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Book Reviews

February 3, 2010
Times Observer
By Valle Blair

Pre K-1st ONE, TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE by JANE CABRERA (Holiday House, 2009) *** Everyone’s favorite counting rhyme comes around again with a rollicking new twist. A little bunny has a new pair of shoes to buckle on and run and jump all over the place in. She and the chickens and the pigs have a wonderfully active time counting up to 20 and then having a party to celebrate all their work. “Now count the balloons, 1 to 20!” And throughout the book, four little chicks are hiding on each page. Can you find them all? Bright and colorful with lots of actions to imitate, this book will be a hit with the younger set.
2ND – 4TH the busiest street on town by mara rockliff (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009) *** Rushmore Avenue was exactly as its name implied. Everyone rushed down the street and everyone else rushed up the street. One day, Agatha May Walker decided to visit her friend, Eulalie Scruggs, who lived across the street from her. Well, of course, with all the rushing on Rushmore Avenue, she couldn’t get across. “Slow down! Slow down!” she said. But they didn’t. Agatha went back into her house and the next thing you knew there was a wingback chair sitting right in the middle of the street! “Have a cookie?” Agatha offered to the drivers that went honking by her. Then her friend, Eulalie, brought out a table and Parcheesi. Gradually the cars and trucks began to slow to see what was going on. People rushing on the sidewalks came over to have a cookie. Kids started playing jump rope, hopscotch, and showing off their skateboarding skills for the two old ladies. Something new was happening on Rushmore Avenue. It was so new and so different that the name of the street had to be changed. It was named in honor of the lady who had started it all and for the new way it was used, Walker Road!
MIDDLE SCHOOL ring of fire by pd baccalario (Random House, 2006, 2009) *** Her father has messed it up again! He has triple-booked the only room left in their bed and breakfast in Rome! What are they going to do with all these people on New Year’s Eve? The solution is for Dad and Aunt Linda to give up their rooms and the three kids to all bunk with Elettra. That is when the strange coincidences begin to happen. All four kids have the same birthday-February 29! All four have leap year birthdays! What are the chances of that? Well, every 100 years things come together so that four kids are chosen to rescue the world from destruction and that time is at hand. The kids are given a briefcase filled with some baffling things by a man who is murdered ten minutes later. The clues left by him and what is in the briefcase take them on an exciting and extremely dangerous adventure all over Rome. But this is only the beginning. Ring of Fire is the first book of the Century Quartet (translated from Italian). The adventure continues!
HIGH SCHOOL purple heart by patricia mccormick (Harper & Collins, 2009) *** War is Hell. We hear that phrase over and over. Do we know what it really means? Purple Heart is a personal account from a young man, Matt, who is stationed in Iraq and was wounded. The centerpiece of the story revolves around the incident when he was wounded. He keeps having flashbacks that indicate a young child was killed, but because of his head injury, he can’t recall the details. It is a story about the realities of war and its effects on all the people involved, both civilians and soldiers. The sensations, the fears, and the doubts are vividly portrayed. The camaraderie and trust of fellow soldiers are coupled with suspicions and distrust. Anyone who is considering enlisting in military or who are curious about what it is like to be a soldier during wartime will get a very eye opening picture of life in a war zone.

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