Sep 15, 2014

Oh No!

Oh No! by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann tells the story of a group of animals that fall into a large hole one at a time. 

The repetitive text makes this book a fantastic read aloud (I have my students say Oh No with high low tones each time it comes up).  The kids love this story and ask to hear it over and over.

I recommend this book to kids 3-8 and it's a great one for classroom libraries (and music teacher collections).

Sep 10, 2014

Tuesdays at the Castle

Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George is third book in the Tuesdays at The Castle Series.  This series follows the plucky Celie who lives in a magical castle.  In this book the castle as transported Celie, her friends and siblings and her pet griffin to the land where the castle originated.  They have to find out how to save the castle and get home.

I adore this series and this book did not disappoint.  Celie was strong and her griffin was wonderful and the castle remained the character that it has been in other books.  I rushed through the book and can't wait to find out what happens on Fridays.

Appropriateness:  This is a fantastic series that I'd recommend to elementary and middle school aged readers either as a read aloud or to read independently (for fourth grade and up).  It's non-violent and without romance.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Sep 5, 2014

Zac and Mia

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts tells the story of two teens with cancer.  Zac has been fighting leukemia and is in isolation in the hospital when the unrully Mia moves in next door.  The two form an unlikely friendship when Mia reaches out months after their hospital stay.

This was a great story.  A nice change from the typical sob fest with overdramatic romance that we've seen lately with other similar stories.  Zac and Mia were both flawed characters and needed each other.  I didn't fly through the book but I did find myself interested throughout and I was very happy with the way it ended.

I recommend this book to readers 14+.  There is a bit of sexual content in the beginning of the book but nothing explicit.  Mia spends the majority of the story making bad decision after bad decision, the book does a good job of showing why her decisions are wrong.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Aug 20, 2014

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green follows Miles who is a new student at boarding school.  An outcast at his past school Miles quickly falls in with a crowd of kids who spend most of their time smoking and drinking while planning pranks on their enemies the rich kids at schools they call the weekend warriors.  Alaska, a girl in his group is Miles' obsession, and we see her struggle until the unforseen happens.

I just couldn't take this book.  It was so well regarded and I've enjoyed other books by John Green but something about the setting and characters didn't work for me.  It takes place in apparently the worst boarding school ever.  Where there's little to no supervision aside from one teacher who runs after those who are obviously misbehaving (and rarely catches them).  The kids smoke (and smoke and smoke, smoking is almost a subplot it's used so much) and drink and hang out in rooms of the opposite sex with no oversight at all which I find totally unrealistic for a school that's housing minors.  The characters seem to be caricatures of the troubled and lonely and the main character doesn't even think twice before taking a cigarette or drinking.

Appropriateness:  This is certainly not a book for young teens.  There are fairly graphic descriptions of sexual acts.  The characters drink and smoke and do drugs as a major plot point in the book.  I would recommend it to teens 16+

Aug 15, 2014

A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea by Jessica Law and Illustrated by Jill MacDonald is a fantastic singing book that my students love.  The pictures are fun and the kids love singing a long.  If you're not familiar with the song (or don't want to learn it from the sheet music) there's a video on youtube that you can follow a long with.

I recommend this book for kids from 4-8

Aug 10, 2014

Two Lies and a Spy

Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton follows Kari as she tries to save her spy parents when they disappear and are declared to be traitors.  With the help of the things she's learned from her parents and the abilities of some of her friends Kari has to prove that her parents are not traitors.

This book was a ton of fun and a bit silly.  Kari, who has all these super spy abilities also makes some silly mistakes and conveniently her friends have all the skills that she needs to solve the mystery.  I did enjoy the book and couldn't put it down.

Appropriateness:  There is no adult content in this book and only a bit of romance.  I recommend this book to readers 12-16.

Aug 5, 2014

Paper Craft Crazy Critters

Paper Craft Crazy Critters is a fantastic book of monsters that can be punched out and then folded together.  The monsters are funny and fun to put together, my daughter had a great time making a group of monsters.

 I recommend this book for kids 9 and up (they're too difficult for young kids).

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