Horse Heroes by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Image of Horse Heroes featuring a black horse against a prarie and blue sky"Some people say that after horses were tamed, the world changed forever. We were curious to know if this was true."

Have you ever read a made-up story and wondered which parts of it were true? If you have read any or all of the Magic Tree House series, you may like to know that the author (and her daughter) have written non-fiction books to go along with some of these fantasy/historical fiction stories. Horse Heroes relates to Jack and Annie’s Stallion by Starlight adventure and provides dozens of interesting facts and true stories about horses through human history.

Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade readers, Horse Heroes explains why horses’ bodies are especially speedy and strong and how horses have been used for travel, farming, business, sports and war. The book also includes the stories of many famous horses of the past. I thought this book was a great read and learned some interesting facts about horses.   

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Mary Jo, Kids World

Throwing Heat by Fred Bowen

Cover image of Throwing Heat featuring a male baseball pitcher throwing a pitch“Thwack! The ball smacked the canvas like a clap of thunder. 75”
As in a 75 mile/per hour fastball thrown by eighth grade starting pitcher Jack Lerner. Landon Middle School students Jack, Danny Cruz, Jaylin Jackson and Annie Li are inseparable. Jack, Danny and Jaylin all play for the school’s baseball team, the Landon Bears. Annie is their designated score reporter and never misses a game.
Jack’s fastball is on fire and he’s striking out more players than anyone in the league; the only trouble is he can’t always control it himself. His Coach has no choice but to put in the second line pitcher when Jack starts walking hitters left and right. After his sister begins dating an ex-college player, who’s agreed to provide coaching, Jack feels like he’s won the lottery. He hopes for help improving his fastball but cannot believe the advice to “change-up” his pitching routine. 
This page-turner is recommended for grades five and up. Fred Bowen delivers another sports story that teaches readers skills for on and off the field. According to this librarian Throwing Heat is a bases-loaded home run. 
 Jade, Kids World

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Image of the cover of the Graveyard Book featuring a blue background with a tombstone on it“The fog wreathed around him like a long-lost friend.” 

Nobody Owens lives in a graveyard. Orphaned as a toddler, Nobody, or Bod for short, is raised by the ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Owens, under the watchful eye of his guardian, Silas. Educated with the help of the residents of the graveyard, who just happen to be ghosts, he is taught how to walk the fine line between the living and the dead. A graveyard full of ivy-covered, crumbling headstones is a fantastic place for a curious boy like Bod to grow up. However, the graveyard isn’t without its own hazards and Bod has several near-death experiences with the frightening Indigo Man, an ominous Sleer and a ghoul gate that no one should ever go near. Adventure within the graveyard is perilous, but it pales in comparison with what lies in store for Bod if he leaves the security of the graveyard. Outside the gates, danger, and most likely death, awaits him in the form of a man named Jack. Responsible for the death of Bod’s family, Jack has been searching for years and will stop at nothing to find the boy who got away.
Exciting and mysterious, with just the right amount of creepy, this book is hard to put down! Perfect for those who have always wondered what it would be like to wander a graveyard at night from the safety of your own home. Fans of Neil Gaiman’s work will not be disappointed with this eccentric tale about a family of ghosts raising their son in a graveyard!
Bridget, Kids World

Two Shy Pandas by Julia Jarman

Cover image of the book Two Shy Pandas featuring two pandas on different sides of a fence waving to each other.This is a sweet and simple story about friendship and the importance of being a good neighbor. Panda and Pandora, who live at numbers one and two Bamboo Gardens, are eager to meet. However, both are very shy and cannot find the courage to say hello. When winter comes to Bamboo Gardens a snowball changes everything...

Preschool aged children will enjoy this tale.

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Jade, Kids world

Mountain of Bones by Christopher Krovatin

Cover image of the book Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones featuring a small cabin in a dark forest with silhouettes of people running out of the cabin."Remember: the Pine City Dancers...One year later, they still haven't found any of the bodies."

Sixth graders Ian, Kendra and PJ think that the school camping trip is going to be a piece of cake. They have no clue that they are going to spend most of their time lost in the woods, no cell phones, no food and no help.  It feels like they will never find another human being again. Unfortunately, that is not the case when the trio stumble upon an abandoned cabin. There are plenty of people there, zombies are a kind of person right? On the run from the ravenous undead (these are definately not fluffy bunny zombies) the trio find that zombies are not as brainless as TV makes them out to be.

This is the first book in the Gravediggers series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Beware though, it is not for the faint of heart. If you don't enjoy reading about rotting reanimated corpses this is not the book for you. If you love the Goosebumps series and are looking for something a little longer this book is for you.

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Tiffany, Kids World

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Dust jacket is of Yellow flowered Wallpaper.The last two book books I’ve read (I Capture the Castle & Divining Women) mentioned the “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  Deciding to fix this gap in my education, I picked up a copy of the 24 page/6,000 word short story. Published in 1892, it is written as the secret journal of a woman living in a rented country house while undergoing a rest cure for depression. Although she has been forbidden to do so, the unnamed narrator writes down her feelings. Her frightening descent into madness manifests itself in a chilling rendering of the creature she believes resides beneath the bedroom’s yellow wallpaper.

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The Secret Agent—Joseph Conrad

With apologies to Messrs. Conrad and Kurtz, this is the book for all of us who find it harder to read Heart of Darkness than Herodotus. Based on a real attack in London’s Greenwich Park in 1894, the novel follows Mr. Verloc and a group of anarchist terrorists as they plan a dynamite outrage in newly-industrialized 1886 London. The Secret Agent also details Verloc’s domestic life, complete with a younger wife, a mentally disabled brother-in-law, and a mother-in-law who wields guilt to greater effect than the terrorists’ explosives. Conrad’s Dickensian bent toward caricature lends this early narrative of modern terrorism, beloved by the Unabomber, some much-needed (though still undeniably dark) levity.