Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Book of One Hundred Truths by Julie Schumacher

I loved this book! 12-year-old Thea says, "Most people think there are only two kinds of lies: little white lies and all the others. But that isn't true. Lies come in a lot of different colors." This is a book about lying. When Thea is leaving to spend the summer with her grandparents and the rest of her extended family on the Jersey Shore, like she does every year, her mother gives her a journal in which she tells her to write whatever she wants, as long as it is true. It becomes clear that there is something troubling Thea, and in fact, many members are her family are troubled. Her 7-year-old cousin Jocelyn, who she ends up spending most of her summer babysitting, has a raging case of eczema and an obsession with keeping everything absolutely neat and put away. Thea and Jocelyn discover that two of her aunts are hiding something, and they are determined to find out what it is. So, like I said, this is a book about lying. Review by Stacy Church

The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff

There were things I liked about this book, and things I didn't like. One interesting thing is that the main character is a dwarf. An actual dwarf. He's also a pretty typical fourth grader, who has a best friend (until a new kid at school comes between them); a class enemy (until she pesters him into being her friend); and a happy home life (until his parents tell him they're having a new baby). Georgie also has other physical problems related to being a dwarf. The thing I didn't like about the book was the way that most of those problems are revealed to the reader - through handwritten sections that are kind of preachy and annoying. Another thing I liked about the story was the character of Jeanie the Meanie. She is the most irritating person, and has always pestered Georgie, but it turns out that in her eyes, she has been trying to make friends with him. Overall, it's a pretty fun book to read. Review by Stacy Church

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

Georgia McCoy doesn’t remember a lot about her mother -- just that she was an artist like Georgia, and when she was still alive, their family seemed much happier. Now, Georgia’s father not only refuses to talk about her mother, but he avoids anything that even reminds him of her. Whenever he sees Georgia sketching in her book, he turns away. Soon after she turns thirteen, Georgia receives an anonymous gift in the mail, a letter of membership from the Brandywine River Museum which grants her free admission for a whole year. From the moment she first walks in the door, her life begins to change This touching story is told in free verse, which effectively expresses the flood of emotions Georgia feels as she struggles to find herself and reconnect with her father. Review by Jane Malmberg.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

The summer of his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a mysterious delivery – a wooden box engraved with the words "the meaning of life: for Jeremy Fink on his thirteenth birthday." The box, it turns out, was left by his father, who died five years earlier. It has four different locks which must be opened with the correct keys or the contents will be destroyed. However, the keys are nowhere to be found. Jeremy and his best friend Lizzy embark on a search for the missing keys that takes them all over New York, where they meet an eclectic group of people including an elderly pawnshop owner and a famous astronomer, each with his/her own words of wisdom to impart. As the summer progresses, Jeremy learns, among other things, that the question may not be “what is the meaning of life,” but rather, “why are we here?”
This book is a little long, but the two main characters are really fun and likeable, and there are several twists and turns to keep the story interesting. Review by Jane Malmberg.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blue Schwartz and Nefertiti's Necklace by Betty Jacobson Hechtman

This is the best mystery I have read in a long time! The main character, Blue Schwartz, is a hard-working, thirteen-year-old girl who is unjustly accused of stealing a priceless necklace by the father of some kids she babysits for. The father is a professor at the local college, and you can tell something is fishy about him from pretty early on in the book. Poor Blue! Her family doesn't have a lot of money, and she's trying to earn enough to buy herself a computer because her brother, a brainy kid who studies all the time, hogs the family computer. Blue likes to cook, and her favorite recipes are included in the back of the book. This book is a fun read! Review by Stacy Church

The Royal Diaries: Marie Antoinette by Kathryn Lasky

Thirteen-year-old Marie Antonia uses the diary her tutor gives her to practice her writing skills, one of the many things she must learn to prepare for her future life as the queen of France. Unfortunately the things Marie enjoys most - riding her horse very fast and playing outside - are unheard of activities for a future queen. The book gives you a real sense of Marie Antonia's feelings as she learns what is expected of her now and in the future, and when she meets her future husband. Review by Joyce Levine

A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin

Do you know what a stray dog loves more than anything?? Garbage!! The many wonderful treats you can find to eat can be heavenly! This book is the life story of a stray dog, Squirrel. The book follows her from birth through old age, telling about how she learns to survive on her own, and the different people who take care of her and then abandon her. I really enjoyed reading about the good and bad times of Squirrel's life - I learned a lot about what it's like to be a stray dog! Review by Joyce Levine

A Friendship for Today by Patricia McKissack

There's a lot going on in Rosemary's life, but luckily, this strong-willed, smart girl can handle everything that comes her way. After the 1954 Supreme Court ruling on desegregation, Rosemary' all-black school is closed, and she has to attend a school where she is the only black student. She has to face the unkindness of some of the students, in addition to dealing with her parents' faltering marriage, and her best friend being stricken with polio. The development of an unexpected friendship helps her deal with the difficulties in her life. Review by Joyce Levine.