Sunday, October 31, 2010

Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banarjee

seaglasssFor as long as Poppy can remember, her parents have taken her to India each summer to visit her grandparents, but this year, Poppy has convinced them to let her spend the summer with her uncle on an island off the Washington coast instead. This vacation will be different.  Poppy wants to become a veterinarian, so she has saved up enough money to buy her own professional veterinarian’s kit, which includes a stethoscope and a bendable thermometer. Poppy’s Uncle Sanjay owns “Furry Friends Animal Clinic, and as she rides the ferry to visit him on Nisqually Island, she can imagine herself assisting him in savings animals’ lives.  With Poppy, we gain insight into the challenges and joys of working with animals.  Yes, there are the tender moments of attending newborn puppies at the clinic, but there also are the tough moments when medical emergencies arise.  Sometimes it’s hard to deal with irrational pet owners who don’t want to cooperate.  This is a delightful, fast-moving summer story.  Anjali Banerjee has us laughing and crying with Poppy as she struggles to follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian to save the animals of the world.  Review by Trudy Walsh

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We the Children by Andrew Clements

we the children This is the first book in Andrew Clements’s funny, engaging new series, Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School.  When the school custodian has a heart attack, he begs Ben to take his special golden coin and use it to make sure nothing happens to their school, The Seaside Oaks Middle School.  The school, which was donated in 1793 by an old sea captain, is in danger of being torn down to make way for an amusement park.  How can Ben, who is just a kid, save a school that has just been sold in a 30 million dollar real estate deal?  You can always count on Andrew Clements to deliver a terrific story, and We the Children doesn’t disappoint.  Review by Joyce Levine

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston

bulu Have you ever longed for an exciting adventure in your life?  Steve and Anna Tolan are police officers in England who dream of a life filled with adventure in the African bush.  Since they are both intelligent and practical people, they fear this dream will never be fulfilled, so every year they save their money to vacation in Africa.  When Steve has an accident and can’t work for the police force any more, the couple sells all their belongings and moves to Zambia.  Anna has to leave her 15-year-old dog, Marly, behind with her parents.  She is determined to get a dog again, even though everybody tells her that pets don’t survive in the African bush because of all the wild animals running free.  A friend brings news that there are puppies for sale at the old Crocodile farm. The only one left is the runt of the litter.  Anna makes up her mind to give the very small, quiet puppy a home, and names him Bulu, meaning “Wild Dog.”  Much to the surprise of everyone, Bulu develops into an amazing dog.  He not only finds his voice and bravely protects his family, but he is also very gentle.  He becomes a loving foster parent to the orphaned baby animals rescued by the Tolans.  This is a beautifully-written exciting adventure story set in the African bush –a true story about Bulu, a special dog with unique spirit and gifts of love, compassion and bravery.  Review by Trudy Walsh

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Shug by Jenny Han

shug Annemarie Wilcox is twelve years old.  Her family has called her “Shug” ever since she was a baby.  Her Mama used to say to her, “You’re my sweet Shug, my little bowl of sugar.”  Annemarie doesn’t feel “sweet” anymore. Now that she has started junior high school, everything is changing around her, and she doesn’t like it one bit.  It upsets her that Mark, her best friend since they were five years old, would rather spend his time with the boys in her class.  Shug is noticing that all of a sudden she has feelings for Mark that she didn’t have before.  How can she get Mark to look at her, really “look” at her and notice her?  This is a wonderful book about a young girl growing up and dealing with the changes in her body and in her emotions.  As the story unfolds, we experience with Shug the passions and the pain of first love.  Annemarie Wilcox is a delightful twelve year old to get to know, in Shug by Jenny Han.  Review by Trudy Walsh