Audience: Upper Elementary/Middle School
The first time I tried my hand at magic, I grew roses out of my nose.
– First sentence
Red’s granny is sick (maybe dying) and she is determined to find a way to save her. She sets off on an adventure that brings understanding, knowledge, fear, excitement and even unexpected friendships.
Other books in this series include Rump, Jack, and Grump. They all come from the same world, but see it from different perspectives.
I thoroughly enjoyed this series so far. I haven’t read Grump, but I’m sure it won’t disappoint. Red is a great character though a bit naive and sheltered. She learns a great deal during her adventure and grows into a stronger person.
Bottom line: A fresh take on the story of Red Riding Hood that will take you on an exciting adventure filled with danger and unexpected friendships.
This was a bad idea.
– First sentence
I loved the first book so much and the cliffhanger ending got me, so I jumped directly into this when I finished The Ark Plan. The change in narrator was a bit jarring because I was accustomed to the way the characters “spoke” in the first book, but the story is just as good, if not better.
Sky, Shawn, and Todd continue their journey to solve the mysteries of the topside world and the Noah. Why is the military so set on catching them and will Sky be able to complete her dad’s mission? Oh and don’t forget all the deadly dinosaurs.
I thought one character was going to be traitorous, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. (In an adult book, I might have been right.) Any kid who liked The Ark Plan will be thrilled with this sequel. The audio is a delightful way to experience the thrills and adventure of this fantastic story.
Recommended to: Grades 4 and up – fans of sci-fi, adventure, dinosaurs, and kids saving the day.
I needed two minutes.
– first sentence
Imagine a world where dinosaurs freely roam the surface and people are forced to live underground. This is Jurassic Park gone wild – dinosaurs were cloned 150 years ago and kept in zoos and on farms. Needless to say, things got out of hand. Sky Mundy lived underground her entire life and now that she found a clue to her father’s disappearance, she must venture to the topside world to find answers.
The story follows Sky’s journey and is filled with thrilling action, life-threatening situations, and heroic characters. The plot moves quickly with twists and a cliff-hanger ending. Make sure you have the second book ready for your young reader.
The narrator did an excellent job – I highly recommend the audio version. I borrowed it using the Hoopla app through my public library.
Recommended to: Grades 4 and up – fans of sci-fi, adventure, strong female characters, and of course, dinosaurs.
I’m only wearing five braids to school today.
– First Sentence
Mya is excited for Spirit Week and she is counting down the days with her braids. When she gets to one, it will be time for Spirit Week. But the partner picking doesn’t go her way and she ends up with Mean Connie Tate (the school bully) for a partner instead of her best friend Naomi.
As Mya would say, “good gravy.” And she says that often as she tries to navigate friendships, bullies, and Spirit Week challenges. Mya learns a lot about people and about judging others by what you hear about them. She is a perky little girl and easy to like, even though she doesn’t always think things through before she acts. Mya is a strong personality, but she desperately wants to repair her friendship with Naomi – even though Mya didn’t really do anything wrong. The flavor of Texas really comes through in the writing. In the audiobook, the narrator does a fantastic job of sounding like a Texas girl with attitude.
I think grownups reading this book will easily recognize the characters for who they are, but kids might be a bit surprised by the ending. The story is engaging and certainly humorous at times. You can’t help but laugh about some of the phrases that Mya comes out with. Girls will enjoy this one.
Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like stories about friendship and triumphing over adversity.
“Tell me how you survived the whale attack,” the reporter said.
– opening lines
Could you survive if the whale watching boat you were on capsized and you were left floating in the cold ocean? Travis and Marina are in just such a situation. Luckily, Travis is wearing an immersion suit, and Mariana has survival supplies in her vest (and a lot of knowledge). All they have to do is stay out of the water, find land, and get rescued. Simple, right?
So, this is a good book, but the plot is a little thin. Things resolve a bit too easily for me, but I don’t think kids will mind. At the end of the book, there is a section with “U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Cold Water Survival Tips” which kids will probably find very cool and informative.
It’s about 100 pages, easy to read and about survival, kids will love it.
Recommended to: Grades 3-5 (and some second graders), fans of the I Survived series, adventure fans, reluctant readers
Brave is the sequel to Awkward, an amazing graphic novel about navigating middle school life. Brave follows the same basic group of kids, with a different main character. In Brave, Jensen (the art club kid from Awkward who is obsessed with sunspots) learns about bullying. He doesn’t think he is a victim at first, but he gradually begins to understand what being bullied really means. He compares his school day to a video game, a constant struggle to avoid the “bad guys” and traps; making it through the day is a struggle for “survival.”
This book has a bit more mature content compared with Awkward. There is no sex or serious violence, but the bullies call Jensen “fatso” and “stupid” and Jensen uses the phrase “makes my life a living hell.” Compared to the overall message in this book, these are tiny considerations. But, as a parent, you should know what you are getting into. Many of our 3rd graders read Awkward and their parents might not think they are ready for this one.
Overall, this is a great book that describes realities of middle school, bullying, feeling alone, making friends, and standing up for yourself. I highly recommend it to 4th grade and up.
The tenth book in this outrageous publishing effort features more than the usual dose of distressing details, such as snow gnats, an organised troupe of youngsters, an evil villain with a dastardly plan, a secret headquarters and some dangerous antics you should not try at home. With the weather turning colder, this is one chilling book you would be better off without. (From Amazon)
The title of this book refers not only to the mountain the Baudelaire children find themselves on but also to the slippery slope that could lead them to become villains. The Baudelaires are challenged to save their sister and find out the secrets of VFD without comprising their principles.
The performance of Tim Curry (who reads the story) is flawless – to the point where I forget who I’m listening to. His portrayal of Count Olaf is deliciously evil.
Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood
This is a sweet story about a young girl whose family moves from North Carolina to New York state. She has been home-schooled for her whole life so far and when her parents decide she should go to school, she is scared. She doesn’t want to go. She dreads the bus, the other students, sitting in school all day… But, she finds something at school that she never had before… a best friend.
Young girls will love this sweet story about friendship, dealing with change, and discovering who you are.
Grades 3 – 5, fans of realistic fiction.