The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

May 15th, 2017 by

the-boundlessSubmitted by Arissa, Age 9 from Connecticut

Rating: ★★★★★

The Boundless is about a boy named Will Everett that lives in a town that doesn’t have a name yet any way there is this mystery that happend and Will does everything that he can to solve it but one thing that I don’t like the part in the story when he hasn’t seen his father in a long time but everything elese I love It. So below please coment on this review thanks – Arissa

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel: Book Review

December 22nd, 2015 by

The Nest_Kenneth OppelI’m not a fan of bugs, but I’ll make an exception for a good read, and one such exception is The Nest by Kenneth Oppel.

Summer vacation is supposed to be fun and carefree, but no matter what, Steve will worry. He’s anxious about everything: his parents, his little sister, and especially about his newborn baby brother, who is always at the hospital because he was born with a congenital condition.

In his dreams, what appears to be an angel speaks to Steve and offers to “fix” the baby — but she needs Steve’s help. Over time, Steve discovers that the angel is actually a very unique wasp queen, who promises that he can have a perfectly healthy baby brother. But at what price?

As the book moves along, we get to know Steve and his family more: His parents are preoccupied with the baby, and his sister is still too young to understand how sick the baby is. It seems like it’s all up to Steve to figure out if he should help the wasp queen and her hive “fix” the baby.

This is the best kind of scary story: As you’re reading, you’ll feel very tense and relate to how anxious Steve is, but you can’t help but turn the pages to find out what happens! The super spooky black and white illustrations by Jon Klassen also contribute to the tense atmosphere of the book.

Side note: Jon Klassen normally draws uber-adorable drawings like this…

JonKlassen_hatrabbit_main

In The Nest, his illustrations are like this…

The Nest Interior Jon Klassen

One teensy complaint I have about the book is that there’s a mysterious character named Mr. Nobody, and I would have liked to find out more about his story and how he came into Steve’s story. But overall, I would recommend this book to all Kidsmomo readers who like a thrill and a thoughtful read, especially fans of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, or Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley.

The Nest not just a scary story, though. By the end, it reminded me that people can be tricked for the right reasons and you can always make up for your mistakes. It’s okay not to be perfect.

Like I said before: Even though bugs are my #1 phobia, I really enjoyed The Nest. I do not, however, recommend reading this right before bedtime (my mistake).

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy had nightmares about wasps and maggots after finishing this book, but still recommended it to many people the day after. Use that information wisely.

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The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

December 21st, 2015 by

the-boundless
Submitted by Victoria, Age 10 from Connecticut

Rating: ★★★★★

This book is a great book if you like fantasy, villains, and a book that you will enjoy! Also in this book William Everett is not close to normal, witnessing a murder, and being chased by the person, for a strange reason, read this book and find out why! This book is fantasy.

The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop: Book Review

June 24th, 2018 by

the-secret-of-the-night-trainI’m not really a train person. Once or twice a year, I take an eight-hour train trip from NYC to upstate New York and let me tell you — I’d rather not. Sure, it’s a good opportunity to read, but I would really prefer to get where I’m going faster, if possible.

So I would not relish taking the looooooooooong train trek in The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop. But thank goodness for me that the protagonist, Max, does make the journey — because it’s a wonderful adventure!

At first, Max doesn’t know exactly what to expect, but she knows that she’s a bit anxious. As the youngest one in her family, it’s a big trip to do on her own, with only an unrelated traveling companion (a nun who lives nearby) to watch over her.

But it turns out that Max is more attuned to mystery and mayhem than she ever knew: Once she realizes that an extremely valuable stolen jewel may be traveling the same train route as her, Max finds herself drawn into an investigation that proves to be more dangerous and exciting than she could have anticipated.

I enjoyed the story in this book, but more than that, I loved the wacky cast of characters who make up Max’s fellow travelers — and suspects:

  • Sister Marguerite, the unusual nun who has volunteered to be Max’s chaperone
  • Rupert, who seems to be hapless — but did very suspiciously manage to miss the police inspection before departure
  • Ester and Klaus, a very wealthy and very cranky woman and her much friendlier nephew
  • Celeste, who has mismatched eyes and a “dragon smile” that shows no real emotion

I always love an eccentric gaggle of side characters, and this group did not disappoint!

I would recommend this book to people who like mysteries that take place during travels, like The Postcard by Tony Abbott and the Silver Jaguar Society Mystery books by Kate Messner. Also, if you enjoyed the train travel adventure in The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel and now you want something similar (but less dark), then I’d suggest you try out The Secret of the Night Train.

Have you taken any train trips recently? Leave a comment with your story!

— Karen

Karen’s favorite train ride was when she spent eight hours reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was the perfect way to pass the time!

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Just My Luck: Book Review

February 22nd, 2016 by

Just My Luck_Cammie McGovernFourth grade can be tough. For Benny Barrows, the main character of Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern, fourth grade seems like the most unlucky year ever. Benny doesn’t have an alien invasion or time-traveling pirate ninjas or ancient Greek prophecies to worry about. He has real life.

Things that weigh on Benny’s mind:

  • His father, who is recovering from a brain aneurism.
  • That despite everyone telling Benny the aneurism wasn’t his fault, that it was actually his fault.
  • Math, spelling, and sports — especially riding a bike.
  • Making new friends, and holding onto his one friend.
  • His teacher, Mr. Norris, looks tired every day, and doesn’t notice Benny.
  • The medical bills that his family faces.
  • And lots, lots, more…

One person Benny doesn’t worry about — but does help look after — is his older brother George, who is autistic. The book’s depiction of George’s medium-level autism and how others react to it is well-written. Even though many parts of Just My Luck are sad, I really enjoyed reading it because Benny is such a wonderfully kind, thoughtful character. Even when he’s frustrated or sad, he keeps going and never takes out his unhappiness on others.

One of my favorite parts of the book is finding out how Benny feels about his classmates. Even though classmates might think he’s odd because he’s quiet and doesn’t enjoy sports like other boys in his class, he’s never unkind to anyone. Benny, like many real kids, just takes a little longer to come out of his shell and discover what kind of friendships are important to him.

Just My Luck is not a fake-happy-ending book. Spoiler alert: There isn’t a magical cure that fixes Benny’s father. The Barrows family doesn’t win the lottery. Benny doesn’t become the most popular kid in school. But I still found the book to be a page-turner because I was rooting for Benny, and I think you will, too!

Recommended for fans of:

Have you ever read a book that was “sad” but also made you smile? Leave a comment below!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy doesn’t usually like sad books, so she watched some funny cat videos after reading this. But then she went back and re-read her favorite parts of the book.

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Best of Best of 2015 Books Book List

January 1st, 2016 by

happy-new-year2015: 365 days but thousands and thousands of books published! Across the Internets, everyone — librarians, teachers, newspapers, journals, my next door neighbor, and your grocer’s cat — is compiling their “Best of 2015” book lists. We decided to take it one step further and compile a “Best of Best of 2015 Books Book List” (try saying that three times)! #BOBO2BBL could be a thing, right?

Here are the highlights from seven lists published from sources* we love:

Download the book collage for easy reference here »

Are there any new books from 2015 that you think should have been included in this list? Leave a comment below, or submit a book review!

#BOBO2BBL *Compiled from:

Note: Some lists contain books from 2014, picture books, and young adult novels.

Image credit: Best & Worst Ever Photo Blog, with modifications

What to Read This Fall

September 20th, 2015 by

Okay, I get it. School’s started and you might be a little bit busy with classes and homework and clubs and friends and sports and OH MY GOODNESS HOW DO YOU HAVE TIME TO BREATHE?! But seriously — we should always make time to read. There are some great new books coming out this fall, so here’s a round-up of my recommendations. See below for official book descriptions from the publishers, paired with my take about each book! (I also recommend fitting in breathing time with reading time.)

SEPTEMBER

Teen Boat The Race for BoatlantisTeen Boat! The Race for Boatlantis
by Dave Roman, John Green

High school drama! Pirates! Emotions! The Ignatz Award-winning comic about a young man who has the power to turn into a boat is back in a new full-color graphic novel, with a never-before-seen story that combines all the ANGST of being a teen with all the THRILL of being a boat!

It’s a graphic novel. About a dude. Who turns into a boat. How did this not exist before now?!

 

DoldrumsThe Doldrums
by Nicholas Gannon

Archer B. Helmsley wants an adventure. No, he needs an adventure. His grandparents were famous explorers… until they got stuck on an iceberg. Now Archer’s mother barely lets him out of the house. As if that would stop a true Helmsley. Archer enlists Adelaide — the girl who, according to rumor, lost her leg to a crocodile — and Oliver — the boy next door — to help him rescue his grandparents.

The description reminds me a little of Cassie Beasley’s Circus Mirandus, so I’m hoping that it’s just as good!

The TakenThe Taken (Foxcraft series #1)
by Inbali Iserles

Isla and her brother are two young foxes living just outside the lands of the furless — humans. The life of a fox is filled with dangers, but Isla has begun to learn mysterious skills meant to help her survive.
Then the unthinkable happens. Returning to her den, Isla finds it set ablaze and surrounded by strange foxes, and her family is nowhere in sight. Forced to flee, she escapes into the cold, gray world of the furless.
Now Isla must navigate this bewildering and deadly terrain, all while being hunted by a ruthless enemy. In order to survive, she will need to master the ancient arts of her kind — magical gifts of cunning known only to foxes. She must unravel the secrets of foxcraft.

Foxes, like wolves, were one of my favorite animals growing up. They always seemed so clever, and it sounds like Isla is no exception. Also, I am okay with being furless.

The Tapper Twins Tear Up New YorkThe Tapper Twins Tear Up New York
by Geoff Rodkey

In the follow up to The Tapper Twins Go to War, Geoff Rodkey delivers another ultra-modern comedy told as oral history with texts, screenshots and smartphone photos. When Claudia initiates a citywide scavenger hunt to raise money for charity, it’s not just the twins’ opposing teams that run riot. With the whole school racing to trade in sights seen for points to score front row tickets at Madison Square Garden, they may not get to the finish line with their dignity-and social lives-intact!

If you haven’t read the first book and need more convincing, check out Karen’s review! I wonder if we could successfully solve this NYC scavenger hunt faster than twins Claudia and Reese…

Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI Retellings

StarWars_Retellings

Star Wars – A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken
Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz
Star Wars – Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! by Tom Angleberger

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. *screech noise* … Wait, no. Just recently in this galaxy, definitely in the United States, three amazing authors retold the classic Star Wars tales in three novels. Have I mentioned before that I’m a huge Star Wars nerd? I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. But you’ll enjoy these books even if you’re not a huge Star Wars nerd.

The NestThe Nest
by Kenneth Oppel

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered. All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

I hate bugs, but based on the description of this book, it’s too intriguing to pass up!

The Thing About JellyfishThe Thing about Jellyfish
by Ali Benjamin

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory — even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe… and the potential for love and hope right next door.

This book is a total tear-jerker, heart-wrencher, and thought-provoker. Prepare tissues, hugs, and time to discuss with friends.

OCTOBER

The Sword of SummerThe Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series #1)
by Rick Riordan

Since his mother’s mysterious death, Magnus Chase has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met — a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision…

With my renewed interest in Vikings and never-dying interest in reading great fantasy-action by Rick Riordan, I can’t wait for the start of this new series!

The Odds of Getting EvenThe Odds of Getting Even
by Sheila Turnage

The trial of the century has come to Tupelo Landing, NC. Mo and Dale, aka Desperado Detectives, head to court as star witnesses against Dale’s daddy — confessed kidnapper Macon Johnson. Dale’s nerves are jangled, but Mo, who doesn’t mind getting even with Mr. Macon for hurting her loved ones, looks forward to a slam dunk conviction — if everything goes as expected. Of course nothing goes as expected. Macon Johnson sees to that. In no time flat, Macon’s on the run, Tupelo Landing’s in lockdown, and Dale’s brother’s life hangs in the balance. With Harm Crenshaw, newly appointed intern, Desperado Detectives are on the case. But it means they have to take on a tough client — one they’d never want in a million years.

If you read Turnage’s Three Times Lucky or The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, this book is a MUST READ!

Big GameBig Game
by Stuart Gibbs

When someone takes aim at Rhonda Rhino, FunJungle’s pregnant (and endangered) Asian greater one-horned rhinoceros, the zoo steps up security measures in order to protect this rare animal and her baby.

But the extra security isn’t enough — someone is still getting too close for comfort. Teddy and company start to suspect that whoever is after Rhonda is really after her horn, which is worth a lot of money on the black market.

For the first time ever, the head of the zoo enlists Teddy for help — for once, he doesn’t have to sneak around in order to investigate — and the results are even more wacky, and even more dangerous, than ever before.

All of Stuart Gibbs’ books are great, and Big Game is no exception!

Did any of these books make it onto your to-read-pile? If so, send in a review or leave a comment below on what book you’re excited for this fall!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy is also very, very, very excited about an upcoming Official Harry Potter Coloring Book, but this blog post is not titled “What to Color This Fall”.

More about Nancy »

Review copy of Teen Boat, The Doldrums, The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York, The Nest, The Thing About Jellyfish, The Sword of Summer, and Big Game were provided by publishers.

The Boundless: Book Review

March 22nd, 2015 by

the-boundlessLongtime fans of Kidsmomo are well aware that I’m a super scaredy cat. If I watch a horror movie, I get nightmares. If I so much as accidentally glance at a frightening moment on TV while I’m flipping through the channels, it means I’ll get super freaked out when I go to bed at night. And if I’m in the middle of a creepy book, then I’d be wise not to read it after dark!

Turns out The Boundless is one of those books.

I guess I should have known because it’s written by Kenneth Oppel, the author of the Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series (for ages 12 and up). I’ve deliberately stayed away from his Frankenstein books, but for some reason, I thought The Boundless would be more of a light-hearted mystery. Fail.

Except it wasn’t really a fail at all because I really enjoyed the book!

It’s a steampunk adventure set on a train as it makes its transcontinental journey across the wilds of Canada. But the train is no ordinary locomotive; it’s incredibly long — like a moving city — and this is its maiden voyage.

Will’s father is the manager, so they have first-class tickets. But Will lingers outside too long during a stop, and he witnesses a murder, then must seek refuge at the back of the train where he has no ticket to identify him. But soon it becomes clear that it would be better NOT to be recognized because the killer is looking for him — and he’s got a whole team of brakemen along the length of the train working on a heist. AND they’re not afraid to kill Will to keep him quiet.

You may be thinking that’s not very frightening. Fine, you have a higher threshold for tense situations than I do. But what would you say about Sasquatches and a supernatural hag lady who controls your mind? Because I, for one, find them creepy and they also play a part in the book.

Also, there are circus people. But surprisingly, although some of them are a bit freaky, none of them are scary. In fact, they help Will as he tries to reach his father.

If you’re interested in a dark, action-packed, thrilling tale, then you should definitely check out The Boundless. Somehow it manages to be both quiet and gripping at the same time, and despite all the scary bits, there are also moments of humor and brightness and happiness and hope.

If you’ve already read the book, leave a comment and tell me your thoughts! Did you have to avoid reading it at night like I did?

— Karen

Karen has never taken an overnight train trip, but she thinks it probably wouldn’t be that comfortable. However, if she could ride on the Polar Express, she would jump at the chance!

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