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Reviews by Joanna N.

Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

Book Cover The Bronze Pen
Zilpha Snyder

Mysterious things start happening right away in this story. Audrey Abbott wants to be an author. One day while she is working on a story, a white duck appears and leads Audrey to an old childhood play place- a cave. In the cave are leftover playthings, bats, barn owls, and way in the back sits an old woman wearing a dark cape. Scary! On Audrey's last visit to the cave the old woman gives her a bronze pen. Later, when Audrey uses the pen she's startled to find it seems to be magical, but how precisely does the magic work? This book is spine-tingling, clever, and all the pieces fit. It's also a nice family story. Recommended for grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Snyder
Review Date: 10/9/08


Book Cover Reaching for the Moon
Buzz Aldrin

With paintings by Wendell Minor. It's wonderful to have a really special book, with such dramatic illustrations, for younger admirers of Buzz Aldrin. The little stories he tells about his childhood make clear why he was later chosen to crew the Apollo mission.

WPL Call Number: J629.45 AL
Review Date: 12/1/05


Book Cover A House Called Awful End
Philip Ardagh

Eddie Dickens' parents are sick. They've turned yellow and crinkly at the edges, so Eddie is being sent to Mad Uncle Jack's house called "Awful End." This story is utterly silly and ridiculous, and if you like it, you will laugh out loud. I did. There are more of these Eddie Dickens books - 2 more. For fans of Dahl and Snicket - grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Ardagh
Review Date: 4/15/04


Book Cover Sugar Changed the World
Marc Aronson

Sugar will never taste quite the same again after you read this page turning story which begins in New Guinea, 9000 BC. The authors have done an exciting and scholarly job telling the complex history of what our love (and addiction) for the "white gold" has set in motion: the good, the evil, the frivolous and the profound. Recommended for kids 6th grade and up and for grownups.

WPL Call Number: Y 641.3 AR
Review Date: 4/19/11


Book Cover Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmeg Hall
Emily Bearn

The merry little adventures (and misadventures)of two mice, Mr.Tumtum, and Mrs. Nutmeg, who have a fancy home behind the broom cupboard in a rundown house called Rose Cottage. The mice do secret, kindly deeds for the Mildew children who are quite poor, and who think there must be fairies helping them. A great old fashioned chapter book which would be fun to read aloud to preschoolers and first graders.

WPL Call Number: J Bearn
Review Date: 1/26/10


Book Cover Hoop Girlz
Lucy Jane Bledsoe

River, age 11, loves basketball and she's devastated when she doesn't make the cut for the A Team. Will she ever stop being ashamed of playing for the third rate "Hoop Girlz"? Good family story and recommended for 4th and 5th grade sports enthusiasts.

WPL Call Number: J Bledsoe
Review Date: 7/7/06


Book Cover The Crow-Girl: The Children of Crow Cove
Bodil Bredsdorff

The girl lives with her beloved grandmother in a cove by the sea where she gathers seaweed and snails for them to eat. When grandmother dies, the girl is lonely and two crows appear who seem to be calling her to go away from the only home she's known. She leaves, and in her wanderings meets many people, finds new life, and a new name. A short read for girls grades 4 and up who like resourceful, independent heroines. Translated from the Danish.

WPL Call Number: J Bredsdorff
Review Date: 5/18/05


Book Cover The Goat Lady
Jane Bregoli

Lovely paintings enhance this true and timely story that starts with an old run down house and an unkempt yard full of white goats. Neighbors had complained, but Bregoli's children were drawn to the little goats and the kind elderly lady who lived in such harmony with her little animals that they ran in and out of her house. When the children found out the real reasons Noelie Houle had so many goats, and why she loved them so much, they asked their mother, Jane Bregoli, to do paintings for an exhibit so everyone would understand and love Noelie.

WPL Call Number: JE Bregoli
Review Date: 12/1/05


Book Cover Throwing Smoke
Bruce Brooks

Whiz goes to prep school and plays baseball for the "Newts," who have a great time together, but never win. Whiz also has a part time job at a print shop where he secretly starts printing baseball cards for the kind of players the Newts wish they had. When these players start appearing in the games, the Newts have to decide if "throwing smoke" is really the most important thing. Very polished writing for sports fans 3rd-5th grade.

WPL Call Number: J Brooks
Review Date: 7/7/06


Book Cover Into the Mist
Patrick Carman

Two brothers live in an orphanage run by cruel Madame Vickers. They have to "work" at a garbage dump where one day they find an old saddlebag. Written on paper inside are the words, "Western Kingdom," and a pattern of circles and squares. The boys are amazed to realize that the pattern matches mysterious marks they both have always had on their knees. They take that to be a good omen- to escape and find the Western Kingdom. This book is part of "The Land of Elyon" series, but can be read on its own. You'll probably want to read the rest of the series. Recommended for boys and girls 5th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Carman
Review Date: 7/15/08


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