Saturday, February 17, 2007

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica

I really had a hard time putting this book down! Molly is a 12-year-old girl whose Mom dies of cancer. Right before she dies, she tells Molly her dad is a famous Boston Celtic basketball player. Molly sets out to meet him and win his heart. Her dad doesn't quite believe her claims, and thinks it's a scam to take money from him. As Molly gets to know him, she's not quite sure she really wants him as a father after all. In the end, this turns out to be a heartwarming story full of risks and small miracles. Review by June Lenzo

Friday, February 16, 2007

Vive La Paris by Esme Raji Codell

This is a companion book to another book that I just loved, Sahara Special. In this book, the story revolves around a classmate of Sahara's, fifth-grader Paris McCray. Paris is bright, engaging, and a lover of words of all kinds. She is also very brave and open to all kinds of new experiences. Paris can make snap judgements. As the story progresses she starts to have an understanding of the choices her friends and family make, even though she doesn't agree with them, for example: her brother Michael's reluctance to stand up to a girl who bullies him, and the mysterious gift of a yellow star she receives from her piano teacher, Mrs. Rosen. When she forms her Extreme Readers Club, Paris is torn between doing what she wants to do, and what she knows is right. This book is full of happy, funny and sad moments; it is every bit as good as the first one! Review by Jane Malmberg.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

This is the first children's book I have ever seen about the development of the atom bomb. The main character is 10-year-old Dewey, whose mother is dead. She has been living with her grandmother while her father is away doing "war work." When her grandmother becomes too ill to take care of her, she must travel alone across the country to meet her father in a secret location, which turns out to be Los Alamos, New Mexico. They live in a tiny hastily-built house, alongside all the other families of scientists who are working on "the gadget," as they call it. Dewey is happy enough, even though she is teased by the other children, because she loves science and inventing things. Then her father has to go away (again) and she must move in with another family, the family of one of her worst tormentors. Of course, over time, the girls become friends. The book is a really good story which gives a realistic picture of what life was like for people involved in the development of the bomb: the secrecy, pride in accomplishment, and ultimately, the questioning of the morality of the use of such a destructive weapon. Review by Stacy Church

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane By Kate DiCamillo (Audio Edition)

In the beginning…
Edward Tulane is a fancy china rabbit with tailored clothes, a pocket watch and a haughty disposition. He belongs to ten-year-old Abilene Tulane. She loves him dearly. Abilene’s grandmother senses that Edward doesn’t appreciate how much Abilene loves him, so she tells him a story. The story is about a princess who has never felt love. After telling him the story, she tells Edward that he disappoints her. Edward’s miraculous journey begins when Abilene decides to take Edward on the family vacation aboard an ocean liner. Edward is catapulted overboard. As terrible as this is, there is more to come. Edward finds himself in situations with people he never could have imagined.
In the end…
The many people and experiences stir emotions that Edward had never known before. The listener observes Edward’s transformation from cold-hearted and detached to having a grateful and loving heart. Review by Ann Thomas

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher

Fourteen-year-old Mitra and her five-year-old brother Babak flee for their lives. They are of royal blood, yet, the Persian king pursues them. Ever since Mitra's father unsuccessfully plotted against the tyrant king, the king has vowed revenge, and he will not stop until Mitra's whole family is wiped out. Mitra disguises herself as a boy, and is constantly on the alert to keep ahead of the king's spies. A powerful Magus becomes aware of Babak's gift, dreams which foretell the future. He takes Mitra and Babak along on his journey to Bethlehem. Three Magi are forming a caravan to head west to follow a bright new star. They believe the star announces the birth of a powerful new king, and they want to meet him and bring him presents. The journey to Bethlehem is filled with hardships, with adventure, and with intrigue. Will Mitra and Babak survive it all? Will they be reunited with their family? Alphabet of Dreams takes you back in time to the year of Jesus' birth, an amazing event which was announced in the stars. Review by Trudy Walsh

The Winner's Walk by Nancy Ruth Patterson

Case Callahan lives on a farm. When he brings home a stray dog, he tries hard to convince his parents to let him keep the golden retriever, Noah. Case discovers that his dog has unusual talents. If the phone rings, for example, Noah brings it to Case so he can answer it. After Case and his dog win a blue ribbon and have their picture published in the local newspaper, Noah's past as a trained service animal is revealed. Can Case continue to keep Noah as a pet when he knows that several hundred children are just waiting for the opportunity to be partnered with a trained service dog? Case grows up fast during the summer months that he shares with his very talented golden retriever, Noah. Review by Trudy Walsh