Reviews written by Mark Buxton

450 results - showing 1 - 15
1 2 3 4 5 ... »
Ordering
July 14, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Middle Grade Fiction
Accepting who you are

What worked: The whole story is contrary to what young readers might expect. Bram is a werewolf and he hopes the school will help him learn to become more villainy. Students are rewarded with detention and extra homework if they’re bad enough and Bram is upset when he’s...

July 13, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Save the school!

What worked: The story is narrated by Hazel Wong, vice president and secretary for the Wells & Wong Detective Society. Experienced readers may notice similarities to Watson’s role in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Hazel helps with investigations but this book is comprised of her journal entries documenting the...

July 10, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
Information is power

What worked: The most curious thing about this dystopian story is how paper has become so valuable. Juni and her best friend Doler frequently search old, crumbling buildings looking for paper, this is called plifting, and the opening chapter finds them in Harker’s Village, an off-limits area. The...

July 08, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
What could it hurt?

What worked: Some time travel books don’t deal with the paradox of how changes in the past might affect the future (What if you go back in time and your parents die?) but this book addresses the issue head-on with a twist. Readers know from the first page...

July 06, 2024 (Updated: July 06, 2024)
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
A kind heart and upset stomach

What worked: The main characters were created by Professor Erasmus but these Creations are adorable. Stitch Head is his first creation so he takes on the part of leader. He’s not always confident in what he’s doing but his heart’s always in the right place. Arabella was rescued...

July 04, 2024 (Updated: July 04, 2024)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Finally resolving hidden mysteries

What worked: The author helpfully recaps what is necessary so readers won’t feel like they’ve missed anything significant. Herbie arrived in Eerie-on-Sea without any memory of his past and that mystery has continued throughout the series. Sebastian Eels has been the ongoing antagonist and Herbie and Violet have...

July 01, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Indie
Honoring past cultures

What worked: This historical fiction opens with a message to readers and a prologue. These pages share the author’s purpose for the book and the results of background research. Surprisingly, she chose not to include most Monacan words because she felt she didn’t have the right to speak...

July 01, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Indie
The power of imagination

What worked: The book opens with the story of Ambrosia, The Lone Vigilante, as she faces off with ten nasty bandits. Readers quickly learn these pages are from a story being written by a seventh grader named Rose who never finishes what she writes. Rose lacks confidence in...

June 26, 2024
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
A funny, magical adventure

What worked: The story is told through the eyes of an unruly, feisty, self-centered pixie who’s been sent to the world of humans to atone for her dangerous antics. Pix will be exiled from the faery world if she messes up this chance for redemption. However, the threat...

June 25, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Which one are you?

What worked: This book is what results from talking to kids, being imaginative, and sprinkling in a good dose of hyperbole. Each page describes a different type of personality with characteristics depicted as superpowers. At first glance, some of the children sound very similar but the author finds...

June 24, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Indie
An eerie macabre tale

What worked: The author carefully crafts a mysterious plot as there are strange rumors about the Oxleas Wood outside of town. A fair once visited there and two people were killed in a tragic lightning strike. Nancy’s adoptive parents mention a ghost carriage and they secretly whisper about...

June 23, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
The grey line between good and evil

What worked: The most interesting part of the book is watching Keeper join a criminal organization called E.V.I.L. even though he’s not really an evil person. It turns out Chaos has been monitoring his development since birth due to Keeper’s family heritage. Keeper lives with his grandmother and...

June 18, 2024 (Updated: June 18, 2024)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Perseverance to help a friend

What worked: Darby, Naz, and Justin have grown very close in the first two books but things have changed this time. They helped the ghost of Mr. Usher resolve some problems within his family but then lost the ability to telepathically communicate with each other. Darby arrives this...

June 14, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Indie
Drama across time

What worked: Readers can immediately speculate about what’s to come when Charlie’s grandmother gives him a necklace with a magical stone attached. He has no idea what makes it so special and then he notices a dark shadow following him around town. This is all coupled with the...

June 14, 2024
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Middle Grade Fiction
The rise of Hitler Youth

What worked: This book is historical fiction focusing on a time period not often seen in books for young readers. Many middle-grade readers will know that Hitler took control of Germany and led them into World War ll. This story looks at his rise to power following Germany’s...

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