Under the Egg

What painting is under the egg?

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That is the mystery “Theo” Theodora Tenpenny must solve when her grandfather’s dying words are “Look under the egg.” The problem would be easily solved if she had any idea what he was talking about. Under the Egg is a great art, mystery story that reminds me of Chasing Vermeer and the movie Monument Men. Theo’s mom is a bit “off” – not crazy, not slow, but rather extraordinarily gifted, and just not really in the reality of this world. She spends every waking moment in her bedroom trying to solve a mathematical equation for her  15 year old dissertation. That leaves Theo in charge of food, cleaning, fixing and trying to figure out how to stretch out less than $400 so they don’t get kicked out of their house on 18 Spinney Lane.

Once Theo realizes that the mysterious “under the egg” item is really a painting, and might be a masterpiece from Raphael, life gets really complicated.

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The School of Athens is a fresco painted by Raphael between 1510 and 1511. It was painted on the wall of the library in the palace at the Vatican. The painting shows many of the philosophers of Ancient Greece including Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Euclid.
Source:http://www.ducksters.com/biography/artists/raphael.php

Raphael, was one of the Renaissance painters from the early 1500’s, who was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint some interior rooms in the Vatican. He is considered to be one of the great Italian painters. How could her grandfather have a Raphael in their house? Was it stolen? Was her grandfather really a thief?

Read Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald to find out! If you love it, try also reading more art mysteries like Chasing Vermeer or The Calder Game by Blue Balliett.

Happy Reading! Mrs. Hembree

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Rack up Those Reading Minutes!

Have you been to the library lately?

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check out Ulises and Pakal are at our local library earning more minutes toward their summer reading goals for the KCLS summer reading program. They have already read 500 minutes and earned their halfway prize. Now they are on their way to earning the finisher prize! Every year the KCLS offers a free summer reading incentive program. It’s easy to participate.  Just stop by your local branch of the KCLS library and pick up worksheet. Not in town?  Download a reading log or sign up online and track your minutes virtually. Go here and sign up now! Just remember, the deadline to submit your minutes is August 31st! Thanks for sending in your photo Ulises and Pakal!

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I have also been reading this summer.  If you like Pirates of the Caribbean or wild adventure stories, especially ones with kids, pirates, blood, stumps and gore, then you will want to read Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey. Josa gave me this copy with high recommendations. I agree with him. This story of Egg, a 13 year old boy who lives on Deadweather, a pirate infested island with his Dad and siblings will take you on a fun, read-in-the-summer entertaining romp of a story! (You can read it in Australia in the winter too, but since it’s summer here, it seemed an appropriate description.) The sequel New Lands is already published, so once you finish one, get the next one and read it too. Then tell me about it, but not too much. I want to find out what happens to Egg, Millicent and Guts and the rest of the crew when they leave Port Scratch.  I tweeted yesterday that I really enjoyed the story and today I noticed this on the author’s  Twitterfeed:

deadweather snipGeoff has his own website http://geoffrodkey.com/ which I highly recommend you visit. Look for yourself, especially the letters to his son at summer camp. The underwear issue is particularly good.

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I fell in love this summer with Rebel McKenzie. Rebel is an aspiring paleontologist and wanted more than anything to go to the Ice Age Kids’ Dig and Safari summer camp. Instead of digging up prehistoric bones, she has to dig deep into her bucket of patience and discover ways to keep her nephew Rudy occupied while she babysits all summer. Things get really crazy when Rebel decides to enter into the Miss Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department Beauty Pageant. I love Rebel’s free-thinking ideas and love of science. She knows how to speak her mind, although not always with the best manners. But that’s why I love her!

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Most readers who know me also know I love a good mystery! I think I was born a mystery reader because all my best childhood reading memories involve a mystery story. I also love to travel. That’s why this series about our national parks is so awesome. You can travel to one of our parks and enjoy a great mystery all at the same time! This book takes place at the Grand Canyon, and brought back great memories of my recent trip there.

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If you are a baseball fan, then Shoeless Joe and Me should go on your reading list. This is one of the Dan Gutman baseball card time-travel adventure series books. Go back in time and learn more about why Shoeless Joe, one of baseball’s greatest outfielders was banned from baseball. Was he given a raw deal? Check it out and find out!

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When I was a kid, I loved going to “sleep-away camp”. The food, camping, swimming, games and dirt was the highlight of my summer. However, Eleanor hates camp! She hates the bugs, the dirt and especially the lake when she finds out she has to be in the “baby” swim group. Will she change her mind about camp, or get out of dodge and back home where things are normal? The book is the sequel to Pickle Juice on a Cookie, but you don’t have to read one before the other.

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Do you remember Darth Vadar – specifically the voice of Darth Vadar? Here is a link to a video some of his best quotes. The man behind the voice is James Earl Jones and what you may not know is that he barely spoke for eight years. His stuttering problem was so severe that he chose not to talk, rather than deal with the hardships of stuttering. The book Paperboy is set in Memphis in 1959, and 11 year old  Victor, has a similar problem to James Earl Jones.

“The reason I hate talking to people who don’t know me is because when they first see me I look like every other kid. Two eyes. Two arms. Two legs. Crew-cut hair. Nothing special. But when I open my mouth I turn into something else. Most people don’t take the time to understand what’s wrong with me and probably just figure I’m not right in the head” (page 5)

Once I started Paperboy, I couldn’t put it down. Paperboy is about stuttering. It’s also about facing problems head-on as a kid and dealing with reality. Reality is when you take on your best friend’s paper route, talking to strangers and working through the hardships of not being able to communicate what you really want to say, when you want to say it. If you have ever  struggled with stuttering, or know someone who has, then this book will have even deeper meaning for you. Like James Earl Jones, the author Vince Vawter suffered through a stuttering problem in his childhood years. This book is partly his story, and partly the story of a boy you won’t soon forget.

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I went  hiking today with Reese and Mrs. Adair. I brought along Secret Zoo just in case I had a chance to read a couple pages. It seemed like the perfect book to have on a hike in the Pacific Northwest, home of the infamous Sasquatch! A whole bunch of angry, nasty Sasquatches is who the scouts find when they ventured into the Secret Zoo after Megan. This is book one of a fantasy/adventure series. Except for the huge pawprints Reese made in the river mud, thankfully we didn’t see any signs of Sasquatch.

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What have you been reading this summer?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

Send me those photos too!

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Happy Vacation Reading

Do you recognize this reader?

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Hannah recently visited Lake Chelan in eastern Washington and did some awesome vacation reading! She is reading one of the Cupcake Diaries books, a popular series about the friendship of some girls. These books are available in paperback and now in eBook version too. If you want to know more, visit the Cupcake Diary website. Thanks for sharing your photo Hannah! What will you read next?

Being on vacation is the perfect time to get some reading done! I did the same thing while I was on vacation with Mr. Hembree on our southwest vacation. Dog even checked out the mystery books in the Zion National Park bookstore! I bought a copy of Over the Edge for our new library. It will be available in the mystery section.

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In the photo above, I am holding Skinny-Bones by Barbara Park. Skinny-Bones was written in 1982 and is still a very funny book to read! Alex is a 6th grader who is just not the best baseball player in the world. He does have a great sense of humor though, and uses it to help him get out of a lot of sticky situations! You might recognize that very famous author name too! Do you remember what other books she has written?


Have you been reading too this summer? Send me a photo and I will get it published on the blog. Just have your parents send it to:

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Keep Reading!

Mrs. Hembree

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For the Younger Readers

 

What have you been reading so far this summer?

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Reese was doing some newspaper reading this morning. Apparently he didn’t like what he read, so now we have a shredded mess all over the living room floor! Nice! Well it’s Saturday and I have been doing some reading since school let out.After reading Destiny Rewritten, I decided to move to some new chapter books that younger readers would enjoy.

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You can’t go wrong with any of Lunch Lady graphic novel series. This time a terrible technology villain invades the school and steals everyone’s gizmos and gadgets. Yikes! Will the Lunch Lady solve the dilemma?

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Jennifer S. Holland has a new non-fiction series perfect for kids just starting to read chapter books. If you like animals, you will love these short stories about the friendships between some pretty unlikely animals.

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Magic Tree House fans will like book #49 Stallion by Starlight. This time Merlin the Magician wants Jack and Annie to find the secret of greatness. What makes a person great? To find the answer they travel back in time to ancient Macedonia to meet Alexander the Great and his famed horse Bucephalus.

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Newbery winning author Patricia MacLachlan’s new book is perfect for dog lovers. Zoe’s mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs. “Pyrs”, as they are called for short, are large, yet gentle 140-150 pound, white fur dogs. When Phillip moves in next door, he becomes friends with one of the rescue puppies. Will the puppy help him speak again?

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Any girl who loves the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor will adore her newest chapter book series. A little bit fancy, a little bit Nancy Drew, and a little bit mysterious fun, these books will entertain transitional picture book to chapter book readers.

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Mystery fans will love the funny new mystery series by the author of the Lunch Lady series. The author Jarrett J. Krosocaka will be our featured guest author next year, so make sure you keep up with all of his latest books!

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I hope these books will give you some ideas for the upcoming weeks! Tomorrow I’ll be traveling to San Antonio, Texas to attend the ISTE technology conference! I’ll be going to classes and finding out all sorts of different ideas to use in our library lessons in the fall!

Keep Reading! Mrs. Hembree

 

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The Calder Game

The Calder Game by Blue Balliett is a mystery story linking art sculpture with intrigue. The book description reads, “When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery…including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square.

Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings toward it. Both the boy and the sclupture seem to be out of place…and then, on the same night, they disappear!”

I thought about this book on the weekend, when I visited the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle with Mr. Hembree. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the first thing we noticed was the gigantic Alexander Calder sculpture called The Eagle. We walked around it and under it and looked closely at his signature on the side.

 In this view from underneath the sculpture, you can see what looks like the eagle head or beak (or at least that is what it looks like to me)!

 

 The last picture shows Calder’s signature on the side of the piece and the date.

 

I don’t think this is the Calder that disappeared from The Calder Game, but isn’t it fun imagining it could be? Here is a link to a book trailer  I found for The Calder Game by Gaia, a student in Mrs Scavone’s class from June 2011.

The Calder Game is available for check out  F BAL  MYSTERY.

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What sculpture did you see in the book trailer?

Have you ever seen an Alexander Calder sculpture before? Which one?

What piece of art would you write a mystery about?

 

 

 

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A Book Review from Denmark

We have a special treat today! A few weeks ago three of our former students stopped by to visit with their parents. They were here on vacation and were visiting their former teachers and friends in the Seattle area.

PebbleGo Europe Kids Map Denmark is the country north of Germany.

All of three students love to read! Lucily for them, I had just come from the American Library Association mid-winter meeting with numerous Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books. ARCs are copies of books that people read and review and check for errors before they are officially published. Think of them as preview copies.

It’s always fun to have a new book that nobody else has yet, so all three students went home with some new books to read for the flight back to Denmark. Mathias not only read his book, he sent us a review for the blog too!

Here is Mathias’ review of House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. It will be officially released on April 23, 2013.

Setting: The story first takes place in Sea Cliff, San Francisco, then later in a mysterious world of adventure.

Characters: The Walker family is composed of five members.

Mr. and Mrs. Walker, were recently in a lawsuit because Mr. Walker, who is a doctor, had cut an eye into the back of his patient. They were sued by the family of the man, and used almost all their money to defend themselves.

Brendan Walker, the middle child, a computer geek and a quite smart kid. He is also very much into Lacrosse and his quick thinking saves them on several occasions.

Cordelia Walker is the oldest and smartest kid of the family. She is an avid reader and helped solve many of the problems the family were to face.

Eleanor Walker is the youngest and appears to be the most dumb. However she does show quite an appeal for helping and a very smart and quick brain, despite being dyslexic. She is also very much into horses.

Plot: A family of five are searching for a new house. Their real estate lady finds a nice house on the edge of Sea Cliff, a place known for it’s beautiful houses. At first the family is a bit worried that the house may not be as nice as the real estate lady says (their price range for houses is rather low) however they were all proved wrong. When they arrived it was a beautiful three story house, full of amazing furniture and stunning features that made the house almost seem too good to be true. This was made true when they heard the price. Their jaws dropped and they immediately decided to buy the house.

Soon after they bought the house strange things started happening. Brendan and Eleanor were seeing strange figures and shadows day after day. Brendan even thought that the statue which stood in the back had come alive and talked to him.

The next day something strange happened. First the old lady who says she lived next door comes by. Her name is Dahlia Kristoff, the relative of Denver Kristoff who used to live in this house. Brendan goes crazy on her, thinking she was the woman who had turned into the statue. After the old lady leaves the kids start doing some digging. Cordelia find out that according to a picture upstairs, she’s a 105 years old and missing a hand. Not long after the doorbell rings again. Thinking that the pizza has arrived, Mr. Walker goes over to the door and opens it. Outside stands Mrs. Dahlia again, and as soon as Mr. Walker opens the door, she steps in. Immediately she transforms. She is now bald and only a skeleton of herself. Her right hand is missing, just like Cordelia thought and she looked downright scary, especially with the brand new pair of skeletal wings that had just erupted from her back. Mrs. Walker started calling the police, but for a gust of wind that snatched up the phone and cracked it on a pedestal on the other side of the room. Then weird things start to happen. Dahlia Kristoff starts flying up, and every item currently in the vicinity start flying up. They form a vortex of flying items just zooming around the room. The two parents are knocked out by flying objects, but somehow the kids manage to stay conscious. Dahlia starts shouting about her long lost father’s (Denver Kristoff) reincarnation and suddenly everything goes black.

My Thoughts: I think this book is amazing. With all of the mystery happening in only the first instance of the story, it provides a great lead into the book. The book itself is astonishing. The idea of having an entire story based on the fusion of three books is downright fascinating. The different characters in this book are amazingly unique, in such ways that even you can’t see the events they’re going to make happen before they do. The things that happen from every angle, like betrayal, love and unexpected friendship just makes this book one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Thank you Mathias for this awesome book review! I can’t wait to buy a copy for the library in April when it comes out!

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Favorite Books of 2012

Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t forget?

Did it make you laugh? Cry? Shout?

 Today’s post is about my favorite books from 2012. These are the standout books from a year of reading.  Even though I may have read them months ago, I still think about them and consider them book friends. When I see the cover, or think of a passage from the book, I get a smile on my face. Not all of these books were written in 2012, although most of them were. I am in the process of reading all the Newbery Medal winners, so one book was published years ago. All, except the young adult books are available in our library. I hope you will stop in and check them out!

Tomorrow the American Library Association will announce all of the Youth Media Awards at their Mid-Winter Conference here in Seattle. I will be at the press conference for the very first time!  I can’t wait to see what books won medal and honor awards. Above any other books, I have my fingers crossed for The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Here are my standouts from a year of reading!

Categories: Favorite Graphic Novels, Favorite Picture Books, Favorite Non-Fiction Picture Books,Favorite Middle Grade Novels, Favorite Young Adult Novels, Favorite Audio Books

So there you are…my favorites. Not all will win awards tomorrow at the ALA conference. However, they have already won a special award in my heart because each of these books has touched me in a very personal way. I’m looking forward to lots of reading in 2013 and seeing where my reading travels take me!

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Were any of these books favorites for you this year?

Is there a book I should have included?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Zoo Animal Mysteries

Do you like mystery stories?

Do you love animals?

If you do, then the Zoo Animal Mystery stories are just for you!

 

Each of the title in the Zoo Animal Mysteries series focuses on one animal. Through a series of clues, you have to guess what animal is featured in the book. The trick is to solve the mystery before the animal is revealed at the end. You can read more about the zoo animal mystery series on the Capstone Press website.

Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes used those fun books as the structure for their own Zoo Animal Mystery stories.

First we researched facts and took notes. Then we wrote out our sentences for the story. We typed the stories on powerpoint and added Creative Commons photos to illustrate the pages. The projects from Mrs. Kassel-Day, Ms. Valenta and Mrs. Staples class are featured in this post.


 

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What animal was your favorite to learn about?

If you could make a zoo animal mystery, what would you choose?

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Heaps of Aussie Fun!

Calling all girls who like to read fun mysteries! I have just the book for you!

Alice Miranda at School is a story of 7 and 1/4 year old Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones who is attending boarding school for the very first time! When she gets to her new school – the Winchesterfield-Downfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies, she quickly realizes that there are some strange things happening.

Why doesn’t the headmistress Miss Grimm ever come out of her office? Why aren’t there any flowers growing on the grounds of the school? Why can’t Mrs. Oliver go on vacation to visit her grandchildren? Leave it to Alice Miranda to find out the answers to these questions and more!

This is book one of a very popular Australian series. Our blogging buddy BB told me about it months ago, and finally it arrived! Here is what she had to say about it!

So girls, here’s what I have to say. I thought it was a very funny story and I love how spirited Alice Miranda is without being rude. However, you don’t have to listen to me!  Listen to BB! She knows her Australian books and is the same age as you! Better yet, visit her blog and leave her a comment! BB’s Awesome Blog

Who is going to be the first one to try this awesome Aussie story I wonder??? In the meantime, Miss Yeoman in Melbourne, Australia told me her library is hosting Jacqueline Harvey on March 23rd! You can read about it here. Ms. Harvey also has her own blog which you can visit.

Plus, if you love blogging and Alice Miranda, why not comment on her blog too? Yes, Alice Miranda has a blog and loves visitors. You can visit it here.

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What is your favorite series of books to read?

Do you think you would like going to a boarding school?

Should we buy more of this series for our library?

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Student Book Reviews- See What We Like

The Lost Hero By: Rick Riordan Review by Tracy

         lostThe Lost Hero is about a prophecy that needs to be completed. This is the first book of the series The Heroes of Olympus.  This book is about 3 demigods, Jason, Piper, and Leo. Jason woke up on a bus forgetting his memories. Piper, a girl who says that Jason is her boyfriend,  has a secret. And Leo has his way of using tools to create amazing items. The prophecy that was for told was very eerie to me; “Seven half-blood shall answer the call. To storm or fire, the world must fall. An oath to keep with a final breath and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.”

Together these three must overcome every obstacle in their way to save the queen of Olympus. Will they succeed or will they fail?  Read to find out the story that’s about to unfold.

This book also has Percy Jackson and a bunch of his other previous characters that he used in the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This is the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which include The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, Titians Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympians. Also, he is the author of the Kane Chronicles, which  has The Red Pyramid, and the author of Maze of Bones the first book of 39 clues. So if you’re an adventure loving, Greece lover then this is a superb book to read.   I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Later Gater by Lawrence Yep Review by Diana

This book is about a boy named Bobby.  Tomorrow is his birthday and his brother Teddy has to buy him a present. Bobby’s mom tells Teddy to get an animal instead of a pair of socks. So, Teddy drove to a pet store on a bus with a ton of people while Bobby was with his dad at work having fun.

 When Teddy went inside the pet shop, the owner said he should get a hamster or a turtle. Teddy thought that they were too nice. So Teddy got an alligator because he wants to scare Bobby. Do you think Bobby got scared? Read this funny book to find out.

sab The Missing: Book 3, Sabotaged By: Haddix Review by Alice

     This book is the 3rd book in “The Missing” series by Haddix. In this book, Jonah and Katherine take a girl, Andrea, one of the 36 missing kids from history, back to Roanoke Colony. If you are in the 5th grade, I am sure you know of Roanoke Colony, one of the settlements England brought to the USA. Although, mysteriously, when John White (the colony’s leader), goes back to England for 3 years and comes back. everything is missing. No clues, except one carving that says “Croatoan”

            So, when they go back into time, they see nothing, they lost the Eculator. The Eculator is a time travel device that keeps them camouflaged and safe. On their walk they bump into tracer Natives. They follow them and find something surprising! They later find out why time seems messed up. They are being sabotaged.

            This book is recommended by me to all of the adventure, sci-fi, and mystery fans. This book will make you want to keep going and NEVER stop! Both genders will LOVE this book. But, I highly recommend reading the first and second book beforehand.

 Into the Gauntlet  Review by Mosesinto

Into The Gauntlet is the grand finale of the 39 Clues series.  Dan and Amy are hopeless, they have no leads. When they finally find the Clues, it is stolen.  Suddenly, they find a poem on their doorstep, but it is stolen by evil Isabel Kabra.  Somehow they manage to find out the Clues, but they do not know that they are followed by others.  The clues lead Amy and Dan to a small island, only to be discovered by everyone else.  They decide to team up and find out that the clues are the recipe to a serum which will make you the most powerful person in the world! Suddenly, evil Isabel crashes their celebration and she is holding a gun….  Read this wonderful book to find out what happens next.

 The Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling Review by Moses

This book is one of the most delightful fantasy books I have ever read.  With a mix of Roald Dahl and J.R.R. Tolkien, it is both funny and suspenseful.  The story begins when Harry receives a letter from Hogwarts, a school for Wizards.  At the school he makes friends with a boy named Ron and a girl named Hermione.  They “accidentally” find out that there is a stone that can give any wish the user wanted.  They learn the hard way that someone else wants the stone too, and that someone will hurt, even kill anyone who gets”in the way”!  Who will win, who will perish?  Find out by reading this terrific book.

 Firestorm reviewed by Gabe

I liked this book a lot.  It is about a boy named Jack who goes on a quest to save the oceans.  On his quest he meets new friends and learns new skills. The reason that I liked this so much was because it has a good balance of action, adventure and science fiction.  It was also interesting because Jack learned about pollution and how it could affect his future.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Chocolate by Wendy Blaxland Reviewed by JudyAnn

This book is a great book to read if you adore chocolate like I do!  It tells interesting facts about chocolate.  For instance, chocolate is made from powdered cacao beans which are the seed of the cacao tree. Also, the first chocolate was made thousands of years ago and was loved by many Aztec Indians.  Well, now that I’ve told you so much about this book, you should check it out and I hope you enjoy it!

 Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Review by Willhunger

The Hunger Games was the best book I have read in a long time!  I would recommend it to anyone who likes action, romance and suspense. The most suspenseful part of the book was when there were only three people left in the games.  Read it to see why.

dk Diary of a Wimpy Kid  Review by Yana

Greg’s life is miserable; his mom buys him a diary and makes him write in it, he is forced to join the swim team, his parents make him do everything that he does not want to!  Greg’s has to make sure that his friends do not find out about his diary.This book is funny and silly and I really enjoyed reading it.  I think that you would like it too.key

 Skeleton Key  Review by Mark

This book is very interesting because in the beginning it just tells you that no one knows where the skeleton key is.  I started to read it and I enjoyed it.  I would recommend this book for people who like adventure because this is big journey to a haunted house to get a key for an old kingdom.  When they find the key, they discover that it is cursed!  There is a letter saying that they will be taken to horrible places.  Read this excellent book to find out what happens to them.

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