Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My New Best Friend by Julie Bowe - ESSENTIAL

Bowe, Julie My New Best Friend, 181 pgs. Harcourt, inc., 2008.

Content - G


Ida May loves to play with her new best friend, Stacey Merriweather. Things get interesting, though, when they find a special mermaid night light that seems to grant wishes and Stacey seems to be using it to tell some big lies. Can Ida stop Stacey from causing big problems but still keep their friendship? I liked this book. They do some pretty silly things in this book that make me laugh. I would highly recommend it.

Student Reviewer: MB

My Last Best Friend by Julie Bowe - ESSENTIAL

Bowe, Julie My Last Best Friend, 146 pgs. Harcourt, inc., 2007.



Ida May’s best friend has moved away and she promises not to make a new one. That doesn’t seem so hard with Jenna Drews running the fourth grade, until she meets the smiley Stacey Merriweather. Has she found a new friend in Stacey?

I liked this book. The characters are very fun. I love Stacey’s character.

Student Reviewer: MB

Rosetta's Daring Day by Lisa Papdemetriou - ESSENTIAL

Papademetriou, Lisa Rosetta’s Daring Day (Disney Fairies), 118 pgs. Random House, inc., 2009.



Rosetta makes a deal with Fawn that if Fawn goes to the queens fancy dinner she will spend a whole day doing whatever Fawn wants. When that day comes Rosetta is not sure that she wants to keep her promise. Can their friendship last the day?

This was a very fun book. I loved seeing their opposite personalities. It was a very silly book that made me laugh.

Student Reviewer: MB

Sneaky Weasel by Hannah Shaw - ADVISABLE

Shaw, Hannah Sneaky Weasel. Knopf (Random), 2009. PICTURE BOOK.


Weasel is fabulously wealthy and he knows it. He’s also very sneaky and kind of mean. When he throws himself a party to show off his possessions, no one comes. Now he is going to go out and find out why his party was a bust – but he may not like what he has to do to be the kind of person people want to hang out with. Sneaky

Weasal may seem like an unlikely character to teach the importance of being kind, but I think he is a wonderfully fun role model. There are lots of fun details in the illustrations to keep you busy even after you’ve memorized the text!

Cindy, Library-Teacher

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter - OPTIONAL

Winter, Jonah and Andre Carrilho You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! Schwartz and Wade (Random), 2009. PICTURE BOOK.


Sandy Kofax didn’t want to be a baseball player, but the scouts kept hanging around the field that this Jewish left-hander played with his friends. After two bad seasons, Kofax finally figures out the problem and goes on to being one of the best all-time pitchers in baseball. Then, after only six years, he retires.

This picture books packs a lot of information in a small package. Baseball crazy kids will be happy – as will their dads.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Chee-Lin: A Giraffe's Journey by James Rumford - ADVISABLE

Rumford, James Chee-Lin: A Giraffe’s Journey. Houghton, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Hundreds of years ago, a young giraffe was captured in Africa and through many hardships was brought to the court of the emperor of China, where they believe that he is the legendary Chee-lin: a mythical character of great fortune.

This is a sweet telling of the possible life and journey of a giraffe that did live in the imperial court back in the 1400’s. It’s a beautiful book that would add flavor to a unit about China or about giraffes.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Stanley's Beauty Contest by Linda Bailey - OPTIONAL

Bailey, Linda Stanley’s Beauty Contest, illustrated by Bill Slavin. Kids Can Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.


Bath or not, Stanley finds himself entered in a local dog beauty contest – competing against some of his best friends for a delicious dog bone. Try as he might, Stanley can’t seem to win a prize, so he must use his doggie smarts to get himself a piece of the action.

Stanley and his friends know what is most fun – and they will talk about this day for a very long time. Stanley and his friends are fun to watch and pretty silly to boot.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald - NO

Mcdonald, Abby Sophomore Switch, 297 p. Candlewick, 2009. $17.99.

Mature Content: PG-13 (off page sex – lots of it; morning after pill); Language: PG-13 (20-ish swears), Violence – G.


After an embarrassing incident, Tasha flees to England for a semester abroad at Oxford – hoping that the world will forget all about her; Emily was supposed to go to Harvard for semester, but instead finds herself at UC Santa Barbara, taking over Tasha’s place while Tasha takes hers. Both girls supposedly learn a lot about themselves along the way.

When all is said and done, I was pretty bored by the whole thing. Tasha decides that she has to be a stuffy tweed-wearer to fit in and Emily decides to take crash courses in beach bunny-ism. It read more like a potential screenplay (think House Bunny) than a novel.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn - OPTIONAL

O’Flynn, Catherine What Was Lost, 240 p. Henry Holt, 2007. $14.00. 

Language: R (65 swears, 30-ish “f”); Violence: PG-13 (kids fall off the side of a mall in a tragic shopping cart accident); Sexual Content: G. 


Kate, 11yo, loves being a detective and staking out people at the mall. Then one day she disappears without a trace. Twenty years later, Lisa, the sister of the man accused (though never proved) of killing Kate is working at the mall when she strikes up a friendship with Kurt, a security guard, who has seen something funny on the monitors – something that may be related to Kate’s disappearance. 

If it weren’t for the large amount of “f’s”, I would recommend this as a classroom read for high school. The theme of loss is expounded and expanded and eloquently expressed without being obvious. You should recommend this to an adult to read – I thought it was well worth my time. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Laura Amy Schlitz - ESSENTIAL

Schlitz, Laura Amy Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! 2 CD, Audio. Recorded Books, 2008. 

Language: G; Content: PG; Violence: PG. 


This full cast audio recording transports the listener into the middle of a medieval English village as seen through the eyes of 22 children from all classes in the village. The stories are told in verse or prose and can sometimes be harsh. The story of a Jewish boy and a Christian girl playing across the river is especially moving in its reading by two voices. 

The medieval music and Ms. Schlitz’s background segments adds flavor to the stories. The book was originally written as a play for students so it really soars in this audio version. Students studying or wanting more information on medieval life will enjoy this. 

Reviewer: Sarah Herron, Teacher Librarian, WHS.

Standing For Socks by Elissa Brent Weissman - ADVISABLE

Weissman, Elissa Brent Standing for Socks, 220 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2009. $16. 


Near the end of 5th grade, Fara accidentally wore two different socks to school. Now, at the beginning of 6th grade, wearing two socks has become her signature and her burden as she struggles to find her place in middle school. Fara decides to at least stay with the bit until after the 6th grade elections, as the notoriety can only help her campaign. But a bit of dirty tricks make pull the dream rug right out from under her. 

I found Fara very smart and a lot of fun to get to know. Especially when she realized that being known for one thing is not always that great. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Mythology Handbook by Lady Evans - ESSENTIAL

Evans, Lady Hesta The Mythology Handbook, 80 pages, published 2009. 

Language: G, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: PG.


This book is about Greek mythology. It’s filled with tales of mighty gods, powerful monsters and titans. It also has ancient Greek myths of heroic heroes. It’s even filled with activities and stickers.

I like this book because it has a lot of information of practically all of the interesting Greek myths. I also like this book because it’s filled with adventures of mighty heroes and heroines.

Student Reviewer: SO.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jack the Tripper by Gene Barretta - ADVISABLE

Barretta, Gene Jack the Tripper, PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt, 2008. 


The students of Dizzie Day Elementary School are under siege by a mysterious tripper! He’s tripping students, taking book reports, and eating the candy for the Dizzie Day Parade. Things can’t possibly get any worse, until they do! The Dizzie Day Parade is canceled! What ever will they do? 

This fun story is similar to the fable of the boy crying wolf with a humorous new spin!

Jennifer Rodriguez - YA Librarian

Honey Cake by Joan Betty Stuchner - ADVISABLE

Stuchner, Joan Betty. Honey Cake, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent, 100 pgs. Random House, 2008

Content G


David’s older sister is part of the Danish resistance and young David also helps the cause proving his bravery. 

The illustrations detract from this inspirational story. Through this straightforward and informative story of Jews in the Danish Resistance during World War II, early chapter book readers learn what life was like under Nazi occupation in a thrilling and age-appropriate way. The faces of the young children look like adults and the sizes of the characters are very inconsistent. But this Stepping Stone Book is just right for children not yet ready for “Number the Stars”.

Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

My Mother Is Mine by Marion Dane Bauer - ADVISABLE

Bauer, Marion My Mother Is Mine. BOARD BOOK.  Little Simon, 2004. 


A simply beautiful book that details all the loving things that mothers do and are. Peter Elwell’s illustrations of various animal mothers and babies are soft and sweet. This sweet board book is sure to get lots of use!

Jennifer Rodriguez - YA Librarian

The Election-Day Disaster by Ron Roy - ADVISABLE

Roy, Ron The Election-Day Disaster pgs. 87. Random House, Inc. CHAPTER BOOK. 


KC is one lucky girl. Her stepfather is the president of the United States and this year, he is letting her have a big Halloween party at the White House. Everything goes great until the media get a hold of some pictures from the party that could cost her stepfather his re-election. It’s up to KC and her friend, Marshall to discover who is behind the pictures and why someone would want to spoil the president’s re-election. Will they be able to solve the mystery before election day or will KC find herself living somewhere other than the White House? 

Although not as fast-paced as some of the books for this age group, this is a good, easy-to-read mystery for those who enjoyed reading the A to Z Mysteries series by this author or, in general, like this genre. Drawings are well done and do a good job of complementing the story. This book would make a great addition to any collection, especially if that collection has a large number of mystery readers. I would also recommend White House White-out by Ron Roy (a book that crosses over between the two series). 

Reviewer: Kira-Youth Services Librarian-HUN Public Library.

The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies by Jane Werner - ESSENTIAL

Werner, Jane The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies Golden Books, 2008.


Enter the world of fairies, pixies, mermaids, and other fantastical creatures. Learn about how they live and what mischief they like to create.

A good book for a little bit older group of kids who like to read about fantastical creatures. Entertaining illustrations and enchanting stories make this books a must-have for any teacher or librarian’s collection.

Reviewer: Kira, Children's Librarian-HUN Public Library

I'm Your Bus by Marilyn Singer - ADVISABLE

Singer, Marilyn I’m Your Bus Scholastic Press, Inc., 2009. PICTURE BOOK. 


From picking up the kids to bedtime, this bus’ work is never done. Follow him as he goes throughout his day doing his job and see what life would be like as a school bus. 

Illustrations are well done and do a great job complementing the story. The text is easy to understand and fun to read. This book would work well for preschool and kindergarten teachers as well as children’s librarians. 

Reviewer: Kira, Children's Librarian-HUN Public Library

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Return of the Emerald Skull by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell - ESSENTIAL

Stewart, Paul and Riddell, Chris Barnaby Grimes: Return of the Emerald Skull, 203 pages, published 2008

Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG


Barnaby Grimes is a tick-tock lad who delivers things. The school master of Grassington hall asks if Barnaby can deliver a package to him. Barnaby delivers it, and after he delivers it he notices weird things start going on. 

What do you think happened? Will he be the hero? I enjoyed reading this book because it had both mystery and action in it. It was also very exciting to read. 

Student Reviewer: SO

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach - OPTIONAL

Roach, Mary Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, 303 p. NON-FICTION. W.W. Norton, 2003. 

Content: PG-13


This non-fiction book is a humorous, off-beat look at the “life” of a cadaver. The author provides historical background as well a current account on the role of human cadavers in medical science. The author treats the subject of death with respect and just enough lightheartedness to keep the reader actively engaged. This is not a book for people with weak stomachs, but for the more mature young adult reader with an interest in science the pages are a fascinating read. 

Reviewer: Library-Teacher, LGP.

Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer - ADVISABLE

Schaefer, Laura Teashop Girls, 250 p. Simon and Schuster, 2009.

Content: G


Annie, 13, has practically grown up in her grandmother's tea shop, along with the other Tea Girls, her best friends Genna and Zoe. Now, after one day as an official barista in the shop, Annie finds out that the shop is in trouble. Annie will do everything that she and her friends can think of the save the shop, but even that may not be enough.

Students who love The Mother-Daughter Book Club will also adore these girls; I liked them even better.


Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - ESSENTIAL

Ryan, Carrie Forest of Hands and Teeth, 310 p. Delacorte (Random), 2009.

Violence: PG-13


Mary's village is surrounded by a deep forest and sturdy fences - fences to keep out the hordes of Unconsecrated whose only desire is to feast upon the flesh of the humans. ecause no one has spoken for her hand, Mary is sent to live with the village's Sisters, who are the repository of memory and spiritual teachings. There she stumbles upon a secret that sets dire circumstances in motion, sending the entire village running for their lives.

At first I thought this was a take on M. Night Shamalan's The Village, but instead it became a look at the world after the long discussed (at least by horror lovers) zombie uprising! This will be very popular with the horror crowd, but the violence is not for younger students.


Brutal by Michael Harmon - ESSENTIAL

Harmon, Michael Brutal, 227 p. Knopf (Random), 2009.

Language: R (80, 15 "f"); Violence: PG-13.


Poe's mother has left for a year doctoring in the wilds of Africa, leaving Poe with her father, whom she hasn't seen for sixteen years. Poe comes with a lot of baggage and a lot of guts - the guts to stand up to the system, even if means standing up to her own father. Poe throws herself right into making waves - in the show choir, in PE, and in the defense of her weird neighbor "Velveeta", whom is the punching bag for the school jock king.

Harmon's book is so powerful, it needs to be mandatory reading for every teacher, administrator, counselor and I hope that there are schools out there brave enough to add this to their curriculum. I love Poe and I hope others will love her too. Unfortunately, becuse of the language and violence ratings, I can't recommend this for most school collections. But, like 13 Reasons Why, this one will be passed from hand to hand.


Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede - ESSENTIAL

Wrede, Patricia C. Thirteenth Child, 352 p. Scholastic, 2009. $16.99.

Content: G


Lan is the seventh son of a seventh son, but his older twin sister, Eff, is the thirteenth child in their family. The people in their small town treat Eff like a bad seed, until their family moves to a rural border town so that their father can teach magic at the local land-grant college. There Eff has a chance to learn how to use her magic in the place where people to look upon her with dread and suspicion.

The first book in a series, I just hope that Ms. Wrede had a lot more ideas for the series, because I enjoyed reading this one! I love how the she uses the prevalent use of magic to change the history of the world in exciting ways. It feels like a western, with a magic infusion.


Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - ESSENTIAL

Anderson, Laurie Halse Wintergirls, 278 p. Viking (Penguin), 2009. $17.99.

Language: PG-13 (20, 1 "f").


Lia ignored the calls from her former best friend Cassie all night long. Now she knows that Cassie is dead - from a ruptured esophagus, a bad consequence of her bulimia. Lia is still slave to her own eating addiction and the appearances of Cassie's ghost, taunting her, doesn't make anything easier. Lia wants to do well, or at least look like she's doing well for her young stepsister, but the heartfelt desire to be the thinnest ever and the angry, self-deprecating voices in her head may win out in the end. As winter deepens, so does Lia descent into a winter girl.

Anderaon has again written a beautiful book that captures the essence of a problem. This makes everything since Speak look like a practice run.


Friday, March 27, 2009

The Brimstone Network by Tom Sniegoski - ESSENTIAL

Sniegoski, Tom The Brimstone Network, 293 pages, Published 2008,

Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G.


The Brimstone Network is about a 13yo boy Abraham, Bram for short, is hidden away in the Himalayan mountains. His dad runs a network to protect the world from paranormal monsters. His dad and his network gets killed, so when he dies his dad sends him a bizarre man named Mr. Stitch to help him. Bram is the only one left. He has to start a network before its too late. Bram and his network also have secret powers.

I liked this book because the big adventure and the suspense pulls you into the book. Interest Level:

Student Reviewer: SO.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn - NO

Weyn, Suzanne Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic, 336 p. Scholastic, April 2009.

Content: G.


All of the Taylor girls have psychic powers to one degree or another. All of them will end up on the Titanic with very different destinies. I had no interest in the fate of any of the Taylor sisters. I especially didn’t like the historic name-dropping; it seemed very obvious and jarring.

Cindy – Library Teacher.

Ruby's Imagine by Kim Antieau - ESSENTIAL

Antieau, Kim Ruby’s Imagine, 208 pages. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

Content- G


Ruby is a young girl that lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. She lives there with her grandma as Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. Many things are being revealed about Ruby as she tries to stay safe as the hurricane hits.

I liked this book. I liked the description that was in it. I could really picture what was going on with Ruby at the time. It was a very interesting book to read.

Student Reviewer: MB

Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley - ADVISABLE

Harley, Bill Night of the Spadefoot Toads, 222 pgs. Peachtree Pub. Ltd.

Content: G


Ben has just moved from Arizona to Massachusetts and he misses his friends and the desert. He feels that Massachusetts has nothing on Arizona, and he is lonely with no friends. Then he discovers that his teacher loves wildlife too, and she has rare spadefoot toads on her property, that only come out once a year, and he begins to think Massachusetts isn’t so bad.

This was a good book, and it also was well-written. However, the plot was very predictable.

Student Reviewer: RG

Bro by Robert Newton Peck - ESSENTIAL

Peck, Robert Newton Bro, 150 pgs. Harper Collins.

Content – G


After a horrible incident on his grandfather’s ranch, Tugwell Dockery hasn’t spoken a word. His brother is in jail for smuggling liquor, and his parents die in a horrific accident. His great-aunt comes to get him, and he goes back to his grandfather’s ranch to live. When his brother Broda hears that he is back on the scene of the accident, he knows he must be with his brother.

This was an OK book, but it got a little bit hard to understand sometimes because they used the slang the people speaking would use. Otherwise, though, it was a great book. The characters were pretty well developed and it was a pretty good storyline. I would recommend it to anyone.

Student Reviewer: RG

The Girl Who Wanted to Dance by Amy Ehrlich - ADVISABLE

Ehrlich, Amy The Girl Who Wanted to Dance, PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2009.


Clara likes to dance a lot. When she sees a group of dancers she can’t help but be drawn to them. She even follows their wagon. When she is with the dancers she fills very much welcome there and doesn’t want to go home. She finds a surprise there that changes her forever.

This was a pretty good book. It was not one of my favorites though. I found it a little bit hard to follow. I did like the plot line very much though. The pictures in this book were very beautiful. I enjoyed looking at them.

Student Reviewer: MB

Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers - PUBLIC

Summers, Courtney Cracked up to Be, 214 p. St. Martin's Griffin, 2009.

Language: R (about 100 - 30+ "f" - and that was only before I gave up counting).

Parker Fadley is doing her best to alienate everyone around her. From being the perfect child, the perfect student, the perfect friend, Now she is self-destructive and barely holding it together enough to graduate from high school. Now Jake, the nicest guy in the world, has arrived at Parker's school and wants to know what's up with Parker. And he, of course, sets things in motion to make Parker confront the situation that started her downward spiral.

This intense novel is best left in the hands of the public libraries. It's an initmate look at the consequences of high school pettiness combined with alcohol.


Cindy - Library Teacher.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Delicious: The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud - ESSENTIAL

Rubin, Susan Goldman. Delicious: The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud, 108 pgs. NON-FICTION. Chronicle Books, 2007.


This tribute to a great American artist is also a very readable biography of Thiebaud that takes him from his birth in Arizona to his Mormon childhood on a ranch in Utah, to California's Sacramento Valley. Along the way we learn how this realistic artist thinks about art, and how he goes about making it. His brightly colored images of cakes and pies and gumball machines are extrememly child friendly making the book an excellent choice for children ages 10 - 14.

The beautifully composed book is itself a work of art and is a must purchase especially with Thiebaud's Utah connection.

The Raucous Royals by Carlyn Beccia - ESSENTIAL

Beccia, Carlyn. The Raucous Royals, 64pgs. NON-FICTION. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.


This book tells about royal rumors commonly known by everyone. But, are these rumors really true? Some are and some are not. It gives you clues to help you try to figure it out yourself.

The book is really interactive and makes you curious to see the answers. I really liked how creative this book was. It was really interesting to see the facts behind the rumors.

Student Reviewer: CW

Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss - ESSENTIAL

Dr. Seuss. Happy Birthday to You! Random House, 1959. PICTURE BOOK.


Is there anything more to say about this book by Dr. Seuss? There are cute illustrations and a fun story line. Little kids will love reading this book.

Student Reviewer: CW

NOTE: This Random House edition is a fun, flashy party book. I couldn't find a picture to post here of the new cover - but it is very sparkly and great as a gift. - Cindy

Where in the World by Bob Raczka - ESSENTIAL

Raczka, Bob. Where in the World: Around the Globe in 13 Works of Art. Millbrook Press, 2007.


In this book, they talk about art and how art connects to the world around us. The author pointed out that art can take you places. The illustrations really depict the country. They are all extremely detailed and beautiful. A great book for teachers who teach world geography and history.

Student Reviewer: CW

River Roads West: America's First Highways by Peter and Connie Roop - ADVISABLE

Roop, Peter and Connie. River Roads West: America's First Highways. Calkins Creek, 2007. NON-FICTION.


This book is on America's history. They use the rivers in America to show what happened in there. There are many details on everything from the Revolution to Lewis and Clark. It is a very useful source. A bit wordy here and there. I though it could have used an index at the end. There was a table of contents at the beginning, but for locating specific details, it would have been much easier with an index.

Student Reviewer: CW

The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock by Alex Williams - ESSENTIAL

Williams, Alex. The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock, 298pgs. Philomel Books, 2008.

Content: G


Pinrut has been taken over by a tyrannical ruler, Bartholomew Tullock. Bartholomew turned Pinrut into a giant glacier. Everything is covered in snow. The Breeze family have always been fan makers. Fans do not exactly come in handy in a snow covered village. Desperate, the father and their daughter, Madeline have to set out to a new area to try to sell fans. Rufus, the son, and the mother are stuck at the house. But, something goes wrong on both sides. Can anyone really escape Bartholomew's greedy, cruel hands?

This book is really adventurous and interesting to read. I was curious all the way through this book.

Student Reviewer: CW

Painting the WIld Frontier by Susanna Reich - ESSENTIAL

Reich, Susanna Painting the Wild Frontier: The Art and Adventures of George Catlin, 133 pgs. Clarion, 2008. NON-FICTION.


George Catlin trekked all over the world, painting Indians of every tribe. He dedicated himself to painting the Indian tribes before they “died out”, knowing that westward expansion would wipe many of their cultures from the earth. He painted hunts and ceremonies, chiefs and women. He befriended the king of France and was the talk of London with his art exhibit, and is one of the best-known artists of the 19th century.

This is a good book. It’s very informative, and it’s interesting as well. It’s easy to understand and fun to read. It is a good resource, well organized and with a good balance of pictures and information.

Student Reviewer: RG

The Dragons of Spratt Ohio by Linda Zinnen - OPTIONAL

Zinnen, Linda The Dragons of Spratt, Ohio, 232 pgs. Harper Collins, 2004.

Content: G


John Salt loves the newborn dragons on his parents’ wildlife reserve. Nobody else really seems to care that much, but then one day his makeup scientist aunt, whom he’s never met, arrives from Paris. She’s never shown any interest in wildlife before, but now seems really interested in the dragons, and Salt gets an odd feeling about his aunt.

This was an okay book, but it was also pretty unoriginal. It was well written with decent character development, but I just couldn’t really get into it.

Student Reviewer: RG

Erratum by Walter Sorrells - ESSENTIAL

Sorrells, Walter Erratum, 298 pgs. Dutton Children’s Books, 2008.

Content: G


One day, Jessica walked into a new bookstore, and the owner handed her a book he said she had ordered, titled Her Lif. Maybe it’s supposed to be Her Life? She opens it and reads her life, ending with her murder seconds later. She escapes, and the book changes. It now tells how she must save the universe.

I found this to be confusing at first, as many books dealing with universes and time are. However, it just got better and better, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed, and the plot is definitely original. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Student Reviewer: RG

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Theodosia Throckmorton and the Staff of Osiris by R.L. LaFevers - ADVISABLE

LaFevers, R.L. Theodosia Throckmorton and the Staff of Osiris, 387 pgs. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G;


Theodosia is in trouble again. After she returned the Heart of Egypt to the tomb, she thought the Serpents of Chaos were defeated. But now, mummies have been disappearing from museums around the city and showing up at her museum. And that's not all. She has to get to the bottom of all this before something bad happens! This book was good, and I'm a fan of the series, but I found it a little bit too complicated and convoluted. They introduced a lot of new things, sometimes for no apparent purpose. Otherwise, it was a good book and I would suggest it to anyone.

Student Reviewer: RG

The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko - OPTIONAL

Melko, Paul The Walls of the Universe, 383 pgs. TOR, 2009.

Language: R, Sexual Content: PG-13, Violence: G;


When farm boy Johnny meets himself, whom he calls Prime, and Prime claims that he is from another alternate universe, Johnny doesn't believe him. But when Prime shows him the travel device and invites him to try it, Johnny takes him up on his offer. However, after he leaves Prime in his universe, he discovers the device is broken, and he can't go back.

This was a fantastic book. Great plot, fabulous characters, the whole package. However, there was just too much sexual innuendo and far, far too much unnecessary swearing to make it a book I would suggest to anyone. It swears at least once every five pages, and I would not suggest reading it unless you are very mature and don't mind a lot of swearing.

Student Reviewer: RG

Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey - OPTIONAL

Dokey, Cameron Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan", 199 p. Simon, 2009.


Mulan's mother died the day that she was born and since that day, her father has never returned home. Mulan has grown up rather wild and only been educated with the help of her best friend, Li Po. Then, unexpectedly, Mulan's father returns and just as the two are getting to know each other, Father falls in love a young widow, finding love again after all these years. Just as life looks grand, the Emperor calls up one man from every family in China. In order to save her father's life, Mulan takes his place.

There is very little new here, but it fleshes out the short ballad and adds depth and character to the best parts of the Disney movie.

Cindy - Library Teacher.

Love on Cue by Catherine Hapka - OPTIONAL

Hapka, Catherine Love on Cue, 274 p. Simon, 2009.

Content: G (3 swears).


Maggie is a natural actress, but when it comes to singing and dancing, not so much. But football player Derek, Maggie's secret passion, has been injured and is trying out for the spring play - a musical!? Maggie is going to have to learn, because she has the lead - and only with the help of Nico, a bad boy music genius who has his own punk band, will Maggie survive opening night. But - is it Derek or is it Nico that really holds Maggie's heart?

Maggie's severe stage fright puzzles me, since she is an actress, but the romance is light and cute.

Cindy - Library Teacher.

Pendragon: Before the War by D.J. MacHale - OPTIONAL

MacHale, D.J. Pendragon: Before the War: Book One of the Travelers, 228 p. Aladdin (Simon), 2009. $6.99.

Content: G.


Peek into the lives of Vo, Gunny and Kasha before they became Travelers and met up with Bobby Pendragon.

There are three books planned in the particular series and the only thing that changes about the titles is the number - pretty unimaginative. Students will probably love them, because it gives them background knowledge of beloved characters, but none of the stories are well-developed and satisfying.

Cindy - Library Teacher.

What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook - OPTIONAL

Cook, Eileen What Would Emma Do? 307 p. Simon, 2009. $7.99.

Language: PG-13 (35 swears, 3 "f")


Kimberly drank and then took some pills and ended up sick at The Barn, the local teen hang out. In order to cover up her deed, she makes up a lie about being poisoned and is supported by her best friend, the school's queen bee, Darci, daughter of the local evangelical minister, who stages her own "poisoning". Several others go along with the deception. Emma and Colin saw it happen, but they are reluctant to tell, because they aren't supposed to be together in the first place - Emma got in trouble for kissing Colin, who is her best friend's boyfriend. But as things get more complicated, as people are being accused of the deeds and a TV preacher comes to town to expose the evil, Nothing will be made right unless Emma gathers the courage to make a stage - even at the risk of running her own dream.

If it weren't for the language, I would embrace this title wholeheartedly. I liked the shades of the Salem Witch Trials and I liked Emma as a main character.

Cindy - Library Teacher

The Kind of Friends We Used to Be by Frances O'Roark Dowell - ESSENTIAL

Dowell, Frances O'Roark The Kind of Friends we Used to be, 234 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2009.


Kate and Marylin have rekindled their friendship, but they are not as close as before the troubles of last year in sixth grade. Kate is going to take up guitar and decides that scary black boots is requisite for a guitar-wielding girl. Marylin is a middle school cheerleader and desperately wants to give Kate a makeover so that she will fit in better. Both girls work on their friendship, but they also find unlikely allies and unknown strength.

I did not read The Secret Language of Girls, the prequel to this title, but by the end of this bookI wanted more - I wanted to read the next book right away - and I don't even know if there will be a next book!

Cindy - Library Teacher

Bogus to Bubbly by Scott Westerfeld - ESSENTIAL

Westerfeld, Scott Bogus to Bubbly: an insider's guide to the world of Uglies, 195 p. Simon Pulse, 2009.

Content: G


Westerfeld has woven together the background information of the Uglies World - in a totally bubbly way. And it's packaged in a softcover, so it's an easy purchase.

Cindy - Library Teacher.

Raven by Allison Van Diepen - ADVISABLE

Van Diepen, Allison Raven, 279 p. Simon, 2009.

Language: R (50 swears, 4 "f"); Sexual Content: G (one innuendo); Violence: PG


Nicole is fascinated with Zin - slightly older and a hip-hop genius. When she begins her job at Evermore, the same under-age night club that Zin works at, the owner, Carlo, keeps calling her Raven. But Nicole is obsessed with Zin and break-dancing. Then Nic finds out a depp secret that Zin has been keeping - but he's not the only one he's protecting. Nicole/Raven will change her world and Zin's world forever.

This is not a book about vampires - instead it addresses an entirely different creature of the night. If it weren't for the language, it would be a great book for all of your middle school vampire lovers. Leave this one for the high school instead.

Cindy - Library Teacher.