Review of The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

kelly_curious world of calpurnia tate

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly Intermediate, Middle School     Holt     309 pp. 7/15     978-0-8050-9744-3     $16.99     g Kelly returns to turn-of-the-last-century small-town central Texas to continue the story of nascent scientist Callie Vee. Kelly quickly fills readers in on essential background (only girl in the family, with six brothers; […]

Review of Finding Audrey

kinsella_finding audrey

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella Middle School, High School     Delacorte     287 pp. 6/15     978-0-553-53651-5     $18.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53652-2     $10.99 Audrey wears dark glasses all of the time, “even in the house.” But it’s not out of excessive devotion to her movie-star namesake; it’s because she’s afraid. Of everyone. We learn, incompletely, that “some […]

Boys will be boys (what could go wrong?)

banks_boy's best friend

Boys have adventures both big and small — and realistic and poignant and meta and supernatural! — in these books for intermediate and early middle-school readers. In Boy’s Best Friend by Kate Banks and Rupert Sheldrake, two sixth-grade dog owners living on Cape Cod devise an experiment based on scientist Sheldrake’s real book Dogs That […]

Mysterious ways

latham_scarlett undercover

Full of thrills, chills, secrets, and lies, these new high-stakes mysteries for middle- and high-school readers will get hearts racing. Teen detective Scarlett is wary when nine-year-old Gemma appears at her office and tells her that she thinks her brother murdered someone. Scarlett accepts the case, and she’s soon launched into a dangerous mystery that […]

Review of Hit Count

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Hit Count by Chris Lynch High School   Algonquin   362 pp. 5/15   978-1-61620-250-7   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-490-7   $17.95 As a lowly freshman, junior varsity football player Arlo Brodie sets his future goals: varsity linebacker by sophomore year, then college ball for a Division One team, then the pros. After freshman year, Arlo works out like […]

Review of Misty


Misty [Stanley & Me] by Christine Dencer; illus. by Jessica Meserve Primary   Simply Read   32 pp. 2/15   978-1-927018-59-0   $12.95 The first title in this new beginning reader series introduces Sophie and Stanley, neighbors and best friends. Four cumulative chapters tackle the friendship’s first obstacle, Stanley’s new dog Misty. “I would like to play in Stanley’s […]

Review of Nimona


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   HarperTeen   266 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227823-4   $17.99 Paper ed. 978-0-06-227822-7   $12.99 Ballister Blackheart — ex-knight and current 
supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school […]

Review of Unusual Chickens for the 
Exceptional Poultry Farmer

jones_unusual chickens for the exceptional poultry farmer

Unusual Chickens for the 
Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones; illus. by Katie Kath Intermediate   Knopf   213 pp. 5/15   978-0-385-75552-8   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-385-75553-5   $19.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-385-75554-2   $10.99 Moving to a farm inherited from her great-uncle may not be city-girl Sophie’s first choice for improving her family’s financial situation, but she’s determined to […]

Listen, laugh, and learn

perkins_nuts to you audio

Some stories can be at their funniest — and most poignant — when read aloud. The following audiobooks, recommended for intermediate and middle-school listeners, offer lots of laughs and lots to learn. Lynne Rae Perkins’s Nuts to You tells the wacky story of a trio of industrious young squirrels saving their respective colonies from the […]

In summer

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Anna and Kristoff. Olaf and Sven. Pablo and Alicia. The following books for young independent readers feature unlikely pairs palling around in the big city, the ‘burbs…and contemporary Norway. (Is that close to Arendelle? It is!) At the start of Nadja Spiegelman’s lively graphic-novel picture book Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure, new-kid Pablo’s class […]