jennifer murdley’s toad

From Terry Gustafson
author: coville,bruce
 jennifer murdley’s toad
This a great book for elementary schools grades3-5.  As a teacher I always look for books that will keep them reading,  This is a cute story about a girl who doesn’t like her looks.

The Gift, A Hanukkah Story

From Shari Brunning
author: Brodmann, Aliana
The Gift, A Hanukkah Story
I was cleaning out untouched books and almost gave this one away, but the illustrations caught my eye and I started to read. Little girl decides best to drop her five-mark piece in a homeless musician’s hat after hearing his music (in the season of giving) rather than spend it on a fountain pen or a new doll was my take. Author wonderfully explains further that opposite people find common ground in the magic of music and the sharing of each other’s gifts; Germany 1950’s.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

From Chris Beatty
Fantastic Mr. Fox
While this isn’t one of Dahl’s best, it provides an interesting contrast to the Wes Anderson film of the same name.  This is a rare case of the movie being FAR superior to the book.  Anderson adds the detail and characterization that Dahl leaves out.  While not incredibly detailed, the book is a fun story and serves as a perfect guide to the film.  Children who might not get Anderson’s subtle humor will still be able to appreciate the film if they read the book first.

The Children of the Stones (7 part miniseries)

From Erik Schmid 
The Children of the Stones (7 part miniseries)
If you can get past the hokey 1970’s special effects this childrens’ drama has much to offer in terms of thrills and plot development. This was one of a few foreign children’s series that were shown on Nickelodeon back in its infancy in 1983 on a show called ‘The Third Eye’. All the shows dealt with children that had E.S.P. or had “visions”. This series deals with a father and son that are invited to do research on a small English town that has a circle strange stones surrounding it, much like Stonehenge.  Upon meeting and investigating the townsfolk, they begin to realize that there is something not right with the town. With slowly building tension and a truly strange soundtrack, ‘Children of the Stones’ can be enjoyed by fans of Goosebumps and other childrens’ horror.

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice, Book 1)

From Erik Schmid
author: Delaney, Joseph
Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice, Book 1)
Imagine you are a young boy who was indentured to the local “Spook” as an apprentice. A Spook is a lonely, dangerous job, shunned by most, and it deals with opposing evil supernatural forces that threaten the land. Would you be happy to do this? Thought not. Thomas Ward is the boy in this tale, the seventh son of a seventh son, who is apprenticed to the local spook in order to learn how one captures, contains and banishes witches, boggarts, ghosts, ghouls and other malevolent creatures of the dark. This is book one of an ongoing series that really grabs the faithful reader. The horror is dark, but there is nothing in this book that crosses into the terrifying, so children can read this without trepidation. If your kids read Goosebumps, this might actually seem tame at times! All in all, a truly gripping book, that leaves the reader running for the next installment.

The Bartimaeus trilogy. Book one : the Amulet of Samarkand

From Erik Schmid 
author: Stroud, Jonathan
The Bartimaeus trilogy. Book one : the Amulet of Samarkand 
Bartimaeus is a Djinni, one of many demons in the world of this trilogy. He is not evil; he just is what he is. Djinni and their ilk are treated like slaves by the human Magicians in this story, set in a fictional London where Magicians have overthrown the non-magical governments and are the lords above all other people. Bartimaeus’s new master is just a boy with a chip on his shoulder who is out to prove to his aging master that he is special. Along the way in this action packed and well written tale we meet other Djinni.  Bartimaeus knows and uncover a secret resistance while dealing with a mysterious challenger to the prime minister. This is truly a great fantasy series, using Harry Potter as a muse while not stealing from the former series. It also doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the Potter series; not being overlong; not dwelling on minute details as much. This volume is followed by The Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate.