Review: Redworld

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Title: Redworld
Author: A.L. Collins
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Belle Song and her family are aliens on a new world. The Songs came to Mars to seek a new life, but living on the red planet isn’t easy. The land is rough. The people are strange. The weather is unpredictable, and water is always in short supply. However, adventure is never far away. Belle adapts to her new life on Mars, faces dangerous Water Raiders, explores wondrous ancient sites, and has other amazing adventures on Redworld. From the rich imagination of author A.L. Collins comes a fantastic sci-fi western story of growing up on the Martian plains.

Review:

This was a unique middle grade story about life on Mars.

While I was reading this story, I was reminded of the book The Martian. That’s the only book I’ve read that is set on another planet. However, in this story, Mars has already been colonized and humans have lived there for many years.

It was interesting to see the different alien races that also lived on Mars. The segregation between the aliens was a lot like race segregation in the real world. Belle’s friend, Ta’al is of the Nubian race. She has to go through separate entrances, and she is completely ignored by everyone else at school. Belle questions why this is, which demonstrates that she is an intelligent girl.

This book is separated into four parts. Each of these parts was originally published as a separate book. This is a little confusing at first, because the characters are reintroduced at the beginning of each part. My least favourite part was the first one. It was an introduction to the characters and setting, but I found it anticlimactic. The following parts had more solid storylines with lots of tension, so I enjoyed them more.

This book is great for kids who are interested in life in space.

Review: DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster!

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Title: DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster!
Author: Shea Fontana
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Entertainment
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the highly successful multimedia pop culture property comes DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: DATE WITH DISASTER!, starring one of its most popular characters, Batgirl.

Catwoman is out alone on the prowl one night when KABOOM–an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs rouses the other girls from their slumber. Star students Batgirl and Lois Lane both know the lab incident is fishy, and they meet later to share clues. But nothing could’ve prepared Batgirl for what they see next–Batgirl’s dad on a date!

Batgirl is grossed out until her friends convince her Dads get lonely, too. And with the school dance coming up and everyone pairing off–heck, even Principal Waller has a date with a guy named Deadshot–maybe it’ll be okay just this once. The girls place a personal ad for Commissioner Gordon while they delve deeper into the mystery surrounding the explosion, but they’re about to discover more than who is behind the attack on S.T.A.R. Labs. Could it be that posting an ad looking for dates for the commissioner is like advertising catnip for criminals?

DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: DATE WITH DISASTER! continues to develop the relationships forged in DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: FINALS CRISIS, HITS AND MYTHS, SUMMER OLYMPUS, PAST TIMES AT SUPER HERO HIGH and OUT OF THE BOTTLE. Written by Shea Fontana, this Batgirl-centric story is perfect for girls ages 6-12.

Review:

This is another great story about the DC Super Hero Girls!

One of the great things about this book is that it featured some non-superhero characters along with the Super Hero Girls. Lois Lane and Commissioner Gordon played an important part in this story. They don’t have super powers so they had to use their intelligence to help the Super Hero Girls.

I love how the Super Hero Girls are a younger version of their adult counterparts. My favourite is Harley Quinn, and she’s so funny in this story. When everyone gets the alert on their alarm to wake up and get to work, most of the girls get up, but Harley whacks her alarm with her mallet and goes back to sleep. She brings a lot of humour to this story.

I loved this book! It’s great DC Super Hero Girls fans of all ages.

Review: Harry Moon: Snow Day

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Title: Harry Moon: Snow Day
Author: Mark Andrew Poe
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Rabbit Publishers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Kligore’s halloween alarm fails to awaken him so that he can cast his daily early morning spell over Sleepy Hollow. Harry and his friends awaken to three feet of freshly fallen snow as winter punches through Halloween for one wonderful moment. Sleepy Hollow Middle School’s very first SNOW DAY! The Good Mischief Team has a whole day to figure out what to do with a glorious, magnificent, juicy twenty-four hours, a gift courtesy of Mayor Maximus Kligore.

Review:

This is another great middle grade story about the Moon children.

I love the “moon” refererences in the children names: Honey Moon and Harvest Moon. They are so cute.

The mayor is quite a villain in this story. He doesn’t cast a spell to prevent snow from coming to Sleepy Hollow, so it snows there the next day. I can’t imagine a town without snow, or a spell that can prevent snow from falling! We have had so much snow in Toronto already, and it’s only January so we have a few more months of snow to go!

This is a good twist on the snow day story. Most kids are always wishing for a snow day so they can be off school, but the kids in Sleepy Hollow had never had a snow day before so it was an extra special occasion.

This is a great winter story for kids!

Review: Fairy Mom and Me

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Title: Fairy Mom and Me
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series and our YA Finding Audrey, comes the first of a duology for young readers about a girl learning to become a fairy from her imperfect fairy mom, with a tech twist.

Ella Brook can’t wait to grow up, because one day she will become a fairy and have her own sparkly wings and a teacher on Fairy Tube, just like her mom! Until then, Ella has to learn by watching her mom in action. But sometimes spells go wrong, and Ella’s mom can never seem to remember the right magic codes. A lot of the time, it’s up to Ella to come to the rescue. Does she have what it takes to be a fairy one day? Or will there be more glitches than glitter?

Review:

When I saw that Sophie Kinsella had written a middle grade novel, I knew I had to read it!

This is such a cute story. Ella has to deal with regular kid stuff, like the mean girl next door, as well as fairy magic. Ella is a mature and smart girl who can often solve the messes that her mother makes with her fairy magic.

This story would be great for parents and children to read together. It’s quite funny. All of the spells end in “idoo” such as “cupcakeridoo” and “fixeridoo.” These funny, made up words would appeal to kids. Ella’s mom uses a fairy phone, like a smartphone, to cast her spells. However Ella’s grandmother still uses an old fashioned wand. Adults could relate to that since older generations often don’t want to adapt to new technology.

The pictures in the book would also appeal to kids. When I read with the children I look after, they are always looking for pictures in books. The pictures were also funny because they often depicted the spells that Ella’s mom had messed up.

I enjoyed this story. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the duology.

Review: Claudia and Mean Janine (Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novel #4)

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Title: Claudia and Mean Janine
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Graphix
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

This graphic novel adapted by Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, is now available in full color!

Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her artwork and The Baby-sitters Club than her homework, feels like she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, gets straight As, and even takes college-level courses! But when something unexpected happens to the most beloved person in their family, will the sisters be able to put aside their differences?

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and charm of the original novel!

Review:

I am loving the new Baby Sitters Club series! This is the fourth book, and like the others, it stays true to the original novels.

In this story, the girls have to deal with family issues. Claudia has to learn to get along with her sister, because she’s the only sister she has. They come together over their grandmother’s health problems.

I love how each of the Baby Sitters Club books demonstrate something that young girls have to face in their lives, while also working on their baby sitting jobs. The girls all feel for Claudia’s problems with her sister because they all love her grandmother and feel close to Claudia’s family.

I’m so sad that Raina is no longer going to illustrate these graphic novels. I hope the next artist can live up to Raina’s work!

Review: Harry Moon: Harry’s Christmas Carol

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Title: Harry Moon: Harry’s Christmas Carol
Author: Mark Andrew Poe
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Rabbit Publishers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

While everyone is singing cheerful Christmas carols, Harry Moon and the Good Mischief Team march to a different song–Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. With their swords of light, the team battles against the Fouling Curse threatening Harry’s magic teacher, Samson Dupree, and the Sleepy Hollow Magic Shoppe. As evil armies of toys rise up, Harry must leave the sword behind to find a more powerful means to take down the darkness threatening Sleepy Hollow’s entire world.

Review:

This is a great middle grade Christmas story.

The mayor of the Halloween town of Sleepy Hollow doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas. He fills the town with Halloween parodies of Christmas carols. One is “Jingle bells, Santa smells, A hundred miles away.” Another is “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, Had a very bloody nose.” I can imagine kids singing these parodies after reading this book!

The whole story is a Christmas Carol. The chapters are called verses, so they seem to be part of a song. At the end, Harry sings his own Christmas carol too.

This story shows the power of Christmas magic. Harry and his friends use Harry’s magic to rescue his friend Samson. But the real Christmas spirit didn’t come from magic. Harry and his new friend Thor find a way to give the town a Christmas celebration.

I really liked this book. It’s a great Christmas story!

Review: The Enchanted World of Honey Moon: A Scary Little Christmas

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Title: The Enchanted World of Honey Moon: A Scary Little Christmas
Author: Sofi Benitez
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Rabbit Publishers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Honey Moon has had it with the scary stuff, at least for Christmas. She wants Sleepy Hollow to celebrate her favorite holiday like normal people. Honey and her friends, Becky, Claire and Isabela, have one chance to take the holiday back, but it means solving a decade old mystery and ringing some bells. YIKES!

Review:

Honey’s hometown is called Sleepy Hollow. It isn’t the famous Sleepy Hollow, though the mayor likes to pretend it is. This means that instead of Christmas, he planned a Halloween festival for the town.

This story reminded me of A Nightmare Before Christmas. The town only celebrates Halloween, like the town in that movie. Honey wants to celebrate Christmas, just like Jack did in the movie.

Honey was a brave and smart character. She’s so smart that she volunteers to help an eighth grader with his essay (Honey is in fifth grade). She also took it upon herself to search for the town’s church bells so she could ring them on Christmas Eve. That was brave of her since everyone else in the town wanted to celebrate Halloween.

This is a great Christmas story for middle grade readers. It teaches you to stand up for what you believe in, even when everyone else wants something different.