Thursday, April 7, 2016

Newbery Award Book Mini - Reviews - February's Reads

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Release: April 25, 1985
Hardcover: 58 Pages
Publisher: Harper & Row
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
This Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan's chapter book series about the Witting family. Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna's point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa's advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?

This children's literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language.Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I remember reading this a long time ago, but couldn't remember any of the details about it.  For such a short book, there is a very rich story.  I think kids can really relate to Anna who isn't sure about Sarah, but desperately wants to love her too.  A true classic that does not lose anything with age.


The Winter Room3 out of 5 Robots!

The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen
Release: September 1, 1989
Hardcover: 112 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The winter room is where Eldon, his brother Wayne, old Uncle David, and the rest of the family gather on icy cold nights, sitting in front of the stove. There the boys listen eagerly to all of Uncle David's tales of superheroes.

Then one night Uncle David tells the story, "The Woodcutter," and what happens next is terrible—then wonderful.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Full disclosure:  I am not a big Gary Paulsen fan.  This book just seemed a little bleak to me, from the descriptions of living in rural Minnesota to the butchering of their cows to the family dynamics.  I didn't even understand what all the fuss with Uncle David's confession would be.  These kids need more things to do or something. 

Breaking Stalin's Nose4 out of 5 Robots!

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin
Release: September 27, 2011
Hardcover: 160 Pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six:
The Young Pioneer is devoted to Comrade Stalin, the Communist Party, and Communism.
A Young Pioneer is a reliable comrade and always acts according to conscience.
A Young Pioneer has a right to criticize shortcomings.
But now that it is finally time to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. He breaks a classmate's glasses with a snowball. He accidentally damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway. And worst of all, his father, the best Communist he knows, was arrested just last night.

This moving story of a ten-year-old boy's world shattering is masterful in its simplicity, powerful in its message, and heartbreaking in its plausibility.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book was a little hard to read at first.  Sasha is so naive that as an adult with a perspective of history, you just know it isn't going to work out well.  There was this creeping sense of doom almost, but Sasha was so blind to it.  It's a little heartbreaking.  But I'm also making it seem a lot heavier than it actually reads.  It's a short book and very eye-opening. 

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon5 out of 5 Robots!

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin                               
Release: September 4, 2012
Hardcover: 266 Pages
Publisher: Flash Point
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book was incredibly interesting.  I did not know half of the history behind the atomic bomb.  I love when nonfiction books read a bit like a fiction book with first hand accounts interwoven into the story.  There were times when things got really tense!  This book does strike me a little more mature that middle grade.  It felt more like an adult book.  I think younger readers would probably be bored.

Moon Over Manifest4.5 out of 5 Robots!

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Release: October 12, 2010
Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.
Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Newbery loves quirky small towns with quirk characters and this book definitely fits the bill.  I listened to it on audio and had a little trouble following the storylines when the flashbacks started.  But overall, it was an enjoyable book.  It felt long and I really wanted them to get to the "mystery" and I'm not sure everything came together all that well at the end, but those are fairly small matters.  

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for doing these! There are some here that I definitely want to read.



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