Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Graveyard Book

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”

So begins the creepy tale of Nobody Owens, an infant who escapes the murder of his family and is raised by an unlikely assortment of ghosts and supernatural beings in the local graveyard. This book is not for the faint of heart. Bod, as he is called by his friends, faces dangers and adventures in his graveyard home. If he leaves, however, he’ll be at the mercy the man who assassinated his family, since we learn that Bod was the real target. We follow his childhood and adolescence through a series of chapters that are short stories in style. Each story is fascinating, and Gaiman’s writing style is intense and captivating.
Review originally appeared at Dragon's Book of the Week blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


by Deborah Howe
Meet Harold the dog who tells a tale of mystery. Is that bunny, Bunnicula, truly a vampire? Well, if you ask Chester the cat, you might find out. Funny and mysterious. Check your celery for fang marks the next time you look in the veggie drawer.
Review originally appeared at

Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

by Lenore Look
At home, Alvin Ho, second-grader, is Firecracker Man, but, at school, he won't say a word. He's Alvin Ho and he doesn't talk at school. He does have one friend, Flea, who wears an eye patch and walks with a peg leg. How can Alvin learn what he needs to know about the world, such as how to make friends, how to be a gentleman, how to stop being so afraid?

Review originally appeared at


by Donna Jo Napoli
Albert has an enormous heart. He lives in the city and cares very much for the birds who come near his window. He cares so much that one day he sticks his arm out of the window and ....what happens next is a wonderful story of compassion and giving your all to help someone else.
Review originally appeared at 

Al Capone Does My Shirts

by Gennifer Choldenko
Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan, his sister, Natalie, and his parents have just moved into their new home and their new lives on Alcatraz Island. Dad has a new job working for the prison, and Moose has a new job trying to make a place for himself and coping with Natalie who is autistic. The family is trying to find a school for Natalie and trying to make the struggles with Natalie seem as normal as possible, so Dad doesn't lose his position. A lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of Moose, and he slowly comes to the realization that he needs the help of the most famous inmate, Al Capone.
Review originally appeared at

A Corner of the Universe

by Ann Martin
Hattie lives with her family in their home which has been turned into a boarding house. She knows all the boarders and their peculiarities. She can't walk around town without word getting back to her family about where she's been and with whom she's been talking. It's a world of order and familiarity, until she learns one day that she has another uncle, Adam, who has been away at school since he was 12. Now he's 21, and he's coming home, but Adam doesn't quite fit into the orderly world Hattie has known. He has problems ... mental problems. What will the world look like with Adam in it? Profoundly moving!
Review originally appeared at

4 Kids in 5E and 1 Crazy Year

by Virginia Francis Schwartz
You have been sent here to room 5E because the E stands for Excellence says the new teacher, Ms. Hill. Willie's first thought is she's made a mistake and that E is for error. The school is overcrowded with fifth graders and a special class has been created pulling students from each fifth grade class. Destiny, Willie, Giovanni and Max are the four students whose hearts and minds we will share. Ms. Hill is about to work some magic with this group as she coaxes them to try and to reach inside to find their very best selves. As they open themselves, they begin to see the strengths in those around them. Through their journal entries we mee the girl who can keep a secret and the boy who is trying to survive in spite of the great pain he is experiencing. Then, there is the boy who is afraid he will fall behind and everyone else will succeed. The fears and the hopes of the students make this a powerful story.

Review originally appeared at

Saturday, October 8, 2011


by Ingrid Law
When her father gets into a car accident, Mibs must use her savvy, or magical ability, to wake him from his coma. Check out Savvy, Ingrid Law’s award-winning first novel.  Reviewed by Kidzworld.

The Birchbark House

by Louise Erdrich
The Birchbark House is a great book. It is about an Indian girl named Omakayas. She was found and adopted by her new family. All the people in the village where she lived died of smallpox. Omakayas does not know that she was adopted. Her new family takes good care of her and treats her like their own daughter. Then Omakayas' family gets sick with smallpox, after a person who was infected with the disease was brought to the village and burned. Luckily, Omakayas doesn't get the disease. To find out if her family recovers from the disease you will have to read the book.
       This book was very interesting. I really enjoyed reading it. I especially liked the book because there was no magic in the book. This story can actually happen in real life and at that time. I found many interesting characters like Omakayas. She is very playful and caring. I especially like when Omakayas helped a little bird that hurt its wing. I liked what she did because I am a bird lover. This book is unique because when you read it because you feel like you are in the story. You won't want to put it down.  Reviewed by AW at the Spaghetti Book Club.

Kate and the Beanstalk

by Mary Pope Osborn
A starving little girl named Kate was supposed to trade her cow for money to buy food. Instead of trading for money, she traded their only cow for magic beans. Kate gave her mother the beans, but her mother got very angry and she was disappointed at Kate. Kate's mom threw the beans out the window and overnight a beanstalk grew. Kate climbed the beanstalk and when she got to the top she saw a castle. She met a fairy who told her a story about a giant who killed a good knight and took over his castle and his three treasures. Now the giant and his wife live in the castle. The fairy wanted Kate to do three tasks to get back the treasures. Kate had to steal a chicken that laid golden eggs, a bag full of golden coins, and a magical harp that plays by itself. She went in the castle to do the tasks. If you want to find out if Kate completes the tasks, read this book. Reviewed by Nitzan, Dylan, and Tom at the Spaghetti Book Club.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats isn't too suprised to find himself at Camp Green Lake, digging holes in the dried-up lake bed, day after scorching day. After all, his family has a history of bad luck.
The boys at Camp Green Lake must dig one hole each day, five feet deep and five feet across. But what are they digging for? Why did Green Lake dry up? And what do onions and lizards have to do with it all? The answers lie in Stanley's own past...

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

by Jon Scieszka
You may think you know the story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf – but only one person knows the real story. And that person is A. Wolf. His tale starts with a birthday cake for his dear old granny, a bad head cold, and a bad reputation. The rest (as they say) is history.  Review by the Teaching Library.

Flat Stanley

by Jeff Brown
Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning to find a  bulletin board has dropped on him in the night, leaving him happy and healthy, but only half an inch thick. It’s a little unusual, but he finds he can fly like a kite, be sent on a vacation through the mail and can use his special new skills to catch some art thieves. Still, he’s glad when his brother Arthur thinks to use the bicycle pump to inflate him back to his normal shape.  Reviewed by the Teaching Library.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Into the Volcanco

Into the Volcano by Don Wood is about the Pugg brothers, Duffy and Sumo, and their wild and crazy trip to Kocalaha Island. The boys' cousin, Come-and-Go, shows up at their school unexpectedly to take them on a 10 day vacation while their mother finishes her research in Borneo. Little did the boys know that their vacation was going to be a nightmare! Soon after they arrive at their auntie's place, the boys leave on an expedition with Come-and-Go and his partners – straight into the heart of an active volcano! After some very dangerous experiences, the boys begin to realize they may be in serious trouble and that their “guides” may not be on their side. Duffy and Sumo escape even deeper into the volcano, and that's when disaster strikes. Duffy, the strong adventurous brother falls into a crevice and sustains serious injuries. Sumo isn't sure he's strong enough, or strong-willed enough, to save him. He eventually finds his way to Duffy, and what the two discover even deeper into the volcano both shocked and amazed them. It's then that they realize they've been used as “bait” in a deadly race against greed and the forces of nature.

This graphic novel is amazing. I couldn't put it down. The illustrations are absolutely incredible! I've never been so captivated by a book. I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story!          Reviewed by the Raving Reader.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So B. It

by Sarah Weeks
The book, So B. It, is about a twelve-year-old named Heidi who lives in Reno, Nevada with her mentally-disabled mother and their neighbor, Bernadette. Her mother only knows twenty-three words, including one mysterious one, "soof," that no one can define. Meanwhile, Bernadette has a serious condition called agoraphobia, which causes her to be too afraid to go outside. Heidi must take on responsibilities beyond her years to provide for their household.  Heidi knows nothing about her mother's life, nor anything about her father. However, she does know that she has an incredible streak of good luck; everything she tries, she succeeds in, whether it is as simple as playing a memory game or as complex as using the slot machines in the local laundromat, the Sudsy Duds, to make extra money for the family.  When Heidi finds some photos of her mother at a Christmas party in New York she becomes anxious to uncover more about her family history.   So she sets off alone to discover the truth. Heidi learns things good and bad and is forever changed by the adventure.  I loved this book.  Reviewed by Ariannah at Building Rainbows.

Surviving the Applewhites

by Stephanie S. Tolan
Surviving the Applewhites is a book about a boy named Jake. His parents are in jail and he has done terrible things. Jake first goes to his grandpa in another state, and then moves in with the Applewhites. The Applewhites are made of 4 kids, 5 adults and many animals. The Applewhites are a creative family that run a creative school. E.D. is the main Applewhite in the story. She hates Jake at first then she learns to like him. Jake changes very much throughout the story. At first he is a boy who smoked, said curse words and had many earrings. He becomes a musician and nicer person at the end because of the Applewhites. This book was really good.   Reviewed by Abby at Building Rainbows.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

by Bernard Waber

Do you like crocodiles? This story is about Lyle. Lyle is a crocodile. First, Lyle is trying to be a nice crocodile. Lyle has a family. His family are humans. Mr. Grumes, Lyle's neighbor, gets mad at him because he is always in front of his house. When Lyle gets lost in the store, he gets sent to the zoo. Finally he got out of the zoo, and there was a fire. Will he save the day or will he forget the fire?
I loved this book because Lyle saved the day. It was sad when Lyle went to the zoo after he got lost in the store. This part when Lyle gets lost, reminds me of when I was lost in Toys R' Us because I couldn't see my mom.
I think my brother would like this book because he likes crocodiles.
Reviewed by Axel L. at The Spaghetti Bookclub

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick
 Hugo lives in the walls of a busy train station where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. He fixes the clocks in the train station and keeps the gears going. His father died in a fire at a museum because he was locked in a closet while making an automatron and he couldn't get out. He is hiding so the station inspector doesn't ship him away to an ophanage. He meets a girl and they accomplish something very hard. You'll have to read the book to figure out the rest.
    Do you like a book that is long? I don't but I picked up this book thinking it was long but it is mostly pictures. When I started reading it I loved it because it was short and such a good story. I don't even have a favorite part because all of it was good.  I thought Hugo was the best character because he was really mysterious. All the pictures are black and white but it tells most of the story.
   I think you should read this book. It is amazing, mysterious, extraordinary and puts you on the edge of your seat. If you ever decide to pick up a book I would get this one.
Reviewed by Skylah W. at The Spaghetti Bookclub