ALA Notable Children's Book Award

Book Review: Interrupting Chicken

Interrupting Chicken
Author: 
Stein, David Ezra
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Papa is trying to read little red chicken a story at bedtime, but she keeps interrupting. She can’t help herself! She inserts herself into the story of Hansel & Gretel. She jumps into the story of Little Red Riding Hood. She changes the story of Chicken Little. Will little red chicken ever stop interrupting and go to sleep? Find out when you read this story.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons
Author: 
Creech, Sharon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book, Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech is a rich and wonderful novel. The seemingly simple, yet complex read explores the self-discovery of thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle. While exploring her cultural heritage and past, the main protagonist relays over several dark and tragic events. While these events can make the book depressing at times, they hold valuable lessons and the book doesn't linger on them for too long. Every single character in the book is incredibly developed through the many stories told, and they fit the plot well. Overall, I would recommend this book to older readers and maybe younger ones, as the book is a decent length and pretty intricate.

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief, Percy the protagonist has been accused of stealing Zeus’ Lightning bolt. Percy must get it back to avoid all out war among the gods. Along the way he makes some new friends and meets some strange characters.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This book is very unpredictable. My favorite types of books are the ones that are unpredictable and this one has one of the best twist ever in a book. This book did well in the bookstores and was made into a movie. However, in my opinion, the book is substantially better than the movie. The book has lots more parts that are really funny and the movie leaves out great parts of the story. I would recommend this to anyone interested in mythology as it is based on Greek gods and their over the top stories. Yet, this is an excellent book and is good for almost everyone, even if you are not a Greek mythology expert because it is pretty easy to follow along.

Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexander M

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

With magic and wizardry, Harry Potter returns for his 2nd year at Hogwarts.
With last year having surprises and mysterious, this year no one saw coming.
After flying back in a magic car for they missed the train, their year already started with getting in trouble. Soon after, several students start turning into stone for no reason. With Harry and his best friend, Ron, they try to find clues, hints, and obviously, the culprit.

Reviewer Grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

Book Review: Ruby Holler

Ruby Holler
Author: 
Creech, Sharon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

If you like fast-paced adventures and witty characters... this book is for you. With Dallas, the brother, and his sister, Florida, they have been known as the "trouble twins." Raised as orphans and never suitable for any home, they have just been sent to live with an old couple. Having doubts and questions, Florida and Dallas are scared and nervous about their new home.
Their past homes have put them in dark basements, creepy holes, and not so comfortable beds. Will Florida and Dallas soon come around or will they have to head back to their dreaded orphanage? This fast paced adventure will leave you wanting more and suitable for all ages.
Reviewer Grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

Book Review: Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines
Author: 
Reeve, Philip
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

In "Mortal Engines", the first book in the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve, Earth is now a dystopian world where cities have become huge, mobile machines that compete for resources. London is the biggest of them all, capturing and destroying smaller cities for personal gain. A young archivist in training (and Londoner) Tom Natsworthy looks up to the leaders of London, particularly a man known as Valentine. But when a mysterious girl sneaks into the city and tries to kill Valentine, things go horribly wrong -- and both Tom and the girl are banished -- and they must find their way back.

This story had great ideas, but slightly poor execution. The overall plot started off really interesting, but as time went on, I felt like so much of it became filler content -- events seemed to just randomly happen for the sake of filling the time until we got to something important. There were also a lot of POVs to keep track of -- and it felt like there were just way too many cooks in the kitchen. In addition, the characters were really hard to root for. Tom complained often (almost to the point of whining). Hester had good moments, but was often too closed off to show a lot of emotion, which hindered character development. These characters could've been more interesting, but their flaws really kept them from developing.

What kept me reading was the world-building. The world in this book is expansive and complex, unlike any I have read about in a long time. It is utterly unique and intriguing, which made me keep reading, despite what I didn't like.

Although there is a movie adaptation of this book, I would recommend reading the book first. Because the book has more time to explain things, it allows for a better understanding of some of the confusing components of the story (in my opinion).

Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing
Author: 
Spires, Ashley
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

A girl comes up with a magnificent thing and hires a canine assistant to help create it. No problem! They gather supplies and get to work. Things do NOT go as plans. They try and try again, but are unable to make the magnificent thing. Then the girl gets mad and then she hurts herself! Things are not going well and she want to quit! Her assistant suggest a walk and then off they go. As they reach the end, the girl realizes how to make her magnificent thing and she gets to work. With persistence and creativity, they truly are able to make the most magnificent thing.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: Math Curse

Math Curse
Author: 
Scieszka, Jon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Some days you might feel that you are under a math curse where everything has become a math problem. This is the story of a girl whose life is just like that. Everything – even things that shouldn’t be math – now involve math! Work along with her to solve the problems and therefore, solve the math curse. Read and see if she succeeds.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

An excellent introduction to Greek mythology and adventure, Percy Jackson and the Olympians provides an engaging storyline and an interesting set of characters. Perfect for early interest in literature and mythology alike, it is one of my first favorite series of books. Although it's a childish book, it attracts readers of all ages with its fun dynamics and interesting plot line. It is a clever modern twist on traditional stories. I would recommend reading for ages 9 to 12, but it can be enjoyed at any age.

Reviewer's Name: 
Settare R

Book Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls
Author: 
Ness, Patrick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book follows a young boy who watches his mother struggle against cancer. He is visited by a monster who transforms from a tree into a walking, talking being, and he begins to take advice from the monster. He lets the monster be what he feels and thinks about the situation his mother is in; if he is angry, the monster prompts the boy to punch another boy. The monster is a representation of his anxieties and inability to cope with reality.
However, the monster is also a companion and an outlet for the boy. The monster is a way for the boy to express all of his emotions and to talk out the struggles he is facing. At times, he appreciates the monster, and other times, he hates the points the monster bring up.

This book is very complex in its analysis of suffering and coping mechanisms, and is a truly wonderful read. While sad, the message of the book and the realizations the reader has make the point a phenomenal representation of human nature, and the monster a representation of all that people keep bottled up inside. Ultimately inspiring, I would recommend this book for anyone interesting in a deeper understanding of the human reaction to grief, loss, or conflict. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

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