Book Review: Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Jul 25

Published in 2002, Ruby Holler still speaks to today’s middle grade reader.   Sharon Creech weaves a magical world with her homey laid back style of writing.   The reader is quickly wisked away into the story of orphan twins, Dallas and Florida.

I was hooked at the first few sentences:  “Dallas leaned far out the window, his eyes fixed on a bird flying lazily in the distance.  Sun slanted through the clouds above, as if a spotlight were aimed on the bird.”

 

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Twins, Dallas and Florida live in the Boxton Creek Home for Children.   The Trepid’s have created so many rules, that the twins are destined to fail.   The twins are placed in many homes.  Due to no fault of their own they are returned to the home.

Dallas and Florida have given up and being wanted by a family when Sairy and Tiller show up.  Sairy and Tiller are an older couple whose children have already grown and left.  They’re looking for assistance for their summer adventures, Dallas and Florida are just the ticket.

That’s when we learn about the magical place, Ruby Holler.   When Dallas and Florida arrive they find a place beyond anything they could have imagined.   But, both are highly suspicious of everyone and everything, and they plan to leave on the first train they can hop.

The story of Dallas and Florida continue as they try to adjust to life in Ruby Holler.  There’s a mysterious character who shows up, plotting by the Trepids, a trial run of the adventure and an accident on the river.

Any young reader, boy or girl, will enjoy Ruby Holler and the magic that it holds.  In the back of the readers mind, always the question of wondering if Dallas and Florida will get to stay in Ruby Holler.

 

 

 

 

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Quote of the Week – One Crazy Summer

Jul 22

“We all have our la-la-la song. The thing we do when the world isn’t singing a nice tune to us. We sing our own nice tune to drown out ugly.”
― Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer @OneCrazyRita13692644_1001985489918479_1416009844302719439_n

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Middle Grade Book Review – The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Jun 22

After the recent killing of Harambe the Gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo, I was reminded of  one of my favorite books, “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate.

 

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Katherine’s story of Ivan, a gorilla living on display at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade is a poignant look inside his life.    Ivan’s story is told by Ivan himself, in short verses.  True to Katherine Applegates style, I was drawn in by Ivan immediately.  I felt for him as he remembered bits and pieces of the past and how he came to live on display.

Ivan’s point of view also guides the reader through his present life,  of humans gaping at him, his art, his friend the elephant Stella and Bob a stray dog.  It’s not until a baby elephant arrives, Ruby, that Ivan begins to see and want to make a change.  He knows that their lives could all be better.  But how?

“The One and Only Ivan” has some stark realities that may be new to the reader, in the end, Ivan succeeds in his  wish of a better life for himself and all his friends.   Ivan will make the reader cry and laugh, get angry and think about change and how we can make things better.

 

 

 

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Young Adult Book Review – Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor

Jun 15

Author Jessica Taylor, has crafted an amazing tale in her Young Adult novel, “Wandering Wild.” It’s a story of family, love, hopes and dreams and sometimes doing something painful to be where you need to be.

Wandering Wild

Wandering Wild

The characters Jessica created are likable and real. Talia “Tal” and her brother Wen belong to a family of Wanderers, where they’ve learned to live by cons and scams. Tal, wants more. She wants to wander on her own, travel to places a Wanderer would never go. But she’s got two problems:

1) She’s been bought and paid for, and her groom comes calling for her.

2) She fell in love with a Markie, a non-wanderer. Unknowingly, Tal has set in motion a chain of events that can’t be undone.

I never like to give away and ending, so you’ll have to read it for yourself to see if Tal adheres to the Wanderer’s life and goes with the man who bought and paid for her, or go the way of the Markies?

You can get a copy of your own here:

Barnes and Noble.com

Amazon.com

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Book Review Blitz: Finn’s Rocket A Surfer Catches Air

Dec 07

Rocket-front cover

About the Book

Title: Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air (Finn’s Fast Books, Book #3) | Authors: Serena Schreiber | Publication Date: November 1, 2015 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 176 | Recommended Ages: 7 to 12

Amazon * Goodreads

Book Description:

Finn’s summer vacation plans didn’t include leaving the planet.

When his little sister gets kidnapped from space camp, Finn will do anything and go anywhere to get her back. Even the international space station.

 

The Buzz About “Finn’s Fast Books”

Finn’s Ship: The story blends Finn’s American upbringing with his German heritage, acquainting the reader with the many similarities and differences in food, culture, language, transportation and family values.~ Candy 613, Amazon

Finn’s Ship: The author did a marvelous job bringing the characters to life and making the reader feel apart of each scene.~ Glen G., Amazon

Finn’s Car: I really enjoyed reading this book! Very fun to read and it’s something that teens will love to read. I recommend it to everyone!~ Jocelyn, Amazon

Finn’s Car: A well-paced, funny and highly infectious read!~ Bree W., Amazon

My Review of  “Finn’s Fast Books”

If your young reader likes action and adventure they will enjoy Finn’s Rocket. Although, I was slightly confused about the appropriate age group, I believe this is a good fit for a middle grader.
It’s packed full of interesting characters, suspense, surfing, space, science and more. I love the relationship between Finn and his sister, they’re both smart and brave with a sense of humor. The family’s life style may be a little bit out of this world, but that’s ok, that’s what reading is for, to escape, imagine and dream.
I would say boys and girls a like would like Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air. Serena, has a done a great job in capturing the voice and characterization of all the characters in the is book

 

About the Author: Serena Schreiber

serenaschreiberFirst published in Brooklyn in third grade, Serena Schreiber took a circuitous route through Europe to settle in Florida. When not writing for kids or scientists, she follows her other muse, fantasy. She’s a happy co-conspirator of Florida Writers Association Youth Program and runs the Howl at the Moon Writers Jam. Serena has two amazing children, a handsome husband, and a turtle named Bolt.

Author Website | Book Website

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

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Book Review: My Partner the Ghost by Lisa Schmid

Nov 24

My Partner the Ghost” is a full of fun, quirky and believable characters.  Ollie’s mom is on the move again, this time she has dragged her family of three back to her hometown.  Ollie, is clearly out of his element with his actress mother and want to be big star little sister, but he endures – even though it means moving into a pink house.
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Soon, weird things began to happen, and Ollie actually makes a new friend –  Teddy a ghost, a boy who died during the gold rush era and happens to be about Ollie’s age.  Teddy helps Ollie get adjusted to life in the new town, helps him defeat his arch rival Mary Kay to become class president.  They also happen to solve a 100 year old mystery.  Where did Teddy’s father bury his pile of gold?  This book is chocked full of action, adventure and fun.  Any reader who is fluent with chapter books and ready to make the next step up will find this a good fit.

Purchase “My Partner the Ghost” on Amazon

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Book Review: Maple by Lori Nichols

Nov 03

Now that Halloween has passed, it’s time for some not so scary stories.

One of  my new favorites is a book I picked up this last summer at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA: “Maple” written and illustrated by Lori Nichols.

 

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The story starts out with, “Maple loved her name.  When she was still a whisper, her parents planted a tiny tree in her honor!”

The story unfolds with Lori’s beautiful illustrations and we watch Maple grow with her tree.  Maple always has a playmate in her tree, even if she isn’t always the best of playmates, sometimes she a bit loud, but she does take care of her tree.  Then, something wonderful happens, Maple gets a little sister, Willow.  Maple learns that babies cry and demand attention.  But, Maple and her tree know just what to do.

The illustrations are amazing and will quickly spark the imagination in your child.  I recommend “Maple” and “Maple and Willow”.  These books will become treasures to pass down.

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