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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 Punk Farm on Tour
Jarrett J. Krosoczka

"The Wheels on the Bus" has never rocked so hard. When Farmer Joe leaves the farm for the National Tractor Society Convention, the animals of Punk Farm hit the road, too. The band piles in their van, bringing their rocking rendition of "The Wheels on the Van" to animals from Maine to Colorado. This picture book, like its predecessor, Punk Farm, puts a fun twist on the standard barnyard tale. It's sure to be a hit in storytime and most other times.

WPL Call Number: JE Krosoczka
Review Date: 2/4/08


Book Cover Shots at Sea : A Houdini & Nate Mystery
Tom Lalicki

On a transatlantic voyage on the elegant Lusitania, Nate Fuller is excited to run into his friend Harry Houdini, the renowned escape artist. He's also thrilled to know that former President Theodore Roosevelt is aboard ship. The voyage gets choppy when Nate witnesses an attempt on President Roosevelt's life. With the help of Houdini and his magic skills, Nate tries to find the would-be assassin. This fast-paced mystery is full of historical details and amusing and accurate facts about Houdini. Kids in about third through fifth grade will enjoy the second Houdini and Nate Mystery.

WPL Call Number: J Lalicki
Review Date: 4/28/08


Book Cover Skulduggery Pleasant
Derek Landy

When Stephanie's odd Uncle Gordon dies, she inherits his mansion and other possessions. She also meets an unusual friend of her uncle. Skulduggery Pleasant is a walking, talking skeleton detective. Skulduggery introduces Stephanie to a magical world of vampires, Hollow Men, sorcerers, and swordswomen. Soon Stephanie and Skulduggery are caught up in a scheme to save the world from the diabolical Nefarian Serpine. This action-packed, funny fantasy novel will appeal to kids ages 10 or 11 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Landy
Review Date: 4/14/08


Book Cover How to Ditch Your Fairy
Justine Larbalestier

In Charlie's town, most people have a fairy that give them a special skill or power. Charlie is stuck with a parking fairy that enables the vehicle she's in to find the perfect spot. Charlie will do almost anything to get rid of that troublesome parking fairy. She'll even team up with her enemy Fiorenze, who has an all-the-boys-will-like-you fairy. Charlie's efforts to ditch her fairy are hilarious fun. This would be a good book for kids in grades 6-8 who don't normally read fantasy books but have to read a fantasy book for school. It's fluffy fairy fun.

WPL Call Number: Y Larbalestier
Review Date: 3/19/09


Book Cover The Séance
Iain Lawrence

Scooter King's mother is a medium. She performs seances, tricking people into believing that she's contacted their departed friends and relatives. When medium-busting magician Harry Houdini comes to town, strange things start to happen. People start turning up dead, and it's up to Scooter to put together clues that the police ignore. At the same time, he's hoping that Houdini won't close down his mother's business. Will Scooter solve the crimes AND save his mother's seances? Readers in fourth grade and up who have a taste for mysteries and the supernatural will enjoy this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Lawrence
Review Date: 1/28/09


Book Cover The Carbon Diaries 2015
Saci Lloyd

If you liked Life as We Knew It, you'll be gripped by this British environmental disaster tale. After the Great Storm hits and as global warming accelerates, the UK decides to ration carbon use. For Laura and her family, this means less car, less electricity, no more travel, and fewer baths. Laura just wants life to go back to normal. She wants to play with her band, the dirty angels, and crush on her cute neighbor. But as power outages become more frequent and the weather gets more erratic, it becomes clear that Laura will have to adapt to a new kind of normal. How will Laura, her family, and friends survive? This cool, socially and environmentally conscious book is for kids in about 7th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Lloyd
Review Date: 10/12/09


Book Cover The Carbon Diaries 2017
Saci Lloyd

It's two years after Laura Brown's first appearance, in The Carbon Diaries 2015. Laura's now at university in London, and things have gotten worse--the UK is still rationing energy use, there's flooding in London, and the government is cracking down hard on protesters. Laura and her band, the Dirty Angels, tour Europe, but rioting in France stops them. Witnessing a water war and a refugee crisis, Laura and her friends must decide just how far they'll go to fight for justice. If you liked the first book in the series or Life as We Knew It, and you're in seventh grade or older, you'll dig this book about the not-too-distant future gone crazy.

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


Book Cover The Willoughbys
Lois Lowry

This is an old-fashioned story, and everyone in the story knows it. As befits old-fashioned literary children, the Willoughby children strive to be orphans, sending their parents on a series of risky adventures. A very proper nanny takes care of them. Meanwhile, an abandoned baby is found by a widower, and a boy and his mother live in Switzerland after surviving years in a train car buried by in an alpine avalanche. How do these stories intersect? In an old-fashioned way, of course. For anyone who's had enough of the Penderwicks and enjoys a little satire.

WPL Call Number: J Lowry
Review Date: 7/29/08


Book Cover Running Rivals
Jake Maddox

Amy's knee has finally healed, and her doctor tells her she can go back to the track team. But will she be ready for the big meet that's just a week away? Will she be able to beat her rival at the 400 meters? This is a simple, albeit unrealistic, story that would be good for kids just starting to read chapter books or older reluctant readers. The main character's age isn't mentioned, so older readers most likely won't feel alienated. Perhaps they'll race to the shelves to pick this one up.

WPL Call Number: J Maddox
Review Date: 9/2/09


Book Cover Harold's Tail
John Bemelmans Marciano

Is a squirrel just a rat with a bushy tail? That's the question facing Harold the squirrel. A sinister rat, Sidney, convinces Harold to shave his tail--and then Sidney attaches Harold's fur to his own tail! Sidney takes Harold's place in a pleasant New York City park, while Harold is forced out. Everyone thinks he's a rat! How will Harold survive? Can a squirrel live as a rat? This sad but ultimately heartwarming tale is for wildlife lovers in grades 3-5.

WPL Call Number: J Marciano
Review Date: 9/21/12


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