Children's and Adolescent book lists of great readings for 2009

bookTitle author WebComments genre themes myRating publicationDate
Amelia Rules - The Whole World s Crazy Jimmy Gownley Amelia (fourth grade) is an only child who lives with her recently divorced mother. She has one melodramatic adventure after another. Each packed with freewheeling energetic antics. Her good and bad traits are illustrated in full colored graphic art. Jealousy, meanness, sadness, confusion, generosity, and love splatter the pages.
Five stories included in this book are:
The Whole world is crazy -
The Gym Class System -
Loosely in Disguise, and Frightened -
Amelia McBride and the Other Side of Yuletide -
Speak Softee to Me -
graphic novel comic book picture book growing up friends divorce Five Stars 2009
When You Reach Me Rebecca Stead Losing your friend since birth, being a latchkey kid, why does the man on the corner sleep with his head under the mailbox and yell at the sky? Why does mom need a boy friend? Why would someone punch someone for no reason at all? Why wold I talk to a person that punched Sal? Why do people do what they do? How can a person know what is going to happen? Why is A Wrinkle in Time her favorite book? This is growing up story. Miranda (12) struggles to gain the confidence in understanding herself and others so she can safely be what she believes she should be. The author uses a subtle style of writing with a steady stream of emotionally connected ideas, phrases, and words in the narrative to create a very powerful experience for the reader. fiction science or realistic? friends Wrinkle in Time time travel Five Stars 2009
The Islands of the Blessed Nancy Farmer

Sequel to The Sea of Trolls and The Land of Silver Apples
Life seems normal in Jack's Saxon village. Until the ringing of a magic bell draws an evil creature sending Jack and Thorgil on a quest that will quell this restless spirit and right the wrong Father Severus did a long time ago.
A story with adventure, humor and thought-provoking juxtapositions of the uglier aspects of the Nordic mythology with the severe penitence Father Severus demands of his fellow Christians and the ceaseless battle that is part of Valhalla, the Northman paradise. As servants of the life force, Jack and Thorgil must put aside their pasts and prejudices discover how to heal the wounds committed in the names of these deities.

fiction fantasy mythology druids bards goblins elves Saxon - available audio Five Stars 2009
Emmaline and the Bunny Katherine Hannigan While the book is a picture book about bunnies and Emmaline. It isn t your usual young children s picture book about bunnies. Emmaline is a very special young girl who wants a bunny very much. The story is told in verse with rhymes, alliteration, invented words, figurative language, and abstractions - If I went to away. Emmaline isn t neat and likes to romp out side. Which is prohibited in Neatasapin by Mayor Orson Oliphant. Emmaline hears of a place which is very untidy and goes to visit a bunny and the Old One who tells her she must invite a bunny if she wants one to live with her. She returns home where she convinces her parents to stand up to Mayor Orson Oliphant and they create an invitation yard. fiction fantasy picture book bunny clean neat and tidy Five Stars 2009
Little Mouse Gets Ready Jeff Smith Great book well illustrated and story tells the procedure of getting dressed with great detail and accuracy my Little Mouse as Mamma and other family members patiently wait for him to finish. What mice don t wear clothes. fiction fantasy picture book mice mouse little getting dressed humor Five Stars 2009
George s Cosmic Treasure Hunt Lucy and Stephen Hawking George and Annie have been grounded since the last adventure when Cosmos exploded from the sheer effort of mounting their rescue. They have been involved in more Earthly pursuits such as going to their father s come as your favorite space object party. Where guests come as dark matter, black holes, red shift, exploding star, and microwaves. However, the party ends on a downer when George discovers that his best friend and her father will be packing up and moving to the Global Space Agency in the United States. Grandma comes through and agrees to go with Cosmos so he can join forces with Annie and help to solve the problem with the errant Mars Rover. Of course the adventures Annie and George take aren t that simple so before long they are on a Cosmic Treasure Hunt. Action packed suspense to move the reader along and of course plenty of accurate space information to boot. fiction science fantasy space universe solar system black holes Five Stars 2009
Ghost in the Machine Ryan s Journal Book Two Patrick Carman Skeleton Creek, Ryan (15/16) and Sarah (16) are still forbidden to contact one another. However, with time running out and urged on by additional information the two continue to conspire to solve the mystery of the ghost and the Skeleton Creek Dredge. Again this is a multimedia event with Ryan s record of events in his journal, this book, and Sarah s collection of video evidence, viewed online at her web site, and accessed with passwords in Ryan s journal combine to tell this story. Where as the first journal was a bit clunky that may be excused as it is the means to the second journal. The author does a very good job of bringing together an intricate twisting plot with surprises that involve multiple characters with differing and essential purposes for the story that drags the reader to an unexpected and enthralling climax. The video is essential for the climax and not just a nice accompaniment making a very good wedding of the two medias. Well Done. fiction web casts mystery multimedia web casts mystery detective best friends parents ghosts supernatural Five Stars 2009
Odd and the Frost Giant Neil Gaiman Odd, 12 year old Norwegian lad, has been very unlucky the last few years. Losing his father, handicapped from a tree falling on and crushing his leg, and his new stepfather, Fat Elfred, miss treats him. Escaping into the woods he is about to go on an adventure that will change his life and save the city of the gods - Asgard. This book is small, but it is no light weight. Gaiman brings Odd into a tale with and for the gods - Thor, Odin, Loki, and Freya. As Odd wanders through the woods he befriends a Bear, Eagle, and Fox. They join forces to rescue Asgard from the Frost Giants, return it to the gods themselves, and bring spring to the Earth. The style is a true Norse epic with Thor s hammer, Mirim s well, and other intrigue between and among gods, frost giants, and humans. However, the ending isn t of typical Norse mythology ending with a swing of Thor s hammer or a battle like the ride of the valkyrja. Instead Odd uses insight and intelligence to recognize the traits of the different gods and frost giants to initiate a peaceful solution that is a win win for all. fiction fantasy heroes loki Norse deity Thor Odin Giants mythology Five Stars 2009
Wishworks Inc. Stephanie S. Tolan Max is a dreamer and proud of it. He looks forward to a quiet place where he can fantasize about life with a big red dog, King, that he wishes he could have in real life. He lives with his mom and younger sister being relocated in a new town after his mom s divorce. He feels pressure from his dad as phrases like Only losers and wimps give in to bullies and their henchmen echo in his head while three third grade classmates steal his lunch. During Adventureland, Max finds Wishworks, Inc. where his wishes are guaranteed. The only problem as the proprietor warns Max is - you need to be very careful about a wish. As you imagine Max wishes for a dog and ends up with Ratty. Not exactly the dog of his dreams. He wishes for a dog like King, but as you can imagine it isn t that easy. As with most children s stories Max will discover much about himself, his family, friends, caring for dogs and life in general. Great read for third grade and above. fiction imagination dogs friendship bully divorce wishes miving Five Stars 2009
Kate DiCamillo The Magician s Elephant Sends Peter to market to buy fish and bread. Spends money to have his fortune told. Who tells him his sister lives and to find her he must follow the elephant.
Meanwhile a magician who intended to conjure a bouquet of lilies instead conjured an elephant that fell on Madam Betine LaVaughn who was to receive the bouquet and crippled her. The author, intertwines the lives of Peter, his guardian, a local policeman, the magician, Madam Betine, a beggar, his dog, a sculpture, a nun, and Peter s sister to tell an imaginary timeless tale about the deeper needs of all these people and how they are intertwined. How positive empowering actions can change situations for the better if we are to reach out and believe. The illustrations match the rhythmic imagery narrative and the stories tone of a hazy mysterious timeless era where the compassion of the human spirit pulls people together to care for one another.
fiction fantasy orphans missing parents elephants brothers and sisters Five Stars 2009
Children of the Lamp book Five The Eye of the Forest P. B. Kerr The Children of the Lamp action adventure series continues as the tribes with the forces of good battle wits and djinn power with the tribes of the forces of evil. Mystery abounds as the twins, Philippa and John Gaunt, travel form New York to the Amazon Jungle with Uncle Nimrod to resolve the mystery of missing Incan artifacts. fantasy fiction brother sister genies magic twins Amazon jungle Inca Peru rain forest Four Stars 2009
Skeleton Creek Ryan s Journal Book One Patrick Carman House bound with a broken leg and full cast caused by a falling accident in a dredge on Skeleton Creek, Ryan (15/16) and Sarah (16) have been forbidden to contact one another. Urged on by evidence seen with their own eyes and video recording documentation of that encounter with a phantom the pair are drawn back together with a desire to seek answers to their questions and possibility to solve a mystery. Ryan s record of events in his journal, this book, and Sarah s collection of video evidence, viewed online at her web site, and accessed with passwords in Ryan s journal combine these media to tell this story. An interesting read and viewing can be had from this embryonic merging of these two media. Example - in print is the statement by Ryan. If this were a video, not a journal, I d have to stop. I d have to rewind. I d have to play that line again. However, in the beginning there are places where the text is a bit clunky or a bit juvenile for believability of the character s actions and interactions for their intended ages. Even beyond the supernatural expectations. Ryan s over blown reactions to some trivial incidents and Sarah s over acted expressions in early videos seem a bit belabored, but get better with the best video by far being the last one. The biggest pet peeve I have with recent serialized books is the trend of authors to edge closer to a story plot without a resolution. A plot that stops without an ending, without a point in the plot for the reader to exhale, relax, or a bit of a resting place, before the plot takes off again in the next serialized text. In this story the author only takes the reader to the climax. Making it a full fledged cliffhanger. How long will readers have to wait to resolve the Sarah - Ryan dredged dilemma? How long are readers willing to bite their finger nails or dangle with a clenched grip? I suppose I am old fashioned in that I think a text will provide more than a serialized television program. However, this is cutting edge and quality needs to mature. I am willing to invest in future art. Whether it is this series or another, time will tell if books and multimedia can merge artfully. This may not be as good as the next, but it most definitely needs to be enjoyed first. fiction realistic web casts mystery multimedia web casts mystery detective best friends parents ghosts supernatural Four Stars 2009
Blueberry Girl Neil Gaiman
picture book verse children love growing up nontraditional families family parent child relationships Four Stars 2009
The Roar Emma Clayton Imagine a science fiction story that weaves ideas of - plague, environmental collapse, kidnapping, hostages, prisoners, classes of well to do, abject poverty, overcrowding, government, education, twins, mental telepathy, dream connections, competition, poor, technology, cybernetics, video gaming, the secret, elven, relationships, animals, nature, technology, cyborgs, classism, auras, connections of twins, world conservation, politics, clubs, fear, violence, army, anger, control, healing chambers, imaginary animals, fairy tale, communication, power of money, ethics, power of adolescence, and you get The Roar a story that ROARS from start to finish... Well not exactly finish. The book ends on page 481 with the reader knowing enough about the future world Clayton has created to understand any civilization with extreme differences between classes of people, unequal distribution of wealth and unequal allocation of resources isn t going to solve the problems and create utopia easily. After all it s science fiction not a fairy tale. How many sequels will it take? fiction science war classism siblings twins control society government Four Stars 2009
Syren Septimus Heap Book Five Angie Sage Wolf boy is sent on an errand by Aunt Zelda, while Septimus and Spit Fyre fly off to bring their friends home, but they land on Syren Island with dangerous inhabitants and dangerous secrets. Aunt Zelda, Nicko, Spit Fyre, HJenna, Beetle, Sorri, Lucy Gringe, Wolf Boy, and a few other new characters unite to stop Tertius Fume to use Jinnie to overtake the castle and gain control of the kingdom. Sage has the magic to continue to bring readers back again and again.
fiction fantasy audio book available magic wizards fantasy English author Four Stars 2009
Murder at Midnight Avi
fiction murder mystery murder poor Italy Pergamontio 1490 mystery Four Stars 2009
The Potato Chip Puzzles Eric Berlin Five star puzzle book.
Winston is called to the principal s office to decipher a coded message. He decodes what he believes is a phone number, calls it, and finds he has just won for his school an invitation to compete in a puzzle contest created by the eccentric Dmitri Simon - president Simon s Snack Foods. Little does he know the contest will become an expedition with teams racing around the city looking for clues to solve six puzzles. With a lot of money being awarded to the winner the prize money provides motivation for someone to attempt all kinds of nasty tactics to insure the money goes to him. The plot is driven forward by the time element of having to be the first to solve the puzzles to win and the need to make up time by being the recipient of the first dirty trick. And later as the plot moves to the climax by recognizing the need to catch the culprit if the contest is to be finished fairly and finally how to decide if there is a winner and how it might be decided fairly. A good mystery story which includes among the six contest puzzles others. The inclusion of which adds an interesting tone and style to the story. In addition to these puzzles there is the social puzzles on how students interactions with each other as well as with their teacher result in shaping each others behaviors. Each learning from each other and about each other with the teacher too learning something important about himself and his teaching methodology.
realistic fiction puzzle book puzzles friends school Four Stars 2009
The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow Tim Kehoe
fiction science inventions Four Stars 2009
This Book is Not Good for You Pseudonymous Bosch Third in the Secret Book series:
The evil masters of the Midnight Sun continue their evil quest to attain eternal youth - willing to destroy anyone or thing in their way. Cass s mother is kidnapped and used to coerce Max-Ernest, Cass, and Yo-Yoji to procure a magical tuning fork as a condition for mom s release. As usual the three join forces with the Terces Society and all mayhem breaks loose. A madcap adventure Indian Jones style with monkeys, trained bird, in a Rainbow Rain forest. Sarcasm, jocular language, non-linear plot where the book begins with chapter 15 followed by chapter 1 and with enough twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages. However, there is a strong family theme with the connections of the three main characters, granddads - Larry and Wayne, and Cass s adoptive mother - Mel united in love if not by blood.
fiction fantasy friends Four Stars 2009
The Last Apprentice: Clash of the Demons - 6 Joseph Delaney With each new book I am amazed at how Joseph Delaney continues to increase the depth of characters, intensity of plot, and supernatural dimensions of his writing style. This sixth book takes off where the fifth ended. The setting begins as previous books, but after gathering an unlikely group of evil and good characters together they are loaded on a ship and set sail for Greece. We finally get to discover more about Mam (Thomas Ward s mother). Her past, present, and future. How Tom has been learning and developing skills and strengths that Mam is counting on in her plan. Is Tom ready for the challenge? Will he be successful in what he unknowingly has been prepared to do. The plot and all the many characters cohesively fit together and tell a story that compels the reader through a dark base evil where not only life is at stake, but the lose of souls forever. fiction fantasy apprentice magic bane thought control supernatural witches Four Stars 2009
The Missing: Book 2 Sent Margaret Peterson Haddix Jonah and Chip (13) are trying to cope with discovering they are time travelers - children that were kidnapped from their birth time and transported to the future to be adopted. Now they are caught up in between two philosophical opposed groups - time interventionists and time noninterventionists. JB, a noninterventionist, wants to return the children to their birth time. Thus, he zaps Chip and Alex back to that time, fifteenth century England. However, things don t go as planned when Jonah and Katherine grab Chip s arm and are transported with them. Great tale with historical characters - Edward V - King of England, Alex his younger brother - Duke of York, their Uncle - Richard of Gloucester, and their struggle for power climaxing at a battle at Bosworth. This struggle now becomes a subplot in the stories major plot of how the characters might resolve their dilemma of disappearing from the past without changing history. fiction science time travel mystery adoption Four Stars 2009
Thirteenth Child Patricia C. Wrede A fantasy based on a large family and an expanding population into a wilderness through a frontier. Major character is Eff who is the 13th child and twin sister of Lan who is a Seventh son of a seventh son. A 13th child is thought to be extremely unlucky and doomed to failure for themselves and others around them and a 7th son of a 7th son is thought to be destined to great things. Eff s parents hope to leave this legacy behind by moving across the continent to the frontier. The main characters are well developed and their growth as they struggle to realize their potential is well written and plausible. However, the strength of other characters and development of cultural background is claimed as weak by some readers. The strength of the characterization of the main characters and fast pace they interact with people and the environment and the problems that arise keep the reader s moving forward. Add magical animals and magical spells to create additional kinds of challenges and opportunities you have an interesting fantasy. fiction fantasy frontier magic school twin brothers sisters Four Stars 2009
MAX - A Maximum Ride Novel James Patterson Fifth in the Maximum Ride series - The bird kids were ill-conceived accidens. He, Devin was truly an evolved human. The CSM Coalition to Stop the Madness organized this whole show to promote their own agenda - saving the world s creatures. Snipers, bombs, talent agents, mom being kidnapped, and the usual desire to exterminate the flock continue. The hunt for mom leads the flock to the Pacific and underwater bases. Action packed thriller with the sarcastic biting comment of Max (first person narrator), 14 year old Maximum Ride and the other members of the Flock are pursued by their creator, the Uber Director, who wants to auction them off to the highest bidder. Great read. fiction science genetic engineering adventure Antarctica female survival Four Stars 2009
Deeper Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams Book two - Will Burrows and his friend Chester team up with Cal, the brother Chester didn t know he had. The story of WIlls relationship to his birth mother Sarah unfolds in the beginning of the book as the chapters alternate between topside and underneath as Will continues his quest to find his archaeologist father, who inexplicably disappeared in the labyrinthine world underneath London. The deeper the boys go the more intense the story sinister inhabitants with evil intentions and very willing to use drugs, torture, intense violence, and death to gain control of not only the deep, but desiring to initiate plans to over take the topside by annihilating the humans on the surface. being a major part of the plot. The authors have created not only a world but a unique culture that is interesting. There are times when the plot or certain characteristics seem a bit implausible, but its unique setting, action packed story, plot twists, and tangled relationships between its characters are good enough to keep the reader involved. fiction fantasy archeology adventure England London Brian James Williams underground Four Stars 2009
The Yggyssey Daniel Pinkwater In the mid 1950 s in the wacked out Los Angels Hermione Hotel, Yggdrasil Birnbaum and her friends, Seamus and Neddie, follow Chase the rabbit down a rabbit hole to Old New Hackensack, which is in on another plane, to try to learn why ghosts are disappearing from the Birbaum s hotel and other Hollywodd, California, locations. Sequel to the Neddiad. fiction fantasy adventure ghosts witches space time hauting hotels motels Hollywood History Four Stars 2009
Children of the Dawnland Kathleen O Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear 13 000 years ago in the Great Lakes Region of North America 12 year old Twig, a spirit dreamer, and best friend, Greyhawk, team up with an unpopular shaman, Screech Owl, to warn the villagers of an arrival of a meteor that is going to have cataclysmic affects on the earth and long term devastation on the environment. Evidence does exist to suggest this type of event did indeed happen about this period of time. Based on that assumption the authors describes how such an event might have been foretold and how people cold have coped with the destruction and might have survived. A disaster story that I know of no movie for the same event. fiction realistic historical prehistoric people paleo-indians shamans climate change great lakes region North America Four Stars 2009
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident Eoin Colfer This creatively designed graphic novel tells the complete Artemis Fowl story of The Artic Incident in a way that was not possible in the mere novel. The author, Colfer collaborated with the illustrators, Rigano, and the fact file page creator Alexander Garkusha to combine text and illustrations in a format that includes detailed character information in illustrations, text, and in character files physically embedded in the graphic novel. The combination of these three elements create a style and tone for the story that may provide more detail and a richer experience than the original novel. It is a great feat, but not the first as Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel preceded it. Still a great experience. fiction fantasy child prodigy adventure graphic novel Four Stars 2009
The Sorceress: The secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel book 3 Michael Scott Book 3 begins where two ended.
Sophie, Josh, and Flamel in London and Perenelle at Alcatraz. The Dark Elders feel the end for Nicholas and Perenelle are eminently near and order Dr. John Dee to finish Flamel and bring the twins to him. And Nicolo Machiavelli to finish Perenelle and release the monsters that have been called to Alcatraz. Will it be that easy or are the Dark Elders underestimating the power that Josh, Sophie as well as the Flamels have.
Before the end we the twins will meet William Shakespeare, travel to Stonehenge, to access a ley gate to San Francisco. The meet up with the insane Elder Gilgamesh to acquire the knowledge of the elemental power of Water Magic. The chase and escape plots are rather transparent and the inclusion of Billy the Kid is questionable. There are other times when the reader wonders why or what the heck and want the focus to be on the main characters and their plight. Of course if you are a fan of Sophie and Josh it is a must-read, but let s hope the action in the last three fits the needs of the characters and the plot development more closely. The coming books - The Necromancer book 4, The Warlock book 5, and The Enchantress book 6.
fiction fantasy Nicolas Flamel John Dee alchemist magic supernatural brothers sisters twins San Francisco Calif. Niccolo Machiavelli Four Stars 2009
Tentacles Roland Smith Tentacles, sequel to Cryptid Hunters, is an adventure with plenty of suspense and can be read and enjoyed without reading the previous book. The author includes a list of characters in the beginning of the book which is nice, but not necessary. Typical good guy verses bad guy in the style of MacGyver, Bond, NASA race to be the first to discover, cryptids - animals thought to exist, but no direct evidence of that existence. Plot is a fast paced action thriller. With characters - Dr. Travis Wolfe matched against - evil Noah Blackwood in a race to catch a giant squid in the waters of New Zealand while hatching eggs found in the jungles of the Amazon. Eggs believed to belong to another mysterious cryptid, Mokele-mbembe, While also protecting Grace, main character, from her Noah Blackwood, her grandfather who wants to collect her too. The characters, Marty, Grace, Luther and Wolfe contrast with Noah to bring themes of right and wrong, moral decision making, and love of family into the story. Tentacles appeals to young adolescents and older who may not be avid readers, but are looking for a good adventure novel. fiction
Four Stars 2009
Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware - A Pals in Peril Tale M. T. Anderson Jasper Dash star of his school s Stare-Eyes Team is pitted against the state of Deleware Champs. Jasper's concentration is interrupted when he receives a telepathic cry for help. Jasper, convinced there is something unnatural about the opposing team. He and his fellow technonaut s, Katie and Lily, follow the Stare-Eyes team into the wilds of Delaware. A dangerous region with impenetrable jungles with lofty mountains jutting out and the occasional exotic city. It seems Delaware is now ruled by a crazed military dictator and the plea for help is coming from a monastery where they are being held hostages. The thugs use the monastery's arcane powers to create an indestructible army. How can our heroes fight with peaceful coexistence to free the monks and bring democracy back to Deleware? The off-the-wall style, with mock-heroic dialogue, breakneck chases, fights, gnat eyelash escapes, and evil villains. parody of sports, gangsters, and travel guides. The author frequently steps out of the plot to comments and make general suggestion for the reader. Beneath all the absurdity is themes of loyalty, violence, peace, and self-acceptance.

Four Stars 2009
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw Jeff Kinney Greg Heffley, middle school student and family member living with both his parents, younger sister Manny and older brother Rodrick. He engages his parents in one up man-ship as he writes and illustrates his life with his family and at school in his diary from January to June. Kids love this series of books. This is the fourth in the series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw fiction cartoon graphic novel whimpy tough middle school diaries diary families Four Stars 2009
The 39 Clues Book three The Sword Thief Peter Lerangis The 39 Clues Book one The Maze of Bones
The 39 Clues Book two One False Note
The 39 Clues Book three The Sword Thief
The 39 Clues Book four Beyond the Grave
The 39 Clues Book five The Black Circle
fiction science fantasy games family adventure mystery Four Stars 2009
The 39 Clues Book five The Black Circle Patric Carman The 39 Clues Book one The Maze of Bones
The 39 Clues Book two One False Note
The 39 Clues Book three The Sword Thief
The 39 Clues Book four Beyond the Grave
The 39 Clues Book five The Black Circle
fiction science fantasy games family adventure mystery Four Stars 2009

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©