The Prometheus Project: Trapped
Douglas E. Richards
This book begins by introducing you to siblings Ryan and Regan Resnick as their family moves to the “boringest place on earth”, Brewster, Pennsylvania. But as you read this book, you are teleported to a secret world that is anything but boring! In this world aliens have created, they test other intelligent life forms. The siblings are trusted with this secret when they infiltrate the Prometheus Project, where their mom and dad work. A freak accident happens while the scientists are conducting research. I can’t tell you what happens, but the two kids have to understand a problem by themselves or they might never see their parents again since they will be trapped in the unknown world created by aliens. It must have been a difficult experience for Ryan and Regan because it is hard enough to find food and water in the wild, but most likely would be almost impossible to find it on a strange, alien planet.
The author vividly describes very advanced and ingenious technology like sidewalks that are bouncy so you can walk at five times the speed as a regular sidewalk. While fascinating to think about, the scary part to me is thinking that there might be some race or creature that may be even more intelligent and knowing than us. I really like the author’s attention to details like descriptions of the houses and landscape. This is the best book about aliens I have read since Ender’s Game. This stunning book is a great mix between adventure and science fiction, so I would definitely recommend this book to fans of both genres. Of course anyone can read this book and I think they should! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
BOOK NAME: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
AUTHOR: Kate DiCamillo
Meet Edward Tulane. He is a china rabbit with the fanciest clothes and features you have ever seen on a rabbit. And he is dearly loved and pampered by his owner, Abilene. Unfortunately, Edward’s heart is closed and he thinks of Abilene and her family as dull. However, his life changes dramatically when Edward is lost and is found by another person; in fact, several people. Each person who finds Edward gives him a new name and shares his or her story in which Edward now plays a role. As Edward’s heart is broken and “repaired”, it gets stronger. But it is enough for Edward to learn to love back?
Susanna, Malone, Clyde, and Jangles are just some of the names given to Edward throughout his journey. Each new name and story will either make you feel sympathy or great joy. Since Edward can think but cannot move or speak, his character needs to be tough at times to absorb everything that is taking place around him. My favorite part is when all hope is lost, he still believes somebody will come for him. They say if you love something set it free, if it comes back to you then it is yours. You will definitely find yourself cheering for Edward to end up where he truly belongs.
This book is one of my favorites of all time and with the beautiful illustrations it becomes amazingly vivid. Some people don’t like sob stories, but please just bear through the tears because this is indeed a wonderful adventure!
BOOK NAME: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
AUTHOR: Jeff Kinney
This book is the fifth installment in this best selling series, which I personally adored from the first book. These books are always very witty in what they say and always make me laugh. They allow you to enter the mind of a middle school boy and learn how he sees the world. Some people may think that Greg is annoying because he is constantly complaining and being lazy, but the author ingeniously turns these traits into a very likable character who is just trying to get through life. This book features even more wacky situations in which Greg finds himself.
For example, he is excited about going to a lock-in at his school which includes boys and girls. However, it turns out to be a bunch of lame games, so he spends his time with the other boys plotting their escape. Another time he had to be a “flower boy” at his uncle’s wedding and had to wear a matching tuxedo with his little brother. He was supposed to have been at a party thrown by a cool 8th grader, but he had wedding duty instead. Pretty embarrassing stuff!
The books may seem long if you look at the page numbers, but I usually manage to read it in one day. The book is set in a journal format and features comic type pictures that are always well done and simple. I wish the author would write books quicker because they are so good I can’t wait to read them, but I can understand that an amazing book can take time to create and write. I guess I’ll just have to be patient for the next one to be released!
BOOK NAME: Nothing But the Truth
I had to read this book for school. Even though I had to read it for an assignment, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Sometimes reading for homework isn’t that bad, because you can end up reading some amazing books.
We already know that telling a lie is never good, but in this story we see that a lie can quickly escalate as more and more lies are added on to cover for the first one. Philip Malloy is in 9th grade and he dislikes his English teacher, Miss Narwin. Because of this, he purposely tries to do things to get on her nerves. As part of the daily morning activates at his high school, the national anthem is played. One day, Philip started humming along while it was being played. Despite warnings, he did this two more times during that same week, and ultimately was kicked out of the classroom and suspended from school.
Philip claims that this was an act of patriotism, but he’s really not a very big patriot in the first place. But many people jump on his bandwagon which leads to a series of events that result in some unfortunate consequences for almost everyone involved. It would seem that no one wins this battle.
Nothing But the Truth is a very intriguing book in that you’ll find yourself asking what is a lie and what is the truth? Sometimes it falls somewhere in between. I like the documentary style of this book’s writing because I found it easy to follow. It was also a great way to lay out the different viewpoints of the characters.
I would recommend this book for middle schoolers as I think they would find the subject matter the most interesting. This story will really make you stop and think and realize that there is always more than one side to a story, and that there can be some dire consequences to telling a lie.
BOOK NAME: Chains
AUTHOR: Laurie Halse Anderson
Chains takes place during the Revolutionary War, a time in history when we were trying to make our own country. This is a story about one particular African slave, Isabel, who fights unfair circumstances and treatment. During these trying times, she questions herself and her life, and has many doubts. Isabel lives with her owner and is set to be freed upon the owner’s death. However, she is sold to cruel, unpleasant people who are loyal to the British. Since this story takes place in New York City while the war is happening, Isabel has a front row seat to lots of action. She faces much danger, but does her part to fight for both her freedom and that of her new country.
One time as a punishment, she is given a scar on her cheek in the shape of the letter S. The S stands for insolence and it causes her much humiliation. But after all her trials, she begins to take pride in the letter and says it really stands for Isabel. The story ends with a surprise, so I wont’ give it away, but I can tell you to never give up! I learned from Isabel that there is always hope, even in the bleakest situations. In fact, hope may be the only thing you have to get you through difficult times.
I really like historical fiction because you get a better insight as to the issues people faced during a specific time period. In Chains, you can better appreciate the horrors of both slavery and war. I also chose this book because it was nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award and these books are always a good read. This is one of the better books I’ve read, so I really wanted to stay up all night to finish it. I think everyone should read this book to see the mistakes of the past so we can avoid making them in the future.
BOOK NAME: Wait Till Helen Comes
AUTHOR: Mary Downing Hahn
If you like creepy ghost stories that gives you chills, then this is the book for you! In this saga, we meet Molly, a 12 year old girl who is annoyed with her 5 year old bratty stepsister, Heather. Scary things begin to happen when Molly’s family moves to an old church. It’s really, really old since it was made in the 1700s. Like any old church, it has a graveyard right next door. One of the graves belongs to a girl named Helen. Heather “befriends” the dead girl Helen through her ghost. Heather is lonely since she hates the new members of her step-family. She is hoping that Helen will come and scare her new family away.
Heather often says “Just wait ’till Helen comes. She will make you all sorry for what you’ve done to me”. Heather visits Helen’s grave almost every night to plot her revenge. She offers up wildflowers to the gravesite.
On the property is a pond too. It is near the site of Helen’s old house which had burned down and is now in ruins. Children have drowned in this pond and Molly believes that Helen lures children to this pond and drowns them. She fears for Heather because she thinks the same fate may await her. “A few children have drowned in the pond by mysterious causes. It is not a good place for children to play” the caretaker of the property warns Molly and her brother, Michael. Spooky stuff, huh?
I don’t want to give away the ending, but anyone who loves ghost stories should pick this one up. I think you’ll soon make friends with Helen too.
BOOK NAME: A Whole Nother Story
AUTHOR: Dr. Cuthbert Soup
I sensed this was going to be a different kind of book when I found out that the Cheeseman family included a balding dog and a sock puppet named Steve. Actually, it sounded like my kind of family! To make matters more intriguing, this particular family is on the run from top-secret agents, international spies, and one chimpanzee.
Mr. Cheeseman is an inventor and all the people chasing him want one thing, his greatest creation, a time machine! His family includes three children. They are nice kids, but have no friends. Why is that? The problem is that they never stay in one place for very long. They are always on the go because their father is afraid that those chasing them will use his invention for evil purposes. And he is correct!
Sometimes the kids have to get creative to keep themselves occupied. For example, the youngest child, Crandall, created his own best friend, Steve the sock puppet. The reason Crandall holds onto the puppet so dearly is because it was a gift from his mother. She passed away from a mysterious illness and so he takes comfort in her gift. Steve was a “snarky” looking puppet and “never missed an opportunity to comment on anything and everything in his annoyingly squeaky voice, which sounded not unlike a dolphin with laryngitis, if you can imagine such horrible squeaking.”
This book is full of these kinds of witty descriptions that had me chuckling throughout it. I don’t want to give away their adventures, but Dr. Cuthbert Soup does make an appearance as the head of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice. After reading this book, I’m definitely ready for some more Soup!
BOOK NAME: All the Lovely Bad Ones
AUTHOR: Mary Downing Hahn
Have you ever taken a trip and stayed at a place that was kind of creepy? Well guess what, the Fox Hill Inn is that kind of place! You know the type of place I’m talking about; the one with a run down look, creaky doors, windows that can’t open, big chandeliers, and strange noises. Nothing says “welcome home” like a mysterious figure in the courtyard!
The welcoming group is actually a team of paranormal investigators trying to find the source of all this strangeness. I guess it’s just dumb luck that Corey and Travis get to join them by spending their summer at this inn run by their grandma. They are there because their parents are gone for the summer. Corey and Travis started the summer at camp, but got kicked out for playing hooky and starting food fights. They weren’t that close with their grandma and she didn’t seem like your typical cookie-baking type. She was friendly enough though, and allowed them to explore the inn.
The brother and sister are pranksters and like to scare the guests by doing things such as banging on windows and doors. But things get really interesting when suddenly it’s not them making the strange noises. Apparently they’ve managed to arouse some unwanted guests, the resident ghosts! As you can imagine, their summer vacation goes down hill from there. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it turns out that Corey and Travis are pretty good at solving mysteries. So give it a read–if you dare!
BOOK NAME: Diamond Willow
AUTHOR: Helen Frost
If you can think of a unique setting for a book, I am sure that one you would think of is an Alaskan setting. Diamond Willow takes place in Alaska and if that isn’t unique enough, on each page the words are set in a diamond shape and a few of the words are highlighted to make another sentence. It is hard to explain but when you see the pages of the book, trust me it will all make sense. At first, it can be a little strange to read in this manner. But once you get used to it you may find yourself enjoying this unique manner of storytelling.
As you would expect, a story taking place in Alaska offers everything you could want in a book such as action, adventure and mystery. This book is a daring tale where the main character, 12 year old Willow, is desperate for independence from her parents. She is an aspiring musher (someone who trains and handles dogs for a sled team). Willow would love more than anything to mush the dogs out to her grandparents by herself, but her parents won’t allow it. Roxy, the lead dog in the team, has to help guide Willow through the challenges she faces not only in the wilderness, but in herself as well.
With the help of others, Willow grows tremendously in this book. She comes to realize that you can’t do everything on your own and with the help of friends (whether it be human or canine), you can accomplish what you want the most and more. I think that everyone who reads this book can relate to it because there are many cool aspects to this story, especially the dogs. I can tell you these sled dogs are nothing like my little Chihuahua, Sophie! This is one of those really good books that if you reread it, you will find out something new each time.
BOOK NAME: Wheels of Change
AUTHOR: Sue Macy
As I read Wheels of Change, the newest book from National Geographic, it really started moving the wheels in my mind. This book takes you through how the bicycle began a chain of events in which women and the general public came to realize that women’s rights, freedoms and expectations were in need of change.
The book starts with a basic history of the bicycle itself with many intriguing facts, images, and short biographies of ladies who led the way. A woman riding a bike back in the late 1800s wasn’t that big of a deal, but when they wanted to become competitive, they realized that the long skirts had to go. Many felt that if women got to wear pants or divided skirts, the whole social system would collapse. Maybe women would even compete with men! In fact, in a race in which a woman challenged a man-she won! This behavior was considered scandalous at that time.
The bicycle aroused wide-spread thinking about women’s rights and their place in society. It opened the way for actions toward equality and women eventually gaining the right to vote. The new freedom that the bicycle gave them opened up the way for different kinds of thinking, a sort of symbol of independence.
I would recommend this book to older readers due to the vocabulary and the topic itself. This book lends itself to have you think about women as activists and their place in society. A pretty heavy topic, but told in an attractive, easy to follow format.
And yes, a big change started with something as simple as a bicycle!
BOOK NAME: Turkish Delight & Treasure Hunts
AUTHOR: Jane Brocket
This book is unique from all the rest of the books I have reviewed, but yet includes books that I have read and may have even reviewed. This is one of those activities books that list things to do and how to do them. What’s special about it is that the activities come from the stories themselves such as Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe among others.
What I like about this book is that it’s fun to do activities, but it’s even more fun when you recognize them from books that you have read. Many recipes are given and not all of them are that difficult to follow. I was able to make some yummy hot chocolate by following the “Campfire Cocoa” recipe from the chapter on The Secret of Spiggy Holes book. Some chapters include instructions on how to do something such as “master the art of breakfast in bed”. But I’m not sure if I’ll follow Paddington Bear’s advice that states “leftover bacon can be put in a suitcase and eaten later.”
I can’t wait to try making a rope swing like the one Fern had in Charlotte’s Web. I can imagine Fern swinging on a rope under the shade of a tree. I think I’ll have to wait until next spring to give it a try though!
It’s also nice that you don’t have to read this book chapter by chapter. You can simply look through and stop on the stories or activities that interest you. I’m sure you’d find some things to share with your siblings, parents, or friends. I’d say it’s a great book to have on hand for a rainy day!
BOOK NAME: To Come and Go Like Magic
AUTHOR: Katie Pickard Fawcett
One of the reasons I read this book is because of its gripping title. The title is a small but important aspect of this book because the main character, Chili, lives in Mercy Hill. This is fine, but she wants to see other places and people. Chili’s mom says that people born in Mercy Hill stay in Mercy Hill. Chili is surrounded by questions that mom and pop won’t answer for reasons unknown to her. Mercy Hill is a relatively poor area except for the VISTAS, the people who come here to “help the homeless, dirty and uneducated people”. However, they don’t appear to be here to help people. It’s more like they are here to get publicity and act like saints. The people of Mercy Hill aren’t dirty and dumb, they just choose to live this way. They go around barefoot because they want to. Even the kids with shoes walk around barefoot.
I love the amazingly unique and strong characters. The author gives you a personality description of the characters, but she leaves out the visual description. I actually like this because then I can make the characters look like anything I imagine them to be in my mind. I would recommend this book to all your friends, because this book has made its way into my heart and is a terrific read for a rainy day. Read it for yourself and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
BOOK NAME: Mamba Point
AUTHOR: Kurtis Scaletta
If you don’t like snakes, it’s time to get over your fears because this is an amazing book! This is the second time I’ve reviewed a book that takes place in Africa and the contrast is intriguing. Reading a story such as Mamba Point provides us with an easy journey and chance to escape.
Linus’ family must move from the USA to Africa because his dad got a job there. Getting used to life in Africa comes with many challenges. One of them is getting used to the big black snakes in the area called mambas. They are one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa. When being in a new country gets overwhelming, Linus loves to draw and he secretly brings a mamba to his apartment when no one is home and he sketches the snake! But even though much joy comes to him through the snake, some near disasters take place that change Linus forever.
I think this book really ties together animals and humans in a different way than usually thought. I find this book quite different because it is a new experience for both the snake and Linus. I bet everyone would love this book, especially animal lovers. But Mamba Point is more than just a story about a bond between a boy and his snake. It’s about having a chance to reinvent yourself that many of us can only dream about.
This book will enchant and delight you as you journey with Linus to Africa. Together you and he will learn about African culture, snakes, friendship, and most importantly, truths about themselves. By the way, my mom still isn’t convinced that a snake makes a good pet!
BOOK NAME: Little House in the Highlands
AUTHOR: Melissa Wiley
Have you read Little House on the Prairie? Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you’re familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American pioneer girl. I discovered that there is another series of books that have been written to tell the story of Laura’s family going back to her great grandmother, Martha Morse. It turns out that the three generations of women before her were also pioneers of sorts.
Martha lived in Scotland in the 1780s. Her family is kind, honest people who own many acres and farms. They live by a lake that Martha thinks is truly magical with hills and valleys. Martha has to share the house with her 4 siblings, mother, father, Mollie the cook, and other servants. She is lucky in that she has a house big enough to fit everyone. The other families in the area live in two room houses; one room for the family and one room for the farm animals!
I love reading this book because Martha reminds me a lot Laura with both of them having such free spirits. Martha is also a girl who loves to run free instead of doing what she it told. I like this book because you learn very much about old Scottish traditions and I adore the fairy tales that Mother reads. You also get insight into how people lived back then such as sleeping in a box bed which sounds a lot like sleeping in a closet! Martha loves life and enjoys the simple things so that even though this was years ago, I learned to respect her. The writing style and vocabulary of this book makes for an easy read. I will definitely add this to my collection of Little House books and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
BOOK NAME: Princess Academy
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Frantically trying to learn the rules just to fit in? Sounds a lot like middle school, doesn’t it? Well if you have ever had any of these feelings, then I think you’ll enjoy reading Princess Academy.
Mount Eskel is the home of Miri, the main character in this book. She is named after the beautiful hardy flowers that can actually survive on the mountain (much like Miri). The people on Mount Eskel work in a quarry which produces Linder that they sell to lowlanders, what they call the people who live in the village in the valley. Women, men, and children all work there, so Miri wonders why she can’t work there too. Since she is already fourteen, she should work in the quarry with the rest of her people. Yet her father forbids her to even enter it! Miri has to deal with this mystery and the other mystery of “quarry speech”.
On top of it all, we learn that the prince is now of marrying age and his religious court has determined that the future bride will be found in Mount Eskel. So, all of the girls that are old enough will have to go to an academy to learn how to be a proper princess. Miri can’t marry a prince! She would miss her mountain home too much and have to marry a stranger when she already has someone she loves. The girls soon learn that life at the academy is not fun but they stick together and fight back to finally show that Mount Eskel girls are just as smart as the girls from the lowland. This is a fun read about overcoming adversity and not worrying about what others think of you. If you’ve ever been made to feel inferior, then give this a read and you may just start cheering for yourself.
BOOK NAME: Bulu: African Wonder Dog
AUTHOR: Dick Houston
Have you ever adopted a dog? I have. A beautiful Chihuahua named Sophie became a part of our family in December. We do typical dog owner things like feed her, play with her, and take her for walks. But after reading Bulu, I’ve come to realize that there is nothing typical about owning a dog in the African bush! Many dangers await Bulu as he fights for his life to survive in Africa.
The name Bulu means “wild dog”. The Tolans adopted Bulu after no one else would take him. He was different from his littermates and didn’t seem like the perfect dog, except to the Tolans. They were able to see his many fine qualities and he soon became a part of their family.
Despite many sad encounters, this is a story full of love and adventure. Most dogs die a tragic death in Africa, but Bulu survives all the hardship. And he not only survives, he provides nurturing and companionship to orphaned baby animals. That’s right, Bulu acts as a foster parent to orphaned animals such as warthogs, vervets, baboons, bushbucks, and even elephants!
I especially love this book because it is a true story with pictures throughout the book. So it’s very easy to see for yourself what a wonderful dog Bulu truly is. If you like dogs or a story that take places in Africa, then this is a book for you. In fact, I feel this book will become a classic in time. I have a dog of my own so I love this book. If you read Bulu you will never look at a dog the same again!
BOOK NAME: Holes
AUTHOR: Louis Sachar
Holes seems to be commonly used as a school book that the whole class reads at the same time. I read this book in 4th grade and now I’m reading it again in 6th grade. It is an amazing book and I especially love the simple yet enticing title. While reading this for class, I was supposed to read until Chapter 7, but I accidentally read the whole book! It is a real page turner and very creative.
Holes can be a grueling book. It is about some juvenile delinquents digging holes every day in the bed of a dried up lake. They are called “campers” and have a choice between Camp Green Lake or jail. Sounds like a lovely time, right? I love the strange connections in the book. They talk about the dreaded yellow spotted lizards (by the way they are very important to the story). These strange lizards are supposed to be Gila monsters.
Well this story is mostly focused on one specific camper called Stanley Yelnats. If you have sharp eyes or have already read the book then you would know that his name is spelled the same forwards and backwards! This camper has been convicted of a crime he did not commit and was sent to Camp Green Lake. He knows there is something fishy going on that involves the Warden (the Warden is the boss of the camp) and that they’re not just digging for character, they are really looking for something. Overall this is a book to remember–10 out of 10! The unique setting, phrases and dialogue will intrigue you and make you remember this book for a long time.
BOOK NAME: Little House on the Prairie
AUTHOR: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie is a classic book that takes you to the wide-open prairie where a clear sky seems to completely surround you. Now I am sure that many of you have read this book or series before. And the reason you read the series is usually because your mother read it as a kid and insisted that you too read it. When I finally gave it a try, I was intrigued by the story and how it was written by a woman who actually went through these hardships, joys, and events. I was amazed at the little things like how white flour and sugar were such a big luxury when now we use it in everything.
In the story Laura and her family leave their cozy log cabin in the Wisconsin woods to go southwest and live on the prairie. Pa says that the woods are too crowded and they have to leave their family behind including cousins, aunts, and uncles. Can you imagine wondering if you would ever see your family again? Laura has to stand the roughness and boredom of the long journey to the prairie in a covered wagon. Then they face the challenge of building a house, barn, well, and fireplace. They are in Indian Territory so they face a hostile environment, and the prairie fires and illnesses don’t help either. After many disasters and joys they finally have the perfect little house and most importantly, each other. This book is a classic that will continue to be passed down through the generations (meaning that mothers will keep nagging their daughters to read it). And hey, you might even learn something about pioneer life!
BOOK NAME: The Magician’s Nephew
AUTHOR: C.S. Lewis
Just mentioning Narnia sends me into a wonderland full of adventure and magic. This book is the first in The Chronicles of Narnia series and proves to be an engrossing beginning. There is some confusion about this book because most people may think that The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book, but actually this book is the first. Because it is written by an English author, you’ll find that they spell “Hello” like “Hullo” and other spellings that seem odd to us. This book is absolutely beautiful in every aspect. I don’t always envision the illustrations the same as the artist (done by Pauline Baynes), but overall she still captures the scenes very well. I think it may have been hard to illustrate this book because honestly, Narnia is different for everyone.
The main character, Digory, is a boy who lives in London with his very strange uncle, a frail mother, maids, and an absent father (he’s away in India). So, really he can wander where he pleases. Very soon he meets a girl named Polly Plummer who lives next door to him. Since Polly and Digory’s houses are connected, they venture to the attic that connects the houses and find a door. Behind this door just happens to be Digory’s strange uncle. His uncle is making magical rings that will eventually lead them to Narnia where they bring an evil force that will haunt Narnia for hundreds of years. I can promise that Narnia will enchant you for years to come. It is a trip for your imagination and will inspire you. Whenever I have a bad day I just pick up one of these books and escape to Narnia. You should pay a visit too!
(NOTE: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first Narnia book published, but The Magician’s Nephew is the first book if you are reading in chronological order. -DogEared)
BOOK NAME: Bridge to Terabithia
This book was a great read and I went through it very quickly. I found many parts very powerful in that they threw you into the scenes and made you feel the same emotions as the characters. This is a very sad story, but please give it a chance even if you don’t like sob stories. I can’t say too much without revealing key points, so I’ll try not to make this review a spoiler!
The story has a different setting than most books. It takes place in the countryside and of course, the magical Terabithia. I can promise that you will be enchanted when you get there! You start out finding a boy, Jess, who is 11 years old and wants to be the fastest kid in the 5th grade. He has been running every morning through the summer to finally be the fastest and the best. One morning while running, Jess saw a girl sitting on a fence. Her name is Leslie and she is longing for a friend and a place that she can create in her own way. Jess and Leslie share that desire and soon they find Terabithia and crown themselves rulers.
Throughout the book, whenever they have a bad day or are just looking for something to do, they just wander to Terabithia by swinging on a rope. This is surely a book not to miss and even though a devastating event befalls them, there are still many happy endings. And one more thing to consider, it is up to you to decide if Terabithia is real or just fiction I’m not revealing what I think, but excuse me while I go now and find a rope to swing on!
BOOK NAME: Redwall
As a book reviewer I can’t say that all the books I review are my favorites, but yet again I have to say Redwall is one of my favorites! This is an absolutely charming story of peaceful mice and the woodland creatures of Redwall Abbey. They are under attack by the legendary Cluny the Scourge, but the peace seeking creatures have a legendary person on their side also. Martin the Warrior is gone, but he is a symbol of hope and courage to the woodland creatures. Martin the Warrior is especially a hero to a young mouse named Matthias who lives in the abbey.
Matthias was found orphaned as a young child and was taken to the welcoming abbey. Now in this time of war, Matthias has to look upon Martin the Warrior and his wits to save the Redwall Abbey. You wouldn’t think that this young mouse would soon be a hero, with robes that are many sizes too big and he walks with a clomp-clomp sound because his sandals are much too big for him. This is a story that plays along with the unlikely hero plot. But don’t think that Matthias is in this alone! He has friends such as Constance the badger and Cornflower the field mouse to help him through his quest.
This book was a real cliffhanger with lots of great suspense. I really liked the animal themes and I especially like when animals act like humans and have human quirks and personality traits. I most wanted to be like Basil Stag Hare who was a funny and courageous character. He likes to tease and torment the enemy and I think this skill could come in handy in middle school.
Redwall is a long book, but never boring. It would be a lovely addition to your collection!
BOOK NAME: Anacaona
AUTHOR: Edwidge Danticat
The Royal Diaries is a series about different kinds of royalty from all around the world and different periods of time. In keeping with its theme, it is written in the style of a diary. The series is written by a variety of authors who are subject matter experts. So, they write about time periods they know best. What’s also interesting about this series is that at the end of each book there are pictures and drawings of that particular time period.
This part of the series is based on a real story about a girl who is a “supreme chief” in waiting. The girl’s name is Anacaona, which means “golden flower” in the Taino language and she lives in Haiti in the late 1400s. Can you guess the famous person mentioned at the end of this story? If you guessed Christopher Columbus, you’re right! But this time he’s not a hero explorer looking for new lands, he’s an enemy of the native people and is greedily searching for gold.
In the book, Anacaona has to make a big decision–stay in her land and rule her people, or go to a new land so she may marry the man she loves. But that’s not all there is to the story. In fact, you’ll never look at Christopher Columbus the same way again. This book is both educational and an exciting read with extraordinary details and historical settings. You’ll learn something and be entertained along the way. Enjoy!
BOOK NAME: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
AUTHOR: David Benedictus
When you first hear the name Winnie-the-Pooh, you may think of a cute bear with a red shirt and a laugh that seems to float on air. But first, clear your mind for ten seconds and listen. This is the original Winnie-the-Pooh, not the Disney kind that you always see. This is a fun book and a light hearted read, especially if you are an optimist.
This book was written 80 years after the original and picks up right where the last story left off. There is quite a buzz in the Hundred Acre Wood as news of Christopher Robin’s return spreads quickly throughout the forest. Pooh can hardly contain his excitement and is once again ready to share his “hunny” with his best friend. Did you know that Christopher Robin is based on a real person? He is named after the son of the author of the original book series, A. A. Milne.
This book contains ten different stories all of which are quick, easy reads. They are delightful and satisfying despite their short length. In one of these stories, a new character is introduced. It is an otter named Lottie. Amazingly bold, you will remember her forever. She is a great addition to the usual cast of characters. In fact, all of the original characters are back in this book for new adventures together. Their whimsical and carefree way of life is a great escape. This is a children’s book collection that’s certainly worth revisiting.
BOOK NAME: Before Green Gables
AUTHOR: Budge Wilson
This book is actually a prequel to the Anne of Green Gables series. My mother and grandmother read the books as girls and really encouraged me to read them too, and I’ll never regret it. This amazing prequel is written by a different author than the original, but is written just as beautifully. It is the most amazing book I have ever read and I hope that the rest of the series is even better!
It is a very heart wrenching story because this little girl, Anne Shirley, makes so much out of so little and is able to scrape together a decent life while working non-stop. Anne is orphaned at three months old and is deprived a wonderful life with her amazing parents. From then on she goes to different households until she finally somehow lands on a train that may take her to the place of her dreams. Anne is wise beyond her years due to all the responsibility she must carry on her small shoulders. But she has a wonderful imagination which helps her survive all her hardships.
I would recommend this book to anyone, but I would especially recommend this book to fourth graders and up just so you can sympathize and enjoy it more. What I love about it is that you can always find some way to relate to Anne and can really imagine in your head what she’s doing at that moment. No matter how many books I read I don’t think any can beat this one except maybe the original, but I’ll have to read it and find out. Stay tuned!
BOOK NAME: Thunder from the Sea
AUTHOR: Joan Hiatt Harlow
Caution: this book will have you wanting to give your dog a great big bear hug!
Have you ever had the feeling that you didn’t know you needed a dog until you got one? Well, that is how the Murray family felt once they adopted Thunder.
Thunder wasn’t the only one adopted by the Murrays. They first adopted Tom Campbell when he was already 13 years old. Tom and his new dad spent their time fishing, which was quite a change from the farming that Tom was used to.
One day while they were out fishing, a storm came up suddenly. And with it came the miracle dog, Thunder, who is a beautiful Newfoundland canine which is native to the area. Then and there a legacy was born; one of a boy, a dog, and an adventure.
My favorite part of the book is when they need to get across the ice to get to the island doctor, and the ice begins to crack under them. Tom is forced to make rushed decisions that will have a long term effect on both his new dog and family. Fortunately, the Murrays now have Tom and Thunder to help them through this crisis. This is a very heart warming book that will make you love your dog all the more!