Skip to Content

Blogger Book Club

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog by Tom Watson

Stick Dog Wants a Hot DogStick Dog and his friends are back in book two of the series. Poo-Poo, Mutt, Stripes, Karen and Stick Dog devise a plan to'll never guess....I mean it you'll never guess....okay, you might have guess it - frankfurters! Did you guess that? Did you know frankfurters are another name for hot dogs? The five dogs have to find a way to distract Peter, the hot dog man (a.k.a. Piddly-Pants, Pumpkin-Head, Patsy Puffenstuff and Prickle Pop)in order to get to the hot dogs. And if that wasn't enough, there is a band of raccoons moving in for the steal too. Each friend comes up with a crazy plan, so again it's up to Stick Dog to save the day. During their adventure, Karen gets trapped and the friends have to change their mission to free Karen. Will they reach the hot dogs before the raccoons do? Great book for second and third graders. Tom Watson writes the story on what looks like notebook paper, which may just make boys or reluctant readers interested in reading this book. His stick drawings are really bad, but it adds to the hilariousness of the book. You also have to love his sarcasm. I can't wait to see what silly schemes his friends think up in July in Stick Dog Chases a Pizza!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

ZA Dog Called HomelessCallie is a thoughtful girl and she feels everything that happens around her.  This includes some not-so-cool school experiences, the death of her mother and losing her home in which she had grown up. She, her father, and brother move into a small apartment. She feels as if she has no say in anything.  At school, she participates in a silence fund-raiser.  Callie hasn't talked since.Wait a minute. If she doesn't talk, how does she communicate with her blind friend? It is one thing to be blind, but to also have multiple medical conditions makes Callie really empathize. 

This story demonstrates that learning how to listen might be more important than what is being said. If you need to compare books sometime, you might consider comparing this to Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo and Almost Home by Joan Bauer. They might share many of the same elements of blindness, rescue dogs, losing a home, losing a parent, and wonderful children.  No, they didn't copy!!!!!! They wrote almost at the same time and the authors don't even live near each other. One doesn't even live in the same country. This book has already won the Schneider Family Book Award. It is also nominated for the 2015 Bluestem Award. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

Half a ChanceHave you ever heard the eerie call of a loon early in the morning?  The sound alone can bring about a number of emotions - excitement about the creature that makes such a sound, appreciation that nature is so beautiful and mysterious, sadness and loneliness as it is often so quiet when a loon calls, and finally happiness that you were fortunate enough to hear something so rare.  This thoughtful book brings about a similar stir of emotions, as Lucy finds herself trying to deal with the move to a new lake house in New Hampshire.  Lucy's father, a professional photographer, has a strong sense of wanderlust that sends him immediately out for a photo shoot in Arizona.  This leaves Lucy to once again miss her dad, wish she could gain more of his praise for her own photography and learn about her new surroundings on her own.  Lucy might get her chance to do all of these things by entering a photo contest for kids that her dad just happens to be judging.  Given a long list of words like, Sticky, Wonder, Out of Place, and Lost, Lucy must take photos that illuminate those ideas.  After quickly making friends with the next door neighbor boy, Nate, and his large extended family, including an aging grandma battling dementia, Lucy gets to work with Nate's help.  This is their story of finding adventure, protecting the endangered nesting loons on the lake, becoming friends, and coping with nature's unfairness of aging and death.

This book has some beautiful moments as Lucy attempts to understand her new home, and her place not only in it, but in life.  There are moments of exuberance and brilliance.  And yes, this story has moments of sadness, but it is an honest and lovely story of real life problems that sooner or later, everyone must face.  The description of nature's serene splendor, the fun of venturing out into the woods or onto a lake, and the desire to help an ailing friend are all things that hit home with me and made this book special.  It is a quick read for an upper elementary or middle grade student, perhaps best described as a quiet read for a thoughtful student. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

Zebra ForestAnnie and her little brother Rew, lived with Gran, for as long as she could remember.  Annie and Rew spent most of their days unde the birches and oaks of the Zebra Forest. The only thing they kew about their father was he was killed in a fight with an angry man.

One day an angry man escaped from prison, entered their home and held them all hostage. The man was their father Andrew Snow.  Four lives changed forever in that moment in time, it seemed it was their father who was angry, and killed another man thus ending up in prison. Would Gran ever get out of bed?  Would Rew ever forgive Annie?  Would Andrew Snow ever go back where he belonged?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Almost HomeI thought that Almost Home was going to be nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Award.  Sugar is in the sixth grade. Yes, Sugar is her real name. Sugar and her mother lose their home in Missouri due to the irresponsibility and gambling of Sugar's father. Even worse than losing her home, Sugar loses the best-ever teacher.  Luckily, Sugar stays in touch with the teacher through e-mail.  Her teacher has always encouraged her writing. It's a good thing that Sugar has writing talents; it helps her cope with everything that she is going through.  It also helps that a dog and Sugar find each other. They truly help each other. Sugar and her mom end up in Chicago and her mother has to go into a shelter because of her extreme depression.  Sugar is in a good place now, a foster home with the right support.

Sugar learned a life-long lesson from her grandfather.  He impressed on her that sometimes a kid has to act older than she is.  Isn't it special that wisdom can be passed on through grandparents. I am not surprised that Almost Home is nominated for the 2015 Rebecca Caudill Award.   

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Heaven is Paved With Oreos by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Heaven is Paved with OreosOkay, so you can never go wrong when Oreos are part of the title. Am I right? Sarah is a 14 year old girl who is on the verge of starting high school Her "boyfriend" Curtis loves science like Sarah. Both have very unique personalities and Curtis is socially awkward even though he is a star athlete and many of the girls want to be his girlfriend. Sarah and Curtis spend so much time together doing science experiments that they just tell people that they are "boyfriend/girlfriend" so that they don't have to answer questions about their relationship. But the summer before school changes things and Curtis doesn't want to pretend anymore so they break up. Now Z comes into the picture. Z is Sarah's zany grandmother. It's going to be Z's 64th birthday and she wants to take Sarah on a pilgrimage to Rome with her. While in Rome, Sarah cannot stop thinking about her relationship with Curtis and is also puzzled over her grandmother's odd behavior. The trip will change Sarah's life in more ways than one. She uncovers longtime family secrets and discovers she may be ready to take on a new relationship with Curtis. While Sarah is a bit socially awkward, I really liked how she grew as a character during the novel. This book is part of the Dairy Queen young adult trilogy, which I had never read, but am now putting on my list. This is definitely a book for middle school girls as I think they can relate to the changes in relationships that Sarah is going through. I also thought I had the book figured out, but I was wrong as there is an important twist near the end. Don't forget to grab a package of Oreo's as you read the book, a favorite sweet of Z's and Sarah.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K by Greg Pincus

The 14 Fibs of Gergory KIt's not always easy being the middle child in a mathematically gifted family. Gregory K's family thinks anyone who doesn't love math is...well, crazy. Gregory would be fibbing if he said he loved math. His passion is for writing and he really wants to go to Author's Camp this summer with his best friend Kelly. However, Gregory is practically failing math and he needs to pass it if he has any chance of going to Author's Camp. Gregory lies to his parents about his love of math and enters a huge citywide math contest to try to please his parents and Mr. Davis, his math teacher. He also fibs to Kelly and tells her his parents have already said yes to going to camp. How is he going to accomplish all of this?

 Luckily Gregory has great friends and a math teacher that guides him along the way (even though Gregory never recognizes Mr. D's guidance). Mr. Davis has him journal about math; how he sees math, where he see math, questions about math. (This Mr. Davis knows his students!) When Mr. Davis has Gregory journal about the Fibonacci Sequence, a famous mathematical formula, Gregory has an "aha" moment and knows the topic of his math project. The Fibonacci Sequence inspires Gregory to write poetry based on the formula, which he entitles "Fibs." Will this new discovery be able to help Gregory pass math class, get his parents approval and enable him to go to Author's Camp?

Reading and writing are more my thing, but I did enjoy how the author, Greg Pincus weaved math into the story. This is another conflict going on in the story with Kelly but I won't disclose that little detail. However, I will tell you that you will want to eat pie or cookies at certain parts of this book. Kelly's mom is an incredible baker and at time your tummy rumbles for baked goods. I also like how Gregory's parents finally begin to really get to know Gregory (better late than never). It reminds us that sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the people we think we know well. It may give us extra insight to talents we may have been blind to before that extra look.

Blog Home

Subscribe to Blogger Book Club
by Email

Book Links

Current Reviews

Keep up with what's new
for kids with the
YS news blog:

News in Youth Services


Powered by Blogger