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KU2014 Middle Grade Book Reviews

KU2014 Middle Grade Book Reviews

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Published by Karen Maurer
This is the beta version of my 2014 booklist for the Kutztown Children's Literature Conference.
This is the beta version of my 2014 booklist for the Kutztown Children's Literature Conference.

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Published by: Karen Maurer on Apr 09, 2014
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05/22/2014

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Book Review Grades Four Through Eight - and Beyond 
The Abominables 
 by Eva Ibbotson. Harry N. Abrams, (9781419707896), 2013. Two children find a secret valley where a peace loving family of abominable snowmen live. The children must save the snow people from ruthless land developers and showmen. This is classic Ibbotson with wild rides and narrow escapes and wonderful non-human creatures.
Bluffton 
 by Matt Phelan. Candlewick Press, (9780763650797), 2014. Henry spends the summer at nearby Bluffton hanging out with the circus and vaudeville folk, including a young Buster Keaton. This book illustrates what old folks mean when they talk about “The Good Old Days” and it delves into the childhood of one of early film
!
s greats, Buster Keaton.
Bo at Ballard Creek 
 by Kirkpatrick Hill. Henry Holt and Co., (9780805093513), 2013. Bo lives in a mining village in the North with her two fathers, miners who decided to partner in raising the orphan when she was a baby. This is the story of Bo
!
s year, living among the Eskimos and miners and learning how to stay safe. Bo is only five when the mining camp is dismantled and she floats down the river with her dads. Ramona Quimby fans will like Bo.
The Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1)
 by Cynthia Voigt. Knopf Children
!
s Books, (9780307976819), 2013. Max
!
s parents are offered the acting job of a lifetime, traveling around the world. When Max arrives at the pier to join them, their ship has vanished. Max stays in the family home, and begins a business finding things as he investigates his parents
!
 disappearance. This book was so much fun.
The Boy Who Swam with the Piranhas 
 by David Almond. Candlewick, (9780763661694), 2013. Stanley Potts leaves home when his Uncle
!
s obsession with canning fish threatens Stanley
!
s best friend. Stanley joins a traveling circus and works with a man who swims with the piranhas every night. Can Stanley swim with these teethy fish? Will Stanley ever find a home again and who are those weird Inspector guys? Yep. this one is odd.
The Case of the Time Capsule Bandits 
 by Olivia Spencer. Simon & Schuster, (9781442476813), 2013. Randi Rhodes and her new friend, DC, witness the theft of their small town
!
s Time Capsule. Using the detective skills that she learned from her Dad
!
s crime novels, Randi and her friend set out to solve the theft and save the town. The author refers readers to Ninja Challenges that are listed in the back of the book, activities that include making a plaster cast and getting rid of the smell of a skunk.
The Center of Everything 
 by Linda Urban. HMH Books, (9780547763484), 2013. Ruby's story is framed by the events of the Bunning Day parade.
 
As she waits to read the Bunning Day Essay - she won the competition - the author takes us through the loss of her grandmother, Gigi, and how her grandmother's last day has affected Ruby's life and friendships.
KU Children
!
s Literature Conference 2014 - Book reviews Grades 4 through 8 - Karen Maurer
 
Doll Bones 
 by Holly Black. Margaret K. McElderry, (9781416963981), 2013. Zach, Poppy and Alice love playing with their action figures. When Zach
!
s Dad throws out all of Zach
!
s toys, the games stop. Then Poppy and Alice tell Zach that Poppy is being haunted by an antique china doll - made from the ground up bones of a murdered girl.
 by Jenny Lee. Balzer & Bray, (9780062235770), 2013.Until his doctor figures out what caused a sudden seizure, Benji gets to choose between wearing a huge green helmet or using a therapy. The helmet just makes Benji
!
s life as the smallest, most sickly kid in his grade worse, so his family gets a dog - a HUGE talking dog who claims that he (the dog) really belongs to the president.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello 
s Library 
 by Chris Grabenstein. Random House, (9780375870897), 2013. Kyle Keely, class clown and gamester extrordinaire, almost misses his chance to win a night locked into the wonderful new library designed by Game Genius, Mr. Lemoncello. But Kyle plays a hunch and wins. The problem is that he and the other winners can
!
t get out of the library until they solve every puzzle in the building.
Fortunately the Milk 
 by Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins, (9780062224071), 2013. When a father is late bringing back the milk for breakfast, he relates a string of impossible events.
Frogged 
 by Vivian Vande Velde. Harcourt Children
!
s Books, (9780547942155), 2013.Princess Imogene kisses a frog who claims to be a prince and - yep- ends up as a frog. The only way back to princesshood is to pass the curse along to someone else. Spoiler: No one ends up as a frog who doesn
!
t want to be one.
Ghosts of Tupelo Landing 
 by Sheila Turnage. Kathy Dawson Books, (9780803736719), 2013. Miss Lana buys the abandoned Inn and Mo and Dale have to chase away the ghost that haunts the place or Miss Lana and Grandmother Miss Lacey will lose everything.
Goblins 
 
by Philip Reeve.
 
Scholastic, 9780545222204), 2013. We meet Scarper, smarter than the average goblin and literate besides, just as he is catapulted from a tower. He ends up teaming up with a less than brilliant human to rescue a princess from a giant but all is not what it seems.
 
And then, there is the Lych King's tower, those three traveling mages and the weird case of the exploding cheese that came to life.
 
Oh, and a comet and a prophecy and some men made of bones and...goblins and boglins and flying lizards????
 
The Great Trouble 
 
by Deborah Hopkinson. Knopf, (9780375848186), 2013. When Eel is accused of stealing the money he has saved, he runs to the tailor for proof that he has been working more than one job.
 
But the tailor is one of the first victims in the London cholera epidemic of 1854.
 
Left without a roof over his head and desperate to protect his secret, Eel turns to another one of his employers, Dr. Smith.
 
Hopkinson skillfully weaves in historical facts and allows Eel and Dr. Smith to be the sleuths that
KU Children
!
s Literature Conference 2014 - Book reviews Grades 4 through 8 - Karen Maurer
 
solve the mystery around the epidemic.
 
This book was fascinating, with an excellent sense of place and time.
How to Catch a Bogle 
 by Catherine Jinks. HMH (9780544087088), 2013. Birdie, an angelic orphan, helps Alfred hunt down and kill the bogles that are stealing London
!
s children. Set in Victorian England, this fantasy is surprising and fun. And the first in a series.
The Hypnotists 
 by Gordon Korman. Scholastic, (9780545503228), 2013. When people look into Jackson
!
s color-changing eyes, he can make them do what he wants. He is invited to the Sentia Institute to learn to be a Hypnotist. His “power” can be used to make the world a better place, he is told. Or is he being used because of his power?
Jinx 
 by Sage Blackwood. HarperCollins, (9780062129901), 2013. Jinx is led into the Urwald by his step-father and forced to leave the path. Lost, Jinx runs into Simon, a wizard, and although Jinx knows wizards are trouble, Simon gives Jinx a home. But Simon has secrets and Jinx
!
s attempts to learn these secrets lead to trouble.
Magic Marks the Spot
by Caroline Carlson. HarperCollins, (9780062194343), 2013. Hillary wants to be a pirate and her father, the Admiral wants her to go to (blahhhh) Boarding School. No worries. Hilary escapes and joins a wild band of pirates who are bent on ...saving the kingdom???!!! This book has many little quirky threads to follow.
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail 
 by Richard Peck. Dial, (9780803738386), 2013. Fans of rodent tales will enjoy this story about Mouse Minor. Our orphan mouse hero lives in Buckingham Palace
!
s Royal Mews. And he sports a most peculiar question mark shaped tail. After a disgrace in school, Mouse Minor is forced to leave the Mews and he falls into one adventure after another with the mice who served Her Majesty, none other than Queen Victoria.
My Basmati Bat Mitzvah 
 by Paula J. Freedman. Abrams, (9781419708060), 2013. Tara Feinstein has a lot of things to think about as she prepares for her Bat Mitzvah. Her best friend Ben-O might become more than a friend. Her other best friend, Rebecca, is hanging around with that snotty Sheila. And she accidentally damaged the heirloom sari that had belonged to her grandmother. Plus there
!
s the whole Indian/ Jewish thing. Who is she? Lots of stuff to think about in this book and some very funny dialogue.
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy 
 by Karen Foxlee. Knopf, (9780385753548), 2014. Ophelia Jane does not believe in magic. But when she finds a boy locked in a hidden room in a museum where her father has a job, she finds herself doing things and believing things she never thought possible.
PS Be Eleven 
 by Rita Garcia-Williams. Amistad Press, (9780061938627), 2013. The Gaither sisters are home in New York after a summer in LA with their mother - and the Black Panthers. Their father has a girlfriend. Their beloved uncle is home from Vietnam
KU Children
!
s Literature Conference 2014 - Book reviews Grades 4 through 8 - Karen Maurer

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