Reviews written by Mark Buxton

160 results - showing 1 - 15
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Ordering
September 30, 2022
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: Family dynamics is an underlying story as Rose and Neve try to adjust to their parents’ separation. The sisters are almost inseparable even though Neve is almost a year younger and their parents think they should become more independent. Ruby’s outspokenness balances Neve’s quiet while Neve...

September 29, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
An Unlikely Alliance to Save the Dinosaurs

What worked: I don’t think I’ve ever read a middle-grade book featuring dinosaurs as all of the characters. Scientists believe a giant meteor may have struck the earth, drastically altering the climate, and killing all of the dinosaurs. This book presents is an alternate reality where the meteor...

September 23, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Finding your own inner strength

What worked: Tommy is absorbed in everything related to the Order of Cosmic Champions just as many young readers become obsessed with their different interests. He’s read all of the comics, collected the action figures, and watched all of the shows starring various superheroes and supervillains. Tommy is...

September 22, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
4.0
An Island's Battle For Survival

What worked: The idea of preserving natural ecosystems is compelling and Isle Royale offers a mostly closed system that’s perfect for studying. The presence of humans wiped out all but two wolves on the island so efforts are being made to restore the natural balance. The author introduces...

September 22, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Middle Grade Fiction
Unlikely friends stick together

What worked: The author takes the time to establish a backstory, something readers don’t always see in graphic novels. The town was once a haven for witches escaping persecution but it’s assumed they still performed evil spells once they arrived. The arrival of a mysterious bloodmobile only adds...

September 22, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
The Importance of Water

What worked: The Indian culture is featured in the story, especially the challenges of living within a caste system. Minni’s family is of a low caste and they live in a tiny shack with a leaky tin roof. Minni’s brother had to quit school after tenth grade and...

September 22, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Uncovering a Hidden Secret

What worked: The plot focuses on Betty, the middle sister between little Charlie and older sister Fliss. Betty loves maps and her insatiable curiosity is perfect for solving mysteries. The sisters are close and kind, although Betty sometimes wishes boys would notice her the way Fliss’s beauty attracts...

September 21, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Uncovering the Family Secrets

What worked: The most interesting character is the family’s “dog” named Nyx. It’s actually a Gabriel Hound and it strikes fear into all of the citizens of Falinnheim. Actually, Tuesday and Zed are unaware their family pet can burst into flames and attack anyone threatening the family until...

September 21, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
The blessing of new siblings

What worked: While not written in verse, the narrative has a poetic sound to it. The words ebb and flow as nine-year-old Jacob relates his experiences with having newborn triplet sisters. Short sentences and phrases are blended with longer ones to express his range of emotions as he...

September 21, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Breaking Stereotypes and Expectations

What worked: Mal is an archangel living in Hell and it’s assumed he’ll lead his squadron just like his parents. Mal’s not sure that’s the future he wants. Featuring fallen angels as the main characters is not something you see all the time, but these characters are fated...

September 21, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Fighting to follow your dreams

What worked: A huge part of the plot concerns the role of women in society. Frigg is a female dwarf in a culture where only males can become leaders or learn to fight. They’re expected to be domestic but Frigg hates the idea of cooking, sewing, and taking...

September 21, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Indie
The Secret History of an Iconic Painting

What worked: The author deftly paints pictures of France and captures its uniqueness as Daisy moves about Paris and other parts of the country. She’s able to understand most of the language spoken there and enjoys the variety of foods offered. Narrow streets near her aunt’s apartment twist...

September 21, 2022
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
An unlikely hero is discovered

What worked: The plot moves very quickly. The first chapter finds Kinsey, an ordinary kitchen maid, donning a cape, meeting a unicorn named Crimson, and defeating a river dragon. Crimson renames her Malin, meaning Little Warrior, and she begins her role as a young boy squiring with Sir...

September 10, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Becoming the person that makes you happy.

What worked: Young readers like the unusual and being contrary and this book flips social expectations upside down. Villain life can’t include any manners, compassion, or niceties and George’s own mother discourages these signs of weakness in him. Thank you’s, hugs, smiles, and laughs (unless they're evil cackles)...

September 07, 2022 (Updated: September 07, 2022)
Overall rating
 
3.8
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Middle Grade Fiction
Finding balance in a hectic life.

What worked: Compared to most graphic novels I’ve read, this book does pretty well in developing Olive’s character. The whole story is about her and the many different activities she takes on. Middle-grade readers may relate to her stress since that’s a time when many new clubs, sports,...

160 results - showing 1 - 15
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