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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin

The Dog, RayTwelve year old Daisy dies in a car accident and goes directly to the Job Center where souls are put into bodies that need them.  Daisy takes a wrong turn on her way to the soul placement room and winds up in a dog's body.  However inside the dog's body, she still has all her memories of being a human girl.  Daisy is adopted by a family with a selfish boy who doesn't really take care of her.  She escapes that home and teams up with Jack, an elderly homeless man and Pip, a young homeless teen.  Pip instantly bonds with Daisy, who he now names Ray.  While the life isn't easy, finding food and shelter, Ray knows she is loved.  Pip was a foster care child whose mother died and he is out to find his father who doesn't know he exists.   This journey has them meet many people, some nice and some not, but ultimately it's a journey to find a home.

This is a short and easy to read book.  It is interesting as it is told through the perspective of a dog, who shows it's not always easy to be a dog.  The book is a story of death and reincarnation, but also of love, friendship and second chances.  It's worth the read. 


Monday, January 09, 2017

The Sleepover by Jen Malone

The SleepoverMeghan is excited to go to her friend, Anna Marie's sleepover.  Her parents are the overprotective type (her cell phone is a ladybug with only two phone numbers on it, 9-1-1 and home) and she has never made it the whole night anywhere without having to come home.  But she's planning on having an epic time with best friends Paige and Anna Marie, even though Anna Marie's quirky going-to-be stepsister, Veronica is going to join them.

Veronica has bought Anna Marie a hypnotist as a birthday gift.  The girls remember her visiting...and then they wake up the next morning.  The basement is a disaster, there are baby chicks in the bathtub, and oh yeah, Anna Marie is missing!  With the help of Anna Marie's bratty brother, Max and her next door neighbor, Jake (who Meghan has a HUGE crush on), the girls try to piece the night together and find their missing friend before her mom finds out.

I really liked the plot of this book.  It's the tween's version of The Hangover.  It's funny and mysterious all at the same time.  Such a fun read.  Brought back some good memories of sleepovers with my friends.  This will definitely be on my suggestion list the next time someone asks for a good read at the library!


Monday, January 02, 2017

Teddy & Co. by Cynthia Voigt

Teddy & Co.Teddy and his friends live together in a lost toy community.  Teddy is a bear who has no legs and spends his time in a wagon.  Umpah is an elephant who takes care of Teddy and loves to bake.  Sid the Snake loves to eat all the time and help takes Teddy places.  Two silly pigs, Prinny and Zia also live by Teddy in a bright pink house.  Peng is a penguin who likes to be alone most of the time.  Life is typically quiet unless Teddy is thinking (which he likes to do a lot).  Unexpectedly some other lost toys make their way into the community and stir things up.  How will Teddy and the gang deal with their new members?

If you like Winnie the Pooh or the Toys Go Out, this may be a book for you.  I would recommend this book for second or third grade independent readers.  Otherwise it would make a nice family read-aloud for younger children.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Frazzled by Booki Vivat

FrazzledFrazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom

This book is written by Booki. Booki wrote the book. That is the real name of the author. You might seriously consider reading this book because it is dedicated to you - middle schoolers or middle siblings. The complete title gives away the plot of the story. Abbie Wu is starting middle school and she is a middle child. She has the usual butterfly feeling about starting middle school. She can't figure out her own "thing". Her friends have found their own special thing and her brother excels at everything. Abbie's worries are constant and affect her daily. Her mother is not helpful. Her brother is empathetic but not very helpful. Her aunt tries to be helpful and gives guidance. It is Abbie who works things out for herself.

This is Booki's first book. I appreciate how an Asian girl can be the main character naturally without race or gender being an issue. A few unusual references in the book are seat belts on a school bus and a huge campus-style layout for middle school. Booki illustrated all her own doodles. I don't know how one person can do so many. She even started with the black drawings before the dedication page. These drawings are better than graphic novels in a way. Some are so big that they explode off the page. Wait until you see the variety of fonts and doodles. Thanks for the book, Booki!


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Not As We Know It by Tom Avery

Not As We Know ItDo you know the feeling when you have a special connection to some books? I had to read this book from the beginning to the very end to find hope. Like the two main characters in this book, my grandfather was a twin and his brother was very sick. Jamie and his twin, Ned, know that Ned is very sick. Jamie is so close to his brother that he stays home to be home schooled with Ned. Ned insists on having one last great adventure. Jamie wants to keep the adventure a secret for Ned's sake.

Ned has always been the bold one. However, they both didn't expect the adventure to include a creature that they found washed up on the shore. They simultaneously name the creature Leonard after Star Trek. The title is from a quote from Star Trek. There are many references to Star Trek, including the dedication. You will see how everyone copes and reacts differently. You will also notice that it is the grandfather who provides special times, stories and wisdom.

Go boldly.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella (Tyme #2) by Megan Morrison

DisenchantedCan I just say that I am a Megan Morrison fan!  I read her fractured fairy tale version of Rapunzel last year and was waiting for her next book to come out.  Imagine my thrill when I saw it land on our newly arrived shelf.  Disenchanted is fabulous! I'm going to tell you just a few reasons why I liked it. I don't want to spoil it for you!
  • Meet Ella.  She is passionate, smart, determined, angers easily but has a big heart.
  • Great family.  Even though she has a stepmother, she's not the evil kind that we are used to in fairy tales.  Plus her step siblings (a boy and girl in this Cinderella version) are way cool.
  • Fairy godfathers!
  • A handsome prince with a loving mother.  While he has LOTS of money, he is not conceited and spoiled (unlike some of the other characters).
  • Focuses on the different socioeconomic classes and questions what is right and fair.
  • Deals with bullying.
  • Boarding school setting.
  • Story is told from three points of view (really liked this part).
  • Great courtroom drama!
  • A visit from Rapunzel
  • Just a great world.  The end leaves you guessing on the topic and heroine for Tyme #3!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Ballad of a Broken Nose by Arne Svingen

Ballad of a Broken NoseA heart-breaking and a nose-breaking fiction from Norway

Arne Svingen has received many awards for his writing which entails all age groups including adults. However, this is the first time that his work has been translated into English. Perhaps you might detect a nice "flow" and a different "rhythm". When you come across the Norwegian currency, kroner, just pretend that you pronounce it "crew' nah".

Bart is going to be thirteen. To start things off, he was named after Bart Simpson so that he would be a funny wise guy that could get by in life. Bart needs all the help he can. He does not know who his father is; neither does his mother. They live in a slum apartment complex among drug users. His mother has her own problems of alcohol, weight, poverty, etc. The only other person in his life is one grandmother who doesn't want to interfere. Bart takes boxing lessons to prevent bullying, but he can't hit. His only way to cope is to sing opera in the shower. He surprises himself and gets stuck signing up for the year-end talent show. He didn't want to - a girl that can't keep a secret is so amazed with his singing that she makes him sign up. The teacher hears the CD and cries because it is so beautiful. The problem is that he can't sing in front of anyone - let alone an audience. This book includes references to current times such as Beyonce and smart phones. Yes, this book was published just a few months ago. This is a humorous book believe it not and try not to dwell on a few words that many consider inappropriate.
This book is very substantial because it includes topics of weight discrimination, bullying, hiding talents, coping, keeping and hiding secrets and more. You will find much to reflect on in this book:
"It's a bit like my life has its own soundtrack. It's a pretty boring movie, with overdramatic music".
"Conversations like that are a bit like skating. Suddenly you veer off to the side and fall flat on your face.
"Whatever, I do like to let my thoughts go wandering before the day takes over".
"You regret telling something you didn't want anyone to know". 

This child goes through a lot and never, ever loses control or complains. Is that typical Norwegian or is Bart just a wonderful guy?


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