Monthly Archives: November 2015

Milo Speck, Accidental Agent

MilospeckTitle: Milo Speck, Accidental Agent
Author: Linda Urban
Series: Maybe
Recommended for: 1st-4th grade
Pages: 272 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION URBAN, L.
Synopsis: When Milo Speck enters Ogregon, a land populated with hungry ogres, enormous turkeys, children needing rescue, and his own, ordinary, salesman-father, his top priority is to escape–but only after thwarting a plot to turn children everywhere into ogre snack food.

Review: This is a fun adventure that kids will laugh as they are reading. I feel the book is also a good read aloud as my three children loved listening to the story.  Children who are new to chapter books may be afraid of the book because of the size, but I would like to point out that the chapters are short and it has pictures so that may ease some of them. Kids will easily connect with Milo as he is a regular kid. He uses his brain, common sense and compassion throughout the book.   My concern with the book is that the main girl character seems like she has never thought outside of the box, and is only thinking about herself and how she will look to the board. In a way Milo is the knight in shining armor or knight in yellow ducky sweatshirt.  She changes by the end of the book, but it took some time.  I would have liked a stronger female character. Over all a great book that could easily be made into a series.

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Adventure, Fantasy, Juv


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Goodnight, Good Dog

Goodnight, Good Dog cover

Title:   Goodnight, Good Dog
Author:   Mary Lyn Ray
Series:   –
Recommended for:   babies, toddlers and preschoolers
Pages:   32 p.
Call Number/Link:  E Ray, M.


Rating:  ****





“For one restless pup the waking world is too full of wonder to leave behind at bedtime, until he closes his eyes and finds comfort in his dreams”        (Provided by publisher)


My first thought after finishing this book was:  “Lapsit!  Toddler Time!”  It could also work for Preschool Storytime.  It would be best for storytimes about dogs, bedtime and night time.

It’s a quiet book that could work well as a child’s last bedtime story, just before sleep.  Much like Goodnight Moon, the dog’s routine models things that a child can do as they are getting ready to fall asleep.  He inventories the house, thinks about favorite parts of his day, remembers words that he knows, curls up in his bed and says, “Goodnight, good dog.”  Next thing he knows, it’s morning!

Even though the book is quiet, it could work well for Lapsits and Toddler Time due to the brevity of its text and the cozy, familiar items the dog notices as he prepares to go to sleep.


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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Bedtime


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Roller Girl

Roller Girl
Cover of the book Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Cover of the book Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Title: Roller Girl
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 4-8
Pages: 239
Call Number/Link:  GN J JAMIESON, V.
Synopsis: Astrid is an impressionable grade schooler about to transition to Middle School.  In the summer prior to the 6th grade, she attends a roller deby event and is inspired to be become a roller derby athlete. She attends a summer roller derby camp and learns a bit more about herself, even as she and her childhood friend begin to drift apart.
Review:  Roller girl is a clever take on the middle schooler coming of age story. I am a fan of roller derby and this book did not disappoint. The main character Astrid is realistic and feels like a preteen, figuring out her place in the world. . The lost of friendship as Astrid and her best friend grow apart feels very real with a lack of melodrama. The book is filled with subtle nuances of character and told with a light touch. While seemingly inspired by Raina Telgemeier, I found this book to be even better than Smile

The best part was the underlying message, not of “believe in yourself and you will win” but “work hard and do your best.” It lacked the clichés of most “sports” books, in terms of underdogs and sudden mastery of difficult skills. I enjoyed that Astrid was still somewhat unskilled at roller derby in the end—though better than the beginning. If this turns into a series, I will be quite happy.


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Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Realistic


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The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

callie v


Title: The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

Author: Jacqueline Kelly

Series: Sequel to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Recommended for: 4th- 8th Grade

Pages: 312 pages

Call Number/Link: J FICTION KELLY, J.



Synopsis: Callie’s younger brother Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—Travis included—away from her mother’s critical eye.

When a storm blows change into town in the form of a visiting veterinarian, Callie discovers a life and a vocation she desperately wants. But with societal expectations as they are, she will need all her wits and courage to realize her dreams.

Whether it’s wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers cheering for this most endearing heroine.

My Recommendations: I love this book and the first book. It is a great historical fiction book for young ladies seeing how difficult it was to just be in the early part of the last century.  It fun to see how she works her way around all the obstacles in her path and doesn’t let her family stand in the way of her goals.  Of course there is a knight in shining armor that is her grandfather and older brother encouraging her along the way.  A great read for older elementary school and middle school children. I read this on audio book in the car so a great book to read over a few weeks time for children and adults.



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The Sword of Summer

MagnusChaseTitle: The Sword of Summer
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Recommended for: 4th- 8th Grade
Pages: 512 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION RIORDAN, R.

Synopsis: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he barely knows—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

I knew going in it was another teenage boy finding out his father was a god, but how many times can you go with that story line.  Well, if you are Rick Riordan you can do this as many times as you like.  This is another great series with action, adventure and a magic sword going up giantess’s noses.  When reading Percy Jackson I had a great knowledge of Greek and Roman Mythology and so I enjoyed seeing those gods and goddess with modern twists.  I have no Norse Mythology knowledge, (I don’t think watching Thor counts) but I felt like enough info was given that I was able to enjoy the sarcasm. Rick Riordan is great with the sarcastic characters. The group dynamics is interesting, their is Blitzen, a fashion savvy dwarf, Hearthstone, an elf who is deaf, and Samirah, a Valkyrie that is a teenage hijab-wearing muslim girl.

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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Adventure, Fantasy, Juv


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Dory and the real true friend



Title: Dory and the real true friend
Author: Abby Hanlon
Series: Dory books
Recommended for: K thru 3
Pages: 152
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION HANLON, A.

Synopsis: Dory, a highly imaginative youngest child, makes a new friend at school but her brother and sister are sure Rosabelle is imaginary, just like all of Dory‘s other friends. 

As written by Carolyn Phelan for Booklist, “Known as Rascal in her family, Dory is high-spirited, creative, and frequently in trouble. Plenty of kids have imaginary friends, but supercreative Dory has two—and an imaginary enemy as well. A new school year is starting, though, and she longs for a real friend. Does that mean leaving the others behind? From the first day of class, Dory tries to befriend Rosabelle. Before the story ends, she discovers that the girl’s enormous talent for imaginative play adds a new dimension to her own fantasy world. Dory’s lively first-person narrative is illustrated with similarly expressive line drawings, which take up about as much space as the text in this appealing early chapter book . A former teacher, Hanlon perceptively portrays the dynamics of Dory’s life at home, in the classroom, and on the playground. The story has its tender moments, but kids will find plenty to laugh about as well. A fine sequel to the popular series opener, Dory Fantasmagory (2014).”

Normally I write my own review, but this review in Booklist was so spot on, I could not have done any better.  I loved this book and the character of Dory.  I loved that her older siblings did not believe she had a real friend since she was so attached to her imaginary buddies. I loved that her mother let her wear whatever she wanted to school, including the day she wore 9 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of leggings, 4 shirts, and 3 pairs of socks.  And I loved that she felt she had to stuff her lunchbox with salami because Mom never gives her enough. Everything about this book is endearing.  I am definitely going to read the first Dory book because I truly enjoy Dory. It is a quick 45minutes to an hour read, depending on if you get interrupted.

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Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Uncategorized