Bulldog Library

The Fourteenth Goldfish

JF Holm    •    Sci-Fi

fourteenth-goldfishEllie’s grandfather is a famous scientist, and he has just made his biggest breakthrough ever!  He has discovered a way to cure aging!  Now he looks like a thirteen year old boy and is going to middle school with Ellie.

Through the course of this story, Ellie learns about the history of science and the beauty of life.  The Fourteenth Goldfish is a fairly short book that is well worth reading, especially for kids who love science.

The author, Jennifer L. Holm, is likely familiar to readers as the Newberry Honor-Winning author of the delightful historical fiction novel Turtle in Paradise as well as the extraordinarily popular graphic novel series Babymouse.

Interest Level: grades 3-5  •  Lexile: 550   •  AR: 4.1

Holm, J. (2015). The Fourtenth Goldfish. New York, NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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Deep Blue

YA F Donnelly    •    Fantasy Adventure


When Serafina’s home is attacked, she is forced to flee for her life.  Now the run from her attackers, Serafina begins a perilous journey to not only save herself and defend her home, but protect the ocean itself from an ancient evil about to be unleashed.

Deep Blue is the first book in the Waterfire Saga.  It starts slow, but readers who can persevere will find themselves engrossed in an exciting mermaid adventure.  This is a wonderful read-a-like for Rick Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson series and a must read for all mermaid aficionados.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: HL580  •  AR: 4.4

Donnelly, J. (2014). Deep Blue.  Los Angeles, CA : Disney-Hyperion.

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JF Shurtliff    •    Fairytale/Fantasy


Have you ever wondered how Rumpelstiltskin learned to spin straw into gold?  Or why he wanted the firstborn child of the miller’s daughter?

Rump retells the classic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin from Rumplestitlskin’s perspective.

This is a fun book to read.  Fairytale lovers will enjoy this modern reimagining of the classic tale.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 660L  •  AR: 4.4

Shurtliff, L. (2013). Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin.  New York, NY : Alfred A. Knoph.

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Almost Super

JF Jensen    •    Sci-Fi & Humor


Rafter and Benny Bailey come from a long line of super-heroes.  Fire-breathing.  Flying.  Super-strength.  Every Bailey has a super-power.  They use their extraordinary abilities to fight crime and save the world.

Now it is finally time for Rafter and Benny to get their super-powers.  They have been waiting for this day for a long time.  They have dreamed of the power they will receive.  Benny wants super-speed.  Rafter wants super-strength.  No one could have ever guessed they would receive totally useless super-powers.

Without any power to aid them, these two brothers must find the hero inside and stop the nefarious super-villians who stole their true super-powers.

Almost Super is a super fun book to read.  It is a comic riff on the super-hero genre, however it far more than a simple spoof.  Almost Super creates a rich world of heroes populated by characters who prove that a hero is made through bravery, courage, and determination.

In the beginning, readers will delight at the humor of the absurd super-powers.  By the end, readers will be on the edge of their seats, unable to tear themselves away from the page-turning adventure that this book becomes.

Almost Super is a very promising start to what will most certainly be a funny and exciting super-series.

Interest Level: grades 4-6  •  Lexile: 590L  •  AR: 4.2

Jensen, M. (2014). Almost Super. HarperCollins.

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

JF Grabenstein    •    Mystery & Adventure

Jacket.aspxKyle loves to play games.  He loves board games and video games, especially the ones created by the famous Luigi Lemoncello.  So when Kyle finds out that the town’s new library was created by Mr. Lemoncello himself, Kyle knows that he must be one of the lucky kids to win a ticket to the opening of Mr. Lemoncello’s library.

Kyle thinks that he knows every game ever created by the famous Luigi Lemonchello.  Little does he suspect that the opening of the town’s new library will be far more than a simple party.  It will be Mr. Lemonchello’s greatest game, and the prize will bring the winner both fame and fortune.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library should be required reading for library users wanting to learn about Dewey Decimal Classification.  Chris Grabenstein has transformed the Dewey Decimal System into a truly engaging adventure with plenty of mystery and more than a few puzzles.  Readers will learn about how to find books in a library in a way that is both memorable and entertaining.  Once Mr. Lemoncello’s game begins, readers will not want to put this book down.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 720L  •  AR: 4.5

Grabenstein, C. (2013). Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. New York, NY: Random House.

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Closed for the Season

JF Hahn    •    Mystery

Jacket.aspx Logan’s family has just moved to a new town.  His parents bought a rundown cottage with overgrown grass and peeling paint, a real fixer-upper.  Little do they know that they have just bought “the murder house”.

According to Arthur (Logan’s new next-door neighbor), Mrs. Donaldson was murdered in Logan’s new home more than three years ago . . . and her murderer was never caught!

Throughout the course of this book Arthur and Logan must unravel the mysteries surrounding Mrs. Donaldson’s death.  Alone against a myriad of unknown foes, these two boys must learn the truth.

Closed for the Season is a short, fast-paced mystery that readers will not want to put down!

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 670L  •  AR: 4.4

2010 Edgar Allen Poe Award for best Juvenile Mystery

Hahn, M.D. (2009). Closed for the Season. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

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JF Pennypacker    •    Humor

Jacket.aspxClementine is a creative, energetic young girl.  She loves to draw, she is allergic to sitting still, and despite having the best intentions she always seem to get into trouble.  She gets into a world of trouble when she ‘helps’ her best friend cut glue out of her hair and ends up cutting her long hair completely off.

This book is very similar in style to Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones, however Clementine has a charm all her own.  The book is perhaps a bit slower at the start than Judy Moody; however, readers who persevere will be rewarded with a delightful tale.  Like Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones, Clementine is likely to appeal to female readers; however, all readers who enjoy funny stories, and those who have previously enjoyed books like Alvin Ho are strongly encouraged to try Clementine!

Interest Level: grades 2-4  •  Lexile: 790L  •  AR: 4.5

2007 Sid Fleishman Humor Award

Pennypacker, S. (2006).  Clemintine.  (Marla Frazee and Kate Herrill, Illustrators).  New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.

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Wishworks, Inc.

JF Tolan    •    Fantasy

Jacket.aspxHave you ever wished for a dog?  Max did.  Max has always wanted a dog, a big dog with a bushy tail that always obeys his every command.  Unfortunately, when Max wished for a dog, he wasn’t quite specific enough.  He doesn’t get a big dog, or a beautiful dog, or even a well behaved dog!  What he does get is a tiny, ratty-looking dog who chews his toys and chases his cat.

Max decides that there is only one thing to do.  He must wish this awful dog away.  But will his life go back to normal when the ratty little dog is gone?  Or will he find that the ratty little dog was exactly what his family needed all along?

Wishworks, Inc. is an imaginative, yet very simple story.  It is not a long book, and the large text and many pictures make it a fairly quick read.  It really gives an excellent contrast between the fantasy of a dog and the reality of owning a dog.  Max learns about the responsibility and hard work needed to raise a puppy.  This book is recommended for kids who think that they want a dog, or for readers who have previously enjoyed Bruce Coville’s Magic Shop series.

Interest Level: grades 2-4  •  Lexile: 680L  •  AR: 4.3

Tolan, S.S. (2009).  Wishworks, Inc. (Amy June Bates, Illustrator).  New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books.

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Get Rich Quick Club

JF Gutman    •    AR Reading Level: 4.1    •    AR Points: 2.0    •    Quiz #80840


Have you every dreamed of making a million dollars?  Eleven-year-old Gina has always dreamed of making money, a whole lot of money!  She wants to make her first million before she is a teenager.  One one lazy summer day, she decides to make this dream come true.  She starts by forming a company with four of the kids in her neighborhood.  They call their new company the Get Rick Quick Club.  But what brilliant idea will they come up with for making a million dollars?  Will they be able to pull off their wild and crazy plan?

With only 114 pages, this is a short book, but once you start to read it, you will not want to put it down.  You may very well read it all in one afternoon.  It is a simple story, but it is an engrossing, quick read that will capture the reader’s imagination.  This book is especially recommended for budding entrepreneurs who dream of starting his/her own business someday.  If you enjoyed Gary Paulsen’s Lawn Boy, then chances you will also enjoy The Get Rich Quick Club.

Interest Level: grades 4-6

Gutman, D. (2004).  Get Rick Quick Club.  New York, NY: HarperCollins.

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JE Pickly    •    AR Reading Level: 4.2    •    AR Points: 0.5    •    Quiz #11645


When the mice of Mousopolis have a barbeque, they unknowingly wake an ancient evil, a killer Corgi with known only as “Dogzilla”! This enormous monster of a dog emerges from a dormant volcano following the lovely smell of the cook-out.  Dogzilla rampages through the city sniffing everything, eating everything, and (when she is done eating the mice’s barbeque) sets to work chewing on the furniture store!  The mice are terrified, how will they ever rid themselves of terrible Dogzilla and end her reign of destruction?  How can a mouse, even an army of mice, defeat a gigantic Corgi monster?!  The mice of Mousopolis will need every ounce of cunning and bravery they have to save the city!

On the opening page of Dogzilla, Dav Pilkey warns readers “This book has been rated EG extremely goofy: Some materials may be too goofy for grown-ups.”  This warning should be heeded.  Dogzilla is goofy, silly, and wittily wonderful.  Children (and adults who are still kids at heart) will laugh out loud with every turn of the page in this uproariously funny book which stars the authors own pet Corgi as Dogzilla.  If you are a fan of Dav Pilkey, author of the Captian Underpants and Ricky Ricotta books, or a just simply a reader looking for a very funny book, than Dogzilla is an absolute must read!

Genre: Humor  •  Interest Level: grades 3-5

Pilkey, D. (1993).  Dogzilla.  San Diego, CA: Harcourt Inc.

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Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix

JF LaFevers    •    AR Reading Level: 4.2    •    AR Points: 3.0    •    Quiz #132418


Nathaniel Fludd has not seen his parents in three years.  They have been away on an expedition, and he has been in the care of Miss Lumpton.  That is all about to change.  Nathaniel’s parents have been declared “lost at sea”, and Nathaniel is to be sent to live with his only living relative, Phil A. Fludd.

When he arrives at his new home, Nathaniel learns that his aunt Phil is a beastologist, and that he is to be trained in the family business.  His first lesson will be to accompany his Aunt on a trip to the Arabian Desert to see the birth of a Phoenix.  This trip goes horribly wrong when Aunt Phil is accused of trespassing and taken prisoner.  Will Nathaniel be able to keep the Phoenix’s embers burning with out his Aunt?  How will he save Aunt Phil from her captors?

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix is reminiscent of Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider because of its exploration of mythic creatures.  It is likely that readers who have enjoyed one of these books will enjoy the other book as well.  However, this book is significantly shorter than Dragon Rider.  With only 134 pages, readers will be able to enjoy this book in a fraction of the time that it takes to read Dragon Rider.  This is the first book in the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series and is recommended for any reader who enjoys light-hearted fantasy adventures with plenty of mythical creatures.

Genre: Fantasy  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

LaFevers, R.L. (2009). Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

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Anastasia Krupnik

JF Lowry    •    AR Reading Level: 4.5    •    AR Points: 3.0    •    Quiz #202

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Anastasia loves writing lists.  Now that she is ten years old, she has started two new lists:

Things she LOVES

Things she HATES

Anastasia loves writing poems, the wart on her finger, and her goldfish Frank.  Anastasia hates babies, and boys (among other horrible things – like liver…yuck!!)  But life is a funny thing.  When Anastasia meets a sixth grade boy named Washburn Cummings she kind of changes her mind about hating boys (maybe).  Babies?  Now that’s another story altogether!  She absolutely HATES babies, especially the new baby brother that is due to come in about nine months.  Anastasia does not want a baby brother!  Will anything change her mind about babies?  Anastasia doesn’t think so.

Anastasia Krupnik will charm readers with her delightfully mercurial temperament.  She is spunky and smart with an every growing view of the world.  Lois Lowry, author of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, is a brilliant author.  In Anastasia Krupnik, Lowry has created a timeless character that tween girls will relate to.  At ten years old, Anastasia is just starting to explore important issues of tween life, like crushes and cliques, and weighty issues like love, family, and growing old.  If you have enjoyed books in the Judy Moody or Clementine series, then you will very likely enjoy Anastasia Krupnik.

Interest Level: grades 4-8 

Lowry, L. (1979). Anastasia Krupnik. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

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JF Abbott    •    AR Reading Level: 4.1    •    AR Points: 4.0    •    Quiz #106747


Tom is an average 7th grade boy.  He loves fast cars, especially the Cobra. He dreams of having superpowers, and has a crush on the cutes girl in his class, Courtney.  When a new girl named Jessica joins his class, his whole world changes.

Jessica was in an accident.  She was very badly burned.  Tom describes her as looking ‘melted’.  No one in his class wants to talk to Jessica or hold her hand during prayer time.  Even Tom shies away from her, but when his teacher asks him to bring her homework to her, Tom is forced to spend time to her.  They sit in her bedroom and talk.  The two almost become friends before Jessica must leave in order to pursue treatment elsewhere.  This brief time together helps to change both Tom and Jessica’s point of view on life and what really matters.

Firegirl is a simple story.  There is not much action.  Basically, a new girl enrolls in Tom’s class.  Tom takes her homework.  The class has an election for class president.  That’s it.

The brilliance of this book is the characters that Tony Abbott has created.  Tom and Jessica are relatable and compelling.  Readers who journey through this story will be left wondering what they would have done if they were in Tom’s shoes.  Would I treat Jessica as a friend?  Or would I avoider her like everyone else?

This is a story that will make you think, and it might even change your perspective on the world and the people you meet.

Interest Level: grades 4-8

Abbot, T. (2006). Firegirl. New York, NY : Little, Brown.

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The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

JF Hahn    •    AR Reading Level: 4.4    •    AR Points: 4.0    •    Quiz #140166

Jacket.aspxFlorence is sent to live with her uncle and her aunt at Crutchfield Hall on a cold and stormy day in 1884. Her aunt takes an immediate dislike to her.  She quickly begins to compare Florence to her ‘perfect’ cousin, Sophia, who died in a tragic accident the year before.

Florence soon discovers that not every one thought Sophia was such a perfect child.  The servants at Crutchfield Hall are frightened of Sophia.  They say she is mean and vengeful … and still haunting Crutchfield Hall.  Can the dead really rise from the grave to haunt the living?  If so, can Florence stop Sophia before she wreaks her terrible revenge?

This is a very scary story!  It is not for the faint of heart.  But if you like a good scare, you will enjoy this haunting tale!

Written in the style of a Victorian ghost story, this book is a pager turner. Once started, readers won’t want to put this book down until the very end.  Mary Downing Hahn’s descriptions of the boney-fingered ghost who can control your mind to make you do her will creates a unique and terribly frightening apparition.  This terrifying horror book would be an excellent choice to read on a dark and stormy Halloween night.

Genre: Horror  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Hahn, M.D. (2010). The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall. Boston, MA : Clarion Books.

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Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide

JF DiTerlizzi    •    AR Reading Level: 4.2    •    AR Points: 1.0    •    Quiz #70127

Jacket.aspxFollowing their parents divorce, the Grace family must move.  The three Grace children, Mallory, Simon, and Jared, and their mom have to move into their crazy aunt’s old shack of a house.  As soon as the family moves into their new home, weird and unexplained mischief begins to happen.

While exploring their new home, the Jared find an odd riddle written in rhyme and a mysterious message, “click, clack, watch your back”, that suddenly appears in the dust on an old desk.  Mallory is attacked by something that ties her hair to the bed, and Simon finds his new tadpoles frozen in ice cubes.

What is causing the strange mischief in Grace’s new home?  Can solving the odd riddle help solve the mystery of who the mischief-maker is?

The Field Guide is the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles series.  It is a very short book with a really interesting premise.  Additionally, it has great characters that readers will relate to, especially Jared who cannot stop getting into trouble and animal-loving Simon.  Readers will quickly get hooked and devour this slim volume, but not to fear, there are a total of eight books in the two Spiderwick series and two more supplemental books.  These ten books should be more than enough adventures with the Grace children to keep readers busy for quite a while!  This book is highly recommended for readers who enjoy fantasy books filled with magical creatures.

Genre: Fantasy  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Black, H. & DeTerlizzi, T. (2003).  The Field Guide. New York, NY : Scholastic.

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JF Giff    •    AR Reading Level: 4.1    •    AR Points: 4.0    •    Quiz #120111

Jacket.aspxSam lives with grandfather, Mack, in an apartment over his grandfather’s carpentry shop.  Sam has learned woodworking from Mack, but he has not yet been able to learn to read.  He tries.  He is in a special class in school, and every night his neighbor Anima reads out loud to him over desert.  Despite his inability to read, Sam loves his life.  He loves his grandfather, and he loves his neighbors, who have become his extended family.

One day, when searching for his birthday present, Sam comes across an odd newspaper clipping.  There is a picture of him as a young child, but the name is wrong: Sam Bell.  Who is Sam Bell?  Why does it say ‘missing’?  Sam needs someone who can read to help him find the truth, so he invites Caroline, the new girl at school, home.  Together they search for the truth of Sam’s past.

While the plot of this story is the mystery surrounding Sam’s past, the real heart of this story is the friendship that develops between Sam and Caroline as they work together to solve the mystery.  It is this friendship between two misfits that will grab the readers and draw them into this story.  Even knowing that Caroline’s father could move the family any day, readers will root for the growing friendship.  Despite the design of the cover, which makes this book look like this is a scary book, it is actually a book about friendship, family, and finding your place in the world.

Genre: Mystery  •  Interest Level: grade 4-8

2013 California Young Reader (CYRM) Nominee

Giff, P.R., (2008). Eleven. New York, NY : Wendy Lamb Books.

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Secrets of Dripping Fang: The Onts

JF Greenburg    •    AR Reading Level: 4.4    •    AR Points: 2.0    •    Quiz #103099

Jacket.aspxAfter being orphaned when their father was killed in a tragic port-a-potty accident, fraternal twins Cheyenne and Wally Shufflemuffin were shipped to a miserable orphanage.  The head of this miserable orphanage loves nothing more than money, which she gets every time an orphan is adopted.  She sees dollar signs when two weird old ladies come to the orphanage asking for kids with stinky feet and allergies.  Without delay, she ships the Shufflemuffin twins off with the Onts.  Wally wonders why the Onts want stinky, mucus-filled children?  And what the Onts’ are hiding in their secret room?  Have the Shufflemuffin twins found a home, or a house of horrors?!

Like a very good B movie, The Secrets of Dripping Fang is a delightful romp through a crazy world where giant bugs, zombies, and flesh eating slugs live in swamps just waiting to prey on innocent children.  Characters are defined by one or two characteristic, and there is not a lot of character development beyond this.  However, despite its shortcomings, this is a really fun book to read!  Don’t expect great literature; just expect a crazy, fun journey of the unexpected and odd.

Genre: Science Fiction/Humor/Horror  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Greenburg, D. (2005). The Secrets of Dripping Fang: the onts. Orlando : Harcourt.

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Half-Moon Investigations

JF Colfer    •    AR Reading Level: 4.2    •    AR Points: 9.0    •    Quiz #105928

Jacket.aspxFletcher Moon, a.k.a. Half Moon, is a twelve year old detective.  His prized possession is his real detective badge earned through two years of study in a real detective course.  When his badge is stolen, he will stop at nothing to get it back.  Breaking every rule in the book, Half Moon embarks on a very personal investigation that quickly turns south.  He is nearly killed by an unknown assailant who beats him to within an inch of his life and then frames him for an arson he did not commit.

Now Half Moon is a fugitive from the law on the run with his prime suspect, and he has only 24 hours to solve this case and get his life back!

Eion Colfer, author of the Legends of… and Artemis Fowl series, never disappoints.  In Half-Moon Investigations, Colfer delivers a gripping tale of intrigue and mystery. This gumshoe detective novel is a rollercoaster of twists and turns, a whodunit that will keep readers guessing until the very end!  Everyone is a suspect, and anything could be a clue.  Readers should expect the unexpected because things are not always as they seem in this little Irish town.  Everyone has a secret to uncover and no one is who they seem to be.  Readers who enjoy a good mystery will not want to put this one down.

Genre: Mystery  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Colfer, E. (2006). Half-Moon Investigations. New York : Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children.

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39 Clues: Maze of Bones

JF 39    •    AR Reading Level: 4.3    •    AR Points: 7.0    •   Quiz #125985

Jacket.aspxAt the reading of their grandmother’s will, orphans Amy and Dan Cahill must make a choice.  Either take an inheritance of $1,000,000 each or forfeit the money and receive an envelope with a single clue that will lead them on a quest for an unknown treasure and will put them in constant mortal danger.  Amy and Dan choose the clue.  They are not alone in this choice.  Several of their relatives also choose the clue, all driven to find the treasure that will make them the most powerful Cahill of all time.  Now the siblings must decipher the cryptic clue while battling their evil relatives who all want the Cahill orphans dead.

Exciting twists and turns await readers who are brave enough to travel with Amy and Dan on their mysterious quest.  This book gives readers an intricate mystery with several layers of intrigue and dangers that will keep readers on the edge of their seat.  Additionally, this book offers readers a unique way to explore history.  In this book, readers will follow the life of Benjamin Franklin learning about his life as a printer, an inventor and an ambassador.  This is the first in a series of eleven books and it is just the beginning of the young Cahill’s adventure.  Readers who devour this book will be eager for the next installment.  This book is highly recommended for avid readers who enjoy mysteries, history, or treasure-hunting adventures.

Genre: Mystery  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Riordan, R. (2008). 39 Clues: book one, maze of bones. New York : Scholastic.

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The Lost Hero

YA F Riordan    •    AR Reading Level: 4.5    •    AR Points: 19.0    •   Quiz #140427

Jacket.aspxWhen Jason wakes up on a camp bus, he has no knowledge of how he got there, who he is, or who his friends are.  He is soon confronted with a bully who turns into a storm and attacks him, his new friends, and a camp counselor who turns out to be half goat.  Jason is forced to fight for his life, and the lives of his new friends Piper and Leo, until a girl name Annabeth comes to their rescue.  Annabeth helps Jason and his friends escape to Camp Half-Blood where they all find out that they are demi-gods.

At Camp Half-Blood Jason, Piper, and Leo are sent on a quest by the Oracle of Apollo.  Hera has been captured and a powerful enemy is rising.  Can Jason, Piper, and Leo rescue Hera before the solstice?

The Lost Hero is the first in the Heroes of Olympus series.  It follows the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, returning readers to Camp Half-Blood.  This book introduces new heroes, new villains, and a new great prophecy that again threatens the destruction of the whole world.  It is every bit as exciting and as magical as the Percy Jackson books.  This is a must read for fans of the Percy Jackson books; however, readers who have not read the Percy Jackson series are advised to start with The Lightning Thief as many of the characters and relationships from the first series carry over to this new sequel series.

Genre: Myth/Fables/Folklore  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Riordan, R. (2010). The Lost Hero. New York : Disney/Hyperion Books.

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The Red Pyramid

YA F Riordan    •    AR Reading Level: 4.5    •    AR Points: 18.0    •   Quiz #137173

Jacket.aspxCarter Kane and his father, a noted Egyptologist, travel the world studying rare Egyptian artifacts.  Carter’s sister Sadie lives with her grandparents in London.  On their annual visit London, Sadie and Carter’s father has arranged a private viewing of the Rossetta Stone at the British Museum.  While in the museum, Sadie and Carter witness their father holding a staff and an ivory stick, bathed in an odd light, right before the Rossetta Stone explodes killing their father and destroying the Egyptian wing of the British Museum.

After the explosion, Carter and Sadie are taken to New York by their uncle, Amos, where they learn that Egyptian gods are real and that their father was an Egyptian magician.  Now Carter and Sadie must go on a quest to save the world from the evil that their father released in the British museum.

In The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, introduces readers to Egyptian myth with a well paced and exciting story readers won’t want to put down.  This book is presented as transcript of a recording made by Carter and Sadie Kane.  The chapters use a repetitive pattern of two chapters narrated by Carter and two chapters narrated by Sadie.  This provides interesting shifts in the narrators’ point of view and allows readers a fuller understanding of all sides of the story.  This is the first in the Kane ChroniclesIt is a highly enjoyable adventure, and is especially recommended to readers who are interested in mythology or have previously enjoyed the Percy Jackson series.

Genre: Myth/Fables/Folklore  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Riordan, R. (2010). Red Pyramid. New York : Disney/Hyperion Books.

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Bunnicula: a rabbit tale of mystery

JF Howe    •    AR Reading Level: 4.2    •    AR Points: 2.0    •   Quiz #254

bunnicula.aspxWhen the Monroe family goes to the movies to see Dracula, they come home with a strange new pet . . . a bunny rabbit.  That very night they name the rabbit Bunnicula.  Very soon after the arrival of Bunnicula, the family begins to find strange white vegetables all over the house.  What could possibly be causing all of the vegetables in the house to turn white?  The Monroe family is absolutely astounded and completely perplexed.  They cannot understand what is happening to their produce, but Chester, the Monroe family tabby-cat thinks he has the answer.  Chester is extraordinarily well read and he believes the answer lies in an old, dusty book about vampires.  Is Bunnicula really a vampire rabbit? Is he to blame for the mysterious vegetable blight?  Most importantly, can his nocturnal wanderings be stopped?  Together, Chester and the family dog, Harold, must uncover the truth before it is too late.

Told from the perspective of the family dog, a mutt named Harold, Bunnicula is a short book that tells a wholly unique story.  Part horror, part humor, this book is a riff on the classic vampire horror story and is well recommended for fans of either horror or comedy.  This is the first in a long series of books that star the famed bunny vampire, Bunnicula.  Other books in the series include Howliday Inn, Bunnicula Strikes Again, The Celery Strikes at Midnight as well as many other titles.  This is a witty, light hearted, and enjoyable tale readers will likely enjoy thoroughly.

Genre: Horror  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8

Howe, D. (2004). Bunnicula: a rabbit tale of mystery. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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Lawn Boy

JF Paulsen    •    AR Reading Level: 4.3    •    AR Points: 2.0    •    Quiz #115808

LawnBoy.aspxWhen a twelve-year-old boy gets a riding mower for his birthday, his neighbors begin asking him to mow their lawns.  To his delight, they pay him forty dollars per lawn.  Soon he has more work than he can handle.  Rather than turn down the extra work, his neighbor Arnold suggests that he hire more people to help mow the lawns.  Arnold is a stockbroker.  He offers to teach the boy about finance and also to invest some of the boy’s money in the stock market for him.  Before he knows it, the boy has fifteen employees and an investment portfolio that includes a boxer named Joey Pow.  What will he do when his business becomes more than he can handle on his own?  How will he ever be able to explain everything to his parents?

In Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen creates an exciting story that introduces readers to economic concepts, such as supply and demand.  While economics, finance, and the stock market seem like concepts unlikely to make for an interesting book, Lawn Boy uses these concepts, as a backdrop for a pager-turning adventure readers will love.  Lawn Boy is a short book that delivers a big story.  It is a memorable and enjoyable tale of happy accidents and financial success. Who knows, it may just inspire readers to explore capitalism and to achieve success in their own future ventures?  This book is fun to read and highly recommended.

Interest Level: grades 4-8

Paulsen, G. (2007). Lawn Boy. New York : Wendy Lamb Books.

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