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Reviews by Janet P.

Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

Book Cover Guys Read: Funny Business

Funny guy Jon Scieszka has collected another group of stories aimed at guys, this one with a humorous bent. Stories by Jeff Kinney and Eoin Colfer will satisfy fans waiting for the next Wimpy Kid or Artemis Fowl book. Readers may discover new authors, too. After reading "A Fistful of Feathers," about a kid whose family's pet turkey gets just a little too much attention, I can't wait to read books by David Yoo. I squirmed at the gross "Bloody Souvenir" by Jack Gantos and laughed out loud at the grandfather in "What? You Think YOU Got it Rough?" by Christopher Paul Curtis. This collection is a hoot and will be appreciated by readers from about 4-7th grade, male or female.

WPL Call Number: J Guys
Review Date: 6/28/11


Book Cover The Seer of Shadows

Honest Horace is apprenticed to a photographer, Mr. Middleditch. Mrs. Von Macht, a wealthy woman with a deceased daughter, asks to be photographed. Mr. Middleditch, delving into spirit photography, makes Mrs. Von Macht's daughter appear in the pictures. Horace knows the scheme is wrong, and soon the situation spirals out of control. Can Horace stand up to Mr. Middleditch? Are the ghosts in the photographs real? Kids in fifth through seventh grade will like this creepy tale, especially those who like a good ghost story and/or historical fiction.

WPL Call Number: Y Avi
Review Date: 7/7/08


Book Cover The Twelve Days of Christmas in Wisconsin
Erin Kono

As someone who has spent nearly every Christmas of her life in Wisconsin, I can assure you that, if you spend Christmas in Wisconsin, you will not receive three huge lake sturgeon, four pouncing American Water Spaniels, or ten badgers snoozing. But Emma gets those things, and more. Her cousin Jake sends her something typical of Wisconsin for each of the twelve days of Christmas. Emma gets some wacky gifts, but along the way she learns a lot about the Badger State. This book will help kids writing a state report and will appeal to others who simply like Wisconsin (and what's not to like?).

WPL Call Number: J977.5 KO
Review Date: 12/16/08


Book Cover Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing)
Alison McGhee

This summer Julia Gillian is at loose ends in her south Minneapolis neighborhood, ignored by her grad-student parents. Julia Gillian feels uneasy a lot of the time, and she's worried about the future. But she's got her trusty St. Bernard to accompany her on walks and her neighbors Enzo and Zap to offer good advice. With the help of her friends, family, and a few papier-mache masks, Julia Gillian learns to face her fears. This sweet summer story will best be appreciated by kids in third and fourth grade and anyone who likes Minneapolis.

WPL Call Number: J McGhee
Review Date: 9/11/08


Book Cover Ten Things I Hate about Me
Randa Abdel-Fattah

She's Jamie at school, blond and all Australian. But she's Jamilah at home, part of a Lebanese-Muslim family. She loves some parts of her culture, like playing drums in an Arabic band. But her father is very strict and will barely let her out of the house. Jamie hides her Muslim identity from the kids at school to try to fit in. But when her school holds a formal dance and her band is booked to play, Jamie has to come to terms with both sides of her life. Kids in about 6th-8th grade will like this book, a good story about the ups and downs of being a multicultural teen.

WPL Call Number: Y Abdel-Fattah
Review Date: 6/3/09


Book Cover Behind the Curtain: An Echo Falls Mystery
Peter Abrahams

Eighth grader Ingrid loves playing soccer, acting in plays, and, most of all, reading Sherlock Holmes stories. At home, at school, and on the soccer field, she faces some puzzling situations. Why is her dad so unhappy at work? What’s with the tough-minded new soccer coach from out of town? Is her brother taking steroids? What can possibly be festive about an event called MathFest? Ingrid’s situation grows dire when she’s kidnapped on the way to the dreaded MathFest. Using Holmes’s methods, the resourceful young sleuth investigates the mysteries of Echo Falls. Active, inquisitive, and daring, Ingrid is a heroine who will appeal to many young mystery fans. The sequel to Down the Rabbit Hole is recommended for kids age 11 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Abrahams
Review Date: 4/12/07


Book Cover Reality Check
Peter Abrahams

Things are going great for football star Cody--until his hot, smart, and rich girlfriend, Clea, gets shipped off to boarding school in Vermont. Cody falls into a downward spiral--he breaks up with Clea, injures his knee in football, and finally drops out of school. Worse still, he gets news that Clea has disappeared. Cody races to Vermont to help find her. The police aren't doing enough, so Cody has to take matters into his own hands. He finds that, in this preppy New England town, things aren't always what they seem. Older junior high mystery-lovers will enjoy this page-turner.

WPL Call Number: Y Abrahams
Review Date: 11/25/09


Book Cover Chains : Seeds of America
Laurie Halse Anderson

It's 1776. Isabel and her little sister Ruth are slaves who are sold to a malevolent Loyalist couple in New York City. Isabel longs to escape her enslavement, especially after Ruth is sold. With the American Revolution raging around her, Isabel wants to help the side that will free her. Isabel negotiates the horrors of war, all the while searching for a way to freedom. Kids in sixth or seventh grade and older will enjoy this riveting, sometimes painful historical novel.

WPL Call Number: Y Anderson
Review Date: 3/16/09


Book Cover Anna Hibiscus

“Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa.” So begins each of the four stories in this easy chapter book. Anna lives in a compound with her extended family. There’s always someone around to play with, to take care of the little cousins, and to cook. Spunky, curious Anna has adventures at the beach, welcoming her Auntie Comfort from the United States, and selling oranges. She loves her home in Africa, but she longs to see snow, something only her Canadian mother has experienced. These sweet, engaging stories will appeal to kids interested in learning about the lives of kids on other continents.

WPL Call Number: J p AT
Review Date: 9/27/11


Book Cover Joshua Dread
Lee Bacon

Think your parents are embarrassing? Imagine having supervillains as parents! Joshua's parents are the Dread Duo, the Botanist and Dr. Dread. Joshua can barely get through the day without them trying to destroy the earth. Usually they're thwarted by Captain Justice. But when mysterious smoke creatures start whisking away supervillains, Joshua starts to worry about his parents. At the same time, he finds out he has his own super power. When the time comes, can Joshua save his parents? And whose side is Captain Justice really on? Fourth through sixth graders will enjoy this lively and humorous fantasy adventure.

WPL Call Number: J Bacon
Review Date: 4/29/13


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