Knights vs. Dinosaurs

Knights vs. Dinosaurs

By Matt Phelan

New York: Greenwillow Books, 2018.

Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure   Pages: 148        Grades: 3-6kni                                          

This book is just pure FUN! It is an easy quick read about some bragging and competitive knights that need a learn a lesson from Merlin himself!  They all come to the banquet table bragging about slaying dragons—in fact Sir Erec states that he slayed forty dragons! But none of the knights had a trophy to bring to the king! To prove their courage and bravery Merlin sets a trap, of sorts for them. They all need to go out and slay the “terrible lizard” that resides in the cave.  So, Sir Erec, Sir dinoBors, Sir Hector, Mel the Squire and the Black Knight all set out to conqueror this “terrible lizard” each wanting to prove that he can do it alone!  This adventure will have you laughing out loud as they go out a battle herds of dinosaurs—that’s right—dinosaurs!  This is a mash up between Jurassic Park and King Arthur’s and His Knights. Matt Phelan has his great graphic novel drawings in this book as well as some twists and turns that make it a delightful read!!

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Winnie’s Great War

Winnie’s Great War

By Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut

New York: Little, Brown Company, 2018.

Grades 4 and Up  Historical Fiction  227+

What a wonderful story and as delightful as Winnie-the-Pooh himself! This is a historical fiction novel about how a black bear named Winnipeg, became orphaned as a very small cub and ended up making history!  There are so many wonderful lessons to be learned from this middle grade novel—Be Brave, My Bear and …Because if you’re not listening, it’s impossible to hear. If you believe that somebody is so 51x+CL2LUiL._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_different from you that you can’t possibly have anything in common, you’ll never be able to hear them no matter what they say. The orphaned cub gets sold for $20.00 to a young Army Lieutenant, who during World War I was in the veterinary corps (they took care of the horses). Lt. Harry Colebourn took Winnie across the Atlantic and made her their mascot.  As they got closer to the fighting, Harry decided the London Zoo was the safest spot for Winnie.  She was quite a hit at the zoo because her brigade had taught her many tricks which she often performed to entertain the crowds at the zoo. After the war, a young boy by the name of Christopher Robin Milne visited the zoo and spent many an afternoon with Winnie and the rest of the story is… history!

Author’s note at the end of the book talks about, Lindsay Mattick’s great-grandfather Harry Colebourn and special items from their family archives—very fascinating!

Echo’s Sister

Echo’s Sister

By Paul Moiser

New York: Harper, 2018.Echo

This is the story of Laughter, not the action but of a 7th grade girl. Her mom and dad are both artists-mom a fashion designer and dad teaches part-time toddlers painting.  Laughter is starting 7th grade in a school school—the Village Arts Academy—to develop her talents—just like her parents.  She has rehearsed what to say and she knows it going to be a great year. She gets to all the teachers to tell them her name is El—all went well that first day…. Until dad picks her up and gives her the news—Echo, her little sister is in the hospital.

Then everything goes downhill—especially school. El, hates school—and she believes they don’t like her either.

This is the story of how a New York family has to give up everything to see that Echo gets the treatment she needs.

This is a story of courage, bravery, love, support and community.  You won’t soon forget this story!

Wild Blues

Wild Blues

By Beth Kephart

Atheneum Books, 2018.

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Adventure    Grades: 5 and Up   336 Pages

This will be a great book for deep readers.  At first I was confused on what I was reading—the character is talking directly to the reader or to another person who is not named in the first part of the book as she begins to tell her story. Lizzie lives with her mom, as her wild-blues-9781481491532_hrdad left when she was very young. Mom appears to see other men, works a lot and now has been diagnosed with cancer.  Since mom is going to have radiation therapy Lizzie needs to keep away–so she is thrilled when she gets to spend the summer with her uncle Davy.  He lives in a small cabin in the Adirondack Mountains—where he collects and sells antiques from his TV show.  Uncle Davy and Lizzie’s mom are not getting along but Lizzie’s mom knows Lizzie will be in good hands.

Lizzie goes to Uncle Davy’s every summer and loves to explore the wild outdoors and meet up with her summer friend—Matias. Matias has dwarfism and has problems with his legs but that doesn’t slow him down as he is a painter of nature. Shortly after the summer reunion of friends, there is a prison break and Matias and Uncle Davy goes missing. Once Lizzie reports them missing she knows she has to act.  She takes off on her own to track down her best friend and her beloved uncle.  The trek is not easy as there are thousands of acres of forest.  Join Lizzie to see if she can dig deep and rely on her inner strength to just survive this wild experience.

The Mortification of Fovea Munson

The Mortification of Fovea Munson

By Mary Winn Heider

New York: Disney Hyperion, 2018.

Pages: 328

Genre: Humor   Fantasy

Grades: 5-7

Okay this book is really funny and gross. What could be worse than having no summer camp to go to? How about working in your parent’s cadaver lab for the summer? That’s right the summer before Fovea goes to 8th grade, the front desk girl, Whitney runs off with the love of her life—leaving Fovea to run the front desk—she hopes no one she knows will find out about this as they already call her Igor. The mortification; that extreme embarrassment that she fears from her fun loving, gallows humor, hippy parents is very real.Humor

Once at the front desk things begin to go haywire when a “head” goes missing and the only people to help solve this are not of “full body and mind.” Mystery on for Fovea as she seeks to find the missing article before her parents get thrown into jail for having a missing body part—a biohazard for sure!

This misadventure will have you smiling from the beginning to the very end.

A Boy Called Christmas

A Boy Called Christmas
By Matt Haig

Genre: Fantasy
Grades: 4 and Up

Christmas in July—thats right I am reading a couple of Christmas stories!

Before the turn of the century in Finland, Nicholas lived in a one room cabin in the woods. They were very poor and down on their luck. Mother recently fell in the well and died when a bear was chasing her, leaving Nicholas with his woodcutting father. His father was a pessimist, life would not get any better for the two of them. Then one day Anders, a hunter, came to see Nicholas’ father and offered him riches if he would accompany him to find and prove the elves really existed. Then Nicholas was left with his wicked aunt who made Nicholas’ life even more miserable. When he couldn’t stand it any more he took off after his father—a treacherous journey that landed in him in the land of the elves and that’s where the magic of the story begins!

A delightful read!

The Goat

The Goat

By Anne Fleming

Berkeley: Groundwood Books, 2017.

Grades: 5 – 7    Genre: Realistic Fiction   Pages: 154

This is a quirky little book about a so-called goat living on the top of a 12 story building in New York City. This is a series of short stories that is combined into one story about a boy named Kid. Kid came from Toronto with his parents to dog sit, for Cat (short for Catherine the Great) a distant cousin’s dog.

The story is told in short segments by home-schooled and very shy Kid, her friend 61T8RFOslAL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_Will whose parents died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and harbors many fears, a man who is recovery from a stroke, a blind skateboarding author and a man with many regrets who might just know something about mountain goats. All these characters come together to tell a humorous and heartfelt story of life—overcoming fears and believing some things are just worth looking for!

Author Website: Anne Fleming

Ink

Ink                                     

By Alice Broadway

New York: Scholastic, 2017.

Genre: Science Fiction   Grades: 6 and Up

I just hadn’t found a good dystopian novel since Hunger Games and Maze Runner until I read this amazing science fiction novel, Ink. The story opens with a grieving Leora, a sixteen year old girl who has just lost her father—he was her everything. They lived in a time when people were either marked/inked with tattoos to be remembered or were blanks and forgottens.

Now I know this sounds terrible but when a person dies their skin is removed, flayed from the body to preserve the tattoos that cover their bodies which tell their life story.  These stories are preserved in books and gives those who live on a sense 32827036of who they are and where they came from.  As Leora and her mother grieve life begins to spin out of control. Unrest between the Inked and Blanks begins to stir up just as Lenore is struggling to find out what job she is meant to have and who she really is.

I loved the story as it is a story about faith, traditions and folklore and what happens if you question that faith.  I found the story intriguing and engaging—teens will love this book.  Other the idea flaying people it is void of bad language, sex and violence.

Author Website: Alice Broadway

Positively Izzy

Positively Izzy

By Terri Libenson

New York: Blazer and Bray, 2018.

Grades: 5-7   Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

You met Emmie in Libenson first novel, Invisible Emmie—now meet Izzy and her two sisters—Dani in 10th grade and Ashley who is in 6th grade and Izzy’s friend, Brianna. In middle school sometimes you get a label—like jock or nerd but Izzy’s nickname was dreamer and Brianna’s was the brain.  Sometimes you like what label you get and sometimes you don’t. Brianna likes her label and tries to live up to it every day but Izzy’s label not so much—she just always has a hard time focusing in class!  Funny thing about labels, sometimes they restrict you from other adventures one might be missing out on! izzy

One thing Izzy for sure dreams about is acting—she loves to act and she can’t wait to show off her talent in the Middle School Talent Show. Brianna wants nothing to do with the talent show—especially since her mom is the new drama teacher—she also does not want to tarnish her label. Unexpected happenings occur just before the talent show—one girl gets grounded and the other gets “forced” on stage—drama for sure!  

To Catch a Killer

To Catch a Killer

By Sheryl Scarborough

Scholastic, 2017.41gsWP78F9L

This was a really great read!  If you loved, Blood Will Tell by April Henry, get ready as Scarborough ramps up the intensity of this double murder!  Erin at the age of two was found at sitting in a pool of blood next to her murdered mother. She never knew her father, so Erin’s mother’s best friend Rachel raised Erin—staying right in the same town.  Erin has always been known as the kid whose mom was murdered.  Even fourteen years later—people feel sorry for her. Erin is tired of not knowing who killed her mom so she befriends the biology teacher who has a passion for forensics—and that person ends up dead too!  Now instead of searching for a murderer, Erin is trying to defend herself as she becomes a suspect in the teacher’s murder! I thought this was a great YA murder mystery-as every character is a suspect.