Genre: Fairytale Fiction
Audience Age: 7-11
Rating (1-5): 2
The story in no more than five sentences: Princess Imogene Eustacia Wellington meets a talking frog near a pond who claims that he is a prince who has been turned into a frog by a witch. When Imogene kisses him, the spell reverses by turning her into a frog instead! Imogene tracks down the witch who takes responsibility for the spell but refuses to help her. A group of traveling players then kidnaps the Princess frog. After several abominable productions around the kingdom, Imogene escapes, is reunited with her family, and eventually casts off the spell by kissing a frog.
The best part of the book in 1 sentence: The best part of this book is the convincing characterization of Imogene, who is not too sweet, not too cynical as she tries cast off the spell without inflicting it upon someone else.
The worst part of the book in 1 sentence: I found the middle part of the book in which she is traveling with a group of players tedious after awhile.
1 interesting note about the author: The name Vivian Vande Velde is a mouthful! You may hear her pronounce her name here at teachingbooks.net
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience Age: 7-9
Rating (1-5): 4
The story in no more than five sentences: Dani, a girl who is about to start Kindergarten, lives with just her dad and their cat since her mom passed away. She is very nervous about starting school, but becomes much happier after she befriends Ella. They do everything together including swinging, trading bookmarks, and playing with Ella’s hamster Partyboy. But in the middle of the year, Ella has to move away. Dani is incredibly distraught until a series of events shakes her from her sadness and moves her towards other, different friendships.
The best part of the book in 1 sentence: The strongest part of this book is Langercrantz’s plain writing style that perfectly expresses Dani slowly adjusting to her loss. The pen and ink illustrations by Eva Eriksson also warrant mentioning.
The worst part of the book in 1 sentence: I honestly cannot think of anything outrageously bad about this book.
1 interesting note about the author: Lagercrantz and Eriksson are both Swedish and have been writing children’s books together for a long time.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience Age: 12-16
Rating (1-5): 3
The story in no more than five sentences:
Middle school for Fern is off to a bad start. Her family owns a restaurant and her dad has created a commercial that features every member of the family shouting “See You At Harry’s!” Her older brother Holden, mercilessly teased at school for being gay, seems to be withdrawing from the family and towards his much older boyfriend. The one bright spot is that she is growing closer to her cute friend Rand and he has a way of making everything seem alright. When a tragic event occurs, the bonds within Fern’s family are tested to their utmost limits.
The best part about the book in 1 sentence:
The best part of this book is the realistic and open portrayal of Holden’s sexuality in High School.
The worst part of the book in 1 sentence:
The worst part of this book is the cover that does not capture the inner tension within the book.
1 interesting note about the author:
Jo Knowles’s parents actually owned a restaurant in New Hampshire where she grew up. Find out more at www.joknowles.com