Lucky Strike by Bobby Pyron

Lucky Strike by Bobby Pyron. Scholastic (Arthur Levine), 2015. 263 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: A “lucky” lightning strike changes a lonely boy into a celebrity, with results no one would have predicted. Nate Harlow figures he’s the unluckiest boy on the whole Gulf Coast, starting when […]

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A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd. Scholastic, 2014, 311 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: A Snicker of Magic is the folksy tale of a girl who needs a home, but it may rely too much on “magic” as a cure-all. Felicity Juniper Pickle just wants to […]

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*The Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton adapted by Nancy Carpentier Brown

*The Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton adapted by Nancy Carpentier Brown, illustrated by Ted Schluenderfritz. Hillside Education, 2007. 147 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Bottom Line: This well-done adaptation of four famous Father Brown stories preserves the original lively spirit of Chesterton’s famous sleuth. The Father Brown Reader is a collection of four famous Father […]

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Crinkle, Crackle, Crack: It’s Spring! by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Shelley

Crinkle, Crackle, Crack: It’s Spring! by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Shelley. Holiday House, 2015. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 A child is wakened by strange sounds in the night and goes to investigate. In the yard she finds a bear standing in the “rotten snow” who says to her, “It’s […]

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*Bible Review: ESV Following Jesus Bible

*ESV Following Jesus Bible. Crossway, 2015. 1401 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: The features of Following Jesus Bible point young readers to the presence of Christ in all scripture in a way that’s accessible to middle grades. In recent years, much welcome attention has been paid to […]

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Ah! by Geraldine Collet, illustrated by Estelle Billon Spagnol

Ah! by Géraldine Collet, illustrated by Estelle Billon Spagnol. Holiday House, 2015. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 0-4 (plus older readers—see review) Ah! by Géraldine Collet is a French import about two little rabbits…and two little spiders. A little rabbit, following cryptic signs, runs into a spider. Eek! He busily tries to rid himself […]

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*Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay

*Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman and Co., 2014. 91 pages. Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8 Bottom Line: Lulu and her cousin Mellie use kindness and creativity to win over their enemy—the new boy next door—in this delightful chapter book. Lulu is a true animal lover; […]

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The Only Game by Mike Lupica

The Only Game by Mike Lupica (Home Team series, #1). Simon & Shuster, 2015. 321 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-10, especially boys Bottom Line: Character values and the drama of baseball itself take the field in The Only Game, while character development and plot remain on the bench. Walton […]

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Legends by Howard Bryant

Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Baseball by Howard Bryant. Philomel Press, 2015. 228 pages, including index. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: Legends is an enjoyable compendium of baseball’s greatest players and games, written with the middle-grade reader in mind. “This is not a perfect book,” […]

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The House That’s Your Home by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jane Dyer

The House That’s Your Home by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jane Dyer. Schwartz and Wade, 2015. 40 pages. Reading Level: ages 0-8 Speaking directly to the young reader (listener), the text sweetly highlights the various elements of a small child’s world in this old-fashioned picture book. Beginning with the outside world (a tree in the yard or […]

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The Spider (Disgusting Creatures) by Elise Gravel

The Spider (Disgusting Creatures) by Elise Gravel. Tundra Books, 2015. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 Children are fascinated by bugs and spiders, often bringing them to their more squeamish parents for a closer look. And there are plenty of picture books on these fascinating small carnivores of the animal world. Gravel’s new series, Disgusting […]

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