New Book Reviews
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.
Reading Level: PreK-2
Uncle Flood is ready to begin writing his story - beginning with this sentence: "The following story is all true." (A great first line, if he does say so himself.)
However, his pen has other ideas for Uncle Flood's first line:
"You have a big nose."
"You have eyes as large as dinner plates."
"Your hair is like a bird's nest."
Furious, Uncle Flood tosses the rude pen out the window. Can you imagine what sort of havoc the pen will wreak next?
Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5
After he was seriously injured in a fall from a high wire, Luciano Anastasini needed to come up with a new circus act for himself. That is when five, unwanted "problem" dogs on death row in the pound (and later five more) came along and together they found what their purpose in life was meant to be.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
For as long as anyone alive can remember Eastam and Westam have been at war; battling for control of The Center. Life is dreary in Waterford City. Everything revolves around the war effort. The best and brightest children are sent to military school at the age of eight. Everyone else's work somehow connects to the war too whether it is making weapons, delivering weapons, or recycling scrapped weapons. But when local war hero Gideon returns to town he and his former neighbor, Tessa, will accidentally discover the truth about the never-ending war.
Reading Level: Grades 4-6
12-year-old Una flits through her school days alone, barely noticed by her teachers or fellow students. Home is the same. Her foster mother never talks or even looks at her. Una's one pleasure is the library where she can sit for hours and lose herself in a book. She never meant to get lost for good.
Books by Marissa Burt
Other tales of stories come to life include:
Inkheart by Cornelia Caroline Funke
Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka and
Magic By the Book by Nina Berenstein
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
If you found a hole out in the grass while exploring, and inside the hole was a meteoroid, and poking out of the meteoroid was a button, you'd probably push it, wouldn't you? (I would. Zita did.)
You'd probably freak out when your best friend Joseph got sucked into into this weird vortex thing after you pushed the botton... and then when you pushed the button again, YOU got sucked in, plopping out onto an alien planet. (I would. Zita kind of did.)
Zita's best friend Joseph has been kidnapped by a cult of aliens who believe the world is about to end... and the button that brought both her and Joseph to this alien world is crushed accidentally by a huge alien named Strong-Strong.
So now Zita's totally stuck on an alien planet that apparently is about to come to an end, her best friend has been kidnapped, AND she has no way to get home.