Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Geared toward 8-12 year olds, Fortunately, the Milk takes readers on a wild ride as one dad tries to explain to his children what happened to him on the way home from picking up some milk. There are police space dinosaurs, time-traveling hot air balloons, aliens, pirates, and fortunately, some milk. Not only is this dad focused on getting his children their breakfast milk, but he also must save the world from being remodeled. There is a week-old prophecy and quite honestly, pretty much anything else nonsensical and random that one can write about for children. This book is like Roald Dahl meets a 2-year-old child who just ate a bag of candy. OK, maybe 2 bags of candy. I do not want to speak blasphemy since this is Neil Gaiman, but I just did not care for this story. I may have missed out since I chose the audiobook…

View Post
Share:

Review: The Best Man by Richard Peck

Kirkus and Booklist named Best Man one of the best books of 2016. Archer Magill begins this story with a wedding that forces him to hide under the porch with his best friend, Lynette. The novel ends with Archer landing the role of best man in another wedding. In between, the story follows Archer and Lynette through elementary school along with Archer’s three wholesome role models: grandpa, his dad, and Uncle Paul. When a new student teacher comes to town, Mr. McLeod, Archer’s world is thrown for a loop—but one that he embraces. Archer is charmingly oblivious for the entire novel, but his innocence makes his growing up all the more powerful. Although this coming of age story follows Archer from first to sixth grade, the content is best for fourth to sixth graders. Reading this book is like eating a bowl of warm, homemade soup with the fireplace blazing…

View Post
Share:

Review: Lemons by Melissa Savage

Lemonade’s mother dies, and she finds herself in Willow Creek, a small Bigfoot-obsessed town, with her grandfather, Charlie. Her new friend, Tobin, owns a Bigfoot detective agency and “hires” Lem to help him sort through and document Bigfoot sightings. Like Lem, Tobin has also lost a parent; his dad went MIA during the war and although brought back alive, has mysteriously disappeared in transit. The two friends struggle together through their losses and grief as they begin to uncover a few surprises. Lem must also reconcile the meaning of home as she decides whether or not to stay with her grandfather or return to her old home via a well-intentioned adoption. A book that questions the boundaries of family, friendship, and heartbreak, Lemons is a beautiful middle grade read for third to seventh graders. Well-written, Savage does not begin the plot heavy with backstory. Instead, she jumps headfirst into Lem…

View Post
Share:

Review: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Suzy and Franny are growing apart as Franny starts hanging out with the popular crowd and caring more about cute boys. Suzy, the more bookish of the two, decides to retaliate against Franny’s cruel actions. Unfortunately, Suzy is never able to explain her disgusting actions and finds herself not only grief stricken but also feeling sickeningly guilty because Franny drowns while on vacation. Suzy refuses to talk to anyone: her parents, brother, therapist, and lab partner. Written with science report-like overtones, Suzy becomes obsessed with finding out the cause of Franny’s death and ultimately decides that a deadly Australian jellyfish has stung and killed her friend. Determined to prove this theory to herself as well as everyone else, Suzy seeks out the advice of experts, one in particular named Jamie. The Thing About Jellyfish is a National Book Award finalist. With themes of grief, growing up, and mental illness, fourth…

View Post
Share:

Review: The Isle of the Lost- A Descendants Novel

Be prepared to slam head first into a Disney character set where all of the villains, heroes, and their new children run around on either the Isle of the Lost (for banished villains) or the Kingdom of Auradon (for those goody goodies). The plot focuses on 16-year-old Mal who is seeking revenge on Evie—daughter of the Evil Queen—for not inviting her to a childhood birthday party. Four unlikely characters come together in search of an evil, magical scepter, each representing their personal family histories. A parallel story follows Prince Ben who is trying to address very adult grievances in preparation for taking over his father’s kingdom. There are some cheesy adult-geared lines and jokes about how villains get their kicks in writing the wrong names on Starbuck cups and where in the much happier United States of Auradon (USA), the Department of Formerly Magical Vehicles (DFMV) has 5-minute wait times.…

View Post
Share:

Review: A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy

As Evelyn enters 5th grade, cue the arrival of a boy in a pink shirt with eccentric, bohemian, tattooed parents. Queen is my hero as he wears what he wants, builds a force field against bullies, starts his own school clubs, and makes personalized, collage birthday invitations. Evelyn instantly accepts Queen into her world and is rewarded with self-awareness and courage. Reading much like a younger version of Stargirl, A Boy Named Queen addresses what it is like to grow-up and more importantly, grow into one’s skin. This heartwarming realistic fiction novel is suitable for third to sixth graders and left my heart feeling fuzzy. However, as I scrolled through the last page on my iPad, I questioned if half of this eBook failed to download. To say that the story ends abruptly is an understatement, and while this quick read felt more like a short story, I would recommend A Boy Named Queen to any child who…

View Post
Share: