Book Review: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes, by Jonathan Auxier

peter_nimble_coverPeter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes is probably my favorite book that is not part of any kind of series. In it, a young blind boy named Peter Nimble, after a misremembered nursery rhyme, embarks on a magical journey to save the world after meeting the Haberdasher and stealing a box full of what feels like eyes. Along his way, he ends up in the Just Deserts, meets Sir Tode, and helps save HazelPort from the clutches of the evil Lord Incarnadine and his army of apes.

All in all, I really love this book and have reread it over and over again. This book is filled with just so many things that make you want to smile and laugh. I would consider it to be of the action-adventure and fantasy genres, and is appropriate for people of all ages, though geared more towards kids in 4th-7th grade.

There are a lot of events throughout the story that will make you think about what is going on. Also, it is one of those books that has a thief as the hero in the end, and for some reason, that small factor makes it all the more enjoyable. I would highly recommend this fantastic book to anyone, and I would give it the five stars that it truly deserves.

-Linna C., 7th grade

Book Review: Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway, by Wendelin Van Draanen

sammy_keyes10While walking into class one day, Sammy accidentally slams the door on her teachers beloved bird. Instantly killing it, Sammy runs into the nearest closet, with the bird, and hides there for the entire class period. Later that day, after leaving the dead bird hidden in the closet, Sammy hears that Heather, her worst enemy, has been blamed for the bird’s death. Even though Sammy knows that Heather didn’t kill the bird, she notices that Heather has been acting guilty anyway. What could Heather have possibly done to act so guilty? And will Sammy tell her teacher that she killed to bird or will she leave Heather to take the blame for her?

A suspenseful novel with tons of humor, Wendelin Van Draanen has written a book that will keep you on your toes the entire time. If you like a relaxing yet interesting read then is the book for you.

I almost forgot– this Sammy Keyes book happens to be the last of the series. The first book is Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief and the second book is Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man, so make sure you read these to understand Sammy and her archenemy a little bit better.

-Marilyn J., 8th grade

Book Review: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

red_fernThis book by Wilson Rawls is about a boy named Billy Colman with his two excellent coon hunting hounds, Little Ann and Old Dan. Billy gets his dogs from a magazine order, and saves enough money by determination and hard work. He always receives tips on hunting from his grandpa. On their first hunt in the river bottoms, the dogs beg for help occasionally. Then Old Dan finds the raccoon scent and heads off with Little Ann at his side. The raccoon pulls a simple trick by swimming across the river. Two hours later the pups has treed their first coon in the tallest sycamore tree in the bottoms. Finally after many hour of chopping the tree, the sycamore falls, and the hounds race off to find and kill the coon.

Near the end of the book, Billy enters a competition for hunting. Billy, his grandpa, and his dad goes to the contest. Before hunting, the judges held a beauty contest, and Billy enters Little Ann. He quickly grooms Little Ann and brings her to the tables. Little Ann wins the beauty contest. At the end of the hunting competition, Billy’s dogs win the contest. But– spoiler alert: there’s a sad ending for these dogs!

This terrific book is truly amazing. I think that the book is great for animal lovers. My opinion about the book is that the story is truly amazing and I bet everyone who reads this story will love it.

-Samantha S., 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

Book Review: Starlight, by Erin Hunter

warriors_starlight_coverOut of all the ten books I have read of the Warriors series, this one was my most favorite. Starlight, by Erin Hunter, is a story about wild cats that move into a new home. They have to learn how to survive in surroundings that are much different from their past home, as the forest is now being destroyed by Twolegs (humans).

The four clans of warrior cats– Thunderclan, Windclan, Shadowclan, and Riverclan– try to settle in their new home by seeking food, shelter, and boundaries to set up defenses to protect their own territories. When the Windclan leader dies and there is no place for the clans to speak with Starclan, the clans’ warrior ancestors, the cats think that all hope is lost. But one certain character will not give up in order to unite the clans together. Will Brambleclaw succeed or will chaos take over?

Throughout the whole Warriors series, I have grown to love the main characters’ personalities. All of the cats are very skilled warriors who are caring, courageous, honorable, and selfless. In addition, they fight like leaders to protect each of their clans. There are many scenes in the book when the warrior cats fight and this is what made Starlight so fast-paced. The suspense made me want to keep reading to the next chapter and I couldn’t put the book down! In my opinion, I would rate this book an eight out of ten and would recommend it to kids ages ten to sixteen who enjoy fantasy and action.

-Riley W., 6th grade

Book Review: Remarkable, by Lizzie K. Foley

remarkable_coverIn Remarkable, everyone is… well… remarkable. There is Angelina Mona Linda Doe, the famous architect, Anderson Brigby Bright Doe II, a famed author, Anderson Brigby Bright Doe III, who is remarkably good looking and can paint pictures so well they look like photographs, and Penelope Hope Adalaide Catalina, a math genius. With a family like that, you would expect Jane to be absolutely remarkable. But in fact, she is just a normal girl.

Jane doesn’t even have a talent for not having a talent. Her grandpa is so unforgettable that people often forgot he was there. So, even though the whole town goes to Remarkable’s School for the Remarkably Gifted, Jane attends the public school where she gets no attention and is, in fact, the only student in the public school. Until the Grimlet twins arrive. They get kicked out of Remarkable’s School for the Remarkably Gifted, so they end up in Jane’s class– and that is when things begin to happen.

This book was a coming-of-age book with a cute message, however, the story is definitely for a lower reading level than high school. It is a quick and easy read for some pages but I didn’t think the plot was amazing, or the character development was all that great, or that the story took much thought. It was just an average book. My little sister enjoyed it more than I did. There is nothing more to say than the world of Remarkable was entertaining, but the execution was average.

-Becka O., 9th grade

Book Review: A Room with a Zoo, by Jules Feiffer

room_zoo_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

Love is a very powerful emotion; whether the feeling is between humans or animals. A Room with a Zoo by Jules Feiffer is a story of a vet-aspiring little girl, Julie, who loves animals and wishes for a Chihuahua more than anything in the world. Her love for animals results with a zoo in her apartment room located in New York.

The start of Julie’s zoo was when she saw a dog food commercial. At that moment, Julie, despite her young age, established her strong love for animals and the desire to own a dog; specifically a Chihuahua. Of course, her parents refused to buy her a dog, much less a Chihuahua, using the excuse that she was not old enough to walk her own dog. Soon after, a debate between Julie and her parents took place resulting in the compromised age of ten-and-a-half when she would be able to get a dog. Julie, being her sneaky yet brilliantly minded self, asked if she would be allowed to have a cat because cats, after all, do not require walks. Her mom and dad had to give in because they had no valid excuses and Julie ended up with a kitten from the shelter named Timmy. At the time, Julie could not have even imagined that her bedroom would soon turn into a zoo with all her pets of various types: a hamster named Hammy, a “gangster” fish Oscar, few red fish universally called Reddy, a turtle known as Turtelini, and yet another cat named Jessie! As Julie expands her “zoo” one pet at a time, she encounters a most pleasant surprise towards the end of this book; one that she would have never guessed in her dreams.

For many reasons, A Room with a Zoo was a very enjoyable book. First of all, the voices of all the characters were vivid, although the main character’s voice was the most prominent. Another reason the book left such a positive image on my mind was because although the book was quick, it taught the valuable lesson that love is a remarkable thing. Lastly, this book by Jules Feiffer was very engaging; especially to an animal lover such as myself. Throughout the book, there were close calls of Julie’s pets’ lives and through all of them, I sighed in relief or sympathized with Julie. Except for some sentences which were confusing when it came to evaluating the flow of the words, this was a delightful yet quick piece of literature.

There were two main aspects of this book that were very pleasant: the character voices and developments. Julie’s voice was the most intriguing and memorable because of its clarity and trueness. Her voice was also the major factor which won me over in this book. Jules Feiffer did excellent job thinking like a little girl Julie’s age. In all honesty, Julie acted like a brat at times to her parents and sister but because of her childish ways, the book seemed more alive and in character. Another fabulous aspect of this book that set it apart from others was the developments of the characters. Julie, for example, grew more mature as the story progressed; having experienced more things and having learnt from those stepping stones of life. Although at the beginning of the book Julie demanded from her parents, towards the end, she became very thoughtful because she thought, “I wanted a kitten, but if I was going to have a dog, then I couldn’t” (110). Another character with a major character development throughout the story was Julie’s mother. Julie’s mother, despite hating animals, tried to change her way of thinking just to make her little girl happy and ended up showcasing acts of bravery that might not have been possible at the beginning of the story. Her extreme love for her daughter was displayed perfectly by the quote, “Julie, I wish I could love animals as much as you do. But I love you loving them” (84). Although Julie was an adopted child, her mother was willing to open her heart to animals more because her beloved daughter adored animals so much. Throughout the book, the main characters’ voices and developments really spoke out to me and made my experience of living the story more vivid and real.

As an extreme animal lover, this book was one that I appreciated very much. I could relate to Julie’s troubles and thoughts having had similar thoughts in the past. Also, I enjoyed Julie’s “true” voice; one that was pure and adorable. Love exists in the world; whether it is between humans and humans or humans and animals. A Room with a Zoo by Jules Feiffer was a book full of love; revealing what true love is like. I definitely recommend this book to animal enthusiasts, active readers searching for a quick, entertaining read, and for just anyone else.

-Alice N., 7th grade