Review: The BFG by Roald Dahl

Sophie, an orphan, finds herself awake during the witching hour and is snatched by a big-eared, dream-catching giant. This monstrous being happens to be one of the only giants in all of Giant Country who does not eat “human beans,” which is why he is known as the Big Friendly Giant or BFG, for short. The BFG is the master of creating dream stories, and his tales of mean giants inspire Sophie to take action. She devises a plan involving a realistic nightmare and the Queen in order to save the world from this gaggle of man-eating giants. For third to sixth graders, The BFG is magical and imaginative.  Growing up, this was one of my favorite books. As an adult, I have a few more concerns: The references to families in Baghdad having ten children or how the Sultan recently had to chop off heads is racist rather than…

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Review: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Steve’s family has a newborn baby, Theo, who is in and out of the hospitals and doctors’ offices. Theo has a variety of life-threatening developmental disabilities, including heart trouble, and may not survive. Steve’s family has their hands full as he suffers from anxiety, depression, and what is suggested to be OCD. With the added stress of this sick baby, Steve’s issues are put on the side burner. At the same time, outside of the house, wasps are building a nest. Steve suffers from terrifying dreams that the wasps are building a new baby for his family within this nest. After saying yes to a deal with the queen wasp to swap babies, Steve realizes that he loves his baby just the way he is. Unfortunately, Steve made a deal with the devil and must now try to save himself and Theo. The Nest is an incredibly disturbing and terrifying juvenile Stephen…

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Review: Upside-Down Magic (Upside-Down Magic #1)

Nine-year-old Nory cannot control her magic. She has the ability to transform into different animals, but unfortunately for Nory, this means many hungry, sometimes dangerous creatures at the same time. During her exam to receive a spot in her father’s prestigious magic academy, everything goes wrong for Nory—especially after she tries eating her dad and almost burns the school to fiery pieces. Sent away to live with her aunt and attend the Upside-Down Magic Academy, a school for children who have equally wonky abilities, Nory must come to terms with her powerful magic. Even though Nory spends most her time trying to make friends and prove that she deserves a spot in her father’s academy, she begins to appreciate and control her abilities. Upside-Down Magic is a fantastical read perfect for third to sixth graders that would entice those harder to engage readers. With themes of friendship, bullying, and acceptance,…

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Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the Protectorate holds the Day of Sacrifice where one baby is given to the evil witch in the woods in return for leaving the villagers in peace. This day causes great sorrow in the town as children are ripped from parents’ arms and a constant fog looms over the isolated and dreary residents. The Elders who rule the Protectorate do not believe that a witch exists and use the story and sacrifice as a way to manipulate and rule over the townspeople. Xan, an ancient but kind witch, does in fact live in the forest and rescues these abandoned babies, giving them new homes in the Free Cities. One baby, who Xan names Luna, accidentally becomes “enmagicked” when Xan feeds her from the moon instead of the stars. Xan decides to raise Luna with the help of a gentle and naïve dragon and large but softy swamp monster.…

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