Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#42 Framed

Gordon Korman wrote this awesome book to follow Swindle and Zoobreak. In this book, Griffin Bing has been accused of stealing a valuable Super Bowl ring right out of the display case at school. Everything points to his guilt: especially the fact that the ring was replaced by his retainer!

However, Griffin and his friends know for sure that he didn't have anything to do with it, and they are going to prove it! Everything gets even more challenging though when all of their attempts to prove Griffin innocent just get him into more trouble, and he is kicked out of school and sent to the JFK (Jail For Kids) school.

This book will keep you laughing - and you won't want to put it down until you've finished the whole thing!

Gordon Korman's website is:

#41 A Crooked Kind of Perfect

This is the story of Zoe Elias: a girl who dreams of being a famous piano player. She can't wait to get her own beautiful piano, take lessons, be pronounced a protege, and play in Carnegie Hall. Things don't go quite as planned, however, and instead of a piano Zoe gets a wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag organ.

When I was a little girl I took many years of piano lessons. I even played in my share of piano contests, and even had a couple of performances in huge auditoriums. Reading Zoe's story made me think back to my own!

There are definitely some quirky characters in this book! Zoe's Dad is sweet, but can be frustrating, since he can't even leave the house and he gets upset about everything. Zoe's Mom works way too hard and is never home: she doesn't even think she can come to the contest to see Zoe play. One of my favorite characters, though, is Wheeler Diggs. He becomes a pretty good friend, but he can be pretty annoying as well!

Whether or not you take piano lessons, I think you will love reading this book!

Monday, December 27, 2010

#40 Secrets of Dripping Fang: The Onts (Book 1)

The Onts is a book I have intended to read for quite some time and just never got around to it. Am I ever glad I did! The great language in this book had me reading it outloud to my family and laughing as I read. I enjoyed it thoroughly!

The Schluffmuffin twins, Wally and Cheyenne, are orphans longing for a home and family of their own. Finally the Mandible sisters visit the Jolly Days Orphanage and ask for children just like them! Cheyenne thinks this is the best thing that could ever happen to them - especially when they are fed banana splits and chocolate cake - but Wally is continually worried that bad things will happen. It turns out that Wally is right...and that is just the beginning!

Now on to the rest of the series!! You can learn more about author Dan Greenburg here:

Monday, December 20, 2010

39 Iced (Crime through Time series)

If you like solving mysteries, and if you like learning about history, these books are just right for you! In each story there is a young sleuth who is trying to solve one of the mysteries from the past. In Iced, Nick Fitzmorgan's father has disappeared. He has left a strange array of clues for Nick to piece together - which lead Nick to Mount Everest.

Every few pages you'll find information about being a detective, the historic event, or something related to the case. In addition, the final pages of the book give even more information about the mysteries of the book.

These books are entertaining: they will keep you on the edge of your seat! In addition, they're not very lengthy, so if you've been feeling like many of the books I've reviewed have been way too long, these are for you!

I learned a lot about mountain climbing - and some of the mystery surrounding the first person to climb Mt. Everest. Give it a try!

Here are some of the other titles in the series:

Monday, December 13, 2010

#38 Funny Business

Okay Boys - this one's for you! Jon Scieszka edited this collection of stories that are just what you love. There is just the right amount of humor, scary stuff and things that will gross you out.

This book has stories by all of your favorite authors: Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo & Jon Scieszka, Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, and David Yoo.

The story by Eoin Colfer, titled Artemis Begins, talks about Eoin's prankster brother and how he based the character in Artemis Fowl on him. There's a goofy history project that just doesn't work out, a crabby old grandpa with great memories to tell, and an evil turkey who takes over a household. One of my favorites was called Dear Lady Author. It's co-written by Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo, and it shares the story of a boy who has to write to an author for a school assignment. He asks her questions, but her answers aren't anything like he thinks they should be.

And you recognize those other authors, right? Christopher Paul Curtis wrote Bud, Not Buddy. Jack Gantos wrote the Joey Pigza books. Jeff Kinney? I'm sure you know him as the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

These fun stories are sure to get you excited about reading - so check them out!

Friday, December 10, 2010

#37 The Capture

After hearing many requests from students asking me to read the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, I finally took the plunge and read The Capture. I wasn't so sure I'd enjoy a story about owls, but I really did - and I learned a lot about these amazing birds in the process.

Poor little Soren falls from his nest while his parents are out hunting. Before he can figure out a way back to safety he is captured by the strange yellow-eyed owls. He finds himself in what he is told is an orphanage, the St. Aegoluis Academy for Orphaned Owls, but what he discovers there is very unusual indeed. Fortunately Soren makes friends with a tiny owl named Gylfie and they know they must escape...but will they be able to? And what will they find when they leave?

I know this series is huge, and I'm not sure that I'll take time to read the rest of the series right now, but I will certainly pick up the next book sometime. I just can't wait to read what happens next! Soren has strong feelings "deep within his gizzard" and they help him to search out what he believes is the truth. I think people have those same kind of feelings. Do you?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#36 I Dare You!

This book is the 4th one in the Ghost Detectors series. Malcolm and Dandy can't wait to get out of school and go to the Franklin County Fair. They try all their favorite rides - but something strange seems to be going on at the Screaming Mansion. All of the people who enter are coming out scared to death - and when Dandy and Malcolm go through it they discover more than just a stray cat!

This series has 6 fun, scary books. They're quick reads - just enough to give you a little scare!

#35 The Ghost of J. Stokely

Jared and his younger brother Caleb are traveling to Eagle Point for a fun camping trip. At first it seems like they'll have a great time, but the clerk at the outfitters store tells them not to go, and when they arrive they can tell there has been a fire. Then they see the campground caretaker's burned cabin and they realize that the caretaker is not longer around. But is he dead? Or could he be a ghost?

This book will have you turning the pages as fast as you can read them. It has just the right amount of mystery - enough to make you shiver, but not so much that you can't sleep at night. If you like ghost stories, you may want to give these books a try!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One-third of the way there!!

Hey Fourth-Graders!

Several of you have recommended great books to me in class, in the library, or even in the Pine Meadow hallways. However, I haven't had a chance to write them all down. Please record your recommended titles in the comment areas so I know what to read next.

It's been really hard to select books to read and write about: there are so many wonderful choices! Also, since I just started recording this blog this year I'm only including books I'm reading this year. I have always loved to read as many of our library books as I can - so if I don't include a book it might be because I already read it.

Keep those suggestions coming!

#34 This Chicken doesn't Skate

Milo Neal's science fair project, the "complete life cycle of a link in the food chain", stars Henrietta, a chicken. But somehow Henrietta ends up on the bench of the South Middle School Rangers hockey team. The team is in a big slump and having Henrietta as their mascot seems to bring them all together.

Pretty soon the hockey season, the science fair, and even the chicken's future are all up in the air. Can they all be saved?

This story is told by a number of different characters - the hockey star, the class dweeb, the animal rights activist. I love their chicken humor, and I love the way everything turns out all right in the end. This Chicken doesn't Skate will have you laughing out loud with every page you turn.

#33 Sent: The Missing: Book 2

Upon finishing the first book in The Missing series by Katherine Peterson Haddix I couldn't wait to read the next book, Sent. In this book Jonah and Katherine accompany Chip and Alex to the year 1483. They find themselves in the Tower of London - and they learn that Chip and Alex were Edward and Richard - princes, and heirs to the thrown.

Katherine and Jonah must uncover the secrets of the past and grab Chip and Alex just in time to whisk them back (unharmed) to the present. I found myself once again on the edge of my seat as I traveled through this page-turner! I love the historical fiction aspect of the book - and I can't wait to read the next installment in the series and see what time period the children travel to next. I'm also really curious about Jonah, and his identity in history.

Fourth graders - this is one exciting and adventurous series. I know that many of you began to read Found because of the Maud Hart Lovelace book club. Keep reading: you'll be glad you did!

Friday, November 26, 2010

#32 Found: The Missing: Book 1

Wow!! I just finished reading Found, the first book in the Missing series, and I can't wait to read the next one - and to tell you about it!

You always ask me this first, so I'll answer the easy question "Did you like it?" with a resounding "Yes!! I loved it!!"

When Jonah and his friend, Chip, each receive a mysterious letter in the mail declaring them "among the missing". Jonah's sister Katherine gets involved and the three begin a nail-biting adventure trying to answer the questions of who they are, what happened to them, and why they are being pursued. Everything around them is a mystery - and it is one that is definitely adventure-packed!

The book begins with a mysterious airplane landing. There are no pilots or flight attendants, but the plan is filled with 36 babies. Where did the plane come from, and more importantly, what do these 36 children have in common?

One of my all-time favorite books was one I read back when I was in 5th grade. It was a book about time travel - a famous book called A Wrinkle in Time. I loved the concept back then, and I still love it today!!

PME 4th graders: you will love this book! (Now leave me alone so I can start on Book 2: Sent.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#31 The Teacher who Forgot Too Much

One of the books in the Fieldtrip Myteries series, The Teacher who Forgot Too Much tells the story of Cat, Sam, Gum and Egg (great nicknames, huh?) and their attempts to solve all of the mysteries that take place on their school field trips.

This field trip is to the recycling center, where something is definitely wrong - all the machines have stopped recycling, and the trucks are being sent to the landfill instead. Can you help solve the mystery with the clues you've been given?

These stories end with a report, a detective glossary, and a few fun extras. They are short and easy to read - and if you're looking for a quick read that has a bit of mystery, this just may be the series for you.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

#30 Red Zone

Red Zone is the fourth book in this series by real football stars Tiki and Ronde Barber. The story continues as their 8th grade football team is competing in the playoofs and hoping to win the state title. Things aren't looking so good, however, and it appears the Eagles may not even make it to the finals.

Being a huge sports fan, I just love reading stories about football! This series is especially interesting to me because I enjoyed watching both Tiki and Ronde Barber in the NFL. When they talk about the game it is so realistic - and when they tell stories about teamwork, you just know they've been there.

Do you like sports? Then read these great football books. You'll feel like you're part of the game!

#29 The Night Flyers

Set in 1918, The Night Flyers is the story of Pam Lowder, a young girl who is caring for her family's homing pigeons while her father is away fighting in World War I. A mysterious stranger comes to town and he has a very strong interest in Pam's pigeons. The excitement mounts as Pam's pigeons start disappearing, and someone seems to be sneaking around her farm.

The Night Flyers is my second American Girl History Mysteries selection. This is an awesome series! Each one teaches so much about a specific time in history, and also keeps you on the edge of your seat with a great mystery. I expect these books to be flying off the shelves - so check them out today!

#28 Hoofbeats of Danger

If you love adventure and mystery, and I know many of you do, you are going to love Hoofbeats of Danger. Set in 1860, this book tells the story of the Pony Express. Annie Dawson's family is in charge of one of the stations along the Express. They take care of the horses and riders along the express route, and also serve as a place stop along the way for covered wagons and stage coaches traveling along the Oregon Trail.

First and foremost, Hoofbeats of Dangerous is a great story! I couldn't put it down! Annie's favorite pony, Magpie, has gone loco and it looks like she'll have to be shot. Annie is courageous and does whatever she can to help Magpie - but in the meantime it looks as if someone is trying to get her Dad fired!

In the back of the book there is a great article giving more information about the Pony Express and the way of life in 1860, so even though the story is make-believe, it all could have happened.

American Girl publishes this great series of books called History Mysteries. Boys, don't let the fact that they're published by American Girl scare you away: these books are awesome!

#27 Everything for a Dog

Awwww...Don't we all just love dog books! This story is sure to be one of your favorites! It is written as a companion book to A Dog's Life, also by Ann M. Martin.

There are really three stories in this book. The first is a story of Bone, a stray dog, who would like nothing better than a real family of his own. The next story is of a boy named Charlie, who is dealing with a terrible loss. There is also the story of Henry, and this is the one that gives the book its name: Henry would do anything for a dog of his own.

You will be amazed at how the three stories come together! I loved this book - and I think you will too! Check it out today!!

Our library is filled with books by Ann M. Martin (over 150!!) so if you like this book, check out FIC MAR for more books by the same author!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

#26 The Ball Hogs

The Ball Hogs is the first book in the Kickers series.

Ben is on his first soccer team - and he is excited! Everything would be perfect if it wasn't for Mark, a new kids who always hogs the ball. Throughout the story Ben and Mark struggle to get along and both think the other player is hogging the ball. If only they could work together!

If you like books about soccer, or any sport, you're sure to enjoy this new series by Rich Wallace.

I won't write about all of the other books - but here are the covers for Book 2, Fake Out, and Book 3, Benched. Keep yours eyes open too, because I think book 4 is due out soon!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

#25 The Long-Lost Map

I admit it: I am now hooked on the Ulysses Moore series!! This story begins with Julia, Jason and Rick running away from what seems to be an explosion - but only Julia making it back!

With the help of Maruk, an Egyptian girl, Jason and Rick continue to follow the clues to find the long-lost map. There seems to be danger around every corner - but things turn even worse when Oblivia Newton appears to be seeking the same map.

Meanwhile, back at Argo Mansion, Nestor and Julia have their hands full, as Ms. Newton's assistant, Manfred, has returned and is threatening their safety.

If you like adventure and action this book is certainly for you! Now I can't wait to read the third book and see what happens next!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#24 No Talking

I have to admit that when I read this book I thought to myself, "These teachers are crazy! Why would they be worried just because the kids are being quiet? That sounds like a dream!"

Oh I'm just kidding!

This awesome story is about Dave and Lynsey - and their challenge to the entire 5th grade class to not talk for 48 hours. They realize this would cause some problems, so they come up with a few rules. My favorite rule: You are allowed to answer a question asked by a teacher or parent - but only 3 words! Their wild challenge disrupts the entire school, but after listening to the noise in our cafeteria some days I really thought it would be a nice change! Don't you think so?

I first heard Andrew Clements speak right after he had published the book Frindle back in 1997. His school stories are some of my favorites, and I hope you're enjoying them too! If you can tell me one of the titles of another book he's written I'll give you a pencil. Just stop by any time and we'll see how many pencils I can give away!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

#23 The Door to Time

This first book in the Ulysses Moore series brings twins, Jason and Julia, to a huge mansion on the coast. Mystery definitely surrounds the house, and things get really exciting as Nestor, the caretaker leaves the kids, along with their friend Rick, alone in the house to explore all of the unusual and amazing clues left behind by the previous owner.

After solving many riddles, and surviving some terrifying moments, the children discover the secrets hidden beneath the house...and the story ends! Never fear, however, as many additional adventures are planned in more books about Julia, Jason and Rick. I can't wait to read the next one so I can discover the clues they find as they travel to Egypt!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

#22 Bobby Versus Girls (Accidentally)

Bobby and Holly are friends - but having a friend who's a girl can be tough when you're in the 4th grade. Things get even more difficult when Bobby accidentally brings about a bunch of events that pit the boys against the girls. It's pretty hard to be friends when you're supposed to be enemies!

This is a quick and easy read - so pick it up and see how everything comes out for Bobby and the other boys in his class!

#21 Confetti Girl

I have to admit it: I picked this book up at the book fair because I liked the cover. I think it's one of the greatest looking books I've seen in a long time! Now I know that's not a very good way to pick out a book - but it did turn out to be a pretty good one.

Lina and her best friend Vanessa are learning all about getting along in middle school. Sprinkled throughout the book are "dichos" (Spanish sayings like proverbs), and they are translated into English for the reader. I really like these, and I think they add a lot to the book. The situations are definitely "middle school": Lina has a crush on a boy, feels left out when Vanessa and her "boyfriend" spend more time together and less time with her, and doesn't want her Dad to find a woman to replace her Mom.

The story takes place in Texas, where the author, Diana Lopez lives. Confetti Girl is her first middle grade novel. I love the way she intersperses the hispanic culture and Spanish language into the story. Her website is:

#20 Million Dollar Throw

Imagine having the opportunity to throw a football through a hoop at halftime of an NFL football game - for a chance at one million dollars! Now imagine you're like Nate Brodie, the star of the 8th grade football team, and it should be a breeze, right?

If you are a football fan like me you'll really like the football in this book! Author Mike Lupica knows sports - and he makes it all seem very real.

However, on a deeper level, Million Dollar Throw is also a book about a kid dealing with the economic reality of his Dad losing his job and the medical reality of his best friend, Abby, losing her eyesight. There is much more to this story than just football!

Mike Lupica's official website is: Take a look!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

#19 Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Ivy June and Catherine are as different as two girls can be. They live miles apart in Kentucky - and Catherine's family is as well-to-do as Ivy June's is poor. Catherine lives in the big city and goes to a private school, while Ivy June attends a poor public school. The girls participate in a program where each girl is hosted by the other for two weeks. They are required to write a journal about their experiences and feelings while they're together. We get to read their journals, which really helps us get to know each girl.

You can imagine the difficulties both girls have, both in school and in each others' homes. Both girls begin to understand how different their worlds are, but how similar they are. Will they get along? What would it be like to have an exchange like this?

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is one of my favorite authors. If you enjoy this book, there are many others that you will love just as much! The author does a great job of making us sympathize with both girls, and she makes us feel like we've met two new friends!

Enjoy more information about Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and her books at:

#18 The Magical Ms. Plum

Move over Wayside School: welcome to Ms. Plum's classroom! This 3rd grade classroom is unusual because Ms. Plum has magic ways of taking care of any child's problem. Whether they have trouble speaking English, are feeling shy, can't seem to keep things neat, or see the world through "rose-colored glasses", Ms. Plum has a solution in her supply closet.

The chapters in this book are short and easy to read, and each one tells its own little story. Although Ms. Plum only teaches 3rd graders, I think 4th graders will enjoy reading the book - and perhaps can learn some of the same lessons that Ms. Plum's students learn in the book.

Need a fun little book about school? Check out The Magical Ms. Plum by Bonny Becker. Oh - and if you need a fun story for a younger brother or sister you might want to look at some of Bonny Becker's picture books. You can learn all about her at her website:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

#17 How to Steal a Dog

"Sometimes, the more you stir it, the more it stinks."

I think that's my favorite line from How to Steal a Dog. It sure seems to be true in this story, where Georgina comes up with a plan to steal a dog in order to solve her family's financial troubles and finally find a real house to live in.

I learned so much about the difficulties other people deal with in this book: poor Georgina has so many issues just because she doesn't have a home to go to, but has to live in her car. It really helped me become more sympathetic to others. I would rate this one of the best books I read this year so far. It was funny, adventurous and really a blast to read.

Barbara O'Connor has a neat website that you'll want to take a look at: There is also a wonderful interview with her at the end of the book. Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

#16 Katie Kazoo Switcheroo: Don't Be Such A Turkey!

Katie Kazoo and her class are visiting a pilgrim village, but as usual, things don't go as planned for Katie. A big wind comes up again, and Katie becomes Patience Mitchell, the corn husk doll maker. Since Katie doesn't know how to make corn husk dolls, this is sure to turn out badly, and before she knows it, Katie, I mean, Patience, is fired from her job! How can this one turn out well?

Katie's family is heading to New York to celebrate Thanksgiving and to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Are Katie's adventures over? You'll want to read this fun short story and find out for yourself.

You may also enjoy the Katie Kazoo webpage - with fun and games for everyone! Visit it at

Friday, October 22, 2010

#15 Muttley

Don't you just love puppies? Charles and Lizzie Peterson do! They volunteer at an animal shelter, where they meet Muttley, and take him into their home as a foster puppy. But Muttley is not like other dogs. He wants to sleep all the time. Lizzie doesn't think anyone will ever adopt him when he's always lying around.

While working at the animal shelter Lizzie learns a lot more about herself, too, which I think makes people who are reading the book think about themselves - and what they do to make friends with others.

After reading this book you might want to read all of the other Puppy Place books, and you might even want to volunteer at the local animal shelter! I know they need people to help out there, just like at Caring Paws in the story. So, curl up with your favorite dog (or cat!) and enjoy this great story today!

#14 I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912

Wow! If you like adventure, you've just got to read this book!

George and his little sister are lucky enough to get to travel on the Titanic: they even meet the man who designed the ship! George is a very curious (and mischievous) ten year old. He gets in a little trouble on the ship, but it's a great way for the reader to find out more about the Titanic. George discovered the third-class area, (where he meets new friends by the boiler room), the baggage area and he even slid down the banisters!

Even though we all know how the story ends, this book gives us a lot of wonderful information about the Titanic, the time period, and George's home in upstate New York. I couldn't put it down - and I'll bet most of the readers at Pine Meadow won't be able to either!

This is the first book in a series of 6 about surviving historical events. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book: I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#13 Eleven

Sam is turning eleven years old, and before his birthday he looks everywhere for his present. (Do you do that? I remember doing that!) What Sam finds instead, however, is a newspaper clipping with a picture - a picture of Sam as a little boy! Stranger still, the headline says he is missing, and it gives a different last name for him.

Sam is confused and scared. He turns to a new friend, Caroline, and together they decide to solve the mystery of his life. They also become very close friends - and they create the most amazing project together!

Patricia Reilly Giff is a really good author: we have over 50 books by her in our library! She tells an excellent story once again. If you like this book, you'll want to try many of her others!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

#12 The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy

Poor Ordinary Boy! Everyone in Superopolis has a wonderful super power - except Ordinary Boy. He would give anything to have some kind of super power, and it is really fun to hear about all the super powers of his family and friends. His friends, Plasma Girl, Stench and Halogen Boy have some pretty unique powers, but his biggest hero is the Amazing Indestructo!

This is a quick read that is funny and has lots of adventure. I had a lot of fun with it, and was pleased to see that there are now three more titles in the series. I'm not sure I'll go rushing off to read them, but I promise I will get them on the library shelves so Ordinary Boy fans can check them out as soon as possible!

And if you were a super hero, what would your super power be? I'd like to be able to fly. Feel free to share a comment here and let me know what super power you'd have.

#11: Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children

I was wandering through Barnes & Noble and caught sight of this newest book by Andrew Clements. Ever since I read Frindle years ago, I have been a huge Andrew Clements fan. I bought this one right away and read it as soon as I got home. It did not disappoint!

It seems that Benjamin Pratt find the janitor, Mr. Keane, in need of medical attention. Mr. Keane entrusts Benjamin with a gold coin that is inscribed with the words ". . . Defend It. Duncan Oakes 1783.” So begins the story of a school that is going to be demolished and replaced by an amusement park. Benjamin and his friend Janet have a mystery on their hands, and they are determined to solve it before the school is closed.

This is the first book in the series, so it lays the groundwork and then leaves the reader with lots of questions. I can't wait to read the next book so I can find out the answers to all my questions. Based on the title I'm guessing Janet and Benjamin have a big fight ahead of them: but I certainly hope they can save the school!

If you are as big an Andrew Clements fan as I am you will probably enjoy visiting his website at:

#10 How to Save your Tail

Or, as the full title states, How to Save Your Tail: if you are a rat nabbed by cats who really like stories about magic spoons, wolves with snout-warts, big, hairy, chimney trolls…and cookies, too.

I have to say I loved that Bob got into his messy situation because he was so distracted by a book. I also thought it was great that the author decided to name the rat Bob – I was expecting something a bit more fancy or fairy-tale-ish.

Have you ever been in a sticky situation, but were able to get out of it by telling a good story? Bob certainly knows how to tell stories! However, his stories sounded so familiar to me! I'm quite sure I know a story where a house of straw is blown down, where a giant lives in a castle at the top of a beanstalk, or where a person in a little red cape brings food to Grandma's house. I also thought I recognized Rumplestiltskin - and many other tales told by Bob.

This was a great easy story to read. It was certainly totally different from the Fablehaven series I just finished - and it is very suitable for your younger brothers and sisters. Say - you may want to read it aloud to them and see if they know some of Bob's tails...oops, I mean, tales!

#9 Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

Wow! This is definitely the most scary and most exciting book of the series!

The artifacts that are the keys to the dragon sanctuary are quickly being collected by the "bad guys", and Seth, Kendra and their grandparents (and other friends) don't seem to be able to do anything about it. It looks like the dragon sanctuary will be opened and the end of the world will arrive.

Of course Seth and Kendra have great ideas of their own, and are trying desperately to protect the world. They take on unbelievable risks as they battle, and they are not even certain if they always know who is fighting with them and who is actually fighting against them.

The book climaxes with a horrifying epic battle: exciting right up to the end!

You have to be a very good reader to make your way through all five books in this series. You may want to wait until you're in 5th or even 6th grade or older to attempt the entire series - but someday, especially if you like fantasy, these five books should be on your list of "books you must read". They are that good!

#8 Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary

This is the fourth Fablehaven book in the series - and it definitely is the most exciting so far! I think I mentioned that Kendra has a bit of a crush on one of the characters in Book 3. Well, you really have to keep reading to see what happens!

In Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Seth and Kendra are kidnapped, are chased by vampires, and even sneak into a dragon sanctuary to steal an artifact. There is so much excitement and adventure I don't know where to begin in telling you about it! I guess the only thing to say is: if you love fantasy stories (and you aren't bothered by some scary situations) start with book #1 and read your way through the entire series. You'll be glad you did!!

#7 Fablehaven 3: Grip of the Shadow Plague

Kendra and Seth are back at Fablehaven for yet another exciting adventure!

I am recommending the Fablehaven titles only to students in grades 4 and above: the fear factor can be a bit high at times. The fantastical creature are amazing - and it is really fun to see them close-up! I love how their personalities shine. I especially enjoy the satyrs, who are very comical, and make really good mischievous friends for Seth. I don't like the centaurs, who don't want to do anything to help Seth, Kendra and Fablehaven.

Kendra gets a bit of a crush on one character in this book, so for those of you who like romance, I think you'll enjoy it! And since I started reading this series I've decided I just have to continue on and read them all...and although I don't usually select fantasy, I am really excited about reading the next book! Let me know if you've been reading the Fablehaven series as well, okay?

#6 Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star

At the end of the school year, Kendra and Seth are allowed to go back to Fablehaven for the summer. The story takes up right where it left off - with many more adventures and some risky behavior by Seth.

I just couldn't stop reading the series once I got into it, and I thought this second book in the series was even more exciting than the I couldn't wait for the third!

If you are frightened by scary stories, these books are probably not the ones you'll want to read: they can be pretty scary. They are fast-paced and exciting, and they will definitely keep you interested!

#5 Fablehaven

Do you like fantasy? I admit that it is not always my favorite type of book - but I really wanted to read this series to find out if it was appropriate for my friends at Pine Meadow.

Kendra and Seth go to stay with their grandparents (isn't that where all fun things happen?), and soon it becomes apparent to them that something strange is happening there. It isn't long before they begin to recognize the fairies and other creatures that abound on the Fablehaven grounds - so Grandma and Grandpa fill them in on what is happening.

The fairy tale creatures are amazing! I especially love the cow who gives the milk which allows them to see the fairies! The relationship between Seth and Kendra is typical of a brother and sister: Kendra always seem to be bossing Seth around, and he is a bit mischievous and daring!

When I was reading about Halloween night I was on the edge of my seat - and I couldn't believe it when Seth opened the window and let in the scary creatures surrounding the house! I just knew when I finished the first book that I would have to check out the second and keep on reading this great series!

Here's a link to a fun website on Brandon Mull, the author of Fablehaven.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#4 The Sloppy Copy Slipup

Just like at Pine Meadow, the students in Brian's class have to do some writing assignments. Brian's problems start when he has writer's block, and just can't think of anything to write about. He begins to tell a wild tale about all of the things that have prevented him from writing - and his story just gets more and more wild! Brian learns that he really has a great imagination, and he gives the readers lots of great tips for writing along the way.

Although I didn't think Brian was always acting very respectful (he just wasn't quite "in the zone" some of the time), I really enjoyed the way he told his wild tale. I also thought the tips in the book were excellent. I've always loved writing, and have wanted to spend more time writing. Brian made me realize that I just need to write my words down...because I have great stories to tell too! In fact, we all do!

#3 The Coastwatcher

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres (that means "writing style"). This story is based on a period of time when families were worried about the polio outbreak, so Hugh's family moves out to the beach house in South Carolina to avoid being around other people who might be ill.

Hugh spends his time watching the coast, believing that one day he will spot a submarine. You have to understand that 1943 was a scary time. The US had been attacked at Pearl Harbor, and people on the coast were very afraid that the Germans would come ashore in another location. So Hugh looks through his binoculars every day...and sure enough, one day he thinks he sees a German submarine! But will anyone believe him?

This story will keep you entertained, but it will teach you some history at the same time. I thought it was amazing the way Hugh took his watch so seriously, and when he did see the submarine he did everything he could to keep his family safe. I wonder if I would be so brave?

#2 The Lemonade War

I have to admit that The Lemonade War is one of the best books I've read in a long time! I could totally understand how both Evan and Jessie felt as they learned they would be in the same classroom. When I was growing up I had an older brother, Tim, who was just one year older than me. Although we were great friends at home, it seemed like we never agreed on anything when we were at school!

I think everyone at Pine Meadow will love this book! There are some very funny parts - when both Jessie and Evan are trying to outdo eachother in their lemonade sales - but there are also some times in the story when you can see how bad each of the children feels.

The Lemonade War also made me think of the lemonade stands that the kids in my neighborhood have in the summer. Although I sometimes bought a glass or two, I can't imagine that any of them were ever able to earn $100!

#1 Deep and Dark and Dangerous

Do you like scary stories? I do, and you really have to if you're going to take this one on. It is SCARY! It even gave me a few nightmares, so if you don't want to be scared, stay away!

Claire, the main character in this story, travels to the lake with her Aunt Dulcie to help take care of her cousin while her aunt does her artwork. The book gets scarier when Claire and her cousin Emma meet a new friend, Sissy, and they get downright spooky when Claire begins to think that Sissy is a ghost! Do you believe in ghosts? This book will surely send shivers up your spine.

I loved the story, and I thought it was very well-written and fun to read. However, it is a very scary book, so beware! I have a feeling, though, that it will be one of the favorites for our Pine Meadow fourth graders!

One hundred books in one year!

All right, I have officially taken the one hundred book challenge! I am going to try to read 100 of our Pine Meadow library books this school year - and tell you all about them.

For those of you who are avid readers this probably doesn't sound like such a huge task. However, in addition to these books I am also reading "adult books" (like those for my book club), technology books (to keep up with the computer part of my job), and just the pile of books I want to read!

Anyway, for all my student friends at Pine Meadow I'm going to us this blog to tell you all about the books I'm reading. I hope you'll want to read some of them and let me know what you think, and tell me all about the books you're reading, too!

Here we go: happy reading!!