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Reviews by Lisa B.

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 Black Stars in a White Night Sky
JonArno Lawson

What if Humpty Dumpty sits under a chicken instead of on a wall? What if the handsome prince doesn't want to kiss Sleeping Beauty? What do you see when you close your eyes? Hilarious word play, beautiful images, and nuggets of truth about growing up, identity, friendships, and more come together in this poetry collection for young readers. I'm not a big poetry reader, but I know many of these will stick with me for a long time. Some of the poems are lots of fun for elementary readers, but over all I'd suggest it for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y811 LA
Review Date: 6/20/08


Book Cover Miss Annie
Frank Le Gall

In "Freedom!", the first volume of this new comic book series, Miss Annie the kitten is so proud to be growing up! She's great at keeping an eye on the house while her people are away (if she knocks over a few things in the process... oh well), and she's even made her first friend: a mouse! Now if she could only escape into the outdoors and do everything the big cats do! This extremely cute graphic novel will appeal to kitty fans as well as pet lovers of all stripes. Suggested for grades 2 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Comic LE
Review Date: 8/3/12


Book Cover The Year of the Dog
Grace Lin

The Year of the Dog is full of glowing triumphs and humorous mishaps for Pacy Lin, as she tries to "find herself." Is her name Pacy, as she is called at home, or Grace, as she is called at school? Is she Taiwanese-American, or Chinese-American? What is her special talent? In this easy-going novel, Pacy discovers that while being different from her classmates has its trials, it can also be very special. Recommended for readers grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Lin
Review Date: 7/30/06


Book Cover Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Grace Lin

Minli and her parents live a hard life on Fruitless Mountain. The only bright spot is the magical stories her father tells. The stories inspire Minli to journey in search of the mystical Old Man of the Moon, who may, it is said, have the power to change her fortune. Woven among Minli's adventures are stories she hears from people (and dragons!) she meets along the way. This beautifully illustrated chapter book is reminiscent of a fairytale and, indeed, draws on Chinese folklore. It also won a Newbery Honor. It would make a wonderful read-aloud for a family or classroom. Highly recommended for grades 2 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Lin
Review Date: 2/11/10


Book Cover Black Duck
Janet Taylor Lisle

The year is 1929, and in Ruben's small Rhode Island town, rumrunners defy Prohibition laws, smuggling alcohol from bigger boats to shore. The Black Duck is both the most notorious and most beloved of the rumrunning boats. After Ruben and his friend Jeddy find the body of a murdered man washed ashore, they become entangled in the smuggling business themselves, and Ruben finds himself in grave danger. Well-written and suspenseful, this historical fiction is sure to appeal to boys as well as girls. Highly recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Lisle
Review Date: 8/3/06


Book Cover Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
Lenore Look

When Alvin Ho is home with his family -- or, better yet, when he's his superhero alter ego, Firecracker Man -- he's bold and brave and never runs out of things to say. Second grade is another story. Alvin's too scared to speak up in class and has no friends, and even his Personal Disaster Kit can't help with that! This funny chapter book reminds me of Junie B. Jones, Ramona, and Clementine, but with a boy as the protagonist. Recommended especially for grades 1-3.

WPL Call Number: J Look
Review Date: 2/27/09


Book Cover Ruby Lu, Brave and True
Lenore Look

Ruby loves almost everything. She loves her neighborhood. She loves magic tricks. She loves her baby brother, Oscar -- if only she could make him learn to talk faster! After she gets used to it, she loves Chinese school, too -- enough to drive there herself! But will she ever be able to love Flying Duck, the Chinese cousin who's coming to share Ruby's room? This is a warm and funny slice-of-life chapter book sure to appeal to fans of Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody.

WPL Call Number: J Look
Review Date: 8/28/06


Book Cover The Fairy Ring, or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World
Mary Losure

Elsie was an artist; her little cousin Frances saw fairies. And what started out as a game, taking a trick photograph of a paper fairy in the woods behind their home, soon turned into a worldwide hoax that fooled even great minds like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. This is the true story of how a little fib grew into a whopper and how it changed Elsie and Frances's lives forever. It's also an interesting glimpse into special effects way before computers and Photoshop came along. For readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J398.4 LO
Review Date: 3/10/13


Book Cover Heat
Mike Lupica

Twelve year old Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm like no other Little League player. It's always been his father's dream that Michael play in the Little League World Series. This year Michael's team has a shot, but Michael's dad is dead, and Michael and his brother Carlos can't let any "Official Persons" find out. What's worse, Michael and his family came to America on a boat from Cuba, leaving his birth certificate behind. If Michael can't prove that he's really 12 years old, he'll be disqualified from the World Series. Will his dad's dream -- and his -- go up in smoke? Fast-moving sports fiction with an interesting story, recommended for 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Lupica
Review Date: 11/15/06


Book Cover Throwing Like a Girl
Weezie Kerr Mackey

Ella has just moved from Chicago to Dallas – in the middle of her sophomore year, ugh. Initially she has no interest in joining up with any of the clubs her parents suggest, but after her gym teacher encourages her to try out for softball, Ella decides to give it a shot – and makes the team! Playing softball makes Ella feel a part of something in a way that she never has before. She’s making new friends and has attracted the attention of cute, kind senior Nate. Unfortunately, there are still challenges to face. Nate’s sister Sally is trying to sabotage Ella’s relationship with Nate, and Ella’s friend Rocky is a softball superstar but can’t play because of family responsibilities. Teamwork, friendship, and the pursuit of happiness are themes in this girl-centric sports book by a Wilmette author. For grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Mackey
Review Date: 10/5/07


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