Archive | student review RSS feed for this section

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



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

Student Review: The Witches

16 Jul

The author Roald Dahl has written many great books, but I think that the book the Witches is by far the best that he’s done. The book is about a grandmother telling her grandson about real witches and how to survive them. Then, one day, the grandson finds himself face to face with a real witch!



One thing I liked about this book is that the grandson actually finds where all the witches are and what they’re planning to do. I like the way that the grandson and the grandmother decide to work together to make things right. However, I didn’t really like the way the book ended. I got all wrapped up in their adventures, and then … well, you’ll have to read how it ends for yourself!

I would strongly recommend this book to both young readers and adults everywhere. Overall, I give this book 5 of 5 stars. It was thrilling, full of adventures, and very humorous. Roald Dahl did a phenomenal job with the Witches.

Review by Roy K., grade 7

Student Review: The 39 Clues: One False Note

15 Jul

The 39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Korman is about Amy and Dan now going to Venice, Italy, to find even more clues for their hunt. In this book, you will find Amy and Dan going to the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the famous composer, where they are searching for clues and escaping a lot of deadly moments.


One False Note 

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because the adventure was once again great. It also had a lot of good descriptions that made the book flow really nicely and clearly. For example, at the siblings’ second destination, Salzburg, Austria, they go to a house with another pair of siblings, Ian and Natalie Kabra, and while there, an explosion occurs. Another thing I liked is that during the story, Amy and Dan get the hang of finding their clues and knowing what the clues and the whole “game” actually mean to them. They’re maturing, and it’s nice to be with them for the ride.

Grades 4 and up would probably like this book. If you are looking for a good adventure book, then the 39 Clues: One False Note is the perfect book for you!

Review by Roy K., grade 7

Student Review: Legend

18 Jun

There’s something in the air this week … everyone wants to write a review!  Austin’s shared his thoughts about Marie Lu’s Legend, a novel he really enjoyed.  He’s excited to continue reading the rest of the trilogy!



Probably a legend in the making, this novel by Marie Lu is full of action and suspense. At the beginning of the book, the reader is introduced to Day, a master criminal, and June, a rich prodigy training to become a commander. Although their lives could not be more different, they eventually meet after Day is framed for killing June’s brother. When June learns of this, she devotes herself to catching Day, but she later realizes that he might not be the cold-blooded killer she thought he was.

One aspect that I liked about this book is that there are many plot twists that made the story dynamic. For example, when I got to the part that revealed the killer of June’s brother, I was completely surprised. You won’t believe it yourself! Also, the suspense in this book is very good and is one of the reasons I kept reading. There are so many mysteries introduced throughout the story – like Day being hinted to be very intelligent and physically able even though his test scores say otherwise. Lu doesn’t explain why this is until the very end. This drove me to keep on reading to find out why! Lastly, the main characters have very different personalities that complement each other. Day grew up poor, so he’s really used to rough conditions, but June is quite rich, so she’s accustomed to a pampered lifestyle. This really intrigued me because they had very similar skills despite growing up radically different. I wonder what their lives might have been like if they had never met.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that it didn’t explain much about how the government came to be the way it was. It plays a big role in the twists of the plot, so I wanted to know more.

Any young adult that enjoys science fiction would enjoy Legend. It’s a great story with lots of betrayals, intelligence, and strategies, set in a reimagined world.

Review by Austin P., grade 8


Legend - GN  

By the way, there’s a graphic-novel version of Legend that’s just come out a couple of months ago.  The cover looks great!

%d bloggers like this: