Children's Book Reviews

Book Review: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life
Russell, Rachel Renee
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is funny and strong willed. It is a diary of a girl who has just started in a new school and she has no friends. She has to deal with a bully and an embarrassing family. I loved this book!

Book Review: The Star Shard
Durbin, Frederic S.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I first read The Star Shard in my sister's Cricket magazines. It was a ten part issue with fantastic drawings and a writing style so unlike what I had read in the other short stories in Cricket. We couldn't wait till the next issues came out. Then a year or so later when we heard it was being made into a book, we bought it right away. It was even better than what we saw in the magazine.

The story is about a young girl named Cymbril who lives on a massive moving city-like wagon, called the Thunder Rake, where she is enslaved to a rich man named Rombil. As the Rake moves from town to town, she must sing at the markets to attract customers and gain money for her master. Since she is Rombil's slave and even her clothes are owned by him, her only true possessions are beautiful hair clip from her mother and a smooth turquoise stone from her father. When Rombil one day buys another slave named Loric, her life is changed. She finds that Loric is one of the Fae, a race of elvish magical people. Loric tells her that she is half-Fae and even her hair clip and stone have magical properties. Her stone is a fragment of a star that fell in Fae lands. Now, with this knowledge in her mind and her parent's gifts close, Cymbril promises herself that she will sacrifice everything to grant she and Loric freedom.

Although not too well known, I ask that you give this book a try. You will be surprised. It is a very charming and beautiful book.

Book Review: Chomp
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good

I really enjoyed this book. It was textbook Hiaasen, which is a good thing. It's aimed toward younger readers and I plan to give it to my nephew for his birthday.

Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant
Landy, Derek
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Skulduggery Pleasant throws you into a magical universe where the classic fight between good verses evil is exercised. Thrown into a new world, Stephanie learns to adapt and explore magic with the help of her mentor Skulduggery Pleasant, a dry humor irish detective skeleton.
It's simplistic enough that a 12 yr old can understand but advanced enough for a teenager to enjoy as well. Kept me laughing all the way.

Book Review: City Of Fire
Yep, Laurence
2 stars = Meh

It was alright- especially in the beginning. I thought that is was interesting with all the fantasy with San Francisco a few decades ago. The main characters have to go and leave San Francisco after they are attacked and travel across the sea to avenge the deaths of certain people who were very important in their lives. They are attacked even more and come up against a lot of roadblocks. Laurence Yep incorporated a Hawaiian goddess who was crazy and nice. Yet, I thought the story was just a little undeveloped, maybe because it was the first book in a trilogy. I felt like it was trying to wrap up everything while introducing new ideas and plot twists at the same time. I didn't connect with the book, but that it just my opinion. It is good for the ages eleven to twelve or thirteen.

Book Review: The Magician's Nephew
Lewis, C. S.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Favorite book EVER! Great characters! Good, good, good! Great story, characters, and moral. Great fantasy mixed with our world and putting the Bible retold into it. Amazing story, good for all ages.

Book Review: Hoot
Hiaasen, Carl
3 stars = Pretty Good

I LOVE Carl Hiaasen but I was a little disappointed in this book. Maybe it was because it was aimed at a younger crowd. It was good, but I've come to expect greatness from Hiaasen. I read this book to see if it was something my 12 year old nephew would like. I'm going to read Chomp next. Hopefully it'll reach the impossibly high standard set by the master of Florida humor.

Book Review: Wow! Said the Owl
Hopgood, Tim
4 stars = Really Good

This is a great read for preschoolers who are learning their colors. The illustrations are simple and eye-catching as is the refrain "WOW!" said the owl. It keeps kids interested, teaching not only colors, but also about night and day. It's a keeper.

Book Review: The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story
Martin, Jacqueline Briggs
4 stars = Really Good

Chiru are small animals that look like antelopes, but are related to wild goats or sheep. Their wool is the softest, finest and warmest in the world. They are endangered because they must be killed to get the wool.
Color photos and paintings tell the true story of a man who traveled 200 miles to find their breeding grounds in Tibet, and received government protection for the area, making a heroic and interesting adventure story.

Book Review: Over Sea, Under Stone
Cooper, Susan
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is a great read for anyone: a perfect read-aloud, a super book for the independent reader, or coupled with one of the library’s sound versions, an ideal listen-to. Four English children are sent to the country to live with a distant uncle – I know; you’ve heard that before! But before you know it, they are embroiled in a Grail Quest of grave proportions! The mystery and suspense carry the reader into the Dark is Rising series with the excellent writing that earned Susan Cooper two Newbery awards.

Book Review: The Bully Book
Gale, Eric Kahn
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Eric Haskins’ life is suddenly completely miserable in sixth grade. It seems the entire class is conspiring to bully him. In fact, it is a carefully organized scheme by a few who have chosen him as the “Grunt.” They take their orders from The Book—an instruction manual in power passed down to each year’s sixth graders. Eric’s only chance is to find The Book and dismantle the plot against him. On the way, he’ll also discover the most important weapon against bullying. Pages from The Book and Eric’s journals are interwoven to create an intricate, exciting, and insightful book for everyone over ten years old.

Book Review: Who Could That be at This Hour?
Snicket, Lemony
4 stars = Really Good

As a huge fan of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I was thrilled when Snicket announced he was releasing a prequel series. Who Could That Be at This Hour? is the first book in this series, entitled All the Wrong Questions. I enjoyed The End, but let's face it: it left a lot of loose ends dangling. Whether or not All the Wrong Questions will actually answer any questions at all remains to be seen, but Who Could That Be at This Hour? is a thoroughly enjoyable book all the same.

Though the Baudelaires are nowhere to be seen, Snicket's trademark sense of humor oozes off every page as young Snicket finds himself caught up in one ludicrous situation after another. That's right: Snicket himself is the protagonist of this story. WCTBATH follows his adventures as an apprentice in the mysterious organization known as V.F.D. To say much more would risk spoiling its surprises, but rest assured, fans of ASOUE will love Snicket's offbeat humor, eccentric characters, and surprisingly intricate plot.

Book Review: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Kehert, Peg
4 stars = Really Good

Peg Kehert told you in her own words what it was like to be a child with polio. She writes how deadly and dangerous polio was in 1949. It was heartfelt and she made friends along her hard journey. I think that kids and adults should read this book.

Book Review: The Emerald Atlas
Stephens, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book had everything a good fantasy needs - magic books, time travel, and orphans - and has a crazy magician thrown in for good measure.

When Kate finds a magical book that allows you to travel through time with the help of a photograph, she and her younger siblings find themselves being abducted by an evil witch more than 30 years earlier. If you like Harry Potter, you'll love this book!

Mary Beth
Book Review: Boot & Shoe
Frazee, Marla
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is my daughter's new favorite! Two cute pups, a pesky squirrel, and a funny sweet reuinion. We've read it many times and still love it!

Book Review: Hello World!: Computer Programming For Kids and Other Beginners
Sande, Warren
4 stars = Really Good

This book was great for kids who want to learn the programming basics. I was cool to make something and very rewarding! If you are interested in computer books, this is for you!

Book Review: The Thieves of Ostia: A Roman Mystery
Lawrence, Caroline
1 star = Yuck!

As the Roman Mysteries Series gets further along, it begins to be like a trashy novel--but for kids. Some of the themes and scenes disgusted me. I would give this a negative rating if I could! Do not read.

Book Review: The Thieves of Ostia: A Roman Mystery
Lawrence, Caroline
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

When Flavia's neighbor's dog is killed, she insists on finding the culprit.

She gets help from her neighbor, Jonathan; freed slave, Nubia; and mute beggar boy, Lupus. Together these friends explore first-century Roman life and culture while solving an intricate mystery. Details of the time period are woven into the story seamlessly. But the friendships and dialogue are timeless and relatable. Every chapter is a cliffhanger and the action is non-stop in this excellent series (The Roman Mysteries). Some violent themes may be too mature for younger readers; I recommend these fantastic reads for nine to ninety. My whole family can't put them down! You'll be glad there are seventeen sequels.

Book Review: Anne of Avonlea
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud)
3 stars = Pretty Good

I loved Anne of Green Gables but for some reason I just didn't get into the sequel. I'm not sure why, it just moved slowly and wasn't as adventurous, I think. I liked the portrait of a young teacher at the turn of the century. It's amazing how much has changed in that regard, and I did enjoy the ending.

 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rowling, J. K.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

In my opinion this is the best out of the whole series!!!!!!!

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon
Cowell, Cressida
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Don’t expect this book to be much like the movie-DO expect it to be even better! Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III does not want to be the next Chief of the Hooligan tribe, but as the chief’s son, he must. When he is only able to capture a small, toothless dragon to train, he’s sure he is doomed. But Old Wrinkly assures him “A Hero of the Future is going to have to be clever and cunning, not just a big lump with overdeveloped muscles.” Hiccup’s cleverness allows him to become the best dragon trainer ever, but is it enough to save the tribe from Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus? These nine books are hysterically funny, especially in audio, but then you’ll miss the author’s amusing illustrations-a difficult choice!

Book Review: Listen to the Silent Night
Mackall, Dandi Daley
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

“It was not such a silent night,” repeats this beautifully illustrated story of Christmas. We hear the whoo of owls, the knock on a door, the moo of cows, and the flutter of angels on the night Jesus was born. Each sound brings a different part of the biblical story to life and paints the setting in bustling Bethlehem.

Book Review: Cardcaptor Sakura - Book 1
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Probably the first manga I actually got in to (other than Pokemon!).
Very good first book. I immediately was drawn into the storyline and eagerly read the next book. I was surprised how big it was...I guess I didn't know I was getting the omnibus edition! (all it said was Cardcaptor Sakura Book 1...<^.^').

The basic storyline is that a 4th grader named Sakura Kinomoto walks into her father's library and finds a mysterious book titled "The Clow". Upon opening it, a strange but cute creature comes out who says his name is Cerberus.

Sakura decides to call him, cutely, Kero-chan. Kero is surprised to find that all the cards residing in the Clow book have disappeared. Kero immediatly makes Sakura a Cardcaptor-kind of like a magical girl, but this girl (or boy in Syaoran's case) collects Clow Cards.

I have never seen the anime (mostly because I don't like the anime plot as much) but I enjoyed the manga a lot. The characters are very loveable.Sakura's rival, Syaoran Li, is probably my all-time favorite character now. I admit, I did not like him when I had only read the first book. Believe me, if you feel the same way after reading this book, you will definitely fall in love with him by the end of the series (by the end of the series I mean reading the first series AND the second series [Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow]). The second series is much more romantically revolved, so I found it much more adorable.

In my opinion, I would give this whole series...10 stars!! (if only...)

Cardcaptor Asu-nyan
Book Review: Nancy Drew Series
Keene, Carolyn
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

awsome best books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud)
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I love Anne. She is such a terrific role model for girls young and old. This book is very well written. The story unfolds in a leisurely way with lush descriptions of nature and imagination. I enjoyed how the relationship between Marilla and Anne grew into one of deepest love. Each time I read this book I get something new out of it. This time it was the understanding that achievement means hard work and sacrifice. Simple enough, but not something one necessarily thinks of when stating a lofty ambition. I can't wait to read Anne of Avonlea!