Category Archives: LIBR 264-10 Digital Record

Fruits Basket vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya

Bibliography: Takaya, Natsuki. Fruits Basket vol. 1. Tokyopop, 2004. 196 pages. Tr. $9.99, ISBN 978-1-59182603-3

Plot: Tohru Honda recently lost her mother to a terrible a hit and run accident and is now an orphan, her father died when she was just a toddler. She has been living with her aunt, uncle and grandfather, but they are making renovations on their home Tohru offered to stay with a friend until the task is done. Except, she lied, there is no friend she can stay with, both her best friends have a full house and she doesn’t want to burden them, so she is living in a tent out in the woods. When walking to school one day she happens upon a house of a classmates, Yuki Sohma, and notices figures of the twelve zodiac animals lined up outside the door. Yuki’s cousin, Shigure, tells the story of the twelve zodiac, and Tohru confesses she loves the cat, even though he was left out. Things start to look more positive for Tohru after that and she learns a few secrets about Yuki and his family.

Review: This is a wonderful manga series about friendship, love, and the struggles of accepting yourself for who you are. Tohru is an incredibly nice character, almost too nice for her own good, but she helps lighten the story. Yuki and Kyo are both enamored with Tohru and instantly take a liking towards her, they offer they home to her and treat her like she is someone special. The art is fantasticly drawn with clear crisp lines that are very detailed and add to the story. Takaya took a great Japanese folktale that a lot of people are familiar with and created a beautiful manga out of it that is sure to be enjoyed by children across the world.

Genre: Graphic Novel/Manga/Friendship/Folktale

Reading Level/Interest Level: YA/11+

Similar Materials: The Sand Chronicles, Hinako Ashihara, Children of the Sea, by Daisuke Igarashi

Reader’s Advisory: An absolutely wonderful manga series. There are 23 volumes to the story and it was created into an anime series as well. Children can learn a little Japanese folktale while reading a great story about love and friendship. Highly recommended.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


Fair Weather by Richard Peck

Bibliography: Peck, Richard. Fair Weather. Dial Books, 2001. 139 pages. Tr. $14.49, ISBN 978-0-8037-2516-4

Plot: The year is 1893 and thirteen year old Rosie Beckett’s family receives a letter from their aunt Euterpe who lives in Chicago. It’s the year of the World’s Columbian Exposition  – the “wonder of the age,” and Rosie’s family has just been invited. Rosie has never been much father from her farm home than a horse can pull a cart, but she has the opportunity to go to the fair! So, the family get’s ready to travel from Illinois to Chicago by train. Oddly enough they run into their mischievous Grandfather at the next train stop. And that is just the beginning of their humorous adventures that include historical figures Buffalo Bill and Lillian Russell.

Review: Richard Peck is an award-winning author of many novels. This fun-filled adventure of a story mixes fictional characters with historical figures and facts to create a laugh-packed good time. Peck’s characters really seem to come to life, they have very realistic qualities. His imagery is amazing, it feels like you are actually at the World’s Fair, with all its glory and excitement. The narrative is done in a no-nonsense Midwestern voice that really helps bring the story to life. Peck provides you with photos that were taken from the Fair itself, adding a nice touch of reality to the story. This humorous adventure into the past will appeal greatly to children.

Genre: Historical Fiction/Realistic Fiction/Humorous

Reading Level/Interest Level: 6.3/5-8 graders

Similar Materials: The Trouble with Jeremy, by George Harrar, Other Richard Peck novels

Reader’s Advisory: This is a fantastic novel that comes highly recommended. A Notable Best Book of 2002. Peck has written a lot of good novels, but this one feels so real and it is hilarious as well. Great characters and a wonderful setting that children will enjoy. Absolutely recommended to all. A very good read!

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

Bibliography: Martin, Ann. M. A Corner of the Universe. Scholastic, 2002. 189 pages. Tr. $12.01, ISBN 978-1-41550-452-9

Plot: It is the 1960s and twelve year old Hattie Owen lives in a small town. Summer is here and Hattie is hoping it is as uneventful as it always is and she can just help her mother run their boarding house with its eccentric tenants. Unfortunately, Hattie has a 21 year old Uncle Adam that she never knew existed and he is coming to stay with his parents, Hattie’s grandparents, because his school, a mental institution, is closing down. Uncle Adam has some issues and it is apparent that he is emotionally immature. However, Hattie is a very empathic person and the two eventually become good friends. But the magnitude of Uncle Adam’s mental illness has yet to be reveal and Hattie will soon find out.

Review: This is an incredibly heartfelt novel that make the reader stop and think about how they look at other people. Hattie is a strong character who genuinely cares for other people. She goes out of her way to make friends with Uncle Adam even though he may be more of a burden than most and she tries to show him a good time. Uncle Adam’s character is written well and you can tell Martin put a lot of thought into him. Adam has such passion for life, but is easily swayed into the wrong direction. Hattie’s character represents the importance of showing respect towards all people, no matter their differences. And Adam’s character represents the importance of living life to the fullest and filled with passion.

Genre: Friendship/Realistic Fiction

Reading Level/Interest Level: 7.3/5-8 graders

Similar Materials: Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes, The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin

Reader’s Advisory: This is a touching story that I think all children should read. It send a great message about respect for others as well as living your life with passion. It was a Notable Best Book of 2003 as well as a Newbery Honor of 2003. Truly a heart-wrenching story that will leave a lasting effect.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus… by Kristen Tracy

Bibliography: Tracy, Kristen. Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus…. Delacorte Press, 2009. 293 pages. Tr. $14.49, ISBN 978-0-385-73687-9

Plot: Ten year old Camille McPhee tells us all about her fourth grade year at her Idaho elementary school. Camille is feeling lonely because her best friend Sally just moved away to Japan and her cat Checkers has gone missing. She is trying to make it through the year without her best friend, but things aren’t looking good. Also, Camille has low blood sugar so she has to carry extra food around in a cooler to help maintain control of it she gets bully at school all the time. She literally slipped on some ice and fell under the school bus. She knows her parents love her, but is seems like they don’t love each other anymore, they are constantly fighting. Life just seems to be unfair for poor Camille McPhee.

Review: This is a touching story with a lot of sorrow and unfairness. Camille tries to stay positive, but it is just so difficult when she has to deal with so many things at one time. She is a surprisingly strong and hopeful character that keeps on trucking through the muck that is being thrown at her. She is able to stand up to the bullies at school and she reaches out to find a new friend. This narrative is full of humor and quick witted dialogue that will crack up readers and keep them wanting more. Although things are bad for Camille she continues to try and understand the importance of honesty and fairness. Children will enjoy the slapstick humor of this book.

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Friendship/Humor

Reading Level/Interest Level: 4.5/3-6 graders

Similar Materials: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin, A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck

Reader’s Advisory: This is a hilarious book even though is has some very sad and depressing parts, it’s hard not to laugh at Camille and her unfortunate ways. Life is what you make of it and Camille does a great job of staying optimistic. I highly recommend this book to younger children, they will get a laugh out of it.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder

Bibliography: Snyder, Laurel. Penny Dreadful. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Random House, 2010. 304 pages. Tr. $14.49, ISBN 978-0-375-86199-4

Plot: Penelope Grey is incredibly bored, she lives the life of luxury, but it is beyond boring. She wishes something, anything, exciting would happen. Well, her wish comes true when all of a sudden her dad decides to quit his job and then the family runs out of money. Her home turns into a dreadful place. Penelope decides to make another wish, hoping it will come true like the first one and her family ends up inheriting a hovel of a home out in the middle of nowhere. This new homes seem to be the thing they need and things start to look more positive. Her mother finds a good job, her father discovers a hidden talent, and Penelope changes her name, going by Penny now. Let’s just hope that things stay positive and Penny doesn’t have to make another wish.

Review: Penny Dreadful is a fast paced novel that will leave you hoping for the best. Poop Penny has a bit of bad luck when she wishes for something interesting to happen. Oh, it’s interesting, just not very positive. So, she makes another wish and things start to look up. Penny is a great character with a lot of personality. Her mother and father add a bit of quirkiness to the story. The black and white line drawings scattered throughout the book accompany the story and add to the appeal of the story. Penny Dreadful takes us on a life changing adventure that is filled with fun, family, and friends.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Reading Level/Interest Level: 4.6/3-6 graders

Similar Materials: Betsy-Tacy, by Maud Hart Lovelace, Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild, and The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall

Reader’s Advisory: This book won the Children’s Book of the Year 2011 for 9-12 year olds. It is an enjoyable book to read in all of its quirky wonder. The characters are very realistic and charming. Who wouldn’t want their wish to come true, just hopefully it isn’t take in the wrong way.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


A Cinderella Story: Original Soundtrack (Music CD)

Bibliography: Duff, Hilary. (2004). A Cinderella Story: Original Soundtrack [CD]. Hollywood. 49:17 minutes.

Contents: This is the original soundtrack to the movie A Cinderella Story featuring Hilary Duff as the intended Cinderella and the soundtrack was done by Hilary herself. The songs include “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Anywhere But Here,” “The Best Day of My Life,” “Girl Can Rock,” “Now You Know,” “One in this World,” “Crash World,” “To Make You Feel My Love,” “Sympathy,” “Friend,” “Beautiful Soul,” “I’ll Be,” “Fallen,” and “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.” The song “Our Lips Are Sealed” made it as a single, this was a duet done with Hilary Duff and her sister Haley.

Review: This music CD is great for younger tweens. The many of the songs are up-beat and they are very fun to dance to. The music and the lyrics are catchy and entertaining appealing to the younger kids and staying true to a teen pop singer. Her voice is fresh and light, while staying up-beat. Duff sings a majority of the songs, but the other contributing artists adds to the appeal and excitement of the product as a whole. Having multiple singers does a great job of mixing it up a bit and keeping you on your toes. The atmosphere will change to an up-beat party once you turn this music on. Tweens will enjoy the amount of entertainment it brings.

Genre: Music CD/Pop/R&B/Dance pop/Pop rock

Interest Level: 9+

Similar Materials: Selena Gomez

Reader’s Advisory: This is a CD that tweens, especially tween girls, would like. I watched the movie a couple years ago and thought the soundtrack would be great for tweens because it was a pretty good tween movie and I remembered the music. Hilary is a great singer and the other contributing artists make the CD even more fun. Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


My World 2.0 (Music CD) by Justin Drew Bieber

Bibliography: Bieber, Justin Drew. (2010). My World 2.0 [CD]. Island, RBMG. 37:37 minutes.

Contents: This music CD contains ten songs, with three hit singles. His hit single “Baby” featuring Ludacris, is the number one track on the CD. “Somebody to Love” is another single from this CD that made it to the top twenty in most countries that it was released. “Stuck in the Moment,” “U Smile” which made it as his third single, “Runaway Love,” “Never Let You Go,” “Overboard” featuring Jessica Jarrell, “Eenie Meenie,,” featuring Sean Kingston, “Up,” and “That Should Be Me” make up the rest of the songs on this CD by pop Canadian singer Justin Drew Bieber, just seventeen years old.

Review: This music CD is his second released album and it is a bit more mature than his first album and a lot more closer to R&B than pop. He delves more into a love interest hitting at home with all of those love-struck teens. The songs are mostly up-beat and carry a good tune that is hard to get out of your head. His vocal skills are surprising for such a young singer, with a clear and smooth sound. It is not hard to dance to one of his songs, the rhythm seems to just right into the soles of your feet. Tweens, girls especially, will love the lyrics to his songs and the music that goes with them.

Genre: Music CD/Pop/R&B/Dance pop

Interest Level: 12+

Similar Materials: Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus

Reader’s Advisory: This is a CD that tweens, especially tween girls, would like. The songs are quite catchy and have a good beat. He does a good job of making all the songs sound different, I hate when an entire CD sounds like the same song all the way through. And three hit singles from one album is pretty good.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record