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Staff Book Reviews by Genre: Chapter Books

Book Review: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Edwards, Julie
2 stars = Meh
Review:

**Spoiler Alert** Let me just say this, don't read this book out loud to your young child. It took forever to get through it and I was so sick and tired of it by the end that it turned into a chore. I didn't really get into it, it just seemed silly to me, but my daughter liked it. A major sticking point for me was the author's failure to explain why the antagonists of the book were actually on the side of the Whangdoodle in the end. Meh.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The BFG
Dahl, Roald
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lovely lovely book. I started off reading this to my 6 year old, but it's kinda scary so we stopped. I just had to finish it on my own. I love how the BFG talks and how whimsical the story is as a whole. It's Roald Dahl, what's not to love?

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Book Review: My Brother Sam is Dead
Collier, James Lincoln
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When I started this book I could not understand why it had been banned. It seemed so innocuous. I only read it because it was in the free pile where I work. I looked it up and it was for violence, language, and an unpatriotic view of the Revolutionary War. Fair enough. It is violent and unpatriotic for sure, which is why I liked it. It's also a very good story and is about as accurate an account of the Revolutionary War era as can be reasonably expected from a work of fiction for young people.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: James and the Giant Peach
Dahl, Roald
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Roald Dahl specializes in tapping into the feelings of injustice that kids experience. It's frightening when you first find out life isn't fair. But he rights this wrong by imposing justice where oppression once existed.

This is and odd book. There are giant peaches, giant talking bugs, and cloud monsters! But it was endearing and enjoyable.

My 6.5 year old daughter was riveted off and on throughout the story, but I think the target audience is a bit older.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Paterson, Katherine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Very good, as all Katherine Paterson novels are. A quick read, and like her other novels, it shows rather than tells. My only problem with the book was the ending was too abrupt for my taste. I would have liked for it to be longer and show her life with her grandmother and the effects of Courtney's visit.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: George
Gino, Alex
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book made me cry. I read it in one sitting. It took me about 3 hours. I just kept turning the pages as fast as possible. It was beautifully written. I just felt for George and wanted to protect her from all her pain. I'm not transgendered and I don't know how it feels to be so, but I imagine that this is exactly right. Wonderful.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: George
Gino, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

George is a well-written book about the confusion of a boy who knows that deep down that she is really a girl. Writing from George's point of view, the author expresses George's frustration as a transgender child who unfortunately experiences bullying from the other kids. Luckily, George does have a best friend who understands and supports her. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
5-Minute Palace Pet Stories
Fliess, Sue
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book is little girl crack. It's unfair. They can't resist it. I mean, princesses and cute little pets with big eyes and impish smiles? Stories about their adventures? And did I mention, princesses?! Zoe ate it up. If it were up to her, this book would get 5,000,000 pink, sparkly stars. But it's not. I had to read it to her. 5 TIMES. Make it stop.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
Benedictus, David
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

My daughter loves Winnie the Pooh. We read the first collection and she wanted to read more so I found this book, excited to read it to her. Imagine my surprise when I learned this was not written by A. A. Milne. The jacket looks like an A. A. Milne book. The illustrations look like an A. A. Milne book. But it's an imposter! My initial reaction was one of shock, but I decided to give it a try. I got two sentences in before I threw it down in disgust. This is merely a sad attempt at spoofing A. A. Milne's writing. I find it hard to believe that A. A. Milne's family would have agreed to this. If I could give this book less than one star, I would. Yuck!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Terrible Two
Barnett, Mac
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I just loved this book. It was so funny - both the story and illustrations! It is about Miles Murphy who is a new student in Yawnee Valley (which is only known for lots and lots of cows and they are very proud of that). Miles' goal is to be the best prankster at his new school, but someone keeps coming up with better pranks than Miles - who could that be?

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Palacio, R. J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a sweet book. I loved Auggie's voice and how different parts of the book were narrated by different characters. I also loved the message, which was to always be kinder than necessary. A feel-good, quick read.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Palacio, R. J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wonder is wonderFUL. At times your heart is breaking and at others soaring during this story of a boy's experiences in middle school. Even if you weren't born with a chromosomal abnormality that has rearranged your face, you will find yourself in the pages of this book. I am far removed from middle and high school days, but the characters found in 'Wonder' are all distinct reminders of that time, and I suspect young people reading this book will see themselves here too.

Reviewer's Name: Evan
DiCamillo, Kate
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Oh, Kate DiCamillo, you have done it again! Flora is a little girl, a cynic in fact, but the day that her neighbor Tootie vacuums up a squirrel and he comes out with magical powers her cynicism is shaken to its core. Ulysses, as Flora names him, is a sensitive superhero of a squirrel who has a penchant for poetry and is always hungry. In fact, Ulysses is responsible for all kinds of wonderful things, including bringing Flora closer with her mother and father, and giving her a healthy dose of optimism.

Lovely, short comic strips flesh out the major action in the story. All in all, a heartwarming tale that will engage listeners and readers alike.
Younger children will enjoy listening to this story, say first to second grade. 4-6 graders will be able to read this on their own.

Reviewer's Name: Evan
Taylor, Mildred D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wow. This book was amazing. It was so well-written that I felt like I was there experiencing everything with Cassie. I wonder if I could be as brave as the Logans when faced with bodily harm. The courage of all civil rights activists blows my mind. My mother's family lived in Mississippi in the 1930s and were white. I hope they were sympathetic to the plight of African Americans, and not racists. But in reality, they were likely racists like most other whites during that time. What would I have been like if I was born during that time period? I like to think I'd be sympathetic and would stand up for what's right, but if you're raised with inequality as your reality how do you overcome it? I guess with education and experience and a knowledge of right and wrong, justice and injustice. But still, would I have had the bravery to stand up for what's right if it means physical harm? I hope so. Brilliant book. Perhaps my favorite children's novel of all time.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Gale, Eric Kahn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was really good. It was a fast read and was very engaging. There's even some advice to parents to ask their kids if they are being hurt or made fun of in school. Asking specifically may open the door for a hurting teen to confide. But mostly this is a great mystery for young people about bullying.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed this book. It was textbook Hiaasen, which is a good thing. It's aimed toward younger readers and I plan to give it to my nephew for his birthday.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Hiaasen, Carl
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I LOVE Carl Hiaasen but I was a little disappointed in this book. Maybe it was because it was aimed at a younger crowd. It was good, but I've come to expect greatness from Hiaasen. I read this book to see if it was something my 12 year old nephew would like. I'm going to read Chomp next. Hopefully it'll reach the impossibly high standard set by the master of Florida humor.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Cowell, Cressida
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Don’t expect this book to be much like the movie-DO expect it to be even better! Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III does not want to be the next Chief of the Hooligan tribe, but as the chief’s son, he must. When he is only able to capture a small, toothless dragon to train, he’s sure he is doomed. But Old Wrinkly assures him “A Hero of the Future is going to have to be clever and cunning, not just a big lump with overdeveloped muscles.” Hiccup’s cleverness allows him to become the best dragon trainer ever, but is it enough to save the tribe from Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus? These nine books are hysterically funny, especially in audio, but then you’ll miss the author’s amusing illustrations-a difficult choice!

Reviewer's Name: Elisabeth
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud)
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I love Anne. She is such a terrific role model for girls young and old. This book is very well written. The story unfolds in a leisurely way with lush descriptions of nature and imagination. I enjoyed how the relationship between Marilla and Anne grew into one of deepest love. Each time I read this book I get something new out of it. This time it was the understanding that achievement means hard work and sacrifice. Simple enough, but not something one necessarily thinks of when stating a lofty ambition. I can't wait to read Anne of Avonlea!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Colfer, Eoin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Eoin Colfer has created a world where Fairy tale creatures exist next to our modern world humans. Artemis is a master mind criminal who discovers his good side. The book is fascinating, captivating and full of humor.

Reviewer's Name: Christiane

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