Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Adventures of Jack Lime

The Adventures of Jack Lime 
by James Leck
middle school mystery
126 pages
Toronto : Kids Can Press, c2010

Jack Lime has made a name for himself in the corporate city of Iona. Fellow classmates come to him to solve crimes ranging from missing pets to missing students. Jack shares three of his adventures with a noir-style narrative reminiscent of old black and white detective movies.The writing invokes the feeling of a sleepy little town that seems innocent on the surface but with mischief and mayhem underneath. Enter Jack Lime to rid the world, okay the high school, of all sorts of criminals. A unique delivery of a mystery for the middle school and teen age-group. The book is short in length which should appeal to older reluctant readers.

Frankly, Frannie

Frankly, Frannie
by A.J. Stern
intermediate chapter book
124 pages
New York : Grosset & Dunlap, 2010

Move over Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody, there is a new girl in town. Frannie, or Mrs. Frankly B. Miller as she prefers to be called (for the moment) is a girl that knows what she wants and goes for it despite the trouble that seems to follow her everywhere. Frannie loves offices, briefcases, big words, business cards and anything else from the Grown-Up World. The problem with Frannie is that despite all of her "scientific evidence" she doesn't always do the right thing. She thinks she is "helping" when in fact she is causing nothing but Trouble with a capital T! Will her good intentions with disastrous results cause her to be banned from her class field trips? Read Frankly, Frannie by A. J. Stern to find out. This is a very cute and humorous series for beginning chapter book readers that is now on my favorites list.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth
by Sandra Dutton
juvenile realistic fiction
134 pages
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010

Mary Mae is ten-years-old and full of questions. The questions make her mother very uncomfortable as they challenge her interpretation of The Holy Bible. Many of her questions stem from her science class and what she is learning about fossils and the dinosaurs. In an attempt to stifle her questions the Pastor suggests that her Sunday School class perform a puppet show about the Creation. Mary Mae is happy to do this although it spawns even more questions for her. Mama is so determined that she stop learning about such things that supposedly conflict with her beliefs, that she pulls Mary Mae out of school with the intention of homeschooling. Thankfully Mary Mae has the support and listening-ear of her beloved great-grandmother with whom she shares a passion and talent for music. How long will Mama ignore the evidence in her very own backyard before she realizes that Mary Mae means no harm?
A sweet realistic novel showing a spirited yet confused young girl who refuses to just give in and conform to her parents beliefs. Mary Mae must develop her own faith in her world and God just as everyone should do.

Thief Eyes

Thief Eyes
Janni Lee Simner
teen fantasy adventure
259 pages
New York : Random House, c2010

Icelandic lore and mystery collide with a very-modern day girl for an epic adventure. Haley travels to Iceland with her father to see the last place her mother was seen before she disappeared last year. Innocently picking up a coin on the side of the path throws Haley's life into total chaos. Luckily handsome Ari is there to save the day, or at least try to.
This was a good book, not my favorite, but worth reading. The Icelandic legends were intriguing. The characters were a bit annoying. Overall a good addition for those who like books such as East. I was pleasantly surprised as I read that the author was able to write cleanly without relying heavily on graphic (adult) scenes and language. However the last few chapters changed that. There is a scene where an animal is "sacrificed" to complete a spell. Also a few pages from the end the f-word and s-word were used on the same page. This was quite a glaring use of such language as the words were never used previously in the book. Unfortunately, just these few pages will limit who I can recommend this book to.

Friday, September 3, 2010


by Raina Telgemeier
New York : Graphix, 2010
middle-school graphic novel
213 pages

Smile is an autobiographical graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As a sixth-grader Raina suffered an unfortunate accident that would affect her life for years to come. Her two front teeth were knocked out, thus beginning an extensive dental/orthodontic/periodontal nightmare. Raine tries to keep an upbeat attitude despite the lack of support she receives from her friends.
Never having had orthodontia myself, I wasn't sure I would be able to empathize with Raina's character. I needn't have worried. Raina is a great character who took everything in stride yet was completely believable and realistic. Despite having different issues to deal with, I could totally see myself in some of Raina's situations. A great read with warm and friendly illustrations. Reading Smile was like spending time with a friend from junior high, and don't worry that is a good thing.