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Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Long Walk to Water

Title: A Long Walk to Water
Author: Linda Sue Park
Illustrator: None
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Pages: 115
Reading Level: 12- 15
Series: No
Reviewer: Sandy

In 1985, eleven year old Salva is at school in Sudan when he hears an explosion and the men with guns attack his village.  His teacher tells the boys to run away and that is what Salva does. He spends the next six years, along with thousands of boys ,walking to try and find safety in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.  The boys encounter danger at every turn and many die along the way. 
In 2008, eight year old Nya walks back and forth for eight hours a day to a pond to fetch water for her family. Often the water is dirty but that is the only water available to them.
A Long Walk to Water is the amazing story of these two young people and their struggle to make a better life. Readers will be surprised and filled with hope as the two stories come together in a brilliant, astonishing climax. The book is based on a true story and you will learn much about the real Salva and his adventures coming to the United States.

A Long Walk to Water was our Family Book Club choice for June, 2015.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Click, Clack, Peep!

Title:Click, Clack, Peep!
Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator:Betsy Lewin
Category: Picture Book
Pages: 32
Reading Level: Ages 3-5
Interest Level: Ages 3-5
Reviewer:  Clarice

Although I think Doreen Cronin's book, Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, will always be my favorite book of hers, this one did not disappoint.  In it all the farm animals are waiting for the egg to crack open.  Everyone is waiting anxiously.  Finally the baby chick arrives and is never quiet.  Sleep is almost non existent on the farm.  The animals try everything to get the baby chick to quiet down.  Check out this book to find out if, and what works to calm the baby chick.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Counting by Sevens

Title: Counting by 7s
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Category: Fiction
Pages: 200
Reading Level: Ages 10-12
Interest Level:  Ages 10 and up
Series: No
Reviewer: Clarice

Willow Chance is a 12 year old girl who lives with her adoptive parents and is looking forward to going to a new school.  She is very gifted and enjoys her back yard garden and is obsessed with the number 7.  She is constantly counting things in sets of seven. She is accused of cheating on a state proficiency  test because she gets every question correct and in record time.  Because of this event, she is sent to a counselor - Dell Duke -  for behavior counseling.  It is after a counseling session when he is driving her home that they are met at her front door by the police who tell her that her parents had both been killed in an accident.  Along with the counselor, a set of siblings with her and Willow eventually goes to live with them - in a garage in the back of their mother's nail salon.  When it comes time for a home visit to make sure that Willow can stay with them, the family move the counselor out of his apartment and move in there.  It is more than just a simple move as Dell has organizational issues of his own and  has very little furniture or furnishings in his home.  The way this story develops, relationships intertwine and the feeling of family emerges is both powerful and moving.  I hope you pick it up and read it during your summer vacation.

The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Title: The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Category: Fiction
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Interest Level:   Ages 9-13
Series:  No
Reviewer: Clarice

There are always reasons to read a book - an assignment, an interest in the subject or an interest in the genre to name a few.  This book  has 4 important reasons.  It is a FUN book to read, it is a Mark Twain Award Nominee AND it is a One-Book One Kirkwood Read for this summer and the discussion for the July Family Book Club.  Mr. Lemoncello, a famous game maker, has designed  a brand new library in his home town.  Before the grand opening he invited 12 7th graders to spend the night.  In order to qualify they must write a winning essay.  Since this is the first library the town has had in 12 years, Kyle is very excited to be one of the selected 12 winners.  Once the night of the sleep over arrives, the children realize that they have problems to solve in order to find the secret exit out of the library. Each student starts out as their own player but quickly encounters situations that ends up with teams working against each other.  The teams are very competitive and sometimes find themselves in less than friendly twists.  The book is filled with many clues all of which are based on literature or Dewey Decimal information.  Librarians and teachers will love this book because of all the lessons to be learned or reviewed, but children should live it as well. Read it and join in the Book Club Discussion in July or join us on July 30 for the Mr. Lemoncello Hunt.

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins

Title:  The Adventures of Nanny Piggins
Author: R.A. Spratt
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Category: Fiction
Pages: 156
Reading Level: Ages 7-9
Interest Level:   Ages 7-9
Series: Yes
Reviewer: Clarice

In this day and age, there are many Nannies taking care of many children.  I assure you none of them can compare with the Nanny in this book.  As her name indicates, Nanny Piggins is a PIG!
She is hired by a widowed father of two school-age children.  He needs a nanny in a hurry and posts a sign on his lawn.  He is thrilled when Nanny Piggins rings his bell late one night because she will work cheap.  However, when he realizes in the morning that she is a pig he is not so sure about his decision.   The children, on the other hand, LOVE their new Nanny - who was a former circus pig..  She loves eating sweets and having fun and will let them engage in these two types of activities constantly.  Her adventures range from an all day encounter at an Amusement Park to entering an Art Show, to taking a trip to the beach which culminates in a sailing adventure beyond all belief.  There are also many other side stories that take place at the children's school, around the neighborhood and of course at home.  If you like the Lemony Snicket books, I think you will enjoy these books as well.  You must check it out and read it quickly.  Then join us on June 1st when we discuss it for the first Family Book Club, Jr. of the summer!

The War That Saved My Life

Title: The War that Saved My Life
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Pages: 320
Reading Level:  Ages 10-12
Interest Level: Ages 10-12
Series: No
Reviewer: Clarice

Books about World War II have always interested me.  Another area of interest has been people with disabilities.  This book combines them both.  The story is about two siblings - Ada and Jamie, who are uncertain of their age..  Ada was born with a physical deformity which she calls her twisted foot, and is never allowed outside of her apartment.  Her brother, on the other hand, is a typically developing young boy who is allowed out of his house to play and go to school.  With the War getting closer to London, all the school age children are being transported to villages outside of London and Jamie is scheduled to be on the train.  Ada tags along - hobbling on her good foot and using her twisted foot as much as possible.  The story takes them to the village of Kent where they are placed with an unmarried woman named Susan.  Their lives take off in directions previously unknown and they begin to blossom into wonderful, productive children - even helping plant Victory Gardens, and taking care of wounded  soldiers.  Read all about the ups and downs of relocating to a foreign village, with an unknown woman, learning to adapt to many new situations, Will they learn to adapt?  Will they want to return to their mother?  Read on to see what happens as the ravages of World War II changes their lives.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Marilyn's Monster

Title: Marilyn's Monster
Author: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrator: Matt Phelan
Category: Picture Book
Pages: 40
Interest Level: Ages 5 and up
Reading Level: K-3
Series: No
Reviewer: Kim

Every kid has certain rights of passage, like learning how to ride a bike, losing a first tooth and even getting their very own monster.  They might appear when you are at school, at the library or at the playground.  Marilyn is very excited and cannot wait for her monster to show up.  Everyone else seems to be getting their monster but Marilyn.  She tries to be patient but after waiting and waiting she decides to take matters into her own hands.  Against her older brother's advice she decides to go and look for her monster.  This is a great story about being pro-active and going after what you want even if it isn't the same approach that everyone else takes.   This is a fun story with great illustrations.  My new favorite picture book!!