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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.

Book Cover Dancing Through the Snow
Jean Little

Min was abandoned as a little child in a public washroom. Kids at school know her story and many taunt her with names like "Litter-Bin Min." Her foster families, with the exception of the first, have not been particularly kind or sensitive. In her own defense, Min has learned to say little and trust nobody. Then a Native American doctor decides to help. Jean Little is perceptive and her characters are many sided. The story leaves the reader feeling happy. Recommended for 4th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Little
Review Date: 1/18/10


Book Cover Sonny's House of Spies
George Ella Lyon

Sonny's family life crackles with anger, tension and unanswered questions. Sonny is troubled, but he can "remember" or "forget", whichever he needs to do to survive until the secrets unravel. Set in Alabama, 1950's, homosexuality is a great unmentionable, and the issue of race still runs like an underground river. Coming of age story for 7th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Lyon
Review Date: 8/30/04


Book Cover Tomorrow, When the War Began
John Marsden

Seven friends in Australia go camping together. When they return they find their families gone, the power off and pets and farm animals dying- or dead. The kids come to the horrifying realization that their country has been invaded. For protection they decide to hide out in a remote, rugged, wild canyon called "Hell," which is only accessible by going down several cliffs named "Satan's Steps." All the campers are physically and morally challenged in this fast paced, thoughtful novel for grades 8 and up. Book one of "The Tomorrow" series.

WPL Call Number: Y p MA
Review Date: 4/17/08


Book Cover Birds
Gilles Martin

With photographs by Gilles Martin and text by Philippe J. DuBois and Valerie Guidoux and drawings by Jean Chevallier. Among the many large photographs of exotic birds from all over the globe is a beautiful picture of the Victoria crowned pigeon and a reminder that this bird, like so many, is endangered. Birds celebrates Birds - for their beauty, plumage, habits, and skills, and would make a lovely family gift.

WPL Call Number: Y598 MA
Review Date: 12/1/05


Book Cover Everything For a Dog
Ann Martin

This story is everything for dog lovers! Two lovable dogs, two boys who love dogs, and two families, are all connected in a heartwarming way the reader does not expect. A wonderful family story and it's kind of a page turner too. Highly recommended for grades five and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Martin
Review Date: 11/10/09


Book Cover Rosa, Sola
Carmela A. Martino

Rosa, the only child of Italian immigrant parents living in Chicago in the 1960s, feels so alone- sola. She longs and prays for a baby brother. Later,when tragedy strikes, Rosa learns surprising things about her family and discovers she is not so alone as she thought. A warm, well-written family story that captures the social customs of the time. For girls 5th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Martino
Review Date: 11/1/05


Magic book Tripping Over the Lunch Lady and Other School Stories
Nancy E. Mercado, Ed.

Ten hilarious stories about school life written by Avi, Rachel Vail, David Lubar, Susan Shreve, Terry Trueman and others. Full of moments kids will relate to, the stories include such subjects as the oral reading catastrophe, and the unlikely group's science project on mold. Every reader who rides a bus to school will recognize the scene in the story told with cartoons. For boys and girls, 4th and 5th grade.

WPL Call Number: J Tripping
Review Date: 12/14/04


Magic book The Boy Who Spoke Dog
Clay Morgan

Jack, an orphan of the San Francisco earthquake, survives being thrown off a sinking ship during a howling storm off the coast of New Zealand. He finds himself washed up on an island with somewhat mysterious ruins and inhabited only by dogs. An adventure and survival story for dog lovers. Memorable details of Maori culture. For grades 4 and 5.

WPL Call Number: J Morgan
Review Date: 4/30/05


Book Cover The McElderry Book of Aesop's Fables
Michael Morpurgo

Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. Even rather young children usually like Aesop's fables. These re-tellings for younger children retain enough formality to feel classic, and the pretty illustrations soften and make charming, or even funny, the sometimes stern little maxims appearing at the end of each tale. The bemused expression of the daisy crowned cow looking at the Dog in the Manger reveling in the hay brings a new dimension to this tale. For older readers, the stunning illustrations and formal re-tellings by Helen Ward (Unwitting Wisdom: An Anthology of Aesop's Fables) would be appropriate.

WPL Call Number: J398.2 Aesop
Review Date: 12/1/05


Book Cover The Baptism
Shelia Moses

Twin Leon's Ma is determined her 2 boys are going to get baptised in one week. Twin Leon is planning on "six days to sin all I want," but he knows he also has only "six days to get the devil out." The event of the baptism is only a part of this very rich story about an African American family whose family tree includes slaves and white people. Leon's observations are funny, sharp witted and reflective. The short length and simple language belie the complexity of the story, which is set somewhere in the recent past. Good for boys and reluctant readers, 5th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Moses
Review Date: 9/7/07


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