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MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

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THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE by Sarah Jean Horwitz Algonquin Young Readers, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-61620-894-3 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.

Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?

REVIEW

Clementine …

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK REVIEW : The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE BATHTIME BATTLE by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham Candlewick Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5362-0221-2 Source: purchased Ages 6-10 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The Princess in Black is in a very stinky situation. A foul cloud is plaguing the goat pasture, and it smells worse than a pile of dirty diapers or a trash can on a hot summer day. But every time the Princess in Black and her friend the Goat Avenger manage to get rid of the odor, they accidentally blow it to another kingdom! Other masked heroes and their trusty companions show up to help, but how do you battle a stench when your ninja moves fail? Fans with a nose for slapstick will be tickled to see the six stalwart friends join their wits to take on an impossibly beastly stink.

REVIEW

I always look forward to new books in my favorite series.  And the Princess in Black is definitely one of my favorite series.  With a a great main character who is both …

Young Adult Nonfiction : Disaster Strikes by Jeffrey Kluger & Captured by Alvin Townley

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DISASTER STRIKES! The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time by Jeffrey Kluger Philomel Books, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-984-81275-9 Source: purchased Ages 12 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

There are so many amazing, daring, and exciting missions to outer space that have succeeded. But for every success, there are mistakes, surprises, and flat-out failures that happen along the way. In this collection, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jeffrey Kluger recounts twelve such disasters, telling the stories of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, the trials and the errors, the missions and the misses.

With stories of missions run by both Americans and Russians during the height of the space race, complete with photos of the people and machines behind them, this book delves into the mishaps and the tragedies, small and large, that led humankind to the moon and beyond.

REVIEW

Kruger takes the reader on a rather fascinating journey through some of the major…

NEW THEME!

Just so you are aware, assuming you haven't already noticed.  I've been having trouble with my old theme and layout.  So, I've decided it's time to change it.  Until I can get one up that I really like, I will be switching over to one of blogspot's generic themes.  I hope you will be patient as I work to get things updated.

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: The Shortest Day/Roly Poly/Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains

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THE SHORTEST DAY by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis Candlewick Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-0-7636-8698-7 Source: publisher for review Ages 6-10 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

In this seasonal treasure, Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper's beloved poem heralds the winter solstice, illuminated by Caldecott Honoree Carson Ellis's strikingly resonant illustrations.

So the shortest day came,
and the year died . . .

As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day" captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before -- and the hope for peace that we…

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

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EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS by Sandy Stark-McGinnis Bloomsbury, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5476-0102-8 (e-book) Source: Utah's Online Library Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Eleven-year-old December knows everything about birds, and everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. All she has of her mom is the bird guide she left behind, and a message: "In flight is where you'll find me." December believes she's truly a bird, just waiting for the day she transforms. The scar on her back is where her wings will sprout; she only needs to find the right tree and practice flying.

When she's placed with foster mom Eleanor, who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue, December begins to see what home means in a new light. But the story she’s told herself about her past is what's kept her going this long. Can she learn to let go?

REVIEW

Extraordinary Birds is a beautifully-written story about a young girl looking for a h…

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: Snow Still/The LIttle Snowplow Wishes for Snow/A Day for Skating/The Boy and the Bear

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SNOW STILL by Holly Surplice Nosy Crow, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5362-0834-4 Board Book Ages 0-3 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

A little fawn wakes up to discover that the world outside has changed after a snowfall. As he takes his first faltering steps into this exciting snow-white world, he finds there's so much to discover and explore. And when it's time to return to the warmth of home, his parents are waiting right there for him.

REVIEW

Using two word phrases that start with the word snow, this cute board book follows a young fawn exploring a snow filled world.  The illustrations are adorable.  It would be easy to get repetitious in a book like this but it doesn't happen.  Each two-page spread shows the fawn enjoying a different aspect of snow from a variety of different perspectives, sizes, and angles.  The repetition in the text makes for a smooth, easy read.  There is much here for an adult reader and young listener to talk a…