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Category Archives: Juv

A Night Divided

Title: A Night Divided
Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Series: N/A
Recommended for:
Pages: 317 pages
Call Number/Link: J FICTION NIELSEN, J.

Synopsis: When the Berlin Wall went up, Gerta, her mother, and her brother Fritz are trapped on the eastern side where they were living, while her father, and her other brother Dominic are in the West–four years later, now twelve, Gerta sees her father on a viewing platform on the western side and realizes he wants her to risk her life trying to tunnel to freedom.

A neighbor told me that I needed to read this book, he was right.  I have read other books by the author and like her writing style. Before reading this book, I knew very little on the subject. This has prompted me to read more.  The story allowed you to see how the government pitted everyone against each other.  My only complaint is that realistically Gerta would have been caught right away.  I didn’t feel that she hid what she was doing all that well.  This book did make me want to learn more about true stories of people crossing.

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Posted by on September 30, 2017 in Historical, Juv

 

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Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes

Title: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes
Author: Booki Vivat
Series: Frazzled
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 6
Pages: 224
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Vivat (Don’t currently own, but did ask Janet to order)

Synopsis: Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year she’ll run for class president and get a brand-new shiny locker. Until—she doesn’t…

In her second tumultuous misadventure, Abbie Wu tackles more unbelievably unfair and calamitous middle school days. From facing locker thieves and battling diabolical cats to having absolutely no idea what to build for her science project, Abbie Wu is still in perpetual crisis.

Review: Man, I’m really struggling with sequels this month! I thought this one was okay, but no where near as awesome as the first one. Abbie is a bit over-dramatic at times, but I feel like that’s typical 6th grade behavior. They’re still dealing how to deal with things that come up in life. I do like that we got to see her work through the process of thinking about one thing but realizing it wasn’t actually true. The science fair project was a little so-so as there are already automatic food feeders, but that’s a small point. And I really loved that the science teacher still gave them an A even though it didn’t work because it was about the process and not the overall result. Even though I didn’t love this one as much, I still think it’s going to be a hit with reluctant readers and those already who enjoy the series.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Funny, Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

Thornhill

Title:   Thornhill
Author:   Pam Smy
Series:   —
Recommended for:  older tweens and teens who like creepy books
Pages:   533 pages
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION SMY, P.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

 

Summary:

Parallel plotlines set in different times, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.

1982:  Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors.  When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary and on Thornhill itself.

2016:  Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one.  From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window.  Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Comments:

Some colleagues were surprised that I chose to read this book since I don’t usually read creepy, scary books.

As it works out, I was less scared than horrified by the book.  I was really troubled by the cruelty of the bullying that the girl from the eighties experienced, and that the orphanage’s primary caregivers truly didn’t care.  The girl obviously needed psychological help, as did the bully.

I did not get a complete picture of the contemporary girl’s situation.  I could see that she and her father had moved to a new place where she didn’t have any friends.  Her mother isn’t with them and the father works so many hours that the girl is, for all intensive purposes, an abandoned child.

There was no way that this book could end well….

 

But now for the biggest mystery of all:  should we move to book to Teen Fiction or keep it in J Fiction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Historical, Historical, Horror, Juv, Scary, Teen

 

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Yours, Sincerely, Giraffe

 

Title: Yours, Sincerely, Giraffe

Author: Megumi Iwasa

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Pre-K-3rd grades

Pages: 104

 

Call Number/Link:  J FICTION IWASA, M.

 

Synopsis: Giraffe is bored, as usual. He’d love a friend to share things with. So he writes a letter and sends it as far as possible across the other side of the horizon. There he finds a pen palPenguin.

Thoughts:  This is a really cute book to read aloud for a few days.  It shows great examples of letter writing between friends for a classroom and a child.  Fun book full of surprises at the crazy thoughts that run through both of their heads.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Adventure, Fantasy, Funny, Juv

 

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Evil Emperor Penguin

Title:   Evil Emperor Penguin
Author:   Laura Ellen Anderson
Series:   —
Recommended for:
Pages:   64 p.
Call Number/Link:   GN J Anderon, L.

 Rating:   *****

Synopsis:

Evil Emperor Penguin lives in Antarctica and plots to take over the world with his two minions: a polite and thoughtful purple octopus and an abominable snowman who loves nothing more than a hug.

 

Comments:

For whatever reason, I am a big fan of Pinky and the Brain, Phineas and Ferb and other comics that feature a ridiculous character whose life goal is to take over the world.

It doesn’t get much more ridiculous than an evil Emperor Penguin whose minions are a sweet, fluffy abominable snowman and a purple octopus who reminds me of Alfred the butler in Batman..  I absolutely love the way that Eugene the abominable snowman consistently misinterprets the penguin’s instructions and creates “evil inventions” that actually spread joy.

To quote Eugene, “Yay!”

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Funny, Graphic Novels, Juv

 

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You Don’t Want a Unicorn!

Title: You Don’t Want a Unicorn!
Author: Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Liz Climo
Recommended for: Preschool – 3
Pages: 40
Call Number/Link:  E DYCKMAN, A.

Synopsis: When a little boy throws a coin in a well asking for a pet unicorn, he has no idea what kind of trouble he’s in for. Unbeknownst to him, unicorns make the absolutely worst pets: they shed, they poke holes in your ceiling, and they make a big mess. 

Comments: The tag line to this book is “Be careful what you wish for!” It’s a funny look at what it’s really like to have a magical pet. Did you know unicorns poop cupcakes with sprinkles? At the end, there is a funny twist, and the little boy doesn’t learn his lesson and gets another magical pet. It would make a great pre-school read aloud.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in Fantasy, Funny, Picture Books

 

Karma Khullar’s Mustache

Title: Karma Khullar’s Mustache
Author: Kristi Wientge
Series: N/A
Recommended for: grades 5 – 7
Pages: 272
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Wientge (we don’t have this yet/it comes out in Aug, but I’ll ask Janet to order it!)

Synopsis: Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

Review: I absolutely adored this book. It’s perfect for those kids who are just starting middle school. It deals nicely with friendships, mean girls/bullying, & the ever dreaded “I don’t look like everyone else”/body scenario. There is also some home life issues with dad losing his job and mom picking up more hours/not being around as much. While Karma does deal some some issue appearing/revolving around her Sikh religion, the themes/issues/problems are very universal. The fears are pretty universal, where it would be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t even deal with some of the issue when they were in middle school. Super fast read and easily one of my favorite middle grades of the year.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2017 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

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