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Home Kids Good Books Book Blog Staff Reviews by Reviewer

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 Nicholas and the Gang
Goscinny

French schoolboy Nicholas continues his adventures in this collection of humorous vignettes. He and his gang collect stamps, go camping, get X-rays, and play chess, never failing to irk their parents, teachers, and playground supervisors. Readers who enjoy Diary of a Wimpy kid might like this book, from a series that's long been popular in France.

WPL Call Number: J Goscinny
Review Date: 7/15/08

 

Book Cover Tall Story
Candy Gourlay

Bernardo has been waiting years to leave his village in the Philippines to join the rest of his family in London. When his papers finally come through, it's hard for Bernardo to leave. He's a giant, eight feet tall, and everyone in his village thinks he's the second coming of a mythical character who's preventing earthquakes from destroying their town. Once he's in London, he has a hard time fitting in--physically and socially. Slowly, he bonds with his half-sister, Andi, over their love of basketball. But what about Bernardo's village? Will it be safe from earthquakes without him? Narrated by Andi and Bernardo in alternating chapters, this is an unusual story about superstition and family bonds. Kids in about fifth through eighth grade will enjoy this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Gourlay
Review Date: 6/16/11

 

Book Cover Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers
Chris Grabenstein

If you liked The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, you'll like this book about another middle school fix-it artist. Riley and his friends are known at their school for defending kids from bullies and solving all manner of problems. When the town police chief and his son pick a fight with Riley, Riley does his best to stay away from them. But when a dog-napping and trouble at the local bank both point to the police chief's family, Riley knows he has to act. Riley's crew's problem-solving skills are impressive, and also hilarious. For kids in about fourth through seventh grades who like far-fetched but fun adventures.

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

 

Book Cover Blue Flame
K.M. Grant

Yolanda enjoys a great deal of freedom, exploring the countryside near her father's castle with her friend Raimon. Everything changes when the Blue Flame of Occitan appears. The mysterious flame exposes tension between Catholics and Cathars, and French people and the people of the Occitan. Yolanda's Catholic uncle begins to round up Cathars like Raimon. How will their budding romance fare as Yolanda's family begins to persecute Cathars? Will the Occitan fall to the French? Yolanda's story is full of action and interesting historical details. Set in twelfth-century southern France, this book will be best appreciated by historical fiction fans and francophiles over 13. Curious romance and adventure readers may enjoy Blue Flame as well.

WPL Call Number: Y Grant
Review Date: 12/8/08

 

Book Cover How the Hangman Lost His Heart
K.M. Grant

Warning: if you can't stomach blood and guts, don't even read this review. But if you don't mind gore, this book is for you. After her Uncle Frank is hanged, drawn, and quartered, Alice steals his head from a pike high atop a London building. Alice spends the rest of the book on the run with Uncle Frank's head. She's accompanied by Dan Skinslicer, Uncle Frank's executioner. Along the way, Alice manages to win the hearts of both Dan and Hew Ffrench, one of the soldiers who's supposed to arrest her. This book is funny and full of action, but not for the faint of heart. For historical fiction and adventure fans in grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Grant
Review Date: 8/18/08

 

Book Cover Mister Death's Blue-eyed Girls
Mary Downing Hahn

Nora and Ellie are ten minutes behind Cheryl and Bobbie Jo as they walk through the park on the way to school. When Cheryl and Bobbie Jo turn up in the park, murdered, Nora and Ellie are devastated. Ellie’s sent away for the summer, but Nora must stick around to deal with the aftermath. As the summer goes by with no killer caught, Nora questions her mortality, her faith, and her friendship with Ellie. She’s also the only person in town who doesn’t think that Buddy, Cheryl’s bitter ex-boyfriend, is the killer. That means that somewhere out there, Mister Death is on the loose. The narration in this 1950s suspense switches between Nora, Buddy, and the enigmatic Mister Death. For mystery lovers and questioning minds in seventh grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hahn
Review Date: 9/21/12

 

Book Cover The Girl is Murder
Kathryn Miller Haines

After her mother commits suicide and her father comes home from Pearl Harbor missing a leg, New York teenager Iris must leave her private school, move downtown, and start public school. Iris feels uneasy in the chaos of public school. To make matters worse, she senses that her father's private-eye business is failing. After Iris's father starts investigating the disappearance of one of her classmates, Iris tries to help solve the mystery, even though her father warns her not to. This page-turner will appeal most to mystery-lovers in 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Haines
Review Date: 8/10/11

 

Book Cover The Girl Is Trouble
Kathryn Miller Haines

Iris Anderson longs to help her father with his private investigation business, but soon enough, she’s got cases of her own to solve. Who’s leaving anti-Semitic notes in the lockers of members of her high school’s Jewish organization? Did Iris’s mother really commit suicide—or was it murder? Iris and her friends Benny and Pearl explore 1942 New York, facing duplicitous teenagers, tricky relatives, and Nazi sympathizers. Along the way, Iris learns more about her Jewish background, tries to mend family divisions, and proves to her father that she’s ready to work with him. The sequel to The Girl is Murder will captivate historical mystery fans in grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Haines
Review Date: 11/12/12

 

Book Cover Shug
Jenny Han

Annemarie Wilcox, also called Shug, is about to start seventh grade, and her life isn’t quite a cherry Popsicle. Annemarie can barely keep up with the changes in her life. She discovers she’s in love with her best friend Mark as her friends vie for popularity at school. Annemarie’s home life is in turmoil, too. Her beautiful and busy older sister ignores her, her mom is drinking more, and her dad is often absent. During this time of transition, Annemarie finds an unexpected friend and slowly begins to grow up. This bittersweet coming-of-age story will appeal to older tweens and young teens.

WPL Call Number: Y Han
Review Date: 7/12/07

 

Book Cover Project Sweet Life
Brent Hartinger

Dave and his friends Curtis and Victor are hoping to enjoy one last summer of freedom before they have to get summer jobs. Their dads have other ideas--they insist that the boys get jobs. Instead of getting jobs, the boys embark on Project Sweet Life--a scheme to make money without having jobs. They try a garage sale. They try to collect reward money for catching bank robbers. They look for hidden treasure. They fail time after time. By the last few days of summer, they find they've done a lot of work and still have zero dollars. Will the boys finally cash in on their scheme? This is a great summer read for kids in about sixth grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hartinger
Review Date: 7/23/09

 

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