Book review: Sticks and Stones, by Nicole C. Kear, illustrated by Tracy Dockray

Kear, Nicole C. Sticks and Stones. Illustrated by Tracy Dockray. (The Fix-It Friends series) Imprint, 2017. $5.99. ISBN 9781250085863. 144 pages. Ages 6-9. Book 2 in the Fix-It Friends series. P7 Q7

Veronica helps her friend, Noah, who is being bothered by another student. This book focuses on how to deal with being teased. It includes a tool box with detailed steps on how to handle being teased. Like the first book in the series, The fix-it friends have no fear, this book also includes resources for parents and children. The Fix-It Friends have not fear is a chapter book in the series Fix-it Friends. The author is planning to have six books total in the series. The third book is estimated to be released in September 2017, and books four to six will be released until 2018. The books can be pre-ordered. Each book in the series focuses on an issue children may be dealing with and each book can stand alone.

Verdict: I recommend this book for libraries, classrooms and personal libraries. This book is especially helpful for children who are being teased. As a family advocate, this is a book I will keep in my personal library. I look forward to the other books in the series.

June 2017 review by Tami Harris.


Book review: Have No Fear!, by Nicole C. Kear, illustrated by Tracy Dockray

Kear, Nicole C. Have No Fear. Illustrated by Tracy Dockray.(The Fix-It Friends series)  Imprint, 2017. $5.99. ISBN 9781250085849. 144 pages. Ages 6-9. Book 1 in the Fix-It Friends series. P7 Q7

Veronica wants to help her friend Maya with her fear of bugs. As Veronica is helping Maya, she realizes that she needs to allow others to help her as well. The book includes a worry tool box that gives children step by step instructions on how to deal with worry. It also shares what worry feels like. At the end of the book, there are resources which include book lists for children, parents and websites for parents who have children who are struggling with anxiety. It also includes a website address for Fix-It Friend’s games and activities. The website has different topics children can click on to find ways to cope with varies issues. The Fix-It Friends have no fear is a chapter book in the series Fix-it Friends. Even though it is in a series, it can also stand alone.

Verdict: I recommend this book for all libraries and for parents whose children deal with anxiety. As a family advocate, I will be adding this book to my personal library and recommending it to several families.

June 2017 review by Tami Harris.



Book review: A Mysterious Egg, by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Mike Boldt

McAnulty, Stacy. A Mysterious Egg. (The Dino Files series, #1) Illustrated by Mike Boldt. Random House, 2017. $4.99. ISBN 9781524701505. 128 pages. Ages 7-10. In the Dino Files series. P7 Q7

The Dino Files follows Frank as his paleontologist grandmother finds a fossil dinosaur egg. The fossil is found on a neighbor’s property and there is a dispute to who owns the fossil. When Frank and his cat, Saurus, hatch the egg, the fun starts.  The facts surrounding fossils are accurate. The story shows how friendships can develop and the importance of compromise. This book includes a glossary and a sneak preview for the next book in the Dino Files series. The illustrations are pencil drawings and add to the text.

Verdict: I recommend this book for libraries. Children who are interested in fossils will enjoy this book.

June 2017 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Lemons, by Melissa Savage

Savage, Melissa. Lemons. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9781524700126. 3 pages. Ages 8-12. P7 Q8

Lemons follows a girl named Lemonade from her home in San Francisco to Willow Creek, California. As she settles into her new home with her grandfather, whom she doesn’t know, she finds new adventures. There are fifty-three chapters in the book and each chapter is three to five pages long. With short chapters, children won’t feel overwhelmed by the length of the book. The author uses advanced vocabulary and describes things in detail, which adds depth to the story. The author is a child and family therapist who writes issue-driven books for young people, coupled with cryptozoology and the mystery of Big Foot. Lemons reflects the author’s knowledge of social work and how the system works. This book is realistic for children who have lost their parents and are moved by a social worker to another place to live.

Verdict: I highly recommend this book for children who love adventure and Big Foot. My daughter is a social work major and loves Big Foot. This book combines the two in an intriguing story that will keep the interest of readers.

June 2017 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny, by Rebecca Chace, illustrated by Kacey Schwartz

Chace, Rebecca. June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny. Illustrated by Kacey Schwartz. Balzer + Bray, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9780062464989. 352 pages. Ages 8-12. P6 Q5

June’s parents died when she was three, leaving her with a lot of money. When she turns twelve, her fortune is lost. June is forced to leave New York and has to live in South Dakota. Along her journey, she learns to appreciate family. The book is not realistic. A child would not be living on her own, with only a housekeeper at the age of twelve. There are many things in the story that are not realistic. That being said, once I got into the story, it held my attention. I liked how the author emphasized family and friends. This chapter book has a table of contents and 26 short chapters.

Verdict: While the book is not realistic, I think it is easy to read and children will like the adventure that June has. Children who collect pennies will find the facts about pennies interesting. I recommend this book for libraries.

June 2017 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: The Warden’s Daughter, by Jerry Spinelli (two reviews)

Spinelli, Jerry, The Warden’s Daughter. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9780375831997. 343 pgs. Ages 9-12. P8Q8.

I enjoyed this lively book, set in 1959. Cammie is the spunky daughter of a jail warden, and she grows up living in an apartment above the gates of the county jail. Her mother died tragically when Cammie was very young, so most of the adult women she associates with are inmates of the jail. Through the course of the book, we get to know some of them including the shoplifter Boo Boo, a lively woman who dreams of food and romance, and most importantly, Eloda, who was an arsonist and who works as housekeeper for Cammie and her father. Cammie, who is almost thirteen, longs for a mother figure in her life, and she tries to make Eloda fill that role. She is angry and confused, and very real. Despite the unhappy emotions, I enjoyed Cammie’s humor, and the fact that she learns and grows over the summer when the story takes place. Cammie learns that people aren’t always what they seem to be, and understanding the context of a person’s story is important in really knowing them. The book looks at friendship, the father-daughter relationship, and the struggles of growing up.

VERDICT: I think the 19-13 year old crowd will enjoy this book and will identify with Cammie.

September 2017 review by Carol Schramm.


Spinelli, Jerry.  The Warden’s Daughter. “Advanced Reader’s Copy.” Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers,  2017.  ISBN 978-0-375-83199-7.  $16.99.  352 pages.  Ages 9-12. Q8P7

Narrated by Cammie, who lives in a prison where her father is the warden, the story delves into her thoughts and insecurities at the time of her most difficult struggle with the loss of her mom and the void left in her life as she tries to mature without the guidance and advice of a mother.  I really liked how the author captured the inner turmoil of an 11 year old girl, who carries the burden of losing her mother in a tragic accident when she was a baby.  While in a seemingly cold and friendless environment, Cammie is able to forge friendships with some unlikely inmates, who are obviously dealing with their own issues.  Since the setting is in 1959, interracial friendships are notable and uncommon, but Cammie finds it easier to make friends with prisoners and black children than with her own classmates.  Unbeknownst to Cammie, her almost non-existent father is aware of all of Cammie’s trials and seems to know when to come to her rescue and when to let Cammie figure things out for herself.

Verdict:  A great book to delve into the inner insecurities of an 11 year old self-made outcast.  The father being uncommonly perceptive is a little off-putting.   Unfortunately, I think the audience is fairly limited, as this really isn’t a fun book to read, yet worth reading.

Book review: Snowize & Snitch, Highly Effective Defective Detectives, by Karen Briner

Briner, Karen. Snowize & Snitch, Highly Effective Defective Detectives. Holiday House, 2016. $16.95. ISBN 9780823435678. 283 pgs. Ages 8-12. P8Q7.

Ever Indigo Nikita Stein is a student at the School for Children of Gifted Parents, where the other students tease her about the gap between her teeth, her name (they call her Einstein), and her poor performance on tests. She has lived with Doc since her parents disappeared nine years before, but now he is missing too! Ever, a strong and intelligent young woman, embarks on a quest to find Doc and figure out what has happened. She joins forces with Harry Snowize, a has-been spy, his partner Snitch, an African giant pouched rat, Melschman, an angry robotic refrigerator to eventually find answers to her many questions, including the whereabouts of her parents. They travel the globe and encounter some wonderfully wicked foes.

VERDICT: I enjoyed this humorous, fast paced book, and would recommend it to middle grade readers who want something entertaining to read.

September 2017 review by Carol Schramm.