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Pre2006 Reviews – R

Rabe, Jean The Finest Creation, 318 p. – Gallant-Stallion, also known as Rue, was sent down from the Finest Court in his guise of a stallion, to act as the escort for one of the “Fallen,” or humans. Unfortunately, Rue’s mentor is killed before he can discover exactly who his charge is. So instead he must blunder about trying to find his destiny without being discovered. Though the beginning of the book was awkward reading and a bit stilted, the flow and pace increased towards the end. I hold out great hopes for the sequel, which is sure to come. Ms, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rahlens, Holly-Jane Prince William, Maximilian Minsky, and Me, 320 pgs. Candlewick Press. Language-PG-13, Sexual Content-PG-13, Violence-G, Nelly Sue Edelmeister has many conflicts that she needs to work out; how is she going to learn to play basket ball so that she can go to the championship in England, and find Prince William, and win his heart, that crazy bat mitzvah her mother wants to have, the tension between her parents, and the dark past of their family friend. It’s going to take a lot of faith for this brainy teenager to get everything figured out. My life seems so much easier then Nelly’s. She taught me a real lesson in having faith in what I am doing and that I can accomplish anything, and to be okay with what it ends up being. MS-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KD


Rallison, Janette How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend, 265 p. G.P. Putnam (Penguin), 2007. When Giovanna’s brother Jesse decides to join the race for student body president, she expects her boyfriend, Dante, Jesse’s best friend, to help them campaign. Instead Dante is working for the enemy. Now the couple have broken up and Giovanna is not sure there is anyway to put it all back together. When all is said and done, I just looked at this book and went “What?!” It just didn’t make any sense and Dante’s big, deep, dark secret just really didn’t matter to me. MS – OPTIONAL

Rallison, Janette It’s a Mall World After All, 230 p. Walker (Bloomsbury) – One day Charlotte’s world will perfect, the next she sees her best friend’s boyfriend flirting with another girl. Everyone around her accuses her of trying to sabotage the couple, while Char does her best to convince someone she is telling the truth and also do some good deeds along the way. An uncomplicated novel that will be enjoyed by the girly crowd. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rallison, Janette It’s a Mall World After All, 230 p. Walker (Bloomsbury) – One day Charlotte’s world will perfect, the next she sees her best friend’s boyfriend flirting with another girl. Everyone around her accuses her of trying to sabotage the couple, while Char does her best to convince someone she is telling the truth and also do some good deeds along the way. An uncomplicated novel that will be enjoyed by the girly crowd. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ramthun, Bonnie The White Gates, 242 p. Random House, 2008. Torin, 12, has joined his doctor mother in the snowy Colorado town of Snow Park, but he doesn’t feel very welcome. The local high school snowboarding team are antagonistic and someone seems to want to drive Torin and his mother out of town, by accusing her of murder. Torin has a couple of new friends who are willing to tell him some of the town secrets and he has found joy in learning to board himself. Torin will do whatever he has to in order to solve th mystery and find a permanent place for himself and his mom. Good snowboarding scenes are backed up by a solid mystery, with just a tiny bit of the supernatural. The protagonist seems a bit young, but I think middle schoolers will ignore that. EL, MS – ADVISABLE.


Randall, David Clovermead 288 p. – Clovermead wants adventure. WHena swordsman comes through her small village, she begs for lessons, not knowing she would need those skills soon. Then an evil man rides through, who recognizes Clovermead’s father, and her world starts falling apart. Fleeing for their lives, Waxmelt is captured by the enemy and Clovermead finds her thoughts and her body being inhabited by the enemy god, Lord Ursus. Clovermead’s young age and impetuous nature help bring credence to this story. A romp. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Randle, Kristen Slumming – In their senior year of high school, three best friends, Nikki, Alicia, and Sam, attempt an “experiment” in which they each befriend a classmate they think needs attention and try to improve that person’s life. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ransom, Candice Finding Day’s Bottom, 171 p. Carolrhoda – Jane-Ery’s father has died in a mine accident and her grandfather has come to live with her and her mother, to help them on their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Both mother and daughter are having a hard time making ends meet and finding a way to live on after the death. Finding Day’s Bottom is one of those quiet, eloquent books – along the lines of Missing May or A Hole in the World. It will need help finding its audience. EL, MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ranulfo Joker 194 p. – Language-R (Lots of “f” and a dozen others), Sexual Content-PG-13, Violence-PG – This book is supposed to be a modernized version of Hamlet. Matt started out as the perfect guy. Then his best friend Ray dies and his mother leaves his father. After that Matt develops another personality he calls Joker. I really did not like this book. It’s confusing and jumps around a lot. It is also poorly written. The author often gets himself into a rut where he has to use the same word over and over again. The one good thing I can say about this book is that it shows you that every decision you make could end up changing your life. HS – NO Student Reviewer: JB


Rapp, Adam Under the Wolf, Under the Dog 309 p. – Steve is in a facility for disturbed kids, looking back at the circumstances that got him there. Unless you really enjoy looking at someone’s terrible life and relish in another’s misery, there really isn’t any point to reading this one. I would assume that if you have “Child Called It” in your library, then your audience will be receptive to this one. As for me, I will just say NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rappaport, Doreen Freedom Ship PICTURE BOOK Hyperion – Every day, Robert and his family can see beyond the harbor at Charleston and out to the Union ships, which beckon them to freedom. Then one night he and his family join the crew of the Planter in a desperate bid to live free. Based on a true story of the Civil War. A good, short book to illustrate the many ways that American slaves made bids for freedom; could easily be read out loud in part of an American history class. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rappaport, Doreen Lady Liberty: A Biography, illustrated by Matt Tavares. Candlewick, 2008. The inspiration for, the struggle to build and challenges to bring the Statue of Liberty to America is untouched knowledge for almost every American school child. Ms. Rappaport uses material from real people involved with the statue to write simple free verse touching many lost details, including New York and America’s original rejection of the gift. A timeline, a height chart and personal witness from people touched by the statue’s presence combine for a educational and interesting read. EL – ADVISABLE, MS – OPTIONAL (would work well in a unit about American symbols).


Raczka, Bob Where in the World?: Around the Globe in 13 Works of Art. Millbrook Press, 2007. In this book, they talk about art and how art connects to the world around us. The author pointed out that art can take you places. The illustrations really depict the country. They are all extremely detailed and beautiful. A great book for teachers who teach world geography and history. MS, HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: CW


Raschka, Chris Peter and the Wolf. Atheneum, 2008. PICTURE BOOK – Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G. The symphonic children’s classic is retold in poetry. Caldecott medalist, Chris Raschka’s bold, black outlined illustrations present the story as a theatrical performance. While Prokofiev devised a solo instrument to represent each character in the story, Raschka uses color, shape, line and language to distinguish each cast member. Several readings will be necessary to appreciate the combination of the continuous dialog in the action spreads with scenes viewed within a complex3-D cut-paper theater. Children will be able to choose either Prokofiev’s violent ending or Raschka’s epilogue in which a veterinarian performs “emergency surgery” to rescue the duck. I wouldn’t recommend this book as a child’s first experience with Peter and the Wolf but it is a very interesting version. EL – ADVISABLE. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.


Rash, Andy Are You a Horse? Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic), March 2009. PICTURE BOOK. Cowboy Roy has received a saddle for his birthday. Now all he has to do is find a horse – if he only knew what a horse looked like. Roy works his way through a wide variety of creatures and almost ready to give up on his quest. I was personally put off by a cowboy who doesn’t know what a horse looks like. But then I tried to put on my small-child hat and thought that maybe a Pre-K would find the silly things Roy talks to amusing. The art is the best part. Pre-K – OPTIONAL. Cindy – Library-Teacher


Raven, Margot Theis Night Boat to Freedom PICTURE BOOK FSG – At his grandmother’s urging, young John rows desperate slaves across the river to Ohio. On the night it is finally his turn to go, his insists that he will not leave without her too. Another good book about slaves and the Underground Railroad. Add this one and the one above to your stash and convince one of your history teachers to do a lesson based around them. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ravishankar, Annshka Elephants Never Forget, Illustrated by Christiane Pieper. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. This is a story of a young elephant that gets lost and hunts around for friends. After a bad experiences with the monkeys, he finds himself in the midst of the water buffaloes. They help him and he helps them. After he grows, he meets up with a band of elephants but chooses to remain with his buffalo herd. It claims on the book jacket that Ms. Ravishankar is the Dr. Suess of India. I don’t know if it is because of the translation, but the rhymes seemed awkward and haphazard to me. I couldn’t get in any kind of rhythm reading it aloud. Some fun sound words save the book from total blandness. “Squish! Splosh! Blish! Blosh! Crack!” is the sound of the monkey attack. The art is simplistic, but the expressions on the faces of the animals are fun. K-3 – OPTIONAL, Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist


Ray, Deborah Kogan Down the Colorado: John Wesley Powell, the One-Armed Explorer PICTURE BOOK Frances Foster, 2007. The life of John Wesley Powell is elegantly and simply retold in this much-more-than-a-picture-book. I was kind of disappointed by the actual pictures, but the text more than makes up for it. Whatever level you teach at, if you touch Powell in your class, you need this book. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE


Ray, Deborah Kogan To Go Singing Through the World PICTURE BOOK FSG – Subtitle: The Childhood of Pablo Neruda. Pablo Neruda, called the “people’s poet” of Latin America grew up in a tiny village in the shadow of a volcano in central Chile. Extraordinarily shy, his talent for words went undiscovered until Gabriela Mistral, also a gifted poet, came to town. This book will need help finding it’s audience. I could see a high school Language Arts class or an advanced Spanish class using this book as supplemental material, but I doubt the teachers will find it on their own. The writing on each page is extensive enough that I wouldn’t recommend it for young children. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rayburn, Tricia The Melting of Maggie Bean, 250 p. Simon and Schuster – Ever since her dad lost his job, Maggie has been comforting herself with her stash of chocolate. Now, as the school year begins, she finds that she has gained more than 60 pounds – and everyone, except her best friend Aimee, treats her differently. Aimee tries to talk Maggie into trying out for the Water Wings, but that would mean putting on a bathing suit – YIKES! Perfect for weight-conscious tweens, as Maggie learns the hard way that its easy to placate yourself with chocolate, but much more difficult to lose that safety net and the weight the right way. EL, MS – ADVISABLE (available in paperback now)


Captain Redbeard Fundorado Island, 224 p. – Language G; Sexual Content G; Violence G – Redbeard, a mighty pirate who sails the seven seas, gets himself into a new adventure. When his crew leaves him alone on his ship, Picaroon, with the blasted jelly beans he must find a way to get to land. A mermaid appears and tells him of a land of wonder and mystery he wants to find it himself. He runs off into the wild jungle and finds out there’s more to life than sailing. This book is really funny and really gets you sucked into it. It is also a book for seven year olds. EL – OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: KC


Rees, Celia Pirates! – A pirate book for girls. Nancy is fleeing an arranged marriage. Minerva, her servant, helps her find a group of pirates who are willing to take them aboard. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rees, Douglas Vampire High – Cody has been kicked out of the local high school and has to choose between Our Lady of Perpetual Homework or Vlad Dracul Magnet School, where most of the students are tall, thin, dark-haired and quiet. He gets in because he can round out the numbers on the water polo team. But, as he gets to know beautiful Ileana and nice guy Justin, he changes not only himself, but the world around him. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rees, Gwyneth The Mum Hunt – Esmie’s mother died when she was born. At 11, she has decided that it is high time she actually had a mother. With the help of her older brother and the encouragement of her au pair, she places a telephone “lonely hearts” ad in her dad’s name. EL-ESSENTIAL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Reeve, Philip Mortal Engines – Imagine cities on huge platforms, racing around the continent and devouring other cities. Tom, a young historian in the Traction City of London, is thrown out of the city by his hero, Valentine, when he hears a horribly disfigured girl, Hester, accuse Valentine of murdering her parents. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Reeve, Philip Predator’s Gold 325 p. – Sequel to Mortal Engines. You can’t read this one without knowing the first. After almost three years of being safe, Tom and Hester are on the run again. This time from the Green Storm – an anti-traction, very subversive, force. The two find refuge on the small city of Anchorage, which has major problems of its own. Only one of them being that the city is quietly being stripped by pirates. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Regan, Dian Curtis Cam’s Quest, 334 p. Darby Creek, 2007. Princess Quinn’s father is determined to have her married off – and soon. So she suffers through endless balls meeting endless prince’s who do absolutely nothing for her. But Quinn in pinning for Adam, the boy she left behind in the world above. Meanwhile, Cam, the wizard’s apprentice is cast loose from his home; he wants so badly to offer for Quinn’s hand, buts dares not, because he has no idea of his family and origins. The answers for both teens lie in the world above. It has been a long time since the original publication of Princess Nevermore, and I honestly thought thee would never be a sequel. Thank goodness Ms. Regan proved me wrong. Cam’s Quest is a nice adventure tied up in a romance with just the right amount of magic and danger. MS – ADVISABLE


Reiche, Dietlof Freddy in Peril 203 p. – Book II in the Golden Hamster series finds Freddy living with a language professor, Mr. John and being pursued by an evil scientist who wants to examine Freddy’s brain. Freddy, the cat and the guinea pigs flle to the sewers, where a colony of sewer rats help them hide. Very cute elementary stuff. EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Reily, Matthew Hover Car Racer: Crash Course, Full Throttle and Photo Finish, 200+ pages each. Simon and Schuster. Jason Chaser wants to be a hover car racer. With his autistic brother “Bug”, they catch the attention of a teacher at the famous Race School and set out to prove that they are equal to anyone, amateur or pro, on the courses today. The three books in the series are perfect reading for car crazy boys in upper elementary and middle school. Plenty of danger, excitement and well-detailed, nail-bitting racing action. All books are out and available in paperback. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Reinhardt, Dana A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, 228 p. Random House – Simone has always know she was adopted, but now her parents are telling her that her birth mother wants to contact her. Events start atheist Simone rethinking everything she ever knew about her life. A quiet, well-written book about dealing with tough issues at a tumultuous time of life. MS- OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Reisfelf, Randi and H.B. Gilmour Oh Baby! 323 p. Language PG13, Sexual Content PG13, Violence G – Jamie and Abby are best friends. They need money to go to college so they decide to be nannies. They sign up and must move. Abby moves to New York and works for a famous writer. Jamie moves to Hollywood and works for a famous movie star. They both meet two boys who they fall in love with but have a ton of problems with. As they change they begin to grow apart, until they realize what they were missing. HS – NO Student Reviewer: KC


Reisman, Michael Simon Bloom, the Gravity Keeper, 198 p. Dutton (Penguin), 2008. Simon leads a pretty ordinary existence of harassment and teasing, until a book falls out of the sky and hits him on the head. That book, Simon discovers, controls the physics of the world as Simon knows it. And it was sent back in time in order to protect it from the hands of an evil being who wants to control the world. Simon, his timid friend Owen, and Alysha, the popular girl who used to be Simon’s friend, have a wicked fight on t heir hands in order to save the world. NICE! SO many great scifi books out there and just keeps getting better. You need Simon in your library! EL, MS – ESSENTIAL


Resau, Laura What the Moon Saw 272 p. Random – Just when Clara is starting to fell restless and unconnected to her friends and family, she receives an invitation from her paternal grandparents to come visit them for the summer in Mexico. Instead of the resort like living she expects, she finds herself in a remote mountain village, in a shack of a home that uses hardly any electricity. At first she wonders “who am I without all these thongs that fill up my life”, missing her electronic gadgets, but then as she connects with her grandparents and a boy from the village, she finds great depths within her. A very sweet book that may have trouble finding an audience, but is well worth reading. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Richards, Justin The Death Collector 320 p. Bloomsbury – Albert Wilkes dies two weeks ago and today he showed up for tea. And there begin the adventures of George, Liz, Eddie and Sir William as they try to decipher who someone is willing to kill for a small, burnt scrap of paper. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Richardson, E.E. The Intruders, 278 p. – Rating: PG-13, Language: page 239, Sexual Content: G, Violence: 271, 235, 236, 237, 238, 275, 276, 277, 80, 81, (wow) – Joel and Cassie are resistant enough about moving in with their mother’s boyfriend and his two sons, but now in their new house, they want to get away as far as possible! With supernatural things happening, and weird hallucinations, Joel wants to run! This novel is a great book to read around a campfire to creep people out. It will hold you from the first page to the last with action, horror, and suspense. MS, HS – OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: LH


Richardson, V.A. House of the windjammer – Historical fiction set in Holland at the time of the great tulip speculation, when fortunes were won and lost with the purchase of a single bulb. HS – OPTIONAL. . Cindy, Library Teacher


Richardson, V.A. The Moneylender’s Daughter 300 p. Bloomsbury – Sequel to The House of Windjammer – Adam Windjammer is on the high seas on a dangerous mission to discover the fate of his uncle’s ruined shipping fleet. Jade van Helsen is determined to either get her father’s attention or runaway from him for good. Both teens are unsure how they feel about each other. This title is much more interesting than the first, but still not of much interest. I liked it, but that’s because I lived in the Netherlands for a while. I am reserving final judgment for the final book. Ms, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Reisz, Kristopher Unleashed, 324 p. Simon Pulse – Language: R, Violence: PG-13, Sexual Contact: R – This book is about a boy named Daniel Morning whose parents have cheated him to the top. Then he meets Misty in which everything starts out right, and then takes a turn for the worst. I liked this book, the storyline was great and it was well written, but it has too many swear words and explains too many “below the shoulder” things for me to recommend it at all to a school library. MS, HS – NO. Student Reviewer: KH


Rex, Adam Pssst! PICTURE BOOK Harcourt, 2007. A young boy heads off to the zoo where each of the animals has a request. Each request seems to make sense, but the boy really has no idea what the animals have planned. When he heads to the circus, however, he has enough of all of the demands and puts his foot down. A wonderful combination of picture book and graphic novel with a great little story wrapped up inside. EL – ADVISABLE


Richards, Justin The Chaos Code 388 pages Bloomsbury. Language-PG Sexual Content-G Violence-PG Matt is stuck spending another holiday with his scatterbrained archeologist father. When he arrives though, the house has been ransacked and his father is missing. The only traces of the intruder are sandy footprints and someone with a rough hand that knocked Matt out. He goes to spend the holiday with his Aunt Jane when he meets a girl named Robin who is more than meets the eye. Soon they are thrown into an adventure filled with pyramids, elementals, and a secret to the lost city of Atlantis. Don’t read at night. You’ll feel like someone or something is out to get you. Very action packed. MS-HS ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: RH


Rinaldi, Ann Brooklyn Rose, 220 p. – Two generations after the end of the Civil War, Rose’s father was able to buy back the family plantation. Now, though, a handsome French born Yankee has come to town and wants Rose’s hand. Amelia, the school gossip queen tells Rose it is only because Rose’s father is in deep debt and Rene now holds the mortgage. Unsure of her feelings, Rose marries Rene and goes with him to Brooklyn, New York. All is well until Rene’s mother arrives and stirs things up with her bossy ways. Rinaldi’s war novels are some of the best fiction that I have ever read. Though this is okay, it doesn’t live up to the early works. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rinaldi, Ann The Ever-After Bird, 225 p. Harcourt, 2007. CeCe’s parents are now both dead and her uncle Alex has come to bring her to live with him. Though Cece’s life with her father was hard, there is much about the world that she has to learn. Not only does she have to come to terms with the fact that her orthinologist uncle kills the animals he studies, but she also has to deal with the intense jealousy of Earline, the free black woman who works with her uncle as his research partner. All of them are going into danger as they enter the pre-Civil War Deep South: danger from Uncle Alex’s work telling slaves about the Underground Railroad and danger from the charade they must play to keep Earline safe. CeCe becomes more involved than she would have ever thought. I am still a huge fan of Ms. Rinaldi’s earliest titles, but her latest few have not touched with the same depth and intensity. While this would be good for a large collection, if you have limited funds you should wait on this one. EL, MS – OPTIONAL


Rinaldi, Ann Juliet’s Moon, Pages: 249, Publisher: Harcourt Books, Language: PG 13, Sexual Content: PG 13, Violence: PG 13, Juliet’s life is pretty normal until the war between the states arrive and her normal southern world is torn apart. Her family members in danger every second she feels alone. When she gets kidnapped by the Yankees with other young ladies accused of spying for the Quantrill’s army she realizes how horrible things can really become. When the building all those women are held in collapses she faces near death and most die. When she is finally reunited with her brother the Confederacy is in chaos and she wonders when this war ends will she be able to accept the fact that the country is being ruled by the enemy. Great book shows the different side to wars and how it affects both parties, even those children to those in war. Based on a true story of the Grand Avenue prison collapse and the Quantrill bushwhackers. HS – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: AN


Rinaldi, Ann Mutiny’s Daughter, p. 215 – Fletcher Christian’s daughter has been living in England since she was 5. Now she is being sent to London to a boarding school get get an education and some polish. Trying to hide her true father’s name, she is drawn into several intrigues, including being blackmailed another girl who learns Mary’s secret. While not my favorite of Rinaldi’s books, as the action gets going, it is a good read. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rinaldi, Ann Nine Days a Queen, 179 p. – Jane Grey has been trained to court since she was a baby. Fifth to the throne of England, she was a part of the court since she was nine. Now Edward is on the throne and it looks like he won’t be long for this world. Jane’s parents and a ruthless man have plans for her life. Even though Jane may not want to take Mary or Elizabeth’s place, she must do what she is told. Lady Jane Grey is usually a peripheral character is other people’s stories. This book gives her a chance to be fleshed out and tell her side of the story, even if it isn’t a happy ending. In fact, you may cry. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rinaldi, Ann Or Give Me Death : a novel of Patrick Henry’s family – A story of Patrick Henry’s family through the eyes of first his oldest daughter Patsy and then her younger sister Anne. A very interesting portrayal of mental illness and how the Henry family specifically dealt with their mother. You should buy it just for that, even though Anne comes across as a very unreliable narrator, besides being extremely annoying! ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rinaldi, Ann The Color of Fire, 193 p. – In 1741, the British colonists are worried that their black slaves are plotting to rise up and overthrow their masters. Phoebe, the slave of Master Philipse and his wife gets involved as she watches her fellow slave Cufee be charges in the plotting. She also discovers new sides of her tutor Mr. Ury, a free black man and the traveling Doctor Harry. The shortness of this book makes me yearn for the early Rinaldi days when the books were very detailed, intriguing and attention grabbing in their portrayal of American history. As the author has moved on to more obscure incidents in history, I can’t help if it the lack of background material that has shortened the novels so much or something else? EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Riordan, Rick The Lightning Thief, – Percy Jackson is dyslexic, has ADHD, and has been booted to a new school each year. When evil forces seem to conspire against him, his Mom sends him to Camp Half-Blood Hill. The camp is home to children who are offspring of mortals and the gods. Percy discovers he is the son of Poseidon. With the help of Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr, Percy stops a war between the gods by returning Zeus’s stolen thunderbolt. The adventure takes them to the Underworld, Mt. Olympus, and crosses paths with many characters from mythology. Fast-paced and clever. Should appeal to Harry Potter fans. I can’t wait for the second: The Sea of Monsters. MS-ADVISABLE Reviewer – Mary Hendon, Muskegon, MI


Riordan, Rick The Sea of Monsters, 279 p. – Percy has made it safely through another school year – until the near fatal dodge ball game against a team of giants. When he and his friends flee to Camp Half-Blood, they find that camp is in deep trouble and that Chiron has been replaced by a constantly sarcastic Tantalus. Percy and Annabeth take themselves off on a voyage to discover an antidote for the concoction used to poison the camp guardian, facing down many monsters and their former friend Luke along the way. A worthy successor to the first in the series. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Riordan, Rick The Titan’s Curse, 312 p. Hyperion, 2007. Percy’s school year is cut short when he is called in to rescue two newly-discovered half-bloods. And he and his friends fall right into an elaborate plot set up by Kronos and his puppet, Luke. Dangers abound during the group’s cursed journey. Friends will be made and friends will be lost in this third book in the series. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL

Ritter, John Boy who Saved Baseball – Dillontown will be taken over by developers unless its boys and girls can win one baseball game against the local, well-financed champs. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher



Ritter, John Boy who Saved Baseball – Dillontown will be taken over by developers unless its boys and girls can win one baseball game against the local, well-financed champs. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ritter, John H. Under the Baseball Moon, 282 p. – Andy skates and he plays trumpet – most of the time simultaneously. In his early childhood he was the minder of a wild girl next door who all of the kids in the neighborhood and all of the teachers at school lumped him with. Now she is back and his life is again entangled with hers – this time through baseball. Though I liked Mr. Ritter’s first two novels, these last two (The Boy Who Saved Baseball, also) have left me and my students uninterested. I wish the author would just stick to great baseball books. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Judson Viking Warrior, 348 p. – Both of Halfdon’s parents are royal, but his mother is his father’s body slave, so Halfdon has also been raised as a slave. Then his father is mortally wounded and on his death bed acknowledges Halfdon as his son. Halfdon, with the help of his older half-brother and half-sister starts learning his role as a prince of the Danes, but betrayal by his father’s step-son sets him on the path of a hero. There is nothing of fantasy in this book, but I find that fantasy readers are usually attracted to also to Viking sagas. If Michael Cadnum’s novels do well in your library, then by all means add this to your collection. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Katherine Dark Quetzal – Third book in the Echorium sequence. You need this one if you have the others. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Kristi My 13th Season, 154 p. – Summer for Fran usually means great baseball games. This summer however, she is stuck on a team that doesn’t want a girl, even if it means losing even worse than they usually do. When the coach attacks her in front of all of the other players, Fran not only decides to quit, but she has completely lost her love of the game. Even worse, though, is the fact that her father still hasn’t come out of the funk caused by the death of his wife, Fran’s mother, in a horrible accident three months earlier. A short but satisfying book that doesn’t let you stop sweating until the end, but does not rely on deux ex machina to make a save. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Jenery Tiger Woods: Golf’s Master (USA Today Lifeline Biographies), 101 p. Twenty-First Century Books (Lerner), 2009. Meet Tiger Woods, the most famous golfer in the sport today. The USA Today format is much like the newspaper – filled with revelant and interesting facts, told in a way to capture the eye of any student who picks up the book. It also has lots of colored pictures and factoid sidebars, including golf history, golf facts and actual USA Today articles about Mr. Woods. Fans of golf, or even kids who just need a biography will be happy to pick up this selection. I’m going to look into buying the rest of the series. MS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher


Roberts, Laura Ghost of a Chance, 183 p. – Melissa’s best friend Chloe introduces her to the ghost living in her mansion – a ghost so cute that Melissa falls in love. Then Melissa finds out that James loves Chloe – but Chloe loves someone else. An adorable love quadrilateral involving a ghost. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Willo Davis Blood on his Hands 188 p. – Marc is on the run. After witnessing a caretaker kill another “camper” at the boys’ detention facility, Mark fights the caretaker in order to protect himself and takes off running. With only the company of a stray dog he adopted, Marc tries to avoid the authorities and make his way to Seattle to find his dad, who he hopes will help him. Great tension, clean as whistle, probably a great read-a-loud. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Willo Davis Rebel – A cute, shallow book about Amanda aka Rebel who gets herself involved in a mystery because she just can’t keep her nose out of trouble. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roberts, Willo Davis The One Left Behind, 139 p. – Mandy’s parents and all of her brothers have left for the weekend – leaving her home alone. No one meant to do it; she let them all think that she was going with someone else. It’s been a year since her twin sister died in a sad accident and Mandy wants some alone time. Instead she gets mysterious happenings at night and she discovers a boy not much older than she, who has kidnapped his own little brother to keep him out of the hands of real kidnappers. Published posthumously, the book feels unfinished to me – as if Ms. Roberts hopefully had at least another 50 pages to write to flesh the story out. The end comes to a very dramatic put very rushed flurry of action. But, younger readers will still enjoy this as another of the author’s thrillers. EL-ADVISABLE, MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Robinson, Sharon Safe at Home, 150 p. – When Jumper’s father died, his mother brought him from the Connecticut suburbs to his grandmother’s home in Harlem. The summer basketball program was full, so instead Jumper is enrolled into the baseball program, along with a neighborhood rival, Marcus, who doesn’t really even know him. There Jumper makes a few friends and, with the help of his coaches, works out his problems with Marcus. The author’s first novel for young people and it shows in the jerkiness of the action. In some places the narrative doesn’t flow logically, but the author (daughter of Jackie Robinson) does know her baseball. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rocco, John Wolf! Wolf! PICTURE BOOK Hyperion – Tired of hearing the young Shepard balme everything on him, the wolf decides to play a trick of his own. Mr. Rocco’s work for Disney is evident it his beautifully styled illustrations – and the text is perfect for a unit on retold fairy tales or character development. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Rockwell, Norman Deck the Halls. Atheneum (Simon), 2008. Just in time for the holidays, Atheneum has set the classic carol “Deck the Halls” to the paintings of Norman Rockwell. Collectors of Christmas books will clamor for this one. I am not so sure about its value in the classroom. EL – ADVISABLE.


Rodowsky, Colby That Fernhill Summer, 170 p. – One day Kiara picks up the phone and discovers that there are actual people on her mother’s side of the family – a whole set of people she has never known. Her mother is being called back to the family homestead because the matriarch is lying near death in the hospital. When the cantankerous Zenobia recovers enough to come home, Kiara and the two other girls cousins her age volunteer to entertain their grandmother for the summer. The girls quickly find out that there may be no pleasing their constantly criticizing grandmother, but there may be a small way to connect with her and they can build an important relationship with each other. The cover shows a family divided by race, which really has nothing to do with Zenobia’s ire. Extremely well done and a delight to read. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roe, Monica M. Thaw, 235 p. Front Street, 2008. Let’s start by saying the cover and title are misleading. This is not a science fiction or fantasy novel. Dane Rafferty is the ski team champion at his school. He is an overconfident, type A jock who is rude to anyone who doesn’t live up to his standards, which is just about everyone. Suddenly he is stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome and is totally paralyzed. In 75% of the cases, people recover fully from this disease after extensive physical therapy. In a series of flashbacks we see what Dane was like before the disease struck. Then we follow him through the early days of treatment where he is abusive to everyone trying to help him. Thanks to a caring physical therapy team, the family of the patient across the hall, other patients, and some meaningful introspection, Dane is able to see where he went wrong in his life and how to mend his ways. However, this book is full of problems. There is an abundance of swearing, including the F word and the B word. Sex and drinking among the high school students is treated casually. In one scene the ski team is having a party and one of the team members has sex with a girl too drunk to know what is happening to her and the teammates watch. The ideas is worthy but readers would do better with Peeling an Onion by Wendy Orr. I would have a problem putting this book in a high school library, much less middle school. NO. Reviewer: SH


Romano, Christy Carlson Grace’s Turn, 264 p. – Grace wants her popularity to sky rocket. As she and Emily, her best friend, try to fit in Grace meets a popular guy named Hunter Wells. A school play comes around the corner and Grace tries out. Hunter and Grace start going out. When Grace becomes the lead role in the play, Grease, her popularity goes higher than she expected. When Grace starts getting busy with everything in her life she starts ignoring Emily. Her life changes over and over. When the play ends her life goes back to normal. This book is so good. It’s interesting to find out what happens to normal people like you and I. MS, HS – ADVISABLE Student Reviewer: KC


Rompella, Natalie Don’t Squash That Bug! The Curious Kid’s Guide to Insects. Lobster Press, 2007. Are you studying bugs in your class? Then you need this quick and simple explanation to the different orders of the six-legged insect class. Each page highlights the basics of an order with brilliant full-color photographs. While there is not enough detail to use this for a research source for upper level classes, the organization makes it perfect as an introduction or ready reference. El – ESSENTIAL; MS, HS – ADVISABLE


Rompella, Natalie Famous Firsts: The Tendsetters, Groundbreakers and Rosk-Takers Who Got America Moving. 48 p. Lobster Press, 2007. This short and fact-filled book looks at ten sports and games that are uniquely American. Each page is stuffed with text and pictures that explain the origins and present-day of each sport very quickly. I can see this book being used by a P.E. class as a foundation for a unit about sports or in a geography class for a fun side note about the USA. MS – OPTIONAL


Rook, Sebastian Vampire Plagues: London, 1850, 236 p. – Benedict and his father are unwittingly caught in the resurrection of vampire king and his cult when they travel to South America on an archaeological expedition. Of the entire group, Ben is the only one who arrives back in London after a harrowing ordeal. With the help of Jack, a street urchin, Ben knows that he must unmask and defeat the vampires in order to save the world. Vampire fans will adore the book, especially the graphic descriptions of vampires melting when the boys kill them off. On the other hand, the human deaths are pretty tame. If you need vampire books, or if you have boys who will read nothing vampire books, then by all means feel free to buy the series. This is the first of three that are out now. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rook, Sebastian Vampire Plagues: Paris, 1850 (205 p) AND Mexico, 1850 (186 p). Books number 2 and 3. Jack’s friends are sure that the vampire god, Camazotz has been defeated forever, but Jack is not so sure. Then they hear of a mysterious illness that has broken out in Paris – one that is frightfully similar to what the vampires were doing in London. The group sets out to Paris to investigate and to search for the final pieces that Camazotz would need to complete his deadly ritual of restoration. The entire group must continue on, back to the jungles of Mexico where it all started, in order to make an end. There they find an old friend thought dead and some allies in their war against evil. Again, the only bloody descriptions are when a vampire is killed. The action will draw students in. And if you don’t buy Stephen King for your middle school, this is another series that will still give them a little taste of horror without going overboard. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rose, Malcolm Traces: Framed! (223 p.) AND Lost Bullet (203 p.). Kingfisher (Houghton). In Framed!, Luke Harding is a newly graduated forensics investigator – the youngest ever to have that honor. That afternoon he is confronted with a murder on his own school campus, followed by another murder. The whip-smart Luke has no problem finding clues, unfortunately all of the point to him. In Lost Bullet, Luke has been assigned to the seedy streets of London where they are confronted by another indiscriminate murderer. Set in a future England, Luke is aided by his robotic companion MALC and has to deal with issues unfamiliar to us, such as state-chosen partnerings. Fans of CSI will enjoy Luke’s forensic musings, but the action comes off a little stilted. Muchamore’s Cherub series is my favorite choice, but this is a decent second or third choice. They are already in paperback, which makes them even more favorable. MS – OPTIONAL


Rosen, Michael Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, illustrated by Paul Howard. Candlewick, 1998, 2009. $12.99. 38 poets and at least one of their masterworks are represented in this beautifully illustrated reprint. It’s heavy on the dead, white male, but not exclusive. This would be a great graduation present for an English Major or English teacher and an easy choice for a school library. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.


Rosenthal, Amy Krouse One of Those Days, PICTURE BOOK – A look at all of those different kinds of “bad days” with a hopeful note that each day ends with the coming of might and the start of a new day and a new chance. The childlike illustrations work well with this book, which is so apt in its account of the many little (and some bigger) things that can go wrong and make your whole day miserable. I would advise middle schools with Teacher Advisory programs to add this book to their stash of classroom read-alouds. EL MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rosoff, Meg How I Live Now, 194 p. – Daisy hates her stepmother so much, that her father finally sends her to the English countryside to live with her aunt and cousins. As the aunt goes off the Denmark to attend a peace convention, the world plunges into a major war and the children are left to fend for themselves. Ok – interesting premise – EXTREMELY BAD execution. The enemy is never identified, leaving me wondering how they could be such a threat and take over such a large swash of the world. But, worst of all, the aunt’s absence is the catalyst for two first cousins to “fall in love” and indulge themselves a long rounds of sex, setting the whole war up just as a ploy to keep the two young lovers away from each other when they are evacuated to adult supervision. Pardon my Revulsion. Drop this one in the shredder. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Roth, Matthue Never Mind the Goldbergs, 359 p. – Hava Aaronson has been plucked from obscurity to play herself on a TV sitcom – an Orthodox Jewish teenager. Hip New Yorker gets thrust into the Hollywood whirlwind of TV – back-stabbing, angst, confusion and insecurity with the added challenge of keeping up her religion and her faith. Though the book gave me a never-before glimpse into the life of a modern Jew, it also gave me a foul mouth (plenty of “f’s”) and the seedy Hollywood scene (two sex scenes). NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rottman, S.L. Out of the Blue, 297 p. Peachtree, 2009. $16.95. Language: PG-13 (25+ swears, no ‘f’), Violence: PG (lightly describe physical and emotional abuse), FYI – some drinking and pot smoking are included. Stuart, 15, is a little bit tired of the military life. His mom is now the commander of an entire base, but his older brother is off to college and his dad is using the ill-health of Stuart’s grandmother to take a break from his family. In reaction, Stuart has decided to make some stupid, reckless choices, even if those choices are in defense of a little boy who lives across the street. I learned a lot of things about military life that, as a civilian, I never really understood. Rottman writes really great problem fiction with boys as the main characters and everyone of his books is worth having in your library. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher


Rottman, S. L. Shadow of a Doubt – “Shadow” Thompson has lived for the last seven years under the shadow of his runaway older brother. Now Daniel is in trouble with the law and the family is thrown into chaos again. I am so happy about the large number of books that I have read lately that deal with the disenfranchised, the off beat, the on the edge groups of society. This is another excellent book for hard to please kids. ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rowling, JK Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Scholastic. Do I really need to write a summary or a review? I figure I will just let everyone know that I did read it and I am very glad she wrote the epilogue. I can only hope this bring closure to the series. While you are purchasing this one, go ahead and buy Alfred Kropp or Warrior Heir and read about real heroic characters. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL


Rubin, Vicky The Swinging Pigs, Illustrated by Rhode Montijo. Henry Holt, 2007. PICTURE BOOK. The Big Bad Wolf is tempted by the jazzy rhythms of the Three Swinging Pigs, but he is also very interested in having them for dinner. Can the pigs divert the wolf from his evil intentions? Bright, jazzy pictures are a perfect foil for this jazzy book. It can be used in the classroom to talk about onomatopoeia, or as a retold fairy tale. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Ruby, Laura Lily’s Ghosts – Lily and her mom have moved back to the creepy family home in Cape May, New Jersey. As weirder and weirder things start happening around the house, Lily and her new friend Vas are certain that ghosts are at the root of the problem. Kind of slow, but my favorite parts were the bits from the ghosts’ perspectives. EL-ESSENTIAL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ruditis, P.J. Love, Hollywood Style. 246 pgs. Simon Pulse. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G. Tracy wants to have a love life like the ones in the movies; however, she can’t even get her crush to notice her. So Tracy and her best friend devise a plan, they got from watching movies, to make Conner fall in love with Tracy. When she finally does get her man, why doesn’t it feel as good as it should? Great for any teen that enjoys romantic comedies. It was a very easy book to finish in a few days. MS-ADVISABLE Student Reviewer-KD


Ruditis, Paul Drama! The Four Dorothy’s, 236 Simon Schuster – Orion Academy’s spring musical has four leading ladies playing Dorothy, but someone seems determined to whittle the list down to one. Bryan Stack is determined to find out who the antagonist is, if just to defend the talents of the best Dorothy – his friend “Sam”.


Rushton, Rosie The Dashwood Sisters’ Secrets of Love, 325 p. – When a tragedy occurs, the Dashwood sisters and their mother find themselves kicked out of their ancestral home and moved to a small village, far away from friends and all things known. Over the course of the next year, the three sisters learn many things about love and true friendship. From the sound of what I just wrote, you might think that this is a period novel, but actually it is set in modern Britain. Its definitely a feel-good book that many teenaged girls will enjoy. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Russo, Marisabina A Portrait of Pia, 240 p. Harcourt, June 2007. Pia has never met her father, but is sure that they will be instant friends as soon as they meet. Behind her mother’s back, she contacts him and forces a meeting. Now there is weirdness between her and her mom and weirdness between her and her best friend Anita, who seems to have found someone new. Not a top tier piece of fiction about the troubles of growing up. Best for a large library collection as a supplemental title. MS – OPTIONAL


Russon, Penni Undine, 326 p. – Undine wakes up one morning with an odd feeling – almost as if where she is now is not where she belongs. As much as she loves her mother, the two of them begin to fight. As much as she adores her best friend Trout, he is not the boy who sets her blood on fire. And in the back of her mind she keeps hearing It’s time to come home… The magic is probably the weakest story line in this book. Undine’s relationship struggles with her mother and with Trout are crafted well and make up for the weaknesses in the mystical plot line. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ryan, Brittney The Legend of Holly Claus, 544 p. – Santa and Mrs. Claus have the daughter they have always wished for. Unfortunately, she is cursed by the evil Herrikan, who has encased Holly’s pure heart in snow, so that she nust always remain in the cold and he has scared the other residents of Forever into leaving Holly to her own lonely self. Only in the human world can Holly find friends and the power to break her curse. Utterly delightful! EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ryan, Darlene Saving Grace 97 p. Orca – Originally Evie gave her baby up for adoption, but now she has stolen Brianna because she doesn’t think the adoptive couple are doing good enough of a job. On the run, the baby’s father abandons them at a gas station after she gets him to drive them to Toronto to hide. Personally, I don’t blame him for dumping her, because Evie is not the brightest, nor most stable bulb in town. An unsatisfying ending leaves Brianna in danger. A large amount of swearing just makes it that much easier to abandon this poorly crafted title. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ryan, Pam Munoz Becoming Naomi Leon 246 p. – Naomi and her little brother Owen have lived with their great-grandmother for the last seven years after being dumped there by their mother. Now their mother has returned and she has plans to take Naomi off on a new life. But Naomi doesn’t want to go and her grandmother doesn’t want her to go. In kind of a last ditch effort, the little family uproots their trailer home and takes it on a trip to Oaxaca Mexico in search of Naomi and Owen’s father. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Ryder, Joanne Toad by the Road PICTURE BOOK Henry Holt – A through-the-seasons book of illustrations and poetry that delves into the year-long cycle of a toad’s life. Short bits of follow up material at the bottom of each page add just enough fact to the poetry that this title would be useful in an elementary school biology lesson. Older classes could use this book as a starter and have the students choose a different animal to write a class book about. EL-ADVISABLE; MS-OPTIONAL

Rylant, Cynthia Boris, 74 p. – The story of a stray cat’s life with his new owner. I don’t know what life experience prompted Ms. Rylant to write this book, but it does absolutely nothing for me. I even own two cats and feel nothing when I read this. This is one of those books written in free verse. The story needs to be very compelling to get me to read it and this doesn’t. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rylant, Cynthia Boris, 74 p. – The story of a stray cat’s life with his new owner. I don’t know what life experience prompted Ms. Rylant to write this book, but it does absolutely nothing for me. I even own two cats and feel nothing when I read this. This is one of those books written in free verse. The story needs to be very compelling to get me to read it and this doesn’t. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Rylant, Cynthia Hansel and Gretel, pictures by Jen Corace. Hyperion, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Rylant tells the classic story of Hansel and Gretel with new pictures from Corace. The line of the story is faithful to the original. I see this as mostly an optional purchase, unless you need a new copy. There’s just nothing new or exciting to make this a must-have on its own. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy – Library-Teacher


Rylant, Cynthia Puppies and Piggies, illustrated by Ivan Bates PICTURE BOOK Harcourt, Inc., 2008. The rhymes flow smoothly and gently along. The illustrations are appealing and the soft yellow pages set a gentle tone. Calling the animals goosey and mousy and such makes the text more appealing to younger (pre-school) readers. The cover calls it a “delightful” picture book, and that it is. EL (PK) – OPTIONAL. REVIEWER: SH


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