Monday, October 8, 2012

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead *****

Georges has a lot to deal with: His father has lost his job; his family has moved into an apartment; his mother is working extra shifts as a nurse at the hospital; he is hounded by several of the kids at school; and his new neighbor "Safer" wants him to join in his activities as a spy.  Part mystery but so much more, this is a winner and one of my top picks for the Newbery this year.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen ****

When Wahoo Cray and his animal-wrangling father agree to take a job with the popular series Expedition Survival, they quickly find themselves facing off with the star of the show, egomaniac Derek Badger.  However, when Derek goes missing in the Everglades, Wahoo and his new-found friend Tuna find themselves running from her deranged father and dealing with a confused Derek at the same time.  I love the humor in this one along with the wildly engaging characters.

Captain Awesome to the Rescue by Stan Kirby; Illustrated by George O'Connor ****

Young readers will find a new superhero to root for in the fun new series.  8-year old Eugene pulls out his alter ego, Captain Awesome when he moves to a new town and sets out to find the missing class hamster.  his enthusiasm and humor is contagious and the illustrations more than add to the appeal.  This one is perfect for beginning chapter book readers looking for fun.

The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith ****

This humane title explores the beginnings of Precious Ramotswe's very first case.  The celebrated heroine of the adult series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency solves the mystery of some treats missing from her classroom.  When others rush to quickly accuse an overweight classmate, Precious takes the time to follow the clues and find the real culprits.

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham *****

In a touching celebration of community, Bob Graham pulls together gentle illustrations and an engaging story to tell the story of an abandoned bus, adopted by a little girl, and made into a community center.  When the bus is towed, little Stella attempts to bargain with the junkyard boss to get the bus back.  He challenges her, "tell me why should I play you for the bus?"  Her response captures the essence of the story, "Because there are sparrows nesting in the engine."  Here people look out for and care for one another as well as the creatures found on their city block.  Lovely!!

Sophie's Fish by A.E. Cannon; illustrated by Lee White ****

A young boy imagines all the disasters that could come his way after he agrees to pet sit his friend's fish while she is away.  He calms down just in time for the fish to arrive and a surprisingly shocking ending to greet him.  I love the touch of humor and the mixed media illustrations dominated by watercolor and collage provide a fascinating back-drop for the story.

Sent: The Missing Book 2 by Margaret Peterson Haddix ***

Well, after all these years I have finally found myself involved in this series.  This second installment took some getting used to as the first seemed more like sci-fi and this is firmly in the Historical Fiction Time Travel genre.  For that reason I didn't love it from page one but I was turning pages by the conclusion and plan to continue reading on.