Book Reviews

This category contains 232 posts

FALLOUT (LOIS LANE #1) by Gwenda Bond…a 2017-18 LOVELACE nominee

Fallout is a smart, sassy modern-day adaptation of DC Comics’ iconic character Lois Lane.  In Fallout Lois is a teenager whose family has just moved to Metropolis.  Her father is a decorated army general and we learn very quickly that:  (1) due to her father’s military career they have moved A LOT; (2) consequently Lois … Continue reading

THE NIGHT GARDENER by Terry Fan & Eric Fan

Each night a new masterpiece is created on Grimloch Lane.  The Night Gardener transforms a tree each night into a fantastically sculpted creature–a topiary–and a true work of art.  The story reveals how this small act of art creation has the power to transform a community in addition to the actual trees. The brilliance of … Continue reading

CILLA LEE-JENKINS: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire is a lovely new addition to characters like Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby.  Given Cilla’s Chinese-American heritage she also provides a nice counterpart to books like Carolyn Marsden’s The Gold-Threaded Dress and The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin for slightly older readers. Cilla is 8-1/2 … Continue reading

HIPPOS ARE HUGE by Jonathan London Illustrated by Matthew Trueman…MN Star of the North nominee

Hippos Are Huge is a fantastic nonfiction picture book about hippos.  Matthew Trueman’s illustration are large and captivating on each page.  They have the effect of making the hippos seem adorable in a way similar to illustrator Charles Fuge’s work and yet they never lose the realism that keeps the book squarely in the nonfiction … Continue reading

YOURS SINCERELY, GIRAFFE by Megumi Iwasa Illustrated by Jun Takabatake

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is a brilliantly crafted short chapter book for young readers by Japanese author Megumi Iwasa.  Her clear text combined with Jun Takabatake’s line drawings are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s work in books like Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back and A Giraffe and a Half. Giraffe lives on the African savanna.  He is … Continue reading

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill…2017 Newbery Medal

The Girl Who Drank the Moon had been on my To-Read List for almost a year when I heard early this spring that it had won the 2017 Newbery Medal.  I was thrilled to see a local (MN) author again take the prize and I nudged it farther up my list. It took me longer … Continue reading

UNDER THE EGG by Laura Mars Fitzgerald…2017-18 LOVELACE nominee

Theodora Tenpenny is the 13-year-old protagonist of Under the Egg.  When we first meet Theo she is trying to keep her household together after the unexpected death of her grandfather, Jack.  Her mother is in her own world, rarely leaves the house, working continuously on algebraic equations in her room and has no realistic abilities … Continue reading


The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is the newest addition from one of my favorite authors:  Wendelin Van Draanen.  Lincoln is 11 years old.  He and his mother have fled their home and his mother’s abusive boyfriend.  Lincoln now finds himself in a school where his southern accent and mannerisms often make him a target … Continue reading

OLLIE’S ODYSSEY by William Joyce

Ollie’s Odyssey is a beautiful story in the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit, told in William Joyce’s typical sweet, inspiring style.  When Billy is born, the doctors are worried about his heart.  As they wait for more information from the doctors Billy’s mother sews him a special toy–a cross between a teddy bear and a … Continue reading

THE FIVE LIVES OF OUR CAT ZOOK by Joanne Rocklin…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook.  When we meet the main character, Oona, her father has died and she, her mother and her brother Freddy have brought their cat, Zook, to the vet because he is sick.  We learn from Oona that her father was a … Continue reading