Book Review of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

In-Depth book review of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead ~ What My Kids Read

When You Reach Me is a Newbery Award winner by Rebecca Stead, who also wrote Liar & Spy (that’s a link to my review). It heavily references Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (that’s a link to my review of that book), and I think that it would definitely help for your child to be familiar with A Wrinkle in Time before reading this book. You could skip it and depend on the summaries in When You Reach Me, but I love it when my kids get the full experience of a book, and I feel like that would happen best after reading A Wrinkle in Time.

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Book Review of Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood

Bliss is the first book in a new series called The Bliss Bakery Trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood (you can read my review of the second book here). Bliss was a recommendation from a reader of this blog. If you would like to request a review, please fill out the Book Suggestion form. I’d love to review any book your kids want to read that you haven’t had time to preview – or a book that you think other parents would love to know about.

Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood Book Review by What My Kids Read

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Book Review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Thorough book review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick ~ What My Kids Read The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a celebration of early movies – the seemingly magical, fantastical experiences they presented. It is unlike any book I have ever read. It has lots of pages (about 530 in my copy), but half of the story is in black and white pictures and photos, so it’s a quicker read than you might expect. There are chapters and then many pages of pictures, not illustrating what was described in the chapter, but continuing the story. Really a fun, unique book! The book’s website says “The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not exactly a novel, and it’s not quite a picture book, and it’s not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things.”

The Invention of Hugo Cabret was made into a movie called Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese). I think they did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the book. The official website is pretty neat, and you can see the opening sequence of drawings. Very fun! Now to be honest, this book isn’t one that we own, or that we re-read, but it really was a delight to read through once. I think the writing isn’t as compelling as the illustrations. Other kids might enjoy re-reading it, but mine just enjoyed the experience. It is definitely the kind of book that would be fun to read out loud together.

It is based on a real man, Georges Méliés, who created films around the beginning of the 1900s. Several early films are mentioned, and it might be fun to look for them, if your kids enjoy this book.

Parents should be aware that Hugo tragically lost his father in a fire and had to live with an alcoholic uncle who teaches Hugo to steal (sometimes it was the only way to eat). There is a lot of disobedience, stealing, and lying in this story. It is not encouraged, but it would be difficult for the events of this book to happen without the children disobeying, stealing, and lying. I still feel it is fine for my kids to read, but you might want to talk with your kids about Hugo and Isabelle’s moral choices.

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Book Review of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Book Review of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer What My Kids Read Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy through my links, I will receive a percentage of the sale. It doesn’t cost you more, but it helps us out. Thanks! 

Artemis Fowl is the first of a series of eight books by Eoin Colfer, with some extra books about the same characters (graphic novels and such). It’s about a 12-year-old boy, Artemis Fowl, son of  European crime lord, heir to millions, and “criminal mastermind.” Artemis plant to restore the family fortune back to billions by capturing a fairy and holding it for ransom. You follow both Artemis and the fairies throughout the book. Lessons are learned on both sides along the way, but the reader is left not sure of which side is actually right or wrong. It’s a fun book to read. Not a classic, but definitely entertaining. The morality of a main character s questionable. Liam is reading them, but it is definitely a test to see what he picks up on as far as the shaky moral ground of all the characters.

Parents should be aware that the entire book is full of fairies and magic. There are a few instances of the word “damn.” There is a very violent fight scene (a main character dies and is magically brought back to life), and a few specific brands of guns are mentioned. The father is missing (presumed dead), and the mother is half crazy with grief and spends her days drugged with sleeping pills.  The Fowl family is known to be the head of a criminal empire, so various crimes are mentioned.

While I was looking for a plot summary, I read on Wikipedia that the author described these books as “Die-Hard with fairies.” I think that captures the essence of this book.

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Book Review of Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Book Review of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea - What My Kids Read

Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy through my links, I will receive a percentage of the sale. It doesn’t cost you more, but it helps us out. Thanks! 

Because of Mr. Terupt is Rob Buyea’s first novel. I found it on Amazon as one of their recent top sellers. It was published in 2010, so it’s been out a little while, but I hadn’t heard of it until I saw it on Amazon. Because of Mr. Terupt is the story of how a fifth grade teacher impacts the lives of seven kids in his class. The book is narrated from the seven children’s perspectives, so each “chapter” is from a different perspective. It was a pretty quick and easy read.. It is a great illustration of forgiveness and redemption. There is a sequel, Mr. Terupt Falls Again, that was released last year, and I plan to review that book soon.

Parents should know that most of the characters have dark troubles – like a father leaving the family for another woman or parents having a child in order to have a bone marrow donor for their first child. You should probably read my plot summary because the seven children in the story all have different issues. There is a fair amount of bullying, but it is presented as bad. One major character ends up in a coma in the hospital, and that is scary. A conservative Christian family is close-minded, but changes by the end. Parents should also note that this is a modern book, and the children talk like modern kids in school with words like stupid, sucks, etc.

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