Newbery Medal/Honor

Book Review: Justin Morgan Had a Horse

Author
Tytle, Harry
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

My favorite character in the book was Little Bub because of his personality.
He was a very hard worker and he was brave. He stepped into a boat without hesitation. He worked all day pulling down trees. He was in pulling matches at night.

I liked this book because it had really good descriptions. The author wrote great descriptions like “You are as skinny as a fiddle string!” I also
liked the suspense. When we read about the races we didn’t want to stop.
My least favorite part was that the schoolmaster died. It made me sad because he was really nice. He was like a grandpa to Joel. He was loving because he took Joel on a trip.

Reviewer's Name
Seth

Book Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins

Author
Paterson, Katherine
Rating
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: Dead End in Norvelt

Author
Gantos, Jack
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Dead End in Norvelt is a very good story about a boy named Jack Gantos (the author gave the character his own name as it is a somewhat true story) who lives in the 1960s in a little town called Norvelt, founded by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. When Jack is grounded for the summer for using his dad’s WWII binoculars to watch a war movie at the drive in that he couldn’t go see, and then proceeding to accidentally shoot a WWII Japanese rifle at the screen, he receives an unusual chore as a punishment: typing obituaries for old Miss Volker across the street. Jack is told that it was Miss Volker’s duty to Mrs. Roosevelt to type the obituaries of all of Norvelt’s original citizens before she moves away or passes away. While busying himself typing the obituaries and having to spend the rest of his time in his room, he still manages to go on strange misadventures with his friends, family, and neighbors involving a two seater airplane, a plastic skeleton, cornstalks, dead rodents, poisonous mushrooms, Hells Angels, a Halloween costume, Girl Scout cookies… and murder? This is a one of a kind book, so I can’t really recommend it to people who like a certain genre, however, if you are looking for an unusual, funny, interesting, and sometimes creepy murder mystery book disguised as a realistic fiction novel, Dead End in Norvelt is a great book for you.

Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name
Jacob U.

Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming

Author
Woodson, Jacqueline
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This autobiography written in free verse by Jacqueline Woodson is an excellent insight into growing up as an African American girl in the 1960's.
It is a very moving portrayal of the role of family (grandparents, parents, uncles & aunts and siblings) in a life of a child. The author also gives the reader a definite sense of place, whether it is Ohio, South Carolina or Brooklyn, NY. Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name
Lisa

Book Review: The Giver

Author
Lowry, Lois
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The giver, is a story about a tyrannical society in which a system called "Sameness" is used. That system irradiates all color, terrain, and climate from its community as well as all the memories from its population. Following Jonas, the Memory Receiver, or the person who stores all memories of a time before Sameness, this book takes rapid turns and can get a bit confusing at times but is all in all a wonderful story of a unlikable situation.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Alyxandra S.

Book Review: Bomb: The Race to Build- And Steal- The World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Author
Sheinkin, Steve
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Everything they probably taught you in middle school, but WAY more entertaining and fascinating! Steve Sheinkin wrote textbooks and then vowed to make it up to us with engaging narratives of history. The espionage, the intrigue, the science, and the implications of it all kept me returning to this Newbery Honor book. The many facts with which Sheinkin presents the reader are accessible as well as interesting, and the use of original photographs puts faces to names and gives perspective to the devastation caused by the weapons. Excellently cited, Sheinkin paves the way for researchers and history buffs young and old to continue their reading on this fascinating time in our nation's past.

Reviewer's Name
Evan

Book Review: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Author
DiCamillo, Kate
Rating
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

Book Review: Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

Author
Taylor, Mildred D.
Rating
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