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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales by Terry Pratchett, illustrated by Mark Beech. Clarion, 2015. 352 pages Reading Level: Upper Elementary and Middle Grades, Ages 9-12 Recommended For: Ages 10-13 Bottom Line: A collection of fantasy short stories that invites readers to look at the world from different perspectives. Pratchett’s writing invites readers to […]
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 […]
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 […]
The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis, illustrated by Todd Harris. Little, Brown, 2014. 433 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: The Map to Everywhere offers an action-packed fantasy quest in which protagonists must find and assemble the pieces of a map. Fin, formerly […]
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 […]
In 2008, a middle-grade novel called Savvy swept numerous awards lists and was anointed with the silver medallion of Newbery runner-up. The first-time author, Ingrid Law, soon followed up with a well-received sequel (Scumble, 2010), and is certain to make a splash with Switch this September. Savvy has certain elements of a particular genre: a […]
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 […]
A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd. Scholastic, 2014, 311 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: A Snicker of Magic is the folksy tale of a girl who needs a home, but it may rely too much on “magic” as a cure-all. Felicity Juniper Pickle just wants to […]
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