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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: scholastic, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 522
1. Scholastic Education Hires Three New Executives

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2. Best Young Adult Books with Pat Schmatz, Author of Lizard Radio

It’s a tough assignment, and the best I can do is choose five YA books that, if I were shipwrecked today, I’d want with me.

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3. A Girl Named Disaster

A Girl Named Disaster. Nancy Farmer. 1996. Scholastic. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I read A Girl Named Disaster and Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind the same week. That fact definitely influenced my thoughts on both books--fair or not. Reading is subjective, after all.

Did I enjoy reading A Girl Named Disaster? Yes and no. I didn't exactly "enjoy" it. I found it a bit slow at the beginning, and, a bit rushed at the end. There were times I definitely found it interesting, but, I never really found myself loving it.

Nancy Farmer's A Girl Named Disaster is set in Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. Nhamo has an interesting relationship to the rest of the family. She dearly, dearly loves her grandmother (Ambuya), and is in return beloved of her grandmother. (She is in fact probably the favorite granddaughter.) But the rest of her family is a different story. They seem to blame Nhamo for the circumstances of her birth. Her mother returned home from school (high school??? college???) pregnant and married to a "useless" man, a man named Proud. Neither is in her life when the novel opens. Her mother died when Nhamo was a toddler--eaten by a leopard. Her father had disappeared even before that. Nhamo is, without a doubt, a hard worker. Yes, she is slightly bitter that her tasks are more difficult and time-consuming than her slightly-older cousin's--Masvita. But she isn't hate-filled and overflowing with attitude either.

Like Shabanu, A Girl Named Disaster introduces readers to a culture where marriage happens VERY early in life for girls--twelve to fourteen, and where a woman's worth is very much tied to her ability to produce children, particularly sons. Like Shabanu, A Girl Named Disaster features a heroine who is to be sacrificed via marriage. Like Shabanu, this marriage is MOST, MOST unwelcome. Dare I say this would-be marriage sounds even more unpleasant than the one in Shabanu--and I never thought I'd say that. Like Shabanu, the heroine makes the only choice she can under the circumstances....

Nhamo runs away from home in an attempt to make it across the border to Zimbabwe. Once there, she'll pretend to be Catholic--her mother attended a Catholic school--and seek refuge with nuns. Is she actually Catholic? No. Of course not. Her ideas of who Jesus is are far from sound, to say the least. But that is not exactly the point of A Girl Named Disaster.

Her journey to Zimbabwe is....much longer than she imagined it ever could be. It is not a journey of a few days or even a few weeks. MONTHS go by with Nhamo still struggling to reach her destination. It is her fight for SURVIVAL. It is definitely nature versus Nhamo...with Nhamo receiving a bit of help from the spiritual world.

Will Nhamo's life be better--easier--in Zimbabwe? Will she find her father? Will she find her father's family? Will she find welcome with them? What will happen to her if she doesn't find them? What will become of her? What are her chances of a decent life, a good life???

A Girl Named Disaster is slightly less depressing than Shabanu. That's not fair. It's not. The ending sees Nhamo with a bit of hope and a chance at a future.

Still neither book "feels" like a children's book. And when I do think of Newbery or Newbery Honor, I tend to think CHILDREN'S BOOK more than anything else. Arranged marriages, child-adult marriages, don't really come to mind. Still exposure to diverse titles can be a good thing. And both books offer readers something to think about.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4. DC and Scholastic Tease A New Title for January 26, 2016! What Could It Be?!?

☛ CAVEAT ☚ All of which follows is readily and publicly available online. (Until someone plugs all of the leaks.) I have not used any confidential sources. The original catalog citations which I quote below (with embedded URLs) are not hidden or behind a paywall at Edelweiss. Further information was all found by Google searches, and […]

2 Comments on DC and Scholastic Tease A New Title for January 26, 2016! What Could It Be?!?, last added: 8/28/2015
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5. Your Hand in My Hand

Your Hand in My Hand. Mark Sperring. Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. 2015. [November] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Your hand in my hand is where it belongs. Your hand in my hand as we walk along. The world's full of wonders. There's so much to see. I'll find them with you if you find them with me.

Premise/plot: Your Hand in My Hand celebrates families, friendship, seasons, and nature. The illustrations feature a parent and child. (They're mice, I believe.) It's a sweet and precious book. Not every reader loves sweet and precious. Not all adults and not all children. But for the right reader, or set of readers, this one is quite lovely.

My thoughts: Did I love it? Yes and no. I didn't love Your Hand in My Hand as much as his previous book, Max and the Won't Go To Bed Show. I really loved that spirited book. Your Hand is My Hand is much quieter, not as exuberant or obnoxious. There's something personal and precious about it which I can't help liking. This one was originally published in the UK.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. When Sophie's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt

When Sophie's Feelings are Really, Really Hurt. Molly Bang. 2015. [September] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Sophie loves to paint. She also loves the woods. Now Ms. Mulry is telling the class: "After school, find a tree you like a LOT. Look at it carefully--the trunk, the branches, the leaves. Tomorrow your'e going to paint that tree from memory."

Premise/plot: Sophie's feelings get hurt during art time at school. One of the boys--Andrew--teases her about her painting, telling her that her painting is all wrong. Can the teacher intervene and reassure Sophie that there isn't a right and wrong way to paint a tree?

My thoughts: I liked the text. I did. I like Sophie as a character. And I liked how expressive the story was. Did I like the illustrations? Yes and no. I actually really liked Sophie's drawing of a tree. Her art assignment was beautiful. And I liked the brightness of the colors. But overall, I didn't "love" the illustrations.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Best Friends (2015)

(Peppa Pig) Best Friends. 2015. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Once upon a time, Peppa's best friend, Suzy Sheep, came to play. "I have something to show you," said Suzy. Suzy held up a photograph of a baby sheep. "Look! It's me," said Suzy. "You're not a baby, Suzy," said Peppa, shaking her head. "This is an old photo," Suzy explained. "It was taken when I was a baby." Peppa snorted. She didn't remember Suzy being a baby. That was just silly!

 Premise/plot: Peppa Pig is skeptical that Suzy Sheep and herself were ever, ever babies. The idea is beyond belief. But Suzy's photograph, and the photographs Mummy Pig show her prove her wrong. Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig tell Peppa all about "the olden days" when she was a baby: how she's always been friends with Suzy sheep, and how she's almost always loved jumping in muddy puddles.
"What did we do when we were babies?" asked Suzy. "You cried...you burped...and you laughed!" said Mummy Pig. Suzy and Peppa giggled. It must have been so silly being babies! 
My thoughts: Best Friends is an adaptation of an episode of the Peppa Pig television series. ("The Olden Days.") It is one of the last episodes of the show. And it is probably among my all-time favorite, favorite episodes. Adorable, sweet, precious, and FUNNY.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Elephant in the Dark

Elephant in the Dark. Mina Javaherbin. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Merchant Ahmad had brought a mysterious creature all the way from India! The news spread fast through the village. What could the huge beast be?

Premise/plot: A village determines to find out about the mysterious new beast--by feeling their way to the truth in a dark barn. Every single person gives a different description. After the first few people share with the others their descriptions and conclusions, much arguing follows. Especially as more and more people keep adding to the discussion with their insights.

My thoughts: A retellng of a familiar poem or story. One version of this folk tale was by Rumi, a 13th Century Persian poet. His was called "The Elephant in the Dark." Overall, I liked this story. I thought Eugene Yelchin did a great job with the illustrations, matching them with the story's origins and giving the book a very traditional feel.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Where's Walrus? and Penguin?

Where's Walrus? and Penguin? Stephen Savage. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Premise/plot: Where's Walrus? and Penguin? is a sequel to Where's Walrus. Both are wordless picture books. In the first book, a Walrus escapes from the zoo and manages to cleverly escape capture or recapture. It's a hide-and-seek book. In this second book, Walrus and escapes with a friend, a Penguin. Once again readers are asked to play hide and seek. The illustrations reveal their whereabouts. Can readers spot Walrus and Penguin on every spread? Where will they go next? How will they be disguised?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I liked the first book too. I think it's a fun and engaging book to share with young children. It's actually one of the few wordless picture books I like. I probably liked the sequel more than the original because it is a true sequel. The ending is absolutely adorable.

Text: 0 out of 0
Illustrations 5 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 5

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. I Love My Puppy

Board Book: I Love My Puppy. Caroline Jayne Church. 2015. Scholastic. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hi, I'm Mia, and I love my puppy!

Premise/plot: A little girl loves her puppy and shares with readers why.

My thoughts: Cute, precious, oh-so-predictable rhyming book. I think you either love the art of Caroline Jayne Church, or you don't. I would say that most of her books are for the younger audience. By the time your little one is over the age of two or three, they've probably grown past these types of books.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Watch for It: A Little in Love, Eponine's Story, by Susan E. Fletcher



Are you a fan of Les Miserables? Watch for this new novel written as Eponine's story: A Little in Love. With her first book for young adults, Susan E. Fletcher is hitting the U.S. market after winning the Whitbread First Novel Award for adults in the United Kingdom.

This is a bit softer of a retelling/imagined story than the book, play, and musical. We'd love to hear your take once you've finished, readergirlz. Did Fletcher catch Eponine's voice for you? Her motivations? Her values? Let us know when you finish, but for now, watch for it on August 25th!

A Little in Love
by Susan E Fletcher
Chicken House, Scholastic, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz


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12. Fuse #8 TV: Kevin Sherry

After a brief hiatus I’m back with my regular interview series, Fuse #8 TV. By complete coincidence (fortune favors the busy) I didn’t have an interview slated when I was in the thick of my move to Evanston. Now that I’m safely ensconced in Illinois (albeit with oddly empty bookshelves) I’m fully ready and prepared for this month’s interview. And what an interview it is! Here is a bit of what you’ll find in this one:

STRIPPING!
TATTOOS!
YETIS!

Not necessarily in that order. Or, odder still, all at the same time. You see, this week we’re interviewing the hugely amusing Kevin Sherry, author of THE YETI FILES, an early chapter book series one and all should know. And in the course of our talk he not only removes (temporarily) articles of clothing but we also get to learn about his magnificent puppetry.

On top of all that, I continue my “Reading (Too Much Into) Picture Books” series in which I tackle the true villains of the Where’s Waldo series. If you watch it with the sound off, you can have fun with my facial expressions.  So please, enjoy! I sure did.

All other Fuse #8 TV episodes are archived here.

Once more, thanks to Scholastic for being my sponsor and helping to put this together.

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13. Owl Diaries: Eva Sees a Ghost

Eva Sees A Ghost (Owl Diaries #2) Rebecca Elliott. 2015. Scholastic. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Sunday
Hello Diary,
It's me--Eva Wingdale! Did you miss me? I bet you did! I love: drawing, patterns, daydreaming, the word plum, funky hats, questionnaires, my friends, being super excited! I do not love: my brother Humphrey's horrible singing, Sue Clawson ("Meany McMeanerson"), the color gray, washing my feathers, being scared, squirrels, Mom's caterpillar sandwiches, feeling lonely.
Eva Sees A Ghost is the second book in Rebecca Elliott's Owl Diaries series for young readers. (I'm thinking second grade, or so, would be the target audience. Or an advanced first grader. As a read aloud, even younger audiences would enjoy.) It is a chapter book. It is heavily illustrated. It is heavy on puns.

In this book, Eva sees a ghost. She is upset when NO ONE believes her. Can she prove to her classmates, her friends, her teacher, her family that she really did see a ghost? Or did her own eyes deceive her? How does one go about proving something like this?! 

Did I like it as much as the first book in the series? Probably not. But it was still a quick, enjoyable read. As an adult, I was able to guess the outcome very early on, but, younger readers may not be so quick to guess. (In a way, it is fun to guess, to see if one's guess is correct, and to look for clues and make predictions as one reads.)

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Carry and Learn Shapes

Board Book: Carry and Learn Shapes. Scholastic. 2015. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:
Triangle
Bright, sparkly roof
Rectangle
Door to a cozy home

Premise/plot: A board book for young toddlers that introduces basic shapes.  The five shapes introduced are triangle, rectangle, circle, square, and star.

My thoughts: A simple, bright, colorful board book for young ones to hold and carry. The pages are easy to turn. The book is easy to grasp. A few pages offer--or potentially offer--an interactive experience. It may not be a thrilling story, but, it's a serviceable concept book. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Watch for It: Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm



Jennifer and Matthew Holm have teamed up again, this time to write a semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Sunny Side Up. Illustrated beautifully by cartoonist Lark Pien, the reader is shot back to August, 1976, West Palm Beach, Florida. Gramps and Sunny reunite outside the Eastern Airlines terminal and their journey begins. Sunny is introduced to Pine Palms Retirement Community; life with seniors; Buzz, the groundskeeper's son; and comics. Flashbacks fill in the backstory of what precipitated Sunny's visit down south. Substance abuse is carefully; yet, honestly handled.

The understanding of each other that the characters attain, the give-and-take, and the discovery of the new is beautiful in this treasure. I would watch for this work on the awards lists. Enjoy the book, readergirlz, and then lend it to your little sister.

Sunny Side Up
by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
illustrated by Lark Pien
Graphix, Scholastic, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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16. A Lucky Author Has A Dog

A Lucky Author Has A Dog. Mary Lyn Ray. Illustrated by Steven Henry. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Early in the morning, people are waking and going to work. So a dog is, too. Because an author should also be waking. A lucky author has a dog to begin every day with a kiss--then some help getting dressed.

Premise/plot: Ever wondered what a day in the life of an author was like? A Lucky Author Has A Dog is a picture book about what it's like to be an author--an author with a dog! It talks about writing and publishing--being an author. But it is also very much a celebration of dogs and pets.

My thoughts: I liked this one very much. It was a great book. I loved how it discusses the writing process. I loved the point of view as well. For example, "Are stories waiting to be noticed? The dog will show the author how to look and listen the way a dog does. An author without a dog can learn. But having a dog is better. Because everything is better with a dog."

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Frog on a Log?

Frog on a Log? Kes Gray. Illustrated by Jim Field. 2015. [September] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: "Hey Frog! Sit on a log!" said the cat. "But I don't want to sit on a log,' said the frog. "Logs are all hard and uncomfortable. And they can give you splinters. Ouch!" "I don't care" said the cat. "You're a frog, so you must sit on a log."

Premise/plot: The cat is quite BOSSY, as this frog discovers in this rhyming book. Cat knows exactly where everyone is allowed to sit: frogs on logs, cats on mats, hares on chairs, mules on stools, gophers on sofas, etc. The frog keeps on asking question after question perhaps hoping to change the cat's mind, but, he asks one question too many…

My thoughts: The text was okay for me. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. I think I might have liked this one a tiny bit more if I'd liked the illustrations.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. Exclusive premiere of the trailer for Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins

Here's an exclusive first look at the trailer for Craig Thompson's Space Dumplins, his long awaited first graphic novel for kids. It goes on sale next week.

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19. Best New Kids Stories | August 2015

For many kids, August is back-to-school month. The stories in this month's hot new release kids books will make back-to-school (and anytime) reading a breeze.

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20. Peppa's Windy Fall Day (2015)

Peppa's Windy Fall Day. Adapted by Barbara Winthrop. 2015. Scholastic. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It is a windy fall day. Peppa and her family are going to the park. "Let's put on our warm clothes," says Mummy Pig. When it is cold outside, Peppa and her family wear their hats, scarves, and coats. 

Premise/plot: An adaptation of an episode of the television show Peppa Pig. Peppa and her family go to the park on a windy fall day. They talk about the leaves on the tree, play ball, and jump in leaves.

My thoughts: I do love the show. I really do. I enjoy the book adaptations of the show. I adore Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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21. A Little In Love (2015)

A Little In Love. Susan Fletcher. 2015. Scholastic. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I'm dying. There's no use hoping I'll live or telling myself, Keep going, it's only a small wound. There's too much blood on the ground. I'm going to die in this street.

Eponine has always been one of my favorite characters from Les Miserables. I've always felt sympathy for her. And so I was quite excited to see that Susan Fletcher has written Eponine's story in her novel, A Little In Love.

Is an understanding--an appreciation, a love--for the novel Les Miserables a must for picking this one up? I wouldn't say it's a must. I wouldn't want to limit the audience for this one. Certainly this book will mean more to the reader who has at least watched one of the movie adaptations (though I'm not sure all movie adaptations even have Eponine's character? I do not care for the musical, for the most part, but this song gets me every time.*) But the most enthusiastic fan may just be the reader who has read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables--and unabridged at that! But any reader who is drawn to historical fiction set in nineteenth century France will find this of interest.

The framework of this one does make sense. I'm not always a big fan of stories told within a framework. But it is wisely done in this one. The narrator--Eponine herself--is not being melodramatic. She is, in fact, dying. And in a way, the whole book is a flashback showing us moments in her life that have led up to this moment--this heroic, tragic, bittersweet moment. This adaptation does not change the ultimate outcome.

Is it faithful to Victor Hugo's novel? Yes, for the most part. I do think a few details are changed along the way. And I do think plenty has been added, filled out, if you will. The characters we meet in A Little in Love are fleshed out.

So did I like it? love it? I really enjoyed it. It is one I read all at once--like a treat. I admit that I'm probably the ideal reader for this one since Les Miserables is one of my most favorite, favorite books of all time. My 2014 reviewMy 2013 review.

*I think I fell in love with this song a full decade before ever picking up the novel. Why? Well, it's one that skaters really, really, really LOVE to skate to.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Friendshape (2015)

Friendshape. Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: What's so great about having friends? We're glad you asked! See, the great thing about having friends is…everything! Friends make you feel happy. Friends make you feel at home.

Premise/plot: Four shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) answer the question "what's so great about having friends?" for young readers. It is a pun-filled celebration of friendships.

My thoughts: I liked this one. I liked the puns, for the most part. Adults may spot them a bit quicker than little ones. But regardless of whether the book's play on words makes you giggle or not, the book is fun and playful. It is a simple book, in some ways, but clever too.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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23. The Queen's Hat

The Queen's Hat. Steve Antony. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The Queen was on her way to visit someone very special when the wind went…swish! The wind took the Queen's favorite hat right off her head.

Premise/plot: The Queen is on her way to visit the new royal baby when the wind sweeps her hat away. The Queen and the palace guards chase the hat all over London. In the process of the chase, little readers are introduced to famous London sites: Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, London underground, London Zoo, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and Kensington Palace.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved the premise of this one! It was so very cute and quite delightful. I could see adults enjoying this one very much! I know I did. There's just something joyous about it.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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24. Clifford Goes to Kindergarten (2015)

Clifford Goes to Kindergarten. Norman Bridwell. 2015. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hello! My name is Emily Elizabeth, and this is my dog, Clifford. I started kindergarten yesterday. At first I was scared, but now I love school.

Premise/plot: Emily Elizabeth is starting school. Will she like kindergarten? Will she love it? What will Clifford do when she's in school? Well, on one day at least he will go to school with her. What will the teacher think? What will her classmates think?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I don't always "love" each and every Clifford book. But overall, I do like the characters of Emily Elizabeth and Clifford. Don't expect it to be the absolute best book in the series. But it's certainly enjoyable enough.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. Young Readers Talk About Why They Read

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