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.
The Sea of Trolls|
Jack, a good Christian Saxon boy who is studying to be a Bard, is captured by Olaf One-Brow, a wild, giant, Viking Berserker. Olaf One-Brow carries Jack and his little sister, Lucy, away to be his slaves. Their adventure into the land of the trolls is a tale which is at once hilarious, sad, cruel, gentle, thought provoking, and historically fascinating, . Highly recommended for grades 6 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Farmer
Snowed In With Grandmother Silk|
Ruddy doesn't want to stay ten days, including Halloween, at Grandmother Silk's house while his parents are away. Grandmother Silk is a stiff person, rather cold and a little scary. When a tremendous snowstorm arrives, Ruddy and Grandmother are snowed in alone, and have to survive without heat, water, or electricity. During this time, Ruddy warms Grandmother Silk's heart a little, and Ruddy, in turn, gets startling glimpses into Grandmother Silk's childhood. A gentle story with characters so skillfully drawn for such a short, easy-reading novel! For 2nd and 3rd graders.
WPL Call Number: J Fenner
You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys|
A great collection for older boys, provocative and not difficult reading. My favorite story, "My Hood," was about Eric, who has a stolen day of fun on a hot 4th of July in North Philadelphia. Weary of babysitting his two little sisters, he drops them off with an older cousin. And then he and cousin Elliott "do" the Hood- other people's block parties, pretty girls, getting kicked out of someone else's swimming pool, fireworks. As Eric says, he loves North Philly, where you can see "all kinds of people" and do things, "bad and good." One poem was especially haunting: "In case somebody shoots me...Here's what you should know about me...I'm a loyal friend..." Recommended for 8th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Flake
The Ruins of Gorlan|
Will, an orphan in a school for orphans, hopes to go to Battle School where he'll learn to be a Warrior. Instead, he is drafted to learn to be a Ranger. Will is mightily disappointed and fearful. The Rangers are a mysterious, somewhat frightening group. They wear black and don't appear very often around the school. Will is sure they are not the cool group to belong to. "The Ruins of Gorlan" is Book One of the fantasy series "Ranger's Apprentice." Some fantasies depend on exotic situations and paraphernalia; this one depends on strong and complex characters and it's a winner. Highly recommended for 5th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Flanagan
Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life|
What a giant of a man! With only 2 years of formal education, Franklin served as a foreign diplomat, published a newspaper, was a respected scientist who charted the course of the Gulf Stream, invented the glass armonica, was an amateur doctor who first diagnosed lead poisoning, invented electroshock therapy, studied dinosaur bones and more. Well-researched biography, tons of pictures and written like a scrap book; you can skip around all you want. For boys and girls grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y921 Franklin
Our Eleanor : A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life|
This fine biography of Eleanor Roosevelt is a treasure trove. Written in scrapbook style, including many photographs and original documents, Fleming has created an unforgettable portrait of a complex and influential woman
WPL Call Number: Y921 Roosevelt
My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer|
A satisfying story of one girl's special summer. June, age 12, really hopes to win a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair Pie Contest. She and her mom have been happy running a marina where they sell pies and other food. June and her good friend, Luke, enjoy swimming and hunting blueberries together. Life has seemed perfect until Mom's friend, Eva, moves in and June learns that they intend to get married. Many in the community are very critical of these marriage plans. It is all very upsetting for June, who agonizes over who she wants to be and how to be loyal and loving to her mom and Eva. Recommended for girls 6th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Gennari
Felix, age eleven and Jewish, and his little friend Zelda (whose parents, now dead, were devoted Nazis), have jumped off a Nazi death train and are fleeing on foot. "Then" is the story of their friendship and fierce devotion to each other amid the brutal circumstances of the Jewish Holocaust in Poland. Good reading for mature readers 6th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Gleitzman
The Garden of Eve|
K. L. Going
Evie and her father move to New York State after Evie's mother dies. There, an old "cursed" orchard, a new friend who tells Evie that he is "dead," an apple seed and Evie's mother's spirit help Evie and her father to believe in the magic they thought was gone forever from their lives when Evie's mother died. An unusual story of a family's grief and healing. Recommended for grades 6 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Going
Hide and Seek|
Chase, age 14, is enjoying his new GPS, a gift from his father. He's excited to find a geocache, but he notices that it's been muggled and there's a strange message inside: "Help We ne," the message reads! Is it a joke? Is someone really in danger? If so, who? The whole thing feels a little scary. Chase decides to follow some clues and find out- in spite of danger to himself. A fast paced story that kids, especially boys, will like. Recommended for grades 6 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Grant