Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Meeting Cezanne

Meeting Cezanne
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Helen

Summary: This is the story of Yannick, a young Parisian boy, who is sent to Provence to live with his aunt and uncle when his mother becomes ill. He wanders the beautiful countryside finding Cezanne in all its beauty. Provence is the country of Cezanne--whom Yannick thinks is the world's greatest painter. When a mysterious artist visits his uncle's inn, Yannick is convinced the mystery man is Cezanne. He decides to introduce himself to "Cezanne" and win a sketch from this person he thinks is his idol.

Review: This is a sweet story and all the illustrations are exquisite. There is also a sweet relationship between Yannick and his cousin Amandine. This book offers young readers an early introduction to good literature. I would recommend this book for grades 4 to 6.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War

Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War
Author: Charlotte Forten
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise

Summary: Presents excerpts from the diary of Charlotte Forten, a free African American teenager who lived in Massachusetts before the Civil War.
Review: Charlotte Forten, a freed African American girl before the Civil War, tells her story by sharing the journal entries she wrote about her life. This would be an excellent book for any student who needs to complete a biography assignment because information is presented in an interesting and easy way, with vocabulary and sidebar information. I thought that it was the right idea to leave Forten’s entries as is without tampering with her thoughts. A helpful timeline of her life is given towards the end of the book that highlights the key points of her life and there are also other reading suggestions at the end of the book, as well as some critical thinking questions to answer that supports Common Core curriculum. Anyone who enjoys reading the Dear America series would appreciate this shortened version of the same concept. Part of the Fact Finders series.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Author: Andrew Clements
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Reviewer: Aleece


Summary: When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.

Review: Nick Allen decides that he is going to turn Mrs. Granger's love for the dictionary back on her.  In order to spark this battle, Nick had to come up with a word that doesn't exist, something like "frindle," the new word for pen.  Nick has the new word spread around the class, then the grade and then the whole school and even in town people are beginning to say it. What once was an idea to anger Mrs. Granger; turned out to be so much more in the end.

This book is very clever and this fast paced book made it a quick read. Overall, it is enjoyable but for some reason I wanted something else out of it.  I'm not sure what exactly, but something that made me think yes that's it.  I really liked Mrs. Granger's character, but I thought Nick was just okay.  While he is clever, I thought he could have been a little more interesting, especially since he is so smart when pushing the boundaries. Overall, I would recommend this to kids looking for a light read with some information that they may have never thought of before.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Leslie


Summary: Three farmers, each one meaner than the other, try all-out warfare to get rid of the fox and his family.

Review: I loved Roald Dahl as a child so I knew I would enjoy this quick read. It is a very cute story about persistence and the will to survive and provide for one’s family. It is a funny book and a good lesson for kids to never give up and think outside the box!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mitchell Goes Driving

Mitchell Goes Driving
Author: Hallie Durand
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Sue


Summary: This fun book is about Mitchell, who never ever wanted to go to bed.  Dad figures out an ingenious solution to the problem. Mitchell is issued a Remote-Control Dad Driver’s License!  Now he can “drive” his car (dad) around the house before he goes to bed.  What a creative idea dad has come up with to get his son to bed!

Review: I’m not sure who will like this book more, the child or the parent.  Great illustrations, a really fun storyline, and a theme that most parents can relate to make this a fun book to read aloud.  The relationship between father and son is beautiful to see.  While the son is lovingly abusing his dad, the dad is loving taking the abuse.  It will make you smile.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blizzard of Glass

Blizzard of Glass
Author: Sally M. Walker
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Christi


Summary: On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, resulting in the largest man-made explosion until the detonation of the atomic bomb.

Review: I picked up this book because I’ve never heard of the Halifax explosion. I don’t know how, seeing that it was the biggest explosion ever until the atomic bomb. But this book was an interesting read. It was just another ordinary day in Canada. As you are introduced to the people of the area that are going about their normal morning routines, you find out that two boats have collided in the water. The people in the area walk toward the water or their windows at home as they start to see the smoke rise wondering what was happening. Horribly, one of the boats hit was full of ammunition and TNT and it’s getting ready to blow up and take out almost the whole town and that of the surrounding town. In a horrifying twist of fate, a blizzard hit the next day and stalled a lot of the rescues.

At times this story is horrible to read because it is hard to imagine the depth of suffering that went on, but overall the story is one of heroism and tragedy that deeply affected the community. It’s definitely worth a read. A Rebecca Caudill 2014 nominee.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Confessions of a Former Bully

Confessions of a Former Bully
Author: Trudy Ludwig
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise Z.

Summary: Nine-year-old Katie's punishment for bullying classmates includes making up for the hurt she has caused so she decides to write a book about bullying, why it is not okay, and how to start being a better friend.
Review: This book is a useful tool on the subject of bullying for both the parent and the child. Readers can learn what to do if they are being bullied and why not to be a bully themselves in a fun diary written in the voice of a nine-year-old bully. Katie starts off her journal by explaining how she used to be a bully and what it means to be one. I liked how her thoughts on the subject were presented in her journal and how it was pointed out that being a bully hurts everyone, even the one doing the bullying. She explains that bullying isn’t just physical and gives examples and facts on bullying, including the statistic that 9 out of 10 elementary students have been bullied by their peers. The choice to be a bully, why bullies do what they do, what to do if you see someone being bullied, and how to handle being bullied yourself are all covered in this kid-friendly book that offers answers on a difficult topic in a familiar diary way.