New Book Reviews for Kids

New Book Reviews

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy

by Dori Hillestad Butler

Reading Level: Grades 1-3

King, a golden retriever, is in the p-o-u-n-d and he doesn't know why! His family, Dad and Kayla (Mom is in the National Guard and not at home) went on vacation to Grandma's house and they never came home!

But now that King is in the pound, other families are looking at him and he is ADOPTED!!!! His new family calls him Buddy! How can King be adopted when Kayla and Dad are missing and he needs to find them?

Buddy/King likes his new family - Conor and Mom are great and have lots of liver treats, plus they live near Kayla's house, so Buddy/King can get clues about his first family's disappearance.

Then Conor goes missing, and Buddy/King has TWO missing families to find.  Can he do it?

This series is great for beginning readers looking for longer but not too much more advanced chapter books with good but not scary mysteries! This reviewer has read the first four so far and is anxiously awaiting the fifth!

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Illustrator: Jeremy Tugeau Reading Level: 1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Adventure, Animals--Talking, Books for Boys, Family, Friends, Humor, Mysteries Location: J Fiction
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The Abandoned Lighthouse

by Albert Lamb

Grades K-2

When a bear falls asleep in a rowboat and the tide comes in, the boat floats out to sea, landing at a lighthouse.

A boy loses his ball in the same rowboat, and floats out to sea with his little dog, landing at the lighthouse - where the lonely bear is happy to see them.

The three new friends go fishing to catch their diner - but then a storm comes and the little dog, boy, and bear are frightened; they turn on the lighthouse light and stop a ship from crashing into the lighthouse island.

A short adventure of three new friends and the power of a lighthouse, Lamb's story will make a fantastic, day-dreamy read-aloud.

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Illustrator: David McPhail Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Adventure, Animals--Real, Books for Boys, Friends, Read-Alouds Location: JP Fiction
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Melvin and the Boy

by Lauren Castillo

Reading Level: PreK- Grade 2

When a young boy sees a turtle basking at the park one day, he knows it will be the PERFECT pet. 

But when he gets Melvin home, the turtle doesn't seem to be enjoying himself at all.

How can Melvin be the perfect pet if he isn't happy?

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Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Real, Friends, Read-Alouds, Realistic Fiction Location: Picture Books
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Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off

by Herman Parish

Grades K-2

Amelia Bedelia is back again... and this time she's in a baking contest! What silly antics will she get up to this time?  Who knows... but they're bound to be delicious.

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Illustrator: Lynn Sweat Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Books for Girls, Friends, Humor, Misfits, Read-Alouds Location: JP Fiction
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Happy Pig Day!

by Mo Willems

Reading Level: Everyone!

Piggie is excited to celebrate Pig Day, and Gerald is sad because, well, he isn't a pig... so how can he possibly celebrate Pig Day with his very best friend?

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Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Friends, Humor, Read-Alouds Location: JP Fiction
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Bluefish

by Pat Schmatz

Grades 5+

You probably learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, maybe even sooner. Maybe it's a little hard for you, maybe it got easier as you read more and more, maybe you can't stop reading. 

But you did learn to read - good at it or not, loving it or not.

For Travis, that never happened. From kindergarten until seventh grade, he never let anyone see that he couldn't read - and no one knew - not even his teachers. When Travis and his grandpa move to a new town, and he begins at a new school, Travis isn't worried that he'll have trouble hiding his secret - until he gets his schedule.

Fourth period. Reading class. Room 134. Mr. McQueen.

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Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Boys, Don't Miss These, Family, Friends, Misfits, Read-Alouds, Realistic Fiction, Relationships, School, Self Image, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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A Monster Calls: Inspired from an Idea by Siobhan Dowd

by Patrick Ness

Grades 5+

Have you ever read a book that made you cry?  Ever read a book that, once you were finished, you just sat with and held for a while, letting the words sink into you, not wanting to have finished it?  Ever read a book that you couldn't stop thinking about after you finished?  Ever read a book that was so true and real you experienced the whole thing in your mind as you read?  This is one of those books.

Hauntingly, chillingly written with formidable illustration, A Monster Calls tells the story of a boy named Conor. Conor has terrible, monstrous nightmares; one day he looks out his bedroom window to see a monster looking back at him - but not the one from his nightmares.  This monster wants something of Conor, but before it gets it, it will tell Conor three stories. 

When the three stories are finished, it will be Conor's turn.  And he will have to tell his story.

The truth. 

If you read one book this year, this reviewer hopes it's this one. 

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Books by Siobhan Dowd
Siobhan Dowd, children's and young adult author, passed away from breast cancer in 2007. Among the things left behind was the idea for A Monster Calls, which Patrick Ness has written in her memory.

*Title also owned on My Media Mall

Illustrator: Jim Kay Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers,Adults Subjects: Books for Boys, Crime and Punishment, Don't Miss These, Family, Fantasy, Friends, In Other Lands, Misfits, Read-Alouds, School, Self Image, Social Issues, Supernatural, Survival Location: JY Fiction
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Jefferson's Sons

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Grades 5-9
Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson lived at the plantation Monticello and kept slaves to work in his fields, farm and home. One of his slaves was a woman named Sally Hemings, mother to four of Jefferson's children - Beverly, Harriet, Maddy, and Eston.  Though slaves, the children and their mother were given special treatment by Jefferson because of his discreet relationship to them - but nevertheless, slaves they remained. 

Master Jefferson promises freedom to all four of his slave children upon their twenty-first birthdays, but Beverly, the eldest, cannot imagine leaving his mother, sister, brothers - but especially his father. Light-skinned and longing for a father figure, Beverly struggles with the secrecy of Jefferson's nonpublic identity as his father, especially when Jefferson presents him and his brothers with a kit violin and lessons. He and his siblings imagine a life where his mother, siblings and father could live openly together as a real family; a life that did not involve waiting on Master Jefferson's real children, especially the snippy Miss Martha.

Based on true events at Monticello during the early 1800s, Jefferson's Sons is a slave tale of a different order, exploring slavery and racial issues from the fresh perspective of Jefferson's slave children. The novel is a welcome look into one aspect of post-revolutionary slave life in Virginia that explores the bonds of family and friendship.

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Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Boys, Don't Miss These, Family, Friends, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Self Image, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert

by Marc Aronson

Grades 4+

In August of 2010, a Chilean mine collapsed suddenly, trapping thirty-three men in the dark mine over a mile beneath the earth with limited supplies. After the collapse, the men were able to get to a shelter point, but had no way to communicate with the ground above.  All routes to the surface were blocked by the accident.

Initial rescue attempts did not prove successful - maps of the mine were not updated and were somewhat inaccurate; rescue drilling routes that were, on the maps, clear shots to the miners were unable to bypass the sediment.

A gripping and inspirational survival and rescue tale of teamwork and determination, Trapped may make you claustrophobic at times, but ultimately will fill you with optimism.  A must-read non-fiction account of recent history for kids and adults alike.

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Reading Level: 4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Biographies, Books for Boys, Don't Miss These, In Other Lands, Non-Fiction, Survival Location: J Non-Fiction
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Are You Going to Kiss Me Now?

by Sloane Tanen

Reading Level: Grade 7-10

When her father left her mother to live with an airhead, Fran understood. ANYONE would have trouble living with Fran's mother. But when her father told her the airhead was pregnant, Fran had to kill him...at least on paper. She submitted an essay entitled, "Good-bye Father: A Daughter's Loss" to Seventeen Magazine's "My Life" essay contest. She didn't expect to win.

When she got the phone call, Fran was astounded. Since she lied about her father's demise, she knows she can't keep the scholarship. But she just can't stand to lose the other part of the prize, touring Africa with A-list celebrities. So Fran accepts the prize, lies to her parents and boards the plane with her idols. She'll worry about repercussions when she gets home.

When the plane crashes on a remote island somewhere far off the coast of southern Africa, Fran is no longer worried about her parents or even Seventeen Magazine. She just hopes she and her famous fellow cast-a ways can survive.

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Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure, Books for Girls, Chick Lit, Survival Location: JY Fiction
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