New Book Reviews
A boy, looking to go to the other side, hops into a bear's boat for what he is assured will not be too long of a journey. Hours later, the bear continues to assure the boy that They. Are. Not. Lost. Sometimes unforseen anomalies arise, you know.
Days later the two have run out of sandwiches.
A simple, quiet adventure story perfectly tailored for a bedtime read-aloud, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat recalls cozy, character-rich classics with plenty to think about, yet is one of a kind and quite quirky.
If you thought Justin had a worrisome and difficult third-grade year, just wait until you read about his summer at Camp GoldenBrook.
After third-grade, Justin is determined to stop worrying so much - until he finds out he's going to a camp that is probably going to kill him - if his flip-flops don't do the job first.
Fans of Alvin Ho or the Wimpy Kid series will love Justin's humorous attempts at bravery, and find Justin to be a welcome friend.
Reading Level: 5-8
Imagine that you are trapped way down in the earth in stifling heat with little light, air, food or water. Imagine that for the first 17 days you don't even know if anyone is searching for you. These are the personal stories of the trapped miners, their loved ones, and their rescuers. Throughout the books are photos of the families, the rescue equipment, and amazing pictures of the men while they are trapped deep within the earth.
Another book about the miners is
Reading Level: Grades 7-9
The Ng family has a lot of status. Everyone in the family has at least one A or B level Talent (as rated by BERM - the Bureau of Extra-Sensory Regulation and Management.) Everyone except Natalie, the family disappointment. She has one D level Talent...she speaks and understands cat. Natalie does her best to keep classmates from learning of her embarrassing talent, only using it to talk to the family cat in the privacy of her bedroom.
And that's how things remain until the day her friends Oscar and Melly shows her a video of a celebrity blogger being attacked by her own cat. The cat is screaming, " Help me! Hellllpppme! Kill the imposter!"
Against her better judgement, Natalie allows her star-struck friends to drag her into a mystery that involves Chicago, a remake of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and one very cranky pink cat.
Books by Kimberly Pauley
Other humorous fantasy novels featuring harried heroines include:
Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby
Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough and
Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Other stories of humans who can talk to animals include:
What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld
The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman
The Boy Who Spoke Dog by Morgan Clay and
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Reading Level: Grades 3-6
Lenny is pitchforked into a death defying race to save the world when best friend Casper purchases the Heidelberg Handlebar Number Seven mustache.
Books by Tom Angleberger
Other crazy adventures include:
Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson
We Are Not Eaten by Yaks by C. Alexander London and
The Brain Finds a Leg by Martin Chatteton
Reading Level: Grades 4-6
Hilary McKay scores again in this prequel to the Casson Family series. Before her struggles with A level exams and her adventures with "Michael Darling" the beleaguered driving instructor, Caddy Casson was a 12-year-old girl facing the loss and challenges of changing friendships.
Books by Hilary McKay
If you enjoy Caddy and her eccentric family try:
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan
Ordinary Jack by Helen Cresswell and
The Heroic Life of Al Capsella by Judith Clarke
Reading Level: Grades 7+
The gods bestowed the godstone on Princess Lucero-Elissa de Riqueza on her namiing day. Sixteen years later she has not exibited any of the heroic traits looked for in a chosen one. Elissa is used to being a disappointment. As the obese, untalented younger sister of the beautiful, slim and multitalented Princess Alodia, Elissa is usually the object of pity or scorn. But since her father decided to use his second daughter in a political marriage with King Alejandro there is no way for Elissa to avoid the very public ceremony or the disappointed eyes of her groom.
King Alejandro isn't concered with his new bride's weight or beauty. He needs a chosen one to save his kingdom. After the wedding it becomes apparent that Alejandro is not the only one who wants the bearer of the godstone. Many do and most are willing to kill to control her.
Books by Rae Carson
Other fantasy tales of teens tangled in prophecy and politics include:
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Graceling by Kristin Cashore and
Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 9
Before the war life spans have been extended to up to 200 years. In order to ensure that the new extreme elderly could support themselves the government made it illegal for anyone under the age of 19 to hold a job. When the spore bombs were launched by the enemy during the war, only children and the elderly had been vaccinated against this man-made plague. As a result the only people left alive in the United States are the Starters (children under 19) and the Enders (adults over 65). Callie and her brother are among the unlucky children who had no living grandparents and are forced to live illegally on the street trying to avoid being swept up into one of the horrible forced labor camps for unclaimed minors. Then Callie hears about The Body Bank, where Enders pay huge fees to possess a Starter's body for a few hours or more via computer chips implanted in the Starter's brain. Callie thinks this is her way out. She only has to rent her body three times and then the big payoff will come. But can it really be that easy?
A truly original, silly, funny, and downright cool picture book about a girl named Chloe, a loose-change finder who ends up lost in the woods after a dizzyingly long merry-go-round ride... where she meets a huge lion. (The lion is really a dragon, not a lion. Illustrator Adam Rex has been fired for replacing the lion with a "cooler" dragon. Sorry. The remainder of the book will be handled by a true illustrator who can follow directions. Apologies for this interruption.)
So Chloe, in the woods, suddenly comes upon a li-
(Sorry again. The new illustrator seems to have drawn a lion who has eaten the author of the book.)
-on, who lets out a ferocious roar.
(You know what? That roar didn't look very ferocious... how about a scarier lion?)
And so on, and so forth.