04. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kristin

The Fairy Tale Treasury by Virginia Haviland, 192 pages, read by Kristin, on 02/02/2014

Thirty-two of the world’s best-loved fairy tales, including the The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Frog Prince, Gone is Gone, The Sun and the Wind, and The Bremen Town Musicians.

08. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, History, Kristin

An Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors by Kremena Spengler, 32 pages, read by Kristin, on 11/05/2013

From controlling fire to the debut of the ipad, this book highlights the biggest advances in history.  The book is a 32 page timeline with illustrations and one or two sentence descriptions of the events.

I read this book with my 5 year old who was enthralled.  I found the illustrations to be clever and the descriptions gave just enough information that the reader didn’t get bogged down in the details, but still provided the necessary information.  It took us approximately 30 minutes over two evenings to read the book–that’s with many interruptions for side stories and questions.

I think this book serves as an excellent introduction to a number of topics.  Once the reader’s interest is peaked, he/she can delve into a specific subject more thoroughly through other books.

I would say this book would be good for a 8-10 year old as a read alone or as young as five if the child is being read to.

I just found that MRRL has a transportation timeline book by the same author, so look forward to that review soon.

29. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Drama, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin, Science Fiction

Risked: Book 6 in The Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, 308 pages, read by Kristin, on 10/25/2013

As soon as I saw this on the new book shelf, I snatched it up.  I read books 1-5 in a couple weeks around Easter and was excited to see that Book 6 was out.

General premise of the series: Famous children from history have been kidnapped during their own time and taken to the future to be adopted. Guardians of time are trying to return those kids to the time they belong and “fix” the wrinkles in time.

Jonah, along with his sister, Katherine, and best friend, Chip, and two other children get taken back to 1918 where they discover that the two kids with them are really Alexei and Anastasia Romanov and they have arrived hours before the entire Romanov family is going to be executed.

Will they be able to repair the time rift and still save the two Romanovs so they can continue their lives in the 21st century?

I was sort of hoping that this book would wrap up the series, but unfortunately Jonah still does not know his true identity from history.  I have enjoyed the series, but I thought this book lacked some of the period detail that the previous books contained.  Still, Risked is a good book and if you are a fan of futuristic books, then The Missing series is a must read.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin · Tags:

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose, 231 pages, read by Kristin, on 10/26/2013

First impression, the style of the book drove me nuts!  The story is written in the form of a poem: short lines, stanzas, etc.  Seriously, it took me two-thirds of the way through the book to get used to it.  That being said, it was a quick read.  I read it aloud to my daughter in 2 hours in one sitting.

Mavis Betterly, May, has a few problems.  She doesn’t do well in school and she wants to be a teacher. Her parents have pulled her from school and hired her out to another family.  The couple leaves her and she is forced to survive on her own for 5 months until her father is supposed to come and pick her up for Christmas.

May does a good deal of growing up in the time she’s alone and eventually decides that she is in charge of what happens to her.

I like the idea of the story.  It is set in Kansas as the West is being settled in the late 1800’s.  The story has kind of a Little House on the Prairie vibe, which I like and May is a strong character.  These are the selling points.  The format took away from the story in my opinion.  I wish I had picked up the audio version.  I think I would’ve liked it better.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristin

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lutricia Clifton, 248 pages, read by Kristin, on 10/12/2013

Frankie Joe finds himself in a tough situation.  His mother is in jail and his father just packed him up and moved him halfway across the country to live with his step-mom and 4 half-brothers.  Frankie Joe seems to think that he’s never quite good enough in his new family’s eyes and his new “brothers” dislike him, especially the oldest.  He devises a way to earn money by starting a delivery service so he can finance his way back to his mom and his friends in Texas.  Before he has a chance to put his plan into action, he realizes that maybe this place isn’t so bad after all.

I enjoyed this book.  It’s easy to read and feel sympathy for Frankie Joe.  He is placed in a situation that kids may find themselves in (hopefully not because one parent is in jail, but moving in with a parent that they may not have had contact with previously).  Frankie Joe goes through the grief process in dealing with the loss of his mother and eventually realizes that his new situation is for the best.

I think a lot of kids would identify with Frankie Joe and would enjoy the book.


31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin

Glory Be! by Augusta Scattergood, 202 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/29/2013

A Mississippi town in 1964 gets riled when tempers flare at the segregated public pool. Debut author Scattergood has drawn on real-life events to create a memorable novel about family, friendship, and choices that aren’t always easy.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristin

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker, 275 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/22/2013

A foster child named Angel and twelve-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella’s great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristin

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen, 290 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/08/2013

When the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane’s family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna’s gun-happy father.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, 307 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/02/2013

With love and determination befitting the “world’s greatest family,” twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression.

20. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, Fiction, Kristin, Teen Books

Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston, 280 pages, read by Kristin, on 07/19/2013

Sixteen year old Emily Curtis has had a tough year.  Her mother dies, her father loses his auto-repair business and subsequently their home and Emily’s boyfriend breaks up with her.  Now, they have moved in with her over-bearing wealthy aunt and uncle.  Could her life get any worse?  Oh yeah, her once deep relationship with God is now non-existent.  Christian author, Amy Clipston draws the reader into Emily’s struggles and attempts to rekindle her relationship with God.  This book was an easy read and if you are a very emotional reader, grab that box of Kleenex.  By the end of the book, I had puffy eyes and a stuffed up nose!  I highly recommend this book (and also her other book series, The Kauffman Amish Bakery).

15. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Fiction, Kristin · Tags:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard, 244 pages, read by Kristin, on 07/13/2013

An escaped convict enlists the help of a mentally unstable woman and her 13 year old son to help him evade law enforcement over the Labor Day holiday.  During those six days, the man and woman fall in love and the make a plan for the family to escape to Canada.  The story, told from the view of the boy, has as much to do with him coming of age as it does with the relationship between mother and convict.

I found the story engaging (enough so that I read the book in two sittings) although the whole time I was reading, I kept thinking that the plot was completely unbelieveable.  Who in their right mind would willingly allow a convict into her home, live with him for 6 days, then make plans to run away together?  But, then again, I’m neither super adventurous nor diagnosed as mentally ill.  That could be the difference.

The movie, based on the book, will be released on December 25th and stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.