The Ruins of Gorlan (Rangers Apprentice #1) by John Flanagan

October 16th, 2015 by

rangers_apprenticeReviewed by: Keaghan, Age 11 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

It’s about a kid being trained as this really stealthy guy for the king, and then someone attacks the kingdom it’s up to them to save the it. I really liked the book and any one who likes action books will love it!

The Ruins of Gorlan (Rangers Apprentice #1) by John Flanagan

October 12th, 2015 by

rangers_apprenticeReviewed by: Katie, Age 11 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

The main characters are Will,Gilan,Halt and Baron Arnold. This series has 12 books. This book is soooo good. I recommend it,it is my favorite book ever. So if you like action.

Kidsmomo Podcast #34: “Hard-Knock Life”

September 29th, 2010 by

A small town in need of inspiration. Secret rooms in a Paris train station. A hidden courtyard in a sprawling mansion. We visit them all in our latest podcast, all about books about orphans — these characters definitely struggle, but they also find adventure, and we’re along for the ride!

      (11:01) 
    Download the MP3 (10.6 MB)

  • Meet a Maniac and Mars Bars — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our Orphan book picks (The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Secret Garden)
  • An Orphan book review from YOU (Dave at Night)

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is fractured fairy tales! So send us a review of your favorite fractured fairy tale and check out our picks for fabulous fractured fairy tales.

— Karen and Nancy

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

September 22nd, 2010 by

maniac-magee-jerry-spinelli-book-reviewSubmitted by Audrey, Age 8 from California

Rating: ★★★★★

When he unties cobbles knot and gets a pizza certifacate things get a little better for Maniac Magee, You’ll love this book!

Dave At Night by Gail Carson Levine

September 22nd, 2010 by

Submitted by Audrey, Age 8 from California

Rating: ★★★★★

Dave At Night is a book about a kid named Dave that loses his father. He goes to the HHB (Hebrew Home for Boys). He runs away at night to a guy named Solly. That is all i will tell you because I don’t want to spoil the book.

Book Trailer: Maniac Magee

September 21st, 2010 by

This book trailer for Maniac Magee was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Books About Orphans theme. For more on Maniac Magee, check out our “Hard-Knock Life” podcast.

Have you ever met someone who can run faster than everyone else, intercept a football pass when he’s not even playing, and untie any knot? Well, you’re about to! Just watch our video for Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

September 18th, 2010 by

Submitted by Hahaha me, Age 11 from Maine

Rating: ★★★★★

Reynie, Constance, Kate and Sticky live vastly different lives. But they have more in common than meets the eye: they don’t know of their parents, they have special gifts, and are just what Mr. Benedict needs. When the unlikely quartet come together to embark on a mysterious mission at the L.I.V.E, little do they know what dangerous they face, or the secrets and surprises they’ll find. They must work together to find out what’s happening at L.I.V.E., or the result will be disastrous.
The Mysterious Benedict Society is filled with action, humor, manipulation, quirky characters, and finding a place to belong. You won’t want it to end.
(And because I absolutely KNOW you’ll love it, there are two sequels to the book: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.)

Also check out reviews from Maddy and Kate for this series!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

September 18th, 2010 by

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettSubmitted by Hahaha me, Age 11 from Maine

Rating: ★★★★☆

Mary is a spoiled brat. Mary doesn’t have any friends. Mary is an orphan. And I would love to be Mary. Because when her mother and father die, she’s sent to live at her uncle’s “house”, Misslethwaite Manor, on the moor in the middle of nowhere. (Or if you’re gullible, on the moon.) With no servant to worship her and wait upon her, she explores the grounds of the manor hoping to find the mysterious, secret garden that has been locked up for ten years. Mary changes from selfish to joyful, makes friends, finds a place where she belongs, and learns more than one secret.

Books About Orphans (But They’re Not All Sad, We Promise!)

September 14th, 2010 by

Mystery-solving siblings. A red-headed spitfire. A government secret agent. And a girl with a magical connection to the sea. These are just some of the characters in these books about orphans, who manage to overcome the odds and have amazing stories to show for it. Here are their adventures (in no particular order):

  1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Karen’s pick)
  2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Nancy’s pick)
  3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  4. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  5. Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine
  6. Rodzina by Karen Cushman
  7. The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart
  8. Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan
  9. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  10. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  11. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  12. The 39 Clues series by various authors
  13. The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
  14. Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
  15. Crispin: Cross of Lead by Avi
  16. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
  17. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  18. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
  19. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
  20. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

(And here’s a printable version of our Orphans booklist, for you to take to the library or bookstore.)

If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your favorite book about an orphan.We’ll feature the best kid-submitted reviews in our next podcast!

UPDATE 9/29/10: We revealed the answer to our Orphan Mystery Book Theater in the “Hard-Knock Life” Podcast, so take a listen if you want to know the answer. Or just tune in if you want to hear Karen’s new nickname. That she gave to herself.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

August 20th, 2010 by

Submitted by Hahaha me, Age 11 from Maine

Rating: ★★★★★

In classics, the author usually drones on and on about things that nobody cares about (kind of like I’m doing now). So I don’t like them. My definition of a classic is “action-lacking and boring”. But this summer I found a classic that blew me away! When Anne, an energetic red-head orphan who has been shuffled around through different families all her life goes to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, she wants nothing more than to stay in Green Gables for good. At first, Marilla is objective and doesn’t want Anne to stay, but soon Anne’s spirit gets to her. Anne gets into problems all the time, and has a vivid imagination. My favorite part is when Anne is acting out a scene from a book and is floating out in a pond in a leaky boat! And this book is NOT boring. (Climbing up on a roof for and falling off, smashing a chalkboard over a boy’s head.) I’d say there are two types of classics: The boring ones and the ones that really deserve to be honored. I know where I would put Anne of Green Gables. Read it!

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