Category Archives: Children’s Literature

Baseball and Murder. . . .and farts.

Strike Three, You’re Dead is the book for you if you are a mystery or baseball fan. It helps if you are a baseball fan, but it doesn’t really depend on that. It’s a great story, with serious mystery, a bunch of red herrings, and… some farts.

Lenny is a really great character, and he has some pretty awesome friends. Lenny has a babysitter whom he thinks is annoying, but she does do something really great right at the end (but I can’t give it away). Mike is a pitcher who quit playing when he hurt his arm. Is there yet hope for his baseball career? Other Mike, a computer geek, is a real help in a video contest that Lenny desperately wants to win (– —- — –). Do not try to decode this message. Do not pass go. Read the book first.

It is not a story in which it’s easy to predict what will happen, which is part of what makes it so great. It is kind of realistic fiction, although something like this would be highly unlikely in the real world.

This book is very humorous, though sometimes a bit inappropriate. I would probably say ages nine to twelve or so on this one. There is a sequel, Say It Ain’t So, which I read first. It did NOT work out. Please read Strike Three first. If you don’t, please do not send me your complaint letters. I will not tolerate them.

Enough with the monkey business.

I don’t really think that Josh Berk could do anything to make this book better. It isn’t written badly, but it isn’t written especially well, either. But with a story like this, you can’t really write it very beautifully, huh? Five (million) stars.

Emmet Ebels Duggan just started the 4th grade in Evanston, Illinois. When not playing baseball, he likes to spend his time solving algebra equations and reading.

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Animal Abuse and the Porch of Safety

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt is a book about a mother cat, her two kittens Puck and Sabine, and a hound named Ranger. Usually cats and dogs are natural enemies but this cat heard the dog singing and came over. When the cat had kittens, the dog cared for them and loved them like a father would. This is not a good book to read if you are sensitive about animals getting hurt. It is cool because while one story is going on, another one (this one about two snakes, Grandmother Moccasin and Night Song) is going on too. There is a mean guy called Gar Face who is out to catch a super big alligator called The Alligator King.

The reason the book is called The Underneath is because Ranger is chained under Gar Face’s porch. Ranger was a hunting dog but one day saved a bobcat that Gar Face was trying to shoot. Ranger got a bullet in his leg and Gar Face kicked him and chained him up. The kittens are taught never to go out from the Underneath because it is the only place that is safe, but Puck does one day and the animals face danger. It is a very good book because it is exciting and you can feel what is happening to the animals. The chapters are very short but there are 124 of them. I liked this book. You know you are not supposed to read all of it at once, but you just keep on reading and reading because it is so action-packed and you don’t want to miss anything.

Naomi Frank lives in Winnipeg and is going into third grade. She has two brothers and two cats and loves reading, swimming, and soccer.

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Children’s Literature and Birth Defects

Wonder

Wonder
Wonder
is by R. J. Palacio. It is about a boy who’s 10, named August. His face looks different because of a severe birth defect and at the start of the book he has been homeschooled for his entire life. During the book, August goes to regular school for the first time. On the first day everybody is staring at him but he makes one or two friends. There are a couple of challenges along the way such as getting bullied and going to camp without his parents, but he overcomes each one of them. He lives with his mom, dad, sister, Via [Olivia] and his dog, Daisy. August’s grandma had a heart attack and died.

I really liked the book because R. J. Palacio explained what was happening from every character’s point of view. The author lets you know what it is like to be August and the other kids. The book was so good that I couldn’t put it down. This book would be good for grades 2 and up. The book has a couple of hard words and grownups like this book too! This book is good for both girls and boys. I really enjoyed Wonder because it was funny and sad and awesome all at once. My favourite part was the ending. Palacio made it so fantastic that I kept on thinking about it even when the book was done.

Naomi Frank lives in Winnipeg and is going into third grade. She has two brothers and two cats and loves reading, swimming, and soccer.

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