On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.
Witness the creation of a magical land in The Magician’s Nephew, the first title in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone novel, but if you want to journey back to Narnia, read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the second book in The Chronicles of Narnia.
The original flag that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner” is stolen from the Smithsonian after a gala event. Anna, Jose and Henry were all at the gala where the restored flag was displayed and where it was later stolen. They are also all snowed in at the airport waiting on a flight to Vermont. Anna, who dreams of being a news reporter, is determined to solve the mystery and she convinces Jose, Henry and their new friend Sinan to help her. She is convinced the flag is somewhere in the airport and the thieves are in the groups of passengers snowed in with them. They pursue their suspects throughout the airport and into the baggage area below.The three also learn that they have something else in common; they are all descendants of famous artists and their parents are part of a secret society that protects works of art around the world. This makes them even more determined than ever to find the flag and return it to the Smithsonian. They must work together, find their way out of dangerous situations, and corral one overactive dog named Hammurabi, to have any chance of saving the day. Will they be able to find the real thieves and solve the mystery before the storm lets up and flights resume?
This is a fast-paced, fun mystery. The mystery has enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. I did think there was a bit of stereotyping with the kids however. Anna is the dogged reporter determined to be useful and solve the mystery. Jose is obsessed with Harry Potter and books and has a quotation for every situation. Henry is always sticking his face in a video game and relating every situation to some game he has played. Sinan draws every figure of speech he hears. I liked the secret society aspect of the mystery and thought it was a good setup for a new series.
Blue’s twin sister Iris died three years ago and the family hasn’t really gotten over it. Mom travels the world with her job for Bootylicious Cosmetics. Dad spends most of his time in Warwick. Blue has become invisible and hides behind her camera. The family is taken care of by au pair Zoran and chaos reigns. Blue and her sisters and brother seem to act however they want with no parental supervision. Blue thinks things are looking up when she meets new neighbor Joss. Unfortunately, while Joss is a good friend for a while he starts dating her older sister which really sours him to Blue.
This is a story that will make you laugh and cry. The story of Iris’s death comes out in bits throughout the book. Blue and the rest of her family slowly try to deal with being apart and coming back together. They have to figure out if they can still be a family if a member is missing. Blue has to come out of her shell and realize she can still be happy without Iris. This is a very touching story.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Sorry it took me so long to read it!
Penelope feels like Bad Luck is shadowing her. She has gotten another note home from her teacher. Her brother Terrible now has a girlfriend. Grandpa Felix is letting Terrible be his photographer’s assistant which was Penelope’s job. It all started when she joined a group painting a mural at Portwaller’s Blessed Home for the Aged. She was elected Boss of the group and became a little too bossy and drove the other kids away. She has to find a way to get Good Luck back on her side and save her relationship with Grandpa Felix and save her friendship with Patsy Cline and help her new friend Nila Wister.
Penelope Crumb is a lot like Junie B or Judy Moody. She is opinionated and artistic and just a little bit weird. Even though she is a fourth grader these books are geared towards a little younger age. They are fun, but there isn’t a whole lot to the stories. In this book, Penelope does at least learn a lesson about being bossy and letting others have an opinion.
Dan’s little brother is moving into his room and he is not happy about it. Iggy breaks everything and he throws huge tantrums. Then Dan meets new kid Alistair who only eats broccoli, collects bugs, and makes awesome robots. Dan’s friend Chauncey is curious about Alistair and a little jealous of Dan’s new friendship. Everything is fine until Iggy eats some of the bug specimens in Alistair’s bag. Turns out Alistair is an alien and Iggy now has bug DNA. This is a crazy story that will appeal to fans of Captain Underpants. The story is no where near plausible, but that won’t stop kids from enjoying the humor and silliness.
Lara is the daughter of the kennel steward. She has been trained since birth to take over once her father retires. Her father desperately hopes for a boy to carry on the tradition and doesn’t really want Lara to be the steward. Lara loves the dogs they breed, the famed Russian borzoi, and one day wants to have a dog fine enough for the czar. Lara also has a secret. She has visions related to the dogs. Her father wants her to stop having visions and to keep them a secret. But what if her visions may save the dogs or her father?
I liked the historical aspect of this story and the fact that I learned something new. I had never heard of borzoi or of their significance in Russia. I thought O’Brien got a lot of the historical prejudices perfect in the story as well. My only issues were the visions and the quick turn-around of the ending. There was no explanation for the visions and since the story was pretty straight-forward historical fiction other than them I found them a little out of place. The ending just seemed too abrupt a change for the rest of the story.
In a fantasy/alternate Colonial America, Billy Bartram joins his father and other members of the American Philosophical Society in a quest for allies in the coming war against the French. They seek the Kingdom of Madoc, a rumored ancient Welsh colony beyond the Mississippi River. Their mode of transportation, a unique air-sailing ship, is also sought by the French, in hot pursuit of the explorers.
The setting and plot are interesting, and I enjoy alternate history and fantasy. The mix here, however, starts to spiral toward the end, until fantasy completely takes over for the final handful of chapters, and situations get increasingly far-fetched. This is a land of mastodons, and a 12-foot-tall bear-wolf capable of tracking a flying vessel across half the continent. To what end other than destruction, I have no idea. Perhaps colonists are particularly tasty. Secret messages tossed from the air into rivers inerringly find eddies and shores for easy retrieval. Convenient! There is plenty to recommend about this book, but I can’t quite give it full marks.
River Fillian is a river rat. She travels with her father up and down the Mississippi. Disaster strikes in December 1811. The earth shakes and trembles, the river changes course and flows backwards and River’s father is swallowed like so many others. River is rescued by Annie Christmas another river pirate who travels with her sons. River is turned over to Jean Lafitte in New Orleans, who it turns out has designs on Fillian and Annie Christmas’s trade routes and contacts. River escapes, with a tiger, and finds Annie again. They set off to find Blackbeard’s treasure. Traveling down the river and across the swamps, they are pursued by Lafitte and other pirates as they try to make it to the treasure first.
This is not a book for everyone. The tale is told using colloquial language that will be difficult for some kids to understand. The book doesn’t lend itself to ease of use either. The type is small and close together like something that was printed 50 years ago (also not kid friendly). Lastly, there are topics covered in this book that are not for the younger readers. There is a lot of violence and death as well as discussion of mistresses and such. So the more mature reader might be the better audience for this book.
Once you get into the story it is an entertaining yarn. You aren’t sure how much to believe and how trustworthy the characters are telling the tale. I really enjoyed the mix of real history with the fiction of the book. The backmatter gives information on the real people discussed in the story. I thought River was spunky and had a lot of gumption which was definitely entertaining to read.
Penelope Crumb has a fascination with dead things. Maybe this is because her dad is graveyard dead and she thought her grandpa was too. She gets frustrated when her class doesn’t pay enough attention to the dead people’s things in a museum during a class trip. She decides to set up her own museum to remember the people she loves (not all dead). This leads to some hard life lessons as Penelope acquires the things for her museum without permission which causes problems with her family and friends. She is also dealing with the fact that her best friend Patsy Cline seems to be moving on to another friend.
I think I might have a better appreciation for Penelope if I had read the first book in the series. As it is I had no idea what happened to her dad or why she thought her grandpa was dead. I am not sure Penelope is any better off at the end of the book than she is in the beginning. Things haven’t been resolved with Patsy Cline, she had to dismantle her museum and she lost her beloved toolbox. I think fans of Junie B Jones or Judy Moody might like this series, but it is not for the more mature reader.
Several students relate their experiences helping Mr. Terupt move the old classroom to the sixth grade annex during the summer vacation.
Excited for the new school year, and the fact that they get to stay with Mr. Terupt, the students continue to find what is good in themselves and each other. Their friendships become stronger and they learn to find what is strong in themselves. And this year, Mr. Terupt falls in a good way.
Lacey Unger-Ware (yep that’s her name) thinks Paige Harrington is stuck-up and mean. Paige is the fastest rising most popular girl in school history. Lacey and her friend Sunny are often picked on by Paige who calls Lacey “underwear girl”. Then there is the fairy incident. Lacey gets glitter stuck in her hair from one of Paige’s glittery posters and accidentally traps Paige’s fairy godmother. Now if Paige’s dreams don’t come true none of Lacey’s will either. So Lacey has to learn how to be a fairy godmother so both of their dreams come true.
With a name like The Glitter Trap I figured this book would be a pretty light read. And in some ways it was, but it also had a wonderful message about family and friendship and who we are on the inside. Lacey and Paige might have started out as enemies, but they become friends as the fairy godmother project evolves. This might be a heart-warming book, but it is also full of all the snarky humor that will make it popular with girls. A great message delivered with humor and fun.
Conor O’Neill has a banshee named Ashling hiding in his game closet. Ashling has come to announce the death of one of the members of the O’Neill family, but doesn’t know who. Conor doesn’t want anyone in his family to die. Grumps wants to be the one to die instead of anyone else. Little sister Glennie doesn’t believe half of what Conor says and is a royal pain. Mom and dad are clueless in so many ways. Mom insists on calling Conor Pixie which doesn’t help his image at all and dad is trying to force Conor out of Southie and into Latin School, Boston College, hockey and economics despite Conor’s dislike of all of the above. Conor travels to the underworld to hopefully stop the death, but things aren’t exactly as they appear.
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. The characters are fully realized and the adventure kept me reading. Conor is not your typical hero; he is scared of so many things and a very reluctant hero. At one point he even wears a bike helmet to school. Ashling’s story is revealed throughout the book and it is a tragic one that directly connects to Conor. I thought Grumps was the most heartbreaking. He is obsessed by Irish death culture because of something that happened in his past; something that also caused him to neglect his son which in turn causes Brian to smother Conor. The ending will break your heart and the trip to the underworld will make you laugh. Who knew you could phone a friend from the land of the dead!
Dorrie and Marcus accidently open a portal to Petrarch’s Library. The Library connects to many other libraries in many other times. Their portal is the first in the 21st century and they are greeted with suspicion by some. They are still able to start apprenticeships though. Marcus follows his true love into the world of plants and Dorrie learns swordcraft from Cyrano de Bergerac. Petrarch’s Library is filled with librarians whose mission is to save those throughout history who are persecuted for speaking out. The head of the library is Hypatia of Alexandria and many other historical characters inhabit this world. Dorrie and Marcus learn that there is also a secret society called the Foundation who works against Petrarch’s. They must decide if they want to go home to their world or learn how to become Ninja Librarians themselves!
What could be better than ninja librarians? I can’t think of a thing. This story is filled with adventure, sword fights, espionage and all kinds of craziness. But it also tells the story of some of history’s persecuted. Characters like Socrates and Hypatia and Saul of Tarsus (Paul of the Bible). There is a message throughout the book about speaking the truth and being persecuted for it. I loved Dorrie’s spunk and Marcus’s humor and fascination with Star Wars (he even gets Cassanova to do a play based on the movie). I think it would be amazing to travel to a place connected to so many other times and places and where you get your meals by reading them from a book. So very imaginative. Now I must go and practice my ninja skills. Never know when you might be called upon to be a ninja librarian.
I received a copy of this ARC from Netgalley.
There are only a few days left in summer vacation and Hunter and his twin brother Zack are trying to make the most of it. Then Sarah Yulefski tells them she overheard someone talking about kidnapping a Moran. They have to figure out who it is before the kidnappee gets kidnapped. There is a bully in the woods, a weird stranger in the abandoned house across the street and a gymnastic freak friend of their sister. Who is going to be kidnapped and who is going to do it. This was a fun, quick read. There is a lot here kids are going to enjoy. It was easy to read, had lots of adventure and mystery and the characters were fun.
When late returning home from a trip to the market for milk, a father explains to his children why he was delayed. A simple setup for an inventive (and hilarious) science fiction adventure story, told as only Neil Gaiman can. Or, possibly, as Douglas Adams would have, because Gaiman seems to be channeling his spirit. The adventures take the father through familiar time-travelling tropes, but the fun is in how Gaiman ties it all together with a neat bow at the end. I especially like his various descriptions for gelatinous aliens. The illustrations are by Skottie Young, and are as funny as the text.
Mom has gone away to a conference leaving dad in charge. She left instructions, but those don’t seem to be working out very well. It is breakfast time and there is no milk for the kids’ cereal and no milk for dad’s tea. So it is off to the store for dad. It takes ages and ages and when he finally gets back he has a story to tell. It involves aliens, dinosaurs, pirates, time travel, hot air balloons, pretty ponies, vampires and so much more. But the milk takes center stage in every aspect of the story and fortunately makes it home for the cereal and tea.
This is Neil Gaiman at his most irreverent and creative. It is a story that just gets more and more preposterous as it goes along. Dad is clearly making stuff up to make his prolonged trip seem more reasonable and he does a great job of it. I loved the rambling nature of the story and the pure silliness of it. The illustrations were wonderful and really helped bring the story to life. I can just imagine the kids listening to dad tell his story and rolling their eyes or breathlessly waiting for the next big thing to happen.
In the world of Erdas, on your 11th birthday, there is a ceremony to determine if you will receive a spirit animal. Four children take part in the ceremony in four different countries of the world. Each receives an animal, but not just any animal. They each receive one of the Great Fallen Beasts. Spirit animals that are not supposed to be given to children and whose return signals grave danger for the world. Many years ago there was a great war. A war among the Great Beasts. The evil was vanquished, but four beasts fell. Now the evil is rising again and the fallen are back. It is up to the Fallen and their human companions to save the world. But first they must come together and learn how to bond with their spirit animals. This is the first story of Conor, Abeke, Meilin and Rollan and the world of Erdas.
I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The story alternates between the four main characters. Each is different, dealing with different issues and with a different spirit animal. They must all make the choice of what path they will follow during this time of trouble. I liked the fact that they weren’t cookie cutter characters. There is room for a lot of growth in this story and a lot of exciting adventures. I think this is going to be a series kids will really respond to.
We all know the story of Atlantis and its destructive end. Many stories have told that tale; however, few have told the beginning of the story. How did Atlantis come to be and what made it so special? Barron takes on that story in Atlantis Rising. In this version of the Atlantis story there is a magical land called Ellegandia. It is a country on the tip of Africa, but separated from the rest of the world by impenetrable cliffs and oceans. It is a land connected to the spirit realm and protected by it. Like in any good story there are villains. In this case, the religious elite are power hungry and greedy. Grukkar is a high priest and wants to rule the world and bring about change in the spirit realm. It is up to Promi, a street thief, and Atlanta, a girl with forest magic, to save the world. They must battle evil both on earth and in the spirit realm. They must figure out the meaning of a prophecy that seems to point to Promi. They must also find a way to stop the invading army and the blight on the forest that Grukkar has brought about.
I thought this book was interesting. I liked the different take on the Atlantis story; however, I thought it went a little long. I didn’t connect with characters and I thought the villain was very one dimensional and like so many others I have read about. I wanted a bit tighter story as I found myself getting bored and wanting the action to move a little quicker. I did appreciate the fact that the ending was not your typical happy ever after. Of course things turn out great, but not perfect and you know disaster is in Altantis’s future at some point. This would make a good series showing the history of Atlantis from beginning to end.
The first daughters have a new pet. They have adopted a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. There are also a lot of guests in the White House. When the cockroach goes missing for a few hours the girls know they have a new case. Who would take their new pet? What does the kidnapper want? And why would they return it with a bug to spy on them? Cammie and Tessa are on the case. They make a list of suspects and start their investigation. Will they figure it out before too much mischief is caused in the White House?
This is a good series for beginning chapter book readers. There is a lot of action and mystery and it is written at a level new readers can understand. I like the mix of mystery, humor and information in the book. The author includes a section on protesting at the White House to explain what that can accomplish since there are political protesters in the book. My only complaint is something that has been included in the entire series and one that probably doesn’t bother young readers. The kids always refer to “a nearby nation”. Not sure if it is Canada or Mexico or what, but I find it frustrating that they don’t just name the country.