Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

boy_striped_pajamasFor this month’s post, I decided to write about one of the most shushed topics of history: WW2.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is about Bruno and his “explorations” during WW2. In the beginning, he and his family have to move since Hitler, or the Fury as it says in the book, gives a commandment job to Bruno’s dad. In the book it does not say that the Fury is Hitler but the reader can figure that out since the people on the other side of their house, the new house, are wearing striped pajamas and are being killed systematically.

For this book, instead of a summary, I wanted to give my opinion on how this book is.  I thought overall this story was very good. But, honestly, I thought the ending was way too harsh. SPOILER ALERT! When Bruno and Shmuel are gassed, it leaves the reader with nothing. As the reader, we have been on a long journey with both of them and in the end they suddenly die by being gassed. So, overall I would say this book was a 4/5, I just can’t bear the ending.

Let me know what you think about the ending– was it too harsh or was it perfect?

-Satej B., 8th grade

Book Review: Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors

smells_like_dogIn the world of literature, there are so many authors out there. But, there are a few dozen authors who will blow your mind, and one of them is Suzanne Selfors. The way Suzanne writes is simply amazing. First, her books are a fusion between comedy and seriousness. Especially in Smells Like Dog.

This is definitely my favorite book written by her. In Smells Like Dog, Homer, who is a farm boy, gets a gift from Uncle Drake– a dog! Except, the dog doesn’t do anything. Really he does nothing. But, Uncle Dranke, before he died, left a dog to Homer, which he called his most treasured possession. So what should he do with it? The dog just doesn’t want to do anything at all.

Until… you’ll have to read the book to know.

Out of 5 I would rate this story a definite 5. Also, out of 5, I would rate the author a 6, because it is very hard to find a great author. Thanks for reading, and please give comments below!

-Satej B., 8th grade

Book Review: No More Dead Dogs, by Gordon Korman

no_more_dead_dogsLet me start off by saying: best book ever!

Wallace Wallace, (not a typo- that’s his name!) the most popular kid in school who is the football star, doesn’t tell lies… He has learned that lying is horrible; from his dad who lied on everything possible to Wallace, one of the big lies was that he was in the army. LIE! So that’s where Wallace learns not to lie from, so when Mr. Fogelman gives Wallace an assignment to read and give a book review about “Old Shep, My Pal” he writes this:

“Old Shep, My Pal by Zack Paris is the most boring book I’ve read in my entire life. I did not have a favorite character. I hated everyone equally. The most interesting part came on the last page where it said “The End”; this book couldn’t be any lousier if it came with a letter bomb. I would not recommend it to my worst enemy.”

Mr. Fogelman was enraged! How dare Wallace say that?! So after confronting Wallace, which ended in an argument, Mr. Fogelman gave a detention to Wallace where he would write a “proper’’ review, which meant he couldn’t play football until he was done with detention! And as everyone knows Wallace can’t say a lie! So how will Wallace be able to join football again…..?

And with that, something horrible keeps on happening to the school play… which Mr. Fogelman is the director; all eyes are on Wallace as the prime suspect. Nothing could be worse; the Giants are on a losing streak without Wallace! The team hates him, the drama club thinks he is the person who destroys the set of the play, and most of all how can he lie in his report!? You’ll have to read the book to find out what Wallace does…..

I would recommend this book to boy or girl ages 8-14. It’s an amazing read. Enjoy!

-Satej B., 8th grade

Analysis: Book Characters & Their Movie Counterparts

For this post, I decided to something special, something different. I have decided to do a character analysis on some of the most popular books of all time. I have made a short description for each of these great characters.

lightning_thiefPercy Jackson
From one of Rick Riordan’s most popular series, Percy is the main character. Percy never gives up in any mission that comes upon him; he finishes the mission and ends up doing more. He is a model character for all.
Overall, I would rate him a 9/10 for his great personality.


stormbreakerAlex Rider
Another character from a great series, starting with Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz, Alex is brilliant, he thinks of things in a quick flash, whereas others would take much, much longer. He was picked for MI6 not only because of his family ties but also for his cleverness. I would rate him an 8/10 for his smartness.


harry_potter_coverHarry Potter
Created by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter is the most “magical of all characters.” But don’t only think of Harry Potter as a magician, he works hard and always does what has asked to do, although he might not be as popular as other characters he is a very popular character. I would rate him an 8/10.

Now, for the next part, I’m going to tie the character to the movie.

The Lightning Thief movie
I think the first movie based on the Percy Jackson series was okay. Although it was very popular I thought that some main parts it skipped and if you hadn’t read the book you could have been thoroughly confused about what and why the characters do what they do. Overall I rate the movie a 6/10.

Stormbreaker movie
Honestly, this might be the worst movie based on a book; they skipped so many parts, even though I read the story I was still confused why some characters did what they did in the movie, no wonder they didn’t make a second installment of the series. Overall, I rate the movie a 4/10.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie
I personally thinks that the first movie of the Harry Potter series was amazing. All scenes were captivating, I didn’t move during the whole movie, and it was honestly awesome. Overall I would rate it an 8/10.

Now, after tying these characters to the movies, overall I would think that Harry Potter is the best character out of these. Please comment below about your thoughts on these characters and the movies.

-Satej B., 7th grade

Book Review: Beowulf

beowulf_coverGrendel, the beast, feared by any and all living creatures, only one challenges to fight him, his name is Beowulf. Beowulf, known for his “strong wrists” and his generosity to others.

In Beowulf, Grendel is thought to be the cruelest beast of all to everyone. But, as the story proceeds further, they see that his mother is worst. Grendel’s mother is outraged when Beowulf murders Grendel and she decides to make him pay for it. So, Beowulf and Grendel’s mother fight, Beowulf realizes that Grendel’s mother is much more tough then Grendel himself. But, he does prevail and kill her.

Further in the story, Beowulf is much older, but he is called to fight against the Firedrake, the most feared monster of its time. Beowulf, even though he is old, manages to kill Firedrake and save his home land from the danger… but does he live…? Killing the Firedrake wasn’t easy for an old man like him, but even though he did kill him, will he stay alive, after all the energy he put into murdering the Firedrake?

You’ll have to read this story if you want to see if Beowulf lives in the end…

Overall I give this book a 9/10, it kept me captivated the whole time and made me nonstop read it. I definitely recommend this to any age of audience, but preferably 7 and older because of the violence. Generally, it’s a must-read!

-Satej B., 7th grade

Book Review: Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham

theodore_booneLawyers, lawyers, lawyers… paper, work, suits. Seems boring, right? Well, try reading Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer and your prospective of being a boring lawyer will change.

The story starts of as Theo is in school. He gets a grant from the judge to bring his class to the court to see a live session. Except… something is wrong. The side against Pete Duffy, the accused, has a very, very weak argument… Is there anything that anyone can do to help them?

First, let me tell you the story of Pete Duffy. Pete has an $1,000,000 price on his wife so that if she “accidentally” dies, he will get all the money. And then coincidentally, she is found strangled to death in their own house, the prime subject is Pete. But why would he kill his own wife… possibly for the money?

Now you know the story, but during the course of the book a twist occurs. A man saw something… this would change the whole game, the whole story. It will affect everyone, including Theo……It will be big.

I won’t spoil it for you guys but this is a great book to read, hopefully you can read it. They are also more stories, because this is a series.

-Satej B., 7th grade

A Look at A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

christmas_carol_coverThe following essay was originally written for a 7th grade English class.

Can one person hate so many things? Well, if know a man named Ebenezer Scrooge, you would have found out that he is that kind of person. In Charles Dickens’s play, “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge finds a chance to change. During the play you are taken to the past, present, and future Scrooge. Also, Marley gives some key advice to Scrooge that helps him to turn into a genuine man. Slowly, through the conflicts of the play Scrooge realizes the error of his ways on Christmas Day. Dickens points out to the audience that the message is, be happy no matter what, because goods shouldn’t bring you happiness, love should.

“‘But nonetheless they do sing….. Fifteen shillings a week and they do sing.’” (p.635)
This quote represents the message of the whole play, be happy with what you have and don’t be greedy. Money shouldn’t bring you happiness, love should. When this quote occurs in the play, Present is telling Scrooge how thankful the Cratchits are for what they have, which isn’t much. This next quotes represents how ungrateful Scrooge is, of course before he transforms. “‘You will be wanting the whole day tomorrow?……. It’s not convenient, and it’s not fair.’” (p. 607) In this quote Scrooge is talking to Cratchit, he is giving his opinion on how much he wants Cratchit to come the next day and how much he opposes him not choosing to doing that. This last quote represents the change of Scrooge’s personality by the end of the play. “‘I’ll raise your salary…. to assist your struggling family’”(p.653) This quote represents the change of Scrooge’s personality. The message is clearly evident by these quotes.

Dickens’s play “A Christmas Carol” is about how Scrooge massively changes by the end of the play. He turns into a genuine man from a man who couldn’t care less. The message is very clear from this play. It is to be thankful for what you have and not always be wanting more. Dickens’s play send the message that being bad is never good, which should affect the whole world. Because it’s true.

-Satej B., 7th grade

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Book One vs Book Eight

wimpy_kid_eventI recently went to the Jeff Kinney author signing event in Mission Viejo at the beginning of November. I got some photos, an autograph and of course the brand new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book #8: Hard Luck.

For this month’s  blog I decided to do a comparison… between two Diary of a Wimpy Kid books! Book number 1 and 8. In Book 1, Greg is stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons…. but when will his life change? He dreams of being a super famous person when he grows up. But until them…..? In this story some events happen. For example during Halloween, Greg and his best friend Rowley have a “haunted house.” Greg types out flyers saying that is starts at 3 pm. But before he knew it was already 2:30 pm and they hadn’t even started to assemble the house!!! So they had to cut many things from their original blueprint. When a kid comes in, he is too scared to leave. So they have to call Rowely’s dad, who’s not too happy…

Book One was very interesting and full of laughter.

Book Eight, Hard Luck, is a brand new book. In the story, Greg has to deal with a lot of obstacles. Rowley , his best friend thinks he is too good for Greg since he has a girlfriend, Abigail. Greg has to also avoid the “Mingo” gang. They are a group of teens who live in the woods. Greg is on the search for a new best friend; will he find one? Or will he be forever alone?

Book One, I think, was better because of its humor. Greg had many funny adventures in it. It always made me want to read it over and over. I think i have read it almost six times already. Book Eight is good but it is a little bit more serious. Don’t get me wrong- Book Eight is good and you should definitely get it- but I like Book One better.

These two books are in a series which O recommend from ages 8-15 years, boy or girl.

-Satej B., 7th grade

Movie Review & Book List: Gravity, with Sandra Bullock & George Clooney

gravity_posterRecently I watched the movie Gravity in which Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are the main characters. In the beginning Sandra and George are in a space station. They are just doing routine check ups on the ship until they get a warning. The warning says that a foreign satellite broke and pieces of it are moving rapidly across the atmosphere. It was going to hit them! Sure enough it hits the ship and SPOILER ALERT—- kills George and another guy on the ship. Sandra is the only survivor, but does she have the equipment to get home? Will she ever see her home again?

I personally thought that this movie wasn’t dynamic enough. Example, in the trailer it was full of action, but the movie was filled with action for 15 minutes. The rest of the movie after the ship wreck was very dull and boring. But many people older than me thought this movie was very engaging and fun. All I know is it didn’t appeal to me. I wouldn’t say don’t see it. But I would say do not waste your money to watch it in theater. Just wait for it to come on dvd. I think many people of my age group, 7-15 years, would find this movie to be boring, because most people my age like action. But is you are not the total-action type or the Avengers kind you might have an interest in watching this movie.

All in all I would rate this movie a 6.5/10. It lacked many things to my mind. Gravity disappointed me… but just in case you’re a fan and would like some book recommendations that pair well with this movie, I recommend the following:

  • Space, by Roger Reid
    Fourteen-year-old Jason accompanies his father to the annual reunion of long-time science colleagues at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and finds himself involved in a dangerous and complicated mystery.
  • Geronimo Stilton #52: Mouse in Space!
    When an evil professor begins threatening New Mouse City with terrible inventions, Geronimo Stilton is enlisted by local authorities to embark on a top-secret mission to outer space to thwart a nefarious plot.
  • Space Pilot Connor Grant, by Todd Templeman
    In a future that embraces humanity’s desire to explore and exploit the Solar System, raiding pirates have managed to hide their enormous strange base somewhere inside it. Space Pilot Connor Grant is about to learn just how immense it can be out there.

-Satej B., 7th grade

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney

cabin_fever_coverLet me start off by saying I absolutely love how Jeff Kinney writes his stories! He is funny and always makes me want to read his book again and again. Cabin Fever, another of Jeff’s novels, is riveting and hilarious.

Greg Heffley is a boy who goes to Westmore Middle School. Greg is always looking for shortcuts in his life. Whether it’s money or school, he is always looking for the easy way out. Greg is always looking for ways to earn money and one day while it snows he strikes an idea. But the problem is, can he strike the customers?

He opens up a snow shoveling business. Greg goes around his neighborhood looking for jobs. He finally gets one when a guy agrees with is job. He starts to shovel the driveway doing his best job but it just seems that more and more snow is coming down. After a “short” break he finds an idea that will make him a millionaire- the only thing left is to test it out. A snow mower! He goes to his grandma’s and quickly uses her mower to find out it works great… until it freezes out! Will he ever get rid of the snow and get paid?

I would recommend this book to anyone who is 9 and up. It is really, really, really funny!

-Satej B., 7th grade