RSS Feed

Pre2006 Reviews – P and Q

Paley, Sasha Huge, 259 pgs. Simon & Schuster. Language- PG-13; Sexual Content- G; Violence- PG; April and Wil have to share a room and be buddies at Wellness Canyon (or weight-loss camp). April has paid for this camp by herself and wants to succeed, but Wil is trying to gain weight for revenge on her totally fit parents. This was the classic summer camp book. The girls were so different that they clashed perfectly. In the end I had the enthusiasm of April and a taste for revenge like Wil. Both of these characters have their own personalities, but you can see yourself in each of their “shoes”. MS/HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KD

Palmer, Robin Cindy Ella, 264 p. Speak (Penguin), 2008. Cindy wants absolutely nothing to do with the prom, but according to her step-mother and her two step-sisters and everyone else at her exclusive private school, you are nobody unless you attend the prom. After Cindy sends an anti-prom letter to the editor of her school paper, everyone is on her case, EXCEPT for her mysterious email buddy “BklynBoy”. Then two “fairy godfathers” enter Cindy’s life and some unexpected twits may find Cindy still prom-less, but happy as a girl can be. Fun, fluffy, safe and fun (did I already say that?) – perfect light reading that will get gobbled up and passed around. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Papademetriou, Lisa Accidentally Fabulous, 187 pgs. Scholastic, 2008. Language-PG, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Amy Flowers just became the new girl at the very rich Arlington Academy. Amy wants to be one of the popular people in her school. I like this book because it was fun to see how Amy acts in different situations and how she handles bad situations. I think that Amy is someone that people would like and enjoy learning about through the book. MS, HS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: MB

Papademetriou, Lisa The Wizard, the Witch and Two Girls from Jersey, 273 p. – While Heather and Veronica argue over who is going to purchase the last available copy of the assigned class novel, the quarreling twosome is propelled into the land of the story. There they quickly manage to botch things up and kill off the tale’s heroine, and Heather, the blond, shallow one, is forced to take on the Princess’ role, while Veronica, the smart one, forges a new role for herself as a servant. The two encounter all of the main characters and situations of the book, but change many things during their adventures, managing to save the world in their own unique way. A campy, funny and totally derivative work that fantasy lovers will thoroughly enjoy. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Papineau, Lucie Christmas Eve Magic PICTURE BOOK Kids Can Press – Having lost his parents, Barton has also lost the magic of Christmas. A little mouse shows him his past, present and possible future in order to help Barton understand that he can still find love and happiness. Animal characters occupy the pages of this richly illustrated Christmas adaptation. The book will best fit into collections that have large holiday selections. EL – OPTIONAL

Paratore, Colleen Murtagh The Funeral Director’s Son, 134 p. Simon, 2008. Kip Campbell does not want to take over his father’s inherited funeral business. He wants nothing to do with the dead, especially since the dead already have too much to ask of him. Kip can hear from dead who have some kind of unfinished business and he has had enough of it. Then the grumpiest old man in town dies and asks something of Kip. And in solving the mystery, Kip learns something good about himself and about his town. My only gripe with this book is that the cover is way too girly. If it were a little more ghostly, it would find a wider audience, which it greatly deserves. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher

Paratore, Coleen The Wedding Planner’s Daughter, 193 p. Simon Schuster – Willa and her mother move further east fairly regularly, but now they are on Cape Cod – and there isn’t much further to go. Willa would love to have her wedding planner mother fall in love and get married herself, but Willa herself is the one who almost crushes all of her dreams. A cute book about the perfect wedding and running from your problems. Out in paperback already. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Park, Linda Sue … et al Click, 224 p. Scholastic, 2007. 10 authors have written short stories based around the original short story by Linda Sue Park. Most of the stories center arpund young Maggie’s uncle, who left her a legacy of a beautiful box and seashells from each of the world’s oceans. If you desperately need short stories, then by all means buy this title. Otherwise, I don’t think it will make any difference. MS – OPTIONAL

Park, Linda Sue Keeping Score, 194 p. Clarion Books, 2008. Maggie-O, 10, is crazy about baseball, but in the 1950’s, girls weren’t really accepted on the baseball field. Then a friend, Jim, at the local fire station teaches Mags how to score baseball games as she listens to them on the radio and Mags finds an even deeper love for the game. As her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers continue to lose when it counts most – the World Series -, and Jim is shipped off to the Korean conflict, Mags has many hard lessons to learn about life. Since I am not a baseball fan, I enjoyed the parts about the war and its aftermath much more than the whole rivalry thing. This book has the most succinct and easy to understand synopsis of the Korean War that I have ever read; every modern History class should read chapter 7, which also includes a great look at researching using microfiche. It only weakness is that the main character is a girl – boys can be so prejudiced against books with girls as the main character – so, it will be a hard sell for the boys who need it most. Otherwise, it is a perfect little book about baseball and war. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Parkinson, Curtis Death in Kingsport, 215 p. Tundra Books – Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G – When Neil hears thumping coming from his Uncle Chester’s coffin right before he is cremated, he get suspicious about the doctor who originally pronounced Chester as dead. As Neil and his friends begin to investigate, they find more suspicious deaths linked to the same doctor. Usually in a mystery, there are twists and surprises. In this book, there were none. The mystery lacked suspense and was poorly written. In addition, the dialogue was stilted, and the characters were not well-developed. I can’t imagine any student getting into this book. Interest Level: MS, HS – NO. Reviewer: MM.

Parkinson, Siobhin Something Invisible 156 pages – Language- G; Sexual Content- G; Violence- G – Everything changes when Jake’s new baby sister, Daisy, is born. She brings Stella Daly into his life, but also keeps him up at night and steals all his mom and stepdad’s atention. Then a tragedy happens to Stella’s family. He thinks it is all his fault. I liked this book. It was clean with no bad things in it and had just enough action to keep you interested throughout the book. EL, MS – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer: LW

Pascal, Francine The Ruling Class, 176 p. – Myrna Fry is an airhead suck-up who wants to join the elite girl group at her school. ruled over by Jeanette Sue. Twyla Stark is the new girl who refuses to Jeanette Sue runher life. Oh my word – what a complete piece of inconsequential drivel! This is probably heralding a rash of “Mean Girls” like bully books. But, unfortunately, this airhead narrator is not even worth the paper her thoughts are written on! PASS. Cindy, Library Teacher

Patneaude, David Thin Wood Walls 228 p. – Joe Hanada has a great life in rural Washington State, until the day Pearl Harbor is bombed and his family is quickly ostracized and then sent to a internment camp in Oregon, while his father is taken into custody by the FBI. Camp life is hard for the boys and Joe’s brother wants to prove his loyalty by joining an all Japanese regiment, while others in the camp are trouble-makers who feel no allegiance to the US at all. This book adds a new standard of excellence to the body of fiction about life in internment camps. I enjoyed every minute. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Patterson, James Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, 422 p. – Max is the mother hen for a half dozen kids that escaped the “The School” four years earlier. With their giant wings and transformed bodies, they have no hope of blending in to the normal world. Now, evil beings from The School have captured Angel and the others must find some way to rescue her and then hide again. Fast paced and action packed, sure to keep many kids’ attention, with sequels to come. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Patterson, J. Maximum Ride III: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, 404 p., 2007. This Final book in the Maximum Ride trilogy is an action-packed story from beginning until the end! Max and her flock have finally started to unravel the knots affiliated with Itex (the company that messed with their DNAs) and they’re after them to stop the changes that are going to take place and ruin our humanity as we know it on the earth today! I had tons of fun reading this book and finished it rapidly. As a reader, the Maximum Ride trilogy has been one of my favorites. I was once asked: “If you could be any one character that you’ve read about, who would it be?”, I didn’t have a definite answer then, but now, I would totally say Max! MS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: JH

Pattou, Edith East – Rose has always been a wanderer. When a white bear offers her family riches and health for Rose’s company, she takes the offer and sets off to a magic filled adventure. I have had this book recommended to me by several people and I finally picked it up. Too bad for me that it took so long. It really is fantastic. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL, EL-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Paul, Dominique The Possibility of Fireflies, 215 p. Simon and Schuster. Language- PG-13 Sexual Content- PG Violence- PG-13. – Ellie Roma lives with her older sister and mother. Her father left when she was young and her mother has taken a break from parenting. Ellie spends a lot of her time alone until a guy named Leo moves in across the street and rescues Ellie from her unhappy life. This book was really good. I really liked how the author put in the same types of things that all teenagers go through. This book is perfect for teens everywhere. The language, however makes it so that the book is not for every school. MS, HS- Advisable. Student Reviewer: AN

Paul. Alison The Crow (A Not So Scary Story), PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. A young boy confronts his fear of dark, scary things as he sees something spooky outside his window and imagines the many scenarios awaiting him. The hand-dyed and torn paper collages are brilliant and spooky, lending an air of mystery that makes this a great read-aloud for younger students. Could be used for prediction. EL – OPTIONAL

Paulsen, Gary Brian’s Hunt – Brian returns to the wilderness and encounters a bear who is out to kill humans. MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Paulsen, Gary Molly McGinty has a Really Good Day 105 p. – Molly can’t make a move without consulting her planner. Then one day the planner disappears – the same day of Grandparents’ Day at her school. Without her planner, Molly manages to get into trouble, learn a lesson and have a pretty good day. Very cute. El, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Paulsen, Gary The Glass Cafe – Tony draws pictures of the women who work with his mother at a strip club. His art teacher submits them to an art show and child protective services gets called. The plot has the makings of a great book. Unfortunately, this is the weakest Paulsen book I have ever read. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Paulsen, Gary Sentries, 168 p. Simon and Schuster, 1986, 2007. A new imprint of an old Paulsen book that probably didn’t need to be reprinted. MS – OPTIONAL

Paulsen, Gary The Time Hackers, 86 p. – Instead of just seeing and smelling historical vignettes like everyone else does, Dorso is actually being sent back through time to experience history. With his buddy Frank, Dorso sets out to save the world, because he knows that messing with history can change everything. A very short, but great Paulsen book on a very different subject. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Peacock, Louise At Ellis Island: A History in Many Voices PICTURE BOOK illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop Atheneum (Simon) – Sera, a young Armenian, is ready to come from America, but must first make it past the obstacle of Ellis Island. Interspersed with quotes from actual young immigrants and Ellis Island workers, photographs of the time period flesh out Sera’s story. Following the narrative is a little tricky. I think this book is best used as a supplement to a novel of Ellis Isand. EL, MS – OPTIONAL

Pearce, Philippa The Little Gentleman 200 p. – Young Bet is recruited to go out in a field and read aloud. There she discovers a mole, who can talk and who has actually lived for 250 years. She learns the mole’s sad story and experiments with his magic. Enough of that. If you have read any of my reviews, you know that I love fantasy and am more than willing to suspend belief. Unfortunately, nothing works in this case. I find neither the mole nor the girl nor the secondary characters worth either my sympathy or my time, which really is too bad, because I thoroughly enjoyed Tom’s Midnight Garden by the same author. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pearsall, Shelley Crooked River, 244 p. – Rebecca’s father has captured an Indian who will go on trial for the murder of a white trapper. The longer the savage is there, the more sympathetic Rebecca becomes, especially as she gets to know the lawyer defending the Indian and as she hears the lies used against him at the trial. The trial scene will remind you of To Kill a Mockingbird. I enjoyed it as another look at the lengths white Americans went in order to take the Americas for themselves. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pearson, Mary E. The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Pages: 266, Publisher: Henry Holt, Language: PG, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: PG Jenna Fox, that is the only thing she knows, she knows that Jenna Fox is her name, she was in a terrible accident, and was in a coma for a year. Her parents show her home videos, tell her memories, and try to remind her who she is. But why can she not remember? Over a little time she slowly begins to start remembering, but with remembering comes many questions that don’t seem to want to be answered. An amazing book. This will show you what lengths people will go to save the ones they love and how far humans can go with their own scientific advances. It really makes you think a lot of the future and how all of the things we make and create could really begin to hurt us. Amazing book. Great for everyone, especially Biology and further science students who know a lot about it. MS, HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: AN

Pearson, Ridley Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dark. Hyperion, 325 p. – Finn Whitman and four other teens were honored as the first holographic guides for Disney’s Magic Kingdom, but now the kids find themselves waking up in the middle of the night at the park itself. Wayne, one of Walt’s original crew, tells them of a mysterious mission that the teens must undertake, otherwise, evil forces within the park may get out of control and escape into the real world. I can only hope that there is a sequel to this incredibly awesome book, because Malificent, the main evil in this title, has some mysterious words about a greater evil than she. WHO COULD IT BE?!?!? Any Disney fan will enjoy the ride! EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pearson, Ridley Kingdom Keepers: Rise of Chernabog (title not confirmed, may be Disney at Dawn), 354 p. Disney Editions (Hyperion), Aug 2008. The Kingdom Keepers are needed again. During a DHI (Disney Holographic Interface) celebration at the Magic Kingdom, Jezebel is kidnapped in the midst of a crowd. Consulting with Wayne, their Disney mentor, the kids are informed that their lives are in danger if the fall asleep – they have to find Jez first and destroy the new computer server that the Overtakers have setup somewhere inside the Animal Kingdom. Maleficent had corrupted many of the animals, plus created a holograohic army to battle the Kingdom Keepers. Staying awake may be the least of their problems. If you want action and adventure and a lot of behind-the-scenes Disney info, this is the book for you. The action is non-stop and all takes place within 48 hours. As a longtime Disney fan I was somewhat frustrated by the author’s insistence that Chernabog as the ultimate Disney villain (what?!!), titling the book after him and then have him basically be a non-entity. But also, because the action had to take place in such a short time, there was no room for growth, plot or character development. Since I enjoyed the action and love Disney, I am holding out hope that the next installment will have more depth. And I hope that Mr. Pearson remembers that in Kingdom Keepers I: Disney After Dark (p 286), he said that the ultimate villain is a female, so it can’t really be Chernabog . EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

FYI: The published title of  this book is actually Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dawn

Peck, Dale Drift House: The First Voyage, 408 p. – After 9-11, Susan, Charles and Murray’s parents send them to live with their Uncle Farley in what they believe is a safer place. Instead the children are smack dab in the center of a power struggle on the Sea of Time, where the mermaids aren’t as nice as they seem and the pirates may be your friends. The children’s lives are in danger at every turn. Definitely a book for young children. It ahs all of the elements of a great read aloud, but I was personally left less than enthused at the end. EL- OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Peck, Dale The Lost Cities, 362 p. Bloomsbury – Language: G; Sexual Content: G; Violence: G – While Murry’s home in bed, Susan and Charles go on an adventure with Uncle Farley. Their Uncle’s mansion is washed away by a tittle wave with Susan and Uncle Farley still in it. Charles and his parrot friend have to find a way to be reunited with Susan. The siblings might be separated forever, but only time will tell. I had a hard time understanding this book until i realized that it was the second volume. As long as you read the first, I don’t think it would be half bad. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: TT

Peck, Richard On the Wings of Heroes, 148 p. Penguin – Davy’s older brother has joined the Air Force at the start of WWII. Far away from the front, in his small hometown, Davy does his best to support the war efforts, stay out of too much trouble and have a good time with his friends. His Dad plays a big part in his life and his fun – and even Grandma and Grandpa come to join in the wait when Bill is shot down over Germany and reported MIA. Richard Peck’s voice just gets better with time. His wry wit and dead on characterization of this time period brings “yester year” to life. EL-ESSENTIAL

Peck, Richard The River Between Us – Tilly and her family live in a tiny town on the Mississippi during the Civil War. Off the riverboat comes a beautiful New Orleans woman, who shakes up their lives for bad and good. A decent read about the ugliness of war and about race relations that have shaped our country’s history. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pelletier, Andrew The Toy Farmer Pictures by Scott Nash. PICTURE BOOK Dutton (Penguin) 2007. Jed has discovered an old toy tractor with an old tin farmer in a dusty corner of the attic. His dad grins and laughs and tells him to enjoy the toy. Over the next few weeks, things certainly change around Jed’s room as the toy farmer gets to work. The whimsy and bright pictures kind of remind me of Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm. A very fun book to read. EL – ESSENTIAL

Pendergass, Tess Dark of the Moon – First the young daughter of a prominent lawyer/congressman is found dead. Then librarian Destiny’s ex-boyfriend is murdered and the blame for both deaths is being pinned on her current police officer flame, Daniel. The showdown with the real killer in the local public library is very exciting. This seems to be the second in a series of romantic mysteries, where the romance doesn’t interfere with a good plot. HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pennac, Daniel Eye of the wolf – An unfulfilling book of the connections between a young boy and wolf encaged at the zoo. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pennac, Daniel The Rights of the Reader, 165 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2006. Language-G, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; This book is all about what rights the readers have while reading a book. They have ten rights of a reader. These rights include things such as the right to read it again and the right to read out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. This book reminded me a lot of a Roald Dahl book (probably because it was illustrated by the same person). I liked how it talked about how a teacher should not force a student to read, but let them gain that joy by themselves. I liked how it stated the fact that you can not make someone read, just like you can’t make them fall in love, or dream. I would recommend it to everybody. EL, MS, HS-ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: MB.

Penny, Patricia G. Chelsea’s New Ride. pg. 140; Lobster Press. Language-PG, Sexual Content-PG, Violence-G. Chelsea crashed her dad’s car and is grounded from using her mom’s. She has to find a way to get to work so she can pay for the damage on her dad’s car. I didn’t like this book. It was really random and the writing wasn’t that great. HS – NO. Student Reviewer: MP.

Penny, Patricia G. Belinda’s Obsession, 134, Lobster Press, Language- PG, Sexual Content – PG, Violence – G, Review – Dating these days is hard but when your gay its even worse. Afraid to come out, Belinda neglects to tell her friends, family, and admit to the person that means everything to her that she likes her. Caught up with her parents’ relationship after she sees her mother with another man, she slinks, stalks, even goes to the man’s house to get down to the bottom of it. OMG I seriously did not like this book!! It’s not worth anybody’s time! Its short and the story really is lacking everything essential to make a book good except for characters. MS – NO! Student Reviewer: AA

Peretti, Frank Nightmare Academy – Don’t waste your time. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Perkins, Lynne Rae Criss Cross, 337 p. – Debbie, Hector and Lenny’s lives intersect and diverge and cross and recross in mostly simple ways of the lives of the young. YAWN. This seems to be one of those books that adults think kids will like. It kind of reads like an episode of Seinfeld, but it has no wit nor passion to involve a student’s attention. MS-PAPERBACK. Cindy, Library Teacher

Perkins, Mitali Monsoon Summer 257 p. – Though Jasmine’s mother is full Indian, she takes after her Nordic father with his big bones, embarrassing for a high school girl surrounded by petites. When the family takes a trip to India for the summer, Jasmine must confront her own and her family’s identity. Good stuff here – While I have so many books about the differences between Indian and American culture hard to access, this one was easy to slip into. “Jazz’s” issues about her body, her family and her best friend are understandable and relatable. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Perkins, Mitali First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, 278 p. Dutton (Penguin), 2007. Daughter of an ambassador, Samera, “Sparrow” to her friends, has attended boarding school forever. Now she is returning to her parents, joining them on the campaign trail, just as dad is about to cinch the Republican nomination for president. Dad’s campaign workers have a makeover in mind for the darker-skinned Pakistani adoptee. Sparrow has to work hard to remember who she is and to find the strength to stand up for herself. The campaign insider action is fun to read for adults, but young adults will just appreciate Sparrow’s voice. MS – ADVISABLE

Perkins, Mitali Rickshaw Girl, 79 p. Charlesbridge – Naima is worried because her father is not making much money as a rickshaw driver. When she tries to prove she can help as well as any son might, she wrecks the rickshaw, instead. In order to make amends, she manages to come with a bold idea that broadens the boundaries for women in Bangladesh. A short, powerful book about another different culture and the role of women. EL-ADVISABLE, MS-OPTIONAL

Peterson, Will Triskellion, 368, Mark Billingham Ltd. and Peter Cocks, 2008. Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG. Triskellion is the story of two siblings who find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar and hostile new world. Following their parents’ divorce, they are sent from New York to live with their grandmother. They accidentally uncover a mystery thousands of years in the making. I did not like this book. It was interesting in the beginning and the middle; the author did a amazing job pulling me in and placing all the pieces to the puzzle just out of reach. But that was it. The book lacked a decent ending and that really irritated me. MS – NO (I wouldn’t waste my money on it). Student Reviewer: MR

Petti, Ken Zenda: Astral Summer, 135 p. – Astral Summer, a month of no sunlight, is about to descend on the land of Azureblue. Zenda and the other thirteen year old girls are goingto go on a retreat so that they can learn how to use their new powers; and Zenda actually has two powers to learn. She usually gets along well with the other girls, but then something disastrous happens. Very juvenile; little girls will probably love this series ( this is actually #5). EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Petty, J.T. Clemency Pogue: The Scrivener Bees, 165p. Simon and Schuster- Language:G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG- Inky Mess is trying to get his hands on the Forgetting Book. If he got the book, it would mean the end to everything in Make- Believe. Clemency has to stop him and save her father from the Scrivener Bees. Will she be able to do both? I thought this book was thrilling and exciting. You could feel the suspence everywhere. When it came to the end, I wanted more. This series is one that you have to read. EL, MS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer- CW

Pfeffer, Susan Life as We Knew It, 347 p. Harcourt – Language: PG, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: PG – When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer to earth, the weather starts acting out. All the coasts are washing away, Florida isn’t there anymore, the Statue of Liberty is washed out to sea, and everyone is dying. When supplies start thinning, and winter in just around the corner, how will Miranda’s family make it through? I loved this book! It was, at first, hard to get into, but as soon as the meteor hit the moon, I couldn’t put it down! The ending is amazing! There is a lot of emotion in this book. I would buy this book no matter how much it was! MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH

Pfeffer, Wendy We Gather Together, PICTURE BOOK, Penguin – People from all over the world celebrate the harvest and planting seasons in their own ways. The book includes facts about causes of the seasons, activities for children and harvest related recipes. The bright, simple illustrations make this a shoo-in as read-aloud for younger children and savvy teachers of older students could use this to kick off more in-depth research. A medium length narrative. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Philbrick, Rodman The Young Man and the Sea, 192 p. – Skiff is determined to resurrect his family’s boat and needs $5000 to do it. His father is no help, because he is still in a funk from his wife’s early death. On his own, Skiff tries to become a lobster catcher, but is sabotaged by a jealous rich kid. In a last ditch effort, Skiff sets off to catch an elusive tuna, which can bring him the money he needs and quickly. A well done effort that brings the original material up to date and for a younger audience. This would be a great read-aloud. EL-ESSENTIAL. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pichon, Liz Penguins. Orchard (Scholastic), October 2008. PICTURE BOOK. A family of penguins enjoy their life at the zoo. Things get even better, however, when someone drops a camera into their enclosure. Baby penguin knows just what to do with the object, and when the owner returns for the camera, the little girl finds some mysterious photos among the ones she knows she took. This is the cutest picture book I read today. Though it is for young readers, it is adorable! EL (PreK- 1) – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Pienkowski, Jan Dinner Time. Candlewick, 1981, 2007. POP-UP BOOK. Pienkowski’s absolutely horrifying (in all the right ways) has been super sized for your pop-up delight. Watch the food chain in action as you flip the pages and get scared all over again. PREK-K (Parents) – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher

Pierce, Meredith Ann Waters Luminous and Deep, 311 p. – A collection of short storied by the author, including a couple she wrote when she was in high school. My favorite story, The Frogskin Slippers, is one of the shortest, while Rampion, the best-written story, is the last. All of the stories involve water in some essential way. I am not sure if luminous and deep are the best words to describe the themes of the stories, though. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pierce, Tamora The Will of the Empress, 539 p. – Release: November 2005. Daja, Tris, and Briar have returned to Winding Circle and their friend Sandry. But all four have been affected by their experiences and their old familiar links have been cut off. When Sandry is forced to go to her ancestral lands in Namorn the others accompany her reluctantly. None of them know that they are walking into a trap that will take all of their skill and cooperation to escape. Tamora Pierce is awesome. I love all of her books. Her quality is consistent high and her books never fail to please. If you don’t have all of the back story titles (8 in total) for this book, you really need to get them too. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pierce, Tamora Trickster’s Queen, 444 p. – Aly, the daughter of Tortall’s spymaster is not a spymaster in her own right. She will attempt to help her mistress, Sarai, become the queen of the dlay Isles. This is a nice, thick novel to add to your list of fantasy for overachieving students. Try to get your boys to read this one, because they will love all of the machinations of the spies involved and the battle scenes. Second in a series. Warning – though it is not described, the main character deliberately decides to have sex before marriage. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pietri, Annie The Orange Trees of Versailles, 137 p. – Marion goes to work for King Louis XIV’s mistress as a “nose”, a maker of perfumes, and gets caught up in court intrigue in the palace of Versailles. Only Marion is able to stop a poisoning. A short, not very well-written piece of historical fiction. Consider it maybe in paperback. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pinkwater, Daniel The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Holywood, and Saved Civilization. Houghton Mifflin. Language – G; Sexual Content – G; Violence – G; A sacred turtle is given to Neddie by a forgetful shaman that has the power to protect the world in a re-occuring time of great need. Unfortunately, he has quite a few people after that turtle, aware of the power it possesses. Please, please, please don’t make me read this thing ever again! This story dragged on, describing every unwanted detail to the max, making it sound similar to a documentary on paper. I admit the ending was not completely horrible, but it was not worth going through the pain of reading the beginning. MS – NO. KH

Plaisted, Caroline 10 Things to do Before You’re 16, 149 p. Simon and Schuster – Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – When Anna and Beth turn 15 they decide to make a list of what they want to do before they turn 16. The list contains 10 things that they want changed about them, this includes; get goregous hair, get stiletto heels, get a job, have fantastic nails, and etc. While trying to finish the list they run into a couple of problems. The problems effect the list and they must make different plans to follow through. Can the finish the list in time for there 16th birthday? This book was very girly. I like those types of books but I know some people don’t. It was fun to look through their eyes and see what we see everyday at school. Interest Level: MS, HS – NO. Student Reviewer: KC

Plum-Ucci, Carol The Night My Sister Went Missing, 224 p. Harcourt – Kurt and his friends are hanging out in their usual place at the burnt out pier. Then a gun goes off and Kurt’s younger sister disappears over the side. At the police station, Kurt finds a way to listen in as people are brought in and questioned. Everyone has their own agenda and everyone is hiding something. Though its uses more than a dozen swear words (2 “f”), the words actually feel as though they belong where they are. The plot is well paced and will keep a reader’s attention. This book will be passed around. MS-OPTIONAL, HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Plum – Ucci Carol Streams of Babel. Harcourt, 2008. Languge: R, Sexual Content G, Violence G.- When some of the neighborhood teenagers catch some mysterious desease the neighborhood paramedic is worried and goes into panic mode. When creepy guys in suits arrive at one of the teens house they have to figure out what to do. This book is not a very nice book. I got halfway through and had to stop because I couldn’t take any more of the swearing. This book said the “f-word” seven times, besides a large amount of every other swear word. NO. Student Reviewer: JG

Polhemus, Coleman The Crocodile Blues PICTURE BOOK Candlewick, 2007. In this wordless picture book, a man and his bird buy an egg from a vending machine and store in the fridge. Overnight, a full-grown crocodile hatched from the egg, scaring the tenants from the building. Answering an invitation from the crocodile, they attend some sort of dinner party, where the creature presents them another egg. As much as I enjoyed the primary color illustrations (black, white, blue and yellow) this book makes absolutely no sense to me as a narrative or as an adventure. EL – NO

Polikoff, Barbara Why does the Coqui Sing? 213 p. – Luz’s mom and step-father have taken the family “back” to Puerto Rico. The kids were born in Chicago, but the parents want to go back to live near all of the realtives. All three children have a hard time adjusting to a very different climate and lifestyle, especially when nothing seems to be going as planned either at home, work or school. A reverse immigration book – how do American raised kids adjust to life in the old country. A good choice if you need books that show life in other countries. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pollack, Jenny Klepto, 271 p. – When Julie Prodsky meets Julie Braverman, she learns the art of shoplifting and the two hone it to a fine skill. It’s all a game until they get banned from Bloomingdale’s for life. Then Julie P. begins to have a crisis on conscience and seeks help. Unfortunately for me, Julie’s moment of truth comes after watching the friends steal and steal and steal for two thirds of the book. With the swearing and the description of the almost sexual encounter, the shallowness of the book doesn’t even need to figure in when you say NO!  Cindy, Library Teacher

Pollet, Alison Nobody was Here: 7th grade in the Life of Me, Penelope 218 p. – Penelope finds at the beginning of 7th grade that she and her best friend forever are not such good friends after all. She also sees a different side of her mother. Set in 1981 for no good reason, except that I am guessing that the author was a child then, I found the historical setting a distraction. otherwise, it is okay. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Porter, Tracey Billy Creekmore, 256 pg Harper – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence:P G – Billy is an orphan, who sets of on an adventure to discover his past and who he really is. He travels from place to place, learning what it means to be a friend, a man, and how to follow your dreams. Billy is a clever, imaginative boy who keeps you turning the pages as fast as you can so you find out what happens next. He never gives up, as he searches for his future. MS-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: HD

Portis, Antoinette Not A Box PICTURE BOOK HarperCollins, 2006. A young bunny is repeatedly asked why he is sitting on, standing in or otherwise engaged with a box and each time the bunny patiently replies that it is NOT a box., showing the reader what he sees from his perspective. This highly creative and super-imaginative book is a gem among picture books. Not only will you want one for your library, but probably also for each of your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. EL – ESSENTIAL

Pow, Tom Captives, Roaring Brook. Language-PG; Violence-PG-13; Sexual Content-PG. Martin thinks he’s going on a relaxing vacation but, what it really turns out to be is being held hostage for a couple of months. While he is trying to survive everyone panics and one person is killed. He finds true love, friendship, and much more. I liked this book I thought it was very weird and confusing though, because you hear from a couple of viewpoints. MS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer-MS

Pratchett, Terry Hat Full of Sky – sequel to the Wee Free Men. Tiffany Aching has defeated the Queen of Fairies and is now off to learn how to become a real witch. Unfortunately, see has a swarm of demons which wants to possess her and steal her powers. Not as humorous and twisted as most of Pratchett’s Discworld books, but definitely a good read. MS,HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pratchett, Terry Johnny and the Dead, 213 p. – Johnny Maxwell has already saved an alien race. Now he finds that he can see and hear the dead and must find a way to save a cemetery. A reprint of the original 1993 novel, which is still well worth reading. I love watching the ghosts as they find new powers and Johnny’s part of the story is equally enjoyable. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pratchett, Terry Only You Can Save Mankind, 207 p. – Reprint from 1992. Johnny is plating a new space alien game when he is actually contacted by the enemy. Later he enters the game and realizes that “real” aliens are being picked off somewhere in the universe. And now he is expected to lead them to safety – and defend them other gamers who want their game back. An only slightly dated science fiction book. I actually think it wears better than the author gives it credit for. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pratchett, Terry The Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, AND Wings- A group of four inch high Nomes living in a field stowaway in a truck and find themselves in a department store with hundreds of other nomes. Then they find out the store is going to be demolished in 21 days. They must convince the store nomes that they need to leave in order to survive, when the store nomes don’t even believe that anything exists outside the store. And this is JUST the beginning! I read parts of this book out loud to my 4th and 7th grader and we were rolling on the floor with laughter!! This was really bad, because we were in a restaurant! ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Prevost, Guillaume The Book of Time, 224 p. Scholastic (Sept 2007) – Sam’s father has disappeared. When Sam goes back to his father’s rickety bookstore, he finds a secret in the basement that makes it possible for him to travel through time. After several false starts, and with the help of his cousin Lily, Sam figures out that his father is stuck in the dungeon of Vlad Tepes, known in Sam’s time as Dracula. This first book is entertaining, but only sets the scene for Sam’s inevitable journey back to the dangerous realm of Vlad the Impaler. Sam’s journeys back in time are interesting reading, even though he is pretty safe from harm. I understand that the first book set up is important, as Sam learns what is happening to him and how to manipulate the time travel. The slight deviations from the main storyline are a bit superfluous, but all in all this is a pretty solid series beginning. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Provost, Guillanume The Gate of Days, 249 Pgs, Arthur A. Levine Books. Language- PG; Sexual Content- G; Violence- PG; Sam Faulkner’s father has been kidnapped through time travel by the evil Vlad Tepes, but has left Sam clues to help him save him. Can Sam and his cousin Lily find his father before its too late? Will they be able to find Sam’s father before Vlad Tepes can continue with his plans to use his father. This book contains lots of adventures and fun. This book is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat. MS, HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: SA

Price, Charlie Lizard People, 184 p. Roaring Brook, 2007. Ben’s father is AWOL because he is unable to cope with Ben’s mother’s mental illness. Ben is only a junior in high school and can’t cope by himself with all of her troubles. He can’t get her permanently checked into a facility and he can’t make her take his medication correctly. Add to that a strange young man who is telling Ben tales of a passage to a future world where he might be able to get help for his mother. Ben is desperate for help and willing to listen, but parts of Marco’s tale sound an awful lot like Ben’s own situation. The whole story about lizard people and a future world and all that made this book harder for me to follow, but I have had limited contact with the mentally ill. I like Helicopter Man by Elizabeth Fensham better, because the father’s hallucinations are grounded in the present day, but it still tells the same story of a young person forced to cope with a mentally ill parent. MS – OPTIONAL

Price, Susan The Dark Side: Truly Terrifying Tales, 267 p. Kingfisher – Language: PG-13, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG-13 – This is a collection of children level scary stories. There are twenty four small stories in all. Ok, so when I picked this up, I was like cool! (the cover is very misleading) I was expecting some bone chilling, heart wrenching scary stuff, but most of these stories are pretty child level. The stories never have real endings, they just have those “wait, why did you just stop like that?” endings. I didn’t really like this book and don’t think that it is right for middle school children because of the storylines and not for younger elementary because of language. EL- NO Student Reviewer:KH

Priestly, Chris Death and the Arrow – Historical fiction based in London of 1715. Tom’s best friend is murdered and with the help of Dr Hacker, he tries to track down the killer. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pringle, Laurence Imagine a Dragon, illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan. PICTURE BOOK. Boyds Mill Press, 2008. For those many with high interest in dragons, here’s a book to enjoy. From the origins of dragon tales in China thousands of years ago, to ancient Egypt, Norway, and Greece Pringle explains differing attitudes toward these fantastical creatures. Though western dragons are malevolent and dangerous, those of eastern origin are friendly yet powerful enough to control stream flow and weather. Illustrations are modernistic. EL – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Beverly Stout, Elementary Library Specialist.

Prior, Natalie Jane Lily Quench and the Dragon of Ashby 152. p – Lily is the last remaining Quench of the dragon fighting Quench family. Her country was taken over by evil foes years earlier. Now one of those enemies has plans, wanting to use Lily to corwn her, Miss Moldavia, Queen of Ashby. With the help of the Queen Dragon, Lily tries to forge a different destiny for herself and her nation. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Prior, Natalie Lily Quench and the Black Mountains 153 p. – Ashby is safe for now, but during her pursuit of the elusive blue lily, Lily Quench is captured by the Black Count’s forces. Cartoonish illustrations are amusing, and the series promises to be long. Quality wise, I would put it in the elementary or buy it for lower level readers in the middle school who like the Secrets of Droon books. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Prue, Sally The Devils Toenail – Persecuted by the kids at school and harassed by his little sister, Stevie finds strength in the strange whisperings of a seashell called a Devil’s Toenail, which encourages him to do bad. <snort>. This book is so stupid and Stevie is so inept at anything “evil” he tries to do that I just had to roll my eyes. Spare yourself some time and leave this book at the publisher’s! NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Putill, Leigh Love Meg 297 p. Penguin Group. Language- G; Sexual Content- G; Violence- G. Meg is an ordinary girl until a stranger shows up at the doorstep. The guy turns out to be her uncle and her “sister” turns out to be her mother. Meg wants to find out who her dad is and she wants to search for him. Her mom lets her go and she meets a lot of people including new friends and a boyfriend. When she was little she would always write to Jen. Later, her mom shows her that she has the letters and she was always there for her. Meg never did find her father, but she doesn’t care. Not any more. I LOVED this book! I couldn’t set it down! I love the way the author puts in little details that end up to be important in the end. MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: SH

Puttock, Simon and Holly Swain Miss Fox. Frances Lincoln, 2006. PICTURE BOOK. Miss Fox strolls into Niceville and attains a position “teaching” cuddly animals – teaching them how to be sweet and soft and juicy. Only Lily Lamb is skeptical of the new teacher. A cute bright book that is a clever take off of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. EL – OPTIONAL


Qualey, Marsha Just Like That, 233 p. – Hannah breaks up with her boyfriend and while brooding at the near frozen river near her home, she is the last person to see a couple who died after riding their ATV onto the thin ice. Her guilty feelings lead to contact a mysterious boy who also appears on the scene, and the two “hook-up” and spend a night together. The boy Will turns out to be only 14 to Hannah’s 18, but Hannah can’t let go because she is obsessed with his family and a mysterious woman who Hannah believes might be the family’s grandmother, who was supposed to have died years earlier. Enough – I was very disappointed by this book, especially because I love the author’s Close to a Killer and Thin Ice so much. The whole jailbait sex thing is too much. And the whole kids dying on the snowmobile, which is really to traumatic, is really just trivialized in the rest of the novel. This particular novel does seem very tight nor well crafted. If you are still interested in the book, the sex is not described, but I am rejecting it for other reasons. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Qualey, Marsha Too Big a Storm, 243 p. – In the days of free love, Vietnam War protests and Watergate, Brady is trying to find her way. The book covers several years in Brady’s life, and it just didn’t work for me. I didn’t particularly find Brady’s story very interesting. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Qualey, Marsha Come in From the Cold, 219 p. Life in the 1960’s can only be called tumultuous, and Maud and Jeff’s lives rank up there with the most chaotic. Maud’s sister died in a war protest bomb blast. Jeff’s brother dies in the jungles of Vietnam. The two find each other and maybe some peace at the end of the decade. Unfortunately, Qualey, whom I have admired in the past, populates this book with all of the swears, drugs and sex that were so defining of the era. I am disappointed by the sheer overwhelming amount of in-your-face situations on every page. There’s no way that I can recommend this for the school market. NO. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

%d bloggers like this: