Fairest of All (Whatever After, #1) – Sarah Mlynowski

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Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Library
Published: 2012
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling, Magic, Adventure, Family, Humor


REVIEW:

This was a charming feminist retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for middle graders (or anyone who enjoys a story well told). Abby and her brother Jonah have found a magical mirror in their basement that can transport them from their mundane world to a fairytale one. Continue reading

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The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James – Ashley Herring Blake

37539698The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: March 26th, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+, Family Dynamics, Friendship, Love


REVIEW:

I have read and enjoyed everything else Ashley Herring Blake has written so of course I was beyond excited to dive into this copy. I am also so very happy this author is exploring LGBTQIA+ themes because her stories are realistic and important. Continue reading

Katt vs. Dogg – James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein

Katt vs. DoggKatt vs. Dogg by James Patterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: April 1st, 2019
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Adventure, Animals, Humor


REVIEW:

You know, I didn’t expect to actually learn meaningful information about cats and dogs from this fiction book, but that’s my fault for underestimating a middle grade story as well as the great James Patterson himself. For example, I had no idea cats could climb up trees easily but had difficulty climbing down them. Continue reading

No Fixed Address – Susin Nielsen

No Fixed AddressNo Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: September 11th, 2018
Publisher: Tundra Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Friendship, Family, Social Issues, Competition


REVIEW:

I admire the hell out of Susin Nielsen for tackling the topics she does. It isn’t easy to talk about controversial subjects like poverty and homelessness to a middle grade audience. And yet, Susin Nielsen tries… and, in my opinion, does a superb job of discussing them. Continue reading

The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher

The Christmasaurus
The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: October 23rd, 2018 for this edition
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Pacing: Fast
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Christmas, Fantasy, Family, Friendship, Bullying


BLURB:

Once upon a time–long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth–an egg rolled away from its mother and landed in the ocean, where it froze solid and stayed peacefully for thousands of years. Then one day Santa and his elves discover the frozen egg, and Santa sits on it to see if it will hatch. But he can’t guess what’s inside. . . . A dinosaur! Meanwhile, a young boy named William Trundle has only ever wished for one thing for Christmas: a dinosaur! So when Santa accidentally gives William the real Christmasaurus instead of a stuffed replica, it’s the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! Until an evil man known as the Hunter decides a dinosaur will be the perfect addition to his collection. Continue reading

Louisiana’s Way Home – Kate DiCamillo

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Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Road Trip, Friendship


BLURB:

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.) Continue reading

Front Desk – Kelly Yang

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Front Desk by Kelly Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Based on True Events, Family, Friendship, Immigration


BLURB:

Front Desk tells the story of 10-year-old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed! Continue reading