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Pre2006 Reviews – I and J

Ibbotson, Eva The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, 192p. Dutton (Penguin) – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG – A brother and sister go to visit their grandma and grandpa at their castle. Their grandparents are losing tourists to another castle about a mile away, and are losing money. The brother and sister try to bring back tourists by hiring ghosts to “haunt” their grandparent’s castle. Everything is going well until the white cattle that their grandpa is caretaker of disappear. I thought that the book was entertaining, and was entertaining to read, but it wasn’t the most exciting of books. It would be a good book for easy reading. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: ED

Ibbotson, Eva The Morning Gift, 410 p. Penguin, 2007 (1993). The rest of her family has escaped Vienna for the relative safety of England. A family acquaintance is willing to help, but it means they must marry. Now safely in England, two keep their meeting and their marriage secret from everyone, to help the divorce go through. Ruth unwittingly enrolls at the same university, into the same program that Quin chairs, forcing the two to really look at each other, possibly interrupting their carefully laid plans with love. Situationally best suited for older students. HS – OPTIONAL

Ibbotson, Eva The Star of Kazan 405 p. – Annika was discovered in a tiny church when she was just a baby. She grew up in the loving care of a cook and housekeeper in Vienna. One summer she befriends an old lady, the aunt of the spoiled girl across the way. Upon the aunt’s death, Annika doesn’t know it, but she leaves Annika all of her possessions. Soon after, Annika is whisked away by a woman claiming to be her mother, who takes Annika to a cold and dreary castle in Germany. Then luxuries start appearing in the castle. The title makes this one sound like a fantasy book, which Ibbotson is well known for, but instead it reads like a clasic, in the style of” A Little Princess” or “Heidi”. El, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ingold, Jeanette Hitch – 271 p. – Moss’ father has abandoned his family, which is struggling to make ends meet at the beginning of the Great Depression. In order to help out, Moss takes a job with the Civilian’s Conservation Corp in small town Montana. He figures that at least he will have food to eat, a place to sleep and a bit of money to send home. But as with most good books, Moss ends up with much more than that. This book would be a great addition to a course of study about the New Deal. It is a quiet, but good book that will need help finding an audience. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Isadora, Rachel The Fisherman and his Wife PICTURE BOOK Putnam’s (Penguin), 2008. A fisherman pulls an enchanted fish from the sea and his greedy wife asks for increasingly impossible wishes. Unfortunately, this book has the same problems as the first one of this series. Though the pictures are fantastic and indicative of African culture, there is nothing in the text beyond the same old tale that was originally recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Very disappointing. EL – OPTIONAL

Isadora, Rachel The Princess and the Pea PICTURE BOOK, Penguin, 2007. Ms. Isadora retells the story of the Princess and the Pea using vividly colored African style illustrations. Unfortunately, though the illustrations are interesting and very African-like, the author has done nothing to change the basic story to actually reflect the culture, rendering the ordinary instead of interesting. EL – OPTIONAL

Isadora, Rachel Uh-oh! Harcourt, 2008. PICTURE BOOK Suitable for the very young, this book creatively illustrates an African American toddler’s mischievous antics. “The reader is invited to discover the trouble with each page-turn and to say ‘uh-oh.'”Bright colored acrylics greatly enhance reading enjoyment. EL (PK) – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: BS

Ives, David Scrib, 188 p. – Scrib ran away from home and has been making a living in the wild west writing and delivering letters around the territory. One day he hears that a man is following him, seeking him out. Then, Scrib is beaten, robbed and warned that he had better not pick up a pen again. Things don’t get better when Scrib is threatened with hanging after his a caught in the hotel room of the man he is sure is the one who robbed him in the first place. This book is billed as a hilarious western. Though it is entertaining, I am not sure hilarious is the word. Go for this one in paperback if you need a western. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jablonski, Carla Silent Echoes, 344 p. Penguin – Lucy Phillips is a nineteenth century fake, fleecing people of their money by pretending to see the future. Lindsay Miller is in modern New York, in a huge amount of trouble and thinking that she is going crazy because she is hearing voices. Lucy’s voice, to be precise. As the two girls continue to talk, Lucy realizes that she has to reach out from the past to help Lindsay far in the future. Her clever idea and intelligent mind devises the perfect solution. I enjoyed this book as a really nice take on the time travel novel. This is a subgenre of book that I think needs more exploration by other authors as talented as Ms. Jablonski. MS, HS – ADVISABLE

Jacobs, Deborah Lynn Choices, 198 p. Roaring Brook, 2007. Kathleen’s brother Nick comes to rescue her from a bad party and ends up dying along the way. The next morning Kathleen lashes out in anger and starts herself on a trip through a series of alternate realities caused by her various choices. In some her life is shattered and filled with anger. In others they seem to be recovering and coping and love seems in the wings. But in every reality, Kathleen must work through her doubts and guilt and even feelings of betrayal and find the courage make some really hard choices. For all of its jumps through timelines, the story flows well and makes its point. It s fine little romance and time travel to boot. MS – ADVISABLE

Jacobson, Rick The Master’s Apprentice 28 p. Tundra Books PICTURE BOOK. Marco, who has learned the art of mixing colors from his chemist father, is apprenticed to the famous artist, Michelangelo. Upon his arrival, he is greeted by Ridolfo, an apprentice already serving his master, Michelangelo. Ridolfo jealously plots against Marco and sets him up to fail. When Marco mixes a beautiful emerald green paint for his master, Michelangelo asks for the recipe. Marco promised his father he would keep his recipes secret. He chooses to remain true to his father and does not reveal the contents of the mixture, knowing his master will surely dismiss him. However, his loyalty to his father impresses Michelangelo and he chooses Marco instead of Ridolfo to accompany him to Rome. This well told story includes illustrations that aptly reveal the emotions of the characters. It would be a good read loud for older elementary students and could serve as a springboard for a discussion about values such as loyalty and honesty. Grades 4-6 – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

Jacobson, Jennifer Richard Stained 200 p. – Jocelyn’s next-door neighbor Gabe has disappeared. As Joss’ memories flash back through their growing up years, she reveals their original child friendship and the devastating experience that estranged them and put Joss on a path of low self-esteem. The path of story does nothing to prepare you for the revelation of why Gabe ran away, involving the neighborhood priest, but does prepare for Joss finally freeing herself from the past. This book is not for everybody. There is a graphic scene where as pre-adolescents Gabe and a friend molest Joss. And when Gabe does reappear in the present he uses the “F” a couple of times and a couple of other swear words to express his anguish. An interesting look at the origins of guilt and the much advertised Catholic priest sex scandal. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jackson, Ellen The Mysterious Universe: Supernovas, Dark Energy, and Black Holes, illustrated by Nic Bishop. 58 p. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Follow Alex Filippenko and his team of scientists as they search for supernovae and learn more about the mysterious forces of the universe. Filled with beautiful photographs and detailed information, this is much more than a picture book; it would be especially welcome in an upper level science course. MS, HS – ADVISABLE

Jacques, Brian Eulalia!, 389 p. The Penguin Group – Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-PG – Gorath is a young badger who has been captured by pirates. He escapes from the pirates and meets up with two banished creatures; one a rowdy hare from Salamandastron, the other a hedgehog thief from Redwall Abbey. The pirate crew and a horde of rats attack the abbey, and it’s up to Gorath and friends to defend it. The story was OK, but it was the same type of plot as a lot of the others in the series. Also, there were quite a few annoying run-on sentences. A few times in the story the “H” word was used, but it was meant as a place, not a swear word. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: RG

Jaffe, Michele Bad Kitty, 268 p. – Jasmine is an accident prone amateur sleuth who must hid her activities from her loving, but status conscious father. While on vacation at the fabulous Venetian resort in Las Vegas, Jasmine is attacked by a cat and hurled headlong into a deadly mystery involving one of Hollywood’s hottest stars. Her best friends leave LA to come to her rescue – from a murder and fashion disaster. I was ready to roll my eyes, but it turned out to really cute – and a really good mystery to boot. The true bad guy is not obvious and the forensics work is well done, while being very fashion forward. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jahn-Clough Lisa Country Girl, City Girl, 185 p. – Phoebe Sharp is content on her small family farm. But then an old friend of her mother sends her teenaged daughter Melita to spend some time on the farm, changing Phoebe’s world view. Phoebe finds herself drawn to Melita in more than friendship. When Phoebe goes to New York to check out Melita’s life, she is confused by Melita’s constant talk about a boy – she thought that Melita liked her. In the book, the girls experiment with kissing, which I really didn’t mind at all; the sexual identity experimentation is handled very well. What was hard to take, though is at the end of the book when Phoebe checks out her own body. I just don’t understand why authors have decided that they are the ones who need to teach children about themselves. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

James, Betsy Long Night Dance, 200 p. Dutton (Penguin). Language- PG Sexual content- PG Violence- PG. The book Long Night Dance is the first book in the Seeker Chronicles. It is about a 14 year old girl named Kat who tries her hardest to be a respectable person living in the upslope. She is forced to cover her red hair that is not welcome in the upslope where the upper class and rich, respectable folk live. Kat knows that there is more to life than just impressing people. Late at night she hears the beating of drums, those drums call to her in a different way, her life begins to change as she heads to find what those drums are calling her for. This book was really interesting. It was really good and exciting but at the same time it was a bit confusing because they have a lot of things going on at once. It’s a very romantic story with twists and turns. Ms, Hs- Advisable. Student Reviewer: AN

James, Sabrina Secret Santa, 368 p. Scholastic, 2007. North Ridge High School is having a mandatory school-wide Secret Santa for the approaching holidays. Everybody seems to be pursuing somebody. Noelle is wants the attention of her life-long crush. Amber wants to upgrade to a new boyfriend. Shawna is worried that her boyfriend has found someone new. Celia wants to break away from the school’s queen bee and go back to being normal. And girls aren’t the only ones with agendas. Cute, light and very readable. A sure winner for the Princess Diary crowd. MS – ADVISABLE

Janeczko, Paul B. Worlds Afire, 92 p. – 1994 – a small fire in the big top tent at a circus in Connecticut quickly turns into a roaring blaze which injures 500 and kills 167. Each poem is from the point of view of a different person involved with thte fire and its aftermath is some way. If these “poems” were written in the paragraph style that they so plainly are, the whole book would be half its size. Though the action is certainly compelling, I don’t understand the need to call this poetry. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jeapes, Ben Time’s Chariot, 373 p. David Fickling Books (Random). Language: G, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: G; Rico is one of the best Field Ops, who go back in time for various reasons, and he loves his job. But when he inadvertently discovers a murder, he risks his life and job to solve it. This book was well written, but it was confusing. The book occasionally made me feel like I wouldn’t understand it until the end. However, I would suggest reading it, as it was a still a pretty good book. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: RG

Jeffers, Oliver The Incredible Book Eating Boy. PICTURE BOOK Philomel (Penguin), 2007. Henry has a decided taste for the taste of a good book. Plus, he has the added bonus of knowing everything from every book he’s ever eaten. Then he reaches the point where all of the words start to get mixed up in his head, so instead of bing smart, he is just confused. Maybe reading the books will cure his problem. If you have read Winston the Book-eating Wolf, you will fell you have already read this book, because really, you already have. I do adore the illustrations, but even the little bite out of the back cover feels like a repeat. EL – OPTIONAL

Jenkins, Steve Living Color. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. This bright, colorful book goes through some of the many colors found in the animal kingdom and the different reasons animals have for those colorings. Young readers will be fascinated by the color and teachers of older students can easily use the information in teaching about the animal kingdom. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Jennings, Patrick Wish Riders, 276 p. Hyperion – Language: PG; Sexual Content: PG; Violence: PG – Dusty is sent to an orphanage to work like a dog. Though she has friends, Dusty feels lonely at times. One day Dusty gets in trouble for wondering in the woods, and is punished. She then decides to escape with four friends; Sonny, Jed, Perdie, and Hero. As the group ventures into the forest Dusty leads the way. I really enjoyed this book for its unusual creativity. Its a different kind of Cinderella. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: TT

Jennings, Richard W. The Pirates of Turtle Rock, 152 p. Houghton, 2008. A modern-day pirate (complete with sailing ship and cutlass) meets a modern day girl (complete with cell phone, Vespa and wonderful dose of feminist spirit) in this sotry onf ancient buried treasure on the shores of present-day Florida. The tale is so weird and disjointed that I couldn’t enter into the spirit of the farce and was instead annoyed by the whole thing. NO

Jennings, Richard W. Stink City, 192 pgs. Houghton Mifflin. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Cade’s family owns the fishing bait company, Stink City. Although he is intended to be the next person to inherit the company, Cade believes that fish feel pain too and they shouldn’t be killed. It was definitely a boy book. There were many flash backs and it made the story very confusing because you never knew when it was a memory or the story. It took me a very long time to get through it because the story didn’t move fast enough. UPPER ELEMENTARY-LOWER MIDDLE-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer- K.D.

Jinks, Cartherine Pagan’s Crusade and Pagan in Exile – Pagan Kidrouk is running from his bookie in Jerusalem during the Crusades. These books are neither funny enough, nor historically accurate enough to waste any time on. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jinks, Catherine Evil Genius, 496 p. Harcourt – Language: R; Sexual Content: PG; Violence: PG13 – He illegally hacked into the system and now they won’t let him near a computer. Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ. At the age of fourteen he’s studying for his world domination degree. Cadel is advanced far beyond his age but with the help of his new best friend; Kay-lee he’s realizing that all he really wants is to be normal. Cadel has to act fast if he wants to get out alive. With Kay-lee’s help, Cadel tries to think his way out of trouble. This book really got me hooked, and I have to say that I wasn’t expecting a surprise ending. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: TT

Jinks, Catherine Genius Squad, 435 p. Harcourt, 2008. After the Axis Institute fell apart and Cadel’s adoptive parents were exposed as frauds, Cadel finds himself in a gorrible foster care situation. His case worker is nice enough and so is the police detective assigned to keeping Cadel safe from Prosper English, but Mace, a fellow foster child is making his life miserable. Even visits with Sonja, Cadel’s best friend, doesn’t decrease the pain. When Sonja and Cadel are both offered new homes at the Clearview House, they jump at the chance, especially since the kids know all about the owner’s secret mission. Cadel is itching to get his hands on a computer and having Sonja close by makes it that much sweeter. Everyone has to be hyper aware, however, because Prosper English would like nothing more to get out of jail and get his hands on Cadel, his genius son. And Prosper has never been one to let a little thing like murder get in his way. Again, another fast-paced, interesting mystery, that is full of (55) meaningless swearing. Give me a break! NO

Jocelyn, Marthe Mable Riley: A reliable record of humdrum, peril and romance – 1901. Mable’s sister Viola has accepted a job teaching in a one-room school house in remote Ontario Canada. Mable joins her there for an education, but gets caught up in a labor dispute and women’s rights. A cute book, but the women’s rights issues make it a little old for elementary. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johns, Linda Hannah West in the Belltown Towers, 176 pg. – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G -Hannah West moves into the Belltown towers where she meets Seattle’s hottest artist, Mimi Hansen. When several of Mimi’s paintings are stolen Hannah starts investigating. Can she discover the thief before the upcoming HONCHO auction where Mimi’s paintings will be sold? Hannah’s journal entries are fun to read as you help her solve Seattle’s art mystery. It was an enjoyable read. El-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer HD

Johnson, Angela A Cool Moonlight – Because of a medical condition, Lila can not go out in the sunshine, or even under some streetlights. Lila does all of her playing inside a darkened house, or under the light of the moon, with her friend David, or with two little girls, Alyssa and Elizabeth, who have always been there for he, but no one else has ever seen. An interesting, but not compelling book. MS. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnson, Angela Bird 133 p. – Bird has left home in search of her missing step-father. She finds shelter at a farm, where she comes in contact with Ethan, a boy who just received a new heart and Jay, the brother of the heart donor. Chapters are told from the three characters’ perspectives, weaving the story together. I would wait until this one comes out in paperback, but it is worth having. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnson, Angela First Part Last – Without becoming graphic, this sweet book does a great job of telling the story of a single teenage dad, with flashbacks to his girlfriend’s pregnancy. Appeals to boys also. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnson, Angela Wind Flyers PICTURE BOOK Simon Schuster – A young boy recalls his great-grand-uncle’s time as a Tuskegee Airman. Simple prose and lovely illustrations by Loren Long make this book a good choice for a starter text about WWII or race relations. EL-ADVISABLE, MS, HS-OPTIONAL

Johnson, D.B. Four Legs Bad, Two Legs Good! PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin. With vibrant illustrations and a paucity of words, Johnson quickly and succinctly sums up the themes and message of Animal Farm. This is not a summary – its better than that. If anyone in your school teaches Animal Farm, then you need this book. MS or HS – ESSENTIAL

Johnson, Jane Eidolon Chronicles: The Shadow World, 227 p. Simon and Schuster – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG – Ben’s mother has to go back to the Secret Country to protect her people. She did not expect her whole family to end up there too. Ben has to find his siblings in order to save the Secret Country. Together they will help their mother save the Secret Country. I found this as a compelling book. Set in with danger and hopes to save a world makes it very interesting. A fantasy no one should miss. Second book in the series. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CW

Johnson, Kathleen Jeffrie A Fast and Brutal Wing, 191 p. – Emmet is being held in a mental hospital, his sister is under house arrest under the care of a psychiatrist, a reclusive neighbor has disappeared and the kids’ best friend only remembers waking up naked in the woods. Told through stories, letters and emails, unfortunately a main theme in the book is incest. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnson, Kathleen Jeffrie Dumb Love, 163 p. – Carlotta is obsessed with local hunk Pete and is sure that he is destined to be hers. Walter, on the other hand is Carlotta’s sworn enemy. Carlotta wants to get Walter out of her life and Pete into it, but life has other ideas. The fly leaf of this book bills it as a lighthearted teen romance. I, however, think that the title makes a more apt statement. I have no need to read anything more about Carlotta and her crew – including the local self-proclaimed slut – and will not recommend this to anyone to read. Carlotta does nothing for me. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnson, Maureen Girl At Sea 323 p. HarperCollins; Language: PG13, Sexuality: PG13, Violence: PG – Clio has to spend her summer on a yacht with her father and his crew instead of at home working at her new job. She has no idea what is really going on, and has to deal with Aidan, not knowing what he is really thinking. Girl at Sea was a great book. I enjoyed reading it; it captured my attention with its twists and the hidden romance. MS, HS – ADVISABLE Student Reviewer: JN

Johnson, Maureen The Bermudez Triangle, 357 p. – While Nina is away at school for the summer, her best friends, Avery and Mel hookup, hiding their relationship and leaving Nina out in the cold. It’s not that both friends are girls that freak out Nina – just the fact that they didn’t think they could tell her. But while one friend realizes that this is how she likes life, the other doesn’t want to “comeout” because she isn’t sure that this is where she wants to be. And Nina has her own relationship problems, putting strains on the girls’ long-time friendship which they may never be able to heal. While there is are kissing scenes and one of the girls mentions they do somethings that are probably illegal and how good one makes the other feel and “fooling around”, add a couple of swear words and you have a book that you need to read or think about before you decide to put in the school library. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnson, Maureen The Key to the Golden Firebird, 297 p. – After playing the ultimate gag on a rival, Mayzie and her sister Brooks arrive home to find that their father has died. Almost a year later, the girls their little sister and their mother are not doing very well. Mom works long hours, Brooks has quit the softball team and started drinking, Palmer is having secret panic attacks and Mayzie is just trying to hold it together. None of them will heal until they can face their father’s death and his beautiful, golden Firebird convertible. It is a great book about the effects of grief and the dangers of refusing to cope. Unfortunately, the sex talk will keep this one out of my library. It mentions a boy in bed with his girlfriend and Brooks buys condoms, expecting to lose her virginity that night and instead watches her “boyfriend” start making out with another girl. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnston, Jeffrey W. Fragments 204 pages Simon Schuster – Language: R, Sexual Content: PG-13, Violence: PG-13 – Chase was the sole survivor of a drunk driving accident, but he can’t remember it. He is obsessive compulsive, and has tried to kill himself twice. He’s had problems with his girlfriends, and one of the former ones was killed in the accident. Essentially, this is his story as he tries to figure out his messed up life. I didn’t enjoy one minute of this book. It was full up of mature content that was unacceptable. It was yet another book filled with swearing and foul language. I skimmed through the last bit and found that the ending was pointless with only more problems created and nothing resolved. I will honestly never cease to be utterly appalled at the content in these sort of books, or how anyone can feel it is remotely acceptable. NO; Student Reviewer: KR

Johnston, Julie – A Very Fine Line, 198 p. Tundra Books – Rosalind has always been the odd one of the girls in her family and an startling revelation causes her to try to disguise herself as a boy, attempting to change her destiny. Instead, she has to come to temrs with her gender and her gift of second sight. I was surprised, reading the reviews, because for me this reads as one of those books that adults may like, but honestly, kids are just going to go, huh? Rosalind comes across as stuck up and rather boring and when she dresses like a boy it’s just weird. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Johnston, Tony Bone by Bone by Bone, 184 p. Roaring Brook, 2007. 1940’s Tennessee – raging racism and the Ku Klux Klan unite rich and poor white people in an avalanche of hatred. David’s father is a respected doctor who has grand plans to mold his son in his own image. David’s best friend, however, is Malcolm, a black boy. Though his father barely tolerates the relationship, he has also sworn to shoot Malcolm if he should ever step foot in their house. The boys manage their friendship for a few years, even as David learns more and more about his father’s night time activities. And as he comes closer to fulfilling his father’s dreams, David also comes closer to disgust with everything his father represents. This particular story has been told many different times in children’s and YA level books that don’t resort to the crass language (5 dozen swears) of the title, making it unnecessary for a school collection. NO

Johnston, Tony The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall, 134 p. – Martha’s father is the janitor at her elementary school, where she and her father lived in the boiler room . Terrorized by the school bully, who dubs her with the nickname “Marthur,” and the principal who thinks he is king, Martha’s only friend is Ferlin, the whacky science teacher. Mysteriously a golden spoon appears on the bathroom wall with the message that whoever pulls the spoon will be king. Can you guess where this is going? I would recommend this one for elementary students if I thought they actually already knew about King Arthur and Merlin and all that. It is too childish for Middle Schoool students and a weird mix of crazy assumptions that I just can’t buy. If you have to have it, wait until it is out in paperback – don’t spend $16 on it. EL, MS – NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Diana Wynne Conrad’s Fate, 375 p. – Conrad has been forced to take a position at the mansion on the hill because of his bad karma, or so his uncle says. The people of the mansion also are the source of magic impulses which are always ‘pulling the possibilities,” changing reality just slightly by arcane means. Conrad meets Christopher Chant who is searching the mansion for his friend Millie, who is lost in one of the many possibilities surrounding the castle. You don’t need to have all of the other Chrestomanci books in order to enjoy this one. I think it is the best written of the series. EL, MS-ESSENTIAL, HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Diana Wynne The Game, 176 p. Penguin – Hayley has always lived under her grandmother’s stern rule and has only survived through the occasional kindness of her grandfather. Now, suddenly, she has been banished to the busy household of her extended family – the family she didn’t even know existed before today. The kids keep themselves busy by playing a fantastic game that they keep secret from the grownups – especially Uncle Jolyon, who is even sterner than Grandma. But the kids want to play one last round of The Game and travel through space and time and the mythosphere in a journey that will probably change everything. As much as I enjoyed this little book, kids will only enjoy it on a very simple level, unless they have done a lot of reading about myths and legends and astronomy. Even the basics won’t be enough to really enjoy the depths of this novel. MS-OPTIONAL

Jones, Diana Wynne The Merlin Conspiracy – The Merlin of Roddy and Grundo’s time has died and the new Merlin is involved in an evil plot. Only with the help of Nick, a boy from “our” England, Roddy’s grandfathers, and the mysterious Romanov can the three children untangle the many plot threads and save many worlds in the process. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Diana Wynne Unexpected Magic, 497 p. – A collection of short stories of the obvious magic and the more subtle internal magic that changes people’s lives and character. I have to admit that I only have read the first four short stories in this book and found it not up to Jones’ previous standard for magic tales. I then leant the book to two different students , who both enjoyed the book, but didn’t LOVE it. They both did say that the final story of the book is their favorite. So, I will go back and read that one. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Diana Wynne Wild Robert – Heather accidentally releases the spirit of a mischievous youth, who was imprisoned by his family 350 years earlier. Cute, but way too short. EL or MS. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Patrick Nailed, 216 p. – Bret doesn’t fit in at his high school and he doesn’t fit in at home. He has his band with his two best friends and he has a girlfriend who sticks out as much as he does, but they can’t protect him from a bully at school. Then the band and the girl disappear and Bret tries to find his own way through the landmined zone of life. And does something desperate to give the situation the attention it needs. Mr. Jones again portrays high school life with accuracy. The large amount of swear words and the quantity of sexual innuendo will keep it out of most schools. Let the public libraries carry this one. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Patrick Things Change, 216 p.- Perfect student Johanna is swept away when her major crush, Paul, starts paying attention to her. A they become intimate, she finds out that it is very important to keep Paul happy, because otherwise he will hurt her. She tries once to break up with him, but he sweet talks his way back into her life, where she opens herself up for more physical pain. It isn’t until she talks to one of Paul’s ex-girlfriends that she finally has the guts to cut it off for good. A small amount of swear words and the mention of sex a couple of times without descriptions. This is a very valuable book for a high school library – ready to put in the hands of those girls who suddenly have that wary look in their eyes and take to wearing long sleeve shirts even in the lovely spring days. Well done. HS-ESSENTIAL. . Cindy, Library Teacher

Jones, Traci L. Standing Against the Wind, 184 p. FSG – Patrice is unwillingly living with her aunt and cousins in downtown Chicago after her mother brings her to town and then gets sent off to jail. She doesn’t have the street smarts or attitude to stand against the hardened souls populating her school hallways. Then Monty, a wisecracking popular boy takes notice and the two form a fast friendship and he protects her as she inspires him to actually do his best. A smoothly written tale that could be an inspiration in the right hands. Even though it does talk about dicey situations, the author does so without resorting to vulgar language or sensationalism. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jordan, Robert New Spring – Mr. Jordan has a taken a short story that he wrote for a recent anthology and turned into a full fledged prequel to his masterful Wheel of Time series. MS, HS ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Jubert, Herve Dance of the Assassins, 396 p. – Roberta Morgenstern, a witch, and Clement Martineau meet as they both investigate a murder that has taken place within a reconstructed version of Old London – the London of Jack the Ripper. Then they realize that all of the reconstructed cities are of time periods with famous evil. The architect of the cities is also the architect of a dastardly plot involving the Devil himself. Labeled as first in the Devil Dances trilogy, the book is complete novel unto itself that older readers will enjoy in the current macabre leaning climate. MS-ADVISABLE, HS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Juby, Susan Miss Smithers – Alice has been invited to be a contest in the local Miss Smithers pageant, with a clothing allowance of $400 just for entering. Even though Alice is no longer the homeschooled recluse from the first book, her preoccupation with losing her virginity and her unengaging voice made this torture for me to read. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Juster, Norton and Chris Raschka Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie. Michael di Capula Books (Scholastic), A little girl is sometimes a sourpuss and sometimes a sweetie pie and usually without any warning she will change from one to another. When she goes to visit her grandparents they despair of knowing which grandaughter they are going to deal with from minute to minute. I thoroughly enjoy the idea and the text of this book, especially appreciating the quickly changing emotions of young children (and teenaged girls!). What I don’t like, however are the illustrations. Page after page of the child-like watercolors get muddy and sometimes it is hard to tell if you are looking at Sourpuss or Sweetie Pie. As much as I hate to say it, I would give this one a pass. EL – NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

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