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Student Review: The Land of Stories #1: The Wishing Spell (Chris Colfer)

30 Jan

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is about twins Alex and Conner Bailey who discover a secret fairy-tale world.  On their 12th birthday, their grandmother gives them a precious book.  Little do they know that it is a magical portal to a world of stories.  They have no idea that they would get stuck in the book and need a wishing spell to go home.  The problem is … someone else is also after the spell.

 

  

I like how this book is full of twists.  The Wishing Spell is unique because it combines original fairy-tale characters with new ones.  The series explores some usual tales, but the twists come from putting familiar characters in unfamiliar situations.  Who would think that there could be another Prince Charming … but one that had turned into a frog?  Even though the ideas in the book seem bizarre, they all add up and make for a great story.

This book is enjoyable for readers of all ages, especially those who are eight and older.  Adults will enjoy this book, too, because of the fairy tales that they would recognize, and they could also connect with the new characters.  For example, the twins’ mom has to let go of her children so that they could save the world.  I bet many parents would feel sad about letting their kids go.

There are many more stories in this series (six so far!), but I hope this story continues until Alex and Conner are adults.  I highly recommend the whole series because it will satisfy readers who love mysteries and adventure.  The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is a great addition to Disney stories and classic fairy tales in your library.

Hannah B., grade 6

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Student Review: Posted (John David Anderson)

19 Dec

Posted is an exciting story about a male character named Frost who struggles to find his identity and solve the problems going on with his friends.

 

Posted

 

Frost wants to be the glue to keep his old and new friends together as one group instead of being five friends who fall apart.  But, when one person joins the group, another leaves, and when they try to fix this problem, it just gets worse.  Most of the sticky notes being passed around are full of humour and honesty, but some have very mean comments, and in the end, nothing will ever be the same with the kids at Branton Middle School.

This book has a lot of realistic drama with friends and family that is typical in middle school.  I like how this book is relatable because of those problems and the choices the main character makes.  I also like that there are different scenes in this book that I wouldn’t expect.  For example, a new girl comes in and another girl gets suspended.  I was very intrigued by the fact that there is a connection between the events, but I didn’t see it coming.

The characters were my favourite part of the story.  The author created unique ones that I don’t read about in other stories.  For example, there is a rich kid who doesn’t actually like doing what rich people do.  That’s interesting for me.

I wish this book had more details given about the adventures.  There are many fun adventures, but there are some parts that didn’t feel too real.  I don’t know that I would have enough energy to go up and down a deadly mountain like the kids do in the story.

I think I’d recommend this book for kids aged 8 to 12.  If they like friendship stories, diaries, and adventures, they’ll like this one.

This book has an awesome start and a touching ending.  I’m really glad I read it.

Hannah B., grade 6

Student Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (Karen Foxlee)

10 Nov

This fantasy story is mysterious and breathtaking.  Karen Foxlee has made a very clever and adventurous story that will impress you and touch your heart.

 

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy  

This story is about two main characters who have very different personalities.  Ophelia is just a normal girl who feels like she is not brave at all.  She has a sister and a dad, but her mom has passed away, so she’s very sad.  The Marvelous Boy, whom Ophelia thinks is named David, has been a prisoner for hundreds of years.  Ophelia discovers him locked in a room in the museum where her dad works.  As soon as they meet, they go on a mission: to save the world.

I have several things I like about this book.  One is that the characters are great.  They all have a special role to play in the book.  I like that Ophelia questions everything.  She’s used to believing in things that are logical, but when she meets the Marvelous Boy, she has to try to wrap her head around the stories he tells her.  She seems like a girl I could be friends with.  Another reason I liked this book is there was a lot of action.  Specifically, I liked the idea that this sort-of-scary story happens in a museum.  It seems like a magical place where you don’t think about finding ghosts and villains, but then it makes sense that they’re there.

Foxlee’s writing wasn’t too difficult for me to understand, but it actually felt a little more grown up than typical middle-grade books that my teacher gives me.  I would recommend this book to boys and girls who have a big imagination.  I think adults would enjoy the book, too.  It’s a great story.

Hannah B., grade 6

Student Review: Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic

21 Sep

Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic 

Have you ever heard of Desmond Pucket?  If not, well let me tell you about him.  He is a monster maker.  He is very good at scaring people with his creations, which include paint-filled balloons, confetti cannons, and more.  In the beginning of the story, readers are told that he is really good at special monster effects and pranks that scare other people.  Then, a school disciplinary officer named Mr. Needles stops Desmond from going on the Mountain Full of Monsters ride at Crabshell Pier.  So Desmond has to be Mr. Perfect until school ends, or else he could get expelled!  This is no easy task.

 

Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic - Excerpt 

Some things about this book that readers might like are the illustrations because there are lots, and they’re all really cool.  Also, the book is easy to read and the text is big.  Lastly, it is a short book, so it doesn’t take too long to finish, which is good because the story is very interesting, and you just want to find out more!  Something I wish the author, Mark Tatulli, had done is make the book a little longer, but I am glad there are more books in the series.  I think people who believe in monsters and those who like pranks will enjoy this book.

Alex P., grade 6

 

Squinklethoughts

1. It’s hard to find books sometimes that can appeal to a wide range of readers, but this is one of them.  It’s a great book for students in elementary school, young and old alike.

2. Tatulli’s voice is engaging and very funny – definitely a plus when it comes to MG books.

3. The drawings are fantastic.  They look hand drawn (and I suppose they are), and that adds to their appeal.  I’ve found students trying to make their own versions of some of the doodles, which is a great sign that they’ve taken a liking not just to the illustrations, but to the story itself.

4. Both my boys and girls liked this book, but I’ve found that my boys tended to laugh out loud much harder and louder.  Make of that what you will.

5. One of the things I missed out on by growing up in the previous century is the extension of the reading experience through activities, events, and (especially) websites.  There’s an entire site dedicated to Desmond Pucket that is chock full of information and handouts that my kids have enjoyed exploring.  Take a look at the trailer below, too.

 

  

 

4 Squinkles 

Mark Tatulli’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Chapters

 

Thank you, Andrews McMeel Publishing, for sending me a copy of Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Student Review: My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish

23 Jul

Let’s talk about Mo O’Hara’s book, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish. Here’s the gist for you:

  1. Tom has a zombie goldfish named Frankie.
  2. Tom’s evil big brother basically murders a goldfish as a science experiment.
  3. Frankie can hypnotize people and make them do what he wants.
  4. Frankie tries to kill Tom’s brother, Mark.
  5. Mark wants to get rid of Frankie (forever!).

Who do you think wins in the battle between Frankie and Mark?

 

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish 

I like that Frankie has hypnotic powers because he can hypnotize people into doing unusual things, such as riding a bicycle with a monkey on their heads. Another reason I like this book is that Tom has an evil scientist for an older brother. Not everyone has an evil scientist older brother, and I think it’d be cool to figure out how to avoid becoming his next science experiment. The thing I like the most is that this book is unique. I have never read or even seen another book about a zombie goldfish that hypnotizes people. This makes this book special. It was a lot of fun reading it – and I enjoyed the story so much that I finished reading it in a couple of days.

One part I didn’t like was the fact that Sanj is a hacker. I did not like this because I think BBEDLAM would have had better use of an evil magician. He could just do a magic trick that makes the zombie-goldfish stare appear on TV and who know what might happen?

I would recommend this book to all people who like zombies, hypnotism, and evil scientist older brothers. I think people who like book with pictures (but not necessarily picture books) and who have curious personalities might enjoy reading My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish.  I wonder what will happen in the SeaQuel and in the rest of the series … It’s up to SIX books now!

Review by Alex P., grade 6

 

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish 2 

Squinklebooks Says …

If you’re looking for some fun activities, check out this page on Mo O’Hara’s website!  But don’t stare at Frankie’s eyes too long, just in case something unusual happens to you …

 

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish - Series

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