Book review: Dogsledding and Extreme Sports, by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, illustrated by Carlo Molinari

Osborne, Mary Pope and Boyce, Natalie Pope. Dogsledding and Extreme Sports. Ill. Carlo Molinari. (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker, #34) Random House, 2016. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-385-38644-9. 114 pages. Ages 6-12. P9Q8

osborne-dogsleddingHow do sled dogs have the stamina to go long distances in such frigid environments? When was the first Iditarod? What are the X Games?  What is free climbing?  Who did President Obama send a tweet about never giving up on your dreams? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about the Iditarod, open water swimming, the Ironman triathlon, and other ways people push their limits.  This book is replete with current information, photographs, and illustrations. “A nonfiction companion to Magic Tree House #54: Balto of the Blue Dawn.”

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: The Magician’s Tower, by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

Odyssey, Shawn Thomas. The Magician’s Tower. (Oona Crate Mystery, #2) Egmont, 2013. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-425-0. 293 pages. Ages 7-12. P9Q8

This is the sequel to the Agatha and Edgar nominated The Wizard on Dark Street. Despite her success in the first big case, Oona Crate iodyssey-magicians-towers struggling to get her detective agency up and running. She was able to solve the mystery of her uncle’s, the wizard of Dark Street, disappearance while revealing the Red Martin as a criminal in the first book.  While Oona has stumbled on a new mystery of a missing punchbowl that has magical oracle powers, she is distracted with the magician’s tower contest that is held on alternating years.  No one has ever completed the series of dangerous  puzzles and obstacles that comprise this contest. If Oona can recover the punchbowl, she could use the object to answer a question that has been weighing heavily on her mind.  Is she responsible for the death of her mother and sister?  This book is full of magic, mystery, peril, and puzzles.  It resembles a combination of Harry Potter and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.  I read this book without having read the first.  I did not wait to finish before I ordered the first.

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: The Final Kingdom, by Michael Northrop

Northrop, Michael.  The Final Kingdom. (TombQuest, book 5)  Scholastic, 2016.  $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-87111-2. 189 pages. Ages 7-12. P8Q6

northrop-final-kingdom In the final book of five history-adventure series TombQuest, kids follow the story of Alex, a terminally ill boy whose mother, an Egyptologist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, uses lost spells from the Book of the Dead to bring Alex back. In the process, Alex’s mother unleashes Egyptian villains: mummies, scorpions, and evil followers. There is a kidnapping, a few scorpion stings, some dangerous booby traps, and magical fighting. Alex and his friend Ren see lots of small dead animals, get attacked by a giant stinger, and hear that people have been killed. Although this is not a thorough a look at Egyptology, it’s an rudimentary introduction, especially for action-loving reluctant readers. The book includes a link to a website for young readers to do their own tomb quest as a character they create. There are places on this site to write fiction, meet with the author, and chat on the message boards.

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: The Case of the Plagued Play, by David Lewman

Lewman, David.  The Case of the Plagued Play. (Club CSI, # 6)  Simon Spotlight, 2013.  $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-7261-7. 157 pages. Ages 8-12. P8Q6

lewman-case-of-the-plagued-playWhat is going on behind the scenes of the school play rehearsals? Props are missing. Ultimately, the play is delayed because of damage to the set with paint that spoils the play denouement. The play was written by an eighth grade student.  Is the culprit a jealous classmate? Can Club CSI get to the bottom of this?  Will the play go on? The use of investigation and forensic science helps to put the pieces together.  This book did not stay on my shelf for long.

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: Baseball’s Greatest Hitters, by S.A. Kramer, illustrated by Jim Campbell

Kramer, S.A. Baseball’s Greatest Hitters. Ill. Jim Campbell. (Step into Reading, Level 5) Random House, 2015. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-553-53910-3. 48 pages. Ages 4-9. P8Q6

kramer-baseballs-greatest-hittersYoungsters will learn about Ty Cobb, Miguel Cabrera, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, and many more great baseball players in this easy to read chapter book replete with colorful illustrations. A statistic sheet for each player is included.  Babe Ruth is introduced as an unruly youngster who turns his life around through sports. This is a great book to add to my classroom library collection.

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: Poppy the Pirate Dog and the Missing Treasure, by Liz Kessler, illustrated by Mike Phillips

Kessler, Liz. Poppy the Pirate Dog and the Missing Treasure. Ill. Mike Phillips. (Poppy the Pirate Dog, #3)  Candlewick Press, 2014. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-8772-4. 58 pages. Ages 5-9. P8Q7

kessler-missing-treasureFor Mom’s birthday, Tim and Suzy are planning a special pirate play. Who would have thought that there would be more drama than the show.  The excitement starts with the neighbor’s missing pet tortoise, and, then Dad’s birthday present for Mom is lost in the commotion. Are pirates involved? Can the birthday celebration be saved?

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review:Fala, by Kate Klimo, illustrated by Tim Jessell

Klimo, Kate. Fala. (Dog Diaries, #8) Ill. Tim Jessell. Random House, 2016. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-553-53490-0. 150 pages. Ages 10-14. P8Q8.

klimo-fala“Blow it out your bagpipes, buster.” is Fala’s response to the president laughing about the her resembling a mop or duster.  Fala, the Scottish terrier, was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s faithful companion. Youngsters will learn about events leading up to the United States entering World War II and the president’s illness that confined him to a wheelchair from the canine perspective. Realistic black and white illustrations build understanding. This is a historical fiction story that is sure to engage all readers. Includes an appendix with further information about the president, WWII,  and Scottish terriers.

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.