Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: Charlie Bumpers Vs. Really Nice Gnome by Bill Harley & Illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Charlie Bumpers can't wait until his teacher posts the parts for the school play. He knows which part he wants, the Evil Sorcerer Kragon. Playing the bad guy sounds awesome. Instead, he gets the part of the Nice Gnome. He can't think of anything worse. Any part would be better than the Nice Gnome, even if it is the biggest part in the play. Too bad he can't just trade.

In fact, Charlie does try to trade parts but his teacher, Mrs. Burke, won't let him. When trading doesn't work, Charlie tries two other times to rid himself of such a nice part, even going so far as to rewrite all of his lines. All to no avail. 

Luckily, his big brother Matt gives Charlie a special set of sneakers to add to his costume, sure to put put the part of the Nice Gnome somewhere in the "cool" spectrum. Even better,  Charlie saves the play elevating him to hero status.

The younger middle grade reader will delight in Charlie's antics while at the same time will relate to the disappointment of not always getting what you want. Author, Bill Harley, pegs elementary school humor in a sequel that won't disappoint. The illustrations by Gustavson elicits additional laughs. The reader will anxiously wait the next installment.

Rating:  Recommended ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree (April 1 2014)
Pages: 160 
ISBN: 978-1-56145-740-3
Ages: 7-10

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**Disclosure: Book received at no charge from publisher to facilitate review. No monetary compensation was received. As always, I am free to give an honest review based upon my actual experience.**

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review: Out of the Blue by S.L. Rottman

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

With his mother's new promotion, Stuart Ballentyne faces yet another move. He and his mother head off to Minot, North Dakota where his mother will take command of the Air Force base. Though they have moved a lot, this move challenges Stu in ways which he has never experienced.

While his eight year-old neighbor, Billy, tries to befriend him, Stu notices odd things about the situation across the street and wonders about his young neighbor. Unfortunately, his older brother started college and did not make the move with them, nor did his father. This leaves no one for Stu to confide in about his suspicions. Instead, Stu keeps tries not to meddle. When he does finally intervene, it is not without serious consequences.

Stu's helplessness at what he witnesses leaves a gripping reminder that abuse can happen anywhere. The realistic look on the effects of deployment on the family and community will hit a chord to any teen who has a parent in the military. A strong plot-driven novel with a powerful social message recommended for the teen reader.

Rating:  Recommended ★★★★☆

Publishing Information
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers  (Reprint March 2014)
Pages: 288
ISBN 13- 978-1561457861
Ages: 12 and up

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

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