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Reviews by Lisa B.

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 Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Joan Aiken

Just a day after Sylvia goes to live with her wealthy cousin Bonnie in the north of England, Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby depart on a voyage, leaving the girls and the estate in the care of evil Miss Slighcarp. There seems to be no end to Miss Slighcarp's wickedness; she fires the servants, sells everything valuable, and punishes Bonnie and Sylvia for the slightest thing. With ravenous wolves roaming the countryside, escape seems impossible -- but as it turns out, nothing is impossible for these girls, with some cleverness and the help of some friends. This book has an old-fashioned feel, but it is funny and suspenseful all the way through. A good page-turner for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Aiken
Review Date: 7/6/06


Book Cover How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
Crystal Allen

Thirteen-year-old ace bowler Lamar's big plan for the summer is to hit the lanes every day and meet his bowling idol, Bubba Sanders... and maybe catch the interest of his crush Makeda, if he can stop putting his foot in his mouth. But things get complicated when bad boy Billy lures Lamar into a hustling scheme and then a prank that lands Lamar in hot water with everyone he knows. Lamar is a terrifically interesting character who tells his story with tons of energy. If you're looking for a laugh-out-loud story about real kids, give this one a try. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Allen
Review Date: 5/24/11


Book Cover Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator
Jennifer Allison

Imaginative individualist Gilda plans to pursue her career as writer and psychic investigator over summer vacation, but sitting at home missing her dead father isn't getting her anywhere. Unbeknownst to Gilda, her distant cousin Juliet has just seen the ghost of an aunt who killed herself. Once Gilda finagles her way to Juliet's home in San Francisco for a visit, she of course discovers the mystery of the ghost and will stop at nothing to solve it. Gilda, although not a particularly realistic character, is infectious, and her hijinks move the story along quickly. Despite dark undercurrents, this is an entertaining mystery recommended for readers grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Allison
Review Date: 7/12/06


Book Cover Ghost Letters
Stephen Alter

Gil is just fooling around when he writes a message, puts it in the old blue bottle, and tosses it into the ocean. So isn't he surprised when a letter comes back--all the way from India in 1896! Then there's the disembodied hand he and his new friend Nargis find in an old mailbox, not to mention the ghostly mailman seen wandering town. Bit by bit, Gil and Nargis discover the strange history behind it all--tragedies that all occurred because of letters sent but never received. Can the kids find a way to change the past, 112 years in the future? If you liked Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3, take a look at this book! Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Alter
Review Date: 6/2/08


Book Cover Ultraviolet
R. J. Anderson

One second, Alison is having a fight with her school rival, Tori. The next, Tori has disintegrated before her eyes. It doesn't make sense, but it's the only way Alison can explain it. Now, Alison has been sent to a mental institution, where the only person who doesn't think she killed Tori is a visiting scientist who has big secrets of his own. I *loved* this book. Not only is it full of intrigue and beautiful figurative language, but it keeps surprising you as Alison's special abilities and the true nature of Tori's disappearance are revealed. Highly recommended for imaginative readers grades 7 and up who appreciate divergences from "normal" life.

WPL Call Number: Y Anderson
Review Date: 1/12/12


Book Cover The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Tom Angleberger

There's no weirder kid in sixth grade than Dwight, down to his habit of going around with an origami Yoda puppet on his finger. The strange thing is, Origami Yoda is totally on the ball! If you go to him with a problem, he's bound to give you great advice. Is Origami Yoda magic, or is there more to Dwight than meets the eye? You decide after reading Dwight's classmates stories of their own encounters with Origami Yoda in this very funny book. Recommended for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid in grades 3 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Angleberger
Review Date: 6/29/10


Book Cover Race: A History Beyond Black and White
Marc Aronson

Did you know that before 300 years ago, there was no such thing as "race"? People still had different colored skin, of course, but nobody believed it meant one person was better than another, or that skin color was an excuse to treat other people badly. In Race, the author takes you on a fascinating journey through time, from prehistoric days through early civilization through the present. You will come to understand how different events in history brought about the unpleasant, but powerful, idea of "race" as we know it today. This well-written, powerful, and illuminating book will is highly recommended for grades 7 and up. Adults should read it, too!

WPL Call Number: Y305.8 AR
Review Date: 2/27/08


Book Cover Jack Plank Tells Tales
Natalie Babbitt

Jack Plank has given up the pirate’s life; he was never very good at it, anyway. Now he’s looking for work in the town of Saltwash, but there’s a problem with every job he comes across – and Jack’s got a story from his pirate days to explain why. Jack’s tales are good-natured, seafaring fun, complete with mermaids, ghosts, crocodiles, and treasure. As usual, Tuck Everlasting author Babbitt’s writing is smooth as silk. This book would make a wonderful read-aloud for families and classrooms with children aged 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Babbitt
Review Date: 6/10/07


Book Cover The Moon Over High Street
Natalie Babbitt

If someone offered you a million dollars, would you take it? Even if it meant leaving behind everything you know... even your dreams? That's the choice Joe is faced with when Mr. Boulderwall, rich inventor of the swervit, decides to make him heir to the swervit empire. This quiet, cozy book by the author of Tuck Everlasting will make you wonder what you'd change about your life if you could -- and what the cost might be. Suggested for readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Babbitt
Review Date: 8/3/12


Book Cover Ship Breaker
Paolo Bacigalupi

In this post-apocalyptic novel of sunken cities and spent fossil fuels, Nailer is a ship breaker, scavenging old ships for metal and other precious resources. It's hard and dangerous work, with no light at the end of the tunnel. Then, after a massive hurricane, Nailer encounters the most unusual -- and valuable -- scavenge of his life: Nita, a girl who claims to be the daughter of a powerful corporate executive. The pay-off could be a whole new life for Nailer, but only if he and Nita can escape the greedy, bloodthirsty scavengers chasing them -- the worst of whom is Nailer's own father! An interesting science fiction adventure suggested for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bacigalupi
Review Date: 8/14/10


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