Archives for September, 2012
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BOOK NAME: Arch Enemy
AUTHOR: Frank Beddor
We have probably all heard of the story Alice in Wonderland. Wonderland is not the fairy tale land the
book describes, but a nation gripped in the turmoil of a terrible war. Alyss herself is the warrior queen
of Wonderland. Her imagination, like the imaginations of many citizens of Wonderland, is not merely
thoughts and dreams, but a carefully honed superpower.
For years, Queen Alyss has held her enemies, especially her evil aunt Redd, at bay by virtue of her
mighty imagination; but now, it has been taken from her. Many others in Wonderland have also found
themselves stripped of their powers. In her weakened state, she cannot defend her queendom. The
ruthless, tyrannical monarch of a neighboring nation, King Arch, quickly takes Wonderland for himself.
Alyss’ last hope for her conquered homeland lies within a prophecy, a prophecy issued by the Caterpillar
Oracles of Wonderland. The all-knowing larvae say that imagination shall not be lost forever, and shall
be protected for Everqueen. Who is Everqueen? How can imagination be protected when King Arch is
already on the verge of destroying it? How will Alyss retake her queendom? Will old enemies, like Redd,
This book is the third in the Looking Glass Wars Trilogy. I have read all three books, and they were all
excellent. However, anyone interested should probably read the first book, The Looking Glass Wars, and
the second book, Seeing Redd, before reading Arch Enemy. This book will be hard to understand without
reading its predecessors. That aside, this book was very well written, and there were many shocking
twists to the story. My favorite character is King Arch. He is smart, crafty, powerful, and unspeakably
evil. I like how this book and the others before it take a very well known story, Alice in Wonderland, and
bend it into a sci-fi war. I highly recommend reading this book, and this series.
BOOK NAME: Where the Red Fern Grows
AUTHOR: Wilson Rawls
Where the Red Fern Grows is a book that shows hard work, adventure, victory, and grief. It is a
fictional book written by Wilson Rawls.
Billy is a young adventurous boy living in Ozark country. Hunting has been his sport and he has
always longed for two hunting hounds. Billy finally gathers enough money through his hard work and
gets his two hounds. He names the smaller female dog, Little Ann, and the tougher male dog, Old Dan.
They make the best loving team of three; the dogs are a pair who will never leave each other’s side. Old
Dan has the courage to fight, Little Ann is the planner and has the common sense, and encouraging Billy
leads them into the hunt atmosphere. Soon, they participate in a big hunt competition which is having
some of the most talented coon hunters and hounds in the nation. Danger awaits them in this unfamiliar
land, but what about victory? Read the book to uncover the answer.
This book is a perfect classic read for any middle school child. It has all the ingredients to a
delightful soup. A tasty plot that has you continuously reading, conflicts that arouse, a catchy
introduction, and personal in-depth characters all add to the wonders of the meal. However, the author
overdoes the heartbreaking ending, so be ready for some tearful tragedy. There are detailed
descriptions like “It screamed its way into the cave and rang like a blacksmith’s anvil against the rock
walls” (47), painting vivid pictures in the readers’ mind. So head out to the library and enjoy a fabulous
The NG Kids Dare to Explore O’ahu contest challenged kids to tell us why they would like to explore Oahu. Four kids ages 9 to 14 were selected as winners to join the Oahu expedition from August 23-29, 2012. The four winners were Ella Beezely, age 10 from Indiana; Liam Kivirist, age 10, from Wisconsin; Anya Hardin, age 12, from Ohio; and Sarah Tharpe, age 14, from Florida. The kids were joined by NG expert and Digital Nomad, Andrew Evans.
The kids visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, explored the nooks and crannies of the Battleship USS Missouri, met a real WW2 hero at the Pacific Aviation Museum, learned to plant taro (and eat poi!), made music at Na Mea KuPono, contributed to restoring the fish ponds with coral with Paepae o He`eia/Friends of He`eia, appeared on a movie set at Kualoa Ranch, explored all of the Polynesia Islands in one day plus were dazzled by “Ha!” at the Polynesian Cultural Center, all in just one week while staying at The Aston Hotel and Resort Waikiki Sunset!!
Group photograph by Dana Deighton. From left: Anya Hardin, Liam Kivirist, Ella Beezley, Sarah Tharpe with Andrew Evans, NG Digital Nomad in back
Fish photograph by Anya Hardin
To get you in the mood for Halloween, we’re giving away 15 copies of
Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyleon the National Geographic Kids website!
Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers, students are disappearing, and the science teacher is acting very peculiar. Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!
BOOK NAME: Chomp
AUTHOR: Carl Hiaasen
On the day I received Chomp in the mail, I stayed up until after 11pm
reading it. It wasn’t Carl Hiaasen’s best book but it was definitely a good book,
The book is set in a Florida swamp with Wahoo and his dad, an animal
wrangler, as the main characters. They are working for a television show much
like Man vs. Wild. The show’s star goes missing and Wahoo, his dad and the
camera crew need to find him. I liked the plot, even though it’s a little confusing
in some places, and the characters in this book, especially Wahoo. He has a lot of
guts. When he was little his thumb was bitten off by an alligator and yet he still
plays with and feeds alligators and other swamp animals. Wahoo’s backyard is a
zoo of the most dangerous animals in Florida, and Carl Hiaasen gives great
descriptions of them. I’m a big animal lover so this was a big plus for me.
Like I said earlier, Chomp is not a GREAT book, but a good one. If you like
reading about animals and adventures in general, I would recommend this book.
I’d probably get it from the library though instead of buying it.
Last month kids were invited to enter their pictures in the Children’s Eyes on Earth photo contest to help raise awareness of environmental issues. This contest was created by IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) along with the photographer and National Geographic photographer and humanitarian Reza. Now, you can help choose the winner by rating the photos entered in the contest! Visit the Children’s Eyes on Earth website until September 25 to vote.
A baby panda was born on September 16 at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo. The new baby is about as long as an adult’s hand, and only weighs about a quarter of a pound. Panda babies are pink when they are born–they don’t look like adult pandas at all! No one knows if the baby is a male or female yet, but the zoo will be able to tell in about a month. The new cub will receive a name when it is 100 days old, following the Chinese custom.
The last panda baby born at the zoo was named Tai Shan, seen in the picture above.
Photograph by Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP
BOOK NAME: Esperanza Rising
AUTHOR: Pam Munoz Ryan
I was a little skeptical about this book when they gave it to me to read in school, but once I opened it, I couldn’t put it down. This is a very inspiring and unique book set in the 1930s about a girl named Esperanza. She initially lives in Mexico and through a series of tragic events, goes from riches to rags. This includes her beloved father being killed by bandits hired by Esperanza’s evil uncle, and a terrifying house fire that she almost takes her life. The family is left with a terrible decision to either give into the uncle’s wretched demands or to leave the land they know and love.
Esperanza goes on the road with her mother to America to escape her uncle. Though devastating, this experience helps her appreciate what she still has–family and love. This appreciation is strengthened when she finds herself actually having to work not only for herself, but also for her now ill mother. She settles into a work camp located miles away from the land she knew all her life as home, and soon learns all too well what hard work is really like.
This is a wonderful book that I recommend for kids in middle school. Spanish words, Mexican culture, and traditions are woven in throughout the story, making it even more fun to root for Esperanza. Esperanza means “hope” in Spanish, so the title literally means Hope Rising. The author actually modeled this story around her grandmother’s life, and I enjoyed being able to share in her adventure.
We felt the soul of the city the minute we arrived in Krakow, Poland. There were tons of charming cafes, restaurants, and cathedrals. We stayed in the center of the Jewish Quarter which is the more bohemian, residential part of town. The days were filled with so many fun things, and a couple of very sad things, too. We zipped around town in a golf cart with a college student who told us all about their history. Did you know that at one point Poland didn’t exist and if anyone even said Poland they would be shot by a communist leader?
On the tour we went to many churches, synagogues (Jewish temples) and museums. One of the churches had a stone water fountain. If you drink from the fountain you are suppose to live for at least 100 years. We tried it, but it tasted like rotten eggs… icky!
BOOK NAME: Stuck on Earth
AUTHOR: David Klass
Stuck on Earth is about an alien that gets the mission of coming to Earth to study human
beings and and decide whether or not they should be exterminated. To do this, the alien
takes over the body of a 14-year-old boy named Tom, who is such a misfit at this school
that he already has the nickname “Alien.”
The alien becomes confused by the random acts of hatred that humans constantly do
to each other like bullying at school, teasing of siblings, and warfare. However, the alien
becomes intrigued by the humans’ strange talents, like the ability to make money.
The alien believes Earth is a beautiful planet compared to the others, but is upset that
humans aren’t treating it right. He finds out that a company is dumping waste into a river
where an endangered species of fish lives, and he is determined to put an end to the
What makes this book hilarious is the little things that we take for granted that the alien is
confused by, like reality TV shows and junk food. It was also funny how he describes those
things and the way he speaks to others. For example, when he takes over Tom’s body, he
starts talking with an advanced vocabulary that most people wouldn’t use, like referring to
everyone else as a “homosapien” all the time.
I highly recommend that you read this book because not only is it funny, it will help you see
and think about the world in a new way.
During this year’s expedition, the Hands-On Explorer Challenge team spent some time hanging out with the Zooniacs. We took an amazing hike together in Glacier National Park and also had a great time at the Whitefish Mountain Resort, where we met Jack Hanna!
Here’s your chance to be part of a new National Geographic Kids book! Visit the Are You “Normal”? page on National Geographic Kids
to answer polls about your family, friends, likes, dislikes, and more!
Your answers will appear in the next Are You “Normal”? book, which will
be published in 2013.
BOOK NAME: Joshua Dread
AUTHOR: Lee Bacon
For Joshua Dread, middle school is proving to be, well, awkward. Not only do bullies pick on him, but do you see those supervillains over there trying to flood the world? The ones that everyone, including his best friend Milton, are rooting for Captain Justice to take down? They’re the Dread Duo, and they just happen to be his parents. As if trying to hide his identity wasn’t hard enough, Joshua has started leaving a trail of exploding pencils and scorched handprints in his wake, and only Sophie, the new girl in town with a mysterious past, seems unsurprised. When a violent attack at the Vile Fair makes it clear someone is abducting supervillains, and that his parents may very well be next, Joshua must enlist both Sophie and Milton’s help to save them.
Here’s your chance to be part of a new National Geographic Kids book! Visit the Are You “Normal”? page on National Geographic Kids to answer polls about your family, friends, likes, dislikes, and more! Your answers will appear in the next Are You “Normal”? book, which will be published in 2013.
BOOK NAME: Secrets from the Sleeping Bag: A Blogtastic! Novel
AUTHOR: Rose Cooper
I am so excited to review Secrets from the Sleeping Bag. After reviewing Gossip from the Girls’ Room and Rumors from the Boys’ Room, I am proud to say that this book is just as awesome, just as juicy, and just as hilarious as the other two!
Sofia Becker, a.k.a. Blogtastic Blogger, is back, and she’s going to spend the summer with herbest friend Nona at Camp Krakatow (which mysteriously sounds a lot like Crack-a-toe)! There’s just one problem: How can she write on her Blogtastic Blog if she’s at camp? Sofia decides to bring her notebook, and she’ll post everything she writes when she gets back.
Sofia is bummed when she finds out that she and Nona have been put in different bunks. The girls’ bunks are named after butterflies, and Sofia’s bunk is called the Gray Hairstreaks! Yuck! In addition to that, some girls in Sofia’s bunk are… interesting. There’s Gabby, who can’t stop talking, there’s Olivia, who yells at everyone and never likes what anyone says, and Sofia’s counselor is the meanest one in all of camp! At first Sofia hates Camp Krakatow, but then things start getting better! Sofia likes the activities, and the Gray Hairstreaks and Monarchs bunks even have a prank war with each other! Sure, maybe Sofia had a few mishaps, like accidentally attaching tissue paper to her hands with super-glue, or falling out of her canoe, but overall,
things work out great! With every day at Camp Krakatow comes another adventure!
I loved this book! Sofia is hilarious! I love what she writes in her notebook! I would recommend this book to anyone ages 10 and up. It will definitely have you rolling on the floor!
BOOK NAME: So B. It
AUTHOR: Sarah Weeks
So B. It, by Sarah Weeks, is a touching, humorous, rather sad but all around great story that
would be a great summer reading choice. I first read this book a couple of years ago as an assignment
for English class, but it’s so good I’ve read it numerous times over the past few years for fun as well.
This novel is told from the perspective of 12 year old Heidi It, a good natured girl who lives with
her mentally disabled mother in Reno, Nevada. Bernadette, their caring but rather vertically challenged
neighbor who’s agoraphobic (basically, she’s afraid to go outside the house) looks after Heidi and is like
a second mother to her; even so Heidi has to take on many responsibilities to provide for the household
and take care of her mom.
However, when a strange word,”Soof”, a word that has often appeared in her mother’s limited
vocabulary begins to make her wonder about her mother’s history, Heidi sets out on a journey to
discover her mother’s unknown past and hopefully her mom’s parents. Along the way, Heidi runs into
many different people and gets caught in a variety of memorable situations, each one teaching her
lessons about life and bringing her closer to finding out who her mother is and where she came from.
Near the end of the book, something tragic occurs, and Heidi realizes that not only has she learned a lot
about her mom, but she has learned a lot about herself too.
This novel is very well written and a really sweet story. Although it is a little sad, it’s definitely
not a depressing or gloomy book and has many funny and lighthearted moments. I would recommend
this book to both guys and girls and though I think older tweens would enjoy it most, this novel has a
broad age range and I know young tweens and teenagers will like it as well. So, if you’re looking for a
really good book that is humorous and colorful but also touching and mysterious, then So B. It is the
book for you!
Want another opinion? Read Jordan’s review!