Tag Archive: middle-grades



Tara and the Giant Queen: A Fantasy in Giant LandTara and the Giant Queen: A Fantasy in Giant Land by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you, Gita, V. Reddy for letting me read this book. As per our agreement, I am giving my honest review. Sorry it took so long to actually write this. I’ve been very busy and needed a bit of time to think about it.

This didn’t grab me. As I said above, it may be because of summer busy-ness. I just couldn’t get into the story. I found that I couldn’t relate to the main character or the giants. Yet I was constantly remembering BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I kept reading. I hoped that something would pull me in. Maybe bad timing for me to try?

I’d love for others to read this. Maybe if you aren’t reading using text-to-speech you become more part of the story? I don’t know. I will try again later sometime to see if it was just my ADD or circumstances.

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The Missing Girl: A Short Chapter BookThe Missing Girl: A Short Chapter Book by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love getting books from my favorite writers for review. It’s the best of both worlds. Getting to see their writing, getting to read new books.

Ms. Gita V. Reddy has created another fun story, mystery(?) for middle grades. I don’t want to give anything away here, but the story didn’t go the way I thought it would. But neither is it as scary as the title might imply. So go ahead and read it. It’s free right now on Amazon.

There is a bonus story in this book. If it wasn’t about a boy, I would have thought that Gita knew me in grade school. Yes, I was the talker that teachers moved around the room trying to find the person that would encourage silence in me. Nope. Didn’t happen. In fact, and I hate to admit this, even in college as a 40 something-year-old adult, even when I sat next to the teacher I found them interesting and willing to share conversation with me. Being social is a good thing and can teach you more than silence. On the other hand, as a teacher, I understand the disruption to the lesson plan. I did see that it can be useful for bringing up questions the class might have been afraid to bring up. I loved the kid of my heart in the second part of the book.

Both stories made for good reading before bed. You or your children might have fun with these, too.

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Animal Books: Hummingbirds: All About Hummingbirds, A Kids Introduction - Fun Facts & Pictures About the Smallest Birds: Children's Picture Book,Perfect for Bedtime & Young Readers, 6-12 Years OldAnimal Books: Hummingbirds: All About Hummingbirds, A Kids Introduction – Fun Facts & Pictures About the Smallest Birds: Children’s Picture Book,Perfect for Bedtime & Young Readers, 6-12 Years Old by Susan G. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun little book. I have to admit to not reading it word for word but rather a intense skimming. I think I wanted more photos of the little beauties. I had a hard time with the labels of each bird, not sure they lined up right. I think the label belonged to the previous picture. That is the problem of reading on Kindle. This might be a nice tree book for kids.

As for it being a bedtime read aloud–no. Much better for daytime when you can go out and look for your own hummers.

Once again, the pictures made it worth all those many words! I’d recommend it for middle grade readers. Homeschooled and younger readers or non-readers will still enjoy the book.

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Cyrus LongBones and the Curse of the Sea ZombieCyrus LongBones and the Curse of the Sea Zombie by Jeremy Mathiesen

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

You wnt boys to read? Keep the action going. Want girls to read it? I wouldn’t. The action is fine. But here’s the female line-up:
An abusive step mother
A zombie water witch
a girl-sister(?) who needed rescuing

It seems you want to grow heroes but don’t want them to be female. And don’t care to teach inclusiveness in any way.

Sorry. All that action was boring to me and I wouldn’t recommennd it to boys or girls for what it doesn’t teach.

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The Magician's Turban: A Short Chapter BookThe Magician’s Turban: A Short Chapter Book by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little chapter book for kids! For an adult, this was a quick read, but for children learning to read for themselves, this would be a fun book for them to read chapter by chapter. It would also make a fun little book to read aloud to your child.

I think if I would’ve read this to my children when they were young we would’ve all founded fun but a little scary. Because it’s never truly explained how the boys ended up inside the turban. I think explaining that part to my kids would’ve been difficult. I’m not sure. Maybe we would’ve taken it as ‘you don’t need to follow your curiosity all the time’. That it can be a bit dangerous to do so. But it does point out to use your brain and figure things out and by doing so the boys get free.

And why don’t girls get to go on adventures like this?

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Greenglass HouseGreenglass House by Kate Milford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please check out my friend, Cheryl’s, review on this book as it was what prompted me to go find this at my public e-library.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

That is by far a better-written review than I expect to write today. Fibro has me in its grips so I barely have a brain.

Even so, here are my thoughts. I loved that the parents were a part of this story and adventures still happened. I loved the mixture of very fantasy games and real (though fantasy) life. The book kept me wondering what was happening, what would happen next, how could they solve this or that problem. And I loved the vocabulary, invented or real there was a stretch for the reader to work on. I even had to stop the text-to-speech for a moment to highlight a word or two that were easily found in the online dictionary. (Oh, what a modern miracle that I don’t have to pick up a tome of a book to find a word that sends me on a dictionary search for hours! Online dictionaries start with the most logical definitions and don’t stop the story for long.)

I do want to warn the parents of the future readers to read this first themselves. I can see that an inn that is there for thieves and other not-so-law-abiding customers might not be the greatest of settings. And there is a bit of danger for the family involved that the young reader might need their own guidance understanding. For that, I might recommend late middle grades or young adult. But adults will find this a delight and just as exciting as a child reader.

Now I miss the characters and the story. It ended very nicely, yet I wish we could go back and visit again sometime. I couldn’t sleep after finishing last night. It left me wondering about how this author did that. How did she pull me in so thoroughly? Great writing!

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My Melancholic DiaryMy Melancholic Diary by Iva Kenaz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to thank my GoodReads friend, A.S. Johnson for recommending this treasure to me. She was right, I did love it!

Once I got the recommendation I found that I could get it through Kindle Unlimited so I set about getting it right away. I already had tons of books ahead of it on my ‘currently reading shelf’, but I got around to it finally. So glad I did!

Where was this book when I was growing up? Oh, yeah, the author probably wasn’t born yet. What a great way to learn how fanciful a diary could be! When I was a young teen I had one of those diaries that had a little lock on it. Why I needed a lock always made me laugh. I rarely wrote anything in it beyond “I breathed in and out today.”

That a person in grade school chose to stay the last year of grade school with her eccentric father in the countryside near Prague in the Czech Republic so that she and he could iron out their differences, shows the maturity of the main character, Lisa, who is 14 nearly 15. But the book is full of mature themes but not in a preachy way. I think there is so much depth in this book that anyone of any age would find something to glean from it.

Lisa, the diary writer, the main character, of course, has a romantic heart and the adolescent inadequate self-esteem. Not too different from most people her age, but when you are that age, you don’t realize that. In fact, I wonder how many people outgrow that?

So seeing Lisa’s musings of her life and loves didn’t feel far from most people I know. Except for the fictional character that becomes alive for her. At first, that is shocking in such a mature girl, but as you watch the rest of her life you see that this ghost from another book guides her as much as she guides him. It is the one relationship that is working for her. What a grand idea! We should all have our own fictional hero/heroine who can speak to us while we write out the character’s destiny. Oh, yeah, we who write do just that! That is if we are writing daily. Gulp. We should be writing daily. Note to self…

Anyway, I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think even males will like it.

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Black BeautyBlack Beauty by Anna Sewell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I did go through that phase as a pre-teen, when I read every book about horses possible. Black Beauty was an important part of that literary diet. I loved it then. But how would that translate to my old-lady brain? It was better!

The Amazon page says it is for kids 9-12. That may have been so a generation ago, but now the vocabulary and historical references don’t play out quite as well. In a well-structured class program, it could be a great lesson plan anchor to cover history, equines, medicine, weather and many other subject-matter for an all inclusive study. The best is the lessons of kindness. This is a lesson that covers all generations and all religions or philosophies. And we here it all from the horse’s mouth. Animals understand kindness.

Peter Batchelor was the narrator in this version of the story. I was lucky to pick up the Kindle version from Kindle Unlimited and for a tiny fee I got the Whispersync Audible narration. He did a marvelous job bringing all the characters to life. I highly recommend that everyone read this classic!

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