Book Reviews

The Nameless City
Hicks, Faith Erin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Kaidu is new to the Nameless City. This is a city so frequently conquered that no name, despite thousands, sticks. He's trying to become a warrior, make friends, and know his father but all three tasks seem unlikely for the shy boy. Then he meets Rat, a street-smart girl who has the ability to think on her feet and run quickly. They form a friendship and manage to save their city from an upcoming threat that could change who runs the city. Fans of Avatar the Last Airbender comics or TV show would adore this series. It's new, it's refreshing, and follows an interesting and still developing story arch. I couldn't put it down as I turned page after page of beautiful illustration and compelling story. There are many cultures at war with one another in the still, albeit temporarily, peaceful city. The first in the series, I look forward to watching the story take shape and tackle complex issues about identity, war, friendship, and trust. It was really enjoyable and I highly recommend it!

Reviewer's Name: Meagan H.
Booked
Alexander, Kwame
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Nick Hall has everything going for him: he's doing well in school, he's got a solid flirtation going with his crush (or...limerence as it were), and most importantly, he made the soccer travel team. And so, of course, everything starts to go wrong. His parents separate, he starts to get bullied and his best friend ends up on a soccer team 30 miles away.

Booked is absolutely in no way the type of book I would normally pick up, but despite that, I thought it was fantastic. It's a sports fiction novel written in verse neither of which are my thing, but man, I get why Crossover won that Newbery if it was anything like this. In very few words, Alexander manages to develop complex characters, create humor, and develop and subsequently neatly (a little too neatly, perhaps, but hey, it is a book for kids) tie up several plot lines. Oh! And the words! There is a fun little subplot in which Nick's dad wrote a dictionary, and it leads to some really awesome word play. I also learned a few new fun vocabulary words to throw around.

Anyway, my final thought is really just...wow. I'm impressed. I'll definitely be booktalking this one. And even though, like I said, it's not my thing AT ALL, I'll probably read Crossover, Alexander's other book. 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
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: Jacob Have I Loved
Paterson, Katherine
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

You know, I love Katherine Patterson. Bridge to Terabithia is my all-time favorite children's book. This book just didn't affect me the same way. Maybe it was the subject matter, I don't know. It was well written, just was missing the magic. But it's still worth a read.

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: Kira-Kira
Kadohata, Cynthia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was so beautifully written. It was sparse and clean, but so powerful. It made me cry. I highly recommend this quick read.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming
Woodson, Jacqueline
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
Genres:
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
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A great book for reluctant readers, particularly boys. It started out okay, Miles was a bit lame, but this was the authors' intention. They set him up as the novice prankster. Niles schools both Miles and the reader in the fine art of pranking. Miles schools Niles in how to be a friend. Well played, Terrible Two.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Sock Thief
Crespo, Ana
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

My daughter and I really enjoyed this book, which was written by a local author. We learned about Brazilian culture and the role football (soccer) plays in various world cultures. Well written and illustrated, we definitely recommend this book!

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
Book Review: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Santat, Dan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

My daughter and I just LOVE this book. Beekle is beautifully illustrated, it's the 2015 Caldecott Award winner, but even more so, the story is wonderful. You feel for Beekle as he searches for his person, and rejoice when he finds her. Little details in the book make it interesting for adults when read multiple times. Beekle is sweet and beautiful, bittersweet and inspiring. A must-read picture book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Book Review: The Book With No Pictures
Novak, B.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is HILARIOUS!! My 5 year old loved it. Goofy, silly, and a laugh-fest all around. A definite must read to your child. Thumbs way up! As an aside, the author of this book is one of the creators of the televison show, The Office, so you know it's going to be good.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Curtis, Christopher Paul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a good book. The narrator was very entertaining and the weird Watsons were fun to get to know. The characters had some depth, especially the Byron character, and I think if this book had been an adult novel the characters could really have been explored. It's a kids chapter book and so it's not as fleshed out as it could be, but was enjoyable nonetheless. I would have liked to see a bit more focus on the events towards the end of the novel, but I can see that the purpose of focusing on Byron in the beginning was to show his growth toward the end.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Bragg, Georgia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is hilarious, clever, disgusting, educational, and all-around awesome! I read it during my lunch break at work which I don't recommend as the content is really gross. But seriously, read this awesome disgusting book!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
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
Joyce, William
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I don't normally review picture books, but this book was awesome! The story was compelling and beautifully written and the artwork was gorgeous. Zoe fell asleep as I was reading it to her, which is rare for her. Since it's a book about the Sandman, this is a good thing. So beautiful.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn

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