Kids Book Reviews

The Water Hole
Base, Graeme
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Animals come to drink at the water hole and find it drying up. This
beautifully illustrated book is partially counting book, but it’s also a
puzzle and a story. Learn about Earth’s continents, the variety of animals
living on each continent, and the impact water has on them.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Awards:
Loretta's Gift
Miller, Pat
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Aunt Esme & Uncle Jax are expecting a baby and the whole family is helping
celebrate. Loretta searches for a gift to give, but hasn’t found one by
the time he was born. Even as he grows and his birthday approaches, she
can’t find the perfect gift. Will she ever find the gift or will she
realize that the best gift doesn’t necessarily come in a package. A great
book for those anticipating the arrival of a new baby whether it be cousin,
sibling, or friend.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
My Farm Friends
Minor, Wendell
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Learn facts about favorite farm animals in this rhyming book. Learn about
why pigs roll in the mud, the amount of water that cows drink, how horses
sleep, and more. Extra farm facts are provided at the end of the book.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
This Is the Van That Dad Cleaned
Ernst, Lisa Campbell
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Dad has cleaned the van. It’s all sparkly and shiny. This cumulative,
rhyming story chronicles what happens next. It’s a fun narrative that many
children and their parents can relate to.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a classic for today's generation. It tells the story of a boy named Harry Potter who finds out he is a wizard and proceeds to attend a wizarding school and encounter the dark wizard who killed his parents. This story was a large part of my childhood and one of the reasons I enjoy reading so much. Although it is a very easy read and truly a children's story, the Harry Potter books are magical for all ages and I would suggest everyone read them.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Genres:
The Black Star of Kingston
Smith, S.D.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Immediately after I finished reading The Green Ember, I picked up this short story/prequel and read through it in one sitting. I had become pretty well invested in the world created in The Green Ember and wanted more of it before diving into the sequel, Ember Falls. While The Green Ember mentioned a story of The Black Star of Kingston in its main plot, I have to say that I wasn’t as impressed as I would have hoped. Sure, all the things that made The Green Ember great were mostly present in The Black Star of Kingston, but it felt a little…underdeveloped.

Once again, the strength of the plot and characters helped provide entertainment as I read this story. However, without a more comprehensive understanding of the lore of this series, I wasn’t quite sure where this story fits in with the rest of the canon. I knew it was a prequel because characters mentioned it in the first book, but did these events happen in tangent to the main backstory, or well before the fall of King Jupiter? If they happened before, how far back? It also would have been nice to have at least one setting feel familiar to the ones presented in The Green Ember.

I did also appreciate how this book—much like The Green Ember—used characters who were tradesmen first, and soldiers/sailors second. This was an element of realism that I feel is often missing in these kinds of fantasy stories. After all, people with a profession will have certain skills in battle or at sea that can come in handy. If anything, it helps to teach children that we shouldn’t always focus on war. If war happens, we should step up and fight, but we shouldn’t focus on professions of war as our primary purpose of being.

A pretty good side story that was mentioned in The Green Ember, I give The Black Star of Kingston 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
The Green Ember
Smith, S.D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

On the other end of the spectrum of “fantasy rabbit” stories from Watership Down , we have The Green Ember, the first in a series that probably could have been written without the animal trappings and still been a good story. Where Watership Down had very rabbit-like characters interacting with the human world, The Green Ember has very person-like characters interacting with an animal world. Occasionally, the attributes that make the rabbits unique were used—especially in the battle sequences—but there were often moments when I forgot that these characters were rabbits.

I felt the cuteness of rabbits, and the scariness of wolves and hawks, help reach a younger audience without directly confronting them with the realities of the scary world around them. After all, if it was people vs. people in this book, then the intended audience might miss out on some of the important morals and lessons contained therein. Having a clearly evil force in opposition to the rabbits helped to define who the good guys and bad guys were, while also leaving room for traitorous rabbits—which itself feels a little odd, considering the predator/prey relationship between the two sides.

Despite some of these weaker points, The Green Ember is a fantastic story. There might be a few too many characters at points, all with slightly different names for the same individual, but the complexity of the plot is solid enough that children should be able to follow along and parents will likely also be surprised by the few twists and turns it takes. Clearly the first part in a series, The Green Ember does an excellent job of wrapping up most of the activities and subplots it started, while also presenting a somewhat clear direction for where it will go in the future.

A fantasy adventure perfect for kids and adults, I give The Green Ember 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
Fish in a Tree
Hunt, Lynda
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a well told story of dealing with a disability and the difference that having positive relationships makes in that ongoing struggle. I loved the short chapters and the peaks into each character's life.

Reviewer's Name: Mary
Chinese Cinderella: the True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
Mah, Adeline Yen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The true story "Chinese Cinderella" is about a young Chinese girl named Adeline who faces the struggles of being unwanted and unloved. Adeline is seen as bad luck because her mother died after she was born. Her stepmother, Niang, hates her and favors all other siblings besides Adeline. Adeline achieves academic awards and good grades in hopes to make her family proud however they still see her as nothing. Throughout the book she faces many different problems all relating to her family mistreating her. Adeline is even sent to an orphanage at one point due to her friends coming to her house to throw a party for her. Not only does she face physical issues, but Adeline faces mental and emotional issues. Despite these issues, Adeline stays strong until the end and continues to try her best.

I read this book for a book report and was not at all disappointed."Chinese Cinderella" was sad but heartwarming. During multiple points in the book I cried. Adeline's feelings are very relatable and real. I thoroughly enjoyed the book."Chinese Cinderella" is in a genre of books I do not generally read however I was surprised and actually liked it. It is one of the best books I have read this year; I would definitely recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O.
Awards:
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
Choldenko, Gennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Al Capone Shines My Shoes is an incredible story, that follows up the Newbery Honor novel Al Capone Does My Shirts. In this book, Moose Flanagan's autistic sister is headed to a boarding for special needs students, due to one of the most notorious inmates in Alcatraz. Al Capone is more involved in this story
than the first and writes Moose a letter asking a favor. Choldenko does a great job of mixing real life criminals and fictional characters to make an amazing narrative to read. I enjoyed how this book was very surprising and stood out from the first book in the series. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a mysterious and exciting story to read.

Reviewer's Name: Miles
Genres:
There's a Dragon in Your Book
Fletcher, Tom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you’re a fan of interactive books, you should check this one out. It
starts with an egg which hatches into a dragon. That baby dragon sneezes and
sets the book on fire. Use your imagination (and follow the instructions) to
help save the day!

Reviewer's Name: Carol
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
Mosca, Julia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Do you ever feel different from the people around you? Are you struggling
with figuring out how you fit in? If so, read the story of Temple Grandin.
Although struggling with autism, her unique way of thinking allowed her to
become an amazing scientist who invented farm improvements used around the
world. This biography, set it rhyme, encourages all to STAND TALL.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
I Spy on the Farm
Gibbs, Edward
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is a great introduction to the game of I Spy. Follow the clues to
guess which farm animal is visible through the eyehole. The animal’s sound
is given as a clue. You can then take the book to the next level by playing
the game wherever you are.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Meeow and the Big Box
Braun, Sebastien
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Meeow likes making things. See what he can do with a box and his imagination. Be inspired to make things of you own.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters
Connolly, Sean
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

History tells us of many engineering disasters from the Colossus of Rhodes to the “Unsinkable” Titanic and more. While some of these engineering disasters are merely embarrassing, others had deadly consequences. Learn about what happened in these events and then try out the hands-on experiments demonstrating why the event happened. Learn not just the “what”, but also “why” and have some fun doing it.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Zebra Forest
Gewirtz, Adina Rishe
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The book Zebra Forest, by Adrina Gewirtz, tells a story of four lives that are held captive by their father and... the book is essentially just that. The plot is incredibly dull and basic, the characters have no real life to them, the book just seems ramble on and on, and here, everything that can be wrong with a book is present. The title doesn't even have any real importance in the book! I get how maybe a few people might like this book, but from a writing perspective, this book lacks in everything. The book tries so hard to address a somewhat difficult-to-cover topic but forgets that it's meant for older audiences and fails at both. Overall, I would only recommend this book only to the most desperate of readers, or a younger kid.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L.
Awards:
The Misadventures of Max Crumbly Middle School Mayhem
Russell, Rachel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It's about a teenage boy who deals with bullies and he ends up in the ventilation systems of his school on the weekend and he found burglars trying to steal the schools new computers.

Reviewer's Name: Delaney
I Am a Cat
Bernstein, Galia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lion, Cheetah, Puma, Panther, and Tiger say that Simon isn’t a cat. After all, cats have certain characteristics. Can he convince them that he’s really a cat? Read along to find out.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Have You Seen Elephant?
Barrow, David
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

You can play hide-and-seek with elephant, but beware, he’s very good. This beautifully illustratrated, interactive book has children looking for elephant in a variety of places. Will you be able to find him?

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Nothing But Trouble
Davies, Jacqueline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the small town of Odawahaka, nothing ever happens. Maggie, however, likes to make things happen. Read along as Maggie, and town newcomer, Lena, make mischief all over town. A great book for girls who like cleverness and determination.

Reviewer's Name: Carol

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