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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 […]

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Salamandastron (Redwall series, Book 5) by Brian Jacques

This review is brought to us by Malachi Stade, who just finished a semester internship with Redeemed Reader.  Thank you, Malachi!   Salamandastron (Redwall series, Book 5) by Brian Jacques. Firebird, Reissue edition, 2003 (originally published 1992).  400 pages.    Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10 and up Bottom Line: In a […]

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Goblins by Philip Reeve

Goblins by Philip Reeve.  Scholastic Press, 2012.  340 pages.  Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12 and up Bottom Line: The Hobbit meets Septimus Heap, with a dose of Lloyd Alexander-esque unlikely hero added. Old Breslaw, the hatchling master, recognized something different about Skarper.  While treasure-loving Goblins have no use for “white crinkly stuff, covered […]

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Pilipinto’s Happiness by Valerie Elliot Shepard

*This post is revisited from the archives in honor of Elisabeth Elliot’s passing into glory. Pilipinto’s Happiness: The Jungle Childhood of Valerie Elliot, by Valerie Shepard, illustrated by Jim Howard. Vision Forum, 2012. 57 pages. Reading a book about growing up among the wild animals of the Amazon jungle put my recent concerns about a few […]

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Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace

Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace. Aladdin, 2015. 220 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 (especially boys) Bottom Line: Questionable premises aside, Wilder Boys is a fast-paced adventure novel for middle-graders and reluctant readers. Jake, 13, and his younger brother Taylor are looking forward to summer break—or would be, if it […]

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*Hostage Run by Andrew Klavan (The MindWar Trilogy, Book 2)

Hostage Run (The MindWar Trilogy, Book 2) by Andrew Klavan. Thomas Nelson, 2015. 352 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12 and up Bottom Line: In the exciting sequel to MindWar, Rick Dial continues to battle Kurodar through the cyber world of the Realm. Life has changed for Rick Dial since MindWar.  His family […]

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*Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins

*Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, 2015. 410 pages, including author note and glossary Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: Tiger Boy, set in the Sundarban Islands, is a satisfying tale of courage and responsibility for younger middle-graders. Neel finds himself in an awkward position. […]

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The Whisperer by Fiona McIntosh

The Whisperer by Fiona McIntosh. Knopf, 2014. 390 pages Reading level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom line: The Whisperer spins a prince-and-pauper tale into swashbuckling adventure told in a classic style. Young Griff is content to work behind the scenes at the traveling carnival that features his contortionist twin brothers. But […]

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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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