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Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Review: The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit

The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit
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The Book of Dragons
by E. Nesbit
Looking Glass Library

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-86427-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-86427-8
Publication Date: January, 2010
List Price: $12.99

Review: The Book of Dragons is a classic tale of a dragon or a beast who is trying to overcome the city, or people. The Book of Dragons was written by Edith Nesbit and the drawings in this book are the original drawings by H.R. Miller. The eight stories in this book all had their own plot, with complicated characters all different from one another. This book is the only one in the series.

The Book of Dragons is about a naive boy who becomes a king and a very naughty king as well, an interesting book that is like a popup book. It is also about an Uncle named James who is a sorcerer and a very naughty dragon. A naughty ice dragon that has been frozen since the beginning of time and will soon thaw. An island guarded by a naughty dragon, with the only escape route being cunning and wit. And overall this tale is about dragons, evil Uncles, and so much more.

I liked this book because it was exciting and easy to follow. The only disappointment was in the lack of climaxes in some of the stories. This caused some of the stories to be not as exciting as the others. A few stories kept building and building and there was no climax. Other than that all the other stories were fine. Overall, Book of Dragons deserves a 4 out of 5. The book of dragons has encouraged me to consider reading some other books written by the same author. This is a great book that can be read by all the ages. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys classic tales of princesses and knights, castles and dragons, and most of all bravery.

Review written by Gabrielle (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Book of Dragons for this review.

Have you read The Book of Dragons? How would you rate it?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Review: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry
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Thyme in a Flask
by Glen Quarry
Non-series

Eloquent Books
ISBN-10: 1-60860-707-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-60860-707-5
Publication Date: September, 2009
List Price: $29.95

Review: Do you like wizardry and magic, love and surprises? If you do keep reading because Thyme In A Flask is a title you’ll need to know! Thyme In A Flask was great book written by Glen Quarry. Unfortunately the sequel is still being worked on in Iowa. The main character is a boy aged 17 named John Chandler, a young blacksmith who has to leave the smithy to destroy a flask of woven thyme. Be sure to look for Thyme In A Flask if you’re looking for a good book.

Thyme In A Flask begins with John working with his grandpa Julian in the smithy Julian owns. Julian decides to give John a break and goes and talks to Othan, a cranky wizard that chooses to live in a shack, about the war with the witch’s army. That’s when Othan is told that John is Gabriel’s son. Only the son of Gabriel can destroy the flask! So Othan can finally destroy the flask! So now Othan finally has found someone who can destroy the flask! Othan knows they must destroy the flask, because if it falls into the wrong hands… the world would surely turn to ruin. Gabriel is Othan’s friend who was caught and captured trying to grab the flask and destroy it. So John must find and destroy the Flask with the help of Dorthea, his “sister”, and Samuel, his best giant buddy. They meet evil wizards and demons who test their strength, mentally and physically. They must journey into the parallel world and leave Samuel behind. Unfortunately, the demons are powerful, almost too powerful for John and his newly discovered wizard powers. Fortunately John is too clever for them and escapes death.

I liked this book and can’t wait for the sequel. But I think it could use a few suggestions. I think they need to change the point of view at more appropriate times. The point of view changes it nearly every paragraph and it’s a little confusing. Instead, the author should change it every chapter, not every paragraph. But nothing’s perfect. No big deal. This book is very original and exciting to read. The ending will blow your mind away entirely. If you have the choice of Thyme In A Flask or a different book, no matter what kind it is, the choice is Thyme In A Flask, don’t think, just pick up Thyme In A Flask. End of story. John is finely balanced and has the endurance of a soft rock. Dorthea is sweet but very feisty. Feisty so much that it made her one of my favorite characters. Samuel is a gentle giant with much more courage and power than he gives himself credit for. Othan is grumpy and mean but he does have a soft spot. A soft spot like a tar pit, once you’re in, you never get out. He is very interesting and fun to read about. I give Glen Quarry my applause and his book, Thyme In A Flask, 4 out of 5 stars.

Review written by Amanda (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Strategic Book Group for providing a copy of Thyme in a Flask for this review.

Have you read Thyme in a Flask? How would you rate it?

Book Review: After by Kristin Harmel

After by Kristin Harmel
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After
by Kristin Harmel
Non-series

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-385-73476-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-73476-9
Publication Date: February, 2010
List Price: $16.99

Review: After Lacey’s dad dies in a car accident, Lacey feels horrible. If only she hadn’t wasted her time going out for breakfast that fateful morning! After by Kristen Harmel, is a book about a teen’s life after her father’s death dealing with an alcoholic brother, another brother that has closed himself off from the world, and a mysterious new boy in town. Lacey’s life changed a lot after her dad died. And, now, it’s about to change a lot more!

Lacey Mann has been through a big mess after a fatal accident that kills her father. Her brother Logan is turning into an alcoholic, her little brother Tanner has shut himself from the world, and her so called best friend Jennica is turning away from her. Then a new boy, Sam, moves into town. He and Lacey become friends fast after Lacey learns that he too lost his father and is also going through a difficult time. To make her and others who have also lost their parents feel better, Lacey starts a support group for them to hang out, to talk about their parents and help each other deal with their lost parents. But just after things start getting better, Sam reveals something that makes Lacey feel betrayed and mad. She pulls away from Sam and goes back into her funk. Now not only has she lost her dad, but also a close friend. What is it about Sam that hurts Lacey so badly? Does she forgive Sam in the end? Can she move on with her life eventually?

After is an extremely touching and heart-breaking book. Kristen Harmel touches the reader’s heart when they read her book. The book has so many sad parts that make you feel the pain that the character feels. This well-written book from the view of a girl who has lost her dad will make readers in a similar situation understand that when these things happen, just as Lacey learns, that you are not alone. It also helps people who have never experienced the loss of a loved one see how people like Lacey feel and make them appreciate their life more. After reading the book, I feel incredibly lucky to have both of my parents. The book also gives very vivid descriptions such as, “Sam had painted a sunny sky with only a few wisps of clouds. But in the middle of it, so faint that you had to squint to see it, there was the lightest wash of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, all in an arching ribbon of translucent color.” On a scale of one to five stars, I’d give the book six stars! The book truly deserves it. I will treasure this book forever and I know once you read it, you will too.

Review written by Sarah (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of After for this review.

Have you read After? How would you rate it?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: Twilight Land by Howard Pyle

Twilight Land by Howard Pyle
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Twilight Land
by Howard Pyle
Looking Glass Library

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-86337-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-86337-0
Publication Date: January, 2010
List Price: $12.99

Review: Magical lands, stories, and famous storytellers, all these things appear in Twilight Land. Twilight Land is a great book for people who like fantasies and stories. Howard Pyle, the author, did a very good job writing this book. It includes 16 magical stories and many famous storytellers and characters we all know. The stories are funny, scary, and happy. But can you handle them?

Sixteen famous storytellers crowd in at The Inn of the Sign of Mother Goose. This inn is in Twilight Land, a magical and wonderful land where everything is perfect. All the storytellers go around and each tell a story of their own. But all the stories are somehow linked together. They either have the same type of story, the same kind of character, or something else that links the stories together. Everybody has a good time at the inn. They laugh, eat, drink, and tell stories. But something strange happens at the end. Read it to find out.

Twilight Land is a fantastic book. There are so many good stories to read. The best part is that all the stories are linked together in a way. Also, I learned a lesson from each story. Howard Pyle does a good job of making everything go together. For example, he doesn’t have just a lot of random stories with no explanation. So people who read the book know why there are those great stories in the book. Also, I like how he made you think that you were right there in the book. Howard Pyle used great details to do that. For example, in the story The Talisman of Solomon, he wrote “Within was a narrow room as red as blood.” I could really picture the room like I was looking right at it. That is very important in a book. All the characters in the book are well thought out and in the right places, especially the storytellers. Without them it wouldn’t be a story. Howard Pyle did a wonderful job writing Twilight Land. I can’t wait to read another one of his books.

Review written by Jennifer (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Twilight Land for this review.

Have you read Twilight Land? How would you rate it?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: Summer & Shiner by Dr. Nolan Carlson

Summer & Shiner by Dr. Nolan Carlson
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Summer & Shiner
by Dr. Nolan Carlson
Shiner Series

Vintage Publishing
ISBN-10: 0-9819896-2-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-9819896-2-4
Publication Date: September, 2009
List Price: $7.99

Review: The book I read was Summer and Shiner by Nolan Carlson. It is the first book in the series. Imagine being a young boy with a Native American friend who is very athletic and outdoorsy. You are in a group called the mustangs. There is also a rival group named the spiders. They have a tough juvenile delinquent named Mick Fuller. Both groups have many adventures which include climbing a mountain at night, swimming in Luke Webster’s lake, dealing with gypsies and much more. Will they live out the summer? Read the book to find out.

I loved the way that the author used many descriptive sentences and painted a picture in your brain. For example at the beginning of the story right off the bat they were using colors and adjectives to paint a beautiful picture in my head. Also, the author made the adventures realistic but daring. An example would be that they weren’t going to fly to the top of the mountain they were going to climb it. When you are reading the book you never want to put it down, especially during the flood part. Regardless you always wanted to keep reading. One thing that was on the down side of the book was that it had some sad parts in it. These parts kept you keep reading because you wanted to know that everything would turn out alright. In addition to that sometimes you can get lost or confused. This happens because it is adventure after adventure after adventure. Also sometimes it leaves you hanging mid adventure.

In this story you really get attached to a raccoon named Shiner. He is a fun loving raccoon who is found in the forest area he causes a lot of drama but at the end of the day you have to love him.

I strongly would recommend this book for anyone who likes a good adventure, with some parts that are sad, and anyone who likes descriptive books. This book got 11 out of 10 in my opinion.

Review written by Connor (7th grade student).

We would like to thank Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of Summer & Shiner for this review.

Have you read Summer & Shiner? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IBBY Announces Short-List for the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. In a press release yesterday, IBBY announced the short-list for the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award, considered the most prestigious in international children’s literature, which is given biennially to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children's literature.

The five short-listed authors are:

• Ahmad Reza Ahmadi (Iran), whose fascinating short stories speak poetically about humanity, love, nature and peace for children and young adults;
• David Almond (United Kingdom), whose works are deeply philosophical novels that appeal to children and adults alike, and encourage readers by his use of magic realism;
• Bartolomeu Campos de Queiros (Brazil), an author of poetic prose and playful poetry is highly admired for his commitment to beauty and art;
• Lennart Hellsing (Sweden), an outstanding poet, who shares the pleasure of language through his mastery of rhythm, word games and invented words;
• Louis Jensen (Denmark), a powerful storyteller and entertainer who combines magic and reality.

The five short-listed illustrators are:

• Jutta Bauer (Germany), who creates a harmony between the verbal and visual language, using a philosophical approach in her originality and creativity;
• Carll Cneut (Belgium), whose amazing works powerfully narrate stories in his highly recognizable visual language;
• Etienne Delessert (Switzerland), a pioneer of modern picture books, whose impact on many great illustrators around the world can be recognized. His blending of magic and realism, grotesque and close-ups, has created a distinctive style;
• Svjetlan Junakovic (Croatia), who presents beautiful compositions that are expressive and emotional, while at the same time playful, imaginative and evocative;
• Roger Mello (Brazil), whose world is a rich spectrum of techniques, imagination, colour and inspiration that is considered innovative, fascinating and intriguing.

A full list of candidates can be found at IBBY.org. The winners will be announced at the Bologna Children's Book Fair next week on Tuesday, 23 March 2010.

Book Review: Dream Life by Lauren Mechling

Dream Life by Lauren Mechling
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Dream Life
by Lauren Mechling
Dream Series

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-385-73523-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-73523-0
Publication Date: January, 2010
List Price: $21.99

Review: When Claire Voyante receives a special onyx and ivory cameo necklace from her grandmother Kiki, she receives the physic powers that go along with the amulet. Every time Claire her dreams are practically predicting what will happen. This fiction and suspense book titled Dream Life is written by Lauren Mechling (a fantastic author, I must say) and is the sequel to Dream Girl.

When Claire gets the special onyx and cameo her dreams start to predict what will happen. In one dream, she is onstage at Radio City Music Hall. The lights are blinding and all Claire can see are the other showgirls, though she isn’t sure if they are actually girls. The chorus line consists of leggy number ones, their limbs moving in a perfect synchronization. It is a mathematician’s perfect fantasy. All of her dreams lead to something that happens in her life. In the prequel of the book, thanks to her dreams, she is able to save her best friend Becca’s life. Her dreams also lead her to the Blue Moons group led by her best friend Becca. When she enters the Blue Moon group she learns that there is an iPod that has been stolen and the Blue Moons need it back, fast. Can Claire and the Blue Moons recover the IPod or will it and all of the data on it disappear forever? Or, will the person who stole the IPod actually be after Claire Voyante? Well, I can’t tell you. If you want to find out what happens next, go read the book!

I think that Dream Life is an extraordinary book to read. It made me feel as if I was Claire dreaming what she is dreaming and feeling what she is feeling. Also, the author describes the settings in the book very well. It made me feel as if I too were in the Blue Moons clubhouse. I also liked how the dreams were written in a different text. The text helped me know where her next dream/prophecy was going to happen and when it was going to happen. Also when she joined the Blue Moons, I liked how it gave a description and nickname for each “Moon”. I think that this book isn’t appropriate for all ages because it does involve quite a bit of kissing scenes. But, I think this book is appropriate for ages eight and up. This book is a great book and I would like to encourage people to read it. It is a fun fiction book with some mystery and suspense weaved into it. In case you were wondering though, you don’t have to read Dream Girl to read Dream Life. Just read the summary of the book on the inside cover and it will give you some knowledge on what happened in the previous book. Out of ten stars I give it nine because it did confuse me a bit and some of the material in the book is not appropriate for all ages. I do think that everybody should have a chance to read this book because it is just that good.

Review written by Sheila (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Dream Life for this review.

Have you read Dream Life? How would you rate it?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love by Pat Mora

Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love by Pat Mora
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Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love
by Pat Mora
Non-series

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0375-84375--2
ISBN-13: 978-0375-84375-4
Publication Date: January, 2010
List Price: $15.99

Review: From love to make ups and break ups, Pat Mora has included every thing that a kid could feel when they are in love. Dizzy in Your Eyes is a book of poems that are all about the feelings a teenager could possibly have while in love or healing a broken heart.

Dizzy in Your Eyes is a book of poems about love. Some are pretty confusing but the others are simply classic and loving. My favorite poem is called "Mirrors". It is about beauty. Her grandma tells her she is beautiful, but she doesn’t see it. Pat mixes humor and feelings into one book. A funny poem is called "To-Do List". It states humorous things he will do over the weekend without the worry of people laughing. Some of the poems are in Spanish or half in Spanish. One of the few confusing poems is called "First Time". It says:

whizz! You jumped and squeezed my arm,
your eyes squinched,
     tense with fear
when the loud bark sank its teeth
     into your neck
as the pickup whizzed by.

We stood there not speaking,
     Grateful
in the autumn wind
that we were safe,
     together.
Maybe the driver thought we were wimps
     as he sped by, laughing, mouth open.
Two teens scared of a bark.
     I didn’t move
your hand warmed mine
     for the first time.


From break ups to make ups this book has it all!

Honestly, I loved this book. It really related to me. It made me really think about my life and some of it even made me think of my life and how amazing it is through the thick and thin. Due to the vocabulary I would say this book is for ages 11 and up. This book was a little confusing because of the wording and the fact that some of it is in Spanish. I give this book a four out of five star review. Dizzy in Your Eyes has almost everything a teen could feel.

Review written by Sara (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love for this review.

Have you read Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love? How would you rate it?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
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Cleopatra's Daughter
by Michelle Moran
Non-series

Crown
ISBN-10: 0-3074-0912-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-3074-0912-6
Publication Date: September, 2009
List Price: $25.00

Review: Romance, tragedy, and love, these are all words that describe Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran. Selene starts the story at 12 years old, but gets older as the story goes on. Her life is filled with heartbreak, and love. How will she get through? This story starts in Egypt, but is mainly in Rome.

When Egypt is taken over by the Roman Empire, Selene’s mother- Cleopatra is forced to commit suicide. Her father is too. Ceaser has no mercy; he goes on to murder the rest of her family except for her two brothers. They are then set off on a ship to Rome where they will be raised. One problem arises while they are on the ship; Ptolemy (Selene’s younger brother) gets sick and dies. Selene and her brother Alexander are devastated, and they wonder, what will happen to them? While on the ship Selene meets Marcellus, Selene thinks she is in love with him. He is handsome, funny, and kind. Naturally when she finds out that he is engaged to the beautiful Julia, there is going to be some drama. Julia hates the idea of him complementing, flirting and spending time with Selene, but Selene loves him… At age 15 she is to be married off to someone, will it be an old man, a young man, or someone of great power? Thinking that Alexander is going to be married with her, what will she do when tragedy strikes again?

I found Cleopatra’s Daughter to be a very interesting book. Moran did a very good job of painting a picture in your mind. It was like you could see the whole story happening right there in front of you. I felt like I was being transported to ancient Egypt! The whole thing was believable, and Selene was easy to relate to. Like when Selene gets jealous of Julia for being Marcellus’s fiancĂ©. At no point was this story unbelievable. While this was a good book it wasn’t perfect. Something that I found to be frustrating was that not all words that were italicized (that were Egyptian or Roman) were in the glossary. So at times this made it hard to follow. Another thing I liked about the book was the beginning. It dove into action, which made it interesting. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone under 6th grade due to some higher-level material.

Review written by Kayley (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Nancy Berland Public Relations, Inc. for providing a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter for this review.

Have you read Cleopatra's Daughter? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: Bushfire Rescue by Justin D'Ath

Bushfire Rescue by Justin D'Ath
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Bushfire Rescue
by Justin D'Ath
Extreme Adventures

Kane Miller
ISBN-10: 1-935279-33-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-935279-33-4
Publication Date: March, 2010
List Price: $5.99

Review: Do you like action, adventure, or a combination of the two? Then Bushfire Rescue is the new book for you. In this thrilling second part of the Extreme Adventures series, main character Sam Fox has to stop cattle rustlers, or cattle/cow thieves, from stealing his grand pappy’s prized bull. Justin D’Ath has made these books a 10- part series so far, with more to come. Some of the other children’s books Justin has written are Pool, The Quentaris Chronicles: The Skyflower, and Shaedow Master. All of these books show the fun – and danger—in life.

Sam Fox had gone on vacation to his grandparent’s house in the country. As the story starts, we find Sam getting himself into a lot of trouble… throughout this book, actually, we find Sam in many desperate situations. First, we find him caught in the middle of a cattle snatching. Then Sam tries to go after them, and finds himself, and his little Palomino pony Susie, stuck right in the center of a rockslide (known as an avalanche in the story) and has the worst trouble getting out. Then, later, Sam Fox finds himself helplessly lost in the middle of the mountains, while surrounded by the worst bushfire he could imagine. And he’s stuck with a crazy old rodeo bull named Chainsaw (makes him sound crazy, too, doesn’t it?) to assist him. Sam has a lot on his mind, so I doubt he’ll be able to relax, don’t you think?

Bushfire Rescue is a delightfully fun and thrilling book. Boys will enjoy the action, and most girls would enjoy the humor that intermingles in with the action. This is an easier book, probably meant for about 3rd-5th graders. Out of five stars, I give it 4 ½ stars because some parts the way the story was written could change, because the author didn’t place conventions appropriately. That had made me misinterpret what Justin tried to say, and confuse me later on. Overlooking that error, I find that these books are hard to put down. I am reading the whole series now and I hope there are more to follow.

Review written by Willow (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Kane Miller for providing a copy of Bushfire Rescue for this review.

Have you read Bushfire Rescue? How would you rate it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis

The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis
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The Viper's Nest
by Peter Lerangis
The 39 Clues

Scholastic
ISBN-10: 0-545-06047-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-545-06047-9
Publication Date: February, 2010
List Price: $12.99

Review: The hunt for the 39 clues has taken two kids (brother and sister) on a ride for their lifetime in the 7th book in the 39 Clues series titled The Viper’s Nest written by Peter Lerangis. 14 year old Amy and her brother Dan age of 11 have just seen a woman die, their wanted by the Indonesian police, and their trapped on an island with a guy named Alistair Oh who know TOO much about Dan and Amy’s parents death! And to make matters worse a tropical storm is rolling in! Just when they think everything is going to be ok, it gets… EVEN WORSE! Now Dan and Amy have to sneak into a Tomas stronghold (HQ), and try and get the clue that Winston Churchill left alone that NO Cahill has ever found! But even after all that, there is still one more thing that Amy and Dan have to discover, the rattling truth about their family branch! All this is written by Peter Lerangis, one of the many authors, contributing their time, and writing the books of the crazy wild-goose chase of the “39 Clues”!!!

This is the best 39 Clues books I’ve read so far because of 2 things: the suspense and action! No other book or even series have I read contains so much action! For example, when Amy, Dan and Alistair wake up coughing in the burning house on the remote island in Jakarta. My favorite part in the book though is when Dan gets burnt badly by the acid while trying to flee the Kabras! The character setup in this book was phenomenal! Just like all the others in the series, it is just as amusing and intense! Plus, this book was taken place in Africa which was very cool. This book is 7th in the series, and there are 10, so I’m so close to finishing the series! I rate this book a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst, 10 being the best! Not many people know the 8th books, name, but I do, but you will have to wait and find out for yourself!!!

Review written by Karan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Scholastic for providing a copy of The Viper's Nest for this review.

Have you read The Viper's Nest? How would you rate it?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Review: Leprechauns and Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Leprechauns and Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
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Leprechauns and Irish Folklore
by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
Magic Tree House

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-86009-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-86009-6
Publication Date: January, 2010
List Price: $4.99

Review: Have you ever been to Ireland? Do you think you would like to? If so, you should read Leprechauns and Irish Folklore. It's a research guide that goes with the book Leprechauns in Late Winter, which is #43 in the Magic Tree House series with Jack and Annie. It's by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce.

Leprechauns and Irish Folklore is about Ireland. Since it's a companion to a fiction book, it has to do with the subject of the other book-Irish folklore! This compelling book teaches you about Ireland's culture and legends. Some individual subjects in this book are leprechauns, the Shee, and Lady Augusta Gregory, who was one of the main characters in Leprechauns in Late Winter. Some other topics are banshees, Douglas Hyde, and merrows. First, according to Irish legend, leprechauns are 'solitary fairies'. Leprechauns wear pointed hats and shiny shoes, with tiny glasses. Some say leprechauns collect money in pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Next, the Shee don't trust humans, and so are invisible to them. They live in kingdoms in hills, caves, or even rivers! The Shee are called trooping fairies. Finally, Lady Augusta Gregory was a snobby girl of about 11 or 12. She came from a rich family, and she had fifteen brothers and sisters. Wow! When she got older, she wrote books about Irish tales just like her friend Douglas Hyde, who was the first president of Ireland.

To sum it up, I thought Leprechauns and Irish Folklore was very informative as far as the Ireland theme. I liked how it gave you background information on all of these subjects, and even more! I also was wondering who was a real person or not, like Lady Gregory or Mary Sheridan, and this cleared up any doubts or confusion that I had about the book. This book was very helpful, and was a good accompanying book to Leprechauns in Late Winter. If you're older and doing research on Ireland, this would be a useful book for you. In addition, if you're a kid from about six to nine years, this would be a very educational and instructive book. Also, you can get a better understanding of the Shee than the regular book tells you, and there are other fairies you never heard of and wouldn't have ever heard of like merrows which are mermaids, banshees, and pookas, who are huge horses that live on top of cliffs. You should definitely read this after reading Leprechauns in Late Winter, which is a first-class, awesome book! All in all, I give this book 5 stars.

Review written by Emily (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Leprechauns and Irish Folklore for this review.

Have you read Leprechauns and Irish Folklore? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Book Review: Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne

Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne
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Leprechaun in Late Winter
by Mary Pope Osborne
Magic Tree House

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-85650-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85650-1
Publication Date: January, 2010
List Price: $12.99

Review: Have you ever heard about leprechauns? Ever read a book about them? If you would like to read a great book about leprechauns, read Leprechauns in Late Winter. It’s #43 in the Magic Tree House series starring Jack (about age 10) and Annie (about age 8) by Mary Pope Osborne.This fascinating book takes Jack and Annie to a beautiful place- Ireland! In this book, the kids are instructed by two young sorcerers named Teddy and Kathleen, and this time, their mission is to find a girl named Augusta who lives in Galway, Ireland, and Jack and Annie must inspire her so she can ‘give her gifts to the world’. Teddy and Kathleen give them a magic flute. Next, they find a book about Ireland and point to a picture of Galway and say, “I wish we could go there!” Then they are transported to Ireland while the tree-house spins and swirls around them. As their clothes also change, Jack and Annie look like simple street kids. When they reach her house, they meet Augusta, and after a short time in the parlor with Augusta’s rude sisters her mother comes in. Augusta walks to the lane with them and decides to bring them to Mary Sheridan so ‘Mary can tell them I’m a good person’. After Augusta brings them in, Mary tells them a tale about the Shee. Afterward, Mary tells Jack and Annie that they are special kids and Augusta runs away, crying because she says Mary likes them better than her. Jack and Annie go to her and explain that they will call the Shee with their magic flute. As they start to perform, Annie plays the flute and Jack sings, and out of the blue they hear a loud noise-it's the Shee! As Jack sings the last stanza, "In a swirl they leave, so wild, so free, with a lonely girl, to the hill of the Shee!", Annie realizes Augusta is gone! Now the children must find Augusta with the help of a leprechaun named Willy, who in exchange for bringing them to the Shee's secret hollow, will be taught to play the magic flute. If you want to know the rest, read the book!

Leprechauns in Late Winter is a really good children's book. When I was little, the Magic Tree House books were some of my favorites-and this one isn't any different. I liked how the author put surprises practically on every page, like Jack finding the letters in his notebook when him and Annie were summoned to the tree house, and like Augusta thinking she was better than poor people, because I thought she was going to be really nice and not high and mighty like she was at all, and Augusta being taken by the Shee, which I was really anxious to know what would happen next (I read that part really quickly!), and Willy appearing and attempting to play the magic flute and leading Jack and Annie to the Shee's secret hollow and-OOPS! Sorry, I can't tell you what happened next. One part I didn't like was how Augusta and her sisters were acting so superior. It made me feel bad for Jack and Annie that they had to deal with her, and I didn't like how Augusta was so prosperous and conceited. One other thing I didn't like was how Willy the leprechaun wasn't there until practically the very end, because I thought the whole book would revolve around a leprechaun, but it was revolving more around the Shee than Willy. One thing I really liked was that the book was kind of educational by helping you learn about Ireland, because it told you about all the fairies and where they lived and stuff like that, and so I liked how it taught you about the culture and folklore in Ireland. What's more, I liked how this book educated you on the famous people who lived in Ireland like Mary Sheridan and Lady Augusta Gregory. On a scale of one star to five stars, I would totally, definitely, without a doubt give this book 5 stars!

Review written by Emily (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Leprechaun in Late Winter for this review.

Have you read Leprechaun in Late Winter? How would you rate it?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: Elspeth by Kate O'Hearn

Elspeth by Kate O'Hearn
Buy Elspeth by Kate O'Hearn

Elspeth
by Kate O'Hearn
Shadow of the Dragon

Kane Miller
ISBN-10: 1-935279-18-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-935279-18-1
Publication Date: March, 2010
List Price: $16.99

Review: Who doesn’t love an action packed book with adventure, humor, time-traveling, battles and dragons?! The book, Shadow of the Dragon: Book Two Elspeth by Kate O’Hearn (the second in the series) has everything! With a book like this and an exciting main character Kira and her group of friends (the dragons riders) you’ll never be able to put it down!

Our story begins with a group of dragon riders (people that ride dragons –hence the name) Kira, Elspeth , Kahrin, Dane, Shanks and a fox named Onnie that escaped the perilous hands of the evil Lord Dorcon in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy. “One day, a young girl astride a twin-tailed dragon will destroy monarchy and change the world forever…” Now of course the King Arden doesn’t want his monarchy to be destroyed, so he obviously doesn’t like this and is set off to kill them. They are sent by a wizard named Paradon through the Eye which is a time-traveling device. Everyone gets sent into the future except for Elspeth and Onnie who actually get sent into the past! While Elspeth struggles to find Kira, Kira and the rest of the gang are actually fighting people in the 20th century! Will Onnie and Elspeth make it home safe? Will Kira and the rest of the gang live to see Elspeth again?

I think this book is great! It is full of many humorous passages such as “You see that pond over there? Why don’t you go soak your head?” Plus, there are many descriptive passages that made me see what the author was trying describe like “The combined power of the merging stones knocked everyone to the floor of the cottages was filled with a blinding flash of colors and a tremendous peal of thunder that echoed throughout the village.”. The characters are realistic as well and act like normal people for their time and say things that they would have said. Plus, because the setting took place a long time ago, when the group got to the future they are surprised to see modern things like fridges and televisions. That makes sense because the group couldn’t possibly know what fridges and televisions are. My favorite character is Kira. This is because she is brave and determined. I also like her because she picks on Shanks a lot in funny ways. I also think that because the book switches view from Elspeth and Kira, you get to see the whole side of the story which makes it neat. Going from the two characters tells you each side of the story. Additionally, the book uses many different feelings and makes the main scenes all different from previous scenes, making you not sure what to expect next.

The only thing that disappointed me was that when reading the book, you needed to have prior knowledge from the first book. I think that the book should have summarized the previous book so that you would know what happened before. All in all, I thought this was a really good book because of the setting and the characters. I love how the author used her imagination to create the wizards, plot and the dragons. Plus, it really warms my heart to see that two sisters are fighting to see each other again. I give this book 4.5 out of 5. I really enjoyed reading this book and know that you will too.

Review written by Sarah (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Kane Miller for providing a copy of Elspeth for this review.

Have you read Elspeth? How would you rate it?

Book Review: Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Buy Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Lunch Lady Series

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-86094-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-8609402
Publication Date: December, 2009
List Price: $5.99

Review: Great Brussels sprouts! What an amazing graphic novel! The Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is one of the best graphic novels I have EVER read! The author has struck gold with this book. This is the third book in the series, though I HOPE there will be more because this book has it ALL. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comedy graphic novels.

Cool gadgets, scheming authors, raging bunnies, and solving mysteries are no biggy for the Lunch Lady. When a scheming author visits the school it’s up to the Lunch Lady to save the day. Gym teachers are disappearing all around the country. Will the Lunch Lady solve this case and get the gym teachers back? You can find all this out in The Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta!

What I really liked about this book is that the characters, more specifically the Lunch Lady uses catch phrases for example, great Brussels sprouts or I swear on my Salisbury steak special. Another one is sweet BBQ sauce. I think those are SO funny. I think you should read this book because it has a humor that is so hilarious because it is corny, in a good way. Not only does it have the catch phrases stated above, but the Lunch Lady has gadgets that look like ordinary lunch room items but are actually tools to use when trying to solve a case. Some of the gadgets are the Whisk Whackers, a Spork Phone, the Cannoli-oculars, the Hamburger Headphones, a Mustard Grappling Hook, and a Fancy Ketchup Packet Laser. What could be more exciting? The Lunch Lady is amusing, has a good plot, and well-established characters. It has it all.

Review written by Gabrielle (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta for this review.

Have you read Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta? How would you rate it?