Tommy is not one of the cool kids in his school, but of all of his classmates, the weirdest has to be Dwight. When Dwight comes to school with a folded paper finger puppet resembling Yoda from “Star Wars,” it’s strange enough; but when he starts giving his classmates advice, tidbits of insight and wisdom--or correctly predicts happenings like pop quizzes--in screechy Yoda-speak, while holding the origami puppet, Tommy takes notice. Does Origami Yoda have mystical powers, or is he just a “paper wad” as his friend Harvey says? Is Dwight not as dorky as he appears to be?
Dan Gutman (author of "Babe and Me" and "Return of the Homework Machine") offers a humorous look at the lives of elementary age students in The Talent Show. After a tornado rips through the small town of Cape Bluff, Kansas, the residents need a way to raise money to rebuild their town and raise morale. The town decides to put on a talent show, with students from the elementary school providing the talent. Everyone wants to get in on the action, talent or no talent!
The story is an enjoyable dystopian fantasy centering around the city of Quill and the hidden magical city of Artimé. In the city of Quill, every year the thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the Wanteds – the strong, intelligent children that attend the University; the Necessary – the children who do manual labor; and the Unwanteds – the artistic, creative children who are sent to the “Death Farm”. Alex and Aaron Stowe are twins who are separated into different categories.
The new series TJ Trapper, Bully Zapper, by Lisa Mullarkey published by Magic Wagon is a nice addition to all of the anti-bullying material being published right now. In TJ Zaps the New Kid, said new kid Livvy is a social bully, who says and does unkind things to her classmates. When TJ tries to report Livvy's bullying to his teacher he is reprimanded for tattling, and TJ struggles to find another way to end Livvy's bullying.
Middle school student and troublemaker Donovan Curtis is well known for his pranks around school. Due to a big mistake and miscommunication, Donovan is transferred from his "normal" middle school to the "Academy for Scholastic Distinction" for highly gifted students. Multiple characters, including adults, take turns telling the story, and it becomes clear than Donovan doesn't belong at ASD due to his ungifted status, but could it be that the students at ASD need Donovan, as he slowly leads them to normalcy?
Seventh grader, Marley Sidelski is a self-described geek and Star Trek fan. He gets a lot of practice running from school bullies. In fact, he's so good a running that he gets the attention of the gym teacher, who wants him on the track team. Finally, Marley gets a taste of popularity, in this less than believable but very funny book about surviving middle school. Recommended for grades 5-8.
A story told from the animal's point of view, a female gopher snake is captured by a "filthy, fleshy human child" named Gunnar. The boy calls the snake "Crusher," and puts his new "pet" in a terrarium in his bedroom, next to cages occupied by wild animals that Gunnar has captured but since lost interest in. While looking for her chance to escape, Crusher observes Gunnar and his habits, his family, friends, and his love of video games.
Minli lives with her mother and father, passing their days trying to eke out a living in rice fields on Fruitless Mountain. At night, her father, a great storyteller, tells Minli adventures and magical folktales. Mother, unhappy with the family's difficult life, does not approve of Father filling Minli's head with such nonsense. After a chance encounter with a goldfish peddler, Minli decides to go on a quest to find The Old Man of the Moon to change their family fortune. Along the way, Minli befriends a dragon, encounters a talking fish and learns about the "tangled
This is a tragic story of a wild, white Manchurian pony’s capture by men and his forced life of serving cruel owners, and later becoming part of an historic journey--the 1910 Terra Nova polar expedition to the South Pole led by Captain Robert Scott. James Pigg, as he is named after a book character, tells his story from his pony point of view. He finds kindness and friendship in Patrick, one of Scott’s men, and decides to work hard to help men accomplish their goal.
Fredle, a small house mouse, indulges in a delicious peppermint pattie, becomes ill, and is pushed out of the family nest. Tossed outside from the farmer’s wife’s dust pan, he is left to die or survive on his own. He befriends Sadie the dog (Sadie, a simple-minded border collie from Voigt’s earlier book, Angus and Sadie in the Davis Farm series) and a few field mice, who become valuable allies. New dangers await—owls, the barnyard snake, and an outlaw gang of raccoons planning to fatten him for their feast.
This first book in the new Ghost Buddy series by authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver will capture readers with its genuine, good guy, but clumsy, protagonist Billy Broccoli. Moving into a new house, Billy finds teenage ghost Hoove in his room and learns to accept him and his suggestions. Hoove is determined to help Billy gain confidence and become cool. When Billy is totally embarrassed by the school bully, Hoove conspires with Billy to get even, yet Billy manages to maintain his ethics while coming out ahead.
If you believe that zombies are only in scary stories or movies…think again. If you are grossed out at the thought of creatures that take over the bodies and brains of other creatures, this review--let alone this book--is not for you. Just walk away.
The characters from Gordon Korman’s Swindle are back in Zoobreak, a novel about children fighting for animal rights. When the kids visit a floating zoo, they discover that the animals are living in deplorable conditions and decide to break out the animals and bring them to another zoo. A subplot featuring the disappearance of a main character’s pet monkey brings excitement to the story. This moving, yet funny story is recommended for 5th grade and up, and younger for reading aloud.