This category contains 40 posts


I picked this up looking for a ‘cozy mystery-style’ story for middle grade readers. If I consider it strictly in that sense Murder is Bad Manners has a lot of those types of elements and does a good job structurally guiding a younger middle-grade reader through the process of finding clues and using deductive reasoning … Continue reading

THE FOWL TWINS by Eoin Colfer

As a HUGE fan of Eoin Colfer’s work and the  Artemis Fowl series, I have been anxiously awaiting the new Fowl Twins series! I was thrilled when my copy finally came in from the library and I dove in with relish the moment I got it home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as thrilled after I finished … Continue reading


Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation was a definite 4-star read for me. I have been a fan of Stuart Gibbs since I first read Belly Up (and shared it with a 4th Grade classroom) in 2010! I love Stuart Gibbs’  FunJungle, Last Musketeer, and  Moon Alpha Base series and was looking forward to picking up the … Continue reading

FRAMED! by James Ponti…2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I & II

Framed! is a really fun read.  Our main character is 12-year-old Florian Bates.  On the first page he introduces himself to the reader and lets us know that he’s an average 7th grader, aside from the fact that–despite his age–he works with the FBI. By page 4 he has been kidnapped and by page 12 … Continue reading

THE SECRET OF DREADWILLOW CARSE by Brian Farrey….A 2020 LOVELACE Nominee Division I

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse is a perfect example of why I adore the Maud Hart Lovelace awards.  I always try to read all of the nominees before the school year starts so I can speak intelligently about them when students or parents ask me.  I have discovered more than one gem among the nominees … Continue reading

THE STRANGERS (Greystone Secrets #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Strangers is the first in a new series, Greystone Secrets, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The Greystones live in Ohio with their mother, Kate. (Their father died eight years before we meet them.) The story begins with the three Greystone children–Chess (6th grade), Emma (4th Grade) and Finn (2nd Grade)–racing each other home from school … Continue reading

WILD RIVER by P.J. Lodehouse…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Wild River tells the story of Ryan’s and his older brother, Tanner’s, kayaking trip.  The author does a nice job of creating a believable voice for Ryan–a middle school boy who prefers video games to outdoor activities.  The fact that Ryan’s expertise with outdoor adventures is much less than Tanner’s is essential to the story.  … Continue reading

AN ARMY OF FROGS by Trevor Pryce…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I had seen An Army of Frogs at the library.  I had checked it out twice.  It looked interesting.  It looked fun.  But I couldn’t get into it.  I groaned when I saw it come up on the Lovelace nominee list for 2016-17.  I was not looking forward to forcing myself to read it all … Continue reading

CAPTURE THE FLAG by Kate Messner…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

The flag which Francis Scott Key used as inspiration to compose The Star Spangled Banner is stolen from the Smithsonian after a gala event.  That evening four children with different ties to the museum and, consequently, the flag, meet by chance in the airport, waiting to board their flights home.  A massive snowstorm shuts down … Continue reading


The Case of the Stolen Sixpence is the first in the Maisie Hitchins mysteries series by Holly Webb.  Maisie is 12 years old and lives with her grandmother in the boarding house she owns and operates.  Maisie desperately wants to be a detective like the famous Gilbert Carrington.  When George, the butcher’s delivery boy, is … Continue reading