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Category Archives: youth lit

Bang Goes a Troll – An Awfully Beastly Business (series)

An Awfully Beastly Business

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  An Awfully Beastly Business Book 3
     Bang Goes a Troll
The Beastly Boys –
David Sinden, Matthew Morgan,
Guy Macdonald
Youth/YA Fiction/Pg 208
Ages 8+ – Grades 3+
ISBN: 1416986510
ISBN: 978-1416986515

www.beastlybusiness.com

Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s

 

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The Beastly Boys, a trio of 30 something writers otherwise known as Matthew Morgan, David Sinden and Guy Macdonald, put their heads together to create a fun, highly imaginative series that’s centered around very real issues. Bang Goes a Troll is the third book in The Awfully Beastly Business series. In the first two installments we were introduced to the main characters, each with reoccurring roles in subsequent books. The cast includes an orphaned werewolf, rescued by Dr. Fielding the RSPCB’s Vet, a fairy, a 15 foot gentle giant, a gargoyle, a twisted face villain and several others. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts (RSPCB) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the welfare and protection of rare and endangered beasts and is the center of the series.

Dragons, ogres and fairies …Oh My!

Part fantasy, but playing on reality, Bang Goes A Troll pits our favorite werewolf, Ulf against an evil, beast hunter that’s trapping trolls to use for sport hunting. The RSPCB is much like our ASPCA and numerous wildlife protection groups, with their main goal being the protection and survival of these fantastical creatures. Ulf’s heart is in the right place, but will he be able to save the trolls?

Although part of a series, you can read this book without having read the previous installments. However, the stories are quite fun, so, if you enjoy this one, by all means pick up the other books…you’ll be glad you did! * Simple storyline, interesting creatures, plus some snot and other grossities…put it all together and the result is a book that younger readers can enjoy independently – especially boys, age 8-10.


Happy Reading!

Beastly Event – Activity Pack ..CLICK HERE

Book 4 - The Jungle Vampire 
An Awfully Beastly Business Book 4
      The Jungle Vampire
The Beastly Boys –
David Sinden, Matthew Morgan,
Guy Macdonald

ISBN-10: 1416986529
ISBN-13: 9781416986522
Ages: 8 – 12  | Grades: 3 – 7

www.beastlybusiness.com

Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s

Click HereClick here to listen to a clip to listen to an audio clip

As with previous installments, Ulf and his friends at the RSPCB are forced to go toe to toe with the evil Baron Marackai. Even though the participants are the same, the situation which brings them together is different in each book. (I would liken it to many of our favorite cartoons and TV shows from yesterday – Sylvester is always after Tweety, the Coyote is forever more chasing the Roadrunner and both pursuers fall short every time and pay tremendous prices for their chase and yet, the very next episode, they are at it again!) It is this same type of simple, quick storyline, loaded with action, interesting characters and real world issues that are easy to relate too that make An Awfully Beastly Business a good solid read.

Most of the dialogue takes place in the jungle, where the whole gang is equally involved in the story. (Well, almost, there’s one character we see briefly at the beginning and then again at the end.) Ulf has been invited, as part of his official training, to accompany the other members of the RSPCB, as the journey deep into the jungle in search of the elusive, mythical vampire. Of course, the teams nemesis is never far away, and this time he’s much closer than anyone realizes. Why track and search when he can simply follow the RSPCB team right to the vampire’s den?

Will Baron Marackai kill the legendary creature? Or will the team discover his presence and save the vampire?

Happy Reading!

**Book 5 – Battle of the Zombies is scheduled for 2010 release – ***

Meet the Characters –

Ulf - orphaned werewolf raised at Farraway Hall.. (The full moon causes strange changes!)  Ulf is an orphaned werewolf, raised at Farraway Hall. Dr. Fielding,
the RSPCB veteran, rescued him over ten years ago when he was a
small werecub. On the night of the full moon, Ulf undergoes a complete
physical transformation from boy to wolf. He is brave and kind, and
his best friend is Tiana the fairy. He helps care for the beasts at the
RSPCB, and even assists Orson the giant and Dr. Fielding with mucking
out the enclosures and performing beastly operations.

Tiana (the fairy)- Ulf's best friend, afraid of ghosts & seein blood grosses her out!

Tiana is a woodland fairy, the size of a dandelion, with clothes made from
petals and stitched with spiders’ silk. She lives with other fairies in the
Dark Forest just beyond the paddock at Farraway Hall. She’s mischievous
and fun and sparkles as she flies. You’ll often find her in the flower
garden at Farraway Hall, collecting nectar. She’s Ulf’s best friend, and
even though she is a little scared of ghosts and doesn’t like the sight
of blood, she’ll do anything to help him.

 

Orson - gentle giant, RSPCB's resident beast handler.

Orson is a 15-foot tall mountain giant, who came to Farraway Hall when
he was made homeless in the wild (giant habitats are shrinking). He is
strong  but gentle, and works as the RSPCB’s beast handler. He’s too
tall to live in  the house, so he sleeps in the feed store on a mound of
grain. He wears baggy trousers made from a ship’s sails and drinks his
tea from a bucket. After a hard day’s work, there’s nothing Orson
likes more than a barrel of apples followed by a snooze

Dr Helen Fielding - Vet, expert pilot, mountain climber & scuba diver!

Dr. Helen Fielding is the RSPCB veteran. She has degrees in cryptozoology
and veterinary medicine. She is an exceptional pilot, mountain climber and
scuba diver. She performs all the medical operations at Farraway Hall, as
well as monitoring beast activity in the wild and promoting conservation
campaigns worldwide. She has written scientific papers on griffin flu,
the conductive properties of electrodactyls and the causes of cavern
fever,  as well as patenting an anesthetic mask for larger-beaked beasts.

 

Druce- a gargoyle that can turn from stone to flesh.

Druce is a gargoyle and can turn from stone to flesh. He has a long yellow
tongue and feeds largely on insects. He lives on the rooftop of Farraway Hall,
and gets into mischief, scuttling down drainpipes, peering in windows,
and blowing raspberries to passers-by. He took up residence on Farraway
Hall soon after it was built, and many years ago he knew Professor Farraway.
Druce likes to scare with his ugly faces and nasty rhymes, but he is very
good-hearted and fiercely loyal to the RSPCB.

The Late -Professor Farraway

Professor Farraway was the world’s first cryptozoologist and founder of
the RSPCB. He dedicated his life to the protection of rare and endangered
beasts, studying them in their natural habitats, pioneering veterinary
procedures, and campaigning for beasts to be protected by law. Farraway
Hall was once his family home, and although he has been dead for many
years, his portrait still hangs in the library. When Professor Farraway
died, he left everything he owned to the RSPCB, but there are dark
secrets that prevented him from resting in peace!

 

 

Baron Marackai - villainous beast hunter!
Baron Marackai is the most villainous beast hunter in the world.
He is evil, with a face as twisted as a rotten apple core, and he’s
out to get revenge! He has a vendetta against the RSPCB and a
deep dark secret that he holds in his cold heart. He hates beasts,
and would rather exploit them through acts of cruelty than
protect them from harm. Together with his henchmen Blud
and Bone, his plan is to send the RSPCB to their doom!

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Timescape by Robrt Liparulo *YA*

 

Timescape by Robert Liparulo (book 4 YA series)

  Timescape
 
Dreamhouse Kings series (book 4)
 

   ISBN: 159554500X
   ISBN: 978-1595545008
   Hardcover, Pg 304

  Dreamhouse Kings

  Thomas Nelson Publishing

Dreamhouse Kings Youth Series:
House of Dark Shadows
(book 1)
The Watcher in the Woods
(book 2)
Gatekeepers
(book 3)
Timescape
(book 4)
Whirlwind (
book 5)
Frenzy (book 6) available May 2010

 

 
Mysteries, Secrets & Mutants OH MY!
The King children are growing up right before our eyes – but, I guess running for your life every time you enter a door in your own home would make you grow up pretty quick! Family values, strong moral character and subtle Christian concepts are mixed with historical settings and lots of action – the result… a good read!

Still holding his creative cards close to the vest, Liparulo lures us deeper into the house and ever closer to the King Family. Throughout Timescape the search for Mom continues and the kids are feeling more desperate with each failed attempt. Even though there’s danger lurking everywhere we are introduced to new friends along the way…Keal, Jessee’s caretaker quickly becomes a strong ally and the source of much needed support. Although they continue to demonstrate a resolve, dedication and loyalty far beyond their tender years, the dangers feel closer than ever before…and even more serious. And they couldn’t be more right! Taksidian will stop at nothing to get them out of the old house and they will soon come to understand there’s much more at stake than their address ~ much, much more!

As has been pointed out by others, where we were left hanging at the end of book three, Liparulo scoops us up and takes off like a streak of lightning. Unlike other books where the opening chapters are dedicated to recapping previous installments, Liparulo starts anew from sentence one, for this reason I suggest reading the books in order.

*As always, parents should utilize their own judgment when selecting titles – based on your child’s maturity, fears and reading level. The narrative describes severed body parts and other gory references that some may find objectionable or inappropriate.*

Happy Reading,

Rj McGill
 
 

 

Dreamhouse Kings Series by Robert Liparulo

The House of Dark Shadows (book 1)

 House of Dark Shadows (book 1)
  Robert Liparulo
  159554491
  Hardcover, Pg 295
  YA *age 12+
  

Watcher in the Woords (book 2) Watcher in the Woods (book 2)
 
Robert Liparulo
  1
595544968
  Hardcover, Pg 292
  YA *age 12+

 

Gatekeepers (book 3)

 Gatekeepers
 Robert Liparulo

1595544984
Hardcover, Pg 307
YA *age 12+

Timescape (book 4)  Timescape
Robert Liparulo
159554500X
  Hardcover, Pg 308
YA *age 12+

Whirlwind (book 5)  Whirlwind
  Robert Liparulo
  1595548157
  Hardcover, Pg 314
  YA * 12+

COMING MAY 2010 
Frenzy (available May 2010) 
 
Frenzy
   Robert Liparulo

  1595548165
  Hardcover, Pg 320
  YA * age 12+
 

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Wordsworth Dances the Waltz by Frances H. Kakugawa

Wordsworth Dances the Waltz by Frances Kakugawa

Wordsworth Dances the Waltz
Frances H. Kakugawa

ISBN 10: 0979064732
ISBN 13: 978-0979064739

Children 9+

Hardcover, 32pages

Watermark Publishing

Wordsworth Dances The Waltz features a family of mice, living much as any family – enjoying their day to day lives, when time creeps up on a them…

Wordsworth first love is poetry – for a long while now it has been his source of comfort and understanding…writing is this little mouse’s way of dealing with life. And so when his beloved Grandma comes to stay with the family Wordsworth is shocked and a bit frightened by the changes that have taken place. The once vibrant, boisterous home, filled with the sounds of music and laughter has fallen quiet and his parents talk in hushed voices…whispering about how Grandma is losing her memory and things just aren’t the same. 

Wordsworth is saddened and very disappointed when his father tells him Grandma can’t attend the special Grandparent’s program at school. Before class that morning Wordsworth sits beside his Grandma’s bed and writes a poem, expressing his feelings – ending with – “She’s still my Grandma, isn’t she?”

What follows is a touching reunion of family, with a new found understanding of how they will interact from this day forward. This is a beautifully written, heartfelt story that addresses dementia, Alzheimer’s and loss of independence, subjects families are dealing with everyday. Seniors are an integral part of the family tree and it’s important to maintain close bonds and continue to interact with and allow children to enjoy the time they have with them…it is precious! 

I highly recommend this story to all families – there should be a copy in every elementary school, library and nursing home. Especially senior care facilities – this book would be an excellent tool to ease youngsters fears, answer questions they may not be able to express and reassure them Grandma or Grandpa may be different, but they love you and they’re still an important part of the family!
If you or someone you know is facing any of these situations, pick up a copy of this book!

Happy Reading!BIGsmily
RJ McGill
3Rs Den

WriterTweeter 

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Curse of the Bayou by Mary Cunningham (YA)

Cynthia’s Attic series – book #3 – from author, Mary Cunningham
Cover Image

Cynthia’s Attic, Book#3: Curse of the Bayou
by Mary Cunningham
ISBN 10: 1590805755
ISBN 13: 978-1590805756
Echelon Press Publishing

www.marycunninghambooks.com

Curse of the Bayou, Cynthia’s Attic series book #3

The third time really is the charm for author Mary Cunningham, as her latest installment in the Cynthia’s Attic series is the best of the trio. While books one and two are delightfully entertaining, within a few pages of book three, it is apparent that the writer has grown right a long side her two main characters. Blending parallel universes with very real human issues while allowing the reader to suspend the need for reason is a huge undertaking, and one that Cunningham has met and far exceeded with Curse of the Bayou.

On the edge of thirteen, in the year 1964, best friends and time traveling companions, Cynthia and Gus are at it again, drawn to the old trunk in the attic that magically melts the seams of time. The girls land in the year 1914, deep in the Louisiana swamp and quickly find they aren’t swimming with dolphins…it’s alligators! But, this is to be only the first of many heart stopping thrills as they search for Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Beau Connor, who was last seen traveling down the Mississippi River to sell produce.

The girls receive helpful hints from old friends and stern warnings from new ones. It seems the Mississippi River is home to the meanest, most orneriest pirate ever…one Buzzard Jack LaBuse. A long the way our gutsy tweenies find themselves facing off with shifting plants, scheming baddies and a thieving parrot, just to name a few. Traveling back and forth in time, the girls land in Southern Indiana, on the old Connor farm, where they discover a link between Beau Connor and pirate Jack. Could a family curse be the cause of Great Grandpa’s sudden and mysterious disappearance?

Curse of the Bayou is the ultimate stage for Cunningham’s cooky cast of characters to act out their story. Just as the most intricate web begins with a single strand, so it is with a good series…there’s a basic idea upon which each individual story is built. And while each must stand alone, it must be linked to the original. With three complete books in the series, the supporting cast and their respective back stories can get quite confusing, especially for the target audience, for this reason I would love to see a character list included with future installments.

There are so many directions the author can take with these characters and an endless list of issues, both real and imagined that can be filtered in, that not even the sky can limit this series…Kudos to author Mary Cunningham for delivering a good old fashioned family story, with all the sci-fi perks and jigs to light the imagination of today’s young reader.

Happy Reading!

– RJ

 

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Paddington Here & Now

Cover Image

Paddington Here and Now
by Michael Bond
Hardcover: ISBN: 0061473642 ISBN-13: 9780061473647
ISBN Library: 978-0061473654
ISBN Trade: 978-0061473647
176 Pages
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
HarperCollins Childrens
www.harpercollinschildrens.com

Paddington Here & Now by Michael Bond

Official Paddington Bear Website


Review
Paddington Bear is celebrating his 50th birthday the only way this lovable, adventurous little bear would…with a delicious marmalade sandwich…and his first new book in 30 years, Paddington Here and Now! For those of us who have enjoyed reading the stories of Paddington’s escapades, this book is a welcomed return to good ol’ fashioned literature.

The book opens as the eternally optimistic and oh so innocent little Peruvian bear returns to the curb to find his shopping cart has been towed away. Confused and in a state of dismay, nearby stall owners offer their support, as well as, a few gruff opinions. Paddington had been shopping at Portobello for the Brown family for years and nothing like that had ever happened before. Dealing with grumpy neighbors and the always eager tabloids, Paddington has his little paws full, but this is just the beginning of his misadventures. Later, Paddington is arrested and taken to the police station where he is questioned about his citizenship and exclaims, “I’m not an immigrant.” Thus moving us to the crux of the story…is home still where the heart is?

The foundation for this particular story line was laid many years ago when Paddington’s Aunt Lucy decided to move into the Retirement Home for Bears in Lima and helped the little bear stow-away on a ship bound for England. And although the Brown’s adopted the homeless bear after discovering him among stacks of mailbags at Paddington Station, he doesn’t have the proper paperwork, therefore, technically, Paddington is an immigrant…or even an illegal immigrant. Author Michael Bond infuses the story with Paddington’s trademark sense of humor and naivete and in doing so addresses such serious personal questions as how do you define home? And how does one decide where they belong?

Paddington Bear stories transcend the page…dealing with contemporary issues, yet delivered with that special bump and bungling comical narrative, that fans immediately recognize as the classic Paddington style and new readers will undoubtedly find irresistible. The story is well written, entertaining and filled with many “ahh’s and oohs.”

Reliable, family friendly and a true original, Paddington Bear Books are as sure as a PB & J sandwich to illicit smiles from youngsters. And parents that utilize a combination of the two are pretty much assured a few minutes of free time! I can easily and without reservation recommend Michael Bond’s new book, Paddington Here and Now and not just for the kids, even the adults that grew up reading these stories will enjoy spending some time with this old furry friend.

Happy Reading!
-RJ

HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY PADDINGTON BEAR!!!

Paddington Here & Now by Michael Bond

 

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The Trouble Begins at 8 by Sid Fleischman (youth)


The Trouble Begins at 8:
A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

ISBN: 978-0061344312
Ages 9-12
Grades 4+
224 pp
http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/

http://www.sidfleischman.com/

A thorough, detailed, beautifully written book about one of the most beloved authors of all time, Samuel Clemens, but we know him as the master-writer of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer… Mark Twain. Sid Fleischman has once again taken a topic that causes most kids to run screaming in the opposite direction – and made it interesting, intriguing and most importantly – Fun! You will thoroughly enjoy the wisecrack for which the book is named…”The Trouble Begins At 8.”

The life of Mark Twain has been written about by some of the brightest minds, however, knowing these texts are written with a dialogue that will never reach children, Fleischman targets the young minds with his books. Not an easy task and yet he has been able to deliver the absolute perfect mix of educational information and entertainment to keep youngsters turning pages and parents happily observing. Sid Fleischman writes with an elegant, well informed simplicity that immerses the reader, breathing life into the pages of the book, so much so that at the conclusion it feels more like you have spent time with these people as opposed to having read a book about them. Every character, as well as, each stage of Clemens’ journey contributes depth and richness to the story and has been beautifully captured in this unique, highly entertaining biographical book that reveals the creation of Mark Twain. From his early days in Missouri, through his quite interesting personal adventures; as a steamboat pilot, mining for gold, dancing the ‘kangaroo’ in San Francisco, just to name a few.

While you may think you know all there is to know about Mark Twain you have never had the pleasure of reading anything quite like this. Complimenting the narrative are numerous black and white photographs that truly bring the legend to life.

Often referred to as a ‘gentlemen of leisure,’ Mark Twain’s life was above all, interesting. Sid Fleischman has captured the essence of this free spirited writer that today is one of only a handful of authors counted as true masters of the pen. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in literature, regardless of age. Sid Fleischman is a talented writer and his ability to continually breath new life into old stories is unparalleled. This is an exceptionally well written and highly enjoyable read – Don’t Miss it!

In today’s high-tech, highly competitive market, I commend Harper Collins for delivering such unique, educational, fun titles!

*The Entertainer & the Dybbuk – also by Sid Fleischman

Happy Reading!
   -RJ

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CYOA – Volume One

golden-path-book-1.jpg
Golden Path Volume 1
Into the Hollow Earth

by Anson Montgomery
Youth Adventure/Fiction
ISBN 10: 1933390816
ISBN 13: 978-1933390819
Chooseco *(CYOA)

Some may find it hard to imagine how, with a printed book, the reader can actively participate in the adventure…but it’s true. The popular Choose Your Own Adventure has been revamped, re-energized and relaunched, to the utter delight of parents and young adults everywhere. With this ingenious series, the reader has the opportunity to make multiple choices throughout the novel, which changes the plot twists, the characters that you will meet and at what stage you will interact with each. The right choices will lead you, as one of the main characters, into a secret world that exists beneath the Earth’s crust.

As one of the main characters, you (the reader) are, quite literally caught up in the action and your choices effect the other characters and the progression of the story. The Golden Path: Volume One opens with an interesting, scientific prologue, which sets the tone for the scenery, ideologies and difficulties that the people in author Anson Montgomery’s future face on a daily basis. The first chapter opens with a scene every student can relate too…three friends, in the library, studying for a big exam. And through the creative imagination of CYOA, you (the reader), are one of the three. The heart of the story revolves around your parents archaeological dig at Carlsbad, New Mexico and a very odd shard of pottery your friend Peter found outside the dig site. Convinced the artifact once belonged to a culture that predates the American Indians and utilizing the individual talents of each of your friends, the three of you receive special permission from your teacher to work together on the AP History project. It’s true that history effects the future, but you and your friends had no idea how that piece of pottery would devastate your present and put your future in jeopardy.

When you receive a frightening, cryptic email from your Mom, sent from a dead letter drop, you are given the first of many choices…do you follow the instructions from your Mom or go to New York City? Of course your selection will alter the story’s progression, as will each of the decisions you make throughout the adventure. What began as a quest to find your missing parents, quickly spins into a web of questions, that has government officials hot on your trail and could well be the difference between life and death for you all.

Choose Your Own Adventure is an entertaining adventure series that engages reader, however, flipping back and forth, skipping numerous chapters only to go back to them later may be confusing for younger readers. A mix of ancient history, futuristic adventure, scientific learning and creative imagination, woven around three best friends who must use their individual strengths to solve problems together. Utilizing age appropriate narrative, the book deals with family issues, friendships, loss, jealousy, grief and ultimately survival, understanding and healing. I would recommend this book (*& the series) to children who enjoy a book that doesn’t fit the normal definition of “book.” The characters are believable, with just enough futuristic karma to grab the attention of today’s high-tech kids. With four story lines developed to move from Volume One to Volume Two, your individual choices play-out before your eyes. I think parents should be made aware that it is necessary to purchase both volumes, because without the second volume some “choices” are not available, thus changing the outcome. With the website, more information should be available and it allows the kids to participate in activities related to the stories. Definitely worth reading, a solid 3.5 and destined to get better with each new installment.

Happy Reading!
-RJ

 

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Children’s Book Week *Nov. 12-18

     CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK:  NOVEMBER 12-18riseup-bookmark.gif

Celebrating the magic of the written word since 1919.

We are thrilled to participate in this nationally recognized campaign and sincerely hope that all parents, grandparents, care givers, librarians, teachers… Well, everyone will get involved and share the magic with the youngsters in your life!Looking for a great book to read this week:
 

3Rs
has recently reviewed these wonderful titles:
Sir Edgar Font’s Hunt for A House to Haunt
         *2books (by Patrick H.T. Doyle)
Cynthia’s Attic series
       *2books (by Mary Cunningham)
Coomacka Island series
         *3books (by Don Hooper)
Me & the Pumpkin Queen
           (by Marlane Kennedy)
The Entertainer & The Dybbuk
          (by Sid Fleischman)
Secret of the Lonely Grave
          (by Albert Bell, Jr)
Willow’s Bend
          (by Kat Michaels)
What’s On the Other Side of the Rainbow
         (by Carla Masterson)
Elwood’s Crown 
         (by Shannon Rumple)
Let’s Get Ready for …series
        (by Stacy Kannenberg)
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Edgar Font’s Hunt for A House to Haunt Adventure 2

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Re: Cynthia’s Attic books 1 & 2

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The Entertainer & the Dybbuk (youth)

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sid-fleischman-entertainer-and-the-dybbuk.jpg
The Entertainer and the Dybbuk
by Sid Fleischman
ISBN 10: 0061344451
ISBN 13: 9780061344459
Ages 9-14 | Grades 4-9 (young adult)
September 2007
Greenwillow Books, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

www.harpercollinschildrens.com
www.sidfleischman.com
Like so many things in life the story contains mystery, beauty, enchantment and horror. Dybbuk is Hebrew for “cleaving to” — and remains one of the most enduring beliefs in Jewish folklore. This is the basis for Sid Fleischman’s new book which reveals age appropriate information about the harsh cruelty inflicted upon the Jews during the Holocaust in a highly entertaining and unique way.

When twelve year old Avrom Amos, a dybbuk takes up residence in the body of an American ventriloquist what ensues is an eye opening, educational journey presented through a victim’s eyes… well, actually the voice is the conduit throughout the novel that allows the dybbuk to expose at least one Nazi SS commander, find justice for his murdered sister and himself, while at the same time bolstering the performance of The Great Freddie to new and unbelievable heights.

Filled with compassion and thought provoking facts delivered by a sassy dybbuk that has more than one or two ghostly tricks planned makes “The Entertainer and the Dybbuk” a delightful read for all ages. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and would recommend it highly and without hesitation!

Happy Reading!

RJ McGill

3Rs-Real Reader Reviews

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The Secret of The Lonely Grave

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 secrets-of-a-lonely-grave-by-albert-bell-jr.jpg

The Secret of The Lonely Grave
By Albert Bell, Jr.
  Youth
Paperback: 160 pages 

ISBN-10: 1932158790
ISBN-13: 978-1932158793
Ingalls Publishing Group
Trade Paper
July 2007

Although middle schoolers are the primary target audience, The Secret of The Lonely Grave is a strong, thought provoking read, that easily grabs the attention of book lovers of all ages. Set in Western Kentucky this is an entertaining story that tackles controversial, difficult and painful topics in meaningful, age appropriate ways. While the characters are dealing with contemporary issues such as child abuse, single parent homes and school bullies, there’s a valuable history lesson at the heart of the book, that shines the light of truth on racism, slavery, bigotry and the indelible human spirit.

Walking to and from the bus stop, best friends, Steve Patterson and Kendra Jordan pass the old cemetery where Kendra’s sister Moniqa is buried. They have visited the cemetery many times and have always been curious about one particular grave, that of six year old, Amanda, buried in the mid 1800’s. The grave was set off by itself, some distance from all the others, for that reason they nicknamed it “the lonely grave.” When they notice flowers on the forgotten grave, they decide to stake out the cemetery. Thinking if they identify who is visiting the grave they can solve the mystery.

The friends soon discover the identity of the mysterious visitor– a recently widowed college professor, named Doc. Intelligent and kind, he too had been intrigued by the “lonely grave.” Doc guides the two friends as they spend the summer researching church and historical society records and talking with local residents. When they find evidence that suggests the infamous Underground Railroad may have passed through their small town, they realize this mystery goes far beyond the little girl’s grave.

Steve’s grandparents are anything but enthusiastic about his detective exploits and demonstrate a hush-hush attitude. It now seemed entirely possible that his family had taken part in the betrayal of a local family that had assisted many escaped slaves well over a hundred years ago.

Confronting difficult topics with a stylistic flair that educates and entertains, Bell utilizes modern themes and incorporates present day challenges into the lives of the characters. The story provides a forum for open discussions about the impact of slavery, equality and the power of the human spirit.

An informative, entertaining and thought provoking read, I recommend this book to all young readers. It would be beneficial for middle school history classes to add this book to their reading lists.

Happy Reading!
RJ xx

 

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Re: Me & the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy (youth)

me-and-the-pumpkin-queen.jpg
Me and the Pumpkin Queen
Marlane Kennedy
Children’s Fiction (ages:8-12/grades:3-7)
July 2007
trade: ISBN -10: 0-06-114022-8  ISBN-13: 978-0-06-114022-8
library: ISBN-10: 0-06-114023-6  ISBN-13: 978-0-06-114023-5
Trade $15.99US/$19.99Can Library $16.89US/$20.89Can
Greenwillow Books An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
www.HarperCollinsChilderns.com

www.marlanekennedy.com

To honor her Mom, eleven year old Mildred is determined to win the Circleville, Ohio, Pumpkin Show and fulfill a dream left undone by her mother’s untimely death. However, with each passing season something goes inherently wrong and her dreams are dashed again and again. Aunt Arlene is more than a bit concerned about Mildred’s apparent obsession with pumpkins and tries, in her overtly pushy way, to persuade her niece to pursue more feminine interests, such as make up and fancy clothing. Thankfully, Mildred’s dad doesn’t agree with Auntie Arlene and continues to support his daughter and her individual dreams.

Knowing and understanding his only daughter in ways that only a father can, he is able to challenge Mildred to take her future into her own hands and follow her heart with unbridled passion. Thus allowing herself to grow into the incredible young woman her mother always knew she would one day become.Kennedy’s attention to detail proves this to be a well researched novel that introduces readers to the relatively unknown competitions that require much more than good seeds and luck to produce a thousand pound champion.

Well crafted and heartwarming, the characters could easily be members of your own family or next door neighbors. The narrative reads like a family tale told over a huge dinner, with lots of laughs, a few tears and the busy body aunt that always means well but just can’t quite find the right way to express herself without appearing… well, pushy. This is a coming of age tale that will be enjoyed by all, despite their age. A magical journey that is more about Mildred’s inner growth than that of her pumpkins. Chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection, Marlane Kennedy’s solo debut, Me and the Pumpkin Queen is a first place read.

Happy Reading!
RJ xx
3Rs-Reading Den©

*Marlane Kennedy’s solo debut, “Me & the Pumpkin Queen” was a sweet read – that addresses
emotional issues (i.e. loss of a parent, being an individual, pursuing your dream despite setbacks, etc)
in age appropriate ways.  Great to share as a bed time story or as a gift for the mid-level reader!

 

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Re: Sir Edgar Font’s Search (book 1)by Patrick Doyle (youth)

small-edgar-font-tower.jpg

Edgar Font’s Hunt for a House to Haunt:
Adventure One The Castle Tower Lighthouse
Author: Patrick H. T. DoyleI
llustrator: Patrick H. T. Doyle
Pages: 220
ISBN: 0-9786132-0-1
Price: $6.99 US/$11.99 CAN
Publisher: Armadillo Books
http://www.armadillo-books.com/
www.edgarfont.com

If I told you this story began with an old man pointing the way to a secret door in a dream, what would you say? Yet, that is exactly how Patrick H.T. Doyle discovered the leatherbound journal in the attic of his home. Inside he read the most wonderful stories, each describing the adventures of a trusted grandpa and two adoring grandchildren, Audrey and Garrett. Through his imagination and incredible storytelling abilities, Doyle has delivered a new kind of adventure book, that is destined to be a favorite for young and old alike.

The last time the kids had seen grandpa was three years earlier, at their Mother’s funeral. Garrett remembered his bushy moustache and that he lived in a tree house on an island somewhere. Audrey recalled the fantastic stories he had shared during their visits. How he explored pyramids in Egypt, surfed waves in Australia and climbed Mount Everest, twice. Yes, Grandpa was a true explorer. Now everyone referred to him as eccentric. Which of course to the kids simply meant he was weird. Now they would be spending the entire summer with him at his apartment in The Sterling Oaks Retirement Village. Translated into kids english – “boring, boring, and boring.” But, they could not have been more wrong. This would be a summer they would never forget.

Sir Edgar Font has lived an exciting life and certainly intends to continue his quirky ways after he passes from this world into the next. So begins his search for the perfect house to haunt. The Retirement Village was filled with lonely, bored ghosts and that was no place for him. As grandpa explained his plans to his wide eyed grandchildren he was met with skeptisim and questions.Later that night after having seen a ghost at the dinner table, they exited down the emergency steps and made their way to the “Adventure Wagon.” This wagon will take us anywhere we want to go and our first destination will be the Lighthouse, grandpa told them.

The Castle Tower Lighthouse holds many puzzles, secrets, and mysteries, each waiting to be discovered. Beyond all the games there are life lessons being taught through out this book. Dealing with the loss of someone you love, like the death of Audrey and Garrett’s Mother and learning to look beyond that which seems obvious, are only two of the many wonderfully woven stories that both entertain and teach. As a companion and beautifully complimenting the adventures within the book, the website offers many hours of fun and puzzle solving.

Patrick H.T. Doyle has delivered a truly new and refreshing alternative to the books currently available.This could easily be a review filled with all the raving adjectives, because each and every one has been earned. Excellent, engaging, suspense filled, action packed, I could list them all. However, it is far more important to point out that this is not just a children’s book or for young adults. For all the parents out there who have searched for a great story to read to your children before bed, this is it! I have no doubt, children everywhere will be asking, “is it bed-time yet”? For all the children looking for an affordable book that is entertaining and fun, here it is! And lastly for all the adults who enjoy discovering a new author that has truly created something different, look no further, you have found it! And with the second book in this adventure series available in July, this is the perfect time to get introduced to Sir Edgar Font.

Happy Reading!  
  RJ xx

Submitted & Acknowledged 

*Patrick H.T. Doyle’s imagination and ability to bring the true exploits of these three loveable characters to readers is an accomplishment in and of itself. When combined with the multi-layered experience of the book, adventure blog, and website this is truly a one of a kind experience.
Stop by Sir Edgar Font’s Website. There are lots of cool things to explore. And don’t forget to check on the “traveling 5″… Five copies of the book are traveling from reader to reader, around the globe.Visit the Story Tellers Adventure Blog where Patrick has answered questions, talks about the next book & lots of information.
 

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