Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monkey Man by Ben and Charlie G.

One hot summer day a monkey was taking his morning walk around the jungle that he lived in, called “Zonama Jungle”. But this monkey was no ordinary monkey this monkey had amazing superpowers and his name was Jay.
Jay wasn’t the biggest monkey in the jungle. He had a lot of curly hair and big brown eyes. He was skinny and short but that didn’t stop him from having superpowers.
Jay got a banana belt for his birthday from his parents, who unfortunately were dragged away by tiger when he was young. He remembered the merciless eyes of the tiger and his parents screaming with terror,”Use the belt, use the belt!!” He didn’t know how to use it back then, but over time he learned. Jay never remembered them much because he was so young but he just thought of them as dead. Jay got lonely when he was little but he managed to raise himself.
This banana belt came with magical bananas. When the bananas where put in the it they turned magical, and when you ate them you will get a certain superpower. But he had never told anyone in his life about it because he didn’t want anyone to steal it and he didn’t use it very often. Most animals that Jay knew just thought it was a silly tool belt.
These are his bananas that gave him superpowers. The green banana gives you super speed, the red banana gives you super strength, the yellow banana gives you the power to fly, and the brown banana gives you the power to be invisible.
So as Jay was walking around on that hot day in Zonama Jungle he listened to the sounds of the birds chirping, the leaves rustling, and the little animals scurrying around in the dirt. He looked up at the trees and saw all the colors of the parrots, toucans, and the thousands of smooth green leaves all over. He felt sweat trickle down his face and his furry body.
“BOO!!!” screamed the monkey who popped out in front of Jay. “Hey Boris” greeted Jay. Boris was a plump, pudgy monkey who never left his tree. He was Jay’s best friend. “What’s up?” asked Boris. “Nothing much”, Jay replied, “I was just taking my morning walk around the jungle.” “I really need to go”, said Jay, “because I’m visiting my uncle’s tree for his birthday.” “Okay, replied Boris, “see yah”.
So Jay continued walking, this time in a different direction heading, towards his uncle’s tree, daydreaming. Time passed, and he stopped and looked around but nothing seemed familiar. An icy feeling gripped his heart, HE WAS LOST!! He had never been lost before; he thought he knew all of the Zonama Jungle, but maybe this wasn’t the Zonama Jungle. He heard a rustling in the bushes and turned. He thought he saw some black fur but he must have been hallucinating. Then before he could do anything a blur of black surrounded him and next thing he knew he was tangled in a net. Then he saw a huge creature billowing over him. It was a gorilla!!!
“I have finally caught you”, bellowed the gorilla,”I have seen that banana belt of yours and I know it possesses superpowers so I plan to take it from you”. “Is that okay”, said the gorilla in a mocking tone, “well to bad cause there is nothing you can do about it!” Jay was so frightened he couldn’t speak. Nobody had ever payed attention to his banana belt and this guy wanted to take it! A wave of anger washed over him, he knew what he had to do!
He snuck his hand down to the red banana (the super strength one) and nibbled it. He felt a force of strength and ripped of the net but right after he did, the gorilla punched him in the head and Jay fell to the ground. The gorilla brought his arm back to strike him in the face but Jay was quicker, he dodged it and took a bite out of the brown banana and turned invisible. The gorilla looked so confused Jay held back a laugh. But soon the invisibility would be wearing off so he decided to take a munch out of the green banana and he soon got super speed. Then he crept up behind him and punched him in the back so rapidly his arms were a blur. The gorilla fell down groaning. So to finish him Jay took a bite out of the yellow and got the power of flight so he wrapped the net around the moaning gorilla and flew up into the sky holding the very heavy animal. Jay flew up just high enough so when he dropped the gorilla he wouldn’t mess with him again! Then Jay dropped the gorilla that landed with a “UUMMPHH”. And as Jay was flying back to his tree he heard the gorilla in the distance, “You’ll be sorry you ever did that to me Monkey Man!!”
“Monkey Man”, thought Jay, “what a peculiar name maybe that should be my undercover name”. Jay said the name over and over in his head and came to like it. And then he said to himself “well if he calls me Monkey Man, I’ll call him Gorilla Guy.” He noticed it was getting late so he should get home.
Weeks passed and Jay never heard from Gorilla Guy. But he did start to notice some pretty suspicious things like Boris not being home lately even though he never leaves his tree. And his uncle not being home when Jay went for his birthday party. And lastly the forest seemed unusually quiet, you could still hear the birds, the wind, and the scurrying, but you couldn’t hear other animals in the distance. It seemed like a giant just turned down the volume in Zonama Jungle.
The next day when Jay was taking his morning walk he heard a rumbling in the distance. As it got louder Jay got more scared. Pretty soon it was deafening. The first thought that came into his mind was “STAMPEED!!” Jay started to scramble out of the way, but a familiar voice said in a booming tone “Halt!” Jay stopped in his tracks and what he saw still frightens him to this day. He saw Gorilla Guy and mostly all the animals in Zonama Jungle including Boris and his uncle surrounding Gorilla Guy all glaring at Jay! There were animals from anteaters to elephants. But that wasn’t what surprised him the most. But what did was Jay saw his parents chained up in the back of Gorilla Guy’s cart, held up by his servants! Also all his animals were wearing headsets and had a glazed look in their eyes, kind of what someone looks like when they are daydreaming.
Then a thought washed over Jay, Gorilla Guy was mind controlling all of these innocent animals!! But strangely his parents didn’t have the headsets on and weren’t being mind-controlled. “Yeah that’s right”, Gorilla Guy boomed,”tremble in terror as I take over this jungle. This jungle will pay for what it has done to me. I am the only gorilla in this jungle and just because I’m different the other animals kicked me out. But not anymore will they tease or laugh at me when I am their new leader!!” Gorilla Guy continued “I bet you’re wondering where I got your helpless little parents?” “Yes I am”, Jay managed to squeak. “I found them in a tiger’s cave being kept as servants!! Now where was I, oh yeah taking over this puny jungle. Any last words Monkey Man?” Anger built up inside him starting with Gorilla Guy calling his parents helpless and calling this jungle puny. He looked into the terrified eyes of his parents and the mind-controlled eyes of the other animals and that put him over the top.
Jay stood up and said heroically “I’m going to save this jungle or die trying!!” “Well then get ready to die” said Gorilla Guy menacingly. “Charge!!” yelled Gorilla Guy to his mind-controlled animals. Jay’s goal was first to knock off all the animal’s headsets so they won’t be mind-controlled anymore, then free his parents, and lastly if Gorilla Guy hasn’t fled yet defeat him once and for all! The first wave of animals were the smallest of the group so Jay took a nibble of the brown banana and turned invisible and since they were so dumb, the animals looked around confused as he knocked off all of their headsets and as soon as the animals regained their senses they scampered away into the underbrush cowardly. As the next wave came a little bigger than the first Gorilla Guy yelled “use your sense of smell you idiots!” So that foiled the invisibility idea. Next he took a bite out of the green banana and ran around them with super speed kicking up dirt and dust so the animals couldn’t see. Then grabbed some stones, took a chomp out of the yellow banana, and hovered about seven feet off the ground carefully throwing rocks at the headsets and knocking them off. Also just the same as the first wave the animals ran off into the bushes. Gorilla Guy got more frustrated with every headset that got knocked off and cursed under his breath The next wave was bigger than Jay and looked meaner and tougher which meant a little more action and it also meant he might have to knock them unconscious before taking the headset off which he didn’t want to do. As they charged Jay took a bite out of the red banana and immediately got super strength. He banged two fully grown lion heads together and kicked their headsets off. Then gave a menacing punch in the side of a zebra which flew into another and they both lay knocked out on the ground. “Would somebody get him already?!” Gorilla Guy shouted angrily. Jay wasn’t sure what they would do after they “got” him but he didn’t want to find out so he kept fighting. He picked up an alligator and threw it into the legs of a lion who both got knocked over and lay there dazed. Next two tigers were charging at him in opposite directions, Jay ducked hastily and both tigers smashed heads breaking their headsets. By now he had knocked out pretty much all the animals and kicked of their headsets, but all of them still lay there either unconscious or dazed and groaning. Jay stood there in the middle of the battlefield triumphantly. “You think you have won, eh”, Gorilla Guy bellowed, “Well wait until you say hello to your last opponent named Tigrero.” Jay’s jaw dropped when he saw this tiger not only because in double the size of other full-grown tigers or that its teeth glistened like ice, but because this tiger was the one who took his parents. Same cruel eyes, same bright fur, and same growl and he wasn’t even being mind-controlled. “I chose not to mind-control this one was because he was already evil and hated you.” Jay took one glance at his in pain, desperate mother and father who were once Tigrero’s slaves and he knew he had to destroy him once and for all!
Tigrero came at his with amazing speed and Jay barely had time to dodge it, but when Tigrero sprinted by he managed to rake his claws down Jay’s side. Jay staggered backward and grabbed his side, but when he pulled his hand back it was drenched in blood. He grabbed a bite of the red banana (the super strength one) and just as quickly as it started, the tiger came at again and Jay had just enough time to duck and as Tigrero hurtled over him he punched so powerfully at his belly that he flew up into the air. He came down hard on his back and groaned in pain, and Jay thought he had won. But he thought wrong because Tigrero got up limping “You haven’t won yet Monkey Man!” All this time, out of the corner of his eye Jay saw Gorilla Guy inching toward the jungle to escape. Jay quickly took advantage of his enemy’s pain, and nibbled the green banana (the super speed one), and ran, ducked, then barreled into Tigrero’s legs, flipping him over. Next, he took a munch of the red banana and swung Tigrero around again and again and again, then let go and Tigrero flew into Gorilla Guy. They both toppled over into a mound of dirt. Tigrero amazingly managed to use his front legs and drag him toward a pile of stones and beamed them with exact accuracy. The first rock hit Jay in the stomach. Hastily Jay recovered and did something he had never done before in his life! He took a bite out of two bananas! Jay grabbed some of the yellow and brown banana and threw it into his mouth. He flew up to the sky as he was invisible, and Tigrero was so confused he lobbed rocks aimlessly into the sky. Jay easily sneaked up behind Tigrero as Jay’s invisibility was wearing out and took a bite of the brown banana and dashed towards Gorilla Guy’s cart found a rope, ran back, and tied up Tigrero’s arms and legs in less than two seconds. Jay stood over the tiger under him very triumphantly, but that happiness was crushed when he remembered Gorilla Guy. He turned around but he was nowhere to be seen. “I’m so stupid”, Jay scolded himself. Jay figured he might have a chance to find him if he flies over the jungle and searches. But he would do that later; first he needed to free his parents.
As soon as he got over to where they were captured they praised him. “You were so amazing honey”, said his mom and she gave him a big kiss. “Nice job son”, said his dad,”now can you free us.” “Oh yeah sorry”, said Jay. He snapped the chains with his super strength. “I never thought I would see you again”, mustered Jay on the verge of tears. Then his family had a big group hug. “Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go find the evil gorilla”, said Jay. “Okay but be careful”, said his mom as Jay left.
Jay flew over the trees for hours but found nothing and it was getting dark. So he decided to turn around get back together with his parents, see his best friend, get praised by the citizens of the jungle, and take care of Tigrero!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Who Was Helen Keller? by Gare Thompson

Book review by Dakota

Who was Helen Keller is a book I read by Gare Thompson. It is about the famous Helen Keller who was blind and deaf. I think she is inspirational, and very intelligent. The book describes who Helen Keller was, and how she became blind and deaf. She grew up being taught by Annie Sullivan, her teacher, and got in to Radcliffe College at age 20! The main characters were Helen Keller, her mother, and her father, and her teacher Annie Sullivan. It takes place at Helen’s home located near TuscumbIa, Alabama. She died on June 1, 1968. I was amazed that she traveled around the world speaking to others about her own disabilities to and how to help.

I thought the book was a wonderful story about how a little girl, who had a big disability could be so intelligent, and how she could do so much. Helen achieved so many goals because she had Ann Sullivan to help, and guide her. My favorite part in the book is when she put her hands under the fountain, and knew exactly then, what words were. The characters did not remind me of anyone I know, but my nanny has a younger sister with a mental disability. I think that Helen is unlike no other because she proved that everyone is equal. I would recommend this book because it is heartwarming, and I absolutely loved it!

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Book review by Grace

I read Esperanza Rising and it was a fabulous book. The main characters are Esperanza, Mama, Isabel, Miguel and Abulea. The story takes place in Mexico at a grape vineyard and California at a camp out. The story is about how Esperanza and her family have a perfect life. They live in a beautiful house with lovely clothes, a maid and employees. Then Esperanza’s dad goes on a trip and never comes back. Soon her life gets flipped upside down. The family needs to move to their employee’s cousin’s house in California. The story has a twist because usually when Esperanza and her family go on trains they get nothing but royalty but when they go on the train they get on a full and filthy train car. When the family gets there she needs to change her life completely.

I like this book because Esperanza goes from riches to rags. My favorite part was when Esperanza tells about her royalty in the beginning of the book, when Miguel, family employee, came to camp with Abuela, Esperanza’s grandma. Another favorite part was the last sentence Esperanza said “never be afraid to start over”. I would recommend this book to everyone! I give the book nine stars out of ten stars. Esperanza Rising shows all the ICCCAR values an example is she was responsible when Esperanza took care of the house and did her part. I hope you read this book because it paints a picture in your head every time and is a perfect read!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Extra Credit by Andrew Clements

Book review by Luke

I read the book Extra Credit. The main characters are Abby, Sadeed Bayat, Amira and Abby’s parents. Abby does very poorly in school, and has to do an extra credit project, or else she will fail the sixth grade. Abby lives in Illinois. Sadeed lives Pakistan, with his sister and mom. Some people in Pakistan hear about the letters being passed between countries and people don’t like it. Sadeed is threatened, and is frightened.

I think this is a great book, because this sounds like something that would happen in real life and I am interested in that. Also, I liked this book because of the suspense, and I couldn’t stop reading. My favorite part was when Sadeed runs into the mysterious man with a turban. The man does not like Americans and rips up Sadeed’s letter. The surprising part is when Sadeed disobeyed his teacher and sent two notes at once to tell Abby that is really was him sending the letters, not his younger sister. I would recommend this book to the whole class because this book is for boys and girls, and I think everyone likes exciting stories.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Book review by Hayden

The Lightning Thief is about a kid named Percy Jackson. Who lives in Manhattan New York. Percy doesn’t have many friends until he figures out his dad was a god. When he goes to Camp-Half Blood he finally gets some friends like Grover, Annabeth, and other campers. He thought it was kind of fun till Zeus, the god of the sky, accused him of taking his master lightning bolt. Percy wasn’t too thrilled to have to go all the way across the country either.

This book is very adventuress, and exiting. It’s the best book I ever read. My favorite part is when he has a little disagreement with a god! The main character kind of reminds me of Harry Potter. The Lightning Thief is 10 times better than Harry Potter. I would recommend this to anybody who likes to read a delicious book.

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Book review by Sam

The book The Boy Who Dared was a great book. The main character is Helmuth Hubener. He has older brothers named Hans and Gerhardt. It takes place in Germany. The time is was 1930-1950. Chansler Hitler is elected. Helmuth’s brother Gerhardt brings back from war a shortwave radio, and Helmuth listens to it even though it is against the law. Helmuth finds out all kinds of stuff that Germany is not telling them. So Helmuth rights papers, and his friends help him put them in mail boxes and phone booths. He gets caught and is sentenced to death!!!!!!!
This is what I thought of the book, The Boy Who Dared. My favorite part was when Helmuth and his friends put the flyers in the mail boxes/telephone booths. It was an exiting book because it was filled with thrilling scenes, and it did not end with a happy ending. I would recommend it to anyone I know. My opinion was that it was an awesome book.

Mystery at Lake Placid by Roy MacGregor

Book review by Alek

I read the book Mystery at Lake Placid by Roy MacGregor. This book is about a hockey team, the Screech Owls, going to Lake Placid, New York witch is an international hockey tournament. Excitement builds in the team van on the way to New York. In Lake Placid there is more mysterious stuff happens in the hotel like lack of sleep, someone’s tampering with there equipment and Travis, screech owls strongest player, gets knocked down in the street. And there’s someone sabotaging the Screech Owls.

I liked it because I like mysterious books, I like hockey books, and because Nish, the grossest team player, has some funny stuff to share. My favorite part was when Screech Owls were in the Championship game because they played terrific. In other books I have read there has been a person like Nish who’s very sick and gross. I would recommend this book because there has been some funny parts and is very mysterious.

Iggie's House by Judy Blume

Book review by Elise

Winnie Barringer can’t stop staring out the window at her best friend Iggie’s house. Iggie and her family moved to Tokyo a week ago, and Winnie feels sad and lost without Iggie there to spend summer vacation with. Winnie’s mother, fed up with Winnie’s moping, makes her get dressed and sends her outside to play. Winnie rides her bike down the street to Iggie’s old house, hoping to catch a glimpse of the family who’s supposed to be moving in soon. She leaves her bike on the sidewalk and walks around the house, remembering all the good times she had there. Suddenly, a station wagon pulls up. Winnie dives into a bush and sees her new neighbors for the first time. Iggie had told her she was in for a surprise, and Iggie was right. The new neighbors are Black, and everyone else in the neighborhood is White! Winnie rages home to tell her mom, but someone has already called her with the news. Winnie is eager to welcome the new, intriguing neighbors, but Winnie’s mom is not enthusiastic.

I thought this book was really good and I highly recommend it. I liked this book because of the way Winnie stood up to the adults, and also that shows Creek Valley’s ICCAR value courage, doing the right thing and being brave. My favorite character in the book would probably be Tina because she was always funny, and cute. My favorite part of the book was when Winnie was biking to the Garber’s house and all the sudden they pull into the driveway and Winnie jumps into the bushes. Something that I found surprising in Iggie’s House was that everyone couldn’t be excepting to everyone, and I recommend this book because you will turn into a book worm when you read this and you will not put it down.

Champ by Marcia Thornton Jones

Book review by David

I read the book Champ by Marcia Thornton Jones. The main characters are a dog named Champ, Riley, his mom and dad, their nosey neighbor, Mr. Douglas, Riley’s best friend, Kaylee and, Mrs. Lerner, the nasty rich lady. It takes place in a small neighborhood in a town called Davenport. These are the main events in the story. First, Champ gets involved in an accident and loses a leg. Next, Riley takes Champ from the pet hospital because Mrs. Lerner didn’t care for him. Then, he and Mr. Douglas build an obstacle course for Champ so he could compete in the Founder’s Day contest. Finally, Riley quits a sport for the wellbeing of Champ. They enter the contest even though they didn’t win Riley said they were the biggest winners there.

I liked the book because it was sometimes funny and it taught me an important lesson. Every choice you make you have to stick with it to the end. My favorite part was when Champ ran the obstacle course at the Founder’s Day festival. Riley reminds me of Sam in The Trumpeter Swan because they both helped animal with disabilities. I was surprised when Riley smashed his school project because he was mad at his dad. I would recommend this book to any one who likes a fun quick read filled with conflicts, sadness and frustration.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Book review by Christian

This amazing book is about Percy Jackson. It begins in present day New York City. Things quickly change when Percy finds out he is the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea. Because Percy is half god, he must go to Camp Half-Blood. On the way, a Minotaur attacks Percy, his mom, and his best friend Grover, who is a Satyr. Percy’s mom gets captured during the attack, and Percy gets injured. Grover helps Percy complete his trek to the camp. At camp he learns sword fighting and archery. He also learns that Zeus’s master bolt has been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect. Percy must then set out to the Underworld to find the bolt and redeem his name. Along the way, he fights monsters and discovers that Ares, the God of War, has actually taken Zeus’s master bolt. Percy, Grover, and another camper named Annabeth must hurry to Olympus to tell Zeus the truth about his bolt and prevent a civil war between the gods.

I like this book because of the many thrilling cliff-hangers that propel the story forward. I also liked learning about the Greek Gods. My favorite part is when Percy arrives at Camp Half-Blood because it is here you quickly learn about Half-Bloods, Gods and monsters. I found the god’s powers and importance to everyday life interesting. I also found Greek Mythology to be surprisingly complex. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and adventure, and to anyone interested in learning about Greek Mythology from a compelling story rather than a text book.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Book review by Nicholas

I read the book Crispin Cross of Lead by Avi. This is a great book. It is 1377 and a boy named Crispin escapes his town because he is being accused of a crime he did not commit. Once he starts heading down the road, he runs into a priest named Bear who forces Crispin to work with him. Bear plays music for other people. They start to go through towns and entertain people. When Crispin leaves to go get water, Bear was not there. Now Crispin has to go find him.

I enjoyed this book very much. I liked the book because it’s a story that had twists and turns that you would never expect. My favorite part was when Crispin had to go save Bear at a very dangerous place. It was very surprising to me when people from Crispin’s home town thought that he killed a person. I recommend this book to anyone who loves adventures and amazing details.

Homework Machine by Dan Gutman

Book review by Sarah

I read Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. The main characters are Snik, Kelsey, Judy, and Benton. The story starts when the main characters are brought together by a machine made by Benton, who is the smartest in the grade. The machine does your homework for you. In the beginning they use it frequently, but after a while they use it every day. The kids become close friends, maybe even to close, and people start to know something is up. All the sudden the secret slips! Who spilled the beans? What will they do? Will they get caught?

I give Homework Machine a ten out of ten because of it has a suspenseful ending. My favorite character was Kelsey because she was so wacko and unpedictible. The ending was my favorite part of the book because it was so tense. You could not tell what would happen next. This book is one of my favorite books ever.

Who Is Barack Obama? by Roberta Edwards

Book review by Kevin

The book I choose to read and review was “Who Is Barack Obama”. The book describes Barack Obama’s childhood and his journey to become the 44th President of the United States and the first African American president. Barack had many childhood experiences by living and traveling to many different places. The main characters in the book are Barack, Barcak’s mother, father, and Michelle Robinson. The story takes place in many different cities and countries such as Honolulu, Jakarta, New York, Kenya, Chicago, and Washington D.C. After finishing high school in Honolulu Barack goes to college in California, New York, and Massachusetts. While in college and law school Barack becomes interested in finding ways to help people and make a difference in their lives. Then Barack becomes interested in politics and becomes a State Senator of Illinois in 1995, a United States Senator in 2005, and President of the United States in 2008.

I liked the book since it taught me a lot about Barack Obama and his life. My favorite part was learning that when Barack played high school basketball his team called him Barry O’Bomber for his jump shot. The story of Barack Obama’s life does not remind me of other books or characters since his life is so unique. One thing I found interesting in the book was that there were two Barack Obamas. Barack Obama was named after his African father, and Barack means, “blessed” in Swahili. It was fun to learn that Barack Obama had a pet ape named Tata when he was six years old and living in Jakarta. It was also interesting to find out that some people didn’t know his name while he was running for President and they called him Barack Yo-Mama or Barack Alabama. I would recommended this book since it gives you so many great facts about Barack Obama, his childhood, and how he become the 44th President of The United States of America.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book review by Paul

The book I am telling you about is *The Hunger Games*. The main
characters are Katniss and Peeta. It takes place in 12 districts, and
the Capitol (It isn’t considered a district). The time period is in a
future where there is no food. The place on the world is thought to be
in North America. In the book districts 1-12 (not including the
Capitol) are forced to send kids
12-18 to the Capitol to fight. That is so because the districts
rebelled against the Capitol. The Capitol won, and as a punishment for
rebelling the districts send their kids to fight. Katniss’s sister,
Prim, is called to go, but Katniss is in so much shock she volunteers
for her sister. The boy’s are drawn next. A boy, Peeta, that Katniss
knows very little of, is sent with her to fight.

I thought the book was amazing because it has lots of action, fighting,
and adventure, but the book made me feel sad for a long time afterward.
I would the book 100 out of ten not only from all the action, but the
sadness too. My favorite part was when Katniss and Peeta were fighting
to win against Cato, the 6 ft. tall 200 lbs. tribute that trained to
win before he was old enough to enter for the games, and then wolves
walk out, but not just any wolves (real wolves would be considered
easy) the Game Makers made them. They resembled all the dead tributes,
and they bigger than normal wolves. I definitely recommend this book to
classmates, but it is pretty gruesome so you might not want to read it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Book review by Brittany

I read the book The Witches. The story is told by a boy. It takes place in Norway and England. The main characters are the witches, a boy, his grandma ,and a mouse. Grandma, tells the boy all about witches, how their bald and have no toes! Then she tells him about the kids who have disappeared such as Harald who tured in to stone. He moves to England after his parnets die, from a car crash. He goes to the hotel where his grandma is sick. He wanders around and he finds a room then goes in. He hides behide a screen and plays with his mice. All the sudden wicthes come in to the room...

I thought this was a magnificent book. I loved this book because when it told you about wicthes you could see them in your mind. My favorite part was when the mouse went in to the kitchen and got his tail cut off. The boy reminds me of me because my aunt always told me storys in her Donald Duck voice. Something interesting is the wicthes have blue spit and write with it. I highly recommed The Wicthes because it have so many details you might have a dream about it.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Book review by Lily

I read the book Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. The main characters are Mama, Papa, Esperanza, Miguel, Abuelita, and Isabel. It takes place in 1924 in Mexico and California. In this book a very tragic thing happens to Esperanza when a family member of hers passes away, her papa. Her uncle tried to force her mama to marry him but she said no. Then, he burned down her house, so she said I will think about it in order not to get hurt anymore. Finally she said yes but after that she made a plan to escape to California. Mama and Esperanza went with Miguel and his parents to California, but they had to leave Abuelita behind because she got hurt from the house fire. They met up with Miguel’s family in California and the next thing you know they moved in next door. Now they had to go to work since they lived in a Mexican migrant farming camp. Esperanza didn’t know how to work in the house so Isabel, her cousin, had to teach her how to work in the house doing chores and taking care of babies. Mama got sick from a dust storm so Esperanza had to go to work in the fields and packing plants. Then a strike happens. Esperanza and Miguel get in to a fight so Miguel leaves California, and no one knows where he went. Then mama gets better and Miguel returned with Abuelita and Esperanza learns that change can be good.

I loved this book! I liked it because it was a great book and it shows you that change can be good. My favorite part was when Miguel got back home to California with Abuelita. When Isabel learned to crochet and Esperanza said “don’t ever be afraid to start over” was another favorite part of the book. This book reminds me of Homeless Bird because both girls have to go live in another place, learn how to take care of themselves, and learn different jobs. I found it interesting and surprising that she bought a piñata that looked like one she had back home. She was going to give it to her sick mama. Then some strikers came up to her asking for food and she looked at the kids. All of them looked so sad she gave them the caramel filed piñata. I would recommend this book to everyone in my class, but I mostly recommend it to the girls in my class because it is about a girl that has to basically start her life over in a new place.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Book review by Charlie

The Battle of the Labyrinth is an amazing book with adventure and danger. The main character is Percy Jackson. Percy is an unusual half-blood (half Greek God half mortal) and is a kid of one of the three most powerful Greek Gods, Poseidon. One day, at Camp Half-Blood (Percy’s home), Percy falls into a giant statue which leads into a gigantic maze known as the LABYRINTH. When he gets out of the maze, he explains about the maze and is sent on a quest back in the maze with Annabeth (daughter of Athena), Grover (Satyr), and Tyson (Cyclops). Their job is to find Daedalus (inventor of the labyrinth) before the evil Titans do. Together they are on a dangerous journey, being attacked by monsters and Kronos (the Titan lord) at power. They must find Daedalus and get his help, but he’s closer than they think.
I really enjoyed reading The Battle of the Labyrinth because of its adventure and its danger. My favorite part was when a war broke out between the Olympians and the Titans. This is my favorite part because the characters are showing courage and commitment to their sides. One thing that I found was very interesting was that neither of the sides really won the battle. I think this is interesting because usually in books one side wins whether it’s the good guys, or the bad guys. One other thing I found interesting was that Kronos wasn’t exactly himself. I think this part was interesting too because when Percy sees him he’s not being himself. I think Percy Jackson is a bit like Harry Potter. Both books are about lonely boys growing up not knowing what they are, and both boys have great fame. I recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure, magic, danger, and a legend of a hero.

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Book review by Kate

For my book report I did the Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. It was a great mystery and part adventure story about a ten year old boy named Peter Augustus Duchene. Peter had a troublesome life. His father died at war and his mother died trying to give birth to his baby sister. But Peter doesn’t know his sister is alive or dead. Was his soldier instructor, Vilna Lutes, lying that Adele, his baby sister, is dead? And will an elephant actually appear in Europe? Well, that all does happen and an elephant does appear and crashes through in a magic act, but will the elephant ever help Peter? Will Peter ever find his sister Adele? You’ll see if you read the Magician’s Elephant.

Well, Peters adventure starts when he has a copper coin and uses it for a fortune teller so he can ask questions, but what he’s about to find out is that his sister is alive! And an elephant is going to help him find her. But Peter is thinking how, how can an elephant come to Europe? Well, he finds the elephant when a magic trick is being performed in a coliseum. And everyone was fascinated! But when Peter meets the elephant everything changes. And Adele is hoping she can find the elephant. That was my favorite part. I would absolutely recommend this book to others, and if I would rate this book one to ten I would rate it a ten because it was very exciting.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who Was Anne Frank?

Book review by Aria

I read the book Who Was Anne Frank? Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who lived in Amsterdam when World War II broke out in 1939. She became famous when her diary was published after her death. The main characters are Anne, her parents Otto and Edith Frank, her older sister Margot Frank, and friends Meip Gies, Jan Gies and the VanPels family. Anne and her family go through many struggles along the way. In the book the author explains in detail the family’s life in the “Secret Annex.” Anne has many hopes and scares while in hiding. She ends up liking the VanPels son and she almost gets caught when someone drops a bag of rice. The ending is sad when Anne, her sister and mother die in a concentration camp.

This is a good book because it has many facts and details about Anne’s life. My favorite part is about her childhood. One story is when Anne and a friend sprinkled water from the balcony on the pedestrians below. Another favorite part is when the Franks made their own movie theater including refreshments and ticket takers. At this time, Jewish people were not allowed to go to the public movie theaters. I learned Anne was very outspoken at an early age. While in hiding, it was interesting to learn how quiet the people had to be. Any noise could get them caught by the police.
I hope you will read the book to find out more about World War II history and Anne Frank.

The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman

Book review by Michelle

My book review is about the book The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. The main characters are Judy, Sam, Kelsey and Brenton. They only have two things in common; they are all in 5th grade and HATE HOMEWORK! Then suddenly all four of their worlds are turned upside-down by this crazy homework machine. What are they supposed to do, keep using it or leave it alone? Always do homework or no homework ever again?!

I thought this was a good book. I like this book because it always keeps you excited and you never know what is going to happen next. My favorite part was when you meet all of the characters because you get to see what the book is really going to be about. If I had a homework machine I would use it, and it would definitely help. One thing I found surprising and interesting is how close their friendships got. It’s hard to find a good friend. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure. They would love it. I would rate this book a 9 out of 10.

Dispatch from Vancouver

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls by Meg Cabot

Book review by Charlotte

I read the book Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Stage Fright. It was a really good book. The main character is Allie Finkle. There are a lot of other main too including; Sophie, Caroline, and Erica are her BFFS. Her enemies are m & d, Marianne and Dominique, and Cheyenne makes fun of her all of the time! This book takes place at Allie's house, Erica's house and their school. In this book Allie and her class make a play about a princess named Penelope and the realm of recycling. Now the pressure is on and Sophie and Allie are trying out for the part of Princess Penelope so Cheyenne, their enemy, won't get it. At the same time Allie's mom drops the bomb that she got another job as a movie reviewer. In the end the play ends up being really good.

I liked this book because it has good humor. My favorite part was when all of the drama started. When Sophie spat out at Allie because of her shoes. She said they ruined the whole play. One of the things that I found interesting was when Allie didn't get the part of Penelope. I would recommend this book to any girl, but you have to read the series in order to know what has happened.

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Book review by Nina

I read ThePrincess Academy. The whole book is told through Miri’s point of view. She lives on Mt. Eskel, a city in the country of Danlan. When the priests of Danlan announce that Mt. Eskel is the home of the future princess all girls under the age of 18 are forced to go to the academy. But when competition is fierce, it is up to Miri to save them all.

I thought this was an awesome book. There were a lot of similes. I liked it because there were so many cliff hangers that I just couldn’t stop reading. I thought it was surprising when everything was perfect. Then a twist came in the story and the girls got captured. I would recommend this book to everyone in our class.

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Book review by Enya

In Once Upon a Marigold the main characters are Christian, Marigold and an Elf, Christian’s foster parent. It takes place in a far away city. In the book Christian goes on a great adventure to find a job at the castle. He is in love with a princess there and he needs to knock it off when he gets a job on the patio. The patio is where the princess likes to go. She is either out there playing with her pet dogs or writing letters to her best friend who lives across the river. She doesn’t even know this person. This mysterious person ends up being Christian.

I thought that this book was a great page turner. I liked it because I thought it was a great read and I liked the content of it. I usually don’t like books with fairy tales or princesses. I thought this book was great! My favorite part is the end because it is probably the most predictable part. Probably the most happy too! I don’t think that this book wasn’t like any other because it was happy, sad, funny, and all around just a great book. I would recommend this book to everybody because the main characters are a boy and a girl.

Eragon by Christopher Paulini

Book review by Ella

In the book Eragon the main characters are Eragon, the boy, Broom, Eragon's helper, Saphiria, the dragon, Durza, the evil shade, and the Varden, the dissenters. In this book Eragon finds a dragon egg but thinks it’s really a stone. The stone hatches while he is sleeping and he raises the dragon to be big and strong. The only problem was that the evil king Galibox banned dragons in fear that they will hatch, find there rider and take away his power. When the king finds out he sends the rasac to kill Eragon, but instead they kill his uncle. Eventually Broom finds him and tells him he is going to take him to the Varden so he can trane Eragon and defeat the king. When they get to the Varden they find out that Durza the evil shade and the king have ordered an attack against the Varden to destroy them. When they come there is a great battle. I can not tell you anything else except the ending is good.

I thought this book was great because the detail the author gave was good and I enjoyed the book. I also thought it was too long because it takes forever to read and the character Eragon went way too many places. Over all I rate this books 8 out of 10. I think this book would be good for grades 5-8.

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

Book Review by Bella

I read the book Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell. The main characters are Nikki, Mackenzie, Chloe, Zoe and Nikki's mom and dad. The story takes place in the current time. It is about a girl named Kikki who wants two things - a cell phone, and to fit in at her new school. First, she bought a phone off eBay, but it was a pay phone. Later, she got a present and she thought it was an iPhone, but it was a journal. When she moves she gets a locker next to a girl named Mackenzie who is the most popular girl in school. She is in the PPC Club, which stands for the Pretty, Popular, Cute Club. Everyone crowds around Mackenzie's locker, and Nikki can never get to her locker, so she starts to write in her journal. She writes about her life and what it is like to be the new girl at school.

If I could rate this book 1 to 10 I'd rate it a 1,000,000,000,000,000! It was the BEST BOOK EVER! The story was funny, and it reminded me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My favorite part was when Mackenzie passed a party invitation and Nikki thought it was for her, but it wasn't. I would recommend this book to every girl in our class because it was a good story for girls. The most surprising thing was how important Nikki's journal became to her when she really didn't want it in the beginning of the book.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dispatch from Vancouver

It was so exciting to see Lindsey win her Gold Medal in the Downhill! We were all screaming and jumping up and down, and after the race she climbed over 4 fences to get to us so she could give us all hugs. We went to two celebrations after the race and also went to the Medals Ceremony where they awarded her the Gold Medal. I was very proud to see her on the top step of the podium and hear our national anthem. My uncle took my picture with Lindsey (and her Gold Medal!) but I won't be able to share it until we get home.
Today was the Super Combined which has one shortened Downhill run and one Slalom run (with lots more gates). Lindsey was in the lead after the Downhill run, but near the bottom of the Slalom run, she was trying very hard to ski fast and caught a tip of her ski on the wrong side of the gate and fell. Hopefully she'll have a great race on Saturday in the Super G and bring home another medal!

The Boy Who Dared

Book Review by Cody

I read the book The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. It's about a young boy named Helmuth and the life he lived when the Nazis and Hitler were in power in Germany. All the Germans thought Hitler and the Nazis were great because they were so tough and their speeches were powerful and convincing. But some of the Germans thought Hitler and the Nazis were suspicious and suddenly Hitler began banning all different country's books, buying goods from Jewish businesses, forcing German citizens to sing nothing but German songs and forcing them to listen only to German radio stations. When Helmuth was young, he thought he was going to grow up to be a Nazi because many told him he would some day be a great soldier.

Once Helmuth got older, he began to realize that all the Nazis stood for was wrong and they were headed for war. As Hitler and the Nazis defeated one country after another, the countries started to team up with each other to try to defeat the Nazis. The Nazis were making progress until they got trapped on the British border line. But on German radio stations, it reported that they were OK and that everything was good. But Helmuth's family (his two brothers, his mom and his step-dad) had an illegal radio and Helmth's brother told him to put it away and never get it out again for fear of getting caught by the Gestapo. But Helmuth took the radio out and listened, against his brother's wishes.

Helmuth listened to the BBC radio station which was illegal, and learned that the Germans had not been truthful about what they were reporting and he brought his friends over to listen to it too. They were all very nervous when they listened to it. Helmuth thought of a plan to make flyers about what was really happening during the war. His friends helped him make the flyers but Helmuth said if they got caught they could blame everything on him. He met a new friend and decided to show him the flyers. Little did he know that his so-called friend was going to turn on him and tell the Gestapo. His friends did what Helmuth told them to do from the start and blamed it all on him. All the friends went to court and since all of them blamed Helmuth, he was executed and the rest served different amounts of time in jail.

Dispatch from Vancouver

Dispatch from Vancouver

We're having a fun time even though Lindsey's first event has been postponed to Thursday because of too much rain and warm temperatures. We went to a party at the Red Bull house and Lindsey was there. It was good to see her. Lots of TV people were there too. Today we went skiing and went almost to the top of Whistler Mountain. We also watched part of the Men's Downhill race from the hill which was fun. Bode Miller (from the USA) won the Bronze. One more day before Lindsey's first race, the Downhill. I'll write more soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

A Review by Sayaan

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a dynamic, suspenseful story about Helmuth Hubner, a brave kid who tried to tell the truth. Helmuth lived in Germany while Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer, was in power. This book is histroical fiction based on a real person. During World War II, Hitler lied about how Germany was winning the war. Helmuth's brother Gerhard bought a radio on the black market. Helmuth listened to the English news when it was verboten. Helmuth and his friends put flyers about the truth everywhere in the town. Then Helmuth gets caught for putting the flyers everywhere. He goes in jail for more than a year.

I would rate this book a billion out of 10 (one being the worst and ten being best). It is a very exciting book because it is super suspenseful and you don't know what is going to happen to Helmuth and his friends. My favorite part was when Helmuth puts the flyers around the town. Something that surprised me was that Helmuth was a real person. I would recommend this book to everyone because it is a fantastic book with a surprising ending.