About Janie

Author Archive | Janie

Lilliput by Sam Gayton

Lilliput by Sam Gayton, Illustrated by Alice Ratterree. Peachtree, 2015. 252 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 10-12 Bottom Line: Lilliput is an entertaining (alternative) window into Gulliver’s Travels, but may be too violent for sensitive readers. Lily’s world turned upside-down when the giant waded out of the sea and snatched […]

Read full story · Comments { 1 }

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015. 198 pages including appendices Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: The story of how a handful of schoolboys sparked the Danish Resistance makes thrilling reading for middle-graders interested in WWII history. […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Ranger in Time series by Kate Messner

Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail and Danger in Ancient Rome by Kate Messner. Scholastic, 2015. About 125 pages, plus author note. Reading Level: Chapter books, ages 4-8 Recommended for: ages 6-8 Bottom Line: The “Ranger in Time” series is a fun way to introduce early readers to history, as a loveable search-and-rescue […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

*Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

*Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. Dial, 2015, 304 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, age 10-12 Recommended for: all ages Bottom Line: Circus Mirandus, a magical tale for middle-graders, avoids sentimentality and can easily be adapted to a Christian understanding of the Kingdom. Micah Tuttle is swiftly approaching a crisis: Grandpa Ephraim, who raised him from […]

Read full story · Comments { 2 }

SIX by M. M. Vaughan

SIX by M. M. Vaughan. Simon & Shuster (Margaret K. Elderberry Books), 2015. 361 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-14 Bottom Line: SIX, a science-fiction novel for middle-graders, offers likeable characters and the intriguing possibility of teleportation. Parker Banks has had a lot of adjusting to do over the last […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Fort by Cynthia DeFelice

Fort by Cynthia DeFelice. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2015. 200 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 10-12 (especially boys and reluctant readers) Bottom Line: Sweet-but-rough justice is served up in this boys-only summer tale that pits three losers against two bullies. Wyatt Jones, age 11, is enjoying the last of his summer […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

The Chosen Prince by Diane Stanley

The Chosen Prince by Diane Stanley. Harper, 2015, 357 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, 12-15 Recommended for: ages 14 and up Bottom Line: A prince is chosen from infancy to reunite two warring kingdoms and bring peace to his people, but at great cost to himself. At his birth, Prince Alexos is chosen by the […]

Read full story · Comments { 1 }

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader edition) by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Dial, 2015. 292 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-up, especially boys Bottom Line: William Kamkwamba’s own story of his efforts to bring reliable electrical power to his impoverished African village makes fascinating reading, especially for […]

Read full story · Comments { 3 }

The Founding Fathers! by Jonah Winter

The Founding Fathers! Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America, by Jonah Winter, Illustration by Barry Blitt. Atheneum, 2015. 40 pages Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 7-12 Bottom Line: The Founding Fathers! profiles fourteen men who featured prominently in our country’s birth, using a generally fair but perhaps too […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross. Harper, 2015. 323 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-16 Bottom Line: The Fog Diver imagines a dystopian world of Haves and Have-nots, with plucky heroes, a wealth of detail, and a dash of humor. Hundreds of years ago, mankind proposed to meet a crisis […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Woof by Spencer Quinn

Woof (a Bowser and Birdie Novel) by Spencer Quinn. Scholastic, 2015. 293 pages Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 9-13 Bottom Line: Bowser, a loveable mutt, gets to tell his own story about how he and his “off the charts” owner, Birdie, started their crime-solving partnership. Two humans stood outside my cage, […]

Read full story · Comments { 1 }