Charlie Bone and the Hidden King by Jenny Nimmo

Charlie Bone and the Hidden King is the fifth book in the Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo.  At the time this book was written, it would have been the last book in the series.  However, Jenny Nimmo later decided to write more books to continue the saga.  In this book, Charlie Bone is on a mission to finally discover the identity of his father.  Throughout the series so far, Charlie Bone has wondered about his father.  Charlie had been told that his father died, but the circumstances surrounding his death were mysterious.  In this book, Charlie is determined to find out the truth about his father.

Other than the main character, Charlie Bone, my favorite characters throughout the series are Lysander Sage and Tancred Torsson.  These two characters do not disappoint in this book, either.  I really enjoyed reading about how they used their magical powers to help Charlie, and that they always remained loyal to their friends.

I also enjoyed a part in the story when another of Charlie’s friends, named Olivia, helped him to obtain a magical mirror.  After a battle against mysterious dark forces, Charlie is able to use the mirror to learn the truth about his father.

It was very satisfying to finally learn more about Charlie Bone’s father.  This book is exciting and action-packed, and I enjoyed reading it very much.  I would recommend it highly to anyone.  This book seems like a fitting conclusion to the series, even though the author went on to write more Charlie Bone books after this one.

-Simon H.

Charlie Bone and the Hidden King by Jenny Nimmo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis, is part of his Chronicles of Narnia series.  This was the fourth book published, but it would be the sixth book chronologically.  At the beginning of the story, two children named Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole have managed to escape from some bullies at their school.  They find a mysterious door that is usually locked, but is now unlocked for some reason.  Desperate to hide from the bullies, the children decide to enter through the door.

To their amazement, the door leads to the enchanted land of Narnia.   This world is ruled by Aslan, the great lion.  Even though there are kings and queens in Narnia, Aslan rules over them all.

Aslan has a special task for Eustace and Jill.  Prince Rilian has gone missing.  His father, King Caspian the Tenth, has no other heir to the throne.  Rilian was presumably kidnapped by the evil Queen of the Underland.  Eustace and Jill are tasked with finding Rilian and bringing him safely home.

My favorite character throughout the series is Aslan, but in this book, I was also very fond of Puddleglum, the Marsh-wiggle.  Puddleglum tends to be quite pessimistic and glum, but he is more high-spirited than most other Marsh-wiggles.  He becomes very helpful to Eustace and Jill during their quest.  One of my favorite parts in the story is when the children and Puddleglum arrive at the house of Harfang, home to a great family of giants.  They later learn that the giants are secretly planning to eat them, so they must devise a plan to escape. 

This is one of my favorite books in The Chronicles of Narnia, mostly because of Puddleglum, and also because of the wonderful action, adventure and suspense.  This book is also highly symbolic and teaches important lessons.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

-Simon H.

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater, is a Newberry Honor award-winning book.  The story is about a man named Mr. Popper.  Mr. Popper is a house painter, and he does not earn much money to support his small family.  He lives in a place called Stillwater, and he has never traveled anywhere else.  However, he loves to read books about exploration to the Arctic or Antarctic regions of the world.  He is especially fascinated by the Antarctic, because he loves to read about penguins.

One day, Mr. Popper receives a pleasant surprise.  He receives a package from Antarctica.  The package contains a real penguin.  This leads to a series of events that will change Mr. Popper’s life.

The story is quite humorous and amusing.  My favorite character is Captain Cook.  Captain Cook is the name of the penguin that first arrives at Mr. Popper’s house.  The penguin is funny in the way he inspects the Poppers’ house and gets into mischief.  Mr. Popper tries to put Captain Cook on a leash to go on a walk, but this leads to all kinds of trouble.  Another problem is trying to find a place for Captain Cook to sleep.  Mr. Popper tries to keep the penguin in an ice cooler, but eventually other penguins arrive at the Poppers’ house, so they need to figure out a way to take care of lots of penguins.  They try opening all the windows to cool down the temperature, but then a blizzard passes through and the inside of the house gets covered in snow and ice.  Finally, Mr. Popper comes up with an idea to raise money to support the penguins, by training them to become stage performers.

In a way this is a silly story, but I thought it was very enjoyable.  This might actually be one of my favorite books right now.  I think it is very well written and highly entertaining.  I would recommend this book to anyone.

-Simon H.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo

Charlie Bone and the Beast is the sixth book in the Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo.  The author had originally planned to write a series of only five books, but after the success of those books, she decided to add another three books to the series.  In this story, Charlie Bone faces a mysterious new enemy at Bloor’s Academy.  A student named Asa Pike, who magically changes into a beast every day at dusk, has suddenly disappeared.  Meanwhile, a new student named Dagbert Endless has enrolled at the school.  Charlie notices that Dagbert hangs around with Manfred Bloor, who has been known to cause trouble in the past.  Charlie suspects that the two of them are plotting something evil.  Charlie and his friends know that they must rescue Asa before something terrible happens.

Along with Charlie Bone, my favorite characters in this book and throughout the saga are Lysander Sage and Tancred Torsson.  They both possess very powerful abilities and are very helpful to Charlie and his other friends.  Also, an intriguing new character is introduced in this book.  He is a mysterious knight without a name, known only as the Red Knight.  Not much is known about his identity, and it’s not clear in this book whether he is a friend or foe of Charlie Bone.

One of my favorite parts in this book is when Charlie and some of his friends are forced to cross a dangerous river, by walking across a thin iron bridge in the middle of a thick fog.  The river suddenly rises to the height of the bridge, and the bridge begins to tilt violently.  I found this part very suspenseful because it seemed that everyone could drown in the vicious current of water.

Like the other books in the series, this book is very exciting.  Charlie and his friends risk their lives on numerous occasions as they embark on perilous adventures.  I am very glad that Jenny Nimmo decided to write more books in the series after her intended final book, Charlie Bone and the Hidden King.  This is one of my favorite books by Jenny Nimmo, and I would highly suggest it to anyone who has read the first five books in the saga.

-Simon H.

Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis, is the final book in The Chronicles of Narnia series.  This is my favorite of the seven books in this fantasy series.  The world of Narnia is in danger because of evil characters roaming the land.  The most important character is Aslan, the lion.  Aslan is the true king of Narnia, but he does not appear for much of the book.  A wicked ape named Shift and his followers plan to use an imposter Aslan to gain power and control over the world.  They use the name of Aslan to convince people in Narnia to serve Shift.  For much of the book, there is a battle between people who believe in the real Aslan and people who are deceived by Shift and his followers.  Later in the story, the real Aslan appears and helps the people in Narnia who believe in him.  Finally, Aslan reveals his true identity and leads his people to his country.

Aslan is my favorite character in the series, and I really like this book because we learn more about his true identity.  I also enjoy this book because of all the action, as good characters battle against evil characters throughout the story.  This book is very exciting and filled with suspense.  There are many villains in this story, which made it very interesting.  I was surprised by the ending, but it was a rewarding conclusion to the series.  I would highly recommend reading the other books in the series before reading this book.  The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my favorite series of books and I would recommend them to everyone.

-Simon H.

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors by Jenny Nimmo

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors is the fourth book in the Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo.  I enjoyed this book, even though it is not my favorite in the series.  Charlie Bone is back for a new semester at Bloor’s Academy.  This is a school for students with magical powers.  Charlie Bone knows that he possesses magical ability, but he still has not fully learned the extent of his endowment. 

In this book, Charlie meets some new characters.  Billy Raven is an orphaned boy who has been adopted by a couple named Mr. and Mrs. de Grey.  The de Greys have magical powers, but it turns out that they are evil.  They force Billy to sign papers that contain oaths, which would compel him to do things against his will.  Billy becomes imprisoned in a mysterious place called The Passing House.  Mr. de Grey uses his magic to create a force field that prevents Billy from escaping.

My favorite part of the story is when Charlie Bone and his friends help Billy to escape from The Passing House.  They take Billy to the house of one of Charlie’s friends, named Gabriel Silk.  At Gabriel’s house, the papers with the oaths suddenly come to life, and attack Billy and his friends.  The friends need to join forces with their magical powers to rescue Billy from the evil magic of the de Greys.

One of my favorite things about this book is the development of the characters.  I especially liked to read about Charlie’s friends, Lysander Sage and Tancred Torsson.  They have special powers that prove to be very useful in this story.  This particular book may not be quite as exciting as some of the others in the series, but I definitely still enjoyed it.  I am not really sure why it is called The Castle of Mirrors, because that did not seem to be the most important part of the story.  Still, I am glad to have read this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Charlie Bone series.

-Simon H.

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors by Jenny Nimmo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive/Libby.

Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo

Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy is the third book in the Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo.  This is my favorite book in the series so far.  These books are about a boy named Charlie Bone, who has a special magical power.  Charlie attends a school called Bloor’s Academy, where other students possess magical powers as well.  In this book, a new semester of school is beginning.  Charlie and his friends discover that a boy named Ollie Sparks has been secretly imprisoned at the school for a while.  Ollie is an “invisible boy,” because he was the victim of a magical snake that can turn its victims invisible.  Charlie and his friends try to save Ollie from his sad and lonely imprisonment.

In addition to Charlie Bone, two of my favorite characters in this book are Lysander Sage and Tancred Torsson.  Lysander is possibly the most powerful character in the book, but he is also very friendly.  Tancred also possesses very powerful abilities, and he is very helpful to Charlie throughout the book.  Charlie has other friends with special powers, and it is interesting to read about their different magical abilities.

My favorite part of the story is when Charlie and his friends help Charlie’s uncle after he was severely injured.  Charlie’s uncle, named Paton Yewbeam, had been away on a long and perilous journey.  He returns with many serious burns, and Charlie learns that he must find a special plant to cure his uncle.  The only place to find the plant is in the garden of one of Charlie’s evil aunts, so Charlie and his friends must risk their own lives to save Uncle Paton.

I enjoyed this book because Charlie and his friends take many risks to help others.  The story is very exciting, and Charlie’s life is in danger many times.  I like reading about the friendship between Charlie and his classmates, as they have many adventures together trying to save their friends and family.  I would recommend this book and the other books in the series to everyone.

-Simon H.

Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.