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Book: Redwall

Author: Brian Jakques

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 302

The mice of Redwall Abbey have devoted their life to peace, kindness and healing. But when they face a threat from Cluny , a rat warlord, there comes a time when they must fight once more. Matthias, a young mouse, must set out on a quest to find an ancient sword, one that hasn’t been seen in thousands of years.

Reading this book was torture for my mind. Certainly not as much as Animal Farm was, but it was sloooowwww. Even the battles and parts where it should have been interesting just didn’t hold my attention. Maybe that’s the type of book some people like to read, but not me.

One good thing I can say about this book was that it was short. If it had been any longer I might have downright refused to read it (I was reading it for book club). As it was, it was hard to get through. There were some good things though. Different types of animals in the book spoke with different dialects, which I thought showed how diverse they were.

This just wasn’t my type of book. If you like slow-paced books about animals, by all means read it, but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone.

Book: Crossing Stones

Author: Helen Frost

Genre: Historical Poetry?

Page Count: 208

Muriel lives on a farm with her family, next to her best friends. But when both her brother and her neighbor go off to war, things start to change, and she doesn’t know where her place is in this new world.

I read this book for history. Some parts of it I thought were informative, but many of the dates and how long it took things to happen seemed inaccurate. One thing I did learn about in this book that I didn’t in other WWI books was about women’s suffrage during that time.

This book was written in verse (which means that it is entirely made up of poetry). It read like a story halfway through, and then I read part of the authors note in the back and saw a rhyming thing she did with the form, and I kept getting distracted trying to pick the rhymes out.

The main character is Muriel, but some of the book was from other peoples’ point of view. My favorite of the three of them was Muriel, because she “rocks the boat, not the cradle”.

If you like poetry and History, I think you’ll like this book.

Book: Hattie Big Sky

Author: Kirby Larson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 322

Her entire life, Hattie has been transferred from one relative, to another. So when a long-lost uncle died and left his homesteading claim to her, she is eager to try to strike out on her own. But proving up a claim is harder than she might think, especially during war times.

The thing I liked most about this book was that Hattie was constantly writing and receiving letters from different people. I thought that helped us gain perspective on what these people thought of her homesteading. Another thing I liked was the character Perilee, who has a neighboring farm to Hattie’s. I liked how kind and matter-of-fact she was.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book, except perhaps a part of the ending. I really wanted to meet a character Hattie was writing letters to, but we didn’t. 🙁

I read this book for the WW1 section of my history. I thought that it showed how people across the ocean reacted to the war. One thing that I felt was inaccurate was that it skated over the Spanish Flu. It made it seem like it was there for a week, then was gone.

Altogether, you should read this book.

Here’s a slideshow with things I learned from the WW1 Horrible Histories book: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1j3ZrASP9f8KrZ8icL1kWJV-JOpMSR8Eyqtk_Rt-nt7w/edit?usp=sharing

A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park

warning: spoiler alert

Main character: Tree-ear

I would give this book five stars because it was very good and I highly recommend it!

It is about a boy in Korea named Tree-ear. He lives under a bridge in a potters’ village with his friend Crane-man. He likes to watch the best potter in the village, Min, who is also known for his short temper! One day he accidentally breaks a box and a strange adventure unfolds.

Things I like about the book:

-crane-man: because he is very kind

-Min’s wife: because she is very kind

-Tree-ear: because he is energetic and is fun to read about

Things I do not like about the book:

-that crane-man died

-that the pottery broke

Book: Uprising

Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 356

Bella just moved to America from Italy, to send money back to her family. Yetta joined her sister in America from Russia years ago. Jane is the daughter of a wealthy American man. Three very different girls, about to be caught up in problems they never could have imagined.

I really liked the main storyline in this book. There were plenty of things that surprised me, but nothing was so surprising that it seemed like it didn’t fit with the story. I also liked that it alternated between three different points of view. I feel like most books have 1, 2 or 4.

I read this book for history. It is about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. I felt that I learned a lot about the fire and women’s suffrage. At the end of the book, the author put a section talking about the actual historical events that took place. After reading that I was amazed at how many of the events in the book actually happened.

My favorite character is Yetta. I like her because she is a big part of the strike that happens before the fire. I also like her determination. I felt like this book did a really good job of making it seem like no one character was the main character, and that all three of them split that role.

Book: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Author: Alan Bradley

Genre: Mystery

Page Count: 306

Flavia loves chemistry, poisons, chemistry, poisons, and chemistry. But when she finds a dead man the garden in her family manor, she has to prove to the inspector (and the world) that she can solve this case before the police.

I loved the main character, Flavia, because of her obsession with chemistry, and her quirky attitude. I got the impression throughout the book that in her normal life, she just wanted to be left alone by everyone, to sit endlessly in her chemistry lab, only coming out to test her (non-lethal) poisons on her sisters. I got this impression because all of the supporting characters felt like minor characters, and Flavia spent the majority of the book alone investigating the mystery.

Another thing about this book I liked was its unique plot. Though it may sound like your common murder mystery, it is far from it. It has a few strange plot twists and an underlying storyline in the form of a chemistry experiment, which (I think) is much more important than the main plot.

I don’t think that I have anything negative to say about this book. The only thing I might say is that I felt like some characters could have had more backstory than the tiny bit we saw.

If you like mysteries, books, reading, or not reading, you should read this book.

Book: The One and Only Bob

Author: Katherine Applegate

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Animal Fiction

Page Count: 296

After Ivan (a gorilla) and Ruby (a baby elephant) took up residence in a local zoo, Bob decided that it would be okay to live with humans instead of being a street dog like he had been almost his entire life. So, he moved in with Julia and her family. But on a visit to the zoo to see Ivan and Ruby, disaster strikes in the form of a tornado ravaging through town. It separated Bob from Julia, demolishing the zoo, and set animals free, that should have been kept caged

This is the sequel to The One And Only Ivan, which was inspired by the real Ivan the gorilla, but Bob, the main character of this book, was completely fictional in both these books. I did notice that some small parts of this book reflected Ivan’s true story, such as Ivan using walking on burlap bags in the morning to avoid getting wet.

I really enjoyed this book, Bob was my favorite character in The One And Only Ivan, because of his wily nature. I was really excited when I found out there was a whole book from his point of view.

One of the things I liked about this book was that there were many new characters, while not completely blocking out the old characters.. I feel like you don’t really get that a lot with realistic fiction sequels.

If you read The One And Only Ivan and liked it, you should definitely read this.