Larger-Than-Life Lara

Larger-Than-Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall was published in 2006 by Dutton Children's Books.
"She's the kind of person you never forget..." -front cover
 When Lara Phelps steps into Mrs. Smith's 4th grade classroom the world stops spinning. The story is a first-person narrative told by Laney Grafton. Lara is a fat girl that everybody picks on by calling her names. But this doesn't bother Lara she just smiles and tells them a poem. Until the school play comes up. Everybody in class starts planning. On the day of the play they humiliate Lara in front of the whole school.

This book takes place in Paris elementary school. Paris Elementary is like any other school in the world. It has the same classrooms, the same desks, the same walls. All except for Mrs.Smiths class room which had a chair and a fold table as Lara's desk.

The protagonist of the story is Lara Phelps, the new girl in Mrs. Smith's 4th grade classroom. Lara changes the whole class with her attitude and outlook on life. The antagonist of the story is Joey Gilbert, the mean kid who decides to pull a trick on Lara.

I liked Larger-Than-Life Lara because it was a good book. I would recommend this book to people who like realistic fiction.

IL: MG - BL: 4.9 - AR Pts: 4.0

The Brothers Grimm

You may know the name Grimm from a book of fairy tales. What you may not know is how many of them were Jacob and Wilhelm's (The Brothers Grimm). What do you think of when somebody says Cinderella? Does The Brothers Grimm come to mind, probably not, you probably think Disney or Nick because of the movies. Well they weren't the ones who came up with it, The Brothers Grimm did. Actually they just wrote it down, it had existed long before they were born. The Brothers Grimm didn't actually create any stories, they just heard them from people and wrote them down.

When you think Rapunzel your mind probably goes to Tangled but guess what, The Brothers Grimm wrote that too! However, it has been changed quite a lot since the original. In the original The evil woman does not go out to the kingdom, Rapunzel's hair does not heal and the prince, yes prince not thief, gets his eyes poked out.

The Brothers Grimm lived in Germany their whole lives. The Brothers Grimm always loved stories, it didn't matter what it was about. One of their favorites though was one with princes and princesses wicked step sisters and balls- we call it "Cinderella".

When they lived Germany was many different kingdoms. All Germans had in common was their language. They didn't even think of themselves as Germans they thought of themselves as Prussians or Hessians.They wrote the fairy tales down not only for enjoyment but to help bring the country together. How can Stories bring a whole country together? Well the stories were something all Germans had in common it was something to be proud of. Neither man lived long enough to see their country united. However they brought joy to generations to follow.

Today adults and children all over the world still read The Brothers Grimm's fairy tale. If you would like to read it for yourself follow this link.

The Roman Mysteries: Secrets of Vesuvius

The Roman Mysteries: The Secrets of Vesuvius by Caroline Lawrence was published in 2001 by Penguin Group.

Jonathan, Flavia, Lupus and Nubia, friends and detectives, sail to Flavia's Uncle Gaius to spend the summer at his house. There they uncover a riddle that could bring them great treasure. Meanwhile, tremors are shaking the ground animals move and people dream of nearing doom. One of the worst natural disasters in history is about to happen. Read the book to find out more about this horrible disaster and the great treasure.

Flavia, Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus start out in Ostia right after having found the thief from The Thieves of Ostia, the first book in the Roman Mysteries series. From there the friends move to Gaius's farm which is somewhere between Pompeii and Stabia. Gaius's farm is a very large farm that also has vineyards all around it.

Flavia is a courageous young girl who is intelligent and  has a very good mind for problem solving. Nubia is a slave girl who watched her family get murdered and with her charm can make any beast fall asleep. Jonathan is a funny Jewish boy who tends to think everything is his fault (and sometimes it is). Lupus is a mute boy learning to read and write and when angered will stomp off and not come back for days. There is also Flavia's dog Scuto and the two puppies Nubia's puppy Nipur and Jonathan's puppy Tigris.

Caroline Lawrence was born in London,England. Shortly after her birth her American parents moved her family to Bakersfield, California where she grew up. When she was twelve, her family moved to Stanford, University in northern California so her father could study there. Caroline inherited her father's love of words and her mother's love of art. In 2000 Lawrence wrote her first book The Thieves of Ostia, the first book in The Roman Mysteries series. Caroline now lives with her son Simon and husband Richard in London.

I really liked The Secrets of Vesuvius  because of it's mixture of fiction and facts. I recommend this book to people who like fiction, mystery or historical fiction. If you like this book I would recommend reading Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. If you like the book try playing the game made by CBBC.

My poems

I wrote three poems this week for school. Here they are:

The Elephant

Elephants, Elephants
incredibly smart elaphants
one has learned to talk 
Koshik Koshik
he has learned to talk
defying the laws of nature
an extraordinary creature
Koshik has learned to talk

The Dog

Once the old dog would run and play
but now he just sits there.
Once the dog would never lay
but now he just sits there.
Once the dog would play in the sun
but now he just sits there.
Once the dog was a playful pup
but now he just sits there.


the white snow is falling
bunnies hopping around
in the stillness of the land
nothing makes a sound
i find some delicous nuts
i crack them open and poof they are gone
the chill threatens to freeze me
I'm cold beneath my coat
the smells of fall are fading
those of spring yet to come
but for now i will enjoy myself all winter long


 I liked Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter because Pollyanna is always so happy and glad about everything. Even though it was published in 1913, Pollyanna is written like any other book you might pick up at a book store today. The language is a little out of date because of when it was written, but other than that it is pretty easy to understand. I recommend this book to people who like classics, realistic fiction, orphans or just family.

When Pollyanna's father dies she is sent to live with her strict Aunt Polly who only takes her in because she believes that it is her "duty". Aunt Polly believes that Pollyanna was an unnecessary child giving the fact that the world was already full enough. The small town where Pollyanna is sent to live is full of people who are quite unhappy, but Pollyanna finds a way to turn things around. How can one little girl change the whole town's mood? Read the book to find out.

Aunt Polly's house is located on a hill outside the town of Beldingsville, Virginia. The people of Beldingsville were always unhappy until Pollyanna came along and changed everyone's outlook on life. When Pollyanna gets into a terrible accident it effects the whole town. Everybody wants to see her to give her a message to make her happy about something in the horrible situation she is in.

Aunt Polly is bitter and uncaring in the beginning of the book. She doesn't care about anything but doing her duty. Throughout the book though, Pollyanna changes her attitude so that in the end she is kind, loving and caring to Pollyanna.

Eleanor H. Porter was born in Littletown, New Hampshire on December 19th, 1868. Porter married Jon L. Porter in 1892. She started a singing career at  the New England Conservatory of Music but by the early 1900s had given it up for writing. She published her first book Cross Currents in 1907 but her first big hit was Miss Billy, published in 1911 followed by Miss Billy's Decision in 1912. However it is Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up that she is still remembered by today.

IL: MG - BL: 5.2 - AR Pts: 8.0

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The First Escape

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The First Escape by G.P Taylor, published in 2008 by Markosia Enterprises, LTD, begins at Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children. Saskia's side of the story mostly takes place in Spaniards House, a big grand house on the top of Parliament Hill. Sadie's side of the story is constantly moving from Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children to Hampstead to Spaniards House.

Mischievous twin sisters Sadie and Saskia Dopple think they rule Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children and everyone else does too. When somebody adopts only Saskia, Sadie says she still rules even if  both girls are not together. Right before Saskia gets in the car Sadie makes a promise that she will find Saskia and they will be together. Throughout the story it switches between Sadie and Erik's adventure and Saskia's adventure.

The Main characters are Sadie and Saskia Dopple, who are completely identical except for Sadie has a yellow left eye and a blue right eye while Saskia has a blue left eye and a yellow right eye. The only other difference is Sadie thinks before she speaks making her the quieter yet more dangerous one.
Page 164-5

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles are known for their interesting mixture of comic, picture book and chapter book all smashed together between the covers. This structure makes for an interesting reads. Look at the picture to the left and see the comic strip on one page and picture book on the other.

In Great Britain G.P. Taylor is being called "The new C.S. Lewis" and "Hotter than Potter". In 2004 his first novel, Shadowmancer, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers. His novels have been translated into several different languages all over the world. His other books include Shadowmancer, Wormwood, The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street, Tersias The Oracle and more. For a complete list check out his website at

I like this book and recommend it to anybody who has the time to read it. The First Escape is the beginning of the epic Dopple Ganger Chronicles. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series to see what happens next.

 IL: MG - BL: 4.7 - AR Pts: 4.0

Free Books!

Yesterday I entered a free book giveaway for Iron Hearted Violet, by Kelly Barnhill, on Dogo Books. It is a story about  unusual Princess Violet, a reckless girl who is probably too clever for her own good. One day she and her friend find a peculiar forbidden book and decide to read it. It is a fantasy book with dragons and spells and sounds like a great book that I would like to read.

To enter you have to have a Dogo account, the giveaway ends October 23.. There are 25 chances to win and probably tons of people entering for a chance so don't get your hopes up. For more information visit

The 39 Clues

The Maze of Bones, by Rick Riordan and the first book in the 39 Clues series, is about "orphans" 14-year-old Amy and 11-year-old Dan Cahill in the hunt for the 39 clues.

At  Amy and  Dan's grandmother's funeral the race for the 39 clues is announced. Amy and Dan Cahill along with the rest of their family are in the hunt. With Amy and Dan's richer more experienced relatives always trying to kill them, the race becomes harder with every step. The grand prize is to make the winner the most powerful Cahill of all.

The Cahills, who have been shaping the world for centuries, are split into four branches: Ekaterina, Tomas, Janus and Lucian. Ben Franklin, Mozart and Napoleon are just a few of the many Cahills.

The 39 clues take Amy and Dan all over the world. With the help of Nellie, their au pair, they travel wherever is needed to find the next clue. They go to Paris and Philadelphia along with a few other places with Nellie. Starting in Philadelphia Amy, Dan and Nellie trace Ben Franklin's life to find the second clue.

To go along with with the books they have made You can become an agent and join the hunt for the 39 clues with cards, clues and missions. 

The authors also take famous real people and turn them into Cahills. In book six they take Amelia Earhart and make her searching for the clues during her dangerous flight. Read the books to learn more.

I like this book a lot because of it's mystery and action. I recommend this book to people who like mystery and action. The Maze of Bones is the first book in the 39 clues series. This series has multiple authors including Rick Riordan and Jude Watson.

Gordan Korman writes books 2, 8 and 11. Korman wrote his first book at 12 years old. He has written over 65 books. Korman currently lives in Long Island, New York. 

Rick Riordan writes books 1 and 11. Riordan has written many children's books including the Percy Jackson series. Riordan lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Jude Watson writes books 4,  6 and 11. She is the author of many children's and young adult books. Watson currently lives in Katonah, New York.

Peter Lerangis writes books 3, 7 & 11. His books have sold over 4.5 million copies and has been translated into 28 languages. He writes young adult books. Lerangis currently lives in New York City, New York

Patrick Carman writes book 5. He has always been a story teller. He writes young adult and children's books.

Mararet Peterson Haddix writes book 10. She loved to read as a child and participated in lots of activities.She has moved a lot as an adult and currently live in Columbus, Ohio.

Linda Sue Park writes book 9. She writes lots of children's books. She is currently living in Rochester, New York.

IL: MG - BL: 4.3 - AR Pts: 7.0

The Amulet of Samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud, is the first book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy.

Bartimaeus, a five thousand year old djinni, and Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice alternate as the first person narrators for the story. After Simon Lovelace humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel starts plotting revenge on Lovelace. Summoning Bartimaeus is hard enough on its own but controlling him is almost impossible. When Bartimaeus is sent after Simon Lovelace's most prized possession Nathaniel  gets caught up in a whirlwind murder,theft and revenge.

This book takes place in London, England which is ruled by the powerful magicians who live there. Unlike Harry Potter, the commoners in the busy and populated city are aware of the wizards around them. In fact, they form a resistance to steal artifacts from the wizards which are occasionally used against them.

I would recommend this book to anyone, child or adult, who likes magic or fantasy. Stroud's series is packed with this and much more.

 "Jonathan Stroud, a former children's book editor, has written several books for young adults in England, where he lives." -inside back cover

The Amulet of Samarkand  awards

  • winner of a Boston Globe (USA)
  • winner of Lancashire Children's Book Award (UK)
  • Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Award)
  • the WH Smith Teen Choice Award (UK)  

IL: MG+ - BL: 5.9 - AR Pts: 19.0

Big Nate: In a Class by HImself

Big Nate 

In a Class By Himself

By Lincoln Peirce

Review by Eagle Eye-- I like this book because Nate has a dream that he is in school and one of his teachers Mrs. Godfrey calls on him even though he doesn’t know the answer.  This causes Mrs. Godfrey to be upset with him, but then he hears his alarm clock and then his dad gets him out of his bed.  Nate thinks he’s destined for greatness but he’s not sure what that greatness is.  He says that there is a lot of ways for a school day to go wrong.  One thing is the teacher can nail you with a test that you never saw coming!  He has a friend names Francis who is kind of different—he thinks he has to eat his lunch in alphabetical order.  He has another friend named Teddy and he has a whole bunch of nicknames for the teachers.  Nate gets in a lot of trouble in this book and gets a lot of detentions.  But, he gets a fortune cookie from Teddy that says today you will surpass all others.  He thinks that it’s a sign that he will be great.  He also has a comic strip.  If you want to find out all the reasons why he goes to detention, you will have to read the book.  I really recommend this book it is very good!!


Divergent by Veronica Roth, first published May 3, 2011, is about Beatrice Prior, a 16 year old Divergent girl.

Tris lives in a futuristic Chicago which has been divided into five factions, Abnegation: home of  The Selfless, Amity home of the The Peaceful, Candor home of the The Honest, Erudite home of the The Intelligent and Dauntless home of the The Brave. Most of the buildings are crumbled except for The Hub and the glass buildings they make.

Tris must choose between family or being who she really is. Every year at the choosing ceremony all sixteen-year-old's must choose which faction they want to spend the rest of their life with. Tris's decision surprises everybody, including herself. During initiation, she tries to find out who her real friends are and finds unlikely love with a boy who can be both romantic and infuriating. Tris also has a dark secret that no one can know; not even her family because she has been told it is deadly.

One Choice
Decides your friends

One Choice
 Defines your beliefs 

One Choice
Determines your loyalties-

One Choice
Can transform you

I liked Divergent because it was a great book and was very much like The Hunger Games. I would recommend this book to people who like dystopian fantasy and The Hunger Games. Recommended for ages fourteen and up due to mature content.

IL: UG - BL: 4.8 - AR Pts: 16.0

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

In Peter and the Shadow Thieves, the second book in the award-winning Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Molly and Peter reunite to keep the box of magical starstuff from falling into the hands of the evil Others as the hideous creature Lord Ombra. Along the way many unexpected turns come up like Tinkerbell getting captured, Peter leaving Neverland and one of Molly's maids almost killing her. The Others have sent Lord Ombra to get the trunk of starstuff from the Neverland . Will he succed or will Peter and Molly outsmart the Others once again? Read the book to find out.

This book takes place in London and Salisbury, England. London is a busy city and full of people at day but almost deserted at night. Salisbury is a town on the plains that holds one of England's mmain tourist attraction.

I liked Peter and the Shadow Thieves because it was a good book full of mystery and adventure.I would recommend this book to people who like fantasy.

Dave Barry is the award-winning author of thirty books including Tricky Business, Big Trouble, Dave Barry Turns 50, Dave Barry Turns 40 and many more. Barry currently lives in Miami,Florida.

Ridley Pearson is the best-selling author of The Kingdom Keepers, Never Look Back, Dead Aim, Parallel Lies, Hard fall and many more. Pearson and Barry write lots of book together including te Starcatchers series.


Do you remember your first encounter with Fudge?? Check out what Eagle Eye had to say this week!
The book Superfudge is really funny.  This is probably my favorite of all the books I’ve read in this series so far.  In this story, Peter’s family moves to a new house.  Fudge continues to be a little naughty, but not as bad as he was in the first story.  There are so many funny parts I would like to tell about, but I won’t tell about all of them because I don’t want to ruin it for you if you read it.  I really want to tell about when Peter comes home from a school party and he had drank a lot of cups of island punch.  He comes home and has to use the bathroom really really bad but Fudge is on the toilet.  Peter has to go so bad that he thinks about going to the bathroom in the plant.  He starts to unbuckle his belt but then Fudge gets done and he races in there.  It is so funny! Here’s the next funny part.  Fudge gets a bird and it talks.  What the bird says is really, really funny—but I’ll let you read the book to find out what it is.  

Thank you Eagle Eye for your contribution to Book-Attic's Read2012!

Eagle Eye on Magic Treehouse

This is actually a Magic Tree House book about the Wild West.  It is called Ghost Town at Sundown and I liked this book.  Jack and Annie go to a ghost town and see a ghost, but it is a friendly ghost.  But then they hear horse hooves coming into the ghost town but they are actually bandits who have stolen a cowboys herd of horses.  Jack and Annie get the herd back and the cowboy writes a book.  You have to read the rest of the book to find out the whole story.  It is worth reading and is exciting the whole way through.

The book I read is Dingoes at Dinnertime and it is a Magic Tree House Book.  The reason I like Magic Tree House books is because they are very interesting and they are usually about history.  This book takes place in Australia.  In the book there is a forest fire and Jack and Annie meet a mama kangaroo with its joey in her pouch.  The mama kangaroo gets chased by a pack of wild dogs and she takes off hopping to where Jack and Annie can’t see her and then she throws her baby to safety and then leads the wild dogs away when they chase her.  Then the forest fire gets bigger and soon the whole forest is getting burnt.  Annie runs off to get a koala bear.  I learned that forest fires are a threat to koala bears because they can’t move very fast.  The adventures continue as jack and Annie try to escape from the forest fire.  But you will have to read the book in order to hear the end.  I thought this book was good and I learned a lot from it. 

Dolphins At Daybreak is another Magic Tree House Book.  Jack and Annie go to a coral reef and see dolphins, a hammerhead shark, and an octopus which grabs them and breaks the mini sub that they are in.  They have to get up to get some air right away.  Once they get up to the air the mini sub is broken so they have to swim.  There is no way they can swim that far so the dolphins come and help them.  Jack and Annie both see a shark but they don’t say anything because they both want the other one to stay calm.  So they get back to the coral reef and they solve the riddle that their friend gave to them.  I won’t tell you the answer so that you will have to read the book to find out what happens.  This book was good, but I wouldn’t say it was great.  I like some of the other Magic Tree House Books better.

This is another Magic Tree House book and it is about Hawaii.  Jack and Annie go surfing.  They meet friends on every journey, and this time they meet friends in Hawaii and stay overnight at their friends house.  When Jack isn’t surfing he reads something in their friend’s research guide.  He reads that there could be a huge wave that would wipe them all out because there is a volcano under that island in Hawaii.  There is a small earthquake and Jack reads in their research guide that there is a big wave coming so he gets on his surf board and goes out to warn everyone.  They head for a high hill.  Will they be wiped out?  To be continued…if you read the book.  I think you should read this because it is a very good book. 


Blubber is a young readers choice award winner by Judy Blume that was first published in 1974. The story is about the complicated life of fifth-grader Jill Brenner. Jill and everybody else in her class are always bullying Linda Fischer because she is fat. They even go as far as to nickname Linda "Blubber" and force her to eat a chocolate-covered ant while she cries instead of stand up for herself. 

The main theme of Blubber is bullying and how it can hurt peoples feelings. Instead of bullying Linda physically they bully her with words. Being bullied with words is more hurtful because a broken bone can heal but mean words go to your head and they mess with your mind.

This book takes place in Hidden Valley, Radnor, Pennsylvania. Hidden Valley is where a bunch of Jill's classmates live including Jill and her best friend Tracy Wu. Hidden Valley is a very woodsy place therefore there are two signs at the front one says Welcome to Hidden Valley-Speed Limit 25 Miles Per Hour and on the other side a sign that says Watch Our Children. These signs are there to insure the safety of the children. This shows the parents care about their children physically but don't pay close enough attention to see that they are being bullied mentally.


  • Jill Brenner - protagonist and best friend of Tracy Wu 
  • Linda Fischer - kid that everybody bullies because she's fat
  • Wendy - mean girl in class who everyone is afraid of
  • Mrs.Minish -  Jill's teacher for fifth-grade

I Liked Blubber because it was a good book with characters real kids might be able to relate to. This book teaches kids a good lesson about how bullying can hurt peoples feelings.  I recommend this book to people who like realistic fiction.

Judy Blume has written many books among them are Freckle Juice, Superfudge, Deenie, Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself and many more. Over 80 million copies of her books have been sold and she has been translated into 31 different languages.


IL: MG - BL: 3.8 - AR Pts: 4.0


Review by bkwrm03

Heidi by Johanna Spyri is a good book about an orphan girl who lives on a mountain with an elderly man named Alm-Uncle. He is very kind to her. Heidi also likes Grandmother, an elderly woman living near Alm-Uncle. When Heidi's aunt, Deit, tries to get Heidi to go to Frankfurt with her, Heidi doesn't want to and Alm-Uncle does not allow it. The reason that Deit wants to take Heidi is because Deit knows of a lonely handicapped girl named Clara who wants a friend. So Deit takes Heidi and brings her to Frankfurt. Heidi has a fun time at Frankfurt, but she becomes homesick and goes home. This is a wonderful story!

abridged: IL: LG - BL: 3.9 - AR Pts: 0.5 
unabridged: IL: MG - BL: 8.2 - AR Pts: 16.0


Review by George Long III
 Hoot, a Newbery Honor book by Carl Hiaasen, is about a boy named Roy Eberhardt trying to discover a reason why a boy is running across town with no shoes, backpack, or books.  The story is set in Coconut Cove, Florida, where Roy and his family moved to.  Important characters include Roy Eberhardt, Beatrice Leep, foreman Leroy "Curly" Branitt, police officer David Delinko, and Dana Matherson.  As curious as people are, I will try not to reveal too much of the book.  Read on!

     Roy would not have known about the running boy if it weren't for Dana Matherson smooshing his face against the school bus window that morning.  While he was against the window, he noticed a boy running toward the bus stop.  The boy had no books, backpack, or weirdest of all, shoes.  A strange event then occurred. The boy didn't get on the bus, but instead started running away from the bus.  Roy was intrigued as to why the boy was running away from the bus.  For the next few days he ponders where the boy is running to. Roy comes to a decision that he will follow this boy. 

     Friday morning, while Roy was reading his X-Man comic, he notices the running boy.  At the bus stop, Roy runs off the bus to catch him.  He chases the boy, but doesn't catch him at first.  The second time he tries, the boy captures Roy.  Roy finds out that the boy goes by the name Mullet Fingers.  Mullet Fingers lets Roy go, but with a warning.  Later, Beatrice Leep brings Roy to a trailer and notifies him that Mullet Fingers is her stepbrother.  The boy is trying to stop Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House from creating a building on the place where there are owls' burrows.  
     Roy decides to join Mullet Fingers and Beatrice with the fight to save the owls.  They come up with a plan to try to convince Mother Paula's to not build at their gala groundbreaking ceremony.  The group tries inventive ways to get some evidence so more people will be on their side.  In this process they are faced with obstacles from the police and site foreman.  Will they manage to get enough evidence to convince Mother Paula's or will the owls' homes be destroyed?  You'll have to read the book to find out!

     I would recommend this book.  Readers will like the twists and turns of Roy's adventure to find out who the running boy is and the group's adventures to save the owls.  I especially liked the part where Mullet Fingers captures Roy because it was suspenseful.  I think the book was fun to read and had a good theme.  Thinking about animals and not being selfish or greedy is something that everyone should do.  I would rate this book five stars out of five.  Carl Hiaasen has also written a few other books to read if you like this one titled Scat, Chomp, and Flush.
IL: MG - BL: 5.2 - AR Pts: 9.0

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

I have to say, I wasn't sure if I was going to write any reviews considering Book-Attic prides itself on book reviews by kids for kids. However, since Makenzie will not be reading this book for a while, I am going to tackle the first book in Cassandra Clare's The Immortal Instruments. 

First let me say, I picked up the book at Walmart in search of a newly published vampire thriller just to keep up on with the genre in my effort to become part of it. The summary on the back does mention vampires and werewolves, but that is in no way the typical vampire story.

Clarissa Fray heads to a New York City club expecting the typical club night with her best friend Simon. Instead she meets Jace, Alec and Isabella. The twist, she isn't supposed to be able to see her. Attempting to shake off the nights events, she moves on with her life, but Jace had different plans for her. In time, Clary realizes she is different from other humans, or mundanes as the Shadowhunters call them, and that her short sixteen year life has been nothing but a closet full of secrets. Not only is the world ridden with demons and hunters who destroy them, but she soon finds that ALL stories are real.

 I do have to say, I was incredibly interested to see Clare use a bit of mythology along with the popular Hunter/Vampire themes in a new unexpected way. Warlocks and werewolves, though incredibly important to the story, are not truly what the story is about, though they do serve as a great hidden message about racism, much like that of Rowling's mud-blood reference. Ridden with the ever so typical teenage love triangles (and yes I did make that plural), City of Bones carries a great coming of age message. Readers are able to watch five teenagers fight to find their niche in a rough and crazy world.

I highly recommend this to the millions of Harry Potter lovers that populate the literate world limited to ages thirteen and up due to underlying innuendos. With a reading level of fifth grade, the 485 pages becomes a rather quick read.

Did I mention this the first in a series of four books? Or that IMBD reports  a movie in the making? In the words of Entertainment Weekly, prepared to be hooked!

IL: UG - BL: 5.0 - AR Pts: 20.0

Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress

Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress, by Maya Gold originally published in April 1, 2010 is about Diana Donato, a thirteen year old amateur actress and Cat Portilla (pronounced like tortilla), a 18 year old girly-girl . One day Diana and Cat  find two tickets to the play "Angel" and the after party in somebody's coat at work. Diana and Cat have to be ready to leave from the party in the limo at 12:00 sharp instead of the traditional magic wearing off at 12:00.

Diana and Cat work at Cinderella Cleaners by the counter. Cat works at the register while Diana pushes the dirty clothes cart. Cinderella Cleaners was founded by Diana's grandfather and is run by her father. Because it is a family business, some people treat her differently than they do the rest. It is a salmon colored building with a big neon crown on the roof and a sign that says Have You Swiped Today??? hanging over a coffee machine by the employee entrance.

  • Diana Donato: main character and friend to Cat
  • Cat Portilla: friend to Diana and second main character
  • Elise: friend to Cat and Diana
  • Jess: Diana's best friend
  • Nelson: Cat's friend who works as a tailor

I liked Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress because it was like the original yet modern at the same time. Though it doesn't have mice or a prince charming like the original it was still a good book. Cinderella Cleaners Change of a Dress is the beginning of the Cinderella Cleaners series. I recommend this book to people who like realistic fiction.

Gold "Maya Gold is the author of the spin-off novel Harriet the Spy, Double Agent.  She grew up on the Jersey side of the Hudson river and now lives in upstate New York with her fashion-forward teenage daughter. In her spare time Maya  coaches a high school drama club. Cinderella Cleaners is her first series for young readers."(back cover of Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress)

Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress links
Cinderella Cleaners official website
Cinderella Cleaners on Scholastic
Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress on Google Books

Cinderella Challenge

Book-Attic is hosting a Cinderella Challenge.

How many Cinderella stories can you name off the top of your head? The list is never ending and has changed drastically from the Brothers Grim "Ashputtel." The original author created quite a grim story, while the more up to date movies, such as Another Cinderella Story, feature a gorgeous teen fighting for individuality as apposed to the fight for a handsome prince charming. Another example is the recent Nickelodeon movie Rags which is Cinderella for boys.

The written Cinderella story line has been transformed in many ways. Currently, Makenzie is reading Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress which has been modernized to fit children of today. The Cinderella character even wears converse with her dress!

So, as usual here, is the challenge. Watch as many Cinderella type movies as possible OR read Cinderella stories and tell us how they are different from "Ashputtel". If you would like to contribute to the Ashputtel page on, send the review to

I would suggest starting with Ashputtel the original Cinderella by The Brothers Grimm and adding newer stories from there!

The Serpents Shadow

Review by George Long III

The Serpent's Shadow is a book by Rick Riordan. The book is set at various locations, such as Dallas, Texas. There is also a magical realm called the Duat that they enter. Carter and Sadie Kane have had various battles across the world, trying to stop the Egyptian Chaos snake, Apophis, from destroying the world. You will like this book, guaranteed!

The Serpent's Shadow, the third book in the series, is about two magicians (kids), Carter and Sadie Kane, trying to defeat the Chaos snake, Apophis, while trying to restore the sun god, Ra. Carter becomes the pharaoh and receives the crook and flail, weapons of the pharaoh. Sadie has been doing well on many spells, including Ma'at-order. Most of the gods are weak, and might not be able to defeat the Chaos snake. Cater and Sadie have discovered a way to defeat the serpent, but it may cost them their lives. Can they manage to beat Isfet-chaos?

 I like this book, and would recommend this for readers who like action, adventure, fiction and mythology (especially Egyptian).
IL: MG - BL: 4.8 - AR Pts: 15.0

Also written by Riordan:

The Percy Jackson Series  (AR Pts: 57.0)
The Heroes of Olympus   (AR Pts: 56.0)
The Kane Chronicles  (AR Pts: 50.0)
The DemiGod Files IL: MG - BL: 4.3 - AR Pts: 3.0
The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel IL: MG - BL: 3.1 - AR Pts: 1.0

Jacob Have I Loved

Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson, takes place on Rass Island over a period of seven years. Rass is a small, little known island off the Chesapeake Bay, and about two-thirds of the island is covered in windy salt marsh full of cordgrass that hides tin, glass and other sharp things. Cordgrass alone can rip your skin so imagine how deadly it is with harmful stuff hidden in it. On Rass everybody makes money either by teaching or fishing for oysters, eeling or crabbing every day except Sunday.

Jacob Have I Loved is about the life of teenage girl Sara Louise Bradshaw. Louise has lived in her sister Caroline's shadow since the minute Caroline was born. After only a few minutes of attention, Caroline was born and all the attention was drawn to her from Louise. All Louise wants is to get out of Caroline's shadow and find something she is better at than Caroline.

"My sister was loved by every body but me- 
the one who should have loved her best."- back cover

  • Sara Louise Bradshaw - main character and twin sister of Caroline
  • Caroline Bradshaw - antagonist and twin sister to Louise
  • The Captain - Louise, Caroline and Call's friend
  • Call - friend to The Captain, Louise and Caroline

I liked this book and recommend it to people who like realistic fiction. Jacob Have I Loved is by award winning author Katherine Paterson. Also written by Paterson:  
  • Bridge to Teribithia, 1978 Newbery Medal winner
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins, Newbery Honor Book and 1979 National Book Award winner
  • The Master Puppeteer  1977 National Book Award winner
IL: MG - BL: 5.7 - AR Pts: 8.0