Tag Archives: children’s books

Customer Review: Kid Athletes: True Stories Of Childhood From Sports Legends

kid athletes  Kid Athletes

David Stabler and Doogie Horner


Quirk Books

Available November 2015

Have you ever wondered how kids become award wining athletes? The book Kid Athletes: True Stories of Childhood from Sport’s Legends by David Stabler and Doogie Horner has the answer. This book is filled with exciting tales about stars of hockey, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, horse racing, gymnastics, and soccer. Your favorite athletes are in this book.

My favorites  were Gabby Douglas, Yao Ming and Lionel Messi. Lionel Messi impressed me the most. He started walking at nine months . From the first second he was persistent . I was amazed that even when he broke his arm he didn’t scream or cry in pain. Her learned how to deal with pain.

Every sports legend was fearless but did not start that way. It was funny to read about the tough NFL quarterback Peyton Manning doing the tango. You will learn how these kids worked hard to accomplish their dreams. I really liked the book and enjoyed the funny illustrations.

~Rosella, Age 9

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Customer Review: Upside Down Magic

upside down magic

Upside Down Magic

Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Mvrace and Emily Jenkins


Scholastic Press

Available September 2015

I loved the book “Upside Down Magic” by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins because everyone in the book had an unusual ability. They were a freezer, a kid that turns into a rock, a girl who makes a it rain, a guy who sees invisible sound waves, a girl who scares animals, a kid who is like a balloon, a girl who shrinks things, a little girl who turns not a beaver, not a kitten but bitten and many other combinations. Nory was sent away to live with her aunt. Go to a different school and leave her friends behind.

Nory was different, not able to do regular school assignments. At first Nory was unhappy but she soon realized it was okay to be different at her new school.

I liked the character Bax, a fluxor at Nory’s new school who could turn into objects instead of animals. In the story Bax turned into a rope to help Nory with a problem.

I cant wait for the second book, to find out what happens to Nory.

~ Rosella, age 9

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Customer Review: Taylor, age 12


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Chris Grabenstein

Random House Books for Young Readers


June 2013

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein is a must-read. With an amazing setting and twists and turns in every chapter you won’t want to put down the book. You will be devestated when you are done with the book wanting more. Grabenstein does a great job of getting you to connect with his characters. This book is 100% worth reading. ~ Taylor, age 12

Note from Eight Cousins: Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library is like a love letter to children’s books. It is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Westing Game, but in what is sure to become known as “the best library ever”. EVER.  The story is crammed with fun references to children’s books old and new. Do not miss this phenomenal book!

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Reading Fictional Recommendations

This article, entitled “If your child won’t read, find another book”, written by Amanda Craig, appeared in the Telegraph yesterday. The books referenced are UK heavy and not all of her recommendations will be available in the US (it’s too bad, because Malorie Blackman’s Naughts and Crosses is one of the most phenomenal books *not* to cross the Atlantic). The concept of helping children find the ‘right’ book is one we are dedicated to at Eight Cousins. We don’t just shove books into children’s hands and demand that they enjoy them, we take the time to find out what children like to read, what they like, and why types of things interest them. We all have our favorites, to be sure, those books we think are so good that everyone should read them, but we strive to find the right book for the young readers who come in to our store. As such, overall, I agree wholeheartedly with Craig’s title. I think most children’s booksellers, librarians, and teachers would. Finding the book for every individual child is the very often attainable holy grail in children’s books.

What interested me about Craig’s article, however, is the opening paragraph in which she sites a study published by Dundee University. The research shows “that rising numbers of pupils, including the brightest, choose books like Roald Dahl’s The Twits, suitable for seven-year-olds, may confirm many of our fears about dumbing down”. Before you get up in arms, crying “what is wrong with Roald Dahl?”, let me just say, “what is wrong with Roald Dahl?” We keep most of Dahl’s books in stock in our grades 2-4 section. The implicit assumption, then, is that Dahl should be read by kids ages 7-9 and are not appropriate for 10-13 year olds. Well, first, we’re hitting on one of the crucial dilemmas of children’s books. What makes a book ‘a children’s book’? How do we identify ‘age appropriate’ books? I can hear thousands of adult voices declaiming “but I just reread *insert Dahl book here* as an adult and I loved it”. If adults love reading Dahl, then what is the issue with a 12 year old reading his books? And just because our store keeps Dahl in on section, doesn’t mean for a second that we think it should only be read by people who fall into that particular demographic. The term ‘cross-over book’ exists for a reason. Books aren’t very good about keeping themselves to the categories we assign to them. If you want to debate classification in children’s literature further, stop by the store. I find these conversations fascinating.

For now, however, I want to skip over these big questions and move on to something that I think Craig’s article, and the Dundee research is neglecting. Craig talks about the reading rut that children can get in to and how, as a parent, to encourage them out of it. Many of her suggestions are good ones and she demonstrates some excellent “if your kid likes this book, try this book” options. What I think she’s missing, however, is how often books themselves promote other books and encourage further reading. Children’s books are a hot-bed of intertextual references. Have you noticed how often children in children’s books read? Surely someone has done a study on this topic, but fictional characters are perpetually recommending books.

Think of Matilda, for example, she’s the quintessential avid reader. If you hand Matilda to a child, you’re also handing over Moby Dick, Great ExpectationsThe Secret Garden. Do kids pick up on these internal book recommendations? Well, yeah, I think they do. At least, anecdotally I think they do. I read and re-read Madeleine L’Engle’s books when I was in high school. At Eight Cousins, L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, et al are kept in our 5-7th grade section, which means I was reading below my reading level. L’Engle’s characters, however, often discuss literature, music, art, architecture, theater. I so heavily identified with Vicky Austin, that if she was reading Shakespeare’s As You Like It, then I wanted to read it as well. I don’t see what we’re ‘dumbing down’ here.

What do you think? Do you think that we should discourage young readers from books that are below their reading level? Do you ever read books that are recommended by characters in books? Tell us in the comments.

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