Thursday, January 11, 2007

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

If you think you are having a bad week at school, you should read about Clementine's week. Every day her teachers have been telling her to "pay attention," but she has been paying attention -- just paying attention to other things. Every day she has been sent to the Principal's office. And to make matters worse, her (ex) best friend Margaret isn't speaking to her anymore, just because Clementine cut off all Margaret's hair, and then colored what little was left with permanent marker. But the very worst part of the week is when Clementine thinks her parents want to get rid of her because she has gotten into so much trouble. Full of zany situations and misunderstandings, this book about how Clementine turns terrible into terrific will keep you laughing and wondering what will happen next! Review by Loretta Eysie.

The Manny Files by Christian Burch (audio edition)

I really enjoyed this book. It is so nice to read about a family that works together to solve its problems. The listener gets a sense that despite their differences, the members of this family really love each other and have fun together. The narrator of the audio version does a really good job conveying the Manny's goofy sense of humor, Lulu's hyper-cranky personality and Keat's sensitivity and gentleness. This is a great audiobook for the whole family to listen to together. Review by Jane Malmberg.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Notorious Izzy Fink by Don Brown

This is an action-packed book that tells the story of a 13-year-old boy growing up in New York in the 1890's. Sam Glodsky is half Irish and half Jewish, and during that time in New York, the streets were ruled not only by adult mobsters and corrupt policemen, but also by gangs made up of kids whose parents had immigrated from the same country. I had no idea that the streets of New York were as rough as the book describes them to be. It also sounds in some ways like a kid's paradise, because although parents could be very strict, kids were on their own out on the streets all day. Sam has some really good friends, and one sworn enemy: Izzy Fink. Izzy is a kid who no one seems to like, even though he is part of a gang. Sam sells newspapers to earn money for his family, and the headlines are full of the cholera epidemic in Europe. Then a ship docks in NY harbor and it is quarantined because some people on board are sick. Sam becomes involved in a plot to sneak on the ship to steal an expensive pigeon for the most powerful gangster on the Lower East Side. This is an exciting book that gives you a good feeling for what life was like for immigrants at the turn of the century. Review by Stacy Church