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.
This year's National Book Award winner for young people's literature. A teenage boy half-jokingly decides to make the town water tower the basis for a new religion. An astute look at friendship and betrayal, this fast-moving and accessible book has a deceptively simple style. For grades 7 and older.
WPL Call Number: Y Hautman
Fascinating story told in the first person by a boy who, the reader slowly learns, got into some type of mysterious trouble involving fire. Suspense and surprise are big parts of the book's appeal, as is the chance to see inside the mind of an obsessive, disturbed high school student. A fairly quick read but not at all light-weight. Hautman won the National Book Award a few years back for another excellent book for grades 7 and older, Godless.
WPL Call Number: Y Hautman
Henry and his friends love playing basketball. But can their ragtag team take on - and beat - the tough Tigers? First in a series called "Gym Shorts," this will be ideal for recent graduates of the easy reader shelves. With lots of fun, cartoon-style pictures, it may also appeal to fans of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
WPL Call Number: J Hicks
Do Not Pass Go|
Deet, a serious teen in a rough, helter-skelter kind of family, finds his life disrupted when his father is arrested for drug use. Visits to see him in prison start off tense but gradually get more relaxed. He's surprised to learn that a classmate also has a relative in jail, and also learns a lot about his grandparents, his mother, and himself. This is a quiet and absorbing story set in Alaska, where the author lives. For grades 4-7.
WPL Call Number: Y Hill
Elizabeth Starr Hill
Set in rural Florida during wildfire season, this is about Ben, a "backwoods boy," who has to deal with a snooty new boy at school who ends up with the puppy Ben had wanted. There are some exciting scenes when both boys follow the dog into the woods as the fire gets closer. Great choice for grades 2 - 4; I was really impressed with how much complexity the author put into the characterizations in a book for this age group.
WPL Call Number: J Hill
Bearskin: A Grimm Tale|
Graphic novel version of a classic German fairy tale in which an impoverished soldier makes a bargain with the devil (the main character must promise to go seven years without "...bathing, cutting [his] hair or nails, combing, shaving, brushing [his]teeth, changing [his]clothes, or sleeping in a bed.") A quick read with powerful black and white pictures. Look for this in the Junior High Comic area. Recommended for grades 7 and older.
WPL Call Number: Y Comic HI
Ookpik: The Travels of a Snowy Owl|
Lightly fictionalized account of a baby snowy owl who grows up in the Arctic tundra and then flies south when winter comes. In fact, he flies so far south he eventually crosses the Canadian border into upstate New York. When spring comes, he flies north again. Beautifully illustrated with the author's watercolors, this has a strong narrative and also supplies lots of interesting information about these magnificent birds. For grades 1 and up (adults will enjoy it, too!)
WPL Call Number: J598.97 HI
Piper Reed Navy Brat|
Piper Reed, one of three daughters of a career Navy man, learns that her family has to move - again! Holt expertly juggles this short book's tone, going from comic to wistful to exasperated (her portrait of the fond yet bickering relationship between the sisters is right on target). A funny, heart-warming (yet never sappy) episodic novel that second and third grade girls will enjoy.
WPL Call Number: J Holt
The Island That Moved: How Shifting Forces Shape Our Earth|
Non-fiction about plate tectonics that focuses on one small island near Antarctica. The history of the earth is sketched out with a brief text and wonderfully bright and vivid paintings by Lucia DeLeiris. Superior non-fiction for grades 1 - 3.
WPL Call Number: J551.1 HO
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice|
This biography is a fascinating account of the early days of the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama. Almost a year before Rosa Parks was arrested there for not moving to the "colored" section of a public bus, Colvin, a high school student, did the same thing. She was also arrested, on more serious charges, and for a number of reasons she later faded into obscurity. Hoose does a great job writing non-fiction with a strong narrative; his earlier book, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, is a wonderful book about the disappearance (?) of the ivory-billed woodpecker.
WPL Call Number: Y921 Colvin
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