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


Author: Amy Timberlake

Set in Wisconsin in 1871, this book brings us into the small towns of Placid and Dog Hollow during the hey day of the passenger pigeon (now extinct).  Georgie is the only one who doesn't believe that the pieces of body brought home for burial in the blue-green ball gown is her older sister, Agatha.  She needs to find out what really happened and she discovers more than she bargained for.  This book will have you on the edge of your seat until almost the very last page!  It was a Newbery Honor Book, too.

Author: Holly Sloan

This book reminded me of Out of My Mind and Wonder (both books I loved by the way) being that it is about a 12-year old girl who is a genius, but feels detached from her peers.  Suffering the loss of her parents in a tragic accident sets this story on a hopeful mission to find Willow Chance a new family.  But what does it take to be a family?  Readers will have a lot to talk about after reading this book.  What is strange?  Are we all strange or at varying levels of strangeness?  Is it fair to group like strangers?  Hmmm.

Title: Hold Fast
Author: Blue Balliett

This book is a mystery and a work of art.  The Pearl family experiences a huge upheaval and Early, the young protagonist, feels the urgency to not only solve the mystery of where her father has disappeared to, but hold her family (mom and brother) together in the Chicago homeless shelter scene.  Readers will get a pretty realistic look at the lives of those having to live in such shelters.  I'm interested now in checking out some Langston Hughes poetry.  Lots to talk about after reading this book.

Author: Claudia Mills

Seventh-grader, Sierra, has always been an good student.  Her life gets messy the day she accidentally brings her mother's lunchbag to school with a paring knife in it.  The school has a "zero tolerance" policy about drugs and weapons.  Will Sierra get expelled for her mistake even if she did the right thing by turning herself into the school office?  This book keeps you interested until the very last page.....don't read the end first!!!

Author: Karel Hayes

This wordless picture book tells two stories. One is about the bears who live in the cabin during the winter and one is about the family who lives in the cabin in the summer. Will their pathes cross? This is a funny and imaginative book.

Author: Eric Wight

I enjoyed this graphic novel (for the younger set) about Frankie who is finding mathematics challenging. Unknown to him, over a weekend, his parents set up some situations for him in which he is actually learning about the concepts of math, hands-on. Because of this he has a better understanding of mathematical equations. Very well done, this is a book kids can relate to.

Author: Ann Cameron

From the point of view of Spunky we learn how he feels to be part of a family and how much he is attached to Huey.  The plot thickens half way through the book when a cat, Fiona, is introduced. Very fun! I have always loved the Julian and Huey books by this author (nine before this one) so I was so glad to see an addition to the series!

Author: Todd Parr

I adore all Todd's books and this is no exception. Simple text accompanies bright bold pictures. Thanks to Kelly for introducing this one to me that somehow missed my radar!

Funny Newbery

Author: Jack Gantos

This year's Newbery Award winner, Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos, is witty, quirky and downright funny.  Autobiographical, Jack tells story after story connecting readers to the people who make up Norvelt, PA (a town started by Eleanor Roosevelt).  This book was similar to Richard Peck's Long Way From Chicago and Year Down Yonder as I could imagine it a perfect read aloud for classroom reading.  This will have definite appeal to boys - lots of action, guns, planes, blood, etc.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

How To Steal A Dog

Author: Barbara O'Connor

Georgina and her family suddenly find themselves homeless. Living out of a car with her mother and little brother while her mother works two jobs makes Georgina think about what she can do to help the situation. She comes up with a wild idea to steal a dog and claim reward money after the owner posts reward signs for the lost dog. As the story unfolds, Georgina and the reader grow fond of a mysterious man named Mookie, an old woman named Carmella, and a little dog named Willy. Sometimes, the best lessons happen in the worst of times. Although the topic is sad, the story is told in a loving way that keeps the reader engaged throughout.

I recommend it for both boys and girls, grades 5-7.