Children's Book Week
Book Reviews 2008
For some students in Liberal, Children's Book Week means a wonderful opportunity to be showcased in the Times. Each year Memorial Library contacts young people recommended by their teachers to read William Allen White nominated books and write reviews, in hopes that their peers will find the reviews interesting and want to read the books as well.
The William Allen White Award nominating committee selects books in two age ranges-third through fifth and sixth through eighth. This award is determined solely by the vote of Kansas students. In order to qualify to vote, a youngster must read at least two books from either one of the lists. This award, made in honor of Emporia journalist William Allen White, was instituted in 1954.
Lots of great books were nominated for both lists this year. Here is a sampling of those books. Enjoy!
Title: Toys Go Out
Reviewed by: Rebecca Calderon
3rd grade - Lincoln Elementary
The book I read is called Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins. This story is about three toys: a buffalo named Lumphy, a stingray named Stingray, and a ball named Plastic who belonged to a little girl. In this story these three toys have a lot of adventures. This is the one that I like best.
One evening Stingray, who thought she knew everything, was talking about school books. Plastic took out an animal book and looked at the pictures of a stingray and a buffalo. It told about where they lived and what they ate. So next she looked up plastics. She couldn't find anything about it. Then she looked in the dictionary and found that plastics were artificial. When she looked up artificial, it gave the definition of fake. She didn't like what she found out because artificial didn't sound nice.
Plastic next went to the bathroom to talk to TukTuk, a towel, who saw a lot of people and knew about a lot of things. TukTuk told her that Plastic was only her name and she was a ball. TukTuk told her that balls bounce and roll, but have no arms and legs, fur, or even noses. Plastic agreed that she could do these things and didn't have the others. This made her very excited and she started rolling and bouncing all over the bathroom. She is very happy to finally know what she is and goes back to the bedroom.
I really liked this book because it's fun to imagine that toys can come to life and talk. If you like make-believe stories, this would be a very good book to read.
Title: Julia's Kitchen
Reviewed by: Ashley Johnson
5th grade - Cottonwood Intermediate School
Cara Segal was close to her mom. They baked cookies and challahs together. Cara helped her mom with her catering business. That life has now been turned upside down. While Cara was spending the night at a friend's house, her house caught fire from the oven.
Cara's little sister died in the fire, and so did her mom and the family cat, Sport. Only her dad survived the fire. Now dad is too stricken to talk and Cara's friend Marlee runs out of sympathy. Cara keeps asking God why the fire happened and why her mom and little sister died.
Cara now needs to try to move on with her life, but how can she? Read Julia's Kitchen and see what happens.
Reviewed by: Edgar Sandoval
6th grade - Sunflower Intermediate
My first impression of this novel is that it 'rocked'!
The storyline begins when two hyper boys go to their school library. They are caught playing "tag" in the reference section. Logan, one of the boys, soon realizes he has been cursed somehow, and attempts to figure out a way to break it. Professor Wordsworth, who works in the library, informs Logan of a way to break the curse. He must find 7 palindromes, 7 anagrams, and 7 oxymorons within three days.
The rest of the story made me feel bad because it ended too soon. I think a sequel would be a hit. The reading was fairly challenging and informative. I would highly recommend this book to everybody who's interested in wordplay and mysteries.
Title: Phineas L. MacGuire Erupts
Reviewed by: Dawson B. Whitaker
7th grade - Benton Academy Homeschool
Phineas L. MacGuire was first published in 2006. This story occurs in modern times. The story is told in first-person participant, the protagonist. There are two chief characters. They are Phineas L. MacGuire, whose nickname is Mac. He is 11 years old and lives with his mom and step dad. He loves science. The other chief character is Ben, who is actually called Mac R. and lives with his mom and is a great artist.
The story begins with Mac's best friend moving. A new boy moved to their school. His name is Mac R. Mac R said that he was smarter than everyone else. Mac R says that all girls are dumb, but another boy says that girls are much smarter than boys. A girl came and pointed her pencil at Mac R. and exclaimed that girls can do everything boys can do and better. Mac R. and Mac got chosen by their wacky teacher (who wears wacky clothes and keeps a jar full of rubber frogs on her desk) to do a science experiment together. Mac R. wanted to do an experiment on volcanoes, but Mac wanted to do it about mold. At the end of the story, they ended up doing what Mac R. wanted to do, but they forgot to bring the baking soda.
The book caused only a few emotions in me. I felt angry when Mac R. said that girls are stupid. I know that they are very smart. When Mac was talking about mold, I felt disgusted. I did learn something new about God as well in this book. I saw God's providential care when Mac and Mac R. became friends because Mac R. (Ben) needed a friend. I was also more aware of human nature when Agatha did not believe that Mac R. was changed. The characters in the story seemed believable. I could relate because they are almost my age. I especially like Mac because he was very smart. This story has an enduring theme because it talks about friendship and that winning is not everything.
This report is 'in' and I'm 'out', concludes Dawson Whitaker.
Reviewed by: Madison Butler
7th grade - West Middle School
Clementine is a very headstrong little girl who lives in the basement of the apartment her dad owns. She always seems to be in trouble with her teachers and never pays attention to what people say, but is always paying attention to everything around her. When she gets in trouble, it's always for little things.
To find out what she does to get herself in really big trouble, you'll have to read Clementine to find out. Have fun!
Title: All of the Above
Report By: Amanda Love
7th grade - South Middle School
All of the Above is a heartwarming story based on a true story. It was written by Shelly Pearsall. It talks about Professor Waclaw Sierpinski and how he studied math for years and lost everything in a fire. He managed to write over fifty books and over seven hundred research papers. His students were put into the Guinness Book of World Records. He proved that as long as you believe in yourself, dreams can come true.
Rhondell, a shy and quiet girl, has a dream that she can go to college by using big words such as 'epiphany', 'quiescent', and 'metamorphosis'. Her mom says it's okay to have big dreams, but you have to be lucky and very smart to go to college.
James is a person with a long background. His brother hangs out with the wrong crowd and James gets hurt. One should always pick the right friends so you don't get into dangerous situations.
Mr. Collins is a math teacher because of a tragedy earlier in his life. He thought math could help him get over his grief. Now he is also in the Guinness Book of World Records.
In school, you learn things you will need to know for the rest of your life. You think that it might be unimportant, but you find out the hard way that sometimes it is.
I like this book because it has a part you don't see coming and because the vocabulary is strong. I also like the way Rhondell and her family treat others. All of the Above shows that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.
Title: The Wright Three
Report By: Ananda Coleman
8th grade - Sherwood Academy
Reading is one of the best ways to spend a summer. One of the books I recommend for reading this summer is "The Wright Three," a William Allen White Award nominee, by Blue Balliet."The Wright Three" is an art-saving, spine chilling book that deals with important questions like the value of art and loyalty.
What makes art be art? What makes it qualify as a true masterpiece: something that should be protected and preserved? Can an entire house be a piece of art? These are questions everyone in Ms. Hussey's sixth grade class are wondering. Calder, Petra and Tommy are no exception.
Calder is determined to help Tommy and Petra become friends- after all, he knows them both well and they'd really make a great team together. However, Tommy and Petra are equally determined not to become friends. They want to be Calder's friend but as far as the other is concerned- it's a closed case.
When, the supposedly haunted Robie House designed by the late Frank Lloyd Wright is condemned to be chopped apart and sent to different museums around the world, Calder, Petra and Tommy as well as their teacher, the entire sixth grade class and most of the art-loving world are horrified: masterpieces should not be torn apart. And the Robie house is decidedly a work of art- it's symmetrical shape, art glass and an obvious flair of personality all qualify. Calder, Petra and Tommy unite- determined not to let this outrage go unnoticed, they protest against this awful decision and try their best to stop construction.
The three say they've put differences aside in order to save the house or have they truly decided? Tommy has his own dark secret. He's lied to keep it and for good reason (in his opinion) but, things are getting dangerous and he's not sure how long he can keep it up. Can he keep the secret and save the Robie house too? Secrets and lying to happen a lot between the three; how long can they work together like this? Strange things happen at the construction sight. Are they coincidental accidents and tricks of light or a series of strange events in a pattern? To Petra, the house is almost alive in its own sort of way and it seems to be trying to send a message to, well, her. What is it trying to say?
Then, there's the matter of Frank Lloyd Wright's code. Legend has it that he left part of himself in the Robie house. Can the code help them save the house? Calder is sure his pentominoes are the key to that code- if only he can crack it.
Can Calder, Petra and Tommy stand one another long enough to save the house? Or will they be silenced by those who seem determined not to let the Robie house survive? You can find out by reading Blue Balliet's masterful sequel "The Wright Three." You can find this, "Chasing Vermeer" (which features Calder and Petra as the main characters hot on the trail of an art thief) and many other wonderful books at the Liberal Memorial Library.
Title: Hattie Big Sky
Report By: Cherish Neuman
9th grade - Homeschooler
Hattie Big Sky begins in 1917. Hattie, having no living parent, has jumped from relative to relative almost all of her life. The book begins with Hattie explaining her whole situation. Her friend Charlie is fighting in World War I. Meanwhile Hattie receives a will from her uncle on her mom's side. He left her his Montana claim and his horse and cow. This book is about Hattie's struggles and friends she finds under the Montana sky.
I like this book because it relates to farming, homesteading, and older times. I have always loved these kinds of books. They are the ones that always make me feel like I'm there where they are. If you like homesteading books, this is the book for you. I hope that Mrs. Larson writes more books along this basis.