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

2012 Reviews by Library: Appleton

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Author: James Patterson

This is really a unique book for James Patterson. It's not a graphic novel, by definition, but it is full of sketches and doodles that add a graphic novel quality to the book. This is a story about a boy named Rafe who is starting middle school and seems to only be noticed by the school bully, "Miller the Killer." After the first school assembly, Rafe makes a promise to break all the rules in the student handbook (without hurting anyone) by the end of the school year. While the story deals with some heavy issues, it does it with great humor and fun drawings along the way.

I highly recommend this book to students from grade 6-8. It's a great pick for reluctant readers too.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

The Princess Plot

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Author: Kirsten Boie

In The Princess Plot, a German bestseller, Jenna is recruited to play the role of Princess Malena of Scandia in a new movie. She becomes suspicious when she finds herself impersonating the princess at a public event. What has happened to the real princess? A subplot involving rebels looking for equal rights in Scandia adds to the excitement.

Recommended for 5th grade and up.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Maze of Bones

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Author: Rick Riordan

Orphans Amy and Dan Cahill are shocked when their jet-setting grandmother Grace Cahill passes away, but even more shocked during the Will reading when they are offered either a million dollars or one of thirty-nine clues. The clue hunt will take them all over the world in search of a secret that will make its finder the most powerful person in the world. The Maze of Bones is only the first of eleven books in the 39 Clues series. The audiobook is fantastically read by David Pittu. A great series to start for long car rides.

5th - 7th grade

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Crow Call

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Title: Crow Call
Author: Lois Lowry

Young Liz is excited to be on her first hunting adventure with her dad who has just returned home from war; but she is also uneasy: her father has been gone so long that he and she are practically strangers. There are other things to get used to also: her new, too-large plaid flannel shirt from the dry goods store, the unfamiliarity of the breakfast fare on the menu at the diner, and the chilling changes that November brings to the woods Liz walks with her father, who, with gun in hand, is intent on killing the crows who have been eating the farm crops. Liz has been put in charge of luring the crows with a crow call whistle. It makes her sad to think that the crows will have to die, and she confides this and other feelings to her father as they make their way through to a hillside clearing. When the time comes for calling the crows, Liz is so delighted interacting with the birds that have gathered that her father holds his fire to share in her delight.

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Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

The Burning Bridge

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Author: John Flanagan

Book 2 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series

This sequel is packed with exciting adventures. Will, his friend Horace, and the Ranger Gilan, travel to Celtica, a neighboring country to Arluen, to ask for their help in the battle against the rebel warlord Morgarath. When they arrive in Celtica they find all the people gone. They encounter a girl, Evanlyn, hiding from the Wargals. She describes how the Celts were either killed or enslaved by these creatures. Gilan rides to tell the king of the news and Will, Horace, and Evanlyn are left to find out what the Wargals want with the Celts.

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Author: Sandra Boynton

Boynton begins her newest board book asking little readers how they are that day. "Are you as happy as a hippo? Or angry as a duck? Maybe sad as a chicken? (Can you sadly say cluck cluck?)." Children will delight in Boynton's signature illustrations while enjoyably learning that our moods change every day. Unless you are the duck of course, because he is always that way!

Ages 1 to 3

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Lotta on Troublemaker Street

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Author: Astrid Lindgren

5 year old Lotta becomes angry with her mother when assigned to wear a scratchy sweater. She cuts the sweater up and runs away to find a new home. Her next door neighbor lets her set up a little house in the backyard, and Lotta decides she will live there forever. Lotta ends up going home in the end, of course! I like this short chapter book by the author of Pippi Longstocking, because I think so many children can relate to Lotta's anger.

Recommended for 1st to 3rd grade students, younger for reading aloud.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Chains

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Title: Chains
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Whose side do you fight for if you're a slave during the American Revolution? While our country is fighting for freedom from Britain, who will fight for the slaves' freedom? The truth is that sometimes the slaves would fight for whoever promised them their freedom after the war. This book of incredibly well researched historical fiction takes the reader through the harrowing times of a slave girl named Isabel, her little sister Ruth, and a slave boy named Curzon as they fight for their freedom.

This award winning book is a favorite for avid middle school readers. Don't miss book 2, "Forge" and not yet published, book 3 titled "Ashes" (recommended for grades 6-8, young adults and adults).