Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Planet Tad by Tim Carvell

Book: Planet Tad
Author: Tim Carvell
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: May 18, 2012
Reviewer: Ben (11)
Rating: 4 4/5 Cheeseburgers

This book is, very, very, VERY funny. In this book, Tad, a middle-school boy, who blogs every day.  He blogs about his family, his friends, about school and about everything that happens to him.  Tad has a very funny way of looking at the world and can make even the most ordinary things sound hilarious.  Very soon after I started I could not put the book down AT ALL. I read the whole thing in one night! This book is very funny and I congratulate the author on an amazing book that is worthy of many more people reading it.

My rating for this amazing book is 4.8/5, because I would like to see a little more book and a little less blog. Well that is all my own opinion and if I were some one else I would rate it 5/5.

Good work, Tim Carvell.

[Editor's note: This book is such a favorite among our reviewers (and their moms!) that our ARC is starting to look like it was chewed by wolves. One mom even asked the local comic book store to order a case, since they would make such great go-to birthday gifts. Good work, Tim Carvell, indeed!]

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Holt Children's / Macmillan
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Reviewer: Maggie (13)
Rating: 4 1/2 Cheeseburgers

Shadow and Bone takes place in an alternate Russia, called Ravka. There are rifles and serfs and a king, like in normal turn-of-the-century Russia, but also a group of nobles, called Grisha, who have psychic/magic powers. Depending on what type of Grisha they are, they can bend metal and forge things, create/move water or fire, or kill people. With their minds. There’s also a very powerful, just-beneath-the-King Grisha called the Darkling, who has the power to summon darkness/shadow. Years ago, the Black Heretic (the first darkling) used his magical powers to summon up a dark cloud, the Shadow Fold, filled with evil creatures called volcra. When it was created, it killed everyone inside, turning farmland filled with people into a wasteland. Shadow and Bone tells the story of Alina Starkov, who is discovered to be the Sun
Summoner, someone with very rare Grisha powers (summoning light) and who has the capability, in theory, of destroying the Shadow Fold.

The book is really well written: it’s got some darkness to it, but it’s not super disturbing like the Hunger Games. There’s a love triangle, but it’s well done and not over the top, and the characters are interesting, so it doesn’t make you want to go to the dentist or anything.

The best part is Alina Starkov herself. She’s skinny, and not glamorous or beautiful, and she starts off not knowing she has magical powers, but she’s a great character, because she doesn’t let anyone give her a hard time. At one point, after she’s taken to the king’s palace to show her powers to the nobles, she’s woken up to be made “presentable”. However, she doesn’t know that’s why she’s being woken up, and the servants expect her to just go along with this. Instead of cooperating and asking bewildered questions along the way, she stops, refuses to let them do anything, and when she’s told that there’s not enough time, says “Make time! I’ve covered almost two hundred miles on horseback. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a week, and I’ve nearly been killed twice. So before I do anything else, you’re going to have to
tell me who you are and why it’s so very important…” Which is awesome.

I would definitely recommend this book to kids around age 9 or higher… there’s a slightly graphic kissing/make out scene and at an earlier, unrelated point someone gets cut in half. However, if you don’t care about that stuff, it’s definitely interesting to read. I would give it 4 ½ cheeseburgers.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: 2008
Reviewer: Phoebe (10)
Rating: 4 1/2 Cheeseburgers

The Hunger Games is a book about a girl named Katniss Everdeen, who is taken to be a tribute in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games takes place in the future, where instead of states there are 12 Districts. Years before the book happens, there were 13 districts, and they rebelled against the Capitol, who rules them. District 13 was destroyed, and the Capitol’s way of punishment for the rest of the districts is the Hunger Games. One girl and one boy between the age of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district to participate in the Hunger Games.

All of the kids go to an arena to fight to the death until there is only one kid left. Their district gets food and gifts from the capitol, while the other districts are almost starving. This is a great book which will keep you reading it until 3:00 in the morning. I really loved it because Katniss is awesome and can use a bow and arrows, and the story is always interesting. My rating is 4 and a half cheeseburgers, because I really, really, really liked it, but it might be kind of depressing for a lot of people. Even so, you should read it too.

Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese

Title: Happenstance Found (Books of Umber)
Author: P. W. Catanese
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: January 2009
Reviewer: Shira (11)
Rating: 4 1/2 Cheeseburgers

Happenstance is a boy with strange abilities. With no past and no memories, he is found by the amazing Lord Umber and taken under Umber's protection in a medieval world.  

Happenstance was found with a letter from a mysterious creature named WN. It tells Umber that Happenstance, will see abilities arising. Strange ablilities like his amazing green eyes that can see future, past and what could be along, with amazing night vision. His legs are capable of propelling him 7 feet or higher in the air, and his mind always curious.

On top of Hap's numerous questions like, "Where am I? What am I?" and "Why am I so strange?" there is a creature, an eye hunter, named Occo, who is hunting Hap for his all-seeing eyes.

Happenstance gets the help of Umber's bodyguard and friend, Oates, Umber's archiver, Sophie, a small man Umber rescued from a mean noble, Thimble,and the librarian Smudge.  And with Smudge's help he discovers that he is something called a "Meddler". A creature, small in numbers, that can bend history and future to its will.

<Editor's note: The paragraph below contains spoilers. If you want to read it, highlight the text!> 

After a fight with Occo and defeating the creature, Umber shows Hap his secret. A secret that he has kept to himself for 10 years. "Project Reboot". This was a project in Umbers' world (Our 21st century) in case the world were to have a global cotastrophy. He helped collect info about everything in his world on a computer in case this were to happen. 

Eventually it did. Umber was still collecting the information needed when the catastrophy became reality. He was knocked out and woke in Hap's world. The world he lives in to this day.

Follow Hap, as he and his friends discover new and interesting abilities and fight new monsters hunting Happenstance the Meddler.

Ricky Vargas: The Funniest Kid in the World by Alan Katz

Title: Ricky Vargas: The Funniest Kid in the World
Author: Alan Katz
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: June 2012
Reviewer: Sadie (8)
Rating: 5 Cheeseburgers

Ricky Vargas is a really really really funny book. I loved it! I would buy the second book of it. It's kinda like Diary of a Wimpy Kid but better. I think you should read it. I hope you like it! This is not really just one story. There are three stories in it. My favorite one was the "Vargish" story. Ricky's last name is Vargas, and he made up his own language. It's called "Vargish." It was my favorite because at one point the teacher told Ricky to stop speaking Vargish, and she tried to speak Vargish so he would understand. But what she said to him in his way was "Please dance around on one foot with a book on your head." And so he did that, and of course it made the teacher and all the students laugh. It's a really funny story. If you have this book, I hope you will like it. Since I'm a girl, and it's about a boy, both boys and girls should like it, because it's really funny.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

Title: Tunnels
Authors: Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
Publisher: Scholastic
Reviewer: Tom (10)
Rating: 4 1/4 Cheeseburgers

I've been reading this book called Tunnels by authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. It's an incredible book about a boy named Will, who discovers an amazing world below ground. His family is a crazy mix of people. His mom is lazy, his sister is bossy and cleans all day, and his dad keeps to himself.

His dad disappears without a trace. Things start to get weird and Will and his friend Chester find themselves running from sinister, pale men called Styx. When they find a strange tunnel in Will's house the boys set off on a wild adventure. This book has a big steam-punk influence as well as a firm sense of adventure.

Tunnels is an awesome book that once you pick up you won't want to put down. Will is curious and uses his head, but in this book you don't see much of Chester. The Styx are creepy and sinister and I felt like I was really being chased by them. Digging tunnels like Will and Chester would be really fun. A one-of-a-kind read, Tunnels is an amazing book.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Book: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Author: Christopher Healy
Publisher: Walden Pond Press / Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Reviewer: Stephen (11)
Rating: 5 Cheeseburgers

My new book review is about the book The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

The book is about the many different Prince Charmings in stories, such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. One of them, Gustav, is a big brutish guy who usually thinks the best solution to a problem is brute force, even if you are going one on one with a giant. Another one, Liam, is a tactical thinker and usually comes up with a plan. He got booted out of his kingdom because Sleeping Beauty spread some lies about him. Yet another one, Fredric, is a wimp and usually hangs out way behind the front lines. The last one, Duncan, is kind of an oddball and is kind of weird, and totally obsessed with naming every animal he sees.

They originally want to save Cinderella from a tower, but she had already gotten free and the princes have to save the bards from an evil witch, Zaubera.

It is a really good book for ages 10 and up who do not mind a little heavy reading and I would give it five cheeseburgers.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Book: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Author: Christopher Healy
Publisher: Walden Pond Press / Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Reviewer: Jacob (12)
Rating: 4 Cheeseburgers

My book review is on The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, and I think it's pretty good. It's about four princes who were booted out of their kingdoms and rejected by their princesses for various reasons, and have to save their kingdoms from a plot that threatens to destroy them all. These princes all have their own problems. Prince Frederic, the one who got Cinderella, is a pampered wimp who is too boring for the adventorous princess. Prince Gustav is a big brute who tends to rush in the battle without even ASSESSING THE SITUATION AND KNOWING WHAT'S GOING ON. Prince Liam is actually pretty normal and smart, but the problem was that Sleeping Beauty was a huge jerk and spread terrible rumors about her when he didn't want to marry her... because she was a jerk. Finally, Prince Duncan is just plain weird.

Things the princes have to deal with outside the kingdoms are bandits, trolls, a dragon, and an evil witch who's trying to take over the kingdoms. They even have to fight the king of bandits (who's ten years old). On their journey, they learn to work as a team and become heroes.

In conclusion, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was a pretty good read, although towards the end it got sort of crazy and didn't make a whole lot of sence to me. I give it a rating of 4 cheeseburgers.