New Book Reviews
Ivan (The Ape at Exit 8) is a downtrodden, has-been silverback gorilla living in a small, unkept domain within a shopping mall, occasionally accompanied by Bob, a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan's domain through a hole in the glass.
Stella, an aging elephant with a bad foot, dies from lack of treatment after Ruby, a baby elephant purchased from a defunct circus, arrives at the mall. The owner hopes Ruby will jumpstart visitor attendance again. Before Stella dies, she asks Ivan to promise that he will bring Ruby somewhere safe, knowing his devotion to protection of his friends is paramount.
Ivan's poetic narration is honest, painful, and heartbreaking; Applegate's insight into captive animal life is powerful. Don't miss this book, no matter how old you are.
Claudette, a spunky medieval girl with her heart set on giant-slaying, encounters some difficulty doing so because she is a girl. Accompanied by her cowardly brother, Gaston, and Marie, Claudette's polar opposite, determined Claudette sets out to slay a giant. Giants beware? More like anyone-who-crosses-the-main-character-Claudette Beware!
An action-packed graphic novel for adventure-lovers, Giants Beware! introduces a powerful main character and expertly blends comedy with fantasy.
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
These poems are for every big sister who has had to deal with an little sister who drives them crazy! Has your room been invaded? Does she want to join you and your friends? Do you parents always expect you to be the "role model?" But do you really, really love each other-most of the time? This is the book for you!
Books by Kristine O'Connell George
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Combining murder mystery, historical fiction, and a coming-of-age story, this chilling book is base on real life events in the author's past. The time is 1956 and Nora anticipates spending a the summer before her senior year with her group of friends. But two of her friends are shot to death on their way to the last day of school. Everyone but Nora is sure that the murderer is a jealous ex-boyfriend. Told from a number of perspectives, the story examines the effect this horrible event had on so many lives.
Another story of a shooting is
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
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