Reviews written by Mark Buxton

213 results - showing 1 - 15
1 2 3 4 5 ... »
Ordering
February 01, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Dylan's legend grows

What worked: Dylan is an American Cocker Spaniel although the story begins with Aidan purchasing the dog from a South Korean pet shop. Aidan is forced to give up Dylan so the dog finds himself flown across the ocean to live with Aidan’s mother and little brother Casey....

January 31, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Saving all the magic in the world

What worked: The author offers an interesting twist to a familiar plot. A wizard named Silas manipulates others in order to accumulate all of the magic for himself. Willow can’t understand why her parents now support Silas or why the mortal school is now accepting magical folk. It...

January 26, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Fighting the power of superstition

What worked: Peter is the brother of Marco Polo and the book includes Chinese cultural, historical, and geographical information from the late 13th century. The characters move across ancient China and traverse mountains and rivers in the country. The Mekong River’s rocks and rapids allow the characters to...

January 22, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Discover your inner strength

What worked: The author adeptly crafts a scary story through descriptive, sensory words and eerie situations. Evelyn, the main character, struggles with different forms of anxiety that may connect with young readers. Her parents disappeared four years ago so she’s fearful of ever being separated...

January 21, 2023
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Indie
Ghostbusting!

What worked: This book can be read very quickly due to the fast pace and having less than one hundred pages. Max and his parents are ghost hunters although they’ve never actually trapped one before. The descriptions of their equipment including a Spirit Containment Bag and Ghost Drinker...

January 19, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Uncovering the Family Secrets

What worked: The opening hook will grab young readers with its grossness. The scene finds young Garnet in the back seat of her mother’s car, regurgitating frogs into a bucket! The chapter goes on to reveal her mother’s reluctance, maybe outright defiance, to return to Crossroad House, the...

January 17, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Uniting unlikely allies

What worked: This book is the third in the series (I’ve not read the previous two) and it’s clear a lot has happened already. However, I don’t feel lost in the story and it’s easy to grasp what’s going on. A giant snake called Grandmother is amassing an...

January 14, 2023 (Updated: January 14, 2023)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Become who you're meant to be.

What worked: The author adds interest and helps expand the vocabulary of young readers through footnotes. Quincy, the main character and Angora Roux rabbit, uses some descriptive, mature words and the author provides additional context or meaning for them at the bottom of the pages. These footnotes are...

January 10, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Rescuing a small town from the new.

What worked: Three sixth-grade students form the “best kids” detective agency in the small, quiet town of Bellwood. They call themselves the One and Onlys. Shanks is the leader and the smallest kid in her grade and she’s assisted by Peephole (literally afraid of everything) and Paul (the...

January 10, 2023
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Breaking Stereotypes and Expectations

What worked: The story offers familiarity with twists of imagination to keep things fresh. Ella heads off for her first year at the Arcanum Training Institute with other Marvellers, although being a Conjuror is feared and misunderstood by others. Conjurors are in charge of the bridge between life...

January 08, 2023
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Is there a thief in the classroom?

What worked: This book shares a basic mystery for middle-elementary readers that is most appropriate for third or fourth grade. The main characters are in a third-grade class that’s going on a field trip to a planetarium when some things turn up missing. Two grandmothers bring space-decorated cookies...

January 04, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Finding your own inner strength

What worked: The history of slavery and bigotry are major parts of the plot as the ghosts arise from those times in the past. Eden encounters four ghosts in Everdark who each hail from different eras. The Witch of Everdark is most bitter as she had the brightest...

January 04, 2023
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
What does it mean to be human?

What worked: It’s quickly apparent there’s something different about the new teacher. All young readers can identify with encountering new teachers and the character in this book combines their common traits. He’s handsome and good-looking but he never smiles. He knows about everything but doesn’t understand common figures...

January 01, 2023
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Caught between feuding goddesses

What worked: The story is based on Nigerian mythology, which is not the topic of many middle-grade novels. Nigerian geography and culture are included as Simi travels from Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria, to her grandmother’s tiny village in the jungle. The rutted, unpaved roads, dense trees,...

December 30, 2022
Overall rating
 
3.8
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Rescuing a family from its pet bunny!

What worked: It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read the “Bunnicula” novel but this graphic version seems to follow the gist of the plot. The bunny is discovered at a theater when the Monroe family visits to watch the movie “Dracula”. Combine bunny with Dracula and...

213 results - showing 1 - 15
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