Friday, June 14, 2013

Middle Grades Reviews

Past Middle Grades Reviews

Cleaning house and moving some reviews around.

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George -- Middle Grades fantasy
When the king learns that another kingdom has mounted an army on dragon and plans to attack, he asks Creel to help save the kingdom with the help of local dragons. Upset at the king's attitude towards dragons, Creel sets out to prove that the enemy dragons are not fighting of their own free will. Together with her friend Marta, Martha's betrothed Tobin, Prince Luka and her favorite dragons, Creel sets off to spy on their enemies in Citatie. Creel and Marta uncover a dangerous and deadly secret that leads to The Second Dragon War and it's up to the girls to save the day. I wasn't crazy about this book either. I guess I'm not much of a fan of dragons. The action took a long time to set up and then the battle took up only a brief amount of space before the long ending. I could have used more about the dragons and a longer action sequence. The romance parts were sweet and I really liked the wedding scene. One important thing to note is the glossary in the back, which I didn't discover until after I had read the book. I found many of the names and place names too difficult to pronounce on my own without the glossary and wish I had seen in before I started reading.

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George -- Middle Grades fantasy
Creel is an orphaned country maiden with a gift for embroidery and a dream of leaving the village to become a professional needleworker. However, her family is poor and her aunt decides the best way to reverse their finances is to sacrifice Ceel to a dragon so a knight can rescue her, marry her and support the whole family. Creel's adventures don't turn out as planned - for one thing, the dragon refuses to eat her! Instead, Creel befriends the dragon and recieves a beautiful pair of slippers from the dragon's hoard. She then sets off for the King's Seat, dismisses the knight, meets more eccentric dragons and discoveres a dangerous secret that could be the end of all she cares about. I didn't like this story as much as I thought I would. I liked like Creel rescued herself but I was expecting more pluck and wit from her. The story picked up towards the end when the kingdom was in danger. I would recommend this book to 9-12 year olds but maybe not to adults. I do plan to read the sequels though and hope I like them.

I Put a Spell on You by Adam Selzer -- Middle Grades mystery/school humor
I picked this up because the author's wife is an online acquaintance of mine and I'm not sorry I read it! 6th grade Hall Monitor Chrissie Woodward has always been on the right side of the law, that is, the side of the Principal, but as the community prepares for the big spelling bee, Chrissie begins to suspect the principal's office of being corrupt! She sets out to gather evidence from her peers in this amusing adventure. The story is told from the points of view of the kids involved in the spelling bee: the know-it-all, the homeschool transfer, the class clown, the kid who will eat anything and the girl whose parents want her to win more than anything. This book seems to be based on Watergate, which I'm not sure kids would get, but it reminds me so much of the books my teachers used to read to the class in elementary school that it doesn't matter if kids get the little nods to history. Each of the kids in the story is so intense and the adults are all crazy and "bad," but since the story is told from the point of view of the kids, I can see how they would see adults as "bad." I enjoyed this book a lot and couldn't put it down until I finished the mystery and saw who won the spelling bee! I also learned a lot of new words that I have never even heard of!

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