Book Reviews
big dark

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick.  Scholastic, 2015, 176 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 12-15, especially reluctant readers Bottom Line: A small England Community fights for survival when a solar flare wipes out all sources of power, in this taut thriller with a 12-year-old hero. The whole town of Harmony, 

Continue Reading…

double cross

The Double Cross by Jackson Pearce

The Double Cross, and Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy by Jackson Pearce.  Bloomsbury, 2015, 291 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14, especially boys Bottom line: A 12-year-old spy trainee proves his calling in spite of obvious physical drawbacks, in this entertaining middle-grade adventure. Hale Jordan is, well, fat—a 

Continue Reading…

paintedsky

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015,  370 pages  Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 15 – 18 Recommended for: Ages 16 and up Bottom Line:  The events of one day change Sammy from a moody teenage girl to a fugitive striking out into the west, in an engaging work of historical 

Continue Reading…

Magic mirror

The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long

The Magic Mirror: Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King, and a Pickpocket Squirrel by Susan Hill Long.  Knopf, 2016, 308 pages Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-up Bottom Line: A few language cautions aside, this medieval fantasy tale illustrates some profound truths about finding oneself in the 

Continue Reading…

RR_Swallows

Retro Reads: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

This title is part of our summer of Great Family Reads. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. David R. Godine, 2010 (reprint; orig. 1930). 315 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: All ages (read aloud); ages 8 and up (independent read) Bottom Line:  In this British children’s classic, the brave Swallows (four siblings) 

Continue Reading…