Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Posted August 22, 2015 By Jandy

Young AdultFantasyShadowshaper by Daniel Jose OlderModern day New York City is pictured as glass and steel and science – not magic. But the neighborhoods are different. Sierra lives with her family in the ethnically mixed Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s summer break.She’s hanging out with her friends or is working on a dragon mural on the outside of an ugly, half finished building.

She starts talking with Robbie at the first party of the summer. She has seen him in school, but never talked with him. He’s also an artist. Sierra invites Robbie to paint on her building as well. She has noticed that another mural on the building has been fading oddly and she swear she saw it cry. Robbie painted that mural. He starts to tell her more when a strange shuffling man crashed the party and heads towards Sierra. She finally is able to escape the scary zombie-type man. Read the remainder of this entry »

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Posted August 2, 2015 By Jandy

FantasyChildrenCircus Mirandus by Cassie BeasleyEver since he went to live with his grandfather, Micah listened to Ephraim’s stories about the magical Circus Mirandus. While his father was off to the war, Ephraim was skipping school and going to the local beach. One day he headed home from the beach and saw a circus in front of him. He tried to enter but didn’t have a ticket. But he found a way in and spent a miraculous week at the circus.

Now Grandpa Ephraim is dying. His sister, Great-Aunt Gertrudis has come to take care of both of them. She is strict and doesn’t believe in magic or fun. Micah hid away his possessions when he realized her ideas of cleaning up meant throwing out his toys. After he does his homework, he spends his evenings doing chores cleaning the spotless house. He gets to spend some time with his grandfather, but Great-Aunt Getrudis keeps cutting his time shorter and shorter as Ephraim’s breathing gets worse. Read the remainder of this entry »

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Posted July 1, 2015 By Jandy

ChildrenWonder by R.J. PalacioIt’s not easy being the new kid in the 5th grade. Especially if you’ve been home schooled all your life. And even more especially if your face is deformed with genetic traits that make you face frightening to people who haven’t seen it before. August Pullman is that kid.

The middle school principle has three kids take Auggie on a tour of Beecher Prep before school starts. One of them, Jack, then sits by Auggie after classes started when no one else will come near him. One of them, Julian, torments and bullies Auggie behind the teachers’ backs. On the first day of school Summer looks at Auggie and knows she can’t let him sit at a lunch table by himself. In all the fifth grade, only Jack and Summer talk to Auggie or work with him. Read the remainder of this entry »

Paper Towns by John Green

Posted March 29, 2015 By Jandy

Young AdultPaper Towns by John Green Paper Towns
John Green (1977- ); Dutton Books 2008

High school graduation is only a few weeks away. Quentin Jacobson hangs out with his friends Ben and Radar, all three of them geeks. Q’s neighbor and crush, Margo Roth Spiegelman, is part of the in crowd. She’s dating the football hero. Q watches Margo from afar.

Then one night Margo shows up at Q’s bedroom window. Her boyfriend is cheating on her, her best friend always puts her down, and the class bully needs to learn a lesson. She needs a driver and Q is it. They spend the night pranking the people who have done her (and in the case of the bully, Q) wrong. The next day Margo packs some things, takes her car, and disappears. Read the remainder of this entry »

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Posted December 26, 2014 By Jandy

Young AdultFantasyThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan The Blood of Olympus
Rick Riordan; Disney-Hyperion 2014

The Roman demigods and the Greek demigods are on the brink of war. Leaders from each group make combined team heading to the Mediterranean has now split up. Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel, Percy, and Annabeth have to continue East to Athens to stop Gaea, the Earth Mother, from rising on August 1st. Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge are taking the Athena Parthenos west to Camp Halfblood to avoid the war on August 1st. The Roman demigod legions are gathering around Camp Halfblood preparing to attack on August 1st.

There is less than a month before everything breaks loose. Of course it’s not just sailing the Argo II to Athens or taking a special statue to New York to prevent a war. Along the way they have to fight gods, giants, and other demigods. Read the remainder of this entry »

When’s the Doctor? by Jorge Santillan

Posted December 14, 2014 By Jandy

Science FictionChildrenWhen's the Doctor? by Jorge SantillanWhere’s Waldo? Er, um, When’s the Doctor?

This brightly illustrated book is perfect for the young Doctor Who fan – like my granddaughters. It’s also fun for us adult fans. I admit I bought the book for me. But they both like the I Spy type books and will have a great time looking for the Doctor, his companions Amy and Rory, and the TARDIS on the different pages.

Jorge Santillan drew these cheerful pages using different time periods from many of the different Doctors – including the Aztecs, ancient Egypt, Metebelis III, and the TARDIS graveyard among others. Aliens of all sorts can also be found in these drawings. Read the remainder of this entry »


NonfictionChildrenSeals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds by Dolly K. ElligsonReview by Molly

The original cover of Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds features a zany seal lolling against a sand dune with his buddy, a sea gull wearing a captain’s head gear as the duo gaze out into the sea. Sometimes the old books we have in Osage County First Grade are some of the most favored by the six year old set.   Dolly K. Elligson’s marvelous work is as pertinent today as it was back in 1966 when it was printed. Available from Amazon, Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds hardcover $5.99 and paperback $3.06 edition covers do not do justice to the original work.

Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds is a read to book meant to be aloud by adult or student partner to young child; opening page asks the quest What is a sound and goes on to relate much of what we teach today.  A sound is many things, you can hear it with your ear, it can wake you up, help you sleep, cause you to feel happy, and is everywhere. Read the remainder of this entry »


The Copper Braid of Shannon O’Shea by Laura Esckelson

The Copper Braid of Shannon O’Shea
Laura Esckelson; Dutton Children’s Books 2003

Illustrator Pam Newton

Review by Molly

A troupe of copper tressed sprites marching across both leaves of the frontispiece set the scene for the fun to follow.

The Queen of sprites leads the group, there are old and young, some with picnic baskets, some with babies on their backs, male and female, children sprites towed in a cart and some flying overhead.

The copper braid of Shannon O’Shea begins the tale, was unbraided one fall on account of the hay. Read the remainder of this entry »

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Posted July 25, 2014 By Jandy

Young AdultScience FictionTin Star by Cecil CastellucciTula Bane was traveling on a colonization spaceship with her mother and sister. They left Earth and are going to form a new Humans only planet society in the outer reaches of the Imperium universe. But she got off the ship for a few moments on the space station Yertina Feray, was beaten and left for dead, and missed the ship’s re-launch. She was able to get to a window in time to see her space ship explode when it was entering the light jump. Now she is alone and without any family in a station full of aliens who disdain Humans.

She has been abandoned with no money, no friends, and badly injured. Since Tula isn’t officially on the station, she can’t be recognized as a citizen. She is befriended by Heckleck, an alien who helps her learn the ropes of bartering to stay alive. She creates a hidey hole home for herself in the underguts of the ship and takes messages around the ship, earning favors as she procures the items others want. She knows she won’t get back to Earth. Occasionally she goes to the arboretum and stares out the windows at the planet below. She fantasizes escaping the station and taking revenge against the man responsible for her being left behind. But she knows she’ll be lucky if she earns her way out of the underguts. Read the remainder of this entry »

Space Rocks! by Tom O’Donnell

Posted July 5, 2014 By Jandy

TweenScience FictionSpace Rocks! by Tom O'DonnellWhen a space alien lands on your planet and starts mining invaluable minerals without your permission, what do you do? Do you attack? Do you watch them? Do you confront them? That’s what the people on Gelo have to decide.

Chorkle, one of the younglings, is on the surface watching the hoo-mins. As he watches four of them, he realizes they are younglings like he is. He watches them race and play. And he is able to take one of their holo machines. A new realm of games pulls Chorkle into the human worlds. Read the remainder of this entry »

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Posted June 4, 2014 By Jandy

Young AdultGeneral FictionLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira“Dear Kurt Cobain.
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.”

Laurel doesn’t want to write to a dead president or anyone like that. She decides to write to someone she can talk to. She’s in high school now. But she’s not in the one her sister, May, attended last year. Instead she has transferred to another school where no one knows her. Since May died last spring and Mom moved to California, Laurel is lost.

Although Laurel’s Dad is still in their house, she spends every other week with her mother’s sister so she can go to the high school in her region instead. Dad is still sunk in grief. When he comes home from work he hides from life by watching baseball. Aunt Amy is religious and watches Laurel closely.

At first Laurel sits by herself at lunch, but soon she makes friends with Natalie and Hannah. There’s a guy, too. Sky is a junior but also new to the school. She sees him watching her when she glances at him. Laurel tries hard to fit in somehow – Read the remainder of this entry »

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Posted May 30, 2014 By Molly

TweenPenny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm Penny from Heaven
Jennifer L. Holm; Thorndike Press 2007

Review is by Molly

Writer Jennifer Holm pens a fast paced, charming, middle grade/YA work, Penny From Heaven.

Filled with the same breezy writing style Holm used in her Baby Mouse series; Penny From Heaven introduces us to eleven-year-old Barbara Ann Falucci whose Daddy really liked Bing Crosby, and especially his song Pennies from Heaven.

Presented in the first person the narrative originates with speaker, Penny Falucci, explaining that Me-Me, Penny’s grandmother, says heaven is full of fluffy white clouds and angels.

Penny has no desire for dying and Me-Me’s portrayal of heaven does not sound all that heavenly for her granddaughter. Penny’s thoughts of heaven are more   butter pecan ice cream and lots of it, and swimming pools, and baseball games.  And the Dodgers always win, and Penny has the best seat in the stadium; the one right behind the Dodgers’ dugout. Read the remainder of this entry »