Just a Dog by Michael Gerard Bauer
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published: December 1st, 2012 by Scholastic (It may have been published in Australia earlier)
Sometimes a dog isn’t just a dog–sometimes he’s the glue the holds a whole family together.
Mr. Mosely is a special dog. Not just because he’s so big (he’s part Great Dane.) Not just because he’s all white (with one black spot under his eye and a heart shaped splotch on his chest.) Not just because he’s clumsy, or because of tricks (he only knows one, and it’s not very good.) He’s special because he seems to know exactly what everyone in Corey’s family needs, even when they don’t know themselves. This is the story of Mr. Mosely, from his puppyhood to the last time he curls up on the back porch. It’s the story of how sometimes a dog isn’t “just a dog”. Sometimes he’s the glue the holds a whole family together.
Anyone who has had a family dog can probably relate to this story. Mr. Mosely is a funny dog who does some goofy things and definitely brings about some fits of giggles. He attacks a stuffed animal he thinks is attacking a child, he fetches the paper every morning but when first learning grabs the entire neighborhoods papers and he waits every day for Corey when he comes home from school. Corey shares with us lots of giggle worthy Mr. Mosely stories but as anyone with a pet knows, there are always sad stories as well. Fortunately the sad stories didn’t get me crying, at least not until the end. At that point I found myself so choked up I was skipping big chunks when reading aloud to my kids and just reading to myself because seriously, I was about to outright sob and I didn’t want to do that in front of the kids as they didn’t seem to be comprehending the sad stuff. So reading a dog book aloud to kids might not be a great idea, but really, for the most part it was a pleasure to read aloud and had me in fits of giggles a time or two.
I would say this is for the younger middle grade kids but would appeal to many ages.
The Flame of Olympus (Pegasus #1) by Kate O’Hearn
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 22nd, 2012 by Aladdin
A young girl, a winged horse, and a war of epic proportions make for an adventurous start to an exciting new trilogy.When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multiarmed stone warriors called the Nirads. Emily must team up with a thief named Paelen, the goddess Diana, and a boy named Joel in order to return Pegasus to Olympus and rescue the gods from a certain death.
Along the way, Emily and her companions will fight monsters, run from a government agency that is prepared to dissect Pegasus, and even fly above the Manhattan skyline—all as part of a quest to save Olympus before time runs out.
This is another book with mythology but it definitely had a different feel from any other one I have read. Straight away we are met with devastation as Olympus is falling and the flame is put out. Then we jump over to Emily and this is when the story really starts. Pegasus lands on the roof of Emily’s Manhattan apartment building and Emily goes up to see what the noise is and finds Pegasus. They quickly bond as Emily helps heal him back to health.
This book was a fast read with constant action. The bad government people are trying to find them as well as a group of stone warriors that seem to be un-killable. It was pretty tense through much of the book and I often found myself reading longer than I had planned. At the same time I never felt truly connected to the book and I’m not exactly sure why.
I read this to my kids and I would say that some parts were a bit bloody with fighting and the tense moments were perhaps a bit too tense for them. For this reason I’m going to say that I recommend it for true middle grade readers and not younger readers (my kids are 7 and 3).
It was still a good book though and I’ve been a bit torn on the rating. I think that this is one I would have enjoyed more if I had read it to myself instead of aloud to my kids. I found myself stumbling over words and it wasn’t as smooth going. Some of that may have been due to my anxiousness to see what was going to happen next and because the intensity that I was reading (to fit with the intensity of the book).
The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
Paperback, 270 pages
Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. And what happens then?
As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.
This was a book that was a true pleasure to read aloud. As a matter of fact, I don’t I would have enjoyed it half as much if I’d just read it to myself. I felt like I was reading poetry. The entire story slipped off my tongue so smoothly and I could have sat and read the entire thing in one sitting if I hadn’t been trying to get my kids to sleep.
The story is adorable and has some great messages in it as well. I think that maybe most of it went over my kids head but with some discussion they understood. I can’t really be specific as it’s been well over a month since we finished the book, but I do know that it was one we had fun discussing. And I had a blast reading!
This was my second book by Kate DiCamillo and I loved it as much as the other. I definitely recommend it!
Once Upon a Marigold (Upon a Marigold #1) by Jean Ferris
Paperback, 271 pages
Christian is gaga for Princess Marigold. But he’s just a commoner, and no match for royalty. Heck, he lives in a cave with a troll! And now he’s discovered another reason to put his love-soggy heart on ice: Queen Olympia is scheming to take over the kingdom–and she’ll bump off her own daughter to do it. Can Christian foil her diabolical plans?
This story was adorable! I loved reading it aloud as it was beautifully wrote and the words just flowed off my tongue like honey. Once I started reading this one each night I wanted to just keep going, I found putting it down to be very difficult.
This is along the vein of a fairy tale because it’s for children, is wrote like it’s for children, but yet it’s about a boy who falls in love with a princess and well… you can guess the rest. But yes, it has a HEA. I found it very predictable, but that didn’t ruin it at all for me. I loved reading about Christian and Marigold and wanted to keep reading their story. This is the first book of at least two (maybe more?) so I will certainly be picking up the next! I recommend this for younger readers as well as the older reader. I think the whimsical style will appeal to many.