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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 Bird Lake Moon
Kevin Henkes

The author of Kitten's First Full Moon explores his dark side in this quiet novel. Mitch and his mother come to Bird Lake after Mitch's father leaves the family. Spencer and his family visit Bird Lake to come to terms with the death of their oldest child there years before. Mitch at first resents Spencer's presence, but the two boys become friends as they both deal with with secrets, loss, and change. Introspective fourth through sixth graders will enjoy this book.

WPL Call Number: J Henkes
Review Date: 11/2/08


Book Cover Secrets, Lies and My Sister Kate
Belinda Hollyer

Mini and her older sister Kate have always been close. Mini can usually tell what's on Kate's mind, but lately Kate has been a bit of a mystery. First she comes home with a tattoo. She picks nasty fights with their parents. Then one day Kate disappears completely. Mini struggles to understand how and why Kate has changed so much. Still, she thinks she just may be the only one who can find Kate and start putting their family back together. Realistic fiction lovers in about fourth through sixth grade will most appreciate this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Hollyer
Review Date: 10/21/09


Book Cover Totally Joe
James Howe

Joe can’t help being totally himself. For a seventh grader who knows he’s gay, that isn’t always easy. Joe deals with his first boyfriend, school bullies, and family upheaval with humor and guts. Fortunately, he’s always got the support of his gang of quirky friends and accepting family. Joe chronicles his musings and adventures in an “alphabiography” for English class. From A to Z, there are entries for the important things in Joe’s life. Will appeal to kids in 5th grade and up.

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


Book Cover Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You
Hanna Jansen

Jeanne’s life is active and pleasant, full of games, school lessons, and family stories, until one day her Rwandan village descends into chaos and violence. Jeanne and her family are Tutsis, members of an ethnic group being persecuted by the Hutus. Driven from their home, the family loses everything in a massive wave of murder and destruction. Jeanne is the only survivor. Her journey through the turmoil makes for a gripping tale of endurance under extreme circumstances. The author is Jeanne’s adoptive mother, who adds flashes of insight from her own life with Jeanne in Germany. This is a wrenching story, but one that needs to be told and heard. Factual details about the political situation in Rwanda are sketchy, but the lack of information may inspire readers to do additional research. Ages 13 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Jansen
Review Date: 4/6/07


Book Cover Babylonne
Catherine Jinks

Feisty Babylonne runs away after her grandmother threatens to marry her off. On the road, Babylonne, a Cathar, meets Isidore, a Catholic priest who knew her mysterious father, also a hated Catholic priest. Babylonne and Isidore face the dangers of the road in 13th century southwestern France--creepy pilgrims, a marauding French army, thieves--and the chip on Babylonne's shoulder begins to lessen. Soon Babylonne and Isidore are separated, and Babylonne is stuck in fortress besieged by the enemy French army. This is a spin-off of Jinks's Pagan series. Fans of that series will enjoy this book, as well as those who like a good adventure story or a lively historical tale.

WPL Call Number: Y Jinks
Review Date: 12/10/08


Book Cover The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Catherine Jinks

Nina is a vampire. She writes about sexy vampires who have dangerous adventures. Unfortunately for her, she's not writing about what she knows. Instead, she and a small group of vampires sit around in a support group, complaining about their vampire medical problems, snacking on guinea pig blood, and avoiding sunlight. But then one of them is mysteriously staked and killed. Will Nina and her fellow vampires be able to change their routine and solve the killing? Will Nina get to have the kind of adventures she thinks only exist in fiction? Vampire fans in about sixth grade and up will enjoy this supernatural/realistic tale.

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


Book Cover Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam
Cynthia Kadohata

I love a good dog story, and this is certainly one. German Shepherd Cracker is cruelly torn away from her young owner, Willie, and sent to Vietnam to sniff out bombs and booby traps. Rick Hanski joins the army to escape the monotony of a life spent working in his family's hardware store. Rick is the endearing and heroic Cracker's handler, and together, they find their places in the world, becoming a crack dog team. This is a great action story, as well as a wonderful dog story.

WPL Call Number: Y Kadohata
Review Date: 8/11/07


Book Cover The Ugly Truth
Jeff Kinney

Everyone's favorite middle schooler is back, and he's wimpier than ever. Greg Heffley is on the outs with his best friend, Rowley. His mom has gone back to school, leaving Greg and his male family members in charge of household chores. To make matters worse, Greg is growing up--no one thinks he's a cute little kid anymore, and people keep expecting him to be more responsible. And everyone wants to give him a "facts of life" talk. Can Greg face the ugly truth? This one's not as laugh-out-loud funny as some of the other books in the series, but it's sure to get a few chuckles from practically everyone.

WPL Call Number: J Kinney
Review Date: 11/12/10


Book Cover Dying to Meet You
Kate Klise

Ignatius B. Grumpley moves into a creepy mansion in Ghastly, Illinois, to work on his long-overdue mystery book. To his dismay, the mansion is already inhabited by a boy, his cat, and a ghost. This situation does nothing to stop his writer's block. When Ignatius's money starts to run out, he knows he has to start writing, or else. Will Ignatius come to terms with his housemates and break through his writer's block? This funny story is told in letters and notes. Kids in about second through fourth grade will chuckle at this book.

WPL Call Number: J Klise
Review Date: 7/23/09


Book Cover Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute
Jarrett Krosoczka

Ever wonder what your lunch lady does in her spare time? Some kids at Thompson Brook School do. They follow their lunch lady one day after school. They discover she's a crime-fighting, spatula-swinging superhero who's protecting her students from an evil cyborg substitute who wants to give kids too much homework. Lunch Lady gets help from her cafeteria assistant, Betty, who supplies her with gadgets like chicken nugget bombs, fish stick nunchucks, and a spatu-copter. Together, they keep the school well fed and danger free. This comic is good fun for the Captain Underpants set.

WPL Call Number: J Comic KR
Review Date: 10/21/09


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