Zeno is an proud African Grey parrot who knows 127 words and loves Banana Nut muffins. However, none of those things can help him when he finds himsel...moreZeno is an proud African Grey parrot who knows 127 words and loves Banana Nut muffins. However, none of those things can help him when he finds himself alone in Brooklyn. Alya is a very sick little girl who is trapped in life filled with hospitals, chemo and sickness. She misses her old life just as much as Zeno misses his. A chance meeting over a muffin just might change things for both of them.
The is a sweet and sometimes heart wrenching story of a very lonely girl and a lost parrot. Zeno is a wonderful character who has many misadventures as he tries to find out what home really is. Alya is sweet and her character is an honest take of a child going through chemo.
There were several things that brought me to tears in this book. Poor Zeno endures some really harsh things as he flies around the city. As a bird lover the scene with the pet store just tore my heart out!
A good story for children and adults who love animals. It is a bit more sad than most out there. But, I think many readers will enjoy this tale about a bird. It's nice to see one out there among the hero dog and cat books! (less)
Our girls at our school love DIY books and I can never keep them on the shelves. I was very excited to preview this book. There are lots of excellent...moreOur girls at our school love DIY books and I can never keep them on the shelves. I was very excited to preview this book. There are lots of excellent crafts for all skill levels and the instructions are very easy to follow. I really like that they have a skill rating that goes from "easy peasy" to "take your time and ask for help". This is a great way to rate the crafts and much easier for children to understand than a star system. Every project has clear, precise instructions with pictures of the steps and real girls creating the projects. At the beginning of the book the author has things that every new seamstress should know and photos of materials they would need to complete the projects. The crafts are super cute and super fun and my students will love this book! Now I just have to wait for my book order to come in!!!
I hope that there are more craft book in the works like this one. It is one of the best out there for children. (less)
This book was one of my favorite reads this year. I have not picked up many good parallel universe books. Tandem was an exception. Sasha is a great ch...moreThis book was one of my favorite reads this year. I have not picked up many good parallel universe books. Tandem was an exception. Sasha is a great character and is written very well. She is a mix of strong and emotional without being too much. Many of the teen readers are sick of the characters that they cannot identify with. They have told me that she is both believable and likeable. That is pretty rare!!
The fact that Sasha does not get a choice when she is pulled into another universe hooks you immediately. Her trials of having to impersonate someone that is identical to herself in body only keeps the pages turning.
My only issue is that this book has yet another love triangle and is a three part series that many of the teens (and Teen Librarians) are getting sick of! I do think that many readers will continue this series because it is not one of the typical dystopian survival stories that are flooding the shelves.(less)
Death of a king is the companion novel to Battle for Duncragglin. Written in the time of William Wallace and the battles for Scotland's independence,...moreDeath of a king is the companion novel to Battle for Duncragglin. Written in the time of William Wallace and the battles for Scotland's independence, we follow 13 year old Alex as he searches for his missing parents who time traveled several years before. As he works his way across the war torn country Alex faces assassins, hunger, ship wrecks and the knowledge that his parents could be executed at any moment for treason.
I wish I had read the companion book first because for a while I was lost. This is not a book that can be read as a stand alone. I had to go back and quickly read the first to understand what was happening. That being said it was a very well researched book. The language, landscape and characters are historically accurate as they can be for a time travel book.
I enjoyed the story for the most part. Alex and his friends get into many troubles along the way. Almost too many. There were some sections that felt forced. I was not a fan of the chapters where they were captured by the monks. It could have been left out as it added nothing really to the story as a whole. The historical side and the fact that I am a sucker for anything related to Scotland made up for some of the problems.
Still, it is a fun and very action packed book that will keep many readers turning the pages to see if everyone can get out in time. I liken it to Outlander for the little guys! While it has its problems if you suspend all that you know or think you know about time travel you just might enjoy the story! I know of several students that will enjoy this for the time travel and the adventure. A decent book to add to a library collection. (less)
Holly Black is a master storyteller with the Spiderwick Chronicles and several other popular series for teens and children. Her newest release “Doll B...moreHolly Black is a master storyteller with the Spiderwick Chronicles and several other popular series for teens and children. Her newest release “Doll Bones” is a spooky tale about a possessed doll and 3 children who must return her to her grave. This book keeps popping up on different lists as a popular tween book. After hearing about it again at the MLA conference I decided to give it a try. The publisher recommends this title to ages 10-14 and is 244 pages long.
Poppy, Zach, and Alice love to have grand adventures with their action figures and dolls. They have been playing an evolving game with them forever. It doesn’t matter to them that they are at an age where playing with dolls is considered babyish. All that matters is their friendship, adventures, and pleasing the Great Queen doll who lives in the china cabinet. One fateful day everything changes for Zach when his Dad ruins the game. Nothing will ever be the same. As Zach withdraws from his friends, a new mystery begins when Poppy releases the Queen from her cabinet. All of a sudden the 3 friends are thrust into a quest that will challenge their friendship and could ruin their lives. Is the creepy Queen doll really made out of a dead girls bones? Is she trying to get them all killed? Will anything ever be the same?
Find out in this twisty tale of mystery, friendship and possible murder!
This book was more than just a ghost story. It more about the power of friendship and how we change as we get older. Poppy, Zach, and Alice all have hardships that they are facing in their personal lives. Poppy has parents who are overworked and too busy for her. Zach has a complicated relationship with his Dad, and Alice is alone with her aging Grandmother who has crazy rules. Each character has been developed very well and I think many of my students will be able to identify with their struggles. The author did a great job of creating a realistic world for these middle grade kids that has lots of the trials and tribulations that tweens often deal with.
I have always been slightly creeped out by porcelain/china dolls. Especially the ones with the eyes that open and close. The Queen is no exception. She is an old doll with a faded dress and eyes that don’t really open or close right. Black does a good job making her seem sinister and evil without making her too scary. I have noticed that dolls are often the main characters in scary books for kids so I am not alone in thinking that they are extra creepy! This one might even be made of the bones of a dead child who is desperate to get back to her grave…yikes! While the story is very scary at times (the doll often seems to come to life) it is not gory or over the top. The murder is only hinted at and there are no scenes of blood and guts. I can see my 3rd and 4th grade students liking this book. I also won’t have to worry about parents thinking it is too scary.
There is a extra tiny bit of romance between the characters but you really have to squint to see it. It really does not add or detract from the story and there is nothing inappropriate going on. I really liked that this part was touched on but not the main part of the story. The rest of the story shows how hard growing up can be when you are still a kid and not yet a teen. That is what resonated most with me and I think that readers will identify with this the most. It has enough scary and enough heart to keep you reading to the very last page.
4 out of 5 stars and a definite purchase for our children’s library!
Other books you might like that are similar to this one:
Dollhouse Murders- Betty Ren Wright (Ages 10 and up)
Doll in the Garden- Mary Downing Hahn (Ages 10 and up)
Bad girls don’t die- Katie Alender (Ages 12 and up)(less)
Deep in the forest all the little animals are snuggling down for a nice bedtime story. All of sudden t...more"Received this book from Sourcebooks for review"
Deep in the forest all the little animals are snuggling down for a nice bedtime story. All of sudden their books start to disappear! Who is the thief that is stealing all the books? Brave Eliza Brown is determined to find out. Can she save the books?
This is a charming story of a little misunderstood book thief and a brave bunny. Told in verse, this book begs to be read aloud for story time. The pictures are soft, full of cute forest animals and perfect for children. The story has a happy ending about righting wrongs without being too preachy. A cute addition to any children's library. (less)
**spoiler alert** Rose Under Fire is a continuation of Code Name Verity. In this second book we meet Rose Justice, an American Pilot working in Englan...more**spoiler alert** Rose Under Fire is a continuation of Code Name Verity. In this second book we meet Rose Justice, an American Pilot working in England during WWII. While flying an Allied plane from Paris to England she is captured by the Nazis. She is sent to the women's work camp called Ravensbrück. During her six month imprisonment her strength and courage are tested to their limits as she tries to survive.
At first I struggled to like Rose. She came across as very flippant to the war experience. However, many Americans shared her views and ignorance due to the lack of information and misinformation that was common during that time. I finally think her true character came out after she was captured. During her imprisonment we see the wide range of human emotions from horror to numbness. Her friendship with the other prisoners is raw and very real. I cannot hope to grasp the desperation that those poor souls felt in the real camps. Wein does a good job of exposing her readers to the atrocities of the Nazis without being overbearing.
What I liked: I really liked seeing Maddie again from the first book. While she only plays a small role we get to see her find some joy in her life after all the strife. I also liked the flow of this book a bit better. I feel that Verity had so much technical terminology about planes that some readers might get lost. I feel that readers could relate a bit more to Rose and her story. The author's note at the end gives the reader more of an understanding of the magnitude of the Holocaust. She also provides references for further reading and website links for research. (an A+ for me)
What I did not like: Rose is a bit hard to like. She is very ignorant of the whole war effort at first and comes across as uncaring at times. She improves and grows during her imprisonment and I found myself rooting for her and the other girls. I was a bit disappointed that she was too afraid to testify at the end and had to be bullied into it. I felt that this never really got resolved. I can understand her reluctance and fear, but this was just not really resolved in the final chapters. She had come so far and had gained so much courage. I wish that we could have seen her stand up and speak out for her friends.
While I may have a few misgivings about this book, I feel that its a good one to add to a library collection. I enjoyed Code Name Verity a bit more but I feel this is a solid second. I recommend this to teen and adult readers looking for a different view of the Holocaust and the role of women in WWII. (less)
There are so many Robin Hood tales that have been written over the years. Will in Scarlet stands out as a great book for middle graders. The books tel...moreThere are so many Robin Hood tales that have been written over the years. Will in Scarlet stands out as a great book for middle graders. The books tells the story of Will Scarlet like you have never seen him before.. a rich noble. His story is the main focus of the book in this coming of age Robin Hood tale.
Told in more of a historical fiction fashion, we get a glimpse of life for both Nobles and peasants during the crusade. While King Richard is off fighting an almost endless war his people are starving and his brother Prince John is bleeding the country dry. Will is oblivious to these adult troubles would rather spend his days stealing from the castle store rooms and wrecking havoc with friends. He is forced to grow up when the treacherous Sir Guy ignites a political quarrel that forces Will into exile. He finds himself at the mercy of Sherwood forest and the villainous "Merry Men".
All the tradition characters are present in this book- Little John, Rob the drunk, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Much the girl disguised as a boy. Instead of a tale told strictly about Robin himself we get a wonderful story of Will Scarlet and Much. Will struggles with revenge, loss and seeing how the world really works from the eyes of the common man. He develops deep friendships and learns what his role is in the grand scheme of life.
I really liked this book and getting to read the perspectives of both Will and Much. Most of the female characters in Robin Hood books are only there for the romance aspect. Much is a much needed female protagonist that is spunky and strong willed. Their story is something that middle grade readers will be able to enjoy and relate to as both characters are forced to make sometimes hard choices that will define their lives.
There is laughter heartache and lots of adventure that both boys and girls will enjoy. The story is rich and engaging and reads almost like a movie. It is a book that you won't quickly put down, especially towards the end. I cannot wait to add this to our collection and I know my students who love action and adventure will eat this up. This is one of the best takes on the Robin Hood story for younger readers in recent memory. I hope to see more by this author in the future. (less)
Move over Diary of a Wimpy Kid, there is a new middle grade series for geeky kids to enjoy! Star Wars: Jedi Academy, is new book from the mind that br...moreMove over Diary of a Wimpy Kid, there is a new middle grade series for geeky kids to enjoy! Star Wars: Jedi Academy, is new book from the mind that brought you "Darth Vader and son" and "Vader's little Princess". Jeffrey Brown has created a fun and imaginative book that students will love. The story is told in a graphic diary format with loads of wonderful illustrations and humor.
All Roan has ever wanted to do is go to Star Fighter Academy. Imagine his disappointment when he not admitted and has to go to Agriculture Academy. All hope seems lost until he gets a mysterious letter in the mail from Master Yoda and Principal Mar inviting him to attend the Jedi Academy. Roan takes a chance and joins a cast of colorful characters. Not only does he have to use the force, but he also has to navigate the tricky waters of middle school filled with dances, tests, bullies and crazy instructors. Will he ever learn the force? What is Yoda actually saying anyway?
I cannot wait to order this for my students. I can already predict which ones will love this book and immediately check it out. The writing and story are fun and engaging without being overly cheesy. The illustrations remind me of my students drawings and their crazy imaginations. I recommend this for students who liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Graphic Novel style books and of course Star Wars! I hope to see more books like this from Mr. Brown in the future.
Boldly go where no craft book has gone before and make 25 awesome Trek crafts. Angie Petersen has created a fun, easy to follow craft book of all thin...moreBoldly go where no craft book has gone before and make 25 awesome Trek crafts. Angie Petersen has created a fun, easy to follow craft book of all things Star Trek. Crafts are arranged by topic from home decor to wearable art. Each craft gets a Starfleet skill ranking of either Ensign, Captain or Admiral based on difficulty and time required to complete the craft. Some of the crafts included in the book are:
Star Trek: The animated series coasters DIY Tribbles A Spock Monkey Klingon Serving tray
There are so many creative and inventive items in this books to keep even the most experienced crafter busy. One of the best aspects besides the crafts are the personal anecdotes from the contributors, Trek history, and links to find even more crafty goodness later. I highly recommend this book to fans of Star Trek. Even if you only make one or two crafts, the history and photos are well worth the investment.(less)
This was a random choice for me. I have been stuck in a rut reading YA books for a while so I chose this out of the blue. I enjoyed the book. The myst...moreThis was a random choice for me. I have been stuck in a rut reading YA books for a while so I chose this out of the blue. I enjoyed the book. The mystery was not predictable which was nice and the writing was fairly good. It was a nice break from the usual. (less)
**spoiler alert** Summary- After a long and arduous journey Neryn has finally arrived at the rebel camp deep in the heart of Shadowfell. There she gai...more**spoiler alert** Summary- After a long and arduous journey Neryn has finally arrived at the rebel camp deep in the heart of Shadowfell. There she gains skills that will help her on her quest to seek the Guardians, who are essential to her training as a caller. She is paired with the headstrong warrior named Tali who is her opposite in every way. Together both women travel to the four corners of Alban to seek the Guardians and to gain the support of the Good Folk as they seek to overthrow the King. Not all the Guardians are ready and willing to help, and Neryn must use everything she knows to sway their opinion in her favor. The stakes are ever higher for Flint as he walks a narrow line of deception with the already suspicious King. The strength and mettle of both characters is tested beyond reason in this second installment of the Shadowfell series.
Once again we find Neryn taking several long journeys across the country of Alban. Instead of the steadfast companionship she shared with Flint she is pair with Tali. I did not care much for Tali in the first book but found myself adding her to my favorite characters list very quickly. She is a very headstrong and stubborn character that balances out Neryn's caution and quietness. While the characters are not in as much danger in every chapter like they were in first book, Marillier certainly ramps it up at the end.
Another strong point was the development of the Good Folk who are featured more in this book than the last. We get insight into their distrust and get to meet some really amazing characters. I also enjoyed the Guardians who were much more than just god's with special powers. The challenges that Neryn faced under their instruction was well written and didn't mince with the consequences of her gift. She learns that every action has a reaction both good and bad. This is something that is often missing in high fantasy books.
Readers looking for more romance in this installment might be disappointed. Flint and Neryn are rarely featured together and when they are, don't expect sweetness or soft sighs. The reality of their situation is featured prominently and I for one enjoyed this approach. Too many books make the romance fluffy in the midst of war but Marillier does a good job of showing how perilous their relationship really is.
The book ends with a large cliff hanger that will make you wish the next book was already out. The only issue I had was that the journey's again, are quit long and sometimes the story tends to drag on a bit. However, the character development and final chapters more than make up for it. I again recommend this for teens looking for a well rounded and strong fantasy female character that is not wrapped up in fluffy romance. Readers looking for characters that have both flaws and strengths will enjoy this coming of age fantasy series.(less)
"in a time so long ago begins our play, in star-crossed galaxy far, far away"
Ian Doescher has created a brilliant twist on a favorite fandom. William...more"in a time so long ago begins our play, in star-crossed galaxy far, far away"
Ian Doescher has created a brilliant twist on a favorite fandom. William Shakespeare's Star Wars is a fun and fast read that will have both Star Wars fans and Shakespeare lovers flying through the pages at light speed. Not only are the epic film moments captured in perfect prose, we also get twists on beloved Shakespearean plays. Included in the text are 20 illustrations that show popular scenes from the movies.
I was never a Shakespeare fan in High school and likely never will appreciate him as much as others. However, I found myself flipping pages quickly and matching up scenes from Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. I loved the side thoughts (asides) from the characters which added to the story. I also laughed at the scenes with R2-D2 and Chewbacca! Beep, beep, meep, squeak, hoo! The private thoughts from our favorite little droid were a great add in. Who hasn't wondered what he was thinking during C-3PO's lengthy complaints?!
I would highly recommend this to both fans of Star Wars and Shakespeare alike who want a fun and dramatic take on a well known space adventure. I hope he continues through the rest of the films!(less)