Review of The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden

trevayne_accidental afterlife of thomas marsden

The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne Intermediate, Middle School     Simon    247 pp. 7/15     978-1-4424-9882-2     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9886-0     $10.99 While out grave-robbing with his father one night, Thomas Marsden digs up a corpse that looks exactly like him, down to the birthmark on his cheek. In his […]

Review of Binny in Secret

mckay_binny in secret

Binny in Secret by Hilary McKay; illus. by Micah Player Intermediate, Middle School     McElderry     276 pp. 6/15      978-1-4424-8278-4     $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8280-7     $10.99 Belinda (Binny for Short, rev. 1/14) is back, along with her single-parent mum, responsible sister Clem, and lovable little brother James. In this second adventure the Cornwallis family […]

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 The Octopus Scientists

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The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Keith Ellenbogen Intermediate, Middle School     Houghton     71 pp. 5/15     978-0-544-232-70-9     $18.99 The French Polynesian island region of Moorea is home to the Pacific day octopus and to a research center that serves as home base […]

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 […]

Cover boys, Hollywood edition

JGL young

I seem to have entered a time warp in which the pre-teen/teen versions of ridiculously attractive males have come forward in time to model for intermediate book covers. Here’s itty-bitty Zac Efron in Firefly and his lookalike on the cover of D. S. Thornton’s Scrap City (October, 2015):   And here’s a young Joseph Gordon […]

Review of Untamed

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Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey Intermediate, Middle School   National Geographic   
96 pp. 6/15   978-1-4263-1518-3   $18.99 Library ed. 978-1-4263-1519-0   $28.90   g Jane Goodall has spent a lifetime dedicated to understanding and protecting chimpanzees. This accessible account of her life (with a foreword by Goodall herself) emphasizes the qualities that will likely […]

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 […]