A Tangle of Knots: Book Review

July 10th, 2016 by

a-tangle-of-knots If you’re a regular Kidsmomo reader, then you know I LOVE food. So guess what I did when I saw the book cover for A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, featuring a picnic basket and cake. Obviously, I snatched it off the shelf and yelled, “Mine! Mine mine mine mine mine!”

Just kidding. I was at the library, so I didn’t do any shouting. But I did grab this book and take it home to read right away.

Luckily for me, baking plays a major role in the book — although it’s not immediately clear why. That’s because there are several different characters with stories that at first are separate but then come together at the end.

There’s 11-year-old Cady, who has a Talent for knowing the exact right cake to bake for any given person. There’s Marigold, who is desperately looking for her Talent. There’s The Owner, who is also searching for something — and not afraid to hurt others in his quest. And those are just a few of the characters whose fates intertwine over time.

If you’re wondering why I capitalized the word “Talent,” don’t worry, that wasn’t a mistake. The book takes place in a world very much like ours, but with one difference: Everyone has their own unique Talent, a magical gift for being really good at one particular thing. For Cady, it’s the cakes. For another character, Will, it’s disappearing/getting lost. For Zane, it’s spitting. (Hey, no one said that all Talents need to be super useful!)

Right from the start, it was interesting to read about how Talents work in this world. But with so many characters and storylines, I have to admit it took me a while to get into the story beyond my initial interest in the concept of Talents — and, of course, my initial interest in the baking aspect. But I was rewarded for my patience as the plot started to pick up, and by the end, I was racing through the pages to see what would happen next.

a-clatter-of-jarsI’d recommend this book for fans of The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver. And if you read A Tangle of Knots and enjoy it, then you can also check out the newly released sequel, A Clatter of Jars. It takes place at a summer camp, so it would make a great pick for seasonal reading!

If you’ve already read A Tangle of Knots, leave a comment with your thoughts. Or tell everyone: If you could pick any Talent to have, what would it be?

— Karen

Karen would want a Talent like Miss Mallory’s. In the book, she has a gift for matching orphans to their perfect fit adoptive parents. Karen would also want a Talent to help people.

More about Karen »

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

January 9th, 2016 by

Lost in the Sun_Lisa GraffSubmitted by Megan, Age 11 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

I really loved this book. It’s about this boy named Trent who killed a boy but it wasn’t on purpose, they were playing a hockey game. Then Trent became Fallon’s friend who is the weird girl. Then some crazy stuff then he almost failed 6th grade so he has to do a basketball program with the sister of the kid who he killed in February.

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

January 8th, 2016 by

Lost in the Sun_Lisa GraffSubmitted by Julia, Age 11 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

This book is about a boy named Trent Zimmerman. Several months ago, when playing baseball, he hit a boy in the heart and killed him. It was an accident, of course, and everyone tells Trent it wasn’t his fault, but he blames himself anyway. He pushes away all of his friends, and gets into fights a lot. He turns into a total trouble maker. Things start looking up for him though when he starts hanging out with Fallon Little, a girl with a scar across her face. No one knows how she got it, and she has plenty of stories about it. Trent still has a hard time dealing with bullies, and doesn’t realize how much he really cares about Fallon; until he gets into one fight that really scares her… This book was quite possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read, I loved it so much. I really hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

November 30th, 2015 by

Absolutely Almost_Lisa GraffSubmitted by Aiden, Age 11 from New York

Rating: ★★★★½

The main character is Albie he starts 5th grade and he’s almost smart enough to pass his spelling test so he’s almost of a kid like I almost did this I almost did that then it’s sad read to find out why it’s sad

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

November 29th, 2015 by

Absolutely Almost_Lisa GraffSubmitted by Dominique, Age 12 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

The main character in the book Absolutely Almost is Albie Schaffhauser who’s actual name is Albin.This book talks about Albies life and all the challenges that he faces moving to a new school which is also were he gets bullied daily by Darren the popular kid and all his friends.On a scale of 1 to 10 I give this book a 10 !!!

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

October 4th, 2015 by

umbrella-summer_lisa-graffSubmitted by Lindsay, Age 11 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

This book was really good.It was about these girls that were best friend and they spent the summer in the golf course behind there house.I think anyone who loves a good mystery with some action should read this book!

Absolutely Almost: Book Review

July 19th, 2015 by

Absolutely Almost_Lisa GraffIn Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff, the main character loves doughnuts. And if you know anything about me at all, then you know I’m a huge foodie. So I say: Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

But Albie, the book’s protagonist, wouldn’t agree with me. That’s because he wants to be more than he is, but he’s having a tough time getting there. He knows he’s not as quick with his schoolwork as other kids, he’s not particularly athletic or strong, and he’s definitely not popular.

Albie’s hopeful that he can change all of that when he starts a new school, but unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. Fortunately, Albie also has a new babysitter, Calista, who doesn’t mind breaking a few rules to support Albie however she can.

Not everyone will identify with Albie. I personally didn’t see myself in his character. But you’ll still feel for him and go through the ups and downs of his life with him. That’s what makes this such a good book!

I’d recommend this book for fans of Loser by Jerry Spinelli, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar, and the Joey Pigza books by Jack Gantos.

Have you ever felt like you weren’t quite as cool, smart, or talented as your classmates? How did you deal with that? Leave a comment below.

— Karen

Karen is known for having a sweet tooth, just like Albie. But actually, if she had to choose between sweet and savory food for the rest of her life, she’d choose savory. But she’d be very, very mad at whoever forced her to make the choice!

More about Karen »

Umbrella Summer: Book Review

August 13th, 2013 by

umbrella-summer_lisa-graffLots of grown-ups probably think that summer vacation is just a time of rest and relaxation and you’re not learning anything unless you’re in summer school or a program or camp. But like they often are about many things, grown-ups are wrong about that.

Summer is a time when TONS of stuff can happen because you’re not stuck at school for so many hours every day — and for Annie in Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff, it’s definitely a time of discovery and growth.

If you’re wondering why that is and what happens, here are two reviews for Umbrella Summer that were submitted by kids to Kidsmomo — they’re what inspired me to read the book myself!

Submitted by Olivia, Age 11 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★½

The book Umbrella Summer is a fiction book by Lisa Graff. This fiction book is about a girl named Annie and her Summer adventures. She frets about getting diseases, searches the “haunted house” on her street, and misses her passed brother. Will Annie get over her fear of sickness? What will she find in the “haunted house”? You’ll have to read and find out. My favorite part of the story is when Annie goes to her best friend Rebecca’s house and has a funny conversation with her dad who is a doctor. I would recommend this book to people who like books that they can relate to or people who like really good fiction books.

Submitted by Ashley, Age 12 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★½

Lisa Graffs book is a fictional,fun,heart-warming story of a girl named Annie who recently discovers that her brother dies of a rare disease and suddenly worries if she or her family memebers will catch the uncontagiouse disease that her brother died of. Annie also learns that her new neighbor has a creepy house that Annie is anxious to find more information about it. Will Annie ever find out the secrets of her haunted house neighbors? I would recomend this book to people who like a heart-warming fictional story.

I absolutely agree with these reviews and recommend that you check out Umbrella Summer yourself!

Or if you’ve already read the book, leave a comment or send in your own review. Or tell me if you’ve read Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine; I haven’t read that one yet, but it sounds like it deals with some similar themes. Is it worth picking up?

— Karen

Karen used to spend every summer in some program or another, some of which she did not enjoy. Now she works year-round, which is even worse!

More about Karen »

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

June 22nd, 2013 by

umbrella-summer_lisa-graffSubmitted by Ashley, Age 12 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★½

Lisa Graffs book is a fictional,fun,heart-warming story of a girl named Annie who recently discovers that her brother dies of a rare disease and suddenly worries if she or her family memebers will catch the uncontagiouse disease that her brother died of. Annie also learns that her new neighbor has a creepy house that Annie is anxious to find more information about it. Will Annie ever find out the secrets of her haunted house neighbors? I would recomend this book to people who like a heart-warming fictional story.

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

May 12th, 2013 by

umbrella-summer_lisa-graffSubmitted by Olivia, Age 11 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★½

The book Umbrella Summer is a fiction book by Lisa Graff. This fiction book is about a girl named Annie and her Summer adventures. She frets about getting diseases, searches the “haunted house” on her street, and misses her passed brother. Will Annie get over her fear of sickness? What will she find in the “haunted house”? You’ll have to read and find out. My favorite part of the story is when Annie goes to her best friend Rebecca’s house and has a funny conversation with her dad who is a doctor. I would recommend this book to people who like books that they can relate to or people who like really good fiction books.


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