booksinckids's blog

Two Crafty Criminals!: and how they were Captured by the Daring Detectives of the New Cut Gang by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman takes a new tack and comes up a winner. Off of a London East End street there is a close and on that close live a faithful group of friends. Led by Thunderbolt Dobney and a whirlwind of chaos and brilliance by the name of Benny Kaminsky, these kids make up for their empty pockets with the riches of imagination. Trying to get an homemade waxwork of their favorite hot chestnut seller into the wax museum is all in an afternoons work. Ferreting out a gang of currency forgers takes just a little bit longer. These kids are direct descendants of  “the Baker Street Irregulars” by way of “Emil and the Detectives.” Love Pullman as I do, I wasn’t expecting this wonderful romp from the man who gave me “His Dark Materials.” Still, his matchless storytelling and really funny prose shine like stars.
Perfect for the 3rd - 6th grade boy or girl in your house.

--Reviewed by Elizabeth from Books Inc. Alameda

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst & Illustrated by Lane Smith

I learned a valuable lesson reading Viorst's story.  At first, Lulu is impossible.  She gets exactly what she wants from her parents.  When she doesn't, she throws shrill tantrums loud enough to break light bulbs.  Since it's her birthday, she wants a brontosaurus as a pet.  Her parents say "no."  Determined to find her birthday present, she runs away from home into a forest where her birthday wish takes an unexpected turn.  As Viorst teaches us in her delightful tale, we should be careful for what we wish for--we just may get it!  Along with Lane Smith's dazzling art, this story is full of surprises, a singable song, and three possible endings.  Which one is your favorite? (Ages 4-8) --Jaime from Books Inc. Castro

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

REAL KID REVIEW! Planet Tad by Tim Carvell

 "I loved this book. I would recommend it to people who liked, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." I liked that the book was about the ordinary life of Tad, and that he wrote a little bit every day (mostly), over a whole year.

The book was kind of silly and funny at the same time. I thought that it was fun to read about a kid in middle school. Planet Tad is definitely one of my new favorites. I hope that there will be another book after this one. I can't wait to see what happens next!" ~Trever age 9

The Amazing Adventures of John Smith Jr., aka Houdini by Peter Johnson

The Amazing Adventures of John Smith Jr, aka Houdini
by Peter Johnson

John Smith Jr, known to his friends as Houdini because of his love of magic, is a 13-year-old boy growing up in a rough neighborhood outside of Providence, Rhode Island.  Growing up is painful- especially when you have a cantankerous Vietnam Vet as a neighbor, a bully who won’t let you be, and a brother missing in Iraq.  Inspired by an author visiting his school, John decides to write his first novel.  He views his world, one cracked and flawed block at a time.  And as he describes his world, he slowly lays out a plan on how he, and hopefully his friends, can make the great escape-  just like his hero, Houdini.


This book will be an inspiration to any middle grade reader who is feeling the growing pains in the worst way.  It gripped me from the first sentence to the closing sentence.  It is, without a doubt, the most authentic child's voice I have read since Catcher in the Rye.  A lot of adults try to sound like children in their writing- Peter Johnson succeeds.  Don't be put off by the cover- it looks very young.  But this book is definitely not intended for young readers.  I would say 12-13 year-olds would be the ideal audience.
 
--Katherine from Books Inc. Laurel Village
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