Reviews by Lyn P.
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.
Luke on the Loose: A Toon Book|
Bliss, whose cartoons often appear in the New Yorker, here turns to the tale of a young boy in Central Park with his father. When the dad meets a friend and starts talking, the boy suddenly starts chasing pigeons. Before long, he gets a lot further away than anyone might imagine! The comic exaggeration makes for humor right on target for first and second graders.
WPL Call Number: J Comic BL
House of Dolls|
Francesca Lia Block
3 distinctive, old-fashioned dolls (Wildflower, Rock Star, and Miss Selene) find their lives deliberately upset by the lonely little girl who owns them. Block, author of many prize-winning YA books, has written an original and wistful story. The charming illustrations are by Barbara McClintock. Recommended for thoughtful 2d and 3d grade girls.
WPL Call Number: J Block
The PS Brothers|
Don't be fooled by the comic artwork on the cover of this interesting book. It's about 2 sixth-grade boys who live in bleak circumstances and start a dog walking business (the "PS" stands for "pooper scooper") so they can buy a dog for protection. Some plot elements involve a parent in prison and a dog-fighting ring. Overall, it's a well-written and ultimately hopeful book for grades 4 and older (and also offers a welcome change from the middle-class suburban setting of so much realistic fiction for this age group).
WPL Call Number: J Boelts
Stanley Nudelman doesn't realize what he's in for when he buys a strange stuffed animal at a yard sale. Before long, it's obvious that the toy is a zombie who's bent on taking over Stanley's school. This mix of humor and horror has lots of funny pictures, and will appeal to second and third graders. Adults will get a kick out of it, too, especially the description of Ms. Mellow's kindergarten classroom, where the kids' non-gender-specific role-playing is hilarious.
WPL Call Number: J Bolger
The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story From the Netherlands|
Piet is enlisted to help two of his classmates escape to a relative's house in Belgium after their father has been arrested. They skate over the border in this exciting story that shows Piet summoning courage in the face of danger from enemy soldiers. Borden has carefully researched the history of skating as well as the history of the German occupation in Holland. Niki Daly's colorful paintings add drama and atmosphere to another superb historical fiction title by Louise Borden. For grades 3 - 5.
WPL Call Number: J Borden
Sky Sailors : True Stories of the Balloon Era|
True stories about pioneers of ballooning. I never knew that, in 1897, a Swedish explorer tried to be the first to reach the North Pole, in a balloon equipped with sails. The chapter called "The Children Are Gone!" is about two rural Illinois children who accidentally took a terrifying overnight balloon flight in 1858. These accounts and many others make for absorbing reading for ages 10 and older. Illustrated with photographs and prints.
WPL Call Number: Y629.133 BR
Whisper in the Dark|
This scary book, set in Providence, R.I., is about a Native American teen threatened by what seems to be a murderous creature who has returned from the dead. With many references to Narragansett myths and legends, this suspenseful tale moves quickly and will be enjoyed by junior high readers looking for a seasonal fright.
WPL Call Number: Y Bruchac
Fascinating look at the politics in the "best" clique at an Australian high school and the subtle yet cruel ferocity that marks their interactions, both with each other and with the rest of the school. Megan is the leader until she inadvertently befriends the "Freak." While sometimes melodramatic and occasionally implausible, this is an engrossing read that many junior high (and younger senior high) girls will enjoy. (Please note - this is a dark and quite frank book; possibly not for everyone).
WPL Call Number: Y Brugman
Interesting quick read about a high school girl who feels overshadowed by her smart and athletic older brother. Her own special talent comes to light when one of her stories causes a splash in the school newspaper. But this soon leads her to another investigation, and a moral dilemma: Should she write a story that will reveal the widespread cheating at her school? Junior high readers will enjoy this thought-provoking book.
WPL Call Number: Y p BU
The SOS File|
By Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers. This short novel has a clever concept: for extra credit, students have to write about times when they've need help (which is where the SOS comes in). These stories make up the book. Most are funny (like the one about the boy who eats all the candy bars he's supposed to sell), and a few are poignant (like the one about the girl who was adopted after being found as a newborn in a dumpster). The teacher's story comes at the end, with a surprise about his own school experiences. Fun for grades 3 - 5.
WPL Call Number: J Byars
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