Book Reviews by Jonny

     Hannah and the Hobgoblins is a terrific book by Deborah Dolan Hunt that puts a positive spin on witches. It’s about Hannah Drew, who lives in Salem, Massachusetts. She thinks she’s growing up in a normal, traditional family, and she’s excited to be celebrating her 12th birthday on October 29th and 30th with friends and family at a Halloween-themed sleepover party. Trouble starts to find her when her Aunt Agatha sends her a Connemara Witches book that is an ancient family heirloom.

     Roger Tarkington and the Magic Calendar: Surviving Middle School is the second book in the Middle Grade Time Travel series by I.M. Maynard. It’s a great mystery and adventure with all of the same funny middle school antics that appear in the first book. Many of the kids and staff are honest and friendly but a few still gang up on each other. When Roger is assigned to read Robin Hood for class, he decides he could be “Roger Hood” by using his magic time travel calendar to help others any way he can.

     Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism by Tom Durwood is informative and interesting to read. It begins by briefly defining children’s literature, kid lit for short, and highlights its history. It covers coming-of-age resources well, so plans for future editions include adding information about picture books and some international literature too. The book is divided into three sections. The first clearly summarizes concepts such as identity, gender, social class, trauma, and war as they relate to literary criticism.

     My Homework Ate the Dog by Derek Taylor Kent is a terrific story about 11 year old Rudy Berkman, who decides to light off a rocket he made out of boxes and accidently catches his house on fire. Since he’s gotten into trouble before, his parents think attending Danville Reformatory School will help, so they all move to Danville. It’s no accident that rearranging the town’s letters backwards spells out Evil Land. Right away, Rudy notices the town’s people seem too friendly, and the kids act like robots.

     The City that Barks and Roars by J.T. Bird is a fantastic mystery about animals that live in a huge community called Noah’s Kingdom. The book focuses on who they all are and how they live together on the right and wrong sides of the law. Each one has a special personality with strengths and weaknesses like real people do. Much of the story’s action-packed suspense revolves around the police department trying to find a missing panda detective named Lucas and three suspicious beaver brothers from The Swamp.

Kids Get Rich: Teaching Children the Secrets to Wealth and Success by Gina and George Plytas is a well-written, easy to read handbook for how to effectively manage money. It references some statistics about the typical use of money in Canada, but the information it discusses for achieving financial independence is relevant no matter where readers live. The book has a neat layout and is clearly organized into six simple steps. It covers the basics about budgeting, spending, credit, saving, investing, and giving in a friendly, upbeat way.


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Beantown Archie at Halloween