Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000
By Eric Wight
Ages 6-12 – 84 pages
Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in 2010
Frankie is the only boy in his scout troop in danger of not earning enough merit badges to make it to the next level in scouting. Frankie figured out that the only way he could advance is by winning the Pine Run 3000 (a pine wood derby race). Frankie’s dad really is excited to help him but Frankie wants to do everything by himself….but can he?
I really liked the format of the book. It is part story, part comic. When Frankie starts to daydream or use his imagination the story turns into a comic and when Frankie isn’t using his imagination the story is written words. It is a really neat way to write a book! The story is nice and doesn’t have a lot of inappropriate jokes or overly mean characters. The story also teaches some good lessons like working together and perseverance. It is a good book for younger and older kids.
This is the second book in the Frankie Pickle series (but the first I have read). The first book “Frankie Pickle and The Closet of Doom” came out in 2009 and the third book “Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace” just came out this past week (July 26, 2011)! I already bought the other 2 books that are out and am looking forward to when the fourth book “Frankie Pickle and the Land of the Lost Recess” comes out on March 6, 2012! Click HERE to learn more about Eric Wight’s books!
I give Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000 five out of five book worms!
Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers
By George Beard and Harold Hutchins (both are also known as Dav Pilkey A.K.A. the creator of Captain Underpants).
Ages 9-12 -192 pages
Published by Scholastic in 2011
If you didn’t get enough Super Diaper Baby (A.K.A. Billy) don’t worry! Super Diaper Baby 2 was finally just published this past June (the Adventures of Super Diaper Baby came out way back in 2002)! Billy and Diaper Dog have all new enemies too: Dr. Dinkle (A.K.A. Rip Van Tinkle) and his cat, Petey. Dr. Dinkle and Petey are out to destroy every toilet in town! It seems that Billy and Diaper Dog have met their match! How will they win?!?!?
First I have to tell you that the book’s humor is really inappropriate :o -there’s a lot of pee, toilet, diaper and potty humor. Plus the intentional misspelling of words in the book drives my Mom crazy. BUT -I am a nine-year old boy and I think the book is hysterical :) ! Dav Pilkey wrote the book as George and Harold (of Captain Underpants fame), two fourth grade students who came up with the story. So the book is more of a made up story told from the view-point of two ten-year old kids and I like the idea of it! The story is creative and I think it could get kids thinking about stories they can come up with. It’s written in a comic format with a lot of illustrations. It is an easy read but watch out for those misspelled words!
I give Super Diaper Baby 2 four out of five book worms!
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
By Brian Selznick
Ages 9-12 – 544 pages
Published in 2007 by Scholastic Press
Twelve year-old Hugo Cabret is an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station in Paris. Hugo spends his days fixing the clocks in the station and stealing food and mechanical parts to finish a project (a mechanical man) his father was working on before he died. Hugo knows that the mechanical man (an automaton) has a message from his father and he needs to fix the man in order to get the message. Hugo was good at fixing the clocks and being a thief until one day the grouchy old man, Georges Méliés, who owns a toy booth, caught Hugo stealing parts from him. Georges took Hugo’s last present from his father, a notebook that was filled with drawings and plans for the automaton. Georges made Hugo work his toy booth to earn his notebook back. Hugo became friends with Georges god-daughter, Isabelle, and together they look for his notebook, discover who Georges really is and hatch a plan to remind the old man of his past.
I really liked this book! Don’t be scared of the 500+ pages in it, the book is really sort of a graphic novel. I loved the illustrations, especially how they tell part of the story! You have to see the illustrations to really get the idea of what I’m talking about…..SEE!
You learn a lot about the story just from the pictures. I bet kids who don’t really like to read would enjoy this book. Apart from the terrific pictures, the story is very exciting. Hugo is a great character. Even though he has a tough life, he keeps on going! The book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal and is going to be made into a movie called “Hugo” that comes out November 23, 2011. I really hope the movie can come close to the book!
I give the book 5 out of 5 book worms!
To learn more about the invention of Hugo Cabret and author Brian Selznick click on – http://www.theinventionofhugocabret.com
Word After Word After Word
By Patricia MacLachlan
Ages 9-12 – 128 pages
Published by Katherine Tegen Books 2010
A group of 5 friends knew that their lives changed when they met Ms. Mirabel, a famous author who visited their class at school. Ms. Mirabel helped the friends understand about writing better by writing poems and they find out that they learned how to express themselves and say things they couldn’t in other ways. The poems that the children wrote expressed all of their feelings and dreams. The kid’s teacher, Ms. Mirabel put all of the kids poems on a bulletin board and invited their parents to come and see them. Through expressing themselves with poetry Lucy finds laughter even when something terrible is happening in her life, May discovers love for her brother, Evie has her family reunited, Russel expressed his grief about his dog dying and Henry was able to share what is important in his life.
I think this book was pretty good. It shows how powerful words can be. Words can actually change people’s lives and this is an important message! I thought the book’s reading level was a little easy for me. I wish the book had more to it. I really liked the poems and the idea of the book. It is an excellent book for young advanced readers.
I give the book 4 out of 5 book worms!
My Teacher is an Alien
By Bruce Coville – Illustrated by Mike Wimmer
Published in 2005 by Aladdin
Ages 9-12 – 128 pages
Everyone didn’t believe Susan when she said that Mr. Smith, her teacher, was an alien. Well everyone except for Peter, but he thought it was a game at first. Mr. Smith was VERY STRANGE. He didn’t like music or people anywhere near his house. When Susan and Peter discover Mr. Smith’s evil plans, it is up to them to stop him!
I thought this book was really weird and I don’t really like the characters in it. I also didn’t like how everyone in the book seemed to be turning into their opposite. I know that there is a whole series of the “My Teacher” books by Mr. Coville and that the books are pretty popular. You can find out more about the books at www.brucecoville.com . I looked at some of the reviews others have given the books and other people really like them, so they may be worth a try for you. The book was an easy read and wasn’t too scary so I think it would be OK for younger kids.
I give the book 2 out of 5 book worms.
HEY Batta Batta Swing! : The Wild Old Days of Baseball
By Sally Cook and James Charlton
Illustrated by Ross MacDonald
Published in 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
56 pages – Ages 4-9
First I have to say I REALLY like baseball (GO PHILLIES!), so any book about baseball really interests me. This book is different from other books I’ve read about baseball because it tells about baseball in its early days. It tells about the history of baseball in a way kids would find interesting. It compares how the game was played when it was first invented and how it is played today. Like did you know that the players used to wear uniforms that showed what position they played rather than what team they played for?!? It also tells about how some of the players tried to cheat a bit like cutting the strings on a baseball to throw a good curve or hollowing out a bat and filling it with cork to make the bat lighter. You can also learn a lot of baseball terms too like “can of corn” and “heater” and about the original teams and players. The book explains how baseball used to be played in a fun and interesting way and even if you aren’t too interested in baseball, its neat to learn how a game like baseball changes over the years. The illustrations are great and funny. Even if a kid can’t read yet it is a good book to read to kids and if you can read I recommend it!
I give the book 5 out of 5 book worms!
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Legwork (an E-book)
By Roland Smith
Published June 2011 by Roland Smith INC
Ages 9-12 : about 26,000 words
Briggs never thought becoming friends with his new neighbor, Theodore, would send him to Montana to save a kidnapped 4-year old from her evil aunt. As it turns out, Theodore, who appears to be only a kid who happens to be confined to a wheelchair and has a room full of computers and electronic equipment, is also a partner in a detective agency. Theodore recruits Briggs to help him solve his latest case, finding the missing girl. Briggs finds himself on an amazing adventure. Briggs realizes sacrifices must be made -from having his head shaved to carrying around a 4-year old girl. Can Briggs complete his mission and get back home before his parents find out?
This is the first true e-book I have read. It only comes in e-book form (I read the kindle version but you can get it in all versions from Smashwords). This book is funny and exciting. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in 2 days (YAHOO for summer vacation!). The book would be good for younger advanced readers. Besides the Hardy Boys mysteries (the older ones, I’m not fond of the New Hardy Boys), I really haven’t found many detective stories I like, but this one is great! I hope Mr. Smith writes a second book with Briggs and Theodore. You can learn more about Roland Smith, Legwork and his other books at www.rolandsmith.com.
I give Legwork 5 out of 5 book worms!