Monthly Archives: December 2015

Princess Pistachio

Princess Pistachio cover

Title:   Princess Pistachio
Author:   Marie-Louise Gay
Series:   Princess Pistachio
Recommended for:   children who are just transitioning to chapter books – either as readers or listeners
Pages:   46 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION GAY, M.

Rating:   ***






“When she receives a mysterious crown for her birthday, Pistachio realizes that she is really an abducted princess.  But this only makes her parents sigh, her friends laugh, and her baby sister Penny insist on playing princess too.  When Pistachio’s angry wish makes Penny disappear, she needs a princess’s courage to get her back.”


I was conflicted whether this was a beginning chapter book or an early reader.  After some thought, I decided to keep it in juvenile fiction.

I enjoyed the book but didn’t absolutely adore it.  Pistachio has a wonderful imagination and we have similar ideas of what life should be like as royalty.  The cute illustrations were a nice bonus.

The book stays rooted in reality despite Pistachio’s imagination and is more about family relationships than royalty.  Thus, it’s not exactly for the child who “wants a book about princesses.”  The exception would be if the child wants to read about princess wannabes who don’t get what they want.


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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


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Say What You Will

Title: Say What You Will: (they told each other everything except what matters most)
Author: Cammie McGovern
Series: n/a
Recommended for: 7th grade and up
Pages: 343

say what you willSynopsis: Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized. When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

This book has been described as a cross between Eleanor and Park and Fault in Our Stars.  I would agree but also add in some of Out of My Mind. This book develops both main characters well, that you just have to root for them both. They have a connection that started in 2nd grade, where they looked at each other and decided that they thought the other was interesting but really didn’t do anything about it till senior year of high school.  As Matthew helps Amy around the school they develop a friendship, but neither of them are ready to say how they really feel as feelings grow, so they end up going their seperate ways after high school. Very heartwarming and also tragic at the same time.  Good for readers of Sarah Dessen and other realistic fiction authors.

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Mouse and the Motorcycle

Title: Mouse and the Motorcycle
Author: Beverly Cleary
Series: Mouse and the Motorcycle Series
Recommended for: Ages 8-12
Pages: 208
Call Number/Link:  J CLE

Synopsis: In this imaginative adventure from author Beverly Cleary, a young mouse named Ralph is thrown into a world of excitement when a boy and his toy motorcycle check into the Mountain View Inn.

When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith’s red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom come a lot of obstacles. With a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle.

One of my childhood favorites! You can not go wrong with Mouse and the motorcycle. A great classroom read-a-loud or a great transition book for a young reader.

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Posted by on December 19, 2015 in Adventure, Fantasy, Funny, Juv, Uncategorized


Not if I see you first


Title: Not if I see you first
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th thru 12th grade
Pages: 310

Synopsis: Blind sixteen-year-old Parker Grant navigates friendships and romantic relationships, including a run-in with a boy who previously broke her heart, while coping with her father’s recent death.

Parker Grant lost her sight at the age of seven in an accident that killed her mother.  As a coping mechanism, she created what she refers to as “The Rules,” and she expects everyone in her life to adhere to them. “Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.” “Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.”  Through these rules, and many others, I was drawn into what it is like to be a blind teenager (as much as I could be).  With the recent death of her father, she is trying to continue on with life in a no-nonsense fashion.  She has a quick wit and a gift for sarcasm.  Things get complicated when she meets a boy who doesn’t treat her like a blind girl, and her former best friend/boyfriend begins attending her high school (she hasn’t spoken to him in two years). Luckily she has some true friends who help her navigate the ups and downs of life.

I loved this book!  It drew me in right away, which surprised me because I wasn’t convinced I would like the book when I read the book jacket.  The struggles of high school as a teenage girl rang very true (I was a teenage girl back in the day!).  The insights into being blind were very interesting to me, and made me think about so many things I take for granted as a sighted person. The friendships were genuine and the emotions very raw at times.  I highly recommend this book for someone looking for realistic fiction.  It is a safe book to recommend if the patron is looking for a book without sex.  The most physical interaction in a make-out session in the back seat of a car.

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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Realistic, Romance, Teen


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Castle Hangnail

castle hangnailTitle: Castle Hangnail
Author: Ursula Vernon
Series: n/a at this time
Recommended for: 3rd-5th Grade
Pages: 372 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION VERNON, U. 
Synopsis: When little, twelve-year-old Molly arrives at Castle Hangnail to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the minions who dwell there have no choice but to give her the job and at first it seems she will be able to keep the castle open, but Molly has quite a few secrets that could cause trouble.

This is a funny story of a wicked witch (not really) tries to fill a vacancy for master of a castle.  She feels she is wicked because her twin is a goody goody. She has six tasks she has to complete in order to become the master of the castle, like committing an act of  smiting and defending the castle.   So you get to laugh with her as she tries to complete the tasks as well as run a castle.  She also has a few secrets that may stop her from becoming the master. This book also shows what good and bad friends look like.  My favorite character is the goldfish who wears sweaters and is a hypercondriac.


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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Fantasy, Funny, Juv


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Upside-down Magic

upside down magicTitle: Upside-down Magic
Author: Sarah Mlynoswki
Series: Upside-down Magic #1
Recommended for: 2nd-4th
Pages: 196 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION MLYNOWSKI, S.
Synopsis: With their magic being unpredictable, Nory, Elliott, Andres, and Bax are sent to the upsidedown magic room at Dunwiddle Magic School.

I am going to admit that I picked up this audio book because of the cover.  It is hard to resist the adorable black kitten with dragon wings. The good part is the book is about accepting who you are, no matter if others find you different.  That is great and a good message.

What I didn’t like is that (spoiler alert) her family didn’t accept Nory.  As a parent I was appalled at how Nory’s father and siblings treated her.  My youngest son of course doesn’t seem like he even notices.  I will see when he finishes it what he thinks.  I know that a second book is going to come out, and maybe the family situation will be resolved at that time.

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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Fantasy, Juv


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Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco


Title: Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco

Author: Judith Robbins Rose

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Grades 4-6

Pages: 341

Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Rose, J.

Synopsis: When Jacinta Juarez is paired with a rich, famous mentor, she is swept away from the diapers and dishes of her own boring life into a world of new experiences. But crossing la linea into Miss’s world is scary. Half of Jacinta aches for the comfort of Mamá and the familiar safety of the barrio, while the other half longs to embrace a future that offers more than cleaning stuff for white people.

When her family is torn apart, Jacinta needs to bring the two halves of herself together to win back everything she holds dear. Can she channel the power she’s gained from Miss and the strength she’s inherited from Mamá to save her shattered home life?

This story is a bit sad but yet hopeful because of being able to see what her possibilities are outside of her neighborhood.  It gives an unusual perspective of an American born Mexican girl who has illegal parents which is a reality for many families. A good read aloud to get children to see a different perspective from their own and definitely falls in the category of a modern day realistic fiction. For the older elementary and younger middle school grade level patron.

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Posted by on December 9, 2015 in Funny, Juv, Realistic


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