Monthly Archives: August 2016

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret

In 1949, when Peg Kehret was twelve, she got polio. She was lucky, though. Her mom got her to the doctor quickly and so she got treatment sooner than many others. Even though she was paralyzed from the neck down for a few weeks, she never needed an iron lung to help her breathe so she got the treatment invented by Sister Kenny and that made all the difference. Small Steps chronicles her illness and long recovery. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 82
Pages Read in 2016: 21,538
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Filed under Memoir

Jonas Salk: Conquering Polio by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Jonas Salk: Conquering Polio is a very well-written biography of Jonas Salk and his quest to create a killed virus polio vaccine. It is quite fascinating and really held my sons’ attention (ages 8 and 10). I highly recommend it to anyone interested in vaccines or Salk.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 81
Pages Read in 2016: 21,364
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Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Homeschooled for most of her life, Stargirl shows up in public high school and really shakes things up. She’s a free spirit who cares deeply about everyone else. But there is something very wrong with her according to other students. She doesn’t conform. And not conforming in public school is bad.

Told from the point of view of her boyfriend, Leo, Stargirl is a quick, but emotional read. All teens should read it because pushing others to conform is common in school, but not a good idea. You never know what you might miss that would make your life better when those pushed become (or pretend to be) what you want them to be.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 80
Pages Read in 2016: 21,236
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’ve Got Henchmen by Richard Roberts

Penny, Claire, and Ray are back on earth and delighted to find many of their super powered classmates are proclaiming their skills openly. They create an after school club complete with super sparring to practice their skills. Penny, however, can’t participate in the sparring because her parents have asked her not to. Everyone wants to fight her, though, so eventually things happen where she has to get involved.

Honestly, it was darn near impossible to come up with a synopsis of this book. The reason? There was no clear plot. It jumped around, often making no sense because of this. There were grammar and spelling errors. It was in serious need of an editor. I kept hoping it would get better. The first book in the series was so great. The second book was weird, but not horrible. This one was just kind of terrible. There were many characters that were sometimes referred to by their villain/hero names and sometimes by their real names with no rhyme or reason to when making it hard to keep them straight. Penny repeatedly said she couldn’t remember one character’s real name and so she was always referred to as Beaddown and then all of a sudden she was referred to by her real name (Charlotte) and from then on only called her real name and not her hero name. That was just one example of the weird editing issues. The Penny/Ray relationship was ridiculous (particularly since they are only 12 and 13) and it seemed like the same scenes were repeated over and over. Often things happened or side plots were introduced and then abandoned making the whole book a mess. The end was so lame and disappointing. The climax of the story was a dud. I am sad to say I just don’t recommend this book at all.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 79
Pages Read in 2016: 21,050
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Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green

Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green includes several stories from the beginning to the end of ancient Egypt, told in a way that is easy for children to understand. The book is split into three sections: Tales of the Gods, Tales of Magic, and Tales of Adventure. At the end there is a Time Chart with the stories listed in the time period they are from. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in or studying ancient Egypt.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 78
Pages Read in 2016: 20,732
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Don’t Need the Whole Dog! by Tony James Slater

Don’t Need The Whole Dog! picks up shortly after Tony James Slater arrived home from Ecuador (which he wrote about in That Bear Ate My Pants!) and ends right after he got to Australia (which he wrote about in Kamikaze Kangaroos!). It covers a trip he took with his mother to the US to pick his sister up following her time working at Camp America (that’s also when Tony first met Roo), the time he and Gill spent renovating a house his father bought while the rest of the family was in the US (and the accompanying craziness involved since they appeared on a “reality” show about house renovations), a stint working on a boat, and his three months volunteering in Thailand that turned into almost a year.

It wasn’t quite as laugh out loud funny as some of his later books, but still very amusing and, as with all of Tony’s books that I’ve read, I was highly entertained. My only problems with it were a few grammar issues (generally the wrong word or a word missing completely) and, of course, the language. I highly recommend reading this and all of Tony’s books. You won’t regret it!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 77
Pages Read in 2016: 20,517
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Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum

When the islands of Regos and Coregos invade the island of Pingaree, Prince Inga is left behind with the magic pearls. Along with King Rinkitink and a goat named Bilbil, Prince Inga attempts to free the Pingareeans from their captivity. Eventually, Inga’s parents end up in the underground caverns of the Nome King Kaliko followed by Inga, Rinkitink, and Bilbil. In the end few of our old Oz friends arrive to attempt to put everything right.

There was not nearly as much wordplay in Rinkitink in Oz, the tenth Oz book, compared to some of the previous ones. The story was entertaining, however, and is a nice addition to the Oz series. I recommend this book to people of all ages!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 76
Pages Read in 2016: 20,144
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Filed under Children, Classic