Dean Schneider

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Review of All the Small Wonderful Things

All the Small Wonderful Things by Kate FosterIntermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    240 pp.10/23    9781536225808    $17.99e-book ed.  9781536234190    $17.99Eleven-year-old Alex is in grade six and lives on the Gold Coast of Australia. He is autistic and feels he needs a strategy for making friends: be good enough at his favorite computer...

The Skull

Given the cover, you might think this book, based on old Tyrolean folktale, will open, “Alas, poor Yorick!” But, no, it opens with a young girl on the run, and as Otilla runs through the snowy forest, readers are plunged along with her. It’s an unusual story and completely engaging. But is it...


This is the book I’ve been giving away this year to everyone with young children. I was on the Caldecott committee that chose Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow as its medal winner, and I see Evergreen as a very different but equally masterful picture book. It seems as if...

Review of How to Stay Invisible

How to Stay Invisible by Maggie C. RuddMiddle School    Farrar    240 pp.6/23    9780374390334    $17.99e-book ed.  9780374390341    $10.99“Most people didn’t live in hollowed-out trees behind their middle school,” but twelve-year-old Raymond does. A seventh grader at River Mill Middle School in North Carolina, he had lived in a rented trailer with...

Review of Wrecker

Wrecker by Carl HiaasenMiddle School, High School    Knopf    336 pp.9/23    9780593376287    $18.99Library ed.  9780593376294    $21.99e-book ed.  9780593376300    $10.99Proud of his family’s heritage—which includes a great-great-great-great-great grandfather who salvaged shipwrecks—fifteen-year-old biracial Valdez Jones VIII has adopted the nickname Wrecker. A waterman in his own right, he has his own boat and...

Review of Clara Poole and the Long Way Round

Clara Poole and the Long Way Round by Taylor TyngIntermediate, Middle School    Pixel + Ink    304 pp.7/23    9781645951599    $17.99e-book ed.  9781645951605    $10.99Twelve-year-old Clara Abigail Poole causes quite a scene when she hurtles across the skies of western Michigan in a plastic lawn chair attached to hundreds of balloons. After she...

Review of Garvey’s Choice: The Graphic Novel

Garvey’s Choice: The Graphic Novel by Nikki Grimes; illus. by Theodore Taylor III Intermediate, Middle School    Wordsong/Astra    144 pp. 6/23    9781662660023    $22.99 Paper ed.  9781662660085    $12.99 e-book ed.  9781662660092    $9.99 “Why can’t he put those books down, play football or basketball?” Garvey’s father wants to turn him into an athlete,...

Review of Control Freaks

Control Freaks by J. E. ThomasIntermediate, Middle School    Levine Querido    272 pp.5/23    9781646143054    $18.99Take a school full of competitive “control freaks,” each with ambitious personal goals, put them into an all-middle-school group STEAMS (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, sports) competition, and you will rock their universe. Twelve-year-old Frederick Douglass “Doug”...

Review of Four Eyes

Four Eyes by Rex Ogle; illus. by Dave Valeza; color by Ash SzymanikIntermediate, Middle School    Graphix/Scholastic    224 pp.5/23    9781338574975    $24.99Paper ed.  9781338574968    $12.99e-book ed.  9781338574982    $12.99Rex is looking forward to starting middle school, but his sixth-grade year starts off poorly when he realizes he needs glasses. He’s seen other kids...

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