Monday, July 22, 2013

Spy Camp

Spy Camp
by Stuart Gibbs
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 2, 2013)

Well, to understand most of this, it’s best if you read Spy School before you read Spy Camp. Anyways, Spy Camp is about a 13 year old boy named Ben Ripley. He was accepted to Spy School as a first year in the first book and goes to a Spy Camp in the summer. He and his friends discovered there was a mole in the CIA Academy of Espionage the year before and that the mole was their “friend.” His name was Murray Hill and he worked for a secret agency called SPYDER and their plans were to overthrow the CIA. In Spy Camp, Ben gets classified mail from SPYDER, who asks Ben to double-agent for them. Ben gets taken out of Camp and gets ambushed by SPYDER. The remaining of the book is Ben living in the wilderness with Alexander Hale and his daughter, Erica Hale. They thwart SPYDER’s plans and that’s the end of the book.

I liked that this book was unpredictable and that it was so suspenseful, especially in the end when Ben stops a missile from attacking leaders of the World, such as the President of the United States of America (representing the CIA), the Prime Minister of England (representing MI-6), and more. I disliked that it ended so quickly! I wanted to read more but the author stopped so suddenly, it seemed like a cliffhanger (it isn’t one.) Overall, I loved this book. 5 out of 5 for this! --YJ


by Kirby Larson
Scholastic Press (August 27, 2013)
review ARC from Cover to Cover Children's Books

This book is about a boy named Hobie whose father is fighting in World War 2. He has a dog named Duke who is his very best friend. He gives up Duke so Duke can go fight in the war. It is a very difficult situation to give Duke away because he loves him so much.

After Duke leaves, Hobie meets kid named Max who is German and Hobie eventually becomes friends with him. 

He realizes he misses Duke so much that he attempts to get him back from his short time commander. Hobie would write things that are a bad about Duke to the commander to try to get him back. He fails. They get news that his dad is a prisoner in a German jail camp. That saddens everyone in his family.

You'll have to read the book to find out if Hobie ever sees Duke or his father again. --Sv

Light in the Darkness

Light in the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret
by Lesa Cline-Ransome
illustrated by James E. Ransome
Hyperion Book CH (January 29, 2013)
review copy borrowed from the public library

This book is about how slaves would secretly learn to read. They would do it at night and quietly in a place called a pit school. If the masters found that they learned letters, they would whip them for very letter they learned. For example, if they learned 26 letters the masters would whip them 26 times. Some moments where freaky when some masters came really close to their secret hiding spot. This is a really good book and is perfect for grades 2 and 1, but good for all readers. --Sv

My Epic Fairy Tale Fail

My Epic Fairy Tale FAIL
by Anna Staniszewski
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (March 5, 2013)

Jenny is an adventurer. What’s an adventurer? In basic terms, it’s a person who travels to fantasy worlds saving creatures (and they tend to get into trouble ….. A LOT). Jenny has been sent on adventure, not so interesting… but this time it is. She’s going to [dramatic music plays] The Land of Tales. Okay so maybe that didn’t sound SO dramatic, but Jenny might finally find out where her missing parents are. She just has to do three impossible tasks for the Witch Idle (who looks more like Jenny’s math teacher), who has taken almost all the land's magic. That sounds so easy! A whole land (who already hates her) depending for her to get the land's magic back, and the pressure of finding about her parents. Will Jenny be able to complete this task?

Rating: This book was very...interesting. In the beginning I wasn’t much of a fan. I decided to finish the book anyways, because what would it cost me? In the middle things got interesting, I couldn’t/wouldn’t dare to put it down. There was a lot of adventure in this book (duh!), and it kind of just left you hanging. You would be: “What is going to happen?” “Is she going to die?" (and that happened often) If I was the author though, I would put just a hint of more action in the first chapters. I would rate this book a 3 out of 5. --SS


by Bob Staake
Schwartz & Wade (April 9, 2013)
review copy from the public library

A blue bird.

A lonely boy.

A new friendship.

So I know that was a very, VERY short summary. I think that this book isn’t the kind to have a two page summery or anything, considering the book has absolutely no words...whatsoever.

Even though the book didn’t have any words, I enjoyed it very much. There was an effect on me when I read (or looked) at it. The book was actually very simple. The pictures weren’t drawn with too much detail, and I don’t remember if there were even any numbers on the pages.  

Still the book had power. I guess I just enjoyed the simplicity to it. This book deserves a 5 out 5. --SS


Here's a different take on this book:

There was a little boy walking home from school and he looked very sad and lonely. Then a blue bird started following him and it became his best friend. But when they came into the woods, a group of mean little boys made fun of the little boy. When the little boy and the blue bird tried to leave one of the boys threw a stick at them and it hit the poor little blue bird. Then the group of mean boys left so they would not get in trouble, leaving the other lonely little boy behind. He picked up his blue friend, and walked all alone in the forest. Then all the sudden, a small little red bird appeared. Then more colorful birds came and picked up the little boy and they flew him in the sky. The little boy let go of his blue bird, and the blue bird began to fly.

I love this book because it’s sad and happy at the same time. I think this book is good for kindergarten to first. But really, I think anybody can read this book. After all I read it and you can too! R.Y

On A Beam of Light

by Jennifer Berne
illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
Chronicle Books, 2013
review copy borrowed from the public library

This picture book is about Albert Einstein and how he wondered a lot. Einstein loved math. He would ask questions and think a lot . He discovered many things like atoms and light speeds. This is a really good picture book with many details. --Sv

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Popularity Papers: Book 5

The Popularity Papers: Book Five: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang
by Amy Ignatow
Amulet Books
March 25, 2013

This book is about two girls named Lydia and Julie. Lydia starts a band. For their birthday they get music supplies. The problem is they don’t know how to play the instruments. Julie gets a nice teacher and Lydia gets a mean one. They have some of their friends join the band. It goes pretty well. Some of them learn quickly and others take longer to learn. You've got to read the book to find out more. --Fa

House of Secrets

House of Secrets 
by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Balzer + Bray
April 23, 2013

The book I read is House Of Secrets. The authors of this book are Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus. The main characters are Brendan, Elanor, Cordealia, Wind Witch, Slayne, Will, Captain Sangray, Storm King and Penelope.

In the beginning the Walker family buys a house. Then the Wind Witch comes and she is mad because the house they bought was her father's. She sent Brendan, Elanor, and Cordealia into two books. The books are Savage Warriors and The Heart And The Helm.

In the first book they met Slayne who tried to kill them but a guy named Will saved them. After that a colossus picked up the house. Then another one came and wanted to eat the house so the two colossuses fought. The good colossus put the house on a branch of a tree. In the morning the branch broke and they entered the second book.

When the house fell into the sea they met a girl named Penelope who was a skeleton that came to life. They also met pirates who killed Penelope. Then Will killed the captain. Slayne came back to kill the kids so first he killed Will. Then the Wind Witch came back but her father was mad that she was trying to take his powers so they fought. While they fought the kids found The Book Of Doom And Desire and went back home.

I like this book because it is funny in some parts. I recommend this to 7th and 8th graders due to some violence and language.  --J.

Strike Three You're Dead

Strike Three You're Dead
by Josh Berk
Knopf Books for Young Readers
March 12, 2013

The book I read is Strike Three You’re Dead. The author of this book is Josh Berk. The main characters are Lenny, the Mikes, Maria, Blaze O. Farrel, Ramon Famosa, and R.J. Weathers.

This book is about a baseball murder mystery. In the beginning Lenny wins an armchair announcer contest. He practiced announcing with his friends Mike and Other Mike. When he goes to the game a promising young pitcher R.J. Whethers died. Lenny suspects that it was murder.

Lenny and the Mikes had several suspects. At first Lenny and the Mikes suspected PhilzFan1 who helped them later in the book. After that they thought it was Famosa but he was way too nice so it wasn’t him. In the end it took a long time to figure it out but Lenny realized who did it.

I like this book because it has a lot of action and violence in it. I recommend this book to teens. --J.

Picture Day (Missy's Super Duper Royal Deluxe #1)

Picture Day (Missy's SUper Duper Royal Deluxe #1)
by Susan Nees
April 30, 2013

Summary: Missy can’t wait for picture day, but when she can’t decide what to wear, her mother helps her out. Missy does not like the outfit her mother gives her. The fit she throws at school won’t help it. And neither does Oscar. Or maybe…maybe Oscar can help.

What I Liked Best About This Book: I read this to my little brother. He liked it. It’s a little first grade book! It’s really weird how much I can relate to Missy, though. Except it’s not usually just on picture day, it’s usually every day when I don’t have an outfit and my mom has to choose. I think every girl can relate. --S.A.

You Only Die Twice

The Genius Files: You Only Die Twice
by Dan Gutman
January 22, 2013

The book that I read is The Genius Files: You Only Die Twice, the third book of the series. The author of this book is Dan Gutman. The main characters are: Coke, Pepsi, Mrs. and Dr. McDonald, Evil Elvis, Mrs. Higgins, and the bowler hat guys.

This book is about two kids named Coke and pepsi who are being chased down by an evil Elvis impersonator who wants to kill them. In the beginning it is Coke and Pepsi's aunt's wedding with Dr. Warsaw. In the past few books he tried to kill Coke and Pepsi. On the 4th of July a weird message appeared in the sky saying LEVEL VIS I. Then Bones and Mya, Coke and Pepsi's friends came to tell them nobody was trying to kill them anymore and left.

Coke, Pepsi, Mrs. McDonald, and Dr. McDonald traveled to go see the largest chest of drawers in the world and a chest of drawers fell out of it and almost hit Pepsi. At the Poe Center For Health Education a giant brain almost fell on Pepsi. Then she falls in a hole looking up. After that they went to the birthplace of Pepsi where an evil Elvis impersonator captured Pepsi but Coke saved her. They bought fireworks just in case Evil Elvis came back.

They traveled to Tunnelvision where a remote controlled car almost hit Coke. Then they went to Coca-Cola world and he almost got thrown into a giant shredder. In the end Coke and Pepsi fought Evil Elvis who turned out to be their aunt Judy.

I like this book. I like it because it has a lot of action. I recommend this book to teens. --J.

City of Death

City of Death
by Lawrence Yep
February 5, 2013

This book is about a group of humans and mythical creatures who need the legend Yi’s magical arrows. The arrows are the weapons they need to stop the villains Roland and Badik from ruling the world.

In the beginning Bayang gets captured while eating tainted food that makes her fall asleep and Scriye and friends Try and rescue her. In order to rescue her in the viziers palace they had to beat up bad guys. Then they found her and set her free. After that they go and fight Roland and Badik and win. In the end they destroy a creature that can destroy the earth called a Kemshap with the arrows. I like this book because it has a lot of action through the book. --J.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Meanest Birthday Girl

The Meanest Birthday Girl
by Josh Schneider
Clarion Books (May 7, 2013)

This book is about a girl named Dana. It’s her birthday and she thinks she can do what she wants. She was mean to this guy and ate some of his lunch. After she had her party this guy who she did mean things to give her a gift.You have to read the book to know more -- if someone else starts doing what she did.I  think this book should be for first graders.  --Fa

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
by Tanya Lee Stone
illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (February 19, 2013)

This book is about a young woman who at first didn’t want to be a doctor. She couldn't be a doctor because women couldn't be doctors, they were supposed to become wives and mothers. Or maybe teachers, or seamstresses. But being a doctor was not an option because men thought they weren’t smart enough. So she thought of an idea and she sent out multiple applications to medical schools. And she got back 28 no’s in all. In different ways, the letters all said the same thing: Women can not be doctors. They should not be. One day she got an envelope from a college. The answer was yes. She packed her bags and went to Geneva Medical school in upstate New York. People didn’t accept her. Sometimes she would stay up till mid night studying. Elizabeth Blackwell proved that she was as smart enough as any boy. On January 23,1849, Elizabeth graduated with the highest scores in her whole class and she became the first woman doctor in America. --Fu

The Smurfs Anthology

The Smurfs Anthology
by Peyo
Papercutz (June 25, 2013)
review copy from the public library

The Smurfs Anthology is 6 stories about the Smurfs and it a graphic novel. I think it cool how the problems or situations get fixed. If you like the Smurfs, you should read it.

P.S. It isn’t like the movie that much. --Fu

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens
by Gloria Whelan
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (April 2, 2013)

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Summary: Young Rosalind James is living two worlds in the 1920′s of India. There is the world of her heritage, in which she stands with a British Indian Army major for a father, a muted mother, and two aunts who go by Aunt Louise and Aunt Ethyl; along with a few helpful friends. The second, where Gandhi and his fellow followers surround her in India. The two worlds plow into each other, Rosie begins to rethink everything she has been taught about the rules of the British. Should she choose to help India? Or should she keep quiet and be a lady?

What I Liked Best About This Book: First off, this was a terrific book! It was hard to understand sometimes – and yes, this book is for young adults – but I somehow managed to understand; still, the dictionary did come in handy. I really liked Rosie as a person, and not just as a character. The author gave her a lot of hard times, and very difficult decisions. Rosalind was mature about it though, and always had a friend to keep her accompanied. Even if it was her Aunt Louise. --SA