Reviews by Joanna N.
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.
Dennis is a top-notch skateboarder and would like to do snowboarding, but bad memories of his ski accident make him terrified of switching to a snow sport. A bully goads Dennis into life-threatening danger to prove his courage. An exciting, thoughtful story for sports fans and reluctant readers, grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Christopher
Esme Raji Codell
Sahara's always placed in "Special Ed." and now she's repeating 5th grade. Thanks to wonderful, imaginative, funny, sensitive, wacky "Miss Pointy," with the wild copper hair and the leopard coat, this year will be different beyond Sahara's dreams! Great for boys or girls grades 4-6.
WPL Call Number: J Codell
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party|
This novel is based on the author's childhood during the Cultural Revolution in China. Under Mao's rule, Compestine's father, who was a doctor, was forced to work as a janitor. In the novel, nine year old Ling's secure life disappears. Her neighbors are taken away. Food is scarce; her favorite blouse is traded for eggs. Children are forced to turn against their parents. Gangs terrorize her school. Everyday life for everyone becomes heavy with fear. The novel ends on a note of hope. Ling and her story would appeal to 5th graders and up and anyone especially interested in the Cultural Revolution
WPL Call Number: Y Compestine
The Magician's Boy|
The Boy works for the Magician. One day during their scariest show, "Saint George and the Dragon," the Saint George puppet is inexplicably not on its hook! The Magician is furious and sends the Boy to search for it in the Land of Story. Eventually, there is a fierce battle where the Boy must put on the white tunic with the red cross, and take up a sword to fight the Dragon. Great story for readers needing an easy chapter book, or as a read-aloud for older preschoolers and 1st and 2nd graders.
WPL Call Number: J Cooper
Juliet Dove, Queen of Love|
Juliet wanders into a strange shop which she has never noticed before, and is captivated by a beautiful pendant. Although the shop and its keeper make her very uneasy, she takes the pendant. When she puts it on, strange things immediately start to occur, and she is not able to take it off! Magic, danger, and light-hearted fun for boys and girls (and fans of the Magic Shop Books) grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Coville
Josh's pet chicken, Semolina, tells him all the gossip from the farm animals, including who's been stealing eggs from the barn. Only problem is, Semolina talks only to Josh, so nobody believes him when he reports about a thieving fox. Josh's family has another problem too: Mom is in the hospital with pregnancy problems, so Grandma has to run the house. Lots of intrigue in this warm, funny family story. Josh has to bribe Semolina with some of Grandma's homemade "brew" so that she will keep talking, but the fox finds out who "spilled the beans" and puts Semolina on his "hit list." Recommmended for grades 3 and up. Might be a good family read-aloud.
WPL Call Number: J Cowley
"Dark" fits her name; she's a coal black kitty with yellow eyes. Abandoned by her family in Golden Gate Park, she makes friends with Casablanca, a cat; and Rattail, a raccoon; and Memorie, an owl; and with a homeless person bundled in rags named Streetwise Sal. Dark tells her own story of life among the homeless- the animals and the people. This novel is full of events which are by turns colorful, sad, dangerous, or thought provoking. The author has worked with cat rescue for years. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Grabien
Someone Like You|
Halley and Scarlett, best friends for years, will never forget their junior year in high school. Scarlett's boyfriend is killed on a motorcycle and Scarlett finds she is carrying his baby. The novel captures a poignant time for two high schoolers, when life is sweet but scary, exciting and hopeful, but often lonely. This year they will leave childhood behind, whether they want to or not. For girls 8th grade and up
WPL Call Number: Y Dessen
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane|
Edward is a fancy china toy rabbit with a large wardrobe of stylish clothes. He belongs to a little girl named Abilene, who loves him very much. He, curiously enough, is not very interested in love. This novel, a little treasure, weaves old-fashioned magic reminiscent of "Hitty: Her First Hundred Years," or even "The Light Princess." Recommended as a family read-aloud, and for grades 1 and up.
WPL Call Number: J DiCamillo
I Am a Taxi|
Diego lives with his mother in a Bolivian jail. His parents have been wrongfully convicted of running drugs and sentenced to 16 years. In Bolivia prisoners must pay for their own food and their cell. Life is harsh and there is never enough money for these things. Although the parents must stay locked up, Diego is able to come and go, so he hires himself as a "taxi," earning money by running errands for people. Diego's friend urges him leave this hard life, and come with him to work outside the prison for 2 weeks with some men he has met. The men promise to make Diego and his friend rich. Diego's better judgement says not to go, but then Diego gets in some bad trouble at the prison and life is worse than ever. A sobering but fascinating look at a child's life in a third world country. Good reading especially for boys who like a fast paced story.
WPL Call Number: Y Ellis