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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 The Summer Before
Ann M. Martin

Are you a kid who's enjoyed the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels? Are you an adult who enjoyed the original Baby-Sitters Club books? Then this book is for you. As the Baby-Sitters Club books get re-released, Ann M. Martin has written a prequel. The summer before the club starts, Stacey is getting ready to move away from New York City, while Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia are having growing pains in Stoneybrook. All of them, of course, are babysitting. Find out how the four girls come together in this sweet story that kids in about third grade and up (and older fans) will enjoy.

WPL Call Number: J Martin
Review Date: 9/8/10


Book Cover Gods of Manhattan
Scott Mebus

One day, Manhattan teen Rory starts seeing things. A gargoyle eating a pigeon. A cockroach riding a rat. Soon he discovers that there's a hidden world in Manhattan. It features hidden streets, moving statues, and rat-riding cockroaches. Mannahatta is ruled by departed famous New Yorkers, now gods: Alexander Hamilton, God of Finance; Walt Whitman, God of Optimism; and John Jacob Astor, God of Excess. All is not right in Mannahatta. The gods are quarreling, and the spirits of the Munsee tribe are trapped in Central Park. It may be up to Rory and his sister Bridget to fix some ancient wrongs. Kids who liked The Lightning Thief will love this book. It's a great fantasy adventure with some interesting history lessons thrown in. For fifth through eighth graders.

WPL Call Number: Y Mebus
Review Date: 4/17/09


Book Cover The Apothecary
Maile Meloy

In 1952 Janie's screenwriter parents move their family from Hollywood to London to avoid charges of communism. But Janie doesn't escape trouble--instead she finds it when she befriends the local apothecary's son, who hangs around the park pretending to be a spy. Soon the two of them are embroiled in a real plot to stop the testing of a nuclear bomb. They use the apothecary's transformational and whimsical magic to further their quest. This intriguing story will appeal to fans of historical fiction and science fiction in grades 6-8.

WPL Call Number: Y Meloy
Review Date: 1/13/13


Book Cover Ruined
Paula Morris

Rebecca is not happy about leaving New York to spend most of her sophomore year in New Orleans with her weird tarot-reading Aunt Claudia and cousin Aurelia. She doesn't fit in at her snooty private school. The only person she relates to is Lisette, and it turns out that Lisette is a ghost. Rebecca soon finds out that Lisette is involved in a deadly curse on an old New Orleans family--and Rebecca may be, too! As Mardi Gras rolls around, Rebecca realizes she's in a dangerous fight for her life. Fans of New Orleans and historical fiction in sixth grade and up will enjoy this page-turner.

WPL Call Number: Y Morris
Review Date: 1/25/10


Book Cover The Off Season
Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The sequel to Dairy Queen picks up where readers left Wisconsin farm girl D.J. She’s starting her first season as a linebacker on her high school football team, her best friend Amber is speaking to her again, and she’s got a little something going on with Brian Nelson, the cute quarterback of her rival school’s team. As the fall progresses, D.J. faces ups and downs in her relationships as well as in football. The story takes an unexpected turn as D.J.’s college quarterback brother Win sustains a major injury. Win’s injury forces D.J. to think carefully about her family life, the value of hard work, and the importance of sports. Older readers will appreciate D.J.’s honest voice, toughness, and amusing adventures.

WPL Call Number: Y Murdock
Review Date: 8/28/07


Book Cover The Great God Pan
Donna Jo Napoli

Pan, the Greek god of nature, looks like he's half goat and half human. He doesn't quite fit in with people, gods, or goats. He's also unlucky in love. He roams around, mooning over the beautiful mortal Iphigenia and playing his pipes. Will his music save him from tragedy, or have the gods cursed Pan? Napoli provides her own spin on another traditional tale. Kids who like mythology can read this to pass the time until they get their hands on The Last Olympian.

WPL Call Number: Y Napoli
Review Date: 5/4/09


Magic book Shiloh
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

A dog follows Marty home from the woods one day. Marty can tell that the friendly beagle, whom he names Shiloh, has been mistreated, and he wishes he didn't have to return him to his cruel owner, Judd Travers. When Shiloh runs back to Marty's house, Marty hides him. But the situation just can't last. Can Marty save Shiloh from Judd Travers? This Newbery winner appeals to animal lovers in about third grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Naylor
Review Date: 10/4/10


Book Cover Bad News for Outlaws : The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Bass Reeves was an African American hero of the Wild West. In swashbuckling style, author Nelson tells how Bass escaped from slavery to the Indian Territory, where he became a respected and feared lawman. As a deputy U.S. marshal, Bass went undercover to make arrests, caught seventeen outlaws at one time, arrested his own son, and even pet a skunk. Bass's life reads almost like a tall tale. Winner of a Coretta Scott King Author Award, this book will hook readers looking for a biography project or just a darn good story.

WPL Call Number: J921 Reeves
Review Date: 4/9/10


Book Cover Gender Blender
Blake Nelson

Gender Blender is a humorous bubblegum romp through the confusing boy-girl politics of the sixth grade. Like most of the boys and girls in their class, Tom and Emma are enemies. But when they fall under the curse of a magic arrowhead, Tom and Emma switch bodies. Tom must deal with Emma’s overflowing activities schedule, and Emma must negotiate Tom’s tricky family. They both have to contend with differing expectations for boys and for girls, not to mention their new, changing bodies. Will each one gain insight into the lives of the opposite sex? What will happen during the kissing games at Kelly Angstrom’s party? Most importantly, will Tom and Emma get their own bodies back? For grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Nelson
Review Date: 5/26/07


Book Cover The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester
Barbara O'Connor

Owen's not too happy about his family's move to his grandfather's house. His best friends are across town, and there's a nosy, know-it-all neighbor girl, Viola. But some bright spots appear--he catches the biggest frog in the pond and names him Tooley. And he finds the mysterious something that fell off a passing train in the middle of the night. Soon Owen's got a big project on his hands. Will he be able to keep it a secret from Viola? And can he keep Tooley happy all summer? To find out Owen's secret, read this fun summer adventure. It will appeal to kids in about third and fourth grade.

WPL Call Number: J O'Connor
Review Date: 5/5/11


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