Bulldog Library


YA F Meyer    •    Sci-Fi & Fairy Tale

cinderCyborg Cinder.  Mechanic to the Prince.  Ward of an evil stepmother.

While all other girls her age are preparing for the Prince’s ball, Cinder has much bigger concerns.  Cinder’s beloved step-sister has grown deathly ill, and her evil step-mother blames her for the illness.  To punish Cinder, her stepmother volunteers her as a research subject to be deliberately infected with the deadly disease and experimented on.  Now Cinder’s life is on the line.  If a cure cannot be found, both Cinder and her sister will die.

Set in the distant future amidst a backdrop of a devastating global pandemic, political intrigue, and the ever looming threat of interplanetary war, Cinder is an retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, with an exciting sci-fi twist.  Readers will delight in the budding romance between Cinder and the charming Prince, but it is the secret hidden deep in Cinder’s past and the looming threat of the Prince’s forced marriage that will keep the reader turning pages.

Cinder is the first in the Lunar Chronicals series.

Interest Level: grades 6-12  •  Lexile: 790L  •  AR: 5.8

Meyer, M. (2012). Cinder.  New York, NY : Feiwel & Friends.

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Fluff Dragon

JF Clark    •    Fantasy Adventure & Humor


Max Spencer, reader of the Codex of Infinite Knowability and defeater of the evil Robo-Princes, is back.  This time Max must save all dragons from the evil wizard Rezomoor Dreadbringer.  The only problem is that the Codex isn’t working.  Can Max reboot the Codex and save the dragons?

Fluff Dragon is the second in the Bad Unicorn trilogy.  Where as the first book in the series starts strong, Fluff Dragon starts a bit slowly.  However, the story it tells is worth reading if you enjoyed the first book, and the ending is incredibly exciting!  After finishing Fluff Dragon, readers will want to pick up the next volume in the series.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 770L  •  AR: 5.4

Clark, P. (2013). Fluff Dragon.  New York, NY : Aladdin.

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Billy’s Booger

JE Joyce    •    Memoir & Humor


Billy is unique.  He is immensely creative, but his creativity is often unappreciated.  When the school librarian announces a creative writing contest, Billy knows that this is his time to shine.  He works tirelessly on his mucus-y masterpiece, but can his humorous tale win the creative writing contest?

Billy’s Booger is the memoir of author William Joyce.  It is filled with humor that any kid will enjoy, but it is also an inspirational tale of a kid who followed his dream, dared to be himself, and found his passion in life.

This wonderful story is brought to life with illustrations that are worth lingering over.

Interest Level: grades 1-5  •  Lexile: AD750L  •  AR: 3.5

Joyce, W. (2015). Billy’s Booger: a memoir (sorta). New York, NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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Dorothy Must Die

YA F Paige    •    Fantasy Adventure


Amy Gumm is a Kansas girl who’s has been carried into Oz by a tornado.  Amy can hardly believe that she has landed in Oz.  Oz is in turmoil.  It looks nothing like she imagined it would.  The land is being drained of magic and the citizens of Oz are in constant fear of the tyranny of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion, and Glinda.  Can Amy survive in this terrible place?  Can she find a way to save it?

In the introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum wrote:

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” [is] a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.

Dorothy Must Die is a dark re-imaging of the Oz lore.  Baum’s heroes have been turned into nightmares who drain joy and wonderment from the land of Oz.  Fans of Baum’s original Oz stories might want to avoid Dorothy Must Die.  However, if a reader is looking for a dark fantasy adventure, than this might be a good choice.  The story is engrossing.  It will keep you turning pages.

Interest Level: grades 9-12  •  Lexile: HL720L  •  AR: 5.1

Paige, D. (2014). Dorothy Must Die. New York, NY: Harper an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.

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The Castle Behind Thorns

JF Haskell    •    Fairytale

Castle Behind Thorns

After praying at a sacred spring, Sand awakens in a sundered castle.  Everything in the castle has been torn and broken by a powerful curse.  He is held captive in this cursed castle by an impenetrable wall of thorns.  To survive he must repair the castle.  Day-by-day, bit-by-bit, Sand slowly rights the sundered castle.

The Castle Behind Thorns is a remarkable re-imaging of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty.  Rather than a love story or a fairytale, this is a story about friendship.  It is a simple, quite story that is remarkably engrossing.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 790L   •  AR: 5.6

Haskell, M. (2014). The Castle Behind Thorns.  New York, NY : Katherine Tegen Books.


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The People of Sparks

YA F DuPrau    •    Sci-Fi/Dystopia

Books of Ember People of SparksThe People of Sparks is the sequal to The City of Ember.  It resumes the story of Lina and Doon answering all of the questions readers are left with at the end of The City of Ember.

The People of Sparks than continues far beyond the scope of The City of Ember. It discusses issues of conflict in human society.  Why do people fight each other?  What is the spark that turns irritation, fear, and uncertainty into hostility?  Once hostilities starts, can anyone stop it from escalating to all out war?

In The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau explores the best and worst of human nature in an engrossing novel readers will devour from cover to cover.  Readers should be able to understand and enjoy the story even if they have not previously read The City of Ember.  However, the first book is so good, readers are advised to read The Books of Ember in order so as to enjoy the story in the order the author intended.

Genre: Dystopia  •  Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile:  760L  •  AR: 4.9

DuPrau, J. (2004). The People of Sparks.  New York, NY: Random House.

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

JF Angleberger    •    School Story    •    Graphic Hybrid

Origami YodaWhen Dwight (the weirdest kid in school) creates an origami finger-puppet that looks like Yoda, weird things start happening.  Origami Yoda starts giving advice, and Yoda’s advice actually turns out to be really good (much better than Dwight could ever give).  Some kids start to say that Origami Yoda can see the future, but others say that Origami Yoda is just Dwight doing a bad Yoda impression.  Which is true?

Tommy is determined to figure out if Origami Yoda is for real!  He has gathered several stories from kids who have gotten advice from Yoda, some good and some bad.  Will this evidence prove that Origami Yoda is true?  Or will it show that Dwight has the whole school fooled?

Despite the cover, reader’s should not expect a Star-Wars-like sci-fi story.  This is a middle school story.  It is very much a read-a-like for books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate, with the exception that Tommy, the slightly awkward protagonist of The Strange Case of Origami Yodais far more sympathetic and affable than the disturbingly selfish Greg Heffley.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a fun graphic-hybrid and well worth reading if you enjoy a good middle school story.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 760L  •  AR: 4.7

Angleberger, T. (2010). The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. New York, NY: Amulet Books.

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Rush Revere and the First Patriots

YA F Limbaugh    •    Historical Fiction

JacketLiberty is back!

In this new adventure, Liberty takes Rush, Tommy, and Freedom to visit several of the greatest patriots of the American Revolution (and one of the greatest villains in American history).  But what will happen when the Elizabeth (the biggest villain in Mr. Revere’s class) figures out Liberty’s secret and uses it to blackmail Rush Revere?

Rush Revere and the First Patriots is the second in the Time Traveling Adventures with Exceptional Americans series.  As with Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, Liberty -the wisecracking, time-traveling, perpetually hungry, talking horse- steals the show.  He is the star of this series.  Readers will enjoy visiting patriots like Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and Paul Revere.  However, it is Liberty that will keep the reader hooked.

If you like quirky and humorous historical adventures, or have previously enjoyed the first Rush Revere book, than this might be a great book for you.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 750L  •  AR: 5.5

Limbauagh, R. (2014). Rush Revere and the First Patriots: Time-traveling adventures with exception Americans. New York, NY: Threshold Editions.

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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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JF Palacio    •    Award Winning Juvenile Fiction

Jacket.aspxAuggie is a normal kid with an abnormal face.  Auggie won’t tell you what he looks like, but “whatever your thinking, it’s probably worse”.

Auggie has been home schooled his whole life, but his parents think that he is ready to go to fifth grade in a regular school.  How will the other kids treat Auggie?  Will he make any friends?  Will they be able to see past his face and get to know the real Auggie?

Wonder tells Auggie’s story through the eyes of all of the people in Auggie’s life.  Each character’s unique point of view gives the reader a richer view of Auggie’s life and the lives of the people who love him.

There are humorous moments.  There are heart-breaking moments.  Readers rejoice with Auggie in his triumphs and weep with him in his tragedies.

Wonder is simply a wonderful book.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 790L  •  AR: 4.8

2013 ALA Notable Children’s Book

2015 California Young Reader Winner

Palacio, R.J. (2012). Wonder. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

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YA F Westerfeld    •    Sci-Fi/Dystopia

Jacket.aspxTally cannot wait to turn 16 and get the surgery that will transform her from an Ugly into a Pretty.  Pretties live in fabulous towers.  They attend fabulous parties.  They are loved by all who see them.  This is the life that Tally longs for.

Not long before Tally turns 16, she meets a independent and adventurous Ugly named Shea.  Tally cannot believe that anyone would not want to turn Pretty, but just a few days before her scheduled surgery Shea runs away.  Now, the authorities refuse to give Tally the operation that she longs for until she agrees to help them find Shea and the mysterious group of dissidents to whom she has run to for asylum.

Uglies playes on our desires to be both beautiful and loved.  It asks the question: is beauty at any cost worth the price?  Is fitting in worth losing yourself, your individuality, and your freedom?

A perfect book for the older tween reader, Uglies is a futuristic sci-fi dystopia.  If you have previously enjoyed books like The Giver, The Hunger Games, or City of Ember, than Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies may be a good book for you.  Just beware, Uglies ends abruptly.  As soon as you finish this volume, you will want to move on to Pretties, book number 2 in this series.

Interest Level: grades 6 and up  • Lexile: 770L  • AR: 5.2

2004 ALA Best Books for Young Adults

Westerfeld, S. (2005). Uglies.  New York, NY: Simon Pulse.

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A Nest for Celeste

JF Cole    •    Historical Fiction


Celeste, a mouse, lives in a big plantation house under the dining room floor boards.  She spends her days weaving baskets and her nights foraging for food.  She lives a comfortable life until the day that the cat discovers her nest and she must flee from her home.

A Nest for Celeste is a story with touches of sadness at times, but overall it is a heart-warming tale about home and friendship.   The simple story is augmented with with numerous detailed illustrations that bring Celeste and her friends to life for the reader.  If you have previous enjoyed books like Because of Winn Dixie or Tale of Despereaux , than you may enjoy A Nest for Celeste.

Interest Level: grades 4- 6  • Lexile: 730L  • AR: 5.1

2014 California Young Reader Nominee

Cole, H. (2010).  A Nest for Celeste.  New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books.

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Peter and the Starcatchers

JF Barry    •    Fantasy

Jacket.aspxPeter and a group of young orphan boys have boarded a rickety old ship called the Never Land.  They are being shipped to a far away country to spend their lives in the service of an notoriously wicked king.  Little do they suspect that aboard this dreary and dilapidated vessel is stored the greatest treasure ever sent to sea.  Nor do they know that the fearsome pirate Black Stash is hot in the pursuit of their tiny vessel determined to steal the treasure and kill anyone who stands in his way.  Can Peter defeat the pirates and save the treasure?

Peter and the Starcatchers is an action-packed fantasy novel.  It is a prequel to the classic story Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.  It seeks to answer the questions of how Peter Pan learned to fly, stays young forever, and has a fairy friend.  It is a good adventure and quite a fun book to read.

While Peter and the Starcatchers is an interesting re-boot of Peter Pan lore, readers who love Peter Pan should be aware that J.M. Barrie himself answers the question of how Peter learned to fly and why he has fairy friends in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, a book which tells the adventures of the infant Peter.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  • Lexile: 770L  • AR: 5.2

Barry, D. & Pearson, R. (2004). Peter and the Starcatchers. New York, NY: Disney Editions/Hyperion Books for Children.

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