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Story Thieves by James Riley

Story Thieves by James Riley. Simon & Shuster (Aladdin), 2015. 383 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: This action-packed fantasy-within-a-fantasy puts characters into their favorite stories, but also raises questions about authorship, fate, magic, and science. The only excitement Owen has in his life is breathlessly following each […]

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*Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell

*Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell. Candlewick, 2014. 50 pages. Reading Level: Easy Readers, Ages 4-8 Recommended For: Age 4-8 Rabbit’s friend Robot is coming for a sleepover, and Rabbit has plans: make pizza, watch TV, play “Go Fish,” and go to bed. Instead of being annoyed with Rabbit’s demands that his list […]

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A Pet for Fly Guy (Fly Guy Series) by Tedd Arnold

A Pet for Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold. Orchard Books, 2014. 32 pages.  Reading Level: Early Reader, ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8, especially boys The Fly Guy series is a must see for new readers, particularly boys. Arnold takes the “quirky pet” early reader theme (a la Danny and the Dinosaur or Henry and Mudge) a step […]

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Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Masterminds by Gordon Korman. Balzer & Bray, 2015, 336 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 12-15 Bottom Line: Masterminds raises some interesting ethical questions in the midst of a fast-moving thriller that pits kids against grownups. Who would want to live anywhere but Serenity, New Mexico? Yes, it’s small, and kind […]

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Owl Boy by Brian Schatell

Owl Boy by Brian Schatell. Holiday House, 2015. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture books, Ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 Al is an owl fanatic. His walls are full of owl pictures. At dinner he points out that owls eat mice. All he can talk about is owls, and he can’t play sports with other […]

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Silent Star by Bill Wise, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise, illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Lee and Low, 2012. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 Baseball games are full of distinctive sounds: the crack as the ball and bat make contact, the roar of the crowd, the umpire’s “Strike!” Imagine if a […]

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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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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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Guts & Glory: The American Civil War by Ben Thompson

Guts & Glory: The American Civil War by Ben Thompson. Little, Brown, 2014. 317 pages, including index. Reading Level: Middle Grades,  ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 (especially boys) Bottom Line: The Guts & Glory overview of the Civil War is as readable and as “not boring” as promised, though the casual slangy style may be […]

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Bible Review: Guys Life Application Study Bible

Guys Life Application Study Bible NLT. Tyndale House, 2013 (second edition). 1562 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-14 Bottom Line: The Guys Life Application Study Bible offers a readable translation and unique features to interest boys, though parents may find added material subjective. The NLT has overtaken the NIV as […]

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