Friday, November 27, 2009

The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin

This is a cute book about a doll, Annabelle, who is from a Victorian Doll House set. She has lived in the same house since she was made 100 years ago and shipped from England to the States. She now belongs to Kate who is the great-granddaughter of the original owner. Annabelle is lonely and wishes for a friend. She also has begun to wonder about what happened to her Auntie Sarah. The adventures begin when Kate's little sister gets her own Funcraft dollhouse for her birthday.

This was a fun, easy read and I love the idea of toys coming to life. Along with adventure, good values are taught. There are a couple of follow-up stories after this first one, including "The Meanest Doll in the World". It probably will appeal more to girls, though my second grade son loved it as well. I think this is a good book for those who like tame adventure type books.

Reading Level: Grade 3 & up

Gender: girls

Monday, November 23, 2009

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I love these books. Why can't I get anyone else in my house to read them? They are so much fun. I think my daughter doesn't want to read them because Artemis is a criminal. But, there is so much more to the story.

It is the story of a boy genius who is a criminal mastermind. He decides to search out fairies because he thinks they still exist. And thus begins the adventure with 6 books in the series so far. These books have a great mix of science fiction and fantasy.

My favorite part about these books are the characters and the dialogue between them. Mulch Diggums, the tunnelling dwarf, is my favorite, although I really love Artemis' bodyguard, Butler, too. There is a lot of humor mixed in which is why they are so fun to read.

Reading Level: Grade 4 & up

Gender: boys & girls

Friday, November 20, 2009

Roscoe Riley Rules by K.A. Applegate

This book reminded me a lot of Junie B. Jones. Only it's a boy and he has better grammar. Roscoe narrates the story from his time-out corner and it is written the way he thinks. There are several of these books that go through different rules that Roscoe's had to learn. My kindergartner checked these out and read them. And my 4th grader loved them and even quotes them now. Easy to read chapters and fun.

Reading Level: grade 1 & up

Gender: boys & girls


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking For Alaska by John Green

My niece recommended this book as one of her "life changers". I was a little wary after reading the back cover. It seemed like it was going to be one of those typical high school angst books. But as I started reading, I just got this big grin on my face even before the first page was finished. The writing is amazing.

It is narrated by a boy who is just leaving for a boarding school to start his junior year of high school. The book is divided into two sections Before and After. The characters are so real. And they are not dumb. I love that about this. These high school kids are smart and witty and philosophical.

Now that said, I will not let my daughter read it until she's way into hs. There is bad language (typical) and other mature things. But none of it seemed gratuitous, just real. I really liked this book but be warned, it's not a "fun" read. It is a good kind of intense. I think it would be a great discussion book. And a way better coming of age book than Catcher in the Rye.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

"Are you a gifted child looking for Special Opportunities?" is advertised in the newspaper. A boy named Reynie, who always reads the paper with his tutor, decides to apply. He is subjected to a series of "tests" and passes along with 3 other children. These gifted children all have their own special talents and must learn how to work together as they embark on a mysterious and dangerous adventure.

I love the characters in this book. My family has had discussions about who is our favorite and who do we compare ourselves with the most. This is a thinker's book. It is not a can't-put-down thriller. But good. There are two more in the series. When I picked up the second book to read it was slow at first. Then I remembered, "oh yeah, these are my friends". A younger reader might not be able to read by themselves but it would be a great book to read to them.

Reading Level: grade 5 & up

Gender: boys & girls


Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Margaret Lea is mysteriously invited to write the biography of a famous writer. As she listens to the story she is to write, she becomes entranced and ends up meeting her own destiny.

I didn't get into this story immediately, but once I did, I had a hard time putting it down. There are twists and intrigue. In fact, at the end I had to go back and re-read parts. This was a fun read and you could probably have some discussions especially about twins. The setting is England, somewhat modern day, though the story being recalled is obviously the past. There are many allusions to Jane Eyre, Woman in White, Wuthering Heights, and other classics. This is a book lovers book.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Unicorn's Secret by Kathleen Duey

The Unicorn's Secret follows a girl, Heart, whose life has been very hard. She discovers a unicorn and then seeks out her own family. She finds friends along the way who help her. This series by Kathleen Duey is very easy reading. The chapters are short and the writing is simple. This is not just a happy-go-lucky book, but more of a serious nature. I really liked it and enjoyed how it ended. It has a total of 8 books in the series.

Reading Level: grade 3 & up

Gender: girls

Monday, November 9, 2009

Snot Stew by Bill Wallace

Snot Stew is a book told from the view of a kitten. Kikki and her brother Toby are not ready to leave their mother but end up being adopted by a family. It's frightening for them at first living in a human's "barn", but they learn to adjust and play the games they are taught. I love the way this book is written from the kitten's view. And the title of the book is really funny once you read the book. This book has short chapters and is a great read-out-loud.

Reading Level: grade 2 & up

Gender: boys & girls


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Brave Apprentice by P. W. Catanese

This is a story of a young boy who kills a troll and ends up having to help the whole kingdom. It is very "medieval-ish" with lords, kings, castles, keeps, etc. so it would be good if you were studying this time period. There are some interesting characters that keep it from being too formulaic. Not necessarily a "fun" book since there is drama, death, fighting, and peril.

Reading Level: Grade 5 & up

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar

My second grader introduced me to this book. And now we have all read it. It is a silly book about a school that was built with only one classroom on each floor, instead of 30 classrooms on one floor. The chapters are short (about 1-3 pages each) and they cover each one of the students in the class. It has timeless details about school like mean teachers, gross lunch, recess, etc.I think that all kids would be able to relate to some of the students and it's funny.

Reading level: grade 2 & up

Gender: boys and girls


I Love Books

I like to read a lot. And it seems that I am being asked what books I would suggest. Whether it be for a new reader or teenager or book club. So this blog will hopefully help others who are looking for something to read. I will try and just post as I read something, but if I get more requests for a certain type I'll do that, too. Enjoy.