Title: Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome
Authors: Brad Montague and Robby Novak
Reviewed by: Isaac R.R., Grade 4
Guide to Being AWESOME has Kid President's ideas for how to make the world a better place. One example of being awesome is to share! Other ways to be awesome is to put tape on your nose (it's a great conversation starter), and also asking questions is awesome!
The advice I would like to take is the one that says talk better! In the book Kid President says "talk gooder" but that's not a word! But what do you expect? He's a kid!
If you are not familiar with Kid President, take a look at his video "Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and Students." For more information, visit his website.
Title: Jedi Academy: the Phantom Bully
Author: Jeffrey Brown
Illustrator: Jeffrey Brown
Genre: Graphic Novel
Reviewed by: Isaac R., Grade 4
A kid named Roan goes to a Jedi school and a bully always gets him into trouble and he doesn't know who it is. The main message is that life is full of problems and you have to face them.
The setting is Jedi academy year three and there are scenes in the labyrinth, the obstacle course, and the talent show.
Roan is a kid who always has troubles and good friends. He changes by going from weak to strong and he learns not to use anger. Roan doesn't remind me of any one I know.
There are many illustrations, and they help tell the story. (Its half comic.) They affected me by letting me see what was happening.
I would recommend it because it is a very funny book and also shows a Star Wars kid. I liked that it was funny, and he had a lot of problems. I didn't like that sometimes his friends got upset with him. I think a funny fiction reader would enjoy this book
Title: My Life as a Cartoonist
Author: Janice Tashjian
Illustrator: Jake Tashjian
Reviewed by: Nikolas, Grade 4
This book is about a boy named Derek who has a monkey named Frank. Derek likes to draw cartoons. One day at his school, a new kid named Umberto comes. Umberto eggs Derek on to a fight and both boys get detention for a week. At first the boys don't get along, but in detention they have to do a comic strip together in a week or else they get detention extended for another week. They manage to get it in before the deadline, and they also become best friends.
The setting is at Derek's house and it branches off to his mom's vet's office because she is a vet and takes care of animals. It takes place at the school. It also takes place at a dog park where Umberto saves the day and it takes place at the ocean where Derek puts a smile on Umberto's face.
Derek is a confident boy. Even though stuff is hard he gets through it. Derek wants to train his monkey for Umberto but at the end, Umberto says he doesn't really need a monkey in his house. Derek reminds me of Snoopy because Snoopy fights through all sorts of things and gets a little frustrated like Derek. But Snoopy keeps on trying and goes away feeling proud when he succeeds.
There are cartoons in this book that mostly explain what some complicated words mean. Like for the word 'dissipate,' it shows a stick figure with pieces of him coming off of him like a mosaic. I like the illustrations, and once in a while there is a funny cartoon like the one in the beginning of the book. This comic is funny and is part of the story because it shows one of Derek's cartoons. It also gets you interested in the story.
I recommend this book to readers that like to read stuff about someone's life because it teaches you how times can be hard but you just have to fight through it. My favorite part was when Umberto got to get back on the ocean because his first time on the ocean was when he was a baby so I felt good for him that he got to go surfing again. Something surprising was at the end when Derek and Umberto became friends. This book is a series of "My Life" books and there is also My Life as a Book and My Life as a Stunt Boy.
Title: Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep
Author: Liz Kessler
Illustrator: Sarah Gibb
Reviewed by: Nikolas, Grade 4
This book is the second one about Emily Windsnap. It is not always clear who is telling the story because it is partly told by Emily Windsnap, the mermaid, and partly told by a girl named Mandy Rushtown who doesn't like Emily. When Emily is talking, the beginning of the chapter has a picture of the sea. When Mandy is talking, you see an M at the beginning with a little picture under it. In this story, there is also a monster named Kraken who is supposed to protect Allpoints Island. These three things come together because Kraken is trying to destroy a cruise ship and then captures Emily. Mandy sees when Emily is taken, and decides to try to save her. The main message is that you should like people who haven't done anything to you.
The story takes place at Allpoints Island and all around the Bermuda Triangle. On Allpoints Island, merfolk and humans live together. There are the Grand Caves where Neptune comes. There is the mermaid school where you learn about fish and which ones are bad. There are the Emerald Caves and a beautiful lagoon. There is also Kraken's cave where they awake the Kracken.
Mandy Rushton is a mean girl at first, but then she learns that it's not fun to be mean. Mandy does not start at Allpoints Island. She starts on a cruise ship that is sucked into the Bermuda Triangle and is off course. At the end, she gets to be friends with Emily because she realizes that Emily has not done anything to her and so that she could give being nice a try.
I recommend this book because it is a good story and it is adventurous and mysterious. Sometimes I was surprised, and sometimes it was exciting. The most interesting part was when the water turns glassy at the Bermuda Triangle and then the Kraken comes out. It was interesting because I never thought that water would become still before a monster came out. I would have thought that it would have been all choppy, like when Neptune comes in! I think that this book is a fraction better than The Tail of Emily Windsnap which is the first book because it has more excitement to it.
Title: The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Author: Liz Kessler
Illustrator: Sarah Gibb
Reviewed by: Nikolas, Grade 4
The Tail of Emily Windsnap, by Liz Kessler, is about a girl named Emily who goes to a regular middle school. When she takes swimming lessons, she thinks she has a cramp. She goes swimming again in the night to figure out what happened, and she discovers that she is a mermaid. Emily finds another mermaid named Shona and they become fast friends! This is the first of lots of secrets to unleash!
There are two settings. First the book starts where Emily is living on a boat that is docked at an island in a harbor. It is an ordinary town. It has a school, and houses, and a lots of shops, and an arcade, and a lighthouse. The other setting is out in the ocean. Emily disccovers that there are a lot of mermaids there who live in houses and have schools!
In the beginning, Emily is a regular person who is bullied by a girl named Mandy. Mandy sneers at her and steals her friends. When they were little Mandy told her how to get free games at the Pin Wizard game at the arcade that her family runs. When Emily told on her, Mandy got mad and started doing bad stuff to her. Emily changes because Mandy has been doing all this bad stuff for years, and she learns to be strong and ignore it because she finds lots of mermaid friends.
The illustrations are nice. There are little pictures of ships and sea life in each chapter. There are also bigger pictures at the start of each chapter. They are in ink print which I think is pretty interesting because they are dark and it's like there is light behind it.
I would really recommend this book because it is really good. The characters have a lot of adventures. There is a really good lesson about how you figure out who you are. I found it interesting that Emily became a mermaid. The book had so many secrets to hide in it, and I just wanted to find out what those secrets were!
Title: Fortunately, The Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Reviewed by: Nikolas, grade 3
Fortunately, The Milk, by Neil Gaiman, is a book about a man who is out and he has a bottle of milk. All of a sudden a space ship comes over and he gets sucked up in it. In the space ship, there are aliens who want to redecorate earth. The man sees a door, and when he goes through it he falls into a pirate ship. The pirates want to attack him, and he asks if he can walk the plank instead. When he’s about to walk the plank, a rope ladder appears out of nowhere and a voice says, “Climb up!” At the top of the ladder is a stegosaurus, and the adventures continue. The main message is that you should be careful with milk because it can cause extraordinary adventures!
The book takes place everywhere and in many different times. There is time travel in the book, and the question is if we are actually living in the present or if we are living in the future. That makes sense because if you think about it, the actual present is always turning into the past and we are always moving into the future!
The man with the milk is the father in the story. He has long straight curl-on-the-top hair. He likes to lie and mess with people’s minds. He is kind of brave. He tells his kids about his amazing adventure.
The illustrations, by Skottie Young, were sometimes helpful because when the book mentioned ‘wumpires,’ I could see they were like vampires in the pictures. There were picture pages and also pictures on the story pages.
I recommend this book to readers who like to have fun reading. I loved this book so much because it is so adventurous and the stories are so cool. I could imagine it all happening as I went back and forth through time. It’s all because of milk, a dad, and a stegosaurus... and that’s funny!
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Reviewed by: Nikolas C., Grade 3
This story is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats which is Stanley Yelnats spelled backwards! Stanley gets in trouble because shoes fall from the sky, and he picks them up and starts running. A police officer saw the shoes and it turned out that they were the stinky sneakers of Clyde Livingston, a famous baseball player. As punishment, Stanley gets sent to Camp Green Lake which used to have the biggest lake in Texas but now it doesn’t have a lake and isn’t green and isn’t really a camp. It is a bad camp to build character where you have to dig holes that are five feet deep and five feet wide every single day. Would you like to go to a camp like this? I don’t think I would.
There is a second story in this book about Stanley Yelnats’ great great grandfather named Elya and Madame Zeroni. Elya was in love with a girl and wanted to marry her but there was a pig growing competition to see who would marry her. Madame Zeroni told Elya to carry the pig up the mountain every day, and on the last day he should carry her up the mountain and let her drink from the stream. Elya did this and became strong and had a great pig, but he learned that the girl didn’t really love him. He decided to go to America and he forgot to carry Madame Zeroni up the mountain and so she put a curse on him and the ever since then the Yelnats family has had bad luck.
There is also another story in the book that took place one hundred years ago. There was a lady named Kate Barlow that made the best peaches in town. She was a teacher and everything was great until she fell in love with Onion Man Sam. Kate becomes an outlaw and robs lots of people around Green Lake.
The main character is Stanley Yelnats. He is nice, thoughtful and meaningful. He was not a bad kid, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time so he got arrested. At Camp Green Lake he had a really nice friendship with a boy named Zero. Together they escaped the camp and figured out a way to survive.
I like this book and I think you would like it too because it is a very good explanation of something that looks bad but in the end works out well. I really recommend this book because it is fun and adventurous. At the beginning it doesn’t make sense, but in the end all these stories come together and you understand it more. My favorite part was the end because I was so amazed that I didn’t see all the connections from the very beginning. I was surprised and happy!
Title: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by: Roald Dahl
Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
Reviewed by: Shyam K., Grade 3
The book is about a boy, named Charlie, who wins a trip to a magical land called the Chocolate Factory. Once he is there, he has many wonderful and fantastic adventures. The message is about peace, unity and cooperation, and not being greedy.
The setting in which Charlie lives is a very poor house, with his poor family. He wins a prize to come to a great chocolate factory owned by Willie Wonka. The fact that Charlie is poor is important, because the other children who win the prize are very rich, spoiled brats.
Charlie is the main character of the book. Because he comes from a very poor background, he is not spoiled, like the other children. He listens to Mr. Wonka, is kind and caring, and does not abuse the privileges that Mr. Wonka gives him.
I liked the illustrations and they help to keep me interested in the story.
I would recommend this book highly to other readers, as it is a fun, wonderful story, full of magical adventures.
Title: Home on the Range
Written by: Lucy Nolan
Illustrated by: Mike Reed
Reviewed by: Lucas V., Grade 4
This book is about dogs who get loose and get into food carts and have ridiculous names like "sit" and other tricks. They get lost and the coyotes come after them. But then the owners come and get them. The dogs have fun adventures. They are only gone for one day!
The whole story takes place in the desert. It's dusty, bright, and hot with lots of sand, strong winds and cactus.
The main characters are "Down Girl" and "Sit". They also meet another dog named "Git". Down Girl and Sit like to chase squirrels like normal dogs. But Git is a farm dog who heards cows and takes care of the farm.
The pictures help tell the story. They help to show a bull or a stampede. They were nice.
Title: Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair
Written by: Wendy Mass
Genre: fiction, fairy tale
Reviewed by: Sheridan K., Grade 4
A witch imprisons Rapunzel in a tower on her birthday. The witch makes the cook put magical herbs in Rapunzel's food and it makes her hair grow. A prince named Benjamin tries to rescue her. He gets into a lot of adventures and trouble with his cousin, Elkin.
This book is organized in an interesting way because the chapters alternate between telling Rapunzel and Benjamin's separate stories. The twist is how their two stories come together in the end.
The message of this book is to never give up, which is similar to the other books I've read this summer. The story is mostly set in the tower and in the woods. It seems like it's a long time ago because, for example, they travel in carriages on dirt roads.
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