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The CMLD Kid’s Book Reviews Blog contains our insights on children’s and young adult books. Hope you find it both informative and entertaining.

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posted by Cmld7, November 14, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

Hedgehog’s Magic Tricks

Cute illustrations are what carry this book.  Hedgehog is practicing his magic tricks with his friends as assistants.  However, his tricks do not go as planned.  Hedgehog friends notice that this makes him unhappy, and so they share a surprise with him to cheer him up.   This book is a good example for young children to realize that sometimes things do not work out as they have planned, and that is ok too.

posted by Cmld7, July 8, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

Calvin Coconut: Extra Famous (#9)

Calvin Coconut: Extra Famous.  Reviewed by: Cheryl Coffin. Graham Salisbury is true to form in this new addition to the Calvin Coconut Series.  In this book, Calvin and his friends have been chosen to be part of a zombie movie that is being shot on location in Hawaii.  Calvin and his friends engage in silly hijinx as they struggle to learn their zombie scripts and, in the process, learn valuable lessons about accepting others who are a little different from themselves – foibles in all!

Graham Salisbury’s Calvin Coconut series continues to offer readers entertaining stories that are an appealing mix of humor and “life lessons”.  The author incorporates little snippets of Hawaiian culture, giving young readers some insight into a way of life that may be quite different from their own.  As such, the Calvin Coconut series makes a welcome addition to any public or elementary school library.

posted by Cmld7, July 5, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan.  Review by Cheryl Coffin. Set in the India of the 1920s, this book is a beautifully written sequel to Whelan’s novel, Small Acts of Amazing Courage.  The imagery used by the author is splendid.  The reader feels, smells and sees India, in his/her mind’s eye.

In this compelling follow-up, Rosalind struggles with her conscience and her sense of loyalty.  Yes, she is a British subject but her heart belongs to India, her adoptive homeland. As part of the “Free India” movement, Rosalind yearns to see the oppressed people of India gain their independence from British rule, but she is bound by the conventions of her time.  Can Rosalind find the inner strength to do what she believes is right, no matter the cost?

Critical socio-political/moral questions are asked – Is it right for one nation to control another?  If one person can right a wrong, should he or she be morally obligated to do so even though that action may negatively impact those closest to you.  Young adults who take an interest in politics and are concerned with “justice”, will find this book appealing, and difficult to put down.

posted by Cmld7, July 4, 2013 @ 1:43 pm


Sparta! by Kylie Burns. Review by Cheryl Coffin. This information text details the rise and fall of Sparta.  The author gives a clear description of what life was like in this ancient city-state, how the roles of men and women, and the training of children differed.  Young readers will be fascinated to read of Sparta’s warrior culture and how this emphasis on power and physical strength impacted the daily life of Sparta’s inhabitants.

Readers interested in ancient history or topics related to military prowess will find this book an interesting read.

posted by Cmld7, July 3, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

Creepovers: Read It and Weep

Creepovers:  Read It and Weep by P. J. Night.  Reviewed by Cheryl Coffin. I don’t know what it is about these Creepover books, but I absolutely love them!  Perhaps it is the creep-o-meter on the back cover, forewarning the reader of the level of fear that will be felt, or it might be the fact that these dark tales delve into your psyche to discover your deepest fears and concerns, and exploit them to full advantage!

In this particular story, a teen discovers a tarot card of fortune tucked away in an old library book.  On the back of the card is the directive to “pass this along or you’ll be sorry…”  Of course, Charlotte isn’t one to believe in superstitious nonsense…or is she?  (What reader could resist such a hook!)

posted by Cmld7, July 2, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

Thirst 5: The Sacred Veil

Thirst 5: The Sacred Veil by Christopher Pike  This time Sita encounters aliens, demons, and she goes into her past with her friends as they try to uncover the memories she has mysteriously lost. With Seymour’s help she uncovers hidden memories that were tortured out of her by the Nazis. Once more Sita and her friends face death and powerful enemies. Although there are not as many action scenes as in the past books, it is still just as fascinating and mysterious. I highly recommend not just Pike’s Thirst series, but any of his work in general. I have read many of his books and they just keep getting better.  When I read about how Harrah had to shave her head because of lice I got a little confused, I don’t understand how Sita’s immune system prevents lice when lice are more of a cleanliness issue. Other than that you really get an insight into German history, as with his other Thirst books. Christopher Pike is has done very well making the reader curious about history and many other things that most people would not give a second thought about.

posted by Cmld7, July 1, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

The Three Triceratops Tuff

The Three Triceratops Tuff cover artby Stephen Shaskan.  Review by Brianna Wilshusen.  Three vegetarian dinosaur brothers and on a hunt for food, but to find it they have to get past a giant T-Rex. This book has some repetition, which children love, and basic colors that attract notice and fit the story just right. This is a nice read and even though it is a child’s book I enjoyed it. This is a great book for any kid who likes dinosaurs.

posted by Cmld7, June 29, 2013 @ 1:54 pm


Emancipation focuses on Lincoln’s struggle to keep the country together as one nation and his effort to end slavery, starting with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

This nonfiction text is written at a guided reading level of L, making it an ideal resource for children in the lower elementary grades.  The illustrations include colorful drawings of important events and a few historical photographs.  In additional to bolded terms, the book includes a short glossary and a helpful list of written and online resources. 

Everything considered, young readers will find this an informative introduction to a tumultous and fascinating period in American History.

posted by Cmld7, June 28, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

The Project

The Project by Brian Falkner.  Reviewcover art by Brianna Wilshusen

The Project starts off a little slow but it doesn’t take much to really get into it. When you find out what the big secret is, it surprises you and when  you finally reach the end, the author leaves you sitting there in silence feeling amazed – at least it did me.  The Project was a very interesting book and makes you want to look into the history of Leonard Da Vinci.  It makes him out as a mysterious genius, which he was, and you want to know more about him.  Towards the beginning, Luke came up with a great idea for a bucket brigade that an adult should have been smart enough to figure out, but I think it shows the reader the truth of how a lot of people lack common sense and it makes the book seem a little more realistic.  I enjoyed this book very much and it is a fantastic book to sit down with on a rainy day.  I would suggest this book to anyone who likes mystery, adventure and science fiction.

posted by Cmld7, June 27, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Life Happens Next

Life Happens Nextcover art by Terry Trueman.  Review by Brianna Wilshusen

I was very impressed with how well the author wrote from a disabled persons point of view.  You don’t find many books like this one.  Life Happens Next is a  wonderful book to teach people that though someone may not look or act ‘normal’ whether handicapped or just different, it is the person themselves who matter not what they can or cannot do.  I feel very strongly about this book, in part because I have disabled family and because there is so much judgement in the world.  All people see is someone slow or special and they find it amusing, funny.  Not everything in life is as simple as it looks and the same goes for people.  I think anyone and everyone should read this book.