Tag Archives: review

Discover the Magical World of Urwald

Don’t wander from the path…. at least that is what Jinx has always been told.  In this fantasy story set in Urwald, our main character, Jinx, faces witches and wizards, trolls and talking trees.  There are references to Little Red Riding Hood, although not the main reason for the story.  I rather enjoyed this book and would recommend it for  upper elementary and lower middle school students.  There is a nice dose of mystery and magic and an open ending that invites a sequel.  The book trailer below provides a quick overview!


Does love at first sight exist? I would like to hope so!

Summer is here and I am in the process of reading as many books as I can before school starts in September.  This book did not disappoint with its 24 hour love story set in London. Hadley is our main character who we meet as she is stuck in an airport.  You see, her dad is getting remarried and she must fly to London for the event and let’s just say that she is not too excited.  Well, enter Oliver, our young traveler from London who is also getting on the flight.  If you are looking for a charming summer read, I recommend this story!

An unlikely narrator wins my heart



Our local librarian recently recommended The One and Only Ivan to my 9 year old son telling him that it was a great book even if it was a little sad.  Upon hearing that I waited to see if he would return the book, but he trusted her opinion and checked it out of the library.  After several chapters and many utterances of “this book really is good”, I asked if I could listen in. So before bed, we took turns reading the very short (sometimes 1 page chapters) to each other.  After 3 days, I became the sole reader as my listener curled under the covers peeking at the artwork when necessary.

Katherine Applegate through her choice of short chapters and simple titles captured my son’s love of bite sized reading.  Furthermore, allowing Ivan to tell his own story of friendship and survival meshed perfectly with children’s wonder in the world.  I loved this story and was so happy to hear that it was based on a true story in the author’s note.  I would recommend The One and Only Ivan to upper elementary to middle school readers.



The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling

 A dear student of mine read this book after I had purchased it and gave it his thumbs up.  I had not read the book, but was drawn to its good use of vocabulary with the word incorrigible.  So this summer, I decided to test out book one of the series.  Having just read The Emerald Atlas, which also deals with the subject of orphans, I was wondering if this would be a distraction.  I am happy to say that this take on orphans was unique.  In this series the reader is introduced to 3 children who were apparently raised by wolves.  Their education has been put in the hands of Miss Penelope Lumley, a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females.  With it’s cliffhangar ending and mysterious plot, I am looking forward to book 2.  
This book is recommended for grades 4-8.

Wonder defines kindness

R. J. Palacio; Random House Children’s Books 2012
 Kindness is explored in this truly moving debut book by author RJ Palacio.  We are introduced to Auggie, a 5th grade student who feels and acts like a normal 10-year old who is entering middle school after years of homeschooling.  The complication is that Auggie was born with facial abnormalities and has to live in a world where pauses and nervousness, agitation and fear surround him.  How Auggie and his family navigate life and affect those around them inspires me to treasure and teach kindness.  
This book has been recommended for children 8 and up, but I would strongly recommend that it is read by adults as well.  The storyline is beautiful and knows no age limit.
The following book trailer provides a wonderful visual for Wonder.


The Emerald Atlas celebrates the world of fantasy

Harry Potter fans unite!  John Stephens first of three books is a nail biting adventure for siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma.  It seems that there are plenty of orphaned children stories, but this one cleverly uses time travel.  A huge fan of fantasy, I am always eager to find the magic that I had discovered with Harry Potter.  While it is too early to tell, I will most definitely be reading the next books.  

If you liked the good v. evil of Harry Potter’s world, then you will find more of that here.  The Queen and her “animals” certainly are not kitty cats and there is no shortage of bad creatures.  The children are not unstoppable and each face challenges that they don’t always win.  I have posted the book trailer below, but must say that it is not my favorite.  My hope is that some of my students will be motivated to create one themselves!

Visit the Emerald Atlas book website or watch the book trailer below for more information.


The Mysterious Benedict Society is a smart adventure story

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”  Reynie Muldoon our eleven year old main character discovers and answers an advertisement in the local newspaper.  He and three other children (Kate, Constance and Sticky) are faced with challenges and an opportunity to save the world.  Each child brings a unique perspective to each challenge and the book contains a blend of adventure, plot twists and of course humor.


If you like this book as I did, there are 3 more books in the series. including the newest book, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.  Visit The Mysterious Benedict Society website for more information.


Join the Penderwicks for a fun summer read!

 Let yourself take a summer vacation with the Penderwick sisters, their father, Hound the dog and everyone they meet along the way.  This delightful story is recommended for students 9 and up and I would agree.  I look forward to the 2 follow up novels that continue their adventures.  
From the cover:
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day.