March 28, 2010

"Scent of the Missing"

Title: Scent of the Missing
Author: Susannah Charleson
Age Range: 12+
Reviewer: Heather
Note: This book will not be released until April 14th, 2010

Scent of the Missing is a well-written and captivating book about Search and Rescue, Susannah Charleson writes openly and in great detail. She uses many metaphors – and a lot of them made me laugh because they were so creative.

The book doesn’t have any real plot, but while reading it you don’t notice because it’s not that type of story. It’s a true account of the author’s journey of assisting and observing other search dog teams before she decides to train her own dog.

She gets Puzzle, a golden retriever, as a small puppy and writes about the good and bad, the easy and hard of training her to be a good search dog. It’s sometimes frustrating work for Susannah, but Puzzle seems born to search and does her job well.

Scent of the Missing doesn’t have much action, and I was surprised at how many of the searches she went on with Puzzle and other dogs were not actually successful. It’s mainly about her learning alongside her dog to help them both become part of the team.

This is a great book for anyone wanting to know more about the Search and Rescue program, or for those who want to actually train a Search and Rescue dog. It gave me a huge amount of insight on the subject.

Crunch by Leslie Connor

Title: Crunch
Author: Leslie Connor
Age Range: 10 and up
Reviewer: Rose
Note: This book will be release May 2010

Crunch is part mystery, part realistic fiction, and part science fiction but in an entirely realistic way. It's about a complete lack of fuel and how suddenly bikes are a lot more valuable. And with so many bikes on the road, you're going to need a repair shop. Dewey Marriss's dad runs a bike repair shop, but he got stuck up in Canada with Dewey's mom. So that leaves Dewey and his four siblings to run the place, repairing bikes, dealing with customers, doing farm chores and tolerating each other and a kleptomaniac neighbor, which they manage to do wonderfully, remaining cheerful under stress for the sake of the five-year-old twins, Eva and Angus. But when a surprising thief is caught stealing parts from the Bike Barn, they're featured on television, bringing in customers they never wanted. Soon everyone is under too much strain and they snap. Can Dewey bring everyone back together again before their much awaited parents return home?

With an engaging (although a bit confusing), beginning and distinctive characters, Crunch is a book that most readers will find enjoyable. I wish that Leslie Connor had said more about why there was a lack of fuel, but doing so might have made the book sound preachy. I was really struck by how much fun it would be to bike down the freeway with other riders, hardly worrying about traffic!

Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky

Title: Hawksmaid
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Age Range: 10 and up
Reviewer: Rose
Note: This book will be released May 2010

With strong characters and a well-developed plot line, Hawksmaid pulls the reader into a new version of the story of Robin Hood. Seen through the eyes of Matty Fitzwalter (who would later take the name Maid Marian), Robert Woodfyn (later Robin Hood) and the hawks Matty learns to fly, this story tells of corruption, loyalty and coming of age. For an added twist, author Kathryn Lasky masterfully brings in the ancient art of falconry.

I found this book impossible to put down and very well done. My one problem with it was that when the author told the story from the hawks point of view they didn't seem very hawk-like. They were too pack-minded and hawks tend to be solitary birds. But other than that one detail this story was a great read.

March 27, 2010

Charles Darwin and the Mystery of Mysteries

Title: Charles Darwin and the Mystery of Mysteries
Author: Niles Eldredge and Susan Pearson
Age Range: 9-14
Reviewer: Rose
Note: This book will not be released until May 2010

This enjoyable book on the life of Charles Darwin is well worth reading. It's very informative and covers all aspects of his life and work in a way that is easy to understand without having to reread every sentence twice. It tells of how Darwin pieced together the mystery of Natural Selection and the people who influenced him to do so. In the margins are facts about those people and things that happened during Darwin’s lifetime, but they are not so frequent as to disrupt the story.
Charles Darwin and the Mystery of Mysteries is a must read book!

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

Title: Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth
Author: Sandra Dutton
Age Range: 8-12
Reviewer: Rose
Note: This book will not be released until June 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth tells the story of a girl who starts noticing that what her teacher teaches about fossils and what her pastor teaches at church don't agree. She persists until finally her mom pulls her out of school to homeschool her with the
Bible. But Mary Mae isn't happy being homeschooled and tries to find ways to go back to school. The ending is satisfying, with both parties coming to an agreement that works out.

As a (non-Christian) homeschooler myself, my bone to pick with this book was that homeschooling was portrayed in a negative and untruthful
light. While the situation in the book could happen (and unfortunately does occasionally) a majority of the time homeschooling is a much more postive and well thought out experience.

Over all, I think that this book encourages kids to think and decide for themselves whether they believe in Creationism, Evolution or both but with a slightly heavier emphasis on Creationism.

March 2, 2010

Pony Pals #2: A Pony for Keeps

Title: Pony Pals  #2 A Pony for Keeps

Author: Jeanne Betancourt
Age Range: 7 and up
Reviewer: Sophia Hatfield

Do you love ponies?  Then you might like this book.  It is about a girl named Anna.  Anna loves her pony Acorn. She does not want to give him away, but she might have to because her parents think Acorn is the reason she is doing badly in school.  Anna has two friends Pam and Lulu, they have  ponies too. The three girls  call themselves the Pony Pals.  Will the Pony Pals be able to help Anna and Acorn?

My favorite character  is Anna because she trusts Acorn so much.  I like the book because it is scary and happy and sad .

October 10, 2009

Evangeline Mudd and the Golden-Haired Apes of the Ikkinasti Jungle

Title: Evangeline Mudd and the Golden-Haired Apes of the Ikkinasti Jungle
Author: David Elliott
Age Range:7-9
Reviewer: Sophie Urey
This book is about a girl who has primatologist parents. And then another primatologist calls them and says there is a group of golden-haired apes. But Evangeline can't go because only two people can go. So Evangeline has to go to her dad's cousin, twice removed. But Then Evangeline's parents go missing in the jungle.
You will have to read the book to find out what happens next.

October 2, 2009

Fly By Night

Title: Fly By Night
Author: Frances Hardinge
Age Range: 9-12
Reviewer: Sequoia LeBreux

“When words take flight, heroes are born”

Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye hasent got much. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up in his mill, and her only friend is a goose named Saracan, who’ll bite anything in his path.

Meet Eponymouse Clent “a poet and storyteller, a creator of ballads and sagas” or as Mosca puts it he “tells lies for money.” With Clent came the adventure Mosca had been waiting for.

Mosca LOVES words, hearing Clent walk into her little town called Chough using word like “mendacity and mellifluous”. Mosca didn’t know what they meant,” but the words made shapes in her mind. She memorized them, and stroked them in her thoughts like the curved backs of cats. Words, words, wonderful words.”

Dive into a world were coffee houses can float down the river and mere posters can send a city screaming. Were the word “Birdcatcher” can make people run and cower and white takes on a whole new meaning!

September 25, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Age Range:7+
Reviewer: Tiana Urey age 8 1/2

This is the first book in the Harry Potter series.

This book is about an eleven year old boy that finds out that he is a wizard and goes to a school called Hogwarts. Harry Potter is always in danger of a dark wizard by the name of Voldemort.

Luckily, Harry Potter has friends (Ron&Hermione) to help him.

I would highly recommend Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone because it has good characters.

It does contain some scary and gruesome images but is good.

September 24, 2009

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Title: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Author: Roald Dahl

Age Range: 6 and up (Mom read it aloud to me)

Reviewer: Joe (as dictated to Mom)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a boy named Charlie who finds the last golden ticket and he gets to go to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. At the factory, there are lots of rooms full of different candies. There are five kids that go to the factory and afterward they get a lifetime supply of candy. First Augustus Gloop gets sucked up by a fudge pipe because he fell in the chocolate river because he was drinking it. And then Violet Beauregarde chews up bubble gum that she wasn't supposed to chew because Willly Wonka hadn't made it right and it made her turn into a giant blueberry. Veruca Salt goes into the Nut Room where squirrels attack her and push her down the garbage shoot and she goes into the furnace along with her mom and dad. Then Mike Teavee goes into a t.v. room and sees chocolate get sent over him and them Mike Teavee sends himself by television and he wasn't supposed to and he gets really small and he has a tantrum because he wants to watch t.v. and his mom won't let him anymore. Charlie is the last kid left and Willy Wonka gives him the chocolate factory because he won. He was the only one left because all of the other kids did bad things.

I liked the book because it was funny. I think kids would like it too.