Reviews written by Mark Buxton

37 results - showing 1 - 15
1 2 3
Ordering
January 20, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Fighting for Family

What worked: The story is set in a world with superheroes and supervillains. It explains where they come from, their place in history, and how comic books help with covering the truth. They come with a variety of powers, although something is different about a newly discovered villain....

January 19, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Brotherly love

What worked: Amari is an underdog character, as the book opens with her being kicked out of a private school. Her scholarship is revoked when the parents of more-privileged bullies complain about her not belonging. Then, at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she discovers her body possesses 100%...

January 12, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
The clash between Summer and Winter.

What worked: The familiarity of the format makes it easy to follow, as Kelcie is whisked away to a secret school and discovers she has rare elemental powers. The students are divided into five houses that don’t always get along. Most classmates fear and mock Kelcie, so she’s an...

January 02, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Kids Fiction
Treasure is found where you least expect it.

What worked: The author successfully describes Harriet’s conflicted feelings about a new baby joining the family. She has nightmares and sometimes wets the bed. These strong emotions are common for young readers and should help them connect with the story. Harriet feels anger toward her parents for the...

December 30, 2021
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Kids Fiction
The innocent must be protected from evil.

What worked: Many young readers love horses, and unicorns are even better! The spelling in the book’s title refers to unicorns that have lost their horns, and that creates the backdrop of the story. Mae’s mom had a veterinary practice on an old farm, and Mae now helps tend...

December 29, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
How do you find something you don’t know is missing?

What worked: The plot creates mystery from the beginning to get readers thinking and wondering. Vera’s brother disappears while helping her make dinner, but the mysterious part is no one realizes he’s gone. No one remembers he even existed, although Vera has a nagging feeling that something’s missing in...

December 28, 2021
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Kids Fiction
Birth of a vengeful monster.

What worked: The concept of the Dark Beast is intriguing, as a boy is overcome by embarrassment and anger to become a dangerously magical fiend. The transformation of his personality is rather abrupt and hard to believe, but the beast he becomes is ruthless. The beast is a contradiction...

December 23, 2021
Overall rating
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Revenge of the Vegetables!

What worked: The book is modestly spooky, so it’s a good introduction to ghost stories. The concept of lima beans being able to change people into mindless, slobbering zombies is silly, but the author is still able to create an air of eeriness. The problem begins on page one...

December 22, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Friendship can survive the hard times.

What worked: The author includes a good deal of information about the Chinese culture, especially when the family returns there for a vacation. Food is the most common cultural topic, but homes, jobs, and language are blended in with the story too. Mia contrasts how things have changed since...

December 21, 2021
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
There is more bravery in us than we imagine.

What worked: The author manages to create subtle doubt as the plot develops. Readers use clues to determine which characters are good and which ones are bad, and this book doesn’t make things obvious. Marco’s mom needs medical help, and he’s feeling tremendous guilt for her condition and his...

December 17, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Advice can be dangerous.

What worked: Having Max seek advice from a supervillain named Master Plan, or Maximo, is a unique twist for a book about a troubled sixth grader. Max’s two main issues stem from being overweight and consequently being bullied at school. Surprisingly, Master Plan’s emails from prison show compassion...

December 14, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
How can good people be cruel to others?

What worked: The author says she needed a way to heal her soul after the nastiness and cruelty that grew from a recent presidency. This book tells the story of how simple acts of kindness can spread, as others pass good feelings on to their neighbors. However, in order...

December 13, 2021
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Kids Fiction
Save the trees or save the town?

What worked: The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the whole world, and this book addresses it head-on. The mother of middle-grade twins, Nicky and Josie, dies from the virus, so the father moves them to live with relatives in Alaska. The family falls into the middle of a contentious debate...

December 11, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
The final confrontation between archrivals.

What worked: The format is very similar to Artemis Fowl books, so fans of that series should readily enjoy this book too. The intelligence of Myles rivals his older brother, and he frequently informs readers that he’s actually the smartest Fowl. His twin brother Beckett is more physically gifted...

December 06, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
The search for the cipher nears its end.

What worked: Cruz is focused on figuring out a cryptic message left by his deceased mother that will lead him to the seventh piece of a stone cipher. The completed cipher will reveal the recipe for a serum that will change the future of medicine and health all over...

37 results - showing 1 - 15
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