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Childrens Book Reviews

Super Fiction for Summer Reading

Summertime is the best time of the year to sit under a shady tree and enjoy a good book.  Here are some of the best and newest books that kids, and parents, will read from beginning to end in a matter of a few days.  Each of these books are good for ages nine through adult, but are good for all ages if read out loud.

Twerp, by Mark Goldblatt, is one of those outstanding books that all kids, from 4th grade through 9th, should read.  It’s also a book that would be a great read-aloud by families. The story takes place in Queens, New York in 1969.  Julian Twerski, known as Twerp, chooses to write a journal for his English teacher instead of the dreaded Shakespeare paper.  He was recently suspended for taking part in bullying another boy.  The teacher is hoping to find out what really happened.  But, instead, almost the entire book is about Twerp’s 6th grade school year.  This is a very fun and entertaining read until near the end when Twerp finally opens up.  The story brought tears to my eyes and should enlighten and educate all who read it!  I also enjoyed the fact that the fun Twerp had playing outside with his friends was not inhibited by modern day inventions, such as cell phones, computers, etc.  This is now my favorite book of this year!

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, by Liesl Shurtliff, is a humorous, fractured fairytale that spins the story of young “Rump”, as he is known by all.  His best friend, Red Riding Hood, known as Red, tells him that magic can be dangerous as he learns that he can spin straw into gold. There are many unpredictable twists throughout, making this a great read-aloud for all ages.

A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff, features talents, something everyone is especially good at, except in this story there’s an evil commodity who’s attempting to steal them.  There are several people that surround the story, each getting a chapter at a time.  You begin to learn what their talent is and the evil forces that await them.  Cady is one of the protagonists and her talent is baking cake.  There are several yummy recipes found throughout the book.  The surprise ending brings all of the main characters together in a most meaningful way.

Destiny Rewritten, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, is a book that will fill you up with emotion, attachment for the characters, and devotion to all that makes this superb book superb.  Eleven-year-old Emily was named after Emily Dickinson and she writes an inscription in the front of a first edition to the poet’s Complete Poems and dedicates it to her.  When this valuable book goes missing, her mom, who believes in not trifling with life’s destiny, finally admits that the name of Emily’s father, whom she has never met, was written somewhere in that book.  This book touched me deeply and will be enjoyed to the surprise ending!

The  Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe: The Tell-Tale Start, by Gordon McAlpine, and sprinkled with illustrations throughout by Sam Zuppardi, is the first book in a planned series.  These two identical twins are highly intelligent and are the great (4 times removed) grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe and they share telepathic powers.  The mystery begins when they explore the possibilities of what happened to their cat and a road trip and then mayhem begins.  But, what makes this book outstanding is that it’s funny!  This would be a terrific read-aloud.

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop, by Kate Saunders, is a magical adventure as two siblings solve the mystery of their newly acquired home.  This large old house previously belonged to their great uncles who were famous chocolate makers.  But when the children discover a talking cat and rat, they find they must keep clever sorcerers from discovering the greatest recipe of all, a chocolate that can destroy the world.

Hero on a Bicycle, by Shirley Hughes, is an historical fiction that takes place in Italy during World War II. Two teens and their mother harbor escaped POW’s and they know they can be in serious danger if found out. The two teens want to help fight against the Nazis, but all they have is a bicycle.  There is much tension and excitement throughout this story as you read about the courage and strength shown by this amazing family.

Dragon Run, by Patrick Matthews, is a fast-paced fantasy that is as exciting throughout the entire book as it is when it begins.  Al is anticipating “testing day” so that he can receive a high mark that will positively affect his family.  When he receives a zero, he goes on the run.  Not only has this made him an outcast, but it dangerously affects his family.  But, as he attempts to escape, he begins to wonder if he is actually a pawn in a larger game that involves both man and dragon.

The Romeo and Juliet Code and Romeo Blue, by Phoebe Stone, is an intriguing mystery that involves eleven-year-old Felicity as she tries to figure out why her parents left her alone with her aunt and uncle while they went to Portugal during World War II.  Then a coded letter from her parents comes to her uncle and she knows something serious is happening to her parents.  I began reading the second book, which continues this thought provoking mystery, but realized I needed to begin with the first book.  Both books are spell-binding, well-written and full of a rich and meaningful mystery

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