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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 Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel
Ruth McNally Barshaw

Part diary, part comic book, Ellie’s account of the week she spends camping with her cousins will have you laughing out loud. At first, Ellie dreads the trip with crabby Aunt Mug and Uncle Ewing, bossy Duh-ana, gross Er-ick, and bedwetting Tiffie. They sleep in a cabin (not “real” camping!), capture frogs (cruel!), and cook stew from a can (bleah!). Eventually, though, Ellie learns that her cousins do have their good points – and that Ellie isn’t perfect herself! The illustrations are hilarious (for example, Eric is portrayed as a fedora-wearing dinosaur throughout), and the book can also serve as a guide for fun group activities for kids. Recommended for grades 3-6.

WPL Call Number: J Barshaw
Review Date: 6/2/07


Magic book Bubble Homes and Fish Farts
Fiona Bayrock

Whether they’re helping sea otters keep warm or hiding spittlebugs from predators, bubbles play an important role in the lives of many different animals! In this fancifully illustrated book, learn how bubbles aid in animal locomotion, communication, and survival. Suggested for grades 1 and up. Illustrated by Carolyn Conahan.

WPL Call Number: J591 BA
Review Date: 4/30/09


Book Cover Cicada Summer
Andrea Beaty

Twelve-year-old Lily Mathis has been hiding a terrible secret for two whole years. Everyone else in town thinks she’s brain-damaged because she doesn’t talk, but it’s really because she can’t risk anyone learning what happened the night of the accident. New girl Tinny Bridges knows Lily’s hiding something and starts making trouble for her. But when a creepy, maybe dangerous man comes looking for Tinny, it turns out Tinny’s got a few terrible secrets of her own! Recommended for readers grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Beaty
Review Date: 9/15/08


Book Cover I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures
Carlyn Beccia

Can frog soup really cure a cold? Can spider webs cure a wound? In this book, you'll learn about all sorts of crazy-sounding folk cures for common ailments, from around the world and throughout history. Some of them actually work! Others...not so much. This entertaining and informative book is organized like a quiz so you can guess the effectiveness of each cure before learning the truth. Recommended for grades 3 and up.

WPL Call Number: J615.8 BE
Review Date: 3/9/11


Book Cover Frida: Viva la Vida = Long Live Life
Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo told her life story in paintings. In this book, the author uses poems to tell Frida's story and explain the symbols in Frida's paintings. The paintings are displayed side by side with the poems to give you the full picture. You will get a taste of Frida's very up-and-down life: her terrible accident and painful surgeries that followed, her marriage to Diego Rivera, and her growing success as an artist. I suggest this poetic biographical sketch for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y811 BE
Review Date: 6/9/08


Book Cover Spiders
Nic Bishop

Did you know that spiders are one of the oldest predators on Earth? They were around even before the dinosaurs! Did you know that spiders eat by liquifying their prey's insides, then sucking out their guts? Learn many more fascinating facts about these eight-legged creatures, and marvel at Nic Bishop's close-up photographs. He captures spiders eating, molting, and even fighting! Highly recommended for grades 2 and up.

WPL Call Number: J595.44 BI
Review Date: 2/29/08


Book Cover The Angel Factory
Terence Blacker

Twelve year old Thomas's family is perfect — a little too perfect: blond, beautiful, and never, ever unhappy or mad. His friend Gip thinks Thomas's parents are hiding something; maybe they're in the CIA! However, Thomas soon learns that his family is wrapped up in something much more serious than the CIA. A mysterious "Presence" has a vision to save Earth, and Thomas's parents are two of its "angels." But does Earth really need saving? Now Thomas must choose whether to join their cause or fight it! This intriguing science fiction novel will appeal to fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix (Shadow Children series) and Lois Lowry's The Giver. For grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Blacker
Review Date: 4/25/07


Book Cover Legends or Lies?
Gary L. Blackwood

King Arthur, Robin Hood, El Dorado, Atlantis... These legends have not only inspired our imaginations, they have also influenced history! But are these fantastic stories true? Did these people and places really exist? This fascinating book lays out the evidence for and against. There may be more truth to these "fairy tales" than you ever imagined! Recommended nonfiction for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y398.2 Blackwood
Review Date: 7/7/06


Book Cover London Calling
Edward Bloor

After being unfairly punished at his prep school, Martin is ready to throw in the towel. Life seems pointless and dull. Then his grandmother bequeathes him an antique radio that causes Martin to travel back in time to 1940 London. Or does it? Suddenly Martin finds himself embroiled in a mystery of murder and impure motives during the German bombing of London, and only Martin can lay the ghosts to rest -- in the present. Equal parts mystery and historical fiction (and perhaps even divine intervention), this book is an intriguing and thought-provoking read for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bloor
Review Date: 3/19/07


Book Cover Taken
Edward Bloor

In America of 2036, the rich live in high-security communities and go to school over the Internet, and the poor can't even afford real doctors. Thirteen-year-old Charity isn't surprised when she's kidnapped; it's a fact of life for rich kids. Her parents will pay the ransom, and she'll be returned home without a scratch. But when her kidnappers stray from the typical kidnapping protocol, all the "facts" Charity knows about rich and poor are turned upside down, once and for all. Not just a suspense novel, Taken will make you think about issues of class in America, and where our society is headed in the future. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bloor
Review Date: 1/24/08


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