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 Book Reviews: from Topsfield, MA, USA



By Ryan, 11,

Wringer Wasn't a Ringer

The door bell rang. Ppalmer was scared that he would be disappointed. He opened the door - he would be disappointed if who was at the door was not at the door it was his best friends Mutto, Beans, and Henry.

If you like a book about pigeons and friendships, this book is for you. The Book Wringer by Jerry Spinelli is a realistic fiction story. The main character, Palmer, loves a pigeon named Nipper. However, he is forced into the town fair's pigeon neck wringer contest. The tradition is to kill pigeons at the town fair. The book was a book you would want to read if you were having bullying problems.

Palmer experiences peer pressure. Most kids experience this growing up. If there was no peer pressure, kids would have an easier time. Palmer should have discussed how he felt with his parents. Palmer was a normal, everyday kid. Any one of us could have been in his situation.

Though it was a quick read I would not suggest this book to anyone. The theme of peer pressure was good, but it was not presented in an interesting way. I wish I could change the whole structure of the book because I did not like the idea of killing pigeons. The worst part of the book was the ending. It was a little hard to follow. This was a book you would not like to pick up unless you needed a fast sixth grade book.
(April 2008)

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

By Mike, 11,

Who choked and died and forever died on Idian Island in bed? 'And Then There None' by Agatha Christie is a mystery thriller about 13 people who go to Indian Island and mysteriouly start to die. Some of there names were Justice Wargrove, an old crazy man, Vanessa, a young lady becoming a secretary, and Phillip Lombard, an old sea dog who will never leave his gun. The action starts once Anthony Marston dies and the get suspicious. One by one they start to die, but who is the real killer.

'And Then There Were None' keeps you on your seat thoughout the story. Vanessa seems to be the most intering and innocent character. Phillip Lombard seems to be the character with feeling like the reader. I would change what happens to the last person in the end. A series like this book is the Alex Rider series. Never go to a party unless you know the person. It can be serious at times, but overall it is a superb book.

'And Then There Were None' is a fantastic book. My favorite part is when they play the record and the murders they commited come out. The weakest part is when they were going to the island. The strongest part was when I would recommend the book to any one who likes to revise your guesses. This book is scary, shocking, sad, mystery, and suspenseful. If you this is the book for you. (April 2008)

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max the mighty rodman philback

By michael, 11,

Do you know the kid who is a giant and really nice?

A fantastic realistic story by Rodman Philback called "Max the Mighty", is about a giant named Max who is keeping this girl named Worm safe from any bullies, but Max has just put himself into more trouble, as Max is wanted by the police because Max is trying to help worm stay from an extremly horrible man, her dad. Max saw some older kids picking on a little girl, Worm. Max didn't want to get into the mess, but his brain tells him to help. The bullies can't take on a giant his size, so the bullies left.

The little girl just walked away, she sneaked a look at him, like it meant thank you or follow me. He wsa thinking he shoudl follow her and he did. He ended up at her house and he stayed. Max heard someone screaming in the house and he started freaking out, his brain told him to leave. He busted down the door, his brain yelling at him. The girl was in a corner reading. Her dad was standing, unlike her mom, who was on the ground bruised, bleeding, and crying. Max got Worm and went outside. Worm told him to go to his real dad and she'll come too. They got a ride from a mysterious guy named Dip. A problem for Max is that he's wanted by the police. Worm was reported kidnapped. Will they make it to where they need to go? Will Max be arrested? This outstanding book will keep you on the tip of your toes, you will cry, you will laugh, and be excited!

This book is a fabulous story about doing pleasant things. Max was my favorite character because he's a giant and kind, not a giant jerk. Max likes to rad under his bed, that reminds me of how I read in my bed. Max talks to his brain and has trouble with it, I do the same thing. I know that everyone doesn't want Max to die, but if he did, the book would have been better. Do the right thing, even if it's saving the bad guy. You'll know what I mean if you read it.

This is a hilarious, yet sad, story with awesome characters and events. This is probably the only book that I have no least favorite parts. I have alot of favorite parts like when Max met Dippy Hippy. I recommend this book to mostly boys, but girls can read it, or anyone who could laugh or cry. This is an incredible story you won't want to stop reading.
(April 2008)

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Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

By Hannah, 11,

The story Claudia and The Phantom Phone Calls is part of the short series the babysitters club, written by Ann. M. Martin. This story takes place in Middle brook, and is about a group of friends who come together and baby-sit. Claudia is a fashion guru, and is on of the characters in the story that come across many teeth chattering problems. One day, the group got together and discussed a local burglary attack. Many of the club members were frightened to baby-sit again, but that doesn't stop Claudia. The burglar calls himself the Phantom Caller; he calls people and hangs up, just like that, to see if anybody's home. Claudia isn't sure she wants to find out who's on the other line when she is babysitting a local friend. Will she figure out who the Mischief Caller is? You will have to read the book and figure out yourself.
I have many favorite parts and connections in the story is Claudia I think that she is the most thrilling character because she loves clothes and has a great personality. This story teaches you to always be prepared! Claudia experienced this lesson when the phantom was near the house! There are many connections that I can make with this story because it includes babysitting and I baby-sit a lot! One of the connections that I made is when Claudia was scared because of the Phantom and I was scared because the power had gone off. If I could change the story in anyway, it would be to make the phantom be someone else. But hey, that's my opinion, you have to read the book and see what you think.
There are very interesting parts in the story. One of the parts that I think is interesting is how they all write journal entrees about how there job was that day. The strong part of the story is the suspension! I love how the whole time you want to keep guessing who the Phantom is. I would recommend this book to many different people, but not so much to future babysitters, because this book is a little scary especially for babysitters. the type of person that would enjoy this book the most, are probably girls because the whole time the author talks about girls. But boys could enjoy it too. This book is scary, suspending and an all round fantastic book!
(April 2008)

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Becoming Naomi Leon Pam Munzon Ryan

By Haley, 12,

It was late in the afternoon on a normal day, everyone was just sitting around until one from the doorbell, their lives changed forever.

This book is about a girl named Naomi who's life changed in a second when the doorbell rings, because someone came to get her, her crazy mother. This amazing book, Becoming Naomi Leon, by Pam Munzo Ryan, tells a wonderful story of a fearless little girl named Naomi, her quiet little brother named Owen, and their nice sweet great-grandmother. when they were little their parents left them with their great- granmother, but their Dad has always wanted them. Their great-grandmother raised them for their whole lives, for more than seven years. Finally, one day, Naomi and Owen's mother came back to get only Naomi, because she is embarresed about how he looks and acts. Their mother insisits on taking Naomi back but Naomi disagrees because her mother is very dangerous, so they end up going to court. Then they are looking everywhere for their father so he can help him in court. Becoming Naomi Leon, is a fantastic book with many different exciting events.

In this exciting book, I love the way the author describes everything so well. My favorite character is Naomi because she is very adventurous, fearless, and sweet all at the same time. I also like this book, because I could make many connections with this book such as just walking up to someone in school and a minute later she becomes my best friend. Also i can relate to many of the feelings and thoughts that Naomi has throughout the book. My favorite part of the book is when Naomi and Owen go off to find their Dad. However I did not enjoy the part that their mother is not very nice and I wish that she had a better reason why she just walked out on her family. Becoming Naomi Leon is a fantastic book that is perfect for anyone.

I would recommend this book to any person who likes books that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is full of adventure, mystery, action, and realistic fiction all together which happens to be a fabulous mix! I think there are many strong parts in the book that the author writes such as describing the characters extremly well. However she does not do a great job with using a lot of different words. I think any person would love to read Becoming Naomi Leon! I strongly recommend this creative, entertaining book to everyone, because I think anyone will enjoy it! (April 2008)

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Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of LIfe By: Wendy MAss

By Paige, 11,

As Jeremy and Lizzy turned the third key, hesitating, the third key clicked in, with a look of shockk on their faces they screamed and looked on to finish the quest.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is an intriguing book that pulls and pops you into the story. When a mysteriouse package is delivered to the Fink's they open the package to find a bow with four key holes and 'Jeremy' carved into the top. They wrap the package back up and leave wondering what it is about. Through out this adventourse book the two of them try to find the fourth key before Jeremy's 13th birthday. After finding all three of the keys, with one still missing, Jeremy and Lizzy take risks on the quest to find the fourth key, like fooling security gaurds and taking the subway to the other side of town. Lizzy and Jeremy have had enough and need a break while in Atlantic City. A couple of days before Jeremy's birthday and still one key short, Jeremy is starting to get a little nervouse. Will Jeremy find the fourth key?

This book inspired me in so many outstanding ways. Like when Jeremy found out that waiting can be better than knowing what's coming. Lizzy is the most amusing character I have ever read about. She is a 13 year old girl with a spunky personality, just like me. This book has a great way of connecting with the character. The way Wendy Mass writes is miraculous; she has a great way of crafting realistic fiction. This book really pulled me into it when they found the box because it set the whole story. I might want to change one specific thing, but it was still stupendous book.

If yuo are anyone who loves suspenseful and exciting books, plus you love to read, this book is meant for you. If you like to be surprised and not know what's around the corner, you will not leave this book on the table, but it will follow you around. The end is by all means the strongest part of the book. When Jeremy and Lizzie are in Atlantic City for Jeremy's birthday, it is the most intriguing part of the story. The ending is the best part of this extraordinary book. It is outstanding and has a sad and unexpected twist. Reading Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life was a life long lesson I will remember my whole life. (April 2008)

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The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket

By Ben, 11,

'How do we get ourselves into messes like these?' Klaus said, but really, how do the Baudelaire children get themselves into messes like flying across a deadly river on top a wobbling toboggan?

Well if you want to know why then read the Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket. The book The Grim Grotto is fiction fantasy and is in a series. Some settings in other books of the Series of Unfortunate Events takes place in a variety of places. Most settings are deadly. Anyways, this series is mainly about three orphan siblings travel across the world to varieties of places. The orphans' names are Klaus, Sunny, and Violet. Throughout the series the Baudelaire children had to face the most evil, most petrifying, most 'open minded' villain, was and always will be, Count Olaf.

I love this book so much, and it is so extremely fascinating, I could read it all over again. However, of course, you would have to read all 12 other books before this book. I know, I know, it seems like it would be a pain to read all 12 books before, but hay! I read them. Anyway, I think you would make it through with all those death-defying events in every book. I am just going to say they all make you want to know what is going to happen next, like in the book, the carnivorous carnival, the Baudelaire children are almost eaten by lions … oops! We will just leave it at that.
I must tell you that the ending of every book in the series just went straight to a shocking twist, every book! First, the main idea of the series is somewhat sad. The main idea the author tries to tell you how ruff it is to travel the world as an orphan alone, and all you have is your siblings right behind you. In addition, the author really wants you to understand that you never give up on your hopes, and never, ever just give up and die. I think the best part of the book is the ending, in many ways because it is a shocking twist and somewhat sad. However, do not think I am gong to tell you the ending would only recommend this book to someone who likes drama, sadness, mystery, a little action, and unforgiving ness.
(April 2008)

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Esperanza Rising

By Sarah, 11,

The book "Esperanza Rising" by Pam Munoz Ryan is a historical fiction book about a girl and her family who lived in Mexico and is forced to move to California because of a fire that burned down their house. One evening Esperanza and her mother heard that their husband and father died from bandits. During the night the house blew up in flames. Esperanza and the rest of the household ran out as fast as they could. Esperanza and her mother are left alone from the fire that burned down their house. Then Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave and flee to California, leaving the grandmother behind. Esperanza is determined to bring her grandmother to California by earning a lot of money. Will Esperanza be able to bring her wonderful grandmother to California?
This book is a fascinating book to read because the author has a way of pulling you into the book and making you feel like you're in the story. The author, Pam Munoz Ryan, could have changed how the father dies. It makes the reader sad to know that the father has to die in the story.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction books. If you like an author who gives great descriptions about the characters in the book, you will love "Esperanza Rising". This fascinating book is so age-appropriate that younger and older children can appreciate it. The book really makes you appreciate when you have all your family together. (April 2008)

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Gary Paulsen

By Carter, 11,

The windows crashed in and the plane was filled with water, instantly he was in great pain.

Hatchet is a great young reader's book written by Gary Paulsen. The story is fiction but it is based on real life experiences that the author has lived through during his life. The story begins with a boy named Brian traveling by a two person plane to visit his father in North West Canada. The only other human character in the story is the pilot who has a heart attack and dies during the flight and the plane crashes into a lake. Brian survives and has to learn how to survive alone deep in the woods. Luckily his mother gave him a hatchet to bring with him. With his hatchet he manages to build a shelter and make a bow and arrow for hunting, Brian learns how to survive in the wilderness for two months. Read the book to find out if he gets rescued.
I liked reading this book because I could relate to Brian. I have been lost in the woods alone before. Being there alone is scary. He was lost incredibly far away from home so it must have been much more scary for him. Brian was adventures and brave. I think that the pilot should not have died of a heart attack but so the rest of the story stays the same the pilot should have died in the plane crash.
I did not like when Brian tried to kill him self with the hatchet. I think that the part that was most weak was when Brian was trying to fly the plane because there was nothing going on .the part that I wanted to keep on reading the most (it was the most suspenseful) was when he was trying to get the survival pack from the plane witch was in the water. This book was well written and the people who like the author Gary Paulsen should read it. This book is exciting, captivating, suspenseful, and a page- turner.
(April 2008)

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The Deep by Gordon Korman

By Aaron, 11,

Amazing reviews for The Deep
What's big, high tech and amazingly expensive? The book The Deep by Gordon Korman and it is realistic fiction/adventure book. The book takes place in the present time in the Caribbean island Saint-Luc and the ocean around it. The four main characters are Kaz a hard hitting hockey player, Dante a color blind photographer, Adriana a rich girl who's uncle works at the British museum, Star a girl with cebral palsy. The four are teenagers, and they find out that there is gold in the ocean around Saint-Luc. They don't want the treasure hunter, Todd Cuter, and his team to get the treasure. It is in the ocean 300 to 700 feet deep not were they think it is at 65 feet deep. To get gold they go down in an expensive subirine called Deep Scout. The people that would like this book are the people who are adventures and like to dive.
The Deep by Gordon Korman is a very intriguing book. My favorite character is Kaz because he takes a lot of risks and is an inexperienced diver. The kids find the treasure but they don't want Todd Cutter who wants it for him self. I like to explore like Star, Adriana, Kaz, and Dante. The characters go on a treasure hunt and I love to go on treasure hunts. One thing I would change is that the author makes the kids find the treasure in the first ship they find.
The recommendations I have for this book are. The strongest part of the book is when the kids find a shipwreck. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to be in the water. The best part about this book is when the kids go down to an underwater habitat, at 65 feet deep. A diver or oceanographer would like to read this book. The Deep by Gordon Korman is a very exotic book.
(April 2008)

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Loser by Jerry Spinelli

By Haley, 11,

Mr. Weirdlo

'Run you dumb turtle, run!' 'Hobin gives a huge lead for Zinkoff and still Zinkoff somehow was churning up the dust, but not moving.'

The amazing book Loser, by Jerry Spinelli is a realistic fiction book. Donald Zinkoff a young, strange kid who lives in a small town, and is 10 miles away from a big city. Zinkoff is now known as 'loser' because one year at field day the whole school had a relay race and Zinkoff's team was winning right until he got up to run because he ran as slow as a turtle! So the bullies called Zinkoff 'loser' from that day on. Then on Zinkoff's first snow day he goes outside to play, but then he finds out that his best friend Claudia (a girl on a leash) is lost. So, he goes off to find her. While Zinkoff looks for her he gets lost too, because he is so cold and tired that he starts to sleepwalk. Now to see what happens, you have to read this very weird, but exciting book.
I loved the book Loser, because I can relate so much to all of the different characters. Mostly Zinkoff's little sister Polly, she is so active and she wants to have a lot of fun by being involved with everything. Zinkoff does a great job by being confident so he can ignore the 'loser' sayings from all the bullies, because even though you are different than other people that still doesn't make you a loser.
Young kids who are weirdly funny and love to have excitement will enjoy reading this book. In the novel Loser the author makes it so you can visualize every single moment of the book. To enjoy this novel you have to read to the last word, or Loser will just be plain old, okay, and it is not just okay this book is fantastic!
(April 2008)

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The Hobbit

By Drew, 12,

The book The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is a fantasy-adventure story about a hobbit named Bilbo who wanted no adventure in life and to just be left alone. This book takes place in Middle Earth, a planet just like ours. The main characters in this book are Gandalf, an old and mystical wizard who disappears and then shows up at the right time, Bilbo, a hobbit who wanted no adventure and got the best of it, Dwalin and Balin, dwarf brothers, Kili and Fili, the youngest of the dwarves, Dori and Nori, Oin and Gloin, Gloin is Gimil's father. Gimil is Important in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, the fattest of the dwarves and most importantly Thorin, son of Thrain, son of The King Under The Mountain. If you are a type of person who loves made- up creatures, THIS IS YOUR BOOK! Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves go on an adventure to claim the treasure of The King Under The Mountain, but there's one problem, it's guarded by Smaug, a great and powerful dragon!

My favorite character would have to be Bilbo because he wanted to be left alone, and to have no adventure and probably had the most fun and most part in it. The author is basically trying to say that no matter who you have or what kind of creature you have with you, you can do anything. I made a lot of text - to movie connections and some text - to self connections. I have felt like some of the characters before like once at my camp, we were picking teams for capture the flag,and the kids didn't think I could run fast and I ended up winning the game. If I could change any part of the story I would change The Battle Of Five Sides because I thought it would be really long and descriptive but it was quick and short.

I'm going to have to say that my least favorite part of the book is when the dwarves were storming the castle because it had good description, but it was just so boring. One of my favorite parts is when Bilbo met Gollum, a slimy, double crossing creature because he and Bilbo sit down and shared riddles with each other for Bilbo's life. If I could change anything it would be The Battle Of Five Sides because I was expecting it to be long and exciting but it was again quick and short, on the other hand, the strongest part was when Bilbo and the dwarves were traveling through Mirkwood because it had so much description of trees, plants, creatures and many more abnormal things. I would definitely recommend this book to another person. Someone who likes made-up creatures, magic and sword battles would like this book. This book is adventurous, mystical, mysterious, exciting and magical. This book was one of my favorites!
(April 2008)

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Safe at Second

By Ryan, 11,

The Nerve Racking Story of Todd Bannister

BANG! BANG! The sounds of the ball hitting the bat and the ball hitting the eye. The amazing pitcher, Todd Bannister is, on the baseball field doing what he does best, when the batter hit a screaming line drive right back to the pitcher and hit Todd in the eye. Paulie, his caring best friend, rushes over to see if he was O.K., but it turns out that he was not. Todd had to stay in the hospital for weeks and still couldn't see out of his eye. When he finally got out of the hospital, everything in his life was different. Everybody treated him like he was completely blind. But then he started going to parties again, and people started treating him normal. Finally baseball season starts and he needs to find out if he will still have scouts at his house every day? Will he still pitch the heater right down the plate? Nobody knows.
If you ask me, I think this was a spectacular book. It goes through a series of fascinating events that could happen in real life. I can make a lot of connections from my life to this book. One of which being how I cheer on my teammates to make them a more cheerful and confident player. Todd Bannister is a stupendous person to read about. He's athletic, generous, and a trustworthy friend. If you read this book, you could find out how Todd Bannister is really a great person.
I would recommend this fascinating story to anybody that likes sports. When Todd got hit in the eye with a baseball the book really got my attention. I think that was a really strong part of the book. This book was very nerve-racking, exciting, and something to catch most peopleýs interest. If you read the fantastic realistic fiction book by Scott Johnson, Safe at Second, you could find out about all the interesting things that happened in Todd's life. (April 2008)

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House on The Gulf Margret Peterson Haddix

By Madison, 11,

Stunning Reviews on The House on the Gulf

I woke up in the middle of the night hearing noises, looking outside I saw a tall dark figure coming closer every second.

That's one of many exciting parts of Margaret Peterson Haddix's Realistic fiction book, "The House on the Gulf". Britt a young girl, who moved to Florida with her family consisting of Bran, her 16 year old brother, and her mother, a disowned child who turned into a single mother finishing college. The family gets house-sitting jobs and come across some mysterious events. Britt sees that after Bran gets a house-sitting job he acts weirder then before, which makes her very suspicious. When the summer starts off slow, Britt gets a job for her neighbors, including Mrs. Studly, helping make time go by faster. Most of the begging of the book shares what her job does and how she tries to discover the mystery of why Bran acts weird. She then visits Mrs. Studly daily, learning of her son's dark past, but influencing her that she has to try harder to figure out Bran's attitude change. After a month of doing her job, Britt stumbles upon a locked closet, beckoning to her to open it. When she finally finds the key she see's the she's in really belongs to her mother's ex-parents. When she finds Bran he explains to her what happened, filling Britt's mind with questions, making this where the story really begins.

The story leads you with a twist, but makes you think about what's happening. In the amazing book "The House on the Gulf", Britt is my favorite character. She was young, fun, and easier to relate too than most characters. She also had lots of courage, but that lead her into trouble. Margret Haddix described that family is kind, but cannot always be trusted. I think this because Bran was a good brother, but kept secrets from his entire family, leading me to the conclusion he cannot be trusted. While reading, many things reminded me of things that I have done in the past. One of these things is that have been to Florida and that is where the story takes place. Another connection I've had is Britt feelings. She knows that Bran was keeping secrets from her like I sometimes know my sister keeps secrets from me. Although this book was great, I would want to change the beginning to make it more exciting by having Britt investigate more. Reading this book made me think about connections I have and genres I like and don't, this is why it is a great book.

This book sometimes had great writing and sometimes it didn't. My least favorite part of the book was probably the beginning for it didn't have a very active plot. Unlike the beginning the ending was the best part of the book because there was so much excitement, every time you turned the page something new would happen. All this makes it a great book for people who enjoy books that keep you thinking about what might happen. This is a mysterious, adventurous, and even amusing making it a fulfilling book to read.
(April 2008)

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"Beacon Street Girls" (book #1) by Annie Bryant

By Kathleen, 12,

The Terrific Tales of Seventh Graders

A seventh grade world traveler, that's Charlotte Ramsey for you! Charlotte lives with her father, a single parent after Charlottes mother died when she was young. Her dad is an author who enjoys living in the setting where he writes about. So, Charlotte and her dad have moved many times. There current home is up-scale Brookline, Massachusetts which is the town they lived in with Charlotte's mom before she died. The Beacon Street Girls is a creative realistic fiction story written by Annie Bryant. Itýs about a seventh grade 'new girl' trying to make friends and fit in. So it would seem pretty easy, except for the fact that she had continued her first day curse by a huge disaster in the cafeteria during lunch. Charlotte isn't the only one having troubles although, hers do seem to be the worst! Katani, Avery, and Maeve are the three other girls at her lunch table and they have enough problems of there own. Katani, whose grandmother is the principal, also has an eighth-grade sister who has a small learning disability. Katani has to constantly defend her sister, Kelly because of other kids laughing at her. Maeve has a learning disability of her own and has to use a laptop to write. Everyone thinks she is a spoiled brat because of it. Avery just wants out of the lunch group but her teacher will not change her mind about the arraignments. The four girls have to learn to put there differences aside long enough to learn about each other. Charlotte just hopes to make friends after leaving so many behind.

I enjoyed the Beacon Street Girls so much. One of the reasons I liked it was because of how I could connect to the characters' lives. Katani Summers was my favorite character because she is a cheerful girl who has to deal with a lot and all she wants is to get out of their lunch group. Even though my favorite character is Katani, I can connect the most to Charlotte. I connected the most with Charlotte because she wanted to move to the city and I've always enjoyed being in the city (especially in Boston). I also connected to her because she and her dad are constantly moving around the world, and when I was little I moved to Topsfield from a different town. It was not a huge move like Charlottes but it was still a move. Because no one can be perfect, the part of the book I thought should have been changed was that the author should have ended more gradually because it ended abruptly. I really enjoyed the interesting characters and events in this story.

The Beacon Street Girls is a creative and intriguing book written by Annie Bryant. The most exciting part of the book is when the girls had a sleepover at Charlotte's house and they became closer friends. In my opinion, the strongest part of the book was during that sleepover when they become friends because so much detail was included. Even great books have weak parts and this books weak part was when they found out who the BSG really were. I think the author could have added a more detail during that event. The Beacon Street girl is an outstanding story that I recommend to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction stories about girls in middle school. The Beacon Street girls by Annie Bryant is an exciting story about friendship troubles, first day disasters, and a whole book filled with thrilling events!
(April 2008)

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The BFG, Roald Dahl

By Hannah, 11,

Is there really such thing as a Big Friendly Giant, other known as the BFG?
By Roald Dahl

Sophie, a little orphan has experienced something like no other, it was tall, it was dark and very skinny. What was it? The next thing she knew she was in a dark blanket held by a giant.
The BFG is a realistic fiction story by Roald Dahl this is a laugh out loud humorous book which is about a quite orphan in England named Sophie and a friendly but 'smaller' giant. The BFG is a friendly who is in the land of giants, who does not eat human beings. But one day, having no choice, he had to kidnap Sophie, because she saw him. He brought her to his scary world of giants where huge giants always go out at night to countries to find different human beings to eat according to their selection of their food taste. According to this story, human beings from different countries taste different, some might taste bad, some hot, and some are just nice. Sophie became good friends with the friendly giant because he doesn't eat human beings, but he eats snozzcumbers, that aren't very tasty. He is a dream-blowing giant who blows dreams into each sleeping child so that all the children will have good dreams. Besides that, Sophie learned a lot from this BFG about his food called the Snozzcumbers, and how he made 'nice music' when he drank from his favourite drink. England was going to face an attack from the other human eating terrifying giants. When Sophie and BFG combine brainpowers to save the country and defeat the giants with their ideas. Swiftly, they both worked together with important people like the Queen and become heroes of England.

Each character interested me and I wanted to learn more about each one. My favorite character is the BFG because he was the funniest of all the characters. I made a few connections during reading and one of those is I used to think that tall people were scary and intimidating but then I figured that they are actually nice. I wouldn't change anything about the book I think that Roald Dahl did a very excellent job writing this nail biting adventure story I was not so impressed when BFG put Sophie on the windowsill of the queens palace and didn't talk about him until the next chapter.

The BFG is very interesting and every page and chapter makes me want to read more. My favorite part of the book would have to be when the BFG and Sophie went to find the queen. I wouldn't want to change anything about this book because it was so well written. I would recommend this book to other people because it is a cliff hanger for every chapter so then you want to read more, I could never put it down. People who like adventure would like this type of book because most of the time the BFG and Sophie are either catching dreams to blow into children's rooms or finding the queen of England to capture the other giants. This story is one of the best nail bitting realistic fiction stories that I have read.
(April 2008)

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Crash by Jerry Spinelli

By Alexandra, 11,

CRASH!!!! Did someone hit something or is it just them?

Thump, boom, clap, whistle I here on the football field as the crowd goes wild! Crash, a fiction book written by Jerry Spinelli is a page turner! This book is very unique for all those sport lovers out there. This book is about a boy named John Coogan who happens to go by the name of Crash because when he was just a little boy he used to smash into things. The places where he likes to hang out were at the football field, his housek, and school. Crash has many friends and family. His sister Abby and friends like Penn and Scooter. John likes to play at the football field with Scooter also loves to play tricks on him. He likes to get down and dirty! Crash's dreams are all about football. This book has many fascinating adventures and many nail biting plots. If you are like me and like sports, then Crash by Jerry Spinelli is the book for you.

I have a thrashing favorite character. His name is Crash because he was very outgoing, sporty and active. The author is trying to let us know how to just be you and try to have fun! There are many important parts that happened during the reading of this book one of them is, that you should never be a bully. I have felt like Abby in many ways. A few of the ways I felt like her was when Abby was picking up all sorts of bugs in her backyard. That reminded me when I was younger I used to pick up bugs in my backyard. Now I think they are gross and smelly. If I could change something in the book it would have to be the beginning of the book because, it isn't exciting so it would have to grab the reader's attention so they won't have to put the book down before they can get to the exciting part in the book.

Other than the exciting parts in the story there are a few misshapes in the book like my least favorite parts. Like the time in the book when Crash was being rude to his friend Penn. He played horrid tricks on him and he was pretending to be his best friend. The virile part in the book had to be when the author really described Crash in the beginning as him liking football, being very active, and loving to goof around. I thought he described that very well. The weakest part of this book is when the author writes run on sentences. I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone because, I thought it was very boring and all it talked about were people playing sports, talking, and playing tricks on people. The type of person I think would like this book is a person who likes to play sports and talk to friends. If I was going to describe this book with five adjectives they would be, boring, funny, football, friends, and bullies. This book by Jerry Spinelli will really blow you out of your seats! (April 2008)divider line

The Beacaon Street Girls

By Meghan, 11,

The fabulous life of the "Beacon Street Girls"!

I read The "Beacon Street Girls" by Anne Bryant. This book is realistic fiction. This book is about a girl's everyday life. So when you are reading it you feel like you are really there. The setting in the book is in Brookline, New York on Beacon Street in the current century. The characters in the story are Avery, Maeve Katina, and Charlotte. Charlotte is the main character in the story and she just moved in to Brookline, New York. The most embarrassing thing in the WORLD happened to her at lunch. Charlotte always has bad first days but this was the WORST. Charlotte is a shy girl so this must have been embarrassing. Then there is Avery who is really hyper and outgoing. There is also Katina and Maeve. Katina likes to dress up and Maeve is so exciting and loves to perform. In the story the main characters in the beginning really don't like each other. They never talk to each other. They are trying to make friends, but it's not really working out. Then they have a sleepover at Charlotte's house and become friends, because of the hidden tower. But Charlotte is hiding a secret about the tower and if she tells them it could break up their friendship.
This book was fantastic but I did have my ups and downs. The part that I liked the best was the part when they had a sleepover to try to become friends. At the sleepover they found a secret door. The strongest part of the book was when they explored the house. The type of person that would like this book is probably a girl because it talks more about girl stuff. This book was super and I would definitely recommend it to any one.
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The Anybodies By N.E. Bode

By MacKenzie, 11,

Whatever meets the eye truly is only what meets the eye, RIGHT? In the fantasy book The Anybodies by N.E. Bode, a modern times girl named Fern, who was swapped at birth, and has mystical powers tries to figure this out, but while doing this, she must try to find The Art of Being Anybody. Fern grew up in a very dull family with no siblings. Until one day, Mary Curtain, the nurse who helped Fern's mom give birth, Howard, Fern's swap brother, and The Bone, Fern's real dad show up at the Drudgers front door. They tell the whole story of how the two children were accidentally swapped at birth by Mary Curtain, and decided to switch Fern and Howard for the summer. While Fern was still at the Drudger's, Howard tells her that her mom Eliza Bone had died while giving birth to Fern. The Bone, Fern, and Mary Curtain left the Drudger's and went to The Bone's. Except on the way there, Fern finds out that Mary Curtain was a fraud! The Mary Curtain in the car with her was a guy, but the real Mary Curtain was a girl. The Bone explained that he and his friend along with many others could dress up as anyone they would like and everyone would believe them. They proceeded to tell Fern about The Art of Being Anybody and The Miser, who was The Bone's enemy. They drop the fraud Mary Curtain, actually named Marty off at his house and then go to The Bone's house. The Bone and Fern go to Fern's Grandmother's house top search for The Art of Being Anybody. The only problem with that plan is that Fern's grandmother hates The Bone, so The Bone and Fern had to disguise themselves as Mr. Bibb, and encyclopedia salesmen, and Ida Bibb, his daughter. Seeing that the grandmother owned a boarding home, she didn't mind having them come and stay. As the search for the book starts, Fern discovers she has extraordinary powers. She can shake stuff out of books. Since Fern's grandmother didn't know Mr. Bibby and Ida Bibby she used the fictitious name Mrs. Appleplum. When Mrs. Appleplum found out about Fern's powers, Fern has to juggle lessons on shaking stories, and The Art of Being Anybody.
I absolutely LOVED this book and believe I should tell no more because this is where it gets so incredibly exciting that you'll be up until 2:00 in the morning trying to finish the book, just like me. I also love the sequels The Nobodies and The Somebodies. I don't think this book or either of the sequels has any flaws or week spots. I think Fern is an easy character to make connections with, because she deals with some of the same stuff as most people do. At times she has to hide secrets, and at others, she feels like she doesn't fit in. She also feels affection for her relatives as we all do. It's hard to predict what is going to happen because it is so action packed. During the book I believe the author is trying to get you to realize that ANYONE can do ANYTHING they want. If I had to describe this book using five words I would probably say mystical, fascinating, enchanting, encouraging, and heart-felt.
Judging on what I just said, I would recommend this book to only specific types of readers. Fantasy and Fairytale lovers would absolutely adore this book but people who like straight facts need to learn that's not what fantasy is. Even though some of this would never happen it seems like you're in the book when you're reading it. It has great description so it is easy to become part of the book. If you would like to find out more about the book feel free to email the author at: NEBODE@theanybodies.com or visit the official website at theanybodies.com. If neither of those help, all you need to do is read the book! Then you'll have as much information as you'll need but I believe the other two will help. Will Fern ever master the art of being anybody, and will she complete her task of finding The Art of Being Anybody?
(April 2008)

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The Year Mom Won the Pennant

By Ryan, 11,

The Year Mom Won the Pennant

Going, going, gone! The little white sphere sailed over the fence. The Year Mom Won the Pennant is about a boy named Nick. His baseball team needs a coach. Nick's Mom volunteered to coach the team. When Nick asked his team, they said that it was fine if his mom coached the team. Suprisingly, their baseball team made it to the pennant. They were playing the Clowns. In the first inning, the Clowns scored 3 runs. When the Thunderballs came to bat, they only scored 2 runs. The Clowns scored 2 more runs. That made the score 5-2. Then Nick came to the plate. The first pitch Nick swung and smashed it. Going, going, gone. A homerun. That made the score 5-3. Can the Thunderballs win? Find out by reading The Year Mom Won the Pennant.

I connect to the character Nick because I played in a championship game once. It all came down to me. I didn't know what to do. When I came up to bat, there was so much pressure on me. The first pitch I swung. It was a hit. That's what happened to me and how I connect to the book.

I would recommend this book to people who like sports, drama, and a little mystery. It is a good book but, a little confusing to understand if you are the age 7 or under. I think the book is awesome, but a little confusing to understand what's going on sometimes. I think the author should describe what's going on a little better. I guarantee you that you will want to read this book to the end.
(April 2008)

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Sisiterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

By Haley, 12,

Jeans not fitting write? Well, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will fit perfectly.

Once upon a time there were a pair of pants. They were an essential kind of jeans, naturally, blue, but not stiff, new blue that you see so often on the first day of school. To find out about these magical pants, read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a realistic fiction book about four best friends who all end up going different places during the summer: Baja, California, Greece, Bethesda, Maryland, and South Carolina. The four friends, Tibby, Carmen, Lena and Bridget are all devastated by the fact that they will not be able to stay in touch throughout the summer. If I could use two words to describe each of the characters, these would be my choices: Tibby; unique, rebellious, Carmen; kind, intelligent, Lena; shy, beautiful, and Bridget; spirited and energetic. Luckily for the four girls, Carmen finds a pair of jeans in a thrift shop that turn out to be magic. When all four of the friends go over Carmenys house, they discover that the pants fit all of them, despite their different bodies. Before they all depart, the four of them have a little ceremony before they all leave. Throughout the summer, Carmen, Bridget, Lena and Tibby send the pants to each other, making sure to follow the ten rules and write letters. All four of them meet new people over the summer, which play a big role in each of their lives.
You can take a road that gets you to the stars. I can take a road that will see me through - Nick Drake. This is one of the many quotes in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Some are funny, others are touching, but they are one of my favorite parts in this book. After finishing a chapter, I always look forward to the quote coming next.
Although there are many different characters in this book with all of their strong personalities, the character that most interests me is Bridget with her feisty, bold, outgoing attitude. She knows what she wants, and she goes for it. The fact that Bridget gets extremely upset about a guy and that she changes because of it is something that I would change about the book. I don't think that she should have gotten so miserable that things didn't work out with one guy, and that she moved on and be who she is.
A few years ago, my cat ran away, and I was really depressed and I missed her. I could relate to Tibby, because her guinea pig died. I know how she felt and what kind of pain she was going through. I realized that you have to be strong about these incidents in life, and that is the way it goes, but you can still grieve about it, and that it's okay to cry.
Correspondently to Bridget, I enjoy soccer, and similarly to Lena, Carmen, Tibby, and Bridget I have three best friends that I can hang out with and thoughtfully talk to, instead of just a huge group of friends I am not very close to. I know I can go to them to help me out, just like the four friends in this book do.
This novel states many examples of friendship, and that it can be very powerful when used right, and this definitely follows through throughout the book. The whole book evolves around not only the four friend's summers, but the relationships that each of the four friends form with unlikely candidates. Carmen, Tibby, Bridget and Lena all discover that if you don't judge too quickly, and if you take the time to know someone, that anyone can be a friend.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a marvelously written book. If I could sum this book up in five adjectives I would say: heartwarming, vibrant, energizing, magical, and indulgent. I would recommend this book to girls eleven and up, based on the content in the book. My explanation is that some of the things that the girls do in the book, mostly Bridget, is for girls to read who are a bit older. Don't hesitate, though, this book is one of my favorites, and may become yours too with its vivid adjectives and wonderful descriptions that paint out a colorful picture in your mind. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is also part of a four-book series, three more summers following the first book. Over the course of the summer, the four girls discover that friends are like a pair of pants: if you treat them well, they'll be around for a long time.
(April 2008)

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The Outsiders

By Ryan, 12,

" Ahh" Ponyboy screamed as he hit the ground! The socs (Sho-ches) had got poor Ponyboy Curtis! "Need a hair cut grease?" One of the socs said as they pulled a blade. "Darry Sodapop help" Ponyboy said as he struggled 2 get up. The soc with the blade cut Ponyboys neck."Darry Soda." The socs fled some one was there. it was his brothers Sodapop and Darry with the gang inasint Johnny, wise cracking Two-bit, faithful Steve, and dangerous Dallas! "They didn't hurt you to bad did they pony?" Soda asked. Ponyboy instant the first greaser to get jumped! No it was a daily thing for the greasers if one was alone d there was more socs than the greasers there would be trouble! The greasers like Ponyboy and the gang can handle those socs! The greasers were inasnt they just never were in the right place! They're not exactly hoods like Tim Shepard the leader of the Shepard gang! And there most certainly not socs! Socs are the opposite of greasers and hoods They're rich with cars, money, and all the breaks! when it comes to the cops the greasers are the first suspects! But greasers can be nice and calm like Ponyboy or they could be rough and tough like Dallas! The socs are different to. Some are true jerks like Bob and Andy or they could be nice and just have money like Cherry Vallance! But they are who they are and they cant change it! SE Hinton's Realistic fiction The Outsiders is an inspiring story about Ponyboys quest to be just a person not a labeled figure!
When reading about Ponyboy and his amazing story in it made me think! It didn't make me think about what the word was or any thing. It made me think what if? And I really thought how true SE Hinton's words about friends and life are so true! I made many connections about friends and enemies and you will to! You wont be able to put the book down the it makes you think about the words and why SE Hinton put them on the paper! I never thought I could understand a book as well as this story! I promise you if you pick up The Outsiders it will become glued to your fingers!
I don't think any one on this earth can Explain the true meaning of The Outsiders! I think every one around the age of ten should have the pleasure of reading this book due to content. But this will be a big hit if you like stories that are exiting and unpredictable! You don't even need to wait to be exited with this book! I promise you this and that you wont find a better book. But ill let you judge it yourself! So pick up Ponyboy and the gang and never let go of your thoughts!!!
(March 2008)

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The Slippery Slope By Lemony Snicket

By Quirin , 11,

Ha, ha, ha, snip, crack, bump, the noises were heard when Count Olaf's assistant snipped the rope. The book The Slippery Slope by Lemoney Snicket is about three kids that have an unfortunate life. This is a fiction story. It takes place around the early 19th hundreds, and is the 10th book in the series. Count Olaf ,the villain, captures Sunny Baudelaire. Her two siblings Violet, and Klaus, try to rescue her. Count Olaf captured Sunny the youngest Baudelaire and brought her on Mount Fraught. When Violet and Klaus try to rescue their sister, they found an old friend of theirs'. His name is Quigley Quaremire. He said that he will help them, so they can find Sunny, and at the same time, find the V.F.D headquarters. The V.F.D headquarters hosts a secret organization. The children wanted to find the V.F.D headquarters because it held valuable information that would put Count Olaf in jail. Also the children hoped to find one of their parents at V.F.D. They found the headquarters but it was all burned down.
Will the Baudelaires find their baby sister?
The Slippery Slope brought many surprises and deeper thoughts to me. I surprised that Count Olaf, the villain, almost finished his scheme by almost killing Violet and Klaus, and steeling Sunny to threaten Mr. Poe to give him the fortune. Usually the kids escaped but this time they didn't. Also I was shocked that it was going to be so sad, because it is the first time that Count Olaf separated the children. I admire Violet because she likes to invent stuff like I do. The book is certainly different from any other book in the series, again because it is so sad.
I would say that people who like to read fiction books and books about children to read these books, but I don't recommend these books to people who don't like sad stories, because you might get anger management and rip the book apart. So get up and buy those books!
(March 2008)

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The Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson

By Brooke, 11,

Part 1: Summary

Thump! Clack! Using her qi power, Ping turned Diao's heavy club with the flick of her finger. Diao stepped back, pulling a dagger with a smirk, but his eyes shone with fear as he drew his blade with a whoosh and a clang! Are you hungry for more? The Dragon Keeper has a lot to offer for many people. This brilliant fantasy by Carole Wilkinson is filled with action. It's a beautiful piece of Asian literature, packed with gorgeous wording choice and sturdy structure. The story starts with a young slave girl named Ping, whose master is the Imperial Dragon Keeper. But he is cruel, and forces her to care for the dragons. Her life is drab and dull, with only her pet rat Hua for company. One normal day, she does her usual chores and feeds all the animals. When she wakes up the next day she hears terrible noises like banging on pots and pans. She followed the noise running down the dragon pit until she reached the bottom. Turning, she saw one of the dragons moaning and weeping. Ping then saw the other dragon, dead with her eyes glazed over. Ping shivered. It was horrible. When master Lui (the true Dragon Keeper) heard this, he and the other men pulled the body of the dead dragon out. They chopped her into pieces and sold some of the parts to wizard towns. The remaining pieces went into a jar. They called it pickle. That night, Ping snuck into the palace to get wine for her master. She stumbled into the dinning room, where she hid and eavesdropped. The emperor was going to sell the remaining dragon! As she thought about this she grabbed Hua, who nipped her on the finger. She gave a small shriek, and was discovered by the guards. She ran outside and climbed on the back of the dragon. He grabbed a shiny thing from the pit and took off. This is the beginning of the journey. As they journey on, Ping learns about the Dragon, his name (Long Danazi), his weakness and strengths, the journey to the ocean they are to embark on. When they stop at the capital city, Ping learns of another one of Long Danazi allies. While they are staying with him, Ping learns of the purpose of her being on the journey. She is the protector of a stone! The shiny thing Long Danazi had grabbed was the stone. It was beautiful, purple with white swirls in it. She was to put a medication on it, and to keep it away from things like iron and chinaberry leaves. Why was the stone so important? Why was she chosen? As Ping thought of these things, I realized something. Throughout this epic tale that takes place in the Han dynasty, I never ever wanted to put this book down.

Part 2: Connections and deeper thought

The author of The Dragon Keeper kept me in awe with the connections and deeper thought that I could make during the book. This amazing novel sucked me straight into the story, where the main character Ping faces much danger. I could connect myself to Ping in many ways. Ping feels unsure of her ability, uneasy of her strength. I sometimes feel like that when I stand up to a challenge. This book had a lot of affect of what I thought I knew about ancient China. For example, I didn't realize how important they regarded dragons. Apparently, when a drought or a dry season began, people would actually pray to a dragon for rain, thinking that the fictional beast could actually control the weather. Another thing they did was invite weary travelers into their home for a meal. They regarded this as a blessing, for they believed that they would be rewarded with good crops. I deeply felt a person who was there really recorded this book at this fictional event. This book brings feeling and culture into every word.

Part 3: Opinion and recommendations

The Dragon Keeper is definitely a book I would recommend. I f you are a fan of Asian literature, this book is a MUST READ. Are you more into action? It's still a fabulous book for you to read. If I were to change anything about the book I would change the ending because it seems so abrupt. Ping is unprepared for the shock. I wish the author was a little more sympathetic. A little more emphasis on some parts would have made the book near perfect. Filled with action, suspense, betrayal, Fantasy, and myths, this book is sure to please any reader. (March 2008)

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