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Friday, April 10, 2015

Searching for Super by Marion Jensen

Searching for SuperRafter Bailey and his brother Benny have been "hunkering down" in Split Rock.  What is "hunkering down" you ask?  Well it means to hide out, lie low under the radar, etc.  Why are the boys doing that you say?  Well it's because all of their super powers were taken away a few months ago by the supervillainous Joneses.  You see, the boys are super heroes as is their friend Juanita Johnson.  But the kids are getting tired of hiding and want to find their super powers.  Cousin Thimon comes to live with the boys and starts training them to become super, but they have to keep it secret from their parents.  Finally the boys have to include their family and the Johnsons' in their plan to get their powers back when they uncover the whereabouts of the Joneses. 

This is the follow up book for Almost Super, so if you haven't read that one, I'd start with it.  The series is one of those that is filled with positive messages for kids.  I enjoyed how the characters managed their friendships and how important their families were in their lives.  The story also had a great message on how true heroism is working together as a team.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins

Nuts to YouOne minute Jed is on the forest floor, the next he is soaring above the forest in the claws of a hawk.  Jed uses an ancient squirrel defensive martial art move of Hai Tchree to completely relax his body and slip from the hawk's talons.  Somehow TsTs sees Jed falling from the sky into a faraway area of the forest.  TsTs and Chai, Jed's two best friends, set off to find him and bring him back home.   Along the way, they find that the forest is filled with different neighborhoods and is also in danger.  Humans are clearing trees that are near power lines, thereby destroying their homes.  The two friends find Jed but now have to make their way back home and convince their friends and family that danger is coming to their section of the forest.  Will the others listen to them?

The book has a great theme of friendship, adventure, acceptance of others, and an environmental message as well.  The illustrations add to the story.  The names of the squirrels can be difficult to pronounce at times.  There is also a dialect from another community of squirrels that can be hard to interpret, but it helps if you say these parts out loud.  However, it is a humorous read that made me cheer for the squirrels' success!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rain ReignRose is a fifth grader who adapts with autism. She lives with her father who has a hard time on his own behalf. His heavy drinking doesn't help. However, one day he brings home a dog for Rose to comfort her. When the dog gets lost in a severe storm, Rose can't control herself and keeps on asking her father why he would let the dog out during a storm. Rose likes order: prime numbers, homonyms, and especially following rules. The storm dramatically upsets her routine. It is her obsessive determination that helps her devise a plan of action to find the dog.

I shall not refer to all the other outstanding books by Ann M. Martin. This book stands alone as a stellar example of an emotionally intense fiction. You can actually imagine what the dog, the classmates and Rose are feeling. Wow, did I see some great homonyms. There are even triple homonyms. I was impressed by everything in this first-person narrative.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sidney & Sydney: Big Dog Decisions by Michele Jakubowski

Sydney & Sydney: Big Dog DecisionsSidney and Sydney are back in book 3 of this series.  Sidney is a third grade boy who happens to be in the same class as third grade girl Sydney.  The two have become unlucky friends, as Sidney is into sports and Sydney is into fashion.   However their love of a favorite video game, Galaxy Conquest, ignites a friendship.  In this installment of the series, both kids want a dog of their own and try to convince their parents that they are responsible enough for one.  Of course their parents say no.  So what happens when kids are told no?  They come up with a plan to show their parents how wrong they are!  Sydney brainstorms the idea of starting a dog walking business with Sidney, Gomez and Harley (their other good friends) to show their parents how they can handle the responsibility of a dog.  At first, the business is slow, but suddenly it takes off.  The kids love walking the dogs, until they realize dogs need to be walk every day, regardless of the weather.  Plus their schedules are becoming increasingly busy with basketball, soccer, and play practice.   They need to make a decision as to what are their priorities.  Will they be able to make the right choice?

This is a great series that shows that boys and girls can be friends (girls do play video games).  The colored illustrations in the book add so much to the story.  Each book starts with a brief overview of the characters so that you don't have to read the series in order (although it is fun to do so).  The end of the book gives more insight into each of the main characters.  This time there are questions that each of the characters answers on the topic of pets.  


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

All Hail the Queen by Erica David Memory and Magic by Erica David

All Hail the QueenAll Hail the Queen is the first book in the series inspired by Frozen. Disney's Anna & Elsa series is subtitled Sisterhood Is the Strongest Magic. The gates of the castle are opened. Sometimes even a queen needs a day off from everything.  It is the sisters' bond that is so special. The illustrator, Bill Robinson, makes the book sparkle. Even the page numbers are hidden in snowflakes. This helps the reader concentrate on the story - not how much that they have left to read.

Did you notice that Anna comes before Elsa? That helps symbolize the equal bond that the sisters share. You will definitely have Olaf, Sven and Kristoff in this series. The second book in this series is Memory and Magic. Anna believes that memories are the most important things. I know that these books are too easy for most readers, but girls ages six to nine should know about these books. These certainly would be good for read-alouds. Wouldn't these be good for older sisters to read to younger sisters? Wouldn't these be good for cousins who don't have sisters but almost feel like sisters? I just wanted you to know that these new books are available at Roselle Library and that the publisher has promised five books for this series.. Enjoy the magic of Anna and Elsa.


Monday, March 09, 2015

Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler

Revenge of the Flower GirlsSo what do you do if your sister is going to marry a guy that looks like an armadillo?  You sabotage the wedding of course!  The three Brewster triplets, Dawn, Darby and Delaney concoct a plan to put a stop to their sister Lily from marrying the wrong man.  The triplets love their sister and they think Burton is all wrong for her because he doesn't make Lily laugh and smile like Alex, her former boyfriend did.  So the three stop at nothing to delay Lily's big day and try to get Alex and Lily back together. Mom, Dad and even Aunt Jane eventually get dragged into the plan to stop Lily from making the biggest mistake in her life.  Will she go through with the wedding?

Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the triplets, which can get confusing sometimes because they can be so similar.  It is evident that the family is a very strong and loving one, who only want the best for each other.  The triplets have an infatuation with former United States Presidents and how the government works, which is intertwined within the story. 

I really enjoyed the story and didn't want to stop reading it until I reached the end.  It was a funny and entertaining read.  One that I might just recommend to you the next time we meet!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

CrossoverThis book is sooooooo unique. This story in verse is told by one of the twins. The brothers play basketball. They are so good that they assume that they will go pro just like their father. Their mother is also famous - their very own assistant principal at their middle school. They take equal effort for school and basketball and excel at both. The dynamics of the family change when a new girl comes to town and takes up all his brother's time. At the same time, the twins have to go through the neglected and declining health of the father.

This book is beyond unique. You can actually feel the rhythm of the story. You can actually feel the emotional punch of all characters. You might connect with the sibling situation. I would not have noticed this book if it weren't for the fact that it just won The Newbery Award for the best fiction book for children in the United States! There is so much to this book. You will be proud to be caught carrying around this awesome book. From the cover to the very end - this is a slam dunk. You might even go into overtime with this realistic fiction.


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