Author Archives: kstevens2015

Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid

stinkTitle: Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
Author: Megan McDonald
Series: Stink
Recommended for: Kids 1st-4th grade
Pages: 102
Call Number/Link: J MCD


The shortest kid in the second grade is  James Moody, also known as Stink. Every morning, older sister Judy measures Stink, and it’s always the same: 3 feet, 8 inches tall. Stink feels like even the class newt is growing faster than he is. Then one day, the ruler reads – 3 feet, 7 and three-quarter inches! Can it be? Is Stink shrinking? Stink tries everything to look like he’s growing, but wearing up-and-down stripes and spiking his hair don’t seem to be fooling anybody into thinking he’s taller. What would James Madison, Stink‘s hero do?


This is the first book in the Stink series.  Stink is the younger brother of Judy Moody, and the typical brother-sister rivalry goes on.  I found the book to be funny, and the character likeable. His hero worship of President James Madison is unexpected and hilarious.   I listened to this on audio, which was read by Nancy Cartwright, best known as the voice of Bart Simpson.  It was really well done with character voices and made it entertaining to listen to. Good book series to suggest for early chapter readers, and younger fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate.

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Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


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


When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses

Title: When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses
Author: Rebecca L. Johnson
Series: n/a
Recommended for: 1-6th grade
Pages: 48
Call Number/Link:  J 591.47 JOH

Synopsis: Presents the various types of defenses mechanisms used by animals, including the bone spikes of the African hairy frog, the delunch fights backadly poison of the blue-spotted N. taracua termite, and the hammer-like punch of the peacock mantis shrimp.

Did you know that the fulmar chick when it’s threatened will spew a foul smelling orange-yellow vomit to chase away its attacker or that a  horned lizard has the ability to shoot streams of blood from it’s eyes to defend itself?  These are the kinds of facts that are in this book about animal defenses.  Each chapter is about an animal that has a weird and disgusting way to defend itself.  The first part of the chapter describes a narrative in which the creature is under attack, and the later part describes the science behind the story, sometimes including information about how scientists made their discoveries.

This book could possibly used for a child writing a report for basic information, but I think this will really appeal to the kids who really likes the gross stuff.  The photography shows these animals in great detail, and often while they are doing what they do to defend themselves. 



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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Juv, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized


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Welcome to Camden Falls

Title: Welcome to Camden Falls
Author: Ann Martin
Series: Main Street
Recommended for: Girls 3-6 grade
Pages: 192
Call Number/Link:  J MAR

Synopsis: Flora and Ruby do not want to move to Camden Falls. But they don’t really have a choice — their parents are dead and their grandmother, Min, is taking them in. It’s strange to be in a new place. But luckily, it’s a very welcoming place.
main street

Review:  This book is the first in a series of ten, in which I have read the first five books.  I am enjoying it, and in some ways it is like a typical girls friendship books series and in some ways it is not.  Flora and Ruby have lost their parents in a car accident and now have to move in with their grandmother in Massachusetts.Older sister Flora is shy and Ruby is outgoing, so the author does a great job of showing how both girls work through their grief.  Along with this issue, other characters  both adult and child are dealing with some pretty heavy problems; such as Alzheimer’s, racism, abusive parents, and Downs Syndrome.   The books have characters with these issues and its handled in a  gentle way.  It’s not all sunshine and roses, but still there and in a very realistic way.

I would recommend for girls that enjoy a little tragedy in their books, starting with about third grade. There is not even a little bit of romance in the series but I still don’t think that there is much boy appeal in these books.

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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Saint Anything

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: n/a
Recommended for: 6th grade and up
Pages: 417

Synopsis: Sydney’s charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.

Review: This book is like a typical book by the author. It explores some deep feelings of the protagonist. Sydney is the good girl always trying to do right, while older brother Peyton is always in trouble.  This time he hit and paralyzed a young boy while driving drunk.  Sydney’s parents are hyper- focused on Peyton and his needs that they don’t spend much time with Sydney except to tell her she can’t spend time with her new friends, Mac and Layla. The Chathams are much different than her family and she really starts to feel understood and loved.

I liked this book except for the character of Ames,a creepy adult friend of Peyton’s, who is always leering at Sydeny. Sydney’s mom trusts him, even having him stay with her overnight while they are out of town. Eventually he manipulates  everything so that he is living with them.  The whole time Sydney knows that Ames is probably going to attack her, she locks herself in her room, but never feels like she can tell her parents.  It was also weird that her mom would rather her stay alone in the house with a 20 something guy rather than spend time with her new friend Layla.

I do like Sarah Dessen’s books, they are emotional and heavy, good for the kid who likes story lines with people going through hard times.  There is usually some romance, as this one does with Sydney’s relationship with Mac,  but it does not factor heavily into the story, which some kids really don’t want to read too much about. I would recommend for readers of John Green and other realistic fiction authors.

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Eight Keys

eight keysTitle: Eight Keys
Author: Suzanne LeFleur
Series: n/a
Recommended for: Kids grades 4-6
Pages: 216
Call Number/Link: J LAF

Synopsis: Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise’s parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There’s always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn. Elise receives the keys one by one and tries to discover why her father left her the things he did.
Review: This book is a story of two friends and how growing up can be hard.  This book is good for kids who are struggling with growing up, and the changes that middle school brings. It is not a sad book like LaFleur’s other book, Love, Aubrey, but is emotional just the same.  It can to appeal to both boys and girls because even though the story is about Elise, Franklin is a strong character.
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


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From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Title: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess
Author: Meg Cabot
Series: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess
Recommended for: Grades 2-5
Pages: 182
Call Number/Link: J FICTION CABOT, M.Middle school princess

Synopsis: Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old: average height, average weight, average brown hair of average length, average brown skin and average hazel eyes. The only things about her that aren’t average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn’t want to complain). Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she’s knocked down at thebus stop. Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles. Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn’t so average after all!

Review:  I can start by saying that I have read all of the Princess Diaries books and just about everything else that Meg Cabot has written.  I really enjoy her funny and snarky characters.  Although Princess Olivia is a lot more innocent and trusting than her other protagonists, I liked her too. Olivia is also biracial, which is something I like to see in book characters.  This is a really cute story with a lot of similarities to the original Princess Diaries series, but since it is written for a younger age group, it wasn’t a problem for me. Meg Cabot has also just released a new Princess Diaries book,  Royal Wedding (an adult book, Mia is 26 now)  which tells the story about Princess Mia finding out about Olivia while planning her wedding to long time boyfriend Michael.

I am looking forward to other books in the Princess Olivia series and I would recommend for girls who still like princesses or looking for a good girl book.

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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized


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