New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Mo Willems has done it again, (though really, has he ever not?) perfectly epitomizing the many expressions of a good friendship in Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!
The book takes the form of several stories about the title best friends. Whether you read them aloud, to yourself, or listen, you are sure to love Amanda and her Alligator.
Reading Level: Grade 2-4
Maddy has wanted a cat her whole entire life. But, according to her mother, she can never ever have one because her little brother Jack is allergic to cats. Maddy's luck changes when Jack spots a set of three ceramic cats in an antique market. The mysterious woman at the stall agrees to give them to Maddy only after reading Maddy's palm.
The next day one of the statues turns into a real, very tiny, grey cat named Greykin. Greykin explains that only one of the cats animates at a time and that is only when there is trouble. According to Greykin, the trouble is at Maddie's school. Once he identifies it, he will need Maddy's help to set things right. Can a timid girl like Maddy help Greykin? Or is his quest doomed to failure?
Other tales of magical cats include:
Reading Level: Grade 7-9
16-year-old Lady Victoria Mansfield is looking forward to being presented at court and beginning her life as an eligible young lady. She already has her eyes on Edmond Harford, the heir to a large estate. Yes, Victoria has a wonderful future ahead of her...if she can keep her newly emerged ability to fly a secret.
Victoria's world crashes around her when her two-year-old nephew Jamie falls off the edge of a cliff during a large party on her family's estate. Caught half way down the cliff in a loosely rooted tree, Jamie dangles between life and death. Tory doesn't have a choice. She flies down and saves her nephew. Victoria's father immediately banishes her to Lackland Abbey where nobility's defective magical offspring have a chance to be "reformed." Of course, her magical "taint" will make marriage almost impossible. But at least she can hope to return home.
Victoria is determined to suppress her magic until she stumbles upon a secret society of students who insist that only their magic can save England from disaster.
If you enjoyed this historical fantasy try:
Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot : Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Liam O'Connor is trapped below decks on the Titanic, Maddy Carter's plane is just about to explode in mid-air, and Sal Vikram is caught in a fire when a man appears and offers them a way out. Come with him and live outside society for the rest of your life, or stay and die. They each choose to follow him and are transported to New York City on September 10, 2001 where they live in a time bubble of a repeating September 10-11, and become a team of Time Riders. Their mission is to notice subtle shifts to the timeline caused by rogue time travelers and go back in time and stop the other travelers before they can alter the future.
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
Sunny felt out of place when she and her family lived in the United States, she stands out even more in Nigeria. It isn't fair. She's 100% Igbo just like her parents and brothers, but Sunny is an albino so instead of having beautiful dark skin, hair and eyes, Sunny is so light her skin and hair look yellow.
When Sunny sees a strange vision in a candle's flame, she doesn't tell anyone. She's strange enough as it is. When Sunny is befriended by a classmate, she finds herself drawn into the very strangeness she is trying to avoid.
If you enjoyed this tale of young magicians you will probably enjoy:
Reading Level: Grade 7-12
At 16, Jamie Gordon is the youngest of the paparazzi in New York and thus a celebrity in her own right. She is given a dream job that every celebrity photographer would want. Jamie is hired to photograph a week in the life of super star Willow Twine at the star’s Hollywood mansion. Willow needs to prove to the studio that she is drug free and Jamie needs to prove that she is truly talented and her celebrity is no fluke.
The book is narrated from several points of view. There is Jamie’s first person narration, e-mails to her boyfriend Nasim, the story of Avy, an aspiring actor who is Jamie’s best friend, letters from an obsessed Willow fan, and the perspective of a police detective. The plotline goes back and forth in time but each chapter names the narrator and the exact date. It can be a bit confusing, but the extra effort needed to follow the plot is well worth it.
Reading Level: Grades 6+
Eagan has been figure-skating practically since she could walk, and she's good. Really good. It's just not feasible that she could ever hurt herself while skating. But she does. Coming down from a triple axel, Eagan lands too close to the boards, smacking her head.
Amelia has lived the past few years of her life quietly, without moving much or making too much of a fuss about anything. Amelia has a heart defect, and needs a transplant. One morning, she gets a phone call. The hospital has a heart for her.
Other books dealing with death and the afterlife:
For older readers:
Reading Level: Ages 4-7
Bunnies are supposed to be nice and quiet, nibbling clover and grass, and staying out of the mud and dirt. Suki loves to SHOUT and YELL and play in the mud. One day, Suki leaves her burrow and gets lost… will her loud voice be able to reach her mother’s ears?