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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 Big Nate : In a Class by Himself
Lincoln Peirce

While you're waiting for the next Wimpy Kid book to come out, meet Big Nate. Middle schooler Nate knows he's destined for greatness. In fact, a fortune cookie tells him that "today you will surpass all others." Unfortunately, Nate just keeps getting detention after detention. How will Nate live up to his promise when he keeps getting in trouble? With its cartoon-like illustrations and slapstick humor, Big Nate will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans in about third grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Peirce
Review Date: 10/8/10


Book Cover Ripper
Stefan Petrucha

When aspiring detective Carver Young ages out of his New York City orphanage, he lands an apprenticeship of sorts with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. His first assignment: find his father. At the same time, New York is rocked by a series of grisly murders. Carver soon suspects that his father is responsible for the murders--and that his father is Jack the Ripper, fresh from London. With lots of twists and turns, this book will appeal to mystery fans in sixth through eighth grade.

WPL Call Number: Y Petrucha
Review Date: 10/23/12


Book Cover The Daughters
Joanna Philbin

Do you enjoy reading about the lives of the rich and privileged but hate reading about the cattiness that often goes with them? Do you lust after Prada shoes but find that reading The Clique gives you a massive headache? Then The Daughters is for you! Best friends Lizzie, Carina, and Hudson all have rich and famous parents. These girls have it all--expensive clothes, fabulous homes, great vacations, and an exclusive school. But unlike the Clique and their ilk, these girls are refreshingly nice to each other. That's not to say they don't have their problems. Bookish Lizzie has always felt like the ugly duckling to her supermodel mother. After a photographer discovers her quirky looks, Lizzie finds her face, labeled the New Pretty, splashed all over fashion magazines. Lizzie loves the confidence she feels in front of the camera. But can she handle the pressures of being the latest fashion It Girl? With the support of her good friends, she'll make it through. For chick-lit lovers in grades 6-9. Written by the daughter of Regis Philbin, who knows a thing or two about having a famous parent.

WPL Call Number: Y Philbin
Review Date: 11/29/10


Book Cover The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
W. R. (W. Rodman) Philbrick

When their crotchety old uncle Squint sells underage Harold into the Union Army, Homer lights out from the family farm to rescue his older brother from the Civil War. Homer lies his way through adventures with slave catchers, con artists, a medicine man, and a hot-air balloon. He tells whoppers all the way to Gettysburg, where a terrible battle is brewing. Kids in fourth through seventh grades will enjoy this funny historical novel.

WPL Call Number: J Philbrick
Review Date: 7/28/09


Magic book The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
Daniel Manus Pinkwater

In celebration of National Humor Month, I read (or possibly reread—my memory is a bit foggy) this amusing 1977 tale. Arthur Bobowicz goes out to pick up his family’s Thanksgiving turkey, but he comes home with a 266-pound chicken. Arthur names her Henrietta. He walks her and teaches her tricks, but his father forces him to return Henrietta to the mad professor who raised her. Somehow, Henrietta flies the coop and appears all over Hoboken, terrorizing and confusing the populace. Arthur’s hilarious search for Henrietta is recounted in Pinkwater’s deadpan style. My favorite line in the book is this: “…but when you’ve been a mad scientist as long as I have, you learn that some things are more important than others.” Gooood chicken!

WPL Call Number: Pinkwater
Review Date: 4/12/07


Book Cover The Nightmarys
Dan Poblocki

Pick up this book because it has the creepiest cover ever; read it because it's a chilling action story. Around the time Timothy gets partnered on a school project with weird new girl Abigail, he starts having terrible nightmares. Soon, even during the day, he can't tell what's real and what's in his imagination. Timothy and Abigail find that they're the victims of an old curse. Can they stop the curse and the nasty old man who's perpetuating it? Kids from about fourth through seventh grade will enjoy this eerie mystery.

WPL Call Number: Y Poblocki
Review Date: 10/27/10


Book Cover Fred & Anthony Escape from the Netherworld
Elise Primavera

Fans of Captain Underpants, Ricky Ricotta, and horror movies will love Fred and Anthony. The two young couch potatoes are looking for a way out of building the Alamo out of popsicle sticks when they find themselves sucked into the Netherworld. Using their extensive knowledge of horror movies, they battle all sorts of nasty monsters. The book combines text with drawings and elements of graphic novels. For readers first grade and up with a taste for the gross and gory.

WPL Call Number: JE ER Primavera
Review Date: 5/23/08


Magic book The Vinyl Princess
Yvonne Prinz

Follow sixteen-year-old "reclusive music junkie" Allie through the ups and downs of a summer. Allie works at the failing Bob & Bob Records on funky Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. She's also got an anonymous music blog. As a record lover in an i-pod age, Allie sometimes feels very alone. But over the course of the summer, Allie finds like-minded music fans, and she may even find love. But will she still have a job at the record store? Music fans in about seventh grade and up will enjoy this funny, apt book that gets those music junkies just right.

WPL Call Number: Y Prinz
Review Date: 3/1/10


Book Cover The Dogs of Winter
Bobbie Pyron

In the early 1990s, five-year-old Ivan is abandoned on the streets of Moscow. Frightened and bullied by the other street children, he finds better company and protection with a pack of stray dogs. Together, they brave two harsh winters in Moscow and slightly easier summers outside the city, scrounging food and begging for money. The dogs are Ivan's family, and a caring one, too, but how long can they stay together? Would Ivan be better off in an orphanage? Ivan's story, based on a real boy's experiences, is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and heartbreaking. Kids with a social conscience and dog lovers alike will be moved. For kids in grades 4-7.

WPL Call Number: Y Pyron
Review Date: 3/13/13


Magic book Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? : Final Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
Louise Rennison

In her final appearance, diarist Georgia Nicolson is up to her usual outrageous tricks. She's once again the girlfriend of a Luurve God, Masimo, but pal Dave the Laugh keeps confusing her with his red-bottomosity. At school, Georgia and her friends are practicing for an all-female rendition of Romeo and Juliet. And at home, Georgia's keeping a close eye on her mum, who's mysteriously manipulating her father into helping around the house. When Masimo's band, the Stiff Dylans, gets an offer to live and play in London, Georgia has to make a difficult choice. Will she finally chose the right guy before she says toodle-pip to her readers?

WPL Call Number: Y Rennison
Review Date: 11/6/09


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