Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mrs Piggle Wiggle!

Do you love birthday parties? If you do, there is a very special birthday party this year for one very special lady. You are invited to help celebrate Mrs Piggle Wiggle's birthday. If you have never heard of Mrs Piggle Wiggle, you are missing alot. She is the problem solver of years ago, she came long before Nanny Jo Frost. She is much beloved to children from different generations.

"Happy Birthday, Mrs Piggle-Wiggle" is a collection of 7 stories which are written by the daughter of the author of the original Mrs Piggle Wiggle books. She comes up with an idea of how to deal with a TV junkie, one who insults constantly, one who is afraid to try and one who is a very picky eater. Besides the difficult child who won't brush his teeth, there is yet another who is messy and believes in stuffing and cramming all their stuff.

The last chapter is the story of Mrs Piggle Wiggle's birthday party. She has now been around 60 years but she hasn't aged and neither has her advice for parents. All kids, both young and old, would love to read this book as much I did. Its awesome! Move over Nanny Jo, Mrs Piggle Wiggle is here to stay!

Crimson Tide Madness

Title: Crimson Tide Madness Great Eras in Alabama Football
Author: Wilton Sharpe
Published by Cumberland House, 2007.
ISBN: 978-1-58182-580-0.

Are you ready for some football? Does the professional football players tickle your fancy or do you like the college teams? You can turn on your television on Saturdays and Sundays in the autumn and find yourself a game, right? If you like college football, perhaps you are aware of the 12 national championships of the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

"Crimson Tide Madness" is the perfect book for anyone who likes football. There are articles about many of the stars who got their start at the University of Alabama. There are quotes of many famous football players who have once worn the red and white of the Crimson Tide. Some of the stories were funny and alot were serious.

If you are a football fan like I am, you would love to read this fantastic book. It gives you a taste of what it really is like to be a player on the Crimson Tide and the traditions which they have to live up to. Its almost football season and I can't wait! Cuddle up with this great book and wear your red and white with pride!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How to Steal A Dog

Georgina is 12 and is very desperate to help out her mother in any way that she can possibly come up with. Georgina 's father has left her mother to fend for herself and her 2 children. The mother is trying to work 2 jobs in order to get a home for her family. The family lives in the car and when Georgina is not in school, she is in charge of taking care of her younger brother Toby.

Could a "Reward for A Lost Dog" sign be the answer to the family's problems? Georgina comes up with a plan to earn a $500 reward for returning a lost dog. She must first find a dog whose owner will post a reward for its safe return. She decides to steal Willy. She is very detailed in planning out what steps she will take. She keeps all of her plans written in a notebook. What she doesn't plan on is, the interesting characters she encounters in carrying out her plan. She develops a friendship with Willy's owner and an elderly gentleman by the name of Mookie who has similar living conditions to Georgina 's family.

This is an excellent story for the middle graders! Barbara O'Connor does a terrific job in bringing out important issues like homelessness, dealing with elderly, and doing what is right in all situations. This book will have kids having a hard time laying this book down until the final page. I know many of my classmates (both dog lovers and non dog lovers) are anxious to read this delightful book!

Football Genius

Title: Football Genius
Author: Tim Green
Published by Harper Collins, 2007.

Are you a football fan? If so, you would love to read this book. Troy White has a gift. He can predict the plays that the Atlanta Falcons opposition will run before they happen. He wants to help out his favorite team. But who would listen to a kid?

Troy's main nemesis at school is Jamie Renfro. He is the quarterback on the school's team even though Troy would like to be given a chance. However, the team is coached by Mr Renfro and he thinks his son is the star. Jamie doesn't like the Atlanta Falcons so he's happy that the Falcons are on a losing streak.

With the help of his friends, Nathan and Tate, they find someone who will listen to him. Troy is aided by his single mother, who has a publicity job with the Falcons. A special friendship develops with Seth Holloway, a Falcons lineman.

I really like this book for football fans. There are alot of names of current professional players and teams. If I was the author and could choose how to write the ending. I would have written it just like it is.

Mystery of the Crying Ghost

Title: Mystery of the Crying Ghost
Author: Rita Hsu Syers
Published by Bronwen Publishing, 2006
ISBN: 0-9779267-1-0
Reviewed for

"The Mystery of the Crying Ghost" is a book about Chloe Wendleton. She is a young girl who is having difficulty adjusting to a different school. She just fells like she doesn't fit in at all. She has her two dependable pets to keep her company. Killian is her golden retriever and Isis is a Himalayan cat. Her family tells her that she is just hearing things when she says that she hears a child crying.

Is it all in her imagination? Isis and Killian seem to hear the same crying. Chloe goes up into the attic with her grandfather and discovers an old newspaper. It shows that the Van Hise children, Sarah Jane and Thomas somehow disappeared from the house without a trace. She shares the information with two of her classmates. Will Reed tells Chloe that he had heard that the house she is living in is haunted. Will is what one would call a "brain" so he gets picked on alot. He is defended by Maya Roubideaux and her karate skills. Will is suffering from a major crush on Chloe, but his knowledge is key to solving the case. Just when Chloe, Will and Maya can't seem to put a hand on any clues, the animals lend a paw and make discoveries of their own.

"The Mystery of the Crying Ghost" will capture the attention of any sleuth who enjoys a good story, adorable animals and friends working together towards a goal. With more books like this one, Rita Hsu Syers could easily have created another "Nancy Drew." I'm happy that she is planning her next mystery and can't wait to read it!

Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria

Author: Kyra E Hicks
Published by Brown Books Publishing, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-933285-59-7
Reviewed for

"Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria" is a terrific picture book for kids. The story is based on the true story of Martha Ann Ricks. I loved reading about how her Martha Ann's father saved money in a red box. He was able to get his family out of slavery. My favorite part of the story was when she taught kids at the local mission where her husband Sion worked.
It was exciting when she got to meet Queen Victoria because of her beautiful big quilt.

The pictures is this book are great. The illustrator Lee Edward Fodi does a great job in showing what it was like in the 1800's from the fashions to the hairstyles. More books should be written based on true stories like this one.

The Ant In the Cellar

Title: The Ant in the Cellar
Author: Danielle Rosenblatt
Publisher: A Better Be Write Publisher, 2006
ISBN: 0-9788985-3-2

"The Ant in the Cellar" is a very fun treasury of poems. If you are looking for humorous poems about everyday objects and places, this is definitely the book for you. The objects like toasters, triangles, thumbs all seem to come to life and you learn just how they would feel if they could talk. There are poems about places like the bathroom, living room, and the basement. Oh no, the shower has growing from its drain a flower!

There are poems about many animals like a mouse, dino and ant. I really liked the one about the llama who was wearing purple pajamas not thinking that she would start a new trend.

I'm hoping to use one of these poems like "Harry the Couch Potato" or "Grumpy the Grumpster" as a possible forensics poem next year. There is such a wide variety of poems in this book that I'm sure every one who reads it would find something that would make them laugh.

Beatrice Beecham's Fearsome Feast

Title: Beatrice Beecham's Fearsome Feast
Author: Dave Jeffery
Publisher:, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-84728-293-4
Reviewed for

Welcome to Dorsal Finn! This is a wonderful town where everyone knows everyone else's name. Beatrice Beechham is a 12 year old girl who moves to Dorsal Finn with her parents and younger brother Tom. They have been invited to live with one of Mrs Beecham's closest friends Maud. Beatrice and Tom refer to her as Aunt Maud. Beatrice gets to meet some of the most interesting residents including the Newshounds. She makes a very good friend in Patience, which is a very good name in this town since Beatrice will need alot of it living here. Lucas was able to figure out any clues as they came along.

They have moved to Dorsal Finn just in time for the annual fearsome feast contest. The contest involves cooking the most disgusting dish. In the last few years no one has been able to defeat Vladimir Karloff. Beatrice decides to enter the contest. The day of the contest is a part of the Masque, a very dressy occasion. Can Beatrice come up with a dish that will turn everyone's stomach?

Aunt Maud gives her a cookbook. Anyway it looks like a cookbook but it is actually a bunch of clues so there is a mystery to solve too. Sometimes secrets are fun to figure out and sometimes secrets are better kept hidden.

I really liked "Beatrice Beecham's Fearsome Feast." It let me visit England, learn some of their Old English language, and their customs. I had a hard time laying this book down until I was finished with it. I was sad to see the book come to a close but I was happy with its ending. I hope Dave Jeffery writes more books like this.

Penny from Heaven

Title: Penny From Heaven
Author: Jennifer L Holm
Published by Random House, 2006
Reviewed for Amazing Kids
ISBN-10: 037583687X

Penny is a girl who lives in New Jersey with her widowed mother. She knows she has alot to deal with but is trying her best. The year is 1953 and not everything is as swell as it appears. She has a strange but fun relationship with Uncle Dominic who lives in his car outside of Grandma Falucci's house. He shares his love of the Brooklyn Dodgers with her and they listen to many games on the car radio. He gives her a lucky bean which he had gotten from her father and it is supposed to keep bad things from happening to her. Why won't anyone tell her how her father died?

Like most families during that time, they share their houses. Me Me and Pop-Pop are her grandparents that live upstairs from Penny, her mother, and Scarlett O'Hara the poodle, They share their meals together and they look after her while Penny's mother works at the hospital. Pop-Pop is a war veteran who is going deaf, sometimes he hears things strangely.

Penny also is allowed to spend time with her father's Italian and Catholic family. She discovers some unusual tastes in food such as eating calf brains and cow stomachs. Aunt Gina doesn't want Penny to learn Italian because of things that happened during World War II. A new red coat is given to Penny from Uncle Nunzio's factory. Penny's closest friend is her cousin Frankie. Just how far Frankie decides to take advantage of Penny's friendship remains to be seen throughout the book.

Penny must also deal with her mother beginning to date the milkman, Mr Mulligan. No matter how Penny acts when Mr Mulligan is around, he is not discouraged and keeps coming around. When Penny's arm gets caught in the wringer washer, her relationship gets a chance to grow with him and many secrets about the past get uncovered.

I really liked this book! I have some cousins that are part Italian and I liked to learn more about Italian customs. This book is more than just a history book but also adds a touch of romance and mystery to it. There were times when reading this book, that I laughed out loud. I can see why this book was named a Newberry Honor Book. This is a terrific book for ages 9-12.

How to Write Your Life Story

Have you ever read a book about somebody's life? Maybe it was about a sports star, movie star or famous American. Now you might think your life is too boring, that no one will want to read about it. You might think your story is not worth telling but years from now, someone will want to read about what life was like in 2007. You don't have to be famous. Your life is interesting just because it is yours.

Ralph Fletcher has created this book for kids ages 8-12 to encourage them to write their own life stories. This is a manual for aspiring authors who want to share their life experiences with others. Mr Fletcher has included many stories from his own life. He also includes interviews with people who have written their autobiographies. He stresses that taking notes is very important and will make the job easier when you compose your story. Everything from proper order to dialogues is included in this handy book. He encourages kids to think about writing their life stories.

Kids can be aspiring authors! Where better can you get subject matter for your first book than from your own life. I really enjoyed this book and I know other kids who want to someday be authors will too. With this book's help, maybe someday I too will be a published author!

Annie: The Mysterious Morgan Horse

Annie: The Mysterious Morgan Horse" is an absolutely fabulous book! This book combines a beautiful relationship between Heather Richardson and a horse that Chauncy owns. If only Chauncy would let her enter in Morgan horse classes. Heather just knows that Annie is a true Morgan, but is she? But the mystery is just starting when she discovers that Chauncy never got the registration papers. Is Annie her actual name? Heather and her fellow riders share genuine friendship throughout the book. They help each other whenever they can even when their is a mysterious identity to discover. Will Annie be able to stay with those who really love her?

Ellen F Feld has a thorough knowledge of horses and pleasure riding. When Karen's horse Rerun has a suspicious spot on her back, special treatment is sought from Dr Kent. Karen's love and concern for her horse is heartwarming.

I simply loved this book! I hope Ellen F Feld writes many more books in this series. Horses and young girls seem to have a great bond. Even if this book is written for young readers, I know that it could be enjoyed by horse lovers of all ages. If you want to saddle up with a great book, you would definitely enjoy "Annie: The Mysterious Morgan Horse."

Reviewed for

Growing Up Grizzly

Title Growing Up Grizzly
Author: Amy Shapira
Published by Falcon, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press, 2007.
ISBN: 978-0-7627-4149-6
Reviewed for

Imagine having to make your way through life without your mom and dad! Its not a very happy thought, is it? Well, imagine you're a grizzly bear and forced to find your own way. He is not yet old enough to live on his own but not a baby anymore either. He's in between ages. Its a pretty lonely time for young Emmett. He lives up in Alaska, where the temperatures range greatly. He travels to a cove where he is watched by visitors but no one knows just who he is or where he came from. He didn't have a name until the visitors started watching him.

There is a family of 4 bears living in the same area. Baylee is the mama bear with her cubs named Eleanor, Misha and James. Emmett likes to watch the family of bears, if only he could be a part of their family. The bear family seems to be having such fun. Baylee doesn't like Emmett being around and growls to get rid of him. Emmett was determined to make this family his. He makes friends with the little cubs and wins the mom over. Now he feels like a member of a family. We all need a little help sometimes and Emmett gets the help he needs from Baylee and her family.

"Growing Up Grizzly" is based on a true story of grizzly bears up in Southeastern Alaska. The pictures are actual pictures of bears in their habitats and doing what comes naturally to them. I especially liked the picture of the bear looking through a window of a cabin and seeing his reflection. He needed a friend. All the pictures are awesome! The book would be a delight for bear lovers, Alaska lovers and any others who would like a nice adoption story.

The Penderwicks

Have you ever gone on vacation to a different place and am not sure if you will like it? Summer vacations are supposed to be fun, right? What if there are some people who scare you with their harshness. If you have, you can relate with the Penderwick sisters. Their father, Mr Penderwick is a widower who is a botanist and has had to make a change in plans right before vacation. The home which he had always rented on Cape Cod has been sold. He rents a place with the name Arundel. The journey to the cottage begins on a wrong track, they get lost on their way.

Mr Penderwick, his daughters and Hound eventually find the place where they will spend the next three weeks. Rosalind is the oldest of the Penderwick girls at age 12 who experiences her first crush, and next is Skye who is 11. Jane is 10 and is quite an author and is trying to write a new novel this summer and little Elizabeth whose nickname is Batty is 4 and has a fascination with little wings. Little do they know when they move into the cottage that their summer vacation is going to be adventure filled and they will meet some very unique individuals along the way.

Mrs Brenda Tipton is the owner of Arundel and she lives onsite with her son Jeffrey. A frequent visitor to the estate is Dexter Dupree is has been dating Brenda. He is none too happy about her son being around much less her renting the cottage out to the Penderwicks. He labels them as troublemakers and tries everything he can to make the boy out to be what he wants him to be. He tends to think that Jeffrey belongs in a military school. Brenda doesn't take the time to listen to her son's needs or plans for the future. . He and the Penderwicks become fast friends and find themselves in much mischief together.

The hired help at the estate add to the delight of this summer story. Cagney is the hired gardener and is gaining a wealth of knowledge in botany from Mr Penderwick. He has two pet rabbits who can be quite mischievous on their own. Rosalind clearly is experiencing her first crush on Cagney. Churchie is a loveable old woman who serves as cook for Brenda and Jeffrey.

Will Jeffrey finally have his opportunity to get his mother to listen to what he wants for his life? How will Mr Penderwick be able to handle all of his girls and their unique personalities. This will definitely be a summer they will never forget!

"The Penderwicks" is an excellent book for children ages 8-12. It is very easy to see why it is a National Book Award Winner! From cover to cover, the story will keep you entertained. It has mischief, mystery, summer love and the challenges of girls who are growing up all in the story. This is a must read for all girls who enjoy a great story and treasure their summer vacations!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Christmas at Snowy Creek

Title Christmas at Stony Creek
Author: Stephanie Greene
Published by Greenwillow Books, 2007.
ISBN: 978-0-121486-8

Have you ever missed your father? Has your father ever made any sacrifices for his family? Have you ever thought you were starving? Well, Pipsqueak's family ran out of food so Pipsweaks father has gone to get food. She misses her father and Christmas is just days away.
Pipsqueak's brother Will is handicapped but has an idea to help. So Pipsqueak and Will set off on an adventure to get food. They are armed with only a stick, their creativity and their goal of survival. Will they make it back to celebrate Christmas with their family? Will Father be there too?
This is a very exciting book which has loveable mice trying to take care of their family. A brother and sister working together towards a common goal. Family taking care of family and togetherness are what's important at Christmastime and always. This is a delightful story for all families to read together. The pictures add to the delight of the book.

Come and enjoy "Christmas at Stony Creek" this year with your family!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Through the Rug

Title: Through the Rug
Author: Jill Ammon Vanderwood
Published by Author House, 2006
ISBN: 1-4259-1098-X
Reviewed for 7/07

What can be more exciting than going to visit Grandma's house? Ten year old Alyssa just loves to visit her Grandma's house. Her grandma is not just like everyone else. When her grandmother makes cookies its not just an event its an experiment. You could say Grandma is like a scientist, you never know just what will result. Domino is her cute little white and black dog however, when Alyssa's father brings her to Grandma's house, Domino is now bright pink and green.

There is a large spot of green goop on the rug which is a gateway to disaster. The dogcatcher is after Domino because of his strange colors. Grandma chases after the dog who falls into the puddle on the rug followed quickly by Grandma. Alyssa doesn't want to be left alone so she follows Grandma. Alyssa, Grandma and Domino are now entering the community of Wishville. This community is very strange as your every wish is granted. Wouldn't it be nice to have two extra days every weekend?

Wishville is a wonderful place to visit. You can eat as much as you want. Sleep as much as you want. And you can wish as must as you wish. What will happen when the three of them want to return back to Grandma's house? Will they ever be able to return to Wishville if they fall back through the rug?

"Through the Rug" is a hilarious book which had me laughing from cover to cover. I will never be able to look at a visit to Grandma's house the same way again. It makes me wish that I could visit another community by falling through my rug!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Biggest and Brightest Light

Title: The Biggest and Brightest Light
Author: Marilyn Perlyn
Published by Robert D Reed Publishers, 2004.
ISBN: 1-931741-30-1

So many times kids think that they are too little to be important. "The Biggest and Brightest Light: A True Story of the Heart" deals with this same topic. Amanda is afraid that since the new teacher who has doctor in her name will give her a shot. Dr Malko is a doctor of education but she does deal with a medical crisis. Amanda is just 6 years old but she makes an impact on her teacher Dr Malko that will last both of them a lifetime.

Amanda sees a need in her teacher's life and does something to help her. Dr Malko's daughter Elena is very sick. Amanda comes up with an idea of how she can raise money to help Elena and her family with all of the medical expenses. Its heartwarming to see the love this girl has for her teacher. Amanda is excited to get to meet the young Elena. Amanda has a big heart and it shows even more when she goes to work making cookies for the nurses in Elena's hospital. She enters a contest and wonders if she could win. Dr Malko is very encouraging for Amanda.

Some teachers make a big impact on their students! This story shows that students can make a difference in the lives of the teachers as well. I have been encouraged and showed love by a couple of teachers in my life and I wish I could be like young Amanda who brightens her teacher's days. I am a few years older than the young heroine in this story, but I loved the story. The pictures by Amanda Perlyn bring the story to life. Its a feel good story even though there are some sad parts in it. The fact that this is a true story makes me enjoy it all the more.

Three Grin Salad

Title: Three Grin Salad
Author: Aja King
Publisher: ICAN Press, 2006
ISBN 978-0-09780710-1-1

Are you a kid who is looking for a book about nutrition but don't want to be overloaded with all kinds of technical terms? If so, then "Three Grin Salad" is the perfect book for you. Aja King is a 10 year old girl who wants people to eat right. Within the pages of "Three Grin Salad" she tells of what she does or has lived. She offers many recipes of funny things and things like peace, joy and happy faces that will be sure to add to your smiles.

"Three Grin Salad" is awesome! It breaks down how healthy choices when it comes to eating can make all the difference in the world! There are pages for you to journal your own experiences and the illustrations are just so sweet. The expressions on the kids faces are often humorous. Its bright pages are very appealing. This book is very easy to read but offers a wealth of information and insight from a kid who is just like me.

I loved this book and think it is a must read for every child. Alot of girls get misinformation about what makes healthy living habits but Aja's book is here to help sort out the bad from the good. I can't wait till I can read another book by this fantastic kid author!

The Call to Shakabaz

Title: The Call to Shakabaz
Author: Amy Wachspress
Published by Woza Books, 2007.
ISBN: 978-0-9788350-2-6

Do you want to read a good adventure book with a great storyline and no violence? If you do, you will want to check out this one. "The Call to Shakabaz" by Amy Wachspress follows four recently orphaned Goodacre children on a mission to do something for their mother who died 2 months ago.

The Goodacre children named Doshmisi, Denzel, Maia and Sonjay are living with Aunt Alice and aren't too happy about it. They were raised in the city with malls, computers, televisions and video games. Aunt Alice has none of that in her farmhouse on Manzanita Ranch. They wish they had some adventure. Be careful what you wish for, you might just find out that you have more danger than the boring countryside. The 4 children take along Bayard Rustin, a talking parrot who doesn't make much sense but has a mind of his own.

On Midsummer day, they meet Amethyst who is the gatekeeper of Faracadar. They are armed with their amulets that were given them by Uncle Martin, Uncle Bobby and Aunt Alice. They are told to wear these amulets well and with ingenuity, creativity, compassion, courage and hunger for the truth. The amulets must never leave the neck of the children because no one can take them from them unless they would lose their life. Doshmisi is also given a healing book called Herbal which will magically open to the page of the recipe of something to heal the person.

I really enjoyed traveling with the kids to meet all the different people on their trip. There were parts of this book which were funny. Having a powder which will change you into a different color to hide you would be very fun to have sometimes. Of course, your true colors will come out anyway. There is only so much hiding a person can do. Amy Wachspress has a great imagination. I will definitely read this book again! I liked how there wasn't violent scenes in the book like alot of books out there. This book is terrific reading for ages 9-14. It is fun to see that kids our age can do something important too even if it is a fantasy book.I could see teachers making this a part of their reading class. There is a study guide at the back of this book too. Answer the "Call to Shakabaz" and enjoy the adventure!

TJ and the Sports Fanatic

Title: TJ and the Sports Fanatic
Author: Hazel Hutchins
Published by Orca Book Publishers, 2006.
ISBN: 1-55143-461-x

Do you have a friend that is always trying to get you to do things that maybe you wouldn't want to even try to do? Well, TJ Barnes has this problem. TJ has no athletic abilities but his best friend Seymour does. However, Seymour won't try out for a team unless TJ does with him.

What are the right reasons for trying out for a football team? Is it that small chance that you might be good at it and can make lots of money. Or is it to be among the popular kids in school? Football teaches responsibility, teamwork and leadership skills. Whatever the reasons, TJ doesn't want to do it. But being a good friend to Seymour, he tries.

TJ is more concerned with something greater than football. He helps out at his family's hardware store which has fallen on hard times. Perhaps the store will have to go in a different direction than what has always worked before. TJ doesn't understand all the X and O marks when the coach tries to explain the different plays. He doesn't understand all the penalties. But at least he's not like Seymour, who scores the first points of his football career against his own team.

Teamwork takes on new meaning in this book. "TJ and the Sports Fanatic" is an excellent book for football lovers and other sports fans. It keeps your interest in both TJ's first attempt at playing football and being a valuable member of another team...his family. This is a good book for ages 8-12. With football season right around the corner, get prepared for the season by reading this one!

Japanese Fairy Tales

Title: Japanese Fairy Tales Volume 2
Author: Keisuke Nishimoto
Published by Heian Publishers, 1997
ISBN: 0-89346-849-5.
Reviewed for, June 2007.

Do you like fairy tales? If you do and are looking for something other than Cinderella or the Elves and the Shoemaker, you might like something like this. Trying something other than American fairy tales can be fun and educational at the same time.

"Japanese Fairy Tales Volume 2" is the second book in the series. It has 6 different stories within its covers. The stories include: The Straw Millionaire, The Contest, The Bouncing Rice Ball, The Monkey's Statue, Little One Inch Boy and Tail Fishing. Each one of them has a short introduction before the story begins. The stories feature things like not being greedy, how to gain happiness and how cruelty never pays. Each story is very well written. They are funny and have very good themes.

Even if this book by Keisuke Nishimoto was written for the audience of ages 4-8 and I am older than that. I still enjoyed reading the stories and somewhat getting a glimpse into Japanese culture and humor. The illustrations are in watercolor and really add delight to the stories. Take a trip to Japan by reading this book!

The Ghost in Allie's Pool

Title:"The Ghost in Allie's Pool"
Author: Sari Bodi
Published by Brown Barn Book, 2007.
ISBN: 978-097681226-6-1.

Did your best friend ever abandon you to be one of the "in crowd?" Marissa and Allie have been best friends for many years. What makes Marissa prefer being with Crystal and Suzanne rather than Allie?

Allie has been researching the people who came over on the Mayflower for a project at school. She is positive that she has an ancestor who was aboard the Mayflower on its voyage to America. Marissa thinks Allie is obsessed with finding out more about her ancestry than being popular and accepted into "the group" before entering high school next year. Allie is surprised when she throws her friendship necklace into the pool and meets Dorothy May. Allie is the only one can talk to and see this ghost.

"The Ghost in Allie's Pool" by Sari Bodi is very intriguing. You find yourself hoping that the ghost can help the two friends make amends. This is a very imaginative story which is very hard to put down until you reach its last page. Talking to a ghost is like a fantasy but at least Allie gets some answers to the questions that are bugging here. Take a plunge and meet Allie and the ghost in her pool!

The Chicken Dance

Title: The Chicken Dance
Author: Jacques Couvillon
Published by Bloomsbury 07
Review written by my mom

How do you go from being an unknown in Horse Island to becoming famous? Its simple, win a chicken judging contest. The minimum age for entering the contest has been lowered to 11 this year. Don Schmidt sees this as his opportunity to become more known and make a difference in his normal ho-hum life. He rents all different kinds of books from the library and becomes a chicken "expert."

The chicken judging contest is only the beginning of the many changes in Don Schmidt's life. He lives with his Mother and Father, they don't want him to ever call them Mom and Dad. They are an unusual family who always eat TV dinners. Mother even surprises Father and Don when having a dinner party, but it is quite a hassle getting all the potatoes out of those foil trays. Don is caught looking at some papers in his parents room, and finds out that his real name is Stanley. Mother and Father are always talking about his sister Dawn who disappeared around the time that Don was born. Don is always living in her shadow. No mention of whether she is dead or was kidnapped intrigues Don so he decides to go search for her.

Don does such a great job at judging chickens that he is chosen to attend the regional chicken judging event in Baton Rouge. He learns from a dancer that Dawn has been seen dancing at a club in the same town. He enlists the help of one of his friends and the boys set out on the streets and find her. Its one discovery after another while on the trail of Dawn.

This is a very exciting book with its many twists and turns. There is a certain amount of mystery involved as well as an intriguing storyline with often times very humorous portions.
This is a must read for those tweens who enjoy a story where an ordinary boy makes himself known and sets his boring life on a more exciting track. This book would definitely be enjoyed by girls as well as boys. There will be portions where you will be cackling with laughter. You will never do 'the chicken dance" the same way again.