Archive Page 3

Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford

Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot.  By Anna Branford. Simon and Schuster, 2012. 112 pages. $14.99

It’s great to be a third grade reader these days! Joining Piper Reed, Clementine, Mallory and Penelope Crumb is newcomer Violet Mackeral! Smart and spunky with a well-grounded family, Violet lives by her Theory of Finding Small Things. Violet applies it to her current desire, the small china bird that she sees at the market. One thing leads to another and Violet hatches her extraordinary plan. This is the first book in a series perfect for 2nd to 4th grade readers.

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Joshua Dread by Lee Bacon

Joshua Dread. By Lee Bacon. Random House Children’s Books, 2012. 272 pages. $16.99

Middle school is pressure-filled enough and when your parents are supervillians, bound and determined to destroy the world, a normal life is nearly impossible. Add to this Joshua’s own emerging superpower and the appearance at school of Sophie Justice, daughter of superhero Captain Justice. A supervillian turns against his fellow villains, presenting an unlikely opportunity for Stacy and Joshua, with support from Captain Justice, to come to the defense of the supervillians. Witty and fast-paced, Joshua Dread will appeal to fantasy readers and superhero fans. A sequel can’t come out quick enough. Suitable for readers in 4th to 7th grade.

 

Unstoppable by Tim Green

Unstoppable. By Tim Green. HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012/ 352 pages. $16.99
It’s all about luck; some people have it and some don’t, and Harrison definitely doesn’t. When Harrison rebels against the abuse in his foster home, he fears things will get even worse. But it all turns around when he goes to live with the Kelly’s. Not only do the Kelly’s desperately want a child, Coach Kelly’s football team can use a player of Harrison’s size and strength. A routine doctor’s visit leads to a life-threatening diagnosis for Harrison. Major Bauer arrives at the Kelly’s to supervise Harrison’s rehab and in the process, restores his hope. Not only is Harrison unstoppable, so is Tim Green, as he offers another winner to his middle grade readers. Suitable for readers in 4th to 7th grades.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Ungifted. By Gordon Korman. Balzer & Bray, 2012. 288 pages, $16.99.
Donovan is a most unlikely candidate for a gifted program. However, when there’s a paperwork mix-up and a prank that Donovan needs to distance himself from, he’s not complaining. With proud parents looking on, Donovan makes a go it at the gifted school, making friends and offering surprising contributions to the class. Presented with typical Korman wit, this is a celebration of the giftedness in everyone. Suitable for 4th to 7th grade readers.

Son by Lois Lowry

Son. By Lois Lowry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. 400 pages. $17.99
Readers of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger will be delighted by the completion of the quartet. Here, the stories of Claire, Jonas, Gabriel, and Kira come together in a most satisfying conclusion. Son is divided into three books – Before, Between, and Beyond. In Before, we learn about Claire’s experience as a vessel, or birthmother. In Between, we discover what happened to Claire in the chaos that resulted in The Giver when Jonas escaped with the baby, Gabriel. In Beyond, Gabe’s special talents are needed to destroy an evil one known as Trademaster in order to restore safety and calm to the community. Readers will enjoy reconnecting with familiar characters and storylines. Lowry’s position as a master storyteller is secure. Suitable for readers in 5th – 8th grades.

Kudos to The Book Stall

The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois hosted their annual educator’s in-service on Saturday, September 29th. The incredibly knowledgeable staff headed by Robert McDonald showcased a number of exciting new offerings. While the middle grade list included many of the titles I’ve reviewed here, some highly recommended titles you’ll want to check out are:
In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz
Almost Home by Joan Bauer
One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt
Malcolm at Midnight by W. H. Beck
Floors, Book One and 3 Below (Book Two) by Patrick Carman
Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli
The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech and
The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Francis O’Roark Dowell.

Esme Raji Codell talked about the writing of her new book, Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman out just in time to celebrate his birthday on September 26th. Johnny Appleseed is certainly worthy of being called an “American Hero.”

Many thanks to The Book Stall for hosting this event and sharing their love of books!
Enjoy!

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

The Year of the Book. By Andrea Cheng. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. 146 pages. $5.99
Many of us have taken solace in books during times of trouble. The same is true for Anna. As elementary school friendships and alliances shift, she finds refuge in classics such as A Wrinkle in Time and My Side of the Mountain. While the books provide some insights into her world, ultimately, it is up to Anna to find out what makes friends, friends. Delightfully illustrated by Abigail Halpin, Anna will find many friends among the elementary school set. Suitable for 3rd to 5th grade readers.

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

One Year in Coal Harbor. By Polly Horvath. Random House Children’s Books, 2012. 224 pages. $16.99.
It’s been far too many years since the last visit to Coal Harbor! Primrose Squarp, whose adventures in the 2002 Newbery Honor Book Everything on A Waffle caught the imagination of young readers, is back. So are Horvath’s other enduring and eccentric characters; Uncle Jack, Miss Bowser, and Bert and Evie. This time around Primrose has a new friend Ked, Bert and Evie’s foster child. Aggressive logging is threatening Mendolay Mountain and many in Coal Harbor, including Primrose and Ked, are protesting. Ked’s troubled past catches up to him and adds to the angst of Primrose’s year. With humor and moments of great insight, Primrose and this cast of characters weather the storm. Don’t miss the recipes! Suitable for readers in 4th-7th grade.

The Puzzler’s Mansion by Eric Berlin

The Puzzler’s Mansion. By Eric Berlin G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012. 256 pages. $16.99
Mystery readers love nothing more than the closed room crime. In this third offering in the Winston Breen series, Winston and his friends have been invited for a puzzle-filled weekend at the mansion of a renowned orchestra conductor and puzzle aficionado. A number of strange disappearances throughout the weekend add a real-life puzzle to the weekend entertainment with the only suspects being those in the mansion, including Winston. Students looking for an unusual twist to the standard mystery fare will delight in The Puzzler’s Mansion and quickly devour the other Winston Breen books. Puzzles, and solutions, are included. Suitable for 4th to 7th grade readers.

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

A Dog Called Homeless. By Sarah Lean. Harper Collins, 2012. 208 pages. $16.99
Do you believe in ghosts? Cally Fisher is beginning to. Mourning the loss of her mother, Cally begins to see her in unlikely places. She’s always wearing her red raincoat and is accompanied by a wolfhound. Given that no one believes Cally when she talks about seeing her mother or the strange appearances of the wolfhound, Cally decides not to talk. It’s a reasonable response since she feels no one is listening anyway. Her newfound friend, Sam, despite, or maybe because of, his physical limitations provides Cally with profound insights. Ultimately though, it is Cally herself who learns to accept her grief and help her father and brother deal with their loss. This intriguing debut novel will have readers looking for Sarah Lean’s next offering. Suitable for 3rd-6th grade readers.


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