Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Wow, you never know what you're going to get with a novel by Holm. Every single one is so different from the rest. It is awesome. Kind of like opening a present on your birthday or Christmas - you know it's likely something good and something you want - you just don't know if it's going to be warm and cozy or fun to play with. This venture into the sci-fi realm was pretty fun. Ellie's grandfather has discovered how to reverse aging and of course tests it on himself. As a result he gets banished from his own lab because no one recognizes him. He ends up moving in with Ellie and her mother (his daughter). This proves a little awkward as he is now physically and hormonally, a teenage boy with the tastes, humor and personality of a grouchy old man. Trust me, this is not an ideal combination. As the familial relationships are tested in a variety of ways, each individual learns a lot about themselves and their relatives.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pranks and Attacks!

Pranks and Attacks!
Tao: The Little Samurai #1
by Laurent Richard
illustrated by Nicolas Ryser
Hardcover, 63 pages
Published January 1st 2014 by Graphic Universe 
Tao is an energetic (sometimes) little guy at samurai school. He causes all sorts of mayhem and laughter as he interacts with his fellows students and instructors. His antics are somewhat reminiscent of Dennis the Menace. Despite the setting of a samurai school, the situations he gets himself into will resonate with many young readers. Each page is it's own little vignette of Tao's life. They start with a wise samurai adage that illustrates Tao's personality perfectly. The illustrations are a perfect fit and will entertain readers of all ages. Young fans of Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will appreciate these volumes as well.

Jack the Castaway

Jack the Castaway
The Berenson Schemes #1
by Lisa Doan
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Lerner Classroom
For years, Jack Berenson's parents have flitted about the world trying one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Jack was quite content to live a peaceful and stationary life with his aunt. Unfortunately she died and Jack's parents made the decision to reclaim him before moving onto their next venture - a snorkeling business in the Caribbean. Without any other options Jack tries to make the best of his situation and keep himself and his parents safe. However, that is quite difficult as his parents have no concept of rules and safety. As a result, Jack ends up stranded on a deserted island. He uses his smarts to make a shelter, find food and water and even friends of a sort. The big question is, will his parents find and use their smarts to retrieve their one and only son?
This series opener is a fast and fun read for kids around 3rd grade. The black and white illustrations well-done and add to the quirkiness of the story.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Locker Ate Lucy!

The Locker Ate Lucy!
Eerie Elementary #2
by Jack Chabert
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Scholastic Inc. 
Hall monitor, Sam Graves, is back to save the day once again! His school is aptly named, Eerie Elementary. It is living up to its name by wreaking havoc every chance it can. Sam's friends Lucy and Antonio are determined to help Sam in his daily battle to keep the students safe. Then Lucy is swallowed by her locker and the boys have to venture into the depths of the school to find her. While there they just might uncover the secret to the school's mysteriously creepy soul. This is a perfect choice for those 2nd and 3rd graders that think they love scary books, but aren't ready for truly frightening tales.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Always, Abigail

Always, Abigail
by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Hardcover, 314 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Abigail and her two BFFs are set to realize their life-long dream of being middle school Pom Girls. Up to this point everything they have done was with the dream of pom squad in their heads. Then the unthinkable happens and Abigail is in a different homeroom than the other two. In fact she doesn't have a single class with them, not even lunch. This causes their friendship to be strained as there are secret jokes that AlliCam share, leaving Abigail on the outside. To make matters worse, the dreaded horror of a teacher, Miss Hendrick, creates an assignment where the students have to write "friendly" letters to a partner that she assigns them. Of course, Abigail gets partnered with the most outcast girl in the entire school. Being associated with Gabby is not going to help her already lagging reputation. Always, Abigail presents a fairly realistic view of the roller coaster that is middle school. The format is super reader friendly and will engage many readers with all the lists, diary entries, and doodles. Fans of Dork Diaries will be sure to enjoy this new book that hopefully will become a series.