The Vanderbeekers of 141ST Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Reviewed by Brenna S.
This book was so much fun to read! It was funny, adventurous, and extremely heartwarming!
Mama and Papa live in a beautiful brownstone house in Harlem, New York. They have a set of twins, Jesse and Isa, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney as well as their lovable pets, Franz (Dog), George Washington (Cat), and Paganini (Rabbit). The Vanderbeekers love their home, but a few days before Christmas their landlord decides not to renew their lease. Instead of giving up and preparing to leave, the children are determined to persuade their landlord to let them stay. What will they discover about their mysterious landlord who never leaves his apartment, and is always angry? Will they be able to persuade him to let them keep their beloved brownstone?
I loved this book from the beginning. The siblings were always coming up with amusing plans and dangerous endeavors. Life on 141st Street is magical. Thank you, Karina Yan Glaser for a beautifully written story. I will cherish always cherish this book.
When you finish reading this book, you won’t want to miss the next two in the series!
Glaser, Karina Yan. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
–The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden
– The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Bronze Bow. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2007.
Sarah, Plain and Tall*, by Patricia MacLachlan
Reviewed by Matt H, Age 13
The story begins when Sarah Wheaton, a plain and tall lady from Maine, answers an advertisement Papa made for a a wife and mother for his two children. Caleb and Anna write to ask if she sings like their mother did. She answers that she does. Sarah comes for a trial period to see if she likes it at Papa’s farm. Along with her cat, Seal, Sarah stays for a month. Although she misses the sea, she eventually decides to stay.
I thought this book was incomplete if you don’t read the rest of the series. Patricia MacLachlan does give us a good idea about life in the prairies of America in the 1800s. I recommend this book to anyone willing to read all three: Sarah, Plain and Tall, Skylark, and Caleb’s Story.
Newberry Award Winner, 1986.
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. A Charlotte Zolotow Book, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond* by Elizabeth George Speare
Reviewed by Amberlyn E. Age 12
Be careful that what you perceive is
Not what the world leads you to believe
Even one made with digression can cause you to mislead
It can plant the gossip seed
If you are not careful and others are not ware full
A jewel of a person may be buried like treasure
May you go to every measure to uncover that treasure
Get to know their inner being
It may be different than what you’re seeing
Before you make your decision
Learn about them with precision
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a very captivating and entertaining book. It is easy to read and pulls you into the storyline quickly. The Witch of Blackbird Pond was a pretty good book and hard to put down.
Newberry Winner, 1959.
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Seedlings, 2004.
The Whipping Boy* by Sid Fleishman
Review by Matt H. Age 12
Prince Horace, also known as Prince Brat, decides to run away. With Jemmy, his whipping boy, the two set off on a daring adventure. Shortly into the journey, they are kidnapped by two scalawags! Can they escape? Can Jemmy lead them safely through the sewers? Will they ever get back to the castle?
The Whipping Boy is short, but well written. It’s funny and has good subplots of friendship and trust. It’s ideally suited for grades 3-5, but also appeals to middle schoolers.
Fleischman, Sid, and Peter Sis. The Whipping Boy. Greenwillow Books, 2003.
A Frog Thing by James Muscarello Reviewed by Ellinor G., Age 9
A Frog Thing is a book about Frank the frog. The author of this book is Eric Drachman and the illustrator is James Muscarello. In this book, Frank really wants to fly and sets his mind to do it. But he is a frog, and frogs don’t fly. In the end, Frank’s dream comes true!
I thought this book was funny and cute. Sometimes I felt sorry for Frank because everyone was laughing at him. But he had great ideas and I thought they were unique.
This book shows when you keep trying, never give up, and use some creativity, you can do new things. I would recommend this book to others because it teaches to be creative and that you don’t have to be like everyone else.
Drachman, Eric, and James Muscarello. A Frog Thing. Imagine Nation Books, 2010.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Reviewed by Christina S., Age 11
Deceitful wonders, wonderful lies, came from the thief.
They came from the pirate, the Indian, the boy, Tom Sawyer.
‘Thomas Sawyer’ when he’s in trouble, ‘Capt’n Tom’ when he’s a playin’.
Aunt Polly calls ‘im “mischief,” Becky calls ‘im “Sweet.”
Most of all, “Thomas Sawyer!” rings through the air, but only when he’s caught.
For he’s sly as a fox, that thief, pirate, injun, boy, Thomas Sawyer.
Twain, Mark, et al. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist. by Charles Dickens. British Library, Historic, 2011.
The Door Within, The Rise of the Wyrm Lord, and The Final Storm by Wayne Thomas Batson
Review by Brenna S.
These books are an amazing blend of fantasy – complete with knights and castles – and modern-day realism. I love this series because Mr. Batson uses it to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s plan of salvation.
Aiden’s family has moved across the country to live with his aging Grandpa. Every night Aiden has nightmares about black knights and a benevolent King. In the dreams, a powerful man with red eyes tells Aiden they could rule the world together. All Aiden has to do is deny the King. Grandpa seems to understand the meaning of Aiden’s dreams. Aiden discovers he can travel into the realm of his dreams by way of three scrolls he finds in Grandpa’s basement. He goes on an amazing adventure in which he makes close friendships, learns to sword fight, and even fights dragons. Aiden also learns about the one true king, Eliam.
The Door Within trilogy has endearing characters who will make you laugh, as well as a message which reaches into our world. I love it!
Batson, Wayne Thomas. The Door Within. Thomas Nelson, 2013.
The Rattlebang Picnic by Margaret Mahy
Book review by Elizabeth H. Age 10
In The Rattlebang Picnic by Margaret Mahy, Jack McTavish and Marion McGillicuddy get married and decide to buy an old rattlebang and have a bunch of children instead of a new and expensive car and no children. The McTavishes are a happy family and they have many great adventures with Granny McTavish. In the end, the McTavishes learn that children are more of a blessing than they could ever imagine!
This is definitely my all time favorite book!
Mahy, Margaret, and Steven Kellogg. The Rattlebang Picnic. Puffin Books, 1998.
Path of the Novice by R.K. Lander
Book Review by writer Sierra Peterson
Bible Characters Through the Ages, by Jann Martin
A review by Janice C. Garey
This book takes children back into the Bible story of Adam in the Garden of Eden via a homemade time machine. The story, nicely paced, can be either read alone by the child, or a parent or sibling could read it to younger children.
I believe it would be best to first build a foundation for the child in the true Bible story before reading this story in case a child might have trouble discerning what are the facts and what part is fictional. This applies more, of course, to younger children than to older ones. The story is really good to help the child consider what it would have been like to experience the Bible story personally.
It seems some children have a jumble of Bible stories in their head, perhaps from sporadic attendance at church, so this book series is perfect to dispel confusion as to sequence of the Bible stories if the books are read in order. A timeline project could be set up to give more learning value and hands on experience with the series.
Jann W. Martin—author, teacher, speaker and blogger— Her dream is to captivate the hearts of children, by writing stories that teach them of the Bible through the eyes of a child. She has a B.A. from Michigan State University, Commissioned, Associate in Ministry from Trinity Lutheran Seminary. You can join her at www.jannwmartin.com, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+