boys and girls (another reason why I love this one so much!), ages 9 to 12. But adults will have fun with it too. The book is completely engaging from start to finish and I am so glad it was recommended to me! I can't recommend this one more to older children and adults looking for a fun adventure/mystery. ...more
I absolutely loved everything about this book--the plot, the setting, the characters--everything! I could not put it down once I started it. Koby is aI absolutely loved everything about this book--the plot, the setting, the characters--everything! I could not put it down once I started it. Koby is a preteen girl who has a lot on her plate: her parents just separated, she lost her leg in a car accident four years ago, and she feels like an outcast at school. But when she's out on the open ocean in her dinghy, she feels normal and whole again. Everything changes one night when she rescues two stranded pilot whales. As she spends time visiting and nursing the whales back to health, Koby begins to realize that whatever happens to her, she is strong, brave, and uniquely her.
I think most 5th-7th graders would really love this story. Koby is a perfectly written main character--she is engaging and relatable, and goes up against some very dangerous situations. The book as a whole is well-written and full of rich description and vocabulary. The supporting cast of characters (including the wonderful whales!) are well-developed and likeable. I highly recommend this adventure-filled and inviting story....more
I read this one as a 4th grader myself, but only vaguely remembered the story. I decided to read it as a class novel with my own 4th grade class thisI read this one as a 4th grader myself, but only vaguely remembered the story. I decided to read it as a class novel with my own 4th grade class this spring, and we all loved it!
When Michael and Molly's mother and stepfather decide to move them and their annoying stepsister Heather to an old house in the country, the kids are not happy. Molly is even more displeased to find an old cemetery in the backyard. Then Heather starts acting strangely and talking to a ghost named Helen...will danger befall the family when Helen finally does come?
This is an excellent ghost story for children, full of thrills and cliffhangers at the ends of many chapters. Hahn uses rich vocabulary throughout and weaves a suspense-filled mystery, which children will enjoy trying to solve while reading. I think it speaks volumes that out of my 23 4th graders (both boys and girls, of all different reading levels and reading interests), 22 of them absolutely loved this book and often begged to read extra chapters each day. Of course, this book is highly recommended to readers 9 and up, by 22 4th grade fans and their teacher!...more
I found this book to be entertaining, and it was a very quick read. I thought the mix of the semi-supernatural elements in with mainly realistic fictiI found this book to be entertaining, and it was a very quick read. I thought the mix of the semi-supernatural elements in with mainly realistic fiction elements made for a good story. The writing was pretty strong as well. However, I thought the story lacked depth...it just seemed a little 'one-note' to me. I also had a hard time deciding whether I liked the main character or not. I wavered back and forth (nearly through the whole book!) between feeling slightly sorry for her and feeling disdain for her actions--ended up feeling mildly sympathetic towards her in the end. Overall though, I did like this Newbery Honor book, but it will definitely not be included in my top picks for children's novels....more
This was a surprise to me, in that I so enjoyed reading it! I was doubtful at the outset, after reading the prologue; something about it was a littleThis was a surprise to me, in that I so enjoyed reading it! I was doubtful at the outset, after reading the prologue; something about it was a little reminiscent of the "Lord of the Rings" (of which I am not a fan). But I plunged ahead, as a certain 12-year-old I know recently devoured this book and highly recommended it to me. I was pleased to discover as I read on that "The Ruins of Gorlan" is not an epic fantasy story in the style of Tolkien at all. I've always loved apprenticeship stories for some reason--you know, the ones in which a student learns a craft from a master, and the majority of this first book in the Ranger's Apprentice series is exactly that. The main characters are so likeable and well-written; I especially liked the dynamic between apprentice Will and master Ranger Holt.
I will say this is definitely a book written for and geared more toward boys (although I'm sure many girls would be as entertained by it as I was!). Its pages are full of spy training, Battleschool drills and bullies, and a predominantly male cast of characters.
My only criticism of "The Ruins of Gorlan" is that (without giving too much away) the ending was a bit anticlimactic. But maybe that was Flanagan's intent, so as to leave me hungering for Book 2 in the series! The back cover states the reading level is 10 years+, but based on the rich vocabulary used throughout, I would say that (for most young readers), it is better suited to 11/12 year olds and up. I definitely would recommend this to preteen readers, especially those who love action, adventure, and battles, and who prefer to read non-magic fantasy books....more