Book Review: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Jun 10

I loved, loved, loved “Dead End in Norvelt” by Jack Gantos.  This is a perfect book for your middle grader boy or girl.  I’m not sure what category it falls into: historical fiction, humor or mystery because it has all three.  Jack does a wonderful job depicting life in Norvelt, and it just happens to be about a boy named, Jack Gantos.



It’s the start of summer vacation, and Jack gets caught in the middle of his dad’s schemes and his mother’s quest to help those less fortunate and suddenly Jack is grounded for life.  Part of Jack’s punishment is he has to help the old neighbor lady with a mysterious chore.  Turns out he helps her by typing up obituaries which are filled with stories of the founding members of Norvelt who are dying off one by one.  Throw in some rat poison, Hell’s Angels, a man rides a trike, a WWII Japanese rifle, constant nose bleeds and Jack’s dad building a landing strip and bomb shelter…you’ve got quite a story.  Jack throws in some history, which doesn’t make it seem like you’re actually learning anything.  And perhaps there is a murder or two, maybe three.

Jack has a clever witty style of writing that doesn’t talk down to kids.  The fact that this is based on his own life and the real town of Norvelt makes it even better.   I’m looking forward to reading “From Norvelt to Nowhere”.


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Book Review: Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco

May 28

Frankie is at it again in Frankie Dupont and the The Lemon Festival Fiasco. Quick paced story jumps right into the action. The author, Julie Anne Grasso has crafted clever and quirky characters that kids will enjoy. In this episode Frankie starts by trying to find out who put poison in the lemon pie after the head master is unknowing given a piece of  the pie. Then, the lemon trees at Enderby Manor begin to die right before the Lemon Festival, putting the festival at risk.

Ebook Lemon Festival Fiasco cover final Low Res 14 March 2015


Frankie with the help of his friends, Kat, Lachy and Frankie’s faithful dog gets  to the bottom of the mystery. Frankie uses clues, his investigative tools and skills he learned from his parents to find out who done it. Although, he does jump to a few wrong conclusions, the mystery keeps moving forward and keeps the young reader engaged. I’m not a fan of the artwork inside, but I think any middle grade reader (boy or girl) will enjoy this book.

To purchase a Kindle copy click here.

To find out more about the author Julie Anne Grosso and her other books click here.


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Book Review: Miss Daisy is Crazy! by Dan Gutman

Apr 28




Perfect little chapter book for an early reader.  A.J. hates school.  What he really loves is football.  A.J. can see no reason to go to school if he’s going to be a football player when he grows up.  But, as much as he hates school, he finds it a little strange that his new teacher, Miss Daisy can’t read, write or do math.  She’ is the dumbest teacher in the history of the world.  A.J. and the rest of the class come up with a plan to buy the school and turn it into a  video-game arcade.  Who needs school…right? The real question is, how did Miss Daisy become a second grade teacher if she can’t read, write or do math?


Book 1 in the Weird School series.  Your young reader will enjoy Dan Gutman’s humor and Jim Paillot’s illustrations.51HU3++1oLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

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Book Review: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Apr 13

13588082Beautiful story with gorgeous artwork by E.B. Lewis. Winner of a Correta Scott King Honor award. Jacqueline wove a story around a new girl, Maya, who arrived at school with clothes from last season. But the story isn’t about Maya, it’s about how Chloe and several other classmates treat her. One day Maya is gone and the teacher has a lesson on each kindness we do.  She gives a simple demonstration with a pebble tossed in water, and the ripples it causes.  The ripples are each kindness expanding out.  One little pebble, one kindness, has an effect far beyond it’s original point.   This causes Chloe to second guess her actions toward Maya. She wants Maya to come back so she can start over, share some kindness. Buy Maya doesn’t return, and Chloe doesn’t get a second chance.

Although this is touted as an anti-bullying book. I will say it’s more about being kind to those around you. There is no way to tell what that person is going through. Just because someone doesn’t wear new clothes, and perhaps doesn’t have money for lunch -doesn’t mean they don’t deserve kindness. Once the opportunity has come and gone, you may not get a second chance. It’s a gentle and subtle reminder.



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Quote of the Week: The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

Mar 29

I’m in the middle of this wonderful book, “The Underneath” by Kathi Appelt. Needed to share a quote…stay tuned for a review of this award winning middle grade book.


“Purring is not so different from praying. To a tree, a cat’s purr is one of the purest of all prayers, for in it lies a whole mixture of gratitude and longing, the twin ingredients of every prayer.”

Kathi Appelt, The Underneath

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Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Mar 17

Thanks for visiting…today is your lucky day.  As part of the I Am A Reader Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop, I’m hosting a giveaway for two children’s e-books.  The books are part of the MeeGenius collection and are beautifully illustrated with full narration.  The narration can be turned off so your young reader can read to themselves or you can read to them.

The two books are:


Martha Miller





Enter to win:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re selected through the Rafflecopter giveaway, you will be contacted via e-mail.  And the books will be automatically sent to your MeeGenius account.  No worries, the account is free and you can browse through their library of books at no charge too.  Click here to learn more about MeeGenius. Visit the rest of the blogs who are participating for more great giveaways.    

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Book Review: Spy Club by Stuart Gibbs

Mar 12

Spy Camp
by Stuart Gibbs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enjoyed from start to finish. Perfect middle grader book for a boy, girl and any reluctant reader. I hadn’t read the first book “Spy School”, but it wasn’t necessary to read in order to follow the goings on at Spy Camp.

Our main spy, Ben Ripley, seems to be in over his head when he receives a mysterious note “encouraging” him to join SPYDER – the dark side. The spy tale quickly unfolds and Ben, along with the reader, is not sure who to trust. Ben, must stay safe and not be captured by SPYDER. But all is not what we think. Lots of spy intrigue with missiles, secret spy bases, school buses getting blown up, a Civil War reenactment and so much more.   Even though spies and saving the world from evil are tough topics, Stuart manages to use lots of humor and a little teen angst to keep his story moving forward.

Now I must go read book one, “Spy School”.

View all my reviews

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