Chirp by Kate Messner, a review

Chirp by Kate Messner, published in 2020, tells the tale of Mia, a twelve year old former gymnast who’s just moved from Boston to Vermont. Her family moved there to support her grandmother, whose unpredictability makes everyone wonder what’s going to happen next. Gram’s business, raising crickets for people food, is languishing.

Ranger in Time: Night of Soldiers and Spies, by Kate Messner

Kate Messner’s Ranger in Time series features a rescue dog, Ranger, who who magically is called to other times and places to help save people. In this tale, Soldiers and Spies, Ranger helps a young black soldier in the Continental Army of George Washington. It’s winter, and battle is coming.

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead, a review

Georges, that’s with a silent s, moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, another twelve-year-old who starts a spy club for the two of them. They’re spying on a bird nest, on people in the building lobby (through the videocam), on people who wash their clothes in the washers in the basement, and […]

Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis, a review

Bryan Davis, author of thirty successful young adult books, wrote this middle-grade tale and published it last year. It’s a delightful comic book story of heroes and villains told as a novel, with plenty of gadget references that remind me of Batman. Twelve-year-old Eddie Hertz’s city is threatened with more and worse earthquakes by a […]

Ghost by Jason Reynolds, a Review

Jason Reynolds’ award-winning middle-grade novel Ghost tells the story of a boy who joins a track team. But he’s not just any boy; he’s one ran with his mother for their lives from his father, who was shooting at them.

Iggy and Oz: the Plastic Dinos of Doom by J.J. Johnson, a review

Middle-grade voice involves a (usually) sassy or joking twelve-year-old who’s finding himself or herself in a pickle and agonizing about it in a very funny way. It’s unique to middle grade books, as far as I can tell. I’ve talked about it before, and even have a category on this blog, “middle-grade voice example.” In […]

Hunger Winter: A World War II Novel by Rob Currie, a review

Rob Currie’s debut middle grade novel, Hunger Winter, tells a suspenseful tale of brave kids in World-War-II Holland.

The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson, a review

We learned in the second book that the fangs, which look like beast-humans, are actually recycled humans. In fact, the bad guys nearly succeeding in turning young Kalmar Wingfeather, the 11-year-old next king of Anniera, into a wolfish fang.

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, a Review

I am reviewing North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, Book 2 in the Wingfeather Saga (2009).This mid-series book could suffer from middle-of-story sag.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, a Review

I’m reviewing On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, by Andrew Peterson, Book One of the Wingfeather Saga (2008) . In this middle-grade book, the three children of the Igiby family are being raised by their mother and their grandfather. They live just outside Glipwood, a rustic village on the edge of the sea, in the house built by their grandfather many, many years before.