Reviews written by Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer

1578 results - showing 1 - 15
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October 04, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.7
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
5.0
Greatest Art Heist

Perhaps the Gardner Museum, with its deliberately placed, valuable artwork, should have hired professional security guards to watch over the largest privately held collection of art, but in 1990, it must not have seemed that important. After all, they had a new computerized security system, and a well regulated procedural...

October 04, 2022
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Middle Grade Fever Dream

Griffin Birch isn't a huge fan of school, and refers to his classroom as the "Torture Chamber", where his fifth grade teacher demands that the children not look out the window at the playground. It's hard not to, especially when a weird black slide appears there. It looks like it...

October 04, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Sports and Social Justice Themes

Tony lives in Oasis Springs, a housing complex in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where many of the residents are Black and economically disadvantaged. His father works two jobs, and his mother is often indisposed, suffering from a condition that sounds like bipolar disorder. Tony loves to play basketball, and his best friend,...

October 04, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Scary stories within scary stories

**Spoilers if you haven't read Nightbooks.** In Nightbooks (which is brilliantly recapped in the first chapter), Alex and Yasmin escaped from the evil witch Natacha who was forcing Alex to write stories for her. Both children are dealing with their trauma in different ways, and...

October 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Murder Mystery for Tweens

Abbi and Skylar are best friends who want some excitement in their summer. On a blisteringly hot day, Skylar proposes biking three miles to the edge of town instead of the same old trip to the pool, mall, or library. It's only three miles, but takes a lot of effort,...

October 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Trouble... Right here in Ferrous City

Ethan lives in Ferrous City, in a close knit neighborhood. His father is looking for work, his mother is a nurse, and their small house is crowded with four boys. Ethan loves to tinker with electronics, so takes refuge in the attic, where he has his guinea pig, Nugget, as...

October 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Latine Take on Spy Thrillers

Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín, her parents, and her brother Carlos all work for the International Alternative Intelligence Consortium, better know as "the Factory". They aren't associated with any government, but work to help people of color. Their supervisor, Jerrold, wants to send Andréa and her mother on a mission. Kyle...

October 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Updated twist on B is For Betsy type books

Zara and her new friend Naomi, who moved into the neighborhood in Zara's Rules for Record Breaking Fun have ridden their bikes to the park, and while they are playing, someone steals Zara's brand new bike. Because she forgot to lock it up (she never locked up her old...

September 07, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Learning Value
 
4.0
A great workers' rights biography

The boycott of grapes in 1966, and the social activism at the time, is very interesting to see covered, and the Who Was books are something that my students ask for a lot because they've read them in elementary school. This graphic novel not only tells about Chavez's life, but...

September 07, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Learning Value
 
4.0
Midcentury Fashion Icon

Born in 1897, Edith Head grew up in Nevada and spent a lot of time dressing up animals, stuffed and otherwise! This was not an uncommon occupation for a young girl at the time, since sewing was a very useful skill, but in this case, it helped her to become...

September 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Off to the Mediterranean

Charlie evaded authorities in Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation and Charlie Thorne and the Lost City, and now feels that there are further clues to be found while she's wandering around the world with the Einstein's Pandora code lodged in her photgraphic memory. She's managed to break away even...

September 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Tank tops, tube socks, and the mob

Joey loves spending his summers at his Bubbe and Zeyde's St. Bonaventure hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The hotel has been around for fifty years, since the 1920s, so is a bit worn out, but is a bustling destination for Jewish tourists to the area. Joey and his parents...

September 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
The world is too much with us

Haven lives in a small town with her brother Carter, who is a high school freshman, her mother, who runs a preschool, and her father, who has just gone back to work at Gemba, a new glass factory, after being out of work for over two years. Haven struggles with...

September 01, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Great addition to a classic series

In this early leveled reader based off the original 1955 Harry the Dirty Dog, we find Harry living happily with his boy and girl, but having a small problem. There is a squirrel in the year constantly doing bad things for which Harry is blamed! Harry tries desperately to alert...

August 31, 2022
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
It's Christmastime at Lakeview Academy

After her transition to her new private school because of a basketball scholarship, Pippa finds herself a bit adrift at Christmastime when she finds that her mother, who was in a very bad car accident in South Korea at the end of the first book, will not be able to...

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