Kids Book Reviews by Genre: Chapter Books

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!
Bell, Cece
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Enter the wacky world of Chick and Brain. Chick insists on politeness, Brain struggles to understand Chick, and Dog has a chicken dinner in mind in the book Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot by Cece Bell. Kids who are getting the hang of reading will enjoy the comic book style of this early reader as well as the absurd humor. This is a laugh-out-loud read for kids age 5 - 8.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
The Hundred and One Dalmations
Smith, Dodie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book falls into my "all-time favorite" stories, something I will come back to again and again because of its charm. It "could" be a Christmas Story, a crime novella, a dog-lovers "tail", or a unique investigation into 1950s English culture. Truthfully, it is all of these. The book opens with an introduction to the main players, Pongo and Misses, and their pets, the Dearly couple. The family is cared for by the two beloved nannies, Nanny Cook (Mrs. Dearly's nanny) and Nanny Butler (Mr. Dearly's nanny) and let a smart flat off Regent's Park. Mr. Dearly is a wizard of finance and unusually rich due to helping the British government get out debt. Mrs. Dearly is a housewife. Both love their dogs immensely and the dogs love their "pets" just as much. Then comes the glorious news that Misses is expecting puppies, what could be better?! Enter Cruella De Vil, an old schoolmate (but not friend) of Mrs. Dearly who has devoted herself to wealth and furs. The second passion encouraged her to marry a furrier...and to explore avenues for exotic furs, even dog! Pongo and Misses come to realize that they and their puppies are a central element of this sinister plot of dogdom. How will it end? You will have to read it to find out!

Reviewer's Name: Caitlin
The Lost Heir
Foley, E.G.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a series for children/teens. but I loved it. It really does combine the best of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and every fantasy story that you know and love into one amazing series with characters that you just can't help but love. Highly recommend.

Reviewer's Name: Aleena
Pippi Longstocking
Lindgren, Astrid
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

As a parent, Pippi really stressed me out, but I still loved the book. Zoe adored it. The final paragraph was perfect.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Girl with Brush and Canvas
Meyer, Carolyn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Learn about artist Georgia O'Keeffe in this fascinating novel about her life. Beginning with her early life in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin when she announced her plans to be an artist and following with family hardships where she refused to give up her dream, you'll learn about where she found her inspiration and how she persevered. Girl with Brush and Canvas, is a well-written, entertaining story about one of the most interesting artists of the 20th century.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Book Cover
Colfer, Eoin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Artemis Fowl is back!

Well, not really. But his little brothers are a more than sufficient replacement. Twins Myles and Beckett have lived a life of education and luxury (with some mild kidnapping thrown in). But everything changes drastically when a small troll appears on their island. Before they know it, they find themselves kidnapped by ACRONYM (a government organization that deals with magic) and working with a fairy to escape from not one, but two baddies - an evil, mustache twirling duke and a deranged nun that are themselves at odds. Will the Fowl Twins escape in time to save their lives and, perhaps more importantly, human-fairy relations for the rest of time?

This was very cute. Colfer was in top form here, and this held all of the characteristics of a middle grade book that I find to be readable (they aren't always my favorite). Myles is snarky. Beckett is a loose cannon (who can talk to animals!!!). The duke has access to insanely quirky gadgets and wouldn't be out of place as a Despicable Me super-villain. The evil nun is an evil nun. The pace moves quickly, but we still get to know our characters. Aside from its general predictability (adults will see all the twists coming before they happen), it's a fantastic middle grade read. If the narrator is any good, I'll add this series to my list of books that I listen to while running.

TLDR: If you loved the Artemis Fowl series, you'll love this one too! It has all of the best elements of the original series with some fun new quirks and characters. 4 stars - I really liked it.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Fowl Twins is available for purchase on 05 Nov, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Bob

Bob

Mass, Wendy, Stead, Rebecca
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about a girl who goes to her grandma's house after not being there for five years. She finds a small goblin named Bob awaiting her arrival. The two set off on an adventure to find Bob's family before they forget each other forever. This is a great story about the power of friendship. Rebecca Stead writes many amazing books and this is one of the best. This is a book that will leave you wanting more unable to put it down.

Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
The Wishing Spell
Colfer, Chris
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Two twins Alex and Conner were at their school in their Language Arts class.
Today's lesson was on fairy tales. Alex was more kind of that girl who was a total geek and paid attention to everything in class, while Conner was more of the guy who sat in the back and snoozed off. That day after school they went to their grandmother’s house where their grandmother read them a book.
And it was not any book its was a book called the Land of Stories. One day Alex takes the book because she wanted to read it and then gets accidently sucked in! Alex and Conner have to make a Wishing spell to get out of the book. The rest of the book is the amazing adventure that awaits! People who like the show Once Upon a Time or people who just like fairy tales and have great knowledge in them will like this book and the series. This book is very unpredictable and will have you wanting to read more. This is one of the best books I have read this year!

Reviewer Grade: Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Pranav M
Everblaze
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Everblaze, is awesome! This is one of my favorite books in the series, with all the action.
If you like Fitzphie, this will be one of your favorite books too! Through this book, we have to make BIG decisions, escape danger, help the city, and have tons of action packed moments! No inappropriate language or content.

Reviewer's Name: Aubrey S
Exile
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The second book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Exile, is hands down AMAZING! This is probably my favorite book in the series, starring my top 2 favorite characters, Sophie and Keefe. Even if you don't like Team Foster-Keefe, this book is still awesome! We get to see new places, take a look into the past, find new creatures, discover new abilities, and have lots of action and humor! No inappropriate language or content.

Reviewer's Name: Aubrey S
Keeper of the Lost Cities
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Starting off another series by Shannon Messenger called Keeper of the Lost Cities, the first book, Keeper of the Lost Cities, was amazing! It is adventurous, cliff-hanging, action-packed, and great for ages 8-teens! While reading this book, I can guarantee you will meet some of your favorite, funny, awesome fictional characters! This book series has a VERY good chance of becoming your favorite. No inappropriate content or language.

Reviewer's Name: Aubrey S
Awards:
Orange for the Sunsets
Athaide, Tina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Tina Athaide’s debut novel, Orange for the Sunsets, is a story of friendship, resilience, and perseverance. Written for the middle grades and set in 1972, Athaide helps readers examine who and what they call home. It’s the story of Ugandan best friends, Asha and Yesopu, who don’t see their differences until Ugandan President Idi Amin announces that Indians have 90 days to leave the country. Asha, an Indian, and Yesopu, an African, are torn apart. Journey with them as they learn that letting each other go may be the bravest thing that they can do.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
The Thing About Jellyfish
Benjamin, Ali
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Thing About Jellyfish is a mysterious book that you will never want to put down. It starts out with a twelve year old girl named Suzy watching jellyfish at a aquarium. A few days ago her best friend had died swimming in the ocean while on a vacation. When Suzy is told this she realizes it can not be true, her best friend had been a great swimmer, so she sets out to find what happened to her best friend. She believes it could have only been one thing, a jellyfish. She does as much as she can to prove what happened to her best friend, but no one believes her. If you love mysteries and like not knowing what is going to happen, this book is for you. It is a great read for teens and children and I totally recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: Aspen
Chains
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Isabel Finch is a slave girl and belongs to Miss Mary Finch. When Miss Mary Finch dies, she and her younger sister Ruth must travel away from Rhode Island and to New York where they are bought and serve a new master. This master is a strong loyalist and Isabel finds herself trading information about battles and invasions to the local patriot camp in New York. I loved this book because it showed bravery and the injustice of slavery for young girls. I would fully recommend this book to anyone who has a heart for historical fiction.

Reviewer's Name: Nina F.
Ember Falls
Smith, S.D.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Being a fan of children’s series like The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as a lover of rabbits (owning two Flemish giants as pets), I was glad to get back into the Green Ember series with the second book, Ember Falls. Obviously, as this series is mainly geared toward children, there were a few points of the plot of this second book that I either predicted from the start or could see coming from a mile away. In any case, the world building that continued with this book was top notch, despite certainly feeling like a “linking” part of the series.

While The Green Ember could stand on its own and laid the groundwork for the books that came after it, Ember Falls certainly needs its predecessor to make sense. It also seems to rely on the next book in the series to reach some conclusion. This is an issue that often arises in book series. The saga of the story as a whole (across numerous books) is prioritized over focusing on a complete plot for each book. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to see where this series goes; however, it’s a little infuriating when I don’t have access to the next book in the series yet.

Ember Falls inherits a lot of what I liked and disliked about The Green Ember. This is likely going to be the case for the series as a whole. The individual characters are well-rounded and have clear motivations. However, the fact that they are rabbits seems to be often overlooked. These characters mostly act like ordinary people and only occasionally use their unique lagomorph attributes to advance the plot (same goes for the enemies as well). Other than that, this is certainly a series I’ll be reading to my children someday.

An adequate progression of the Green Ember series, I give Ember Falls 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös
Heiligman, Deborah
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Once there was a boy who loved math. He loved math so much that he spent all of his time thinking about numbers. He spent so much time with math that he couldn’t do many things that ordinary people do. The biography tells the story of Paul Erdos, one of the greatest mathematicians, and how he found his way in the world sharing his ideas and love of math.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Lewis, C.S.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When 4 british school children are sent away during World War II to a old professers home the have no idea what adventures are there. The children find a wardrobe in a room of the house and enter it where they find themselves in a magic land called Narnia. This book is full of adventure and is a good read for people of all ages.

Reviewer's Name: Kaci
Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
Tinker, Rebecca
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

You may be familiar with the series and game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, but do you understand who she is? This book will give you the background on her. She is always one step ahead of her pursuers. How did she learn her awesome skills? Read this backstory and figure out how she came to
be this infamous and elusive criminal.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid
Emerson, Marcus
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY***

Once again, I seem to have jumped in on the second book of a series. Fortunately, there was plenty of exposition detailing the events of The Super Life of Ben Braver. Maybe a little too much exposition. This sequel took a little long getting to its own story because of this, along with a bit of heavy-handed foreshadowing as well. Regardless of its slow start, Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid is a pretty standard middle-grade book that calls upon the success of the superhero genre to package a lesson about pride between action set pieces.

While there are some parallels between the X-Men series, I feel the main character’s arc is perhaps a little more similar to early My Hero Academia. Plus, it wouldn’t be a middle-grade story without a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it as well (i.e., a unique main character with a semi-bumbling male friend and an incredibly smart female friend). At the very least, I found the illustrations sprinkled throughout to be well done. They certainly contributed to the comic book hybrid feel of the story, which is probably what draws the X-Men comparisons.

I won’t fault this book too much for its heavy-handed approach toward the main character’s social faux pas since this book is basically for children. That being said, I did find some of the lore and intricacies of the greater story arc to be perhaps a little elaborate. I’m sure if I’d read the first book, this would be less so, but it still seems slightly overcomplicated at times. In the end, I liked some of the unique (if not sometimes gross) superpowers of these kids, and I’d recommend this series for any children who might want to make the jump from comic books to chapter books, and vice versa.

A comic book/chapter book hybrid with a semi-standard take on superheroes, I give Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Secrets and Scones: A Secret Recipe Book
Remington, Laurel
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Scarlett’s mom is writing a blog and Scarlett seems to be the star – or perhaps victim. All of her embarrassing moments are being shared with the readers and it’s uncomfortable to go to school knowing that her classmates know all of her secrets. Scarlett’s answer is to become boring, but boring is – well – boring. When Scarlett discovers a spectacular kitchen in the house next door, she gives in to temptation and tries it out. In the process, she makes a new friend and discovers the secret ingredient in family and friendships. A fun read that encourages reaching out to others, making friends, and cooking.

Reviewer's Name: Carol

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