Friday, March 19, 2010


I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading lately. Instead of waiting and doing a review of each book, I thought I would just morph them into one review (I shamelessly stole this idea from Cate Woods).

• “Al Capone Shines My Shoes”, by Gennifer Choldenko is the follow-up book to “Al Capone Does My Shirts”. A middle grade novel probably best for ages 7-12. We rejoin Moose Flanagan, his family and friends on Alcatraz Island, where his father works at the prison. Moose has found out that for every favor someone does, there’s always some form of payback expected. Sounds simple enough, but when the person you have to payback is notorious criminal, Al Capone, things can suddenly become quite complicated.

I loved this book because it was re-visiting old friends. It was nice to see how far they had come, the character development was deeper and there was quite a bit of excitement to the story. Moose is a great main character who is struggling with being on the brink of adolescence but still truly being a kid.

• Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean and Christopher Carlson. This was in the teen section at my library. I personally feel they should re-shelve in the middle grade area. It’s solidly for 9-12 year olds. The main character grows up in an orphanage. There is a sub-plot here that we go through and the main overall theme is revealed later. I will say the plot did have some complexities but I stick with my younger age group for this book. This story was well put together, moved quickly and kept me reading. In the end, the main character, Ernie has to join with the puddlejumpers to save the town. You wind up being a silent observer who’s cheering Ernie on the whole way.

• Num8ers by Rachel Ward. Now, I will be brief with this. I may catch some flack here, but I won’t compromise my beliefs. This book is about a girl named Jem who when she looks at people can see their date of death. After her mother died of an overdose, she became a foster child bounced around, from home to home. She meets a boy her age named Spider.  I can’t tell you much more about this book. I enjoyed it in the beginning. However, (here’s where some of you will groan) the use of the word “retard” completely turned me off. To me, it is akin to using the N word. I will not use the word. I think it’s degrading and just plain wrong. At any rate, it turned me off to the point that I could not finish reading the book.

So there you have it, a review-a-palooza, sort of. I’m still reading, and will, in all likelihood, do this again. I hope you find something that you enjoy reading and I hope this gave you an idea or two.


  1. I completely agree - that word would drive me nuts. I probably would have put it down.

    The Al Capone series sounds like fun - I definitely have to pick that one up for my classroom :)

  2. Thanks for the email on the book series - she does have a discussion guide & everything there - great site. Thanks!! :)

  3. Love the Al Capone books. Too cool for words.

    And I totally agree with you on the use of the word retard or retarded. There is enough prejudice and judgement amongst kids that we don't need to plant the seed of degredation any more firmly in their minds.

    I do use the word stupid in one of my manuscripts and have heard it is a tough selling point for editors and agents. For me, it is a matter of how these kids feel about themselves, not a matter of others calling them names. It is a must for my MC and target audience.

    If it is used as a name for someone, I consider it a swear word. But, who am I to say...just an over-protective, out-dated mom!

    Thanks for the reviews. You can steal from me anytime you like


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