Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
By Chris Grabenstein
New York: Random House, 2013.
288 Pages. Grades 5 and up
This book is a Librarian’s dream come true!
The Alexandriaville’s library has been closed for twelve years and recently a wealthy game maker, Mr. Lemoncello has joined Dr. Zinchenko, a world famous librarian to create a brand new library in an old bank building. Since kids that were twelve years old never experienced a public library, an essay contest was held for them. Twelve students were selected to spend a weekend in the library playing “library” games with fabulous prizes for anyone who can figure how to get out the library without using the way they came in or any emergency exit doors. This book reminded me of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but in a library. The eccentric Mr. Lemoncello has many similarities to Willy Wonka–he is colorful and zany and is the host for the weekend mystery. Join this lively group of twelve year olds as they unravel the mystery using their library skills knowledge! One more thing—when you get to the end of the book the author has a mystery for the reader to solve! This was a fun read!
By William Paul Young
Newbury Park: Windblown Media, 2007.
252 Pages. All ages.
This is an inspirational story of a man who was broken by great sadness. In real life three very tragic events occur within 6 months that devastated Paul Young and his family. These events coupled with an alcoholic, abusive, preacher father brought Paul into this period of his life called The Great Sadness. That is the true part of this story as shared with Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas in July 2013 where I attended the service with my daughter. I am sure I can not do this book justice in this review but here I go…
In the novel he has fictionalized a tragic event where he is now summoned to return to the crime scene, The Shack, against one of his family members—he believes it might be a hoax or it might be God summoning him. So he returns to the shack where he meets God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God is a big, African American woman with a killer sense of humor. This Trinity takes Mack into the darkest parts of his life, as each one of them spend time with him and get Mack to open up his wounds so that healing may begin. Experience this moving, enlightening, heartwarming story of brokenness that is filled with the hope that only God can bring to us. It is a book about our relationship with God. A masterfully told tale that will have you laughing and crying! And now my copy is signed!
By Ann Droyd
New York: Blue Rider Press, 2011.
This is a take-off on Good Night Moon—only in this household there are way too many electronic devices being used! There is a great big book shelf with nothing on it but cobwebs and three e-readers. Grandma is trying to sleep but the noise is overwhelming—so she institutes Good night iPad –unplugging and throws all the devices out the window. In the end you see all the kids surviving—even reading books! Don’t despair all devices are fully charged in the morning!
This book would be a great kick off for a discussion about unplugging at night and setting limits on time spent being plugged in! Book is recorded on website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ouOwpYQqic
By Sam Angus
New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2012.
Stanley Ryder loved his mom, his brother and his dogs but growing up during World War I was tough. His mom died suddenly, his brother goes off to the war and thirteen year old Stanley is left with his very angry and explosive father. His dad has not handled loss very well and takes his anger out on Stanley and the dogs! Stanley reached the end of his rope when his dad did something unspeakable to one of the mutt puppies. Stanley decided he could take it no more and he wants to find his brother so he enlists in the army.
The war has been dragging on and desperate for soldiers they take Stanley. The officers all know Stanley is underage so they keep him under close supervision and when the opportunity arises they move him to the experimental War Dog School. Here he uses his talent and love of dogs to train the animals to be messengers. As a historical fiction novel the training of these dogs was crucial to the communication effort in the war. One hundred thousand dogs were used in WWI and 7,000 of them gave their lives so that soldiers did not die. This is a very exciting and touching story that will leave the reader wanting to know more about War Dog School. It has enough war action to keep boys interested throughout the entire book. I loved Soldier Dog!
Author Website: http://samangus.com/
Whatever After: Sink or Swim
By Sarah Mlynowski
New York: Scholastic Press, 2013.
165 Pages Grades 4-6
This is the third book in the Whatever After Series where author Sarah Mlynowski takes a beloved fairy tale and puts a modern day, time travel twist on it. The stories are not based on the Disney versions of the fairy tale but the original form where all the endings were not always happy ever after!
Abby and Jonah have moved away from their hometown and were not happy until they discovered a magic time travel mirror in the basement of their new house. Every time they enter they find themselves right in the middle of a fairy tale. You can guess by the title they have landed in The Little Mermaid. In the original fairy tale the mermaid wants legs to marry the prince but this come at a very high price indeed—her voice and then her life if they prince does not marry her. He cannot bear to have a princess who cannot speak and so he marries another and the ending is not a fairy tale—so Jonah and Abby set out to fix this ending. The ending will surprise you! A great, quick, fun read!
Author Website: http://www.sarahm.com/
Racing in the Rain
By Garth Stein
Children adaptation of the adult book! Yay! My favorite adult book now available for kids!!
The Art of Racing in the Rain
By Garth Stein
New York: Harper Collins, 2008.
Life actually parallels race car driving in many ways as told by Enzo, the family dog. That’s right from a dog–you get a wonderful new perspective of family life and what it means to be the family pet in this wonderful story.
Racing in the Rain, tells the story of Danny, who always wanted to be a race car driver and how a wife, a daughter and a dog changed the road conditions from dry to wet. In dry condition a driver knows what to expect but in the rain a driver needs to be focused, needs to anticipate others moves and needs to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Danny put his dreams of being a driver on the back burner when he falls in love with his wife and then his daughter. Enzo knows how Danny aches to be racing, because Danny tells Enzo everything—in fact Danny and Enzo often watch racing on the television together.
I loved the insights Enzo has about being a dog—from wishing that he had thumbs to a tongue that he could use to talk. After all the listening the dog has done—he has some very wise and thoughtful things he would like to say to his family.
The family dog tells this story of family fun, love, anger, heartbreak and hope.
I loved, loved this story! I will never look at my dog the same again! 🙂