Tag Archives: school stories

The Great Pet Escape


Title:   The Great Pet Escape
Author:   Victoria Jamieson
Series:   Pets on the Loose
Recommended for:   early chapter book readers, children ages 4 and up as a readaloud, reluctant readers
Pages:   63 p.
Call Number/Link:   GN J JAMIESON, V.

Rating:   ^^^^






GW, a class pet at Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School wants OUT . . . and he, the deceptively cute hamster in the second-grade classroom, is just the guy to lead a mass escape. But when he finally escapes and goes to find his former partners in crime, Barry and Biter, he finds that they actually LIKE being class pets. Impossible!

Just as GW gets Barry and Biter to agree to leave with him, a mouse named Harriet and her many mouse minions get in their way. What follows is class pet chaos guaranteed to make readers giggle.


This book is very funny.  We’ll need extra copies once the kids discover it.
Imagine this: a hamster who has invented a sunflower seed catapult, a rodent catapult transportation device and recently completed work on the Hairy Houdini Escape-O-Matic.
Why?  He has been trapped in a terrible prison (known as a second grade classroom) for 3 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.  He wants FREEDOM and plans to escape with his best friends Barry and Biter.  Things don’t go exactly as planned….
This is the first book in a series.  Book two, The Great Art Caper, is being published in June 2017.
Amazon lists the age range as 6-10 years and grade level as grades 1-5.
Here is a comment from a SLJ review by Kiera Parrott:
VERDICT  Hand this charmingly goofy graphic novel to chapter book readers who enjoy Dav Pilkey’s works, Cyndi Marko’s “Kung Pow Chicken” series and Geoffrey Hayes’s “Benny and Penny” books.
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Adventure, Funny, Graphic Novels


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Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Judy Moody & Bucket List cover


Title:   Judy Moody and the Bucket List
Author:   Megan McDonald
Series:   Judy Moody
Recommended for:   kids in grades 3-5
Pages:   157
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION MCDONALD, M.

Rating:   ***





Discovering Grandma Lou’s mysterious “bucket list” of things that she wants to do in her lifetime, Judy Moody is inspired to create a list of her own goals, from learning to do a cartwheel to visiting Antarctica.


I was drawn in by the words Bucket List in the title.  I wondered how my  list might compare to Judy Moody’s.

As it turns out, we have different lifetime goals.  At one time, I also hoped to learn to do a cartwheel, but I realized that was never going to happen.  And Antarctica?  brrrrrr.  I would much rather visit France, Ireland, Scotland and/or Canada.  (These trips would be funded by the lottery that I need to win very very soon.)

This was a cute book.  It was realistic fiction that was actually realistic, except for Judy’s immediate mastery of the hepcat dictionary.  I loved Grandma Lou.  It also made me smile that the ride on the horse/donkey hybrid was so much better than the ride on the actual horse.

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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Funny, Juv, Realistic


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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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Lola Levine Is NOT Mean!

Lola Levine is not mean cover

Title:   Lola Levine Is NOT Mean!
Author:   Monica Brown
Series:    I think it will be called Lola Levine, but am not sure
Recommended for:   kids in grades 2-4 for independent reading.  It works best as a read-aloud for grades 1-3, although it could probably used for kindergarten and fourth grade classes.
Pages:   88 pages
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION BROWN, M.

Rating:   ****





Second-grader Lola has a wonderful family, a great teacher, and the best friend ever, Josh, and they all help her feel better after she is teased and forbidden to play team sports at recess for having accidentally hurt classmate Juan during a soccer game.


Lola Levine is half Hispanic and half Jewish.  She has many opinions, communicates best in writing and loves to play soccer.  Sometimes she is too aggressive a competitor during recess soccer games.  One day she injures her classmate Juan when playing goalie at recess.  The other kids in her class nickname her Mean Lola Levine.

Lola has one best friend in her class, Josh.  The other kids, especially some mean girls, are not friendly (or even pleasant) to her.  But Lola primarily focuses on having one good friend.  She doesn’t spend an excessive amount of time talking or thinking about the mean girls.

I can imagine Lola being good friends with Clementine, Ramona,, Judy Moody and other feisty females.  I think her books will appeal to kids who enjoy those series.


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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


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Impossible Knife of Memory

impossibleknifeTitle: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Recommended for: High School
Pages: 391

Hayley and her dad move back to his home town ostensibly because he wants her to have a normal senior year of high school after years of traveling with him as a trucker–but really because the demons of his past in the military have started to take over and he is unable to hold down a job.  They muddle along together as his PTSD worsens and she covers for him more and more.  In the process, she has to stop living day to day and start remembering things from her past and planning for the future.

I picked up this book because of the army angle–after all, military service is a part of life for many families.  I was filled with sympathy for her father, even when he was a horrible dad.  But the book covers more life tragedies beyond PTSD and neglect without feeling like it is too crammed with issues.  Hayley slowly makes friends, and their seemingly perfect lives are also being torn apart by trauma–pill addictions, divorce, alcoholism, poverty, and probably more that I can’t remember.  But what unfolds is ultimately the message that everyone is messed up, but you can rise above.  Despite the subject matter, this book is actually really funny.  Hayley has a lot of sass and attitude and her friend Finn is a wise-cracking nerdy love interest that injects a great note of levity to the book.  I would recommend this book to people who like realistic fiction that are a cut above the “teen issues” books, but still want a book with emotional resonance.  I recommend this for high school, not because of bad content, but because the issues are a little more mature.  If I were booktalking the book, I would say, “This is about a girl who not only has to deal with all the junk that comes with high school (teachers on power trips, pressure to join clubs, trying to read into possible relationships), she also has to figure out how to deal with her dad who is slowly losing it from PTSD.  She finds the funny in the hard stuff.”

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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Realistic, Romance, Teen


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Absolutely Almost

Absolutely Almost book jacket 1

Title:   Absolutely Almost
Author:   Lisa Graff
Series:   none
Recommended for:   Grades 4-6
Pages:  288
Call Number/Link:   J Graff, L.

Synopsis:   Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.

Rating:  ****



My comments:

As Absolutely Almost begins,  Albie’s parents have received a letter stating that he can no longer attend his exclusive private school because his grades aren’t good enough.  The problem isn’t a lack of trying – Albie is not capable of the schoolwork.  The  next year, Albie will (gasp) attend public school, where he finally receives help for his learning challenges.  And, after a lifetime of his parents and teachers telling him he’s not good enough, he begins the summer with a nanny named Calista who thinks he’s a great kid and tells him so.  Not everything goes well – Albie struggles with bullies, making friends, and Calista is ultimately fired for lying to his mother.  But by the end of the book, Alfie’s parents occasionally have reasonable expectations of him and can even see the good in him.  More importantly, Alfie learns to recognize his own strengths (or superpowers) and take pride in himself.





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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


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