Welcome to Books to Hoot About! the children's book review blog from InfoSoup librarians and users!

2011 Reviews by Library: Waupaca

Author: Tom Angleberger

Dwight is an oddball. He does lots of weird things, but he does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami Yoda and before long all the kids at school are asking Origami Yoda to predit their future. Could this paper puppet really have magical powers? Terrific "Guy Read" book. Good one for reluctant readers.

Who's Robbing Who?

Author: Kate Thompson

This short chapter book, set in 18th century England, begs to be read aloud.  Through the whole book the reader is not quite sure who is leading the mischief in the story.  When a mysterious gentleman rides into town and leaves the reins to his beautiful horse to a street lad for safe keeping, with the promise of a gold coin upon his return, the scheming starts.  When the King's soldiers use the lad as bait to catch the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin, the boy is befuddled.  His desperate state causes him to think twice about what to do.  Does he help the highwayman escape?  How does he escape himself?  This action-packed short novel will keep even reluctant readers attention although there is some tricky vocabulary.

Sweet and Funny

Author: Jennifer Holm

This book has the best nicknames I've ever heard. Turtle is sent to live with her aunt's family in Key West, FL in the 1930s because the woman her mom works for doesn't like kids. Meet the Diaper Gang and get ready to laugh. Part adventure story, part treasure map... this book will steal your heart from page one!

Title: Touch Blue
Author: Cynthia Lord

Tess's family, in a desperate effort to keep their island school, is one of the families to take in a foster child. Aaron isn't sure about the secluded island lifestyle, especially since he has to give up his jazz band to live there. Lobster fishing is something really foreign to him, too. Good story of the meaning of family and whether all the superstitious little ways we all bring about good luck really work.

Meet Feisty Abilene

Author: Clare Vanderpool

"The Rattler is watching."  This Newbery award winning book is historical fiction/mystery with just enough humor to delight any reader.  The plot can get involved, with all the great characters you meet in Manifest, Kansas.  Set in depression 1936, with flashbacks to 1918, Abilene is desperate to find clues to her father and the intriguing box of keepsakes she finds hidden.  Sent to Manifest to live with her father's friend, Pastor Shady while her father works on the railroad, Abilene connects with Miss Sadie, a storyteller and "diviner" who slowly leads her through the story of Ned and Jinx.  Plenty of historical references to the KKK, the flu epidemic, immigration, and tough times following the Great Depression abound.  Suspenseful ending that was most satisfying.  Good child book for adults, too.

Title: Scumble
Author: Ingrid Law

This companion book to Ingrid law's Savvy take us to another branch of the O'Connell family tree (great reference graphic in front of the book to help keep everyone straight).  Ledger discovers on his 13th birthday that his "savvy" is a difficult one to control.... mechanical things are magically disintegrated at the slightest show of Ledge's emotions.  Staying at his Uncle Autry's ranch in Sundance, Wyoming, for the summer might give him time to "scumble", or learn to handle, his savvy.  All looks promising until he meets Sarah Jane Cabot, a amatuer reporter, who is threatening to reveal his family's secrets.  How does Ledge learn to control his emotions and his savvy, and how does Uncle Autry plan to keep the family ranch?  Readers will love the members of this wacky family and their savvies.

Author: Tracy Trivas

Sixth grader, Griffin Penshine, is tricked into accepting a box of Indian Head pennies from a mysterious old woman.  A note inside explains that each coin represents a wish stolen from a fountain more than 70 years ago.  This makes Griffin a "Wish Stealer" and in order to change her own fate, she must return the pennies to the original owners or to someone who has a similar desire. The book features short chapters making it a quick read.  Readers will soon discover they play an important role as "Wish Giver" too.  Mother-Daughter Book Club Selection, March 2011. Ages 9-12

Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Most recently I finished Rita Williams-Garcia's multi-award winning book, One Crazy Summer, set in 1968 in Oakland, CA amid the Black Panther community. I had no idea, nor did I ever stop to consider, that Black Panthers might have been parents. Nor did I ever hear about their community building practices of providing meals, immunizations, and child care. I remember only what we white, mid-westerners saw on TV news..... fist-waving militants.

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