We’ve written about “middle-grade losers” before–those feckless, clueless fifth-and-sixth grader boys (exhibit A being The Wimpy Kid) so popular with boy readers of that age and younger. Here we try to balance the ledger with a couple of fifth- and sixth-graders who have a lot going for them, but just a few little problems appropriate […]
The Carpet People, written and illustrated by Terry Pratchett. Clarion, 2013, 261 pages. Age/interest level: 11-up Sir Terry Pratchett, grand old man of fantasy/science fiction, began his career at the age of seventeen, with this very book (the original version is included in the appendix of this edition). He revised Carpet People while in his […]
Handbook for Dragon Slayers, by Merrie Haskell. HarperCollins, 2013, 226 pages. Age/interest level: 10-up. When our story begins, Tilda, age 13, has no interest in dragon-slaying; she just wants to write the definitive book on the subject. Or the definitive book about something. Due to a lame foot and a retiring personality, she’d just like […]
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. Knopf, 2014. 240 pages. Age/interest level: 9-12. Disney’s popular Frozen is a tale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is also a retelling of “The Snow Queen.” No romance here as in Frozen, and the Snow Queen is back to […]
Fantasy for middle grades (4th-8th/ages 9-12) is ever expanding. Hayley and Betsy look at two new additions to the field, both of which look light and cheerful on the outside (talking animals, colored thought bubbles, other worlds) but contain deeper thematic elements under the surface. Hayley reviews The Twistrose Key, and Betsy looks at Jinx’s Magic. The […]
Tommysaurus Rex, by Doug TenNapel, Scholastic (Graphix), 2013, 238 pages. Age/interest level: 8-12. Ely’s best friend is a dog, which seems pretty normal except that Tommy (the dog) is his only friend. Ely’s parents worry about this, but worry takes a back seat when Tommy is hit by a car. To help Ely get his […]
Ghost stories: most of us relish that slightly spooky feeling we get when an urban legend or hair-raising tall tale is well told around a campfire. Our society seems to be erring on the side of “more is more” these days, though; instead of slightly spooky, we have shows like The Walking Dead, YA fiction has run […]
This is our last “buzz” post, but tomorrow Betsy and I are going to go out on a limb and make some predictions about the winner–maybe even name some titles that should be the winner. The Truth of Me, by Patricia MacLachlan. HarperCollins, 2013, 114 pages. Age/interest level: 8-14. Janie: Robert, the latest in a […]
We’re coming down to the wire with our Newbery discussions. The ALA Youth Media Awards (which include the Newbery and Caldecott) will be announced Monday morning. Janie and I feel confident that we’ve touched on some of the better contenders. But we may be completely surprised! Today, we look at a National Book Award finalist (see our […]
(Janie and Betsy are continuing their chat about some of the outstanding children’s literature being touted for the coveted Newbery award–yes, there are people who speculate and handicap and figure the odds, just like for the Oscars and Golden Globes. See our thoughts about The Real Boy, Flora & Ulysses, and The Center of Everything. […]
I’ll admit it: I cracked up when I read Wimpy Kid. Clearly, my sense of humor is rather juvenile (or, maybe I’ve just spent a LOT of time around middle school kids). I still thought the kid was a jerk, though, and didn’t read any more in the series. I’m currently an intern in an elementary school […]
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- Nurturing a young reader’s literary tastes January 9, 2014
- Meet Lulu and Freddie: 2 Terrific Chapter Book Characters (+ a Giveaway) March 5, 2014
- Ukraine: Lessons in Liberty and Compassion, Part 1 March 7, 2014
- Librarians’ List: Easy/Leveled Readers, part 1 March 8, 2014
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