Tag Archives | fantasy

Flying Ponies and Dump Trucks

Do little kids love fantasy? NPR recently reported on a study done by three academic psychologists on the subject of children and fiction. They asked a group of 4-to-7-year-olds what choose between two stories they might like to read or listen to: one story about a child who found a treasure, and another about a […]

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The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 by Jasper Fforde. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013. 306 pages Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 14 and up Bottom Line: In an engaging alternative reality, punctuated with interesting sentences and quirky British humor, a teenage girl faces sorcerers, politics, and a dragon. Jennifer […]

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The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin

The Doll People Series, by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin. Disney/Hyperion Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 7-12 (mostly girls) Bottom Line: The Doll People series, rolling out in a leisurely way with four titles since 2003, offers a winning set of “living dolls” and an ideal transition from chapter books to […]

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A Reflection on Rick Riordan

Five years ago I picked up a middle grade fantasy book called The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan and was hooked by the end of the first page. For those unfamiliar with Riordan’s work, his first series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” follows a middle school student, Percy, who discovers he’s a Greek demigod, and […]

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Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2009. 352 pages Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 16-up Bottom Line: A problematic retelling of a Nordic fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” which explores the story of a nameless young woman and an ice bear […]

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

 This review is brought to us by Ann Rees Berry, who has now finished an internship with Redeemed Reader.  Thank you, Ann!   Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Del Ray (Random House), 2014. 382 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 15-18 Recommended for: Young Adults, ages 16-18 Bottom Line: Darrow, a helldiver on Mars, learns […]

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Reflections on Selections

It’s not easy being selective, especially when perusing book titles for the honor of World Magazine Children’s Book of the Year. For last year’s pick, The Warden and the Wolf King, the committee assembled a bit late in the process, meaning a rush to scan the field (books published between May 2013 and May 2014), […]

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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 […]

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*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 […]

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Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon.  Greenwillow Books, 2015.  368 pages.  Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 15 and up Bottom Line: A darker steam-punk fantasy, Illusionarium will be enjoyed by teenage boys and girls who enjoy alternative reality. Arthurias, 1863, is an outpost colony in the North Sea populated by miners and those who love a […]

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Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin

Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin. Amulet Books, 2015. 268 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: After Franny is stricken with polio, an erudite flea becomes her best friend in this quirky fantasy for middle-grade readers. During the summer of 1952, 10-year-old Franny Katzenback became a statistic: one […]

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