New Book Reviews
Reading Level: K-5
The second book in the wonderfully adventrous Dolittle series starts off by introducing us to Tommy Stubbins, future naturalist. To sate his curiosity about animals and their nature, Tommy asks Dr. Dolittle to apprentice him and teach him all he knows about animals and their languages - and so Dolittle, Stubbins and a few old friends set sail, hoping to learn the language of the Shellfish.
Reading Level: Ages 4 - 6
Have you ever seen a slug in your backyard or garden? If so, you may have wondered -- "how on earth would I go about teaching this slug to read, if it asked me? I don't know the first thing about teaching a slug to read!" Well, never fear -- this wonderful, instructional book will tell you everything you need to know about teaching slugs the wonderful art of reading. You might even learn some good tips for yourself!
Other great books about reading:
Reading Level: Grades 4-6
Because of Hitler's unrelenting bombing of London, many families chose to move their children away from the city. When her parents decide to bring 11-year-old Felicity across the ocean to live with her father's extended family in Maine, Felicity finds herself thrust into the middle of a dark family secret.
Other stories of children torn from their homes by war include:
Reading Level: Grade 7-9
15-year-old Yancy is on the run, but not for the usual reasons. He does well in school, has friends and his parents love him. Yancy is running because of his monster of a brother, 16-year-old Will. Will has a "conduct disorder." For Yancey that means Will can terrorize him with almost no consequences. Yancy's parents barely react after Will cuts the tail off of Yancy's beloved horse Sky. When Will tries to stab Sky Yancy knows it is time to for him and Sky to leave.
Other tales of dangerous older brothers include:
Reading Level: Grades 8-10
All her life 16-year-old Violet Ambrose has heard the echoes of the dead. Not all dead people and animals. Just those who have died violently. When Maya is called when she and her best friend Jay are riding a wave runner, she finds the body of a recently murdered teen girl. It soon becomes apparent that the murder is not an isolated event but the work of a serial killer.
Other murderous thrillers include:
A hilarious collection of stories from some of your favorite authors - don't miss out on this one. My personal favorite is the story by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka - a series of letters between a favorite author, and a kid looking to get his homework done quickly and easily.
Reading Level: Grade 7-9
16-year-old Maya and her adoptive parents live on Vancouver Island in an isolated forested town owned by a medical research company. There are benefits, Maya's K-12 school features the best instructors, technology and materials, but the school only has an enrollment of sixty-eight students. Maya loves the deep forest around the "town" but there isn't much to the town, movies, shopping and restuarants are a long drive away. Best of all, Maya is accepted, even though she is Native American, has a mysterious paw birthmark and an eerie connection to wild cats, especially cougars.
But this past year a string of dark occurrences have Maya questioning her heritage and how safe her isolated little town really is.
Other brooding tales with mysterious settings include:
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 6
Jack and his mother go camping in Maine over Labor Day weekend, but when Jack wakes up on their first morning, his mother is gone, along with her tent and the car. Jack's mother has done this before, so he's worried... but knows she'll come back eventually. But the end of the weekend looms closer, and Jack's food money has long since run out.
Jack knows that if he tells anyone his mother has disappeared again, he'll be taken away from her, so he starts heading home, alone.
Small as an Elephant is a wonderful urban survival story about a boy who loves nothing more than his mother, and elephants.
A few similar stories of kids in charge of themselves:
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Amelia Earhart was one of the most formidable female pilots of her time, spurring her decision to be the first woman to fly around the world - alone. But a few hours into her flight, Amelia's plane lost radio contact with the ground and became lost. She was never found. Fleming's new biography of Earhart is great for younger readers interested in both the story and the time period.
Other fascinating biographies: