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This is a group for library patrons and staff to review books they've read and share what they are currently reading.


Non-Fiction Reviews: (View All)

  • Mao and Me
  • Author: Chen Jiang Hong
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: Teton Co Call No: J 951.056 Chen J
    Julia's rating: 4 stars

    I've long been intrigued with the cover of this book and its placement in the library. A book about growing up in China under Mao - for children? I wondered.

    Finally, I sat down to read this curious picture book. And, I am so pleased that I did because this thoughtful, informative and sometimes sad book serves as yet another reminder that children's literature is simply not just for kids. And, that picture books may not always be aimed at the youngest of children.

    The story, written and illustrated by Chen Jiang Hong, is a memoir about the author's life growing up before, during and after Mao's Cultural Revolution. It's a beautiful story about traditions, family and survival, while also a bracing reminder about sacrifice, survival and mortality. The illustrations are magnificent, too.

    I would recommend this book for high school students - and anyone older - interested in learning about modern Chinese history. It's a brief look but one with depth and scope.
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  • Great Big Book of Children's Games
  • Author: Debra Wise
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: J 796 Wise D.

    Kay's rating: 3.5 stars

    This is a good resource for parents, grandparents and early childhood & elementary teachers. The games included in this book will get children moving and will take them outdoors; perfect for summer time fun.
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Fiction Reviews:(View All)

  • Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms, #1)
  • Author: Brandon Mull
  • User Rating: 3
  • Review: TLC Call #: J MULL B

    Chris’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
    It is a regular Halloween when Cole and a number of friends make their way to a house owned by a newcomer with supposed training in “special effects.” Unfortunately for the kids, not all of the “effects” are fake, and they find themselves off to a magical land, marked as slaves. Cole is purchased by the Sky Raiders, who need someone to scout potentially dangerous abandoned floating castles in search of treasure. After some close calls and heroics, he finds himself locked in a cause to save this new land from a tyrant and hopefully rescue his friends along the way.
    Cole is brave, sometimes foolish, and very much a somewhat realistic, loyal and adventurous young teen. The story itself is entertaining, although I was expecting a bit more given Mull’s reputation. It was good…I can’t quite explain at the moment what more I was expecting—really it could have been anything in the world the children found themselves in (maybe the broadness seemed over broad…I’ll have to think on that). Maybe I just didn’t connect to it as well as his previous series. The characters were likable/dislikable enough, although some of the banter (especially before they were entering the silent forest) drove me nuts and made me wonder how stupid these kids could be. Fighting to have the last word when those words were likely to kill the group, didn’t seem characteristic of at least one of the arguers…especially about something so utterly petty. The story is quite obviously not even near finished by the end of the book, but a small part of the conflict is resolved. Still, the story should appeal to youth in the same ways as Fablehaven, the Candy Shop Wars, and the Beyonders. So far it strikes me as much closer to the latter of these series than the former two.
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  • The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)
  • Author: Cassandra Clare
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: TLC CALL #: J BLACK H

    Chris’s Rating: 3.75 Stars
    Callum (Call) Hunt is “invited” to participate in an exclusive test which may qualify him to become an apprentice at Magisterium, where he would be taught in the ways of elemental magic. His father and mother before him were both mages, but after losing his wife to a magic war years before, Alastair Hunt has warned his son that not all is what as seems. In fact, his father convinces Call that he must fail at all costs. Failing should be easy, especially for a partially crippled boy like Call; but even doing his worst cannot ensure he won’t be chosen as a mage’s apprentice. When everything backfires, Call finds himself both friends and enemies in the underground magic school where elementals roam and darker creatures haunt the woods without.
    Mix: Harry Potter (basic elements), Jack Blank (the protagonist) and H.I.V.E. (the environment + a small bit of the protagonist), with a little bit of elemental magic and you get…The Iron Trail (Magisterium)…so nothing entirely new, but good in its own right. Call’s test at the first of the book is hilarious. I did not, however, find Call as snarky intelligent as the narrative made him out to be. There are several hooks to keep the reader guessing, although as things unraveled I found the “fear” and “power” of chaos mages to be overrated (based on how things went in a cave full of wizards were not even prepared for real combat). Good for anyone who liked any of the above three series (unless you are the type who can’t stand it when a book has similarities…if you are I’m afraid you’re in for many reading disappointments as very few books fail to draw on predecessors). If I had to place an age range I’d say anywhere from 8-13.
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