New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
"Once upon a time my life was normal. Then the mirror in our basement ate us."
When a magic mirror transports 10-year-old Abby and her little brother Jonah to the forest next to the cottage of the seven dwarves, they stop Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. Now Snow White has two problems: 1) The evil queen keeps trying to kill her and 2) Since she didn't eat the apple, the prince didn't kiss her so she has lost her chance to live happily ever after.
It is up to Abby and Jonah to help the clueless Snow White stay alive AND get her happliy ever after. Then they can try to get back home.
Books by Sarah Mlynowski
For more fractured fairytales try:
The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner and
Little Wolf's Book of Badness by Ian Whybrow
Reading Levels: Grades 6+
In a complicated post-WWIV world ravaged by a fatal, incurable disease, Earth is separated into independently ruled Commonwealths, completely separated from the Lunars, a somewhat new species spawned from previous moon colonization.
Cinder is a second-class citizen at best. She's indentured to her step-mother, and a gifted mechanic, but a cyborg. Over 36% robotic, Cinder relies on a robotic hand, foot, nervous system, and more - to stay alive. Despite this supposed (and mostly unknown) handicap, however, Cinder is the best mechanic in New Bejing, a reputation that brings the Royal Prince himself to her door with a broken android in need of quick - and quiet - repair.
When Cinder's younger step-sister Peony catches letumosis, the fatal disease that killed Cinder's father and ravaged Earth, everything changes. Furious, Cinder's step-mother sells her cyborg ward into voluntary testing for a letumosis cure - a grim fate, until Cinder's body rejects letumosis and it is discovered that she has a natural immunity. Dr. Erland, letumosis researcher in the royal palace, begins working with Cinder to develop a cure, but their testing reveals dangerous secrets about Cinder's past. In the meantime, Cinder's repairs on the Prince's android cause it to divulge another secret - relating to the relations between the Earth and the Lunars.
When the Emperor himself succumbs to letumosis, the Lunar Queen declares that she will visit the Earth herself to comfort the Prince during his time of mourning - but with recent information Cinder has learned from the Prince's android... it is clear the Queen's motives are anything but comforting.
In a creative, complex sci-fi retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a hint of Anastasia, Meyer creates memorable characters while simultaneously posing difficult questions - what does it mean to be human? What is the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good? When is the sequel coming out?
Three more books are planned in the series.
Reading Level: Grades 1 and up. Not recommended for gerbilsssss or thosssssse ssssenssssitive to sssssslithererssssss.
Nic Bishop, one of the most terrifying authors in children's literature today, has done it again with his new book, Snakes. Prepare for sleepless, terrified nights after these horrific photographs of larger-than-life serpents (really, Nic? Did they have to be larger? Actual size is horrifying enough!). We gerbils hear a lot of kids talk about how scary R.L. Stine's books are (they are located right next to our cage) but clearly these kids have never read anything by Nic Bishop. He's the scariest there is!
Reading Level: Grades 5 and up
Bomb reads like an edge-of -your- seat spy novel, but it's all true. It tells of the Herculean effort behind building the bomb, the desperate arms race with Germany that will decide WWII, the heroic efforts of Norwegein resistance fighters, and the spies determined to steal the plans for the Soviet Union. The story of the scientific genius behind the bomb, the politics, the military heroics, and the espionage make this a thrilling read where truth is far more exciting than fiction.
Reading Level: Grades 5-7
The Dark Lord, Master of the Legions of Dread, Sorcerer Supreme and Lord of the Darklands is confused. One moment he was leading his legions against the White Wizard Hasdruban the Pure and the next he is falling out of his world into a strange land where he is trapped in the body of a puny human.
The stunned Dark Lord can barely talk or move, he is whisked away in a strange screaming conveyance to a steel citadel where he is questioned by humans who, mistaking his clear answer that his name is “Dark Lord," dub him Dirk Lloyd and send him to a foster home.
Christopher Purejoie is perfectly happy as an only child. He certainly never asked for a foster brother….especially not a crazy one. Chris does have to admit that Dirk is funny, like when Dirk marches into 7th grade English and announces to Mrs. Batelakes, “I am the Great Lord Dirk, you may call me master!”
So who is Dirk Lloyd? A delusional child who needs intensive psychiatric treatment? A smart-mouthed trouble maker who needs to be straightened out by Principal Grousammer? A funny kid who disrupts classes every day? Or an exiled villian desperate to return to his powers?
Books by Jamie Thomson
For more reading on the dark side try:
The Cloak Society by Jeremy Kraatz
The Vindico by Wesley King and
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
Reading Level: Grades k - 4
Kanchil the mouse deer knows he is the fastest animal in the jungle so when he challenges everyone to a race he is stunned to have his challenge taken up by Pelan the snail and even more shocked when he loses. How could that be?
Reading Level: Grades 6 -8
Scarlett cannot bear the idea of going on an weekend school retreat where she'll have to get dressed in front of the other girls who will see her secondhand store gray underwear. The perfect out seems to appear in the form of some mushrooms that, according to a book she glances at, will make her sick to her stomach. Unfortunately, a slight identification error winds up killing her and her entire family leaving her, a girl who only had four friends in life, an extremely lonely ghost. Then a boy on a ghostly chat room suggests that she kill one or two of her former friends so that she can have companions forever. That's not a terrible idea, is it?