28. The Green Glass Sea

By: Ellen Klages
Level: J

Dewey is left a lot. Her mother left when she was small, her father left her with her grandmother when she was young, and now her grandmother has left her because she had a stroke. Therefore, when Dewey is told she will live with her father she is excited. Dewey travels to New Mexico where she lives on a secret base with her father during World War II. Suze misses her life in Berkeley, California. She tries to fit in with the other girls but somehow she is never accepted. She is just happy she is not an outcast like Screwy Dewey. Then the unthinkable happens. Dewey comes to live in her room. This novel is mostly about a friendship but the historical aspects of living at Los Alamos during the creation of the first atomic bomb are inescapable.

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

27. Hate That Cat

By: Sharon Creech

Level: J

Sequel to Love That Dog


Jack is back in sixth grade with Miss Stretchberry and is learning more about poetry.  He is in disagreement with his uncle about what a poem can look and sound like.  He is feuding with a cat that he tried to rescue and that turned on him instead.  Jack is also looking for a way to make the poems come alive for his mother.  Overall, Jack is growing up as he learns to accept things around him.  This novel is written in poetry, but most kids will not notice that, kids will love that each page only has a few words on it and short sentences.

Published in: on January 22, 2009 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

26. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

By: Jeff Kinney

Level: J

Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid


Greg Heffley is back and complaining about his life a loudly as ever.  Greg is not happy that he now has to walk a quarter mile to school instead of taking the bus.  After the New Year Greg is bragging and ends up having to do his own laundry, but he gets around that by wearing his Christmas presents.  In April, he finally has to start wearing some of his less dirty clothes.  Greg’s father is also trying to make him less wimpy by enrolling him in soccer and boy scouts, but Greg finds ways around that.  Then, his dad enrolls him in military school for summer vacation.  How will Greg get out of this?  This installment in the series is as funny as the previous as Greg immerses himself in his own selfishness.  I hope that kids do not think that all of Greg Heffley’s antics are acceptable and do not try to emulate him.

Published in: on January 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

25. Babymouse the Musical

By: Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm

Level: J

Series: Babymouse


Babymouse is back and as eccentric as ever.  There is a new boy in school and he has asked Babymouse if she is going to audition for the school musical.  Of course, she does but gets the part of understudy to Felicia cat.  Throughout the graphic novel there are a slew of references to various musicals that parents, if not children, are sure to know.  Babymouse is sure to entertain.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  

24. The Hinky Pink

By: Megan McDonald

Illustrated By: Brian Floca

Level: J


Anabel is a seamstress who can sew like a demon.  Her one dream is to sew for a princess, but alas, it never happens.  Then one day, Anabel is whisked to the castle where she is told to make a dress for the princess for the most famous ball of the year.  Anabel is thrilled, until she cannot get a wink of sleep.  The hinky pink just will not let her sleep and Anabel is not getting any sewing done well.  What is she to do?  She tries to make a bed for the hinky pink but nothing works.  This is a short but amusing tale based on an old beloved tale.

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  

23. The Tales of Beedle the Bard

By: J.K. Rowling

Level: J

Companion to the Harry Potter series


J.K. Rowling brings us a set of fairy tales in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm.  The tales have morals and have consequences for the characters.  Because this collection is aimed at those from wizarding families, the each story is explored after its telling.  The commentary provided is by Albus Dumbledore and supposedly found in his notes after his death.  Through this commentary, no one will miss the distinctions between magic as something special and magic as a part of everyday life.  The last story may sound familiar to some as it was mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 12:28 am  Leave a Comment  

22. The Cracked Mirror

By: Brian Keaney
Level: YA
Series: The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus


Dante was separated from Bea then ran away from Dr. Sigmundus.  Now he must try and rescue her.  He must also find the Púca in time to help Ezekiel Semiramis.  Dante teams up with an undertaker, Malachy, and heads for Barzach where things do not go well with Bea.  However, shortly thereafter Bea teams up with another woman, Seersha, and runs away to find the Púca.  Unfortunately, no one knows of the Gallowglass that is hunting for Dr. Sigmundus.  This short interlude brings all of the players into place for the third and final book.




Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

21. Kenny & the Dragon

Written and Illustrated By: Tony DiTerlizzi

Level: J


Kenny is a rabbit boy who lives in Roundbrook, a town of farmers.  Kenny loves to read books, especially science and fairy tales.  Kenny meets a dragon, Grahame, and becomes best friends with him.  Kenny goes into town to his friend George’s bookstore so that George and Grahame can meet, because he knows that the two will get along with each other wonderfully.  However, George is a knight for the king, and he has just gotten news that the dragon must be imminently exterminated.  Kenny does not know what to do.  Of course, this book is not a fairy tale even as it includes mythical creatures and prose.  In fact, it specifically brings the reader back to the point that things do not always work out for the best, even if it does in this story.

Published in: on January 10, 2009 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

20. Crystal Doors: Sky Realm

By: Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson

Level: YA

Series: Crystal Doors Book III Sky Realm


Five friends, Vic, Gwen, Lyssandra, Tiaret, and Sharif are recovering from previous adventures in Elantya, a magical world that links to other worlds by ‘crystal doors’.  Then Sharif is called home to become sultan of Irrakesh. On the way to Irrakesh the friends create a Ring of Might to fulfill a prophecy about them saving worlds.  When the friends arrive in Irrakesh they find the city in trouble from their nemesis Azric, the immortal magician who wants Vic and Gwen for their unique ability to release his immortal armies that are imprisoned behind locked crystal doors.  The fight that begins in Irrakesh is brought to Elantya and the defenders are overwhelmed from the sky earth and sea.  This is a worthy third installment to the series.  It seems there will be more books with these characters although they may be in a new series, since this series was originally supposed to be a trilogy.

Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

19. The Hunger Games

By: Suzanne Collins

Level: YA

Book One


Katlinn lives in the shattered remains of North America in the country of Panem.  To show how the Capitol has put down rebellion in their colonies there are annual Hunger Games.  The games begin with a reaping where one girl and one boy from each district are chosen to participate in the death games.  Sixteen-year old Katniss Everdeen has been caretaker of her family since her father died when she was eleven.  The only thing she cares about in the world is her sister Prim.  When Prim’s name is chosen at the reaping, Katniss volunteers to go instead.  In addition, chosen with Katniss is Peeta, the baker’s son.  It soon is clear that Peeta cares for Katniss even though she has never known this.  This is a complication because during the Hunger Games it is kill or be killed.  What will be Katniss’s choice?   There is a compelling quality to all of the choices to trust people and to be true to oneself while trying to stay alive in this novel.  At the same time, it brings thoughts of ‘Running Man’ and ‘Lord of the Flies’.

Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment