Spyhole Secrets: Book Review

July 8th, 2015 by

spyhole-secretsI have to admit, I didn’t have high expectations for this book when I first picked it up. Sadly, I was judging the book by its cover. I mean, look at it.

But once I started reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised! I was immediately drawn to the main character, Hallie. She and her mom have just moved to a new town after Hallie’s father died in a car crash. Things are obviously tough: Not only does Hallie have to deal with a new school, no friends, and a crummy new apartment, but she’s still grieving for her dad.

As a welcome distraction, Hallie starts spying on an apartment across the street from her building. She quickly gets caught up in solving the mystery of who lives there and why the occupants always seem to be upset with each other. Why is the golden-haired teenage girl crying? What is the relationship of the three adults yelling at each other? And could the kid Hallie meets at the local library really be the same person she’s spotted hiding in the shadows of the living room?

If you’re looking for a spooky book with lots of gripping action, this is not it. Yes, there are tense moments that Hallie witnesses, but the mystery here is more quiet and contained — and ultimately the real story may be more about what these neighbors mean to Hallie than what’s actually happening in their lives for real…

I think you’ll enjoy this book if you’re a fan of Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead.

Have you ever spied on neighbors, family members, or even total strangers? Or have you ever made up stories about the people you see around you? Leave a comment and let me know!

— Karen

After reading Harriet the Spy as a kid, Karen started her own observations notebook. But she didn’t really have much to say in it. Guess her neighbors weren’t as interesting as Harriet’s!

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The Treasures of Weatherby: Book Review

June 17th, 2014 by

the-treasures-of-weatherbyI really enjoyed this book. So just keep that in mind when I say this: It’s not a magical book. I expected magic because one of the characters says she can fly. But I feel like I need to warn everyone: Don’t expect magical powers as part of this story.

BUT this book is full of magic of a different kind: funny coincidences, chance meetings, and unexpected adventure.

Harleigh lives in a huge mansion with a big group of relatives. The rule is that if you’re a Weatherby, you get to live there for free. But the closer you are to the main Weatherby blood line, the more perks you get (like nicer housing). Harleigh is very close, but being a kid, he still doesn’t get a lot of control over his life.

That’s why it’s so exciting one day when a strange girl named Allegra appears on the Weatherby grounds. Together, they get mixed up in a crazy escapade that involves a hidden treasure, a dangerous man with a metal detector, a weepy cousin with a story to tell, and a strict aunt you wouldn’t want to cross.

I would definitely recommend the book to fans of The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter, the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood, and The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. In other words, a perfect book for summer!

If you’ve already read this book, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. Or just tell me what you’re planning to read or do this summer!

— Karen

In the book, Harleigh claims the tower room as his bedroom, which has always been a fantasy for Karen. Too bad NYC apartments don’t have towers!

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The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

February 21st, 2012 by

egypt-game-book-reviewSubmitted by LILLIAN, Age 11 from Florida

Rating: ★★★★☆

MY OPINION OF THIS BOOK IS THAT IS WAS GOOD BECAUSE SOME PARTS OF THE BOOK WERE REALLY INTERESTING, THAT YOU COULD JUST FEEL YOU WERE IN THE BOOK. OTHER PARTS OF THE BOOK WERE NOT AS INTERESTING. THE EGYPT GAME TAKES PLACE IN EGYPT. I WOULD DEFINITLY RECOMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE WHO LOVES LEARNING ABOUT ANCIENT EGYPT AND ITS HYSTORY LIKE ME FOR EXAMPLE!
THE EGYPT GAME WAS ABOUT SIX KIDS WHO DISCOVER THE EGYPT GAME AND GO THROUGH LOTS OF ADVENTURES AND CRAXY THINGS.THE MAIN CHARACTERS ARE KEN,TOBY,APRIL,MARSHAL.MELANIS,
ELIZABETH. KEN WAS THE SECOND BOY WHO JOINED THE EGYPT GAME , APRIL WAS THE GIRL WJO LIVED WITH HER GRANDMOTHER IN CASA ROSADA AND MARSHAL WAS THE LITTLE BROTHER OF MELANIE WHO TOOK CARE OF SECURITY,MELANIE WASAPRILS BEST FRIEND AND TOBY WAS THE FOLLOWER OF KEN AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST ELIZABETH, SHE WAS APRILS AND MELANIES FRIEND AND WAS A NEW BEE TO THE EGYPT GAME .

Kidsmomo Podcast #57: A Fright Fest, Plus Factoids

November 1st, 2011 by

Just when you thought Halloween was over and you’d be safe from all the menacing terrors that haunt the night, we’ve got something truly horrifying in our latest podcast… corny jokes! Or should we say candy corny jokes?! HA HA HA HA!

Sorry.

Anyway… we’ve also got book recommendations, wacky facts, and cruelty to turkeys. So rise above your fear of lame humor and give our podcast a spin:

    Listen now:
     
      (6:39)
    Download the MP3 (3.2 MB)

  • Karen’s book review: How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston
  • Nancy’s book review: Every Day On Earth, written by Steve Murrie and Matthew Murrie, illustrated by Tom Bloom
  • A review from YOU: Libby on Wednesday by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Comedy, drama, romance, and burritos

And don’t forget: As we mention in the podcast, we’ve got TWO book giveaways running right now! Enter for a chance to win signed copies of Aaron Starmer’s books (DWEEB and The Only Ones) and Dancing With The Pen: A Collection of Today’s Best Youth Writing.

And speaking of writing, you should write in your review below! Or send in a review of any book you love. We’ll feature a kid review in our next podcast!

— Karen and Nancy

Libby on Wednesday by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

October 24th, 2011 by

Submitted by kelya, Age 12 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

this book is about a girl name libby who hates, and wants to quit school. she than asked her relatives can she be home schooled and thye home schooled her for a few days. tha her mother decides its time for her to be socialized. so now she is stuck with four kids she dosen’t like in a writers club that meets weekly on wednesday. the five classmetes learn to accept each other, and even become friends.

Kidsmomo Podcast #33: “New Kids on the Block”

September 14th, 2010 by

A new kid who conspires with a mobster. A new kid whose life changes because of a dog. And a new kid who makes Karen cry. Plus, meet the nuke kid, the nude kid, and the newt kid! We’ve got ’em all in our latest podcast, all about books starring “the new kid.”

(And be sure to stay tuned all the way to the end, to catch our lightning round competition based on this theme’s mystery book!)

      (11:18) 
    Download the MP3 (10.9 MB)

  • Al Capone on Al Catraz (get it?!) — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our New Kid book picks (Libby on Wednesday and Bridge to Terabithia)
  • A New Kid book review from YOU (Because of Winn-Dixie)
  • Karen vs. Nancy in a speed battle of wits!

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is books about orphans — but don’t worry, they’re not all sad! So send us a review of your favorite book about an orphan and check out our picks for books about orphans.

— Karen and Nancy

Kidsmomo Podcast #32: “Hit or Myth”

August 30th, 2010 by

Egyptian priestesses, teleporting unicorns, a homebody goddess, and the end of the world as we know it. We’ve got ’em all in our latest podcast, all about mythology-themed books. Plus Hercules as a dumb jock, Karen as a brawny sea god, and Nancy as a magical healer. HUH? Tune in now:

      (9:18) 
    Download the MP3 (8.9 MB)

  • From Egypt to Greece to the skies — aka our mystery book revealed, and our mythical doubles
  • Spooky Mayan forces and colorful Greek adventures — aka our book picks (Middleworld and Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders)
  • Pegasus vs. unicorn

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is “the new kid”! So send us a review of your favorite book about a new kid at school or in town new kid, and check out our picks for books about “the new kid.”

— Karen and Nancy

Book Trailer: The Egypt Game

August 24th, 2010 by

This book trailer for The Egypt Game was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Mythology theme. For more on The Egypt Game, check out our “Hit or Myth” podcast.

If you’ve ever created your avatar in a virtual world or played a MMORG, then you know how much fun it can be to play a character in a different world. But what if you could do it in real life?

Take a bunch of creative kids and a love for Egyptian mythology, and you’ve got the imagination game in The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

Duck, Duck, Goose (Cats)

June 26th, 2010 by

My sister, Cindy, has had two cats since they were kittens — one named Duck and the other Goose. They are brother and sister so obviously, they have very different personalities. Despite that, they love each other! Here they are giving each other a hug:

Goose is on the left, Duck is on the right.

I like to imagine that when we’re off to human work doing human things, they don’t just lie about sleeping. They are like Chester Cat from Bunnicula — they have intelligent conversations and read excellent literature.

Goose is the older brother, and although he’s very much a cat, I’ve always thought he acts like a dog — he’ll even beg for table scraps! Here he is, ready to pounce on some hamburgers we’ve cooked up:

His love for food is so great that it has overcome his modesty and belly. Long ago when Goose was a kitten, he was quite the active “sports kitten.” He would relentlessly chase laser lights and play with balls of twine. Now… well, check out this recent photo of him:

As he’s become accustomed to the cushy lifestyle Cindy has provided for him, he’s less of a “sports cat” and more of a sports fan — a sports fan who particularly enjoys snacking while watching the game. Which is why I know he’d love these two books from our food books theme and sports books theme, respectively: The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling and Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica:

But Goose isn’t just a meathead cat with sleep and food on his mind. He’s also a proud and sensitive soul — here he is, defending his home from the neighborhood bully:

Which is why I know he’d also enjoy Crash by Jerry Spinelli, all about Crash Coogan, a smug jock and bully who changes for the better.

When that mean neighborhood cat sneaked into our home, it upset Duck, Goose’s little sister, to no end. She’s always been a little skittish, and whenever someone new enters a room, she’ll run and hide:

When the humans aren’t home, I think Duck is spending all her time looking into conspiracy theories. I think she believes she’s a human, her brother thinks he’s a dog, and she’s spent her lifetime trying to figure it all out. So a book she would have read over and over would be The Doom Machine by Mark Teague:

But despite her… erm, unique theories, she’s still just a nerdy, shy, nervous kitten at heart — so someday she should pick up Ann M. Martin’s Mary Anne Saves the Day (BSC #4) and Libby on Wednesday by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

These two books are all about two shy, smart, sensitive girls who eventually come out of their shells.

Perhaps one day I’ll go visit Duck and Goose and catch them with their reading glasses near the fireplace, curled up next to a good book, right before bed:

A rare moment where Duck doesn't run away. But she doesn't like having her photo taken, either!

Based on what I’ve told you about Duck and Goose, my eccentric feline nephew and niece, what books would you recommend to them?

— Nancy

Nancy spends quite a lot of time giving personalities to animate animals and inanimate objects. She loves to eat, sleep, and is a little bit skittish herself, too.

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