Tag Archives: Scholastic

Morse Pond Review: Weir Do

9781338305586Weir Do  

Anh Do

Available January 29, 2019

Scholastic Inc.



Weir Do is a really funny book with a lot of potential. Weir Do (his real name!) is a kid who is going into a new school. He already knows he’s going to get laughed at. It happens every year. Once he gets out of school he has to go home to his weird family. He goes back to school the next day and then this kid named Henry walks in and looks weirder than weird. Weir and Henry become friends and the rest of the year will be great for Weir. If you like funny books, this is the book for you. I think it has potential to be the Next Big Thing!

~ Connor, 5th grade


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Customer Review: George


Alex Gino



Available now

Author Alex Gino hits it out of the park with George! As Middle School readers enter into the “tween years”, they are likely to relate to the array of emerging self identity emotions. However, as the reader, we are granted privileged access to George and how her desire to be known for her true self is not easy to share. We cheer for George as she executes a master plan to play Charlotte in the class play as a way, she believes, will allow everyone to see her as herself. In George, Gino brings George’s experience what it is like for her to be a transgender child into a conversational and relatable place for young people. I highly recommend it to anyone who works with young people. George will be an asset to the middle school learning experience on many levels.

Carol DiFalco, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

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Dog Review: Scents and Sensibility & Woof

ScentsandSensibilityWhen I finally got my paws on a copy of Spencer Quinn’s newest mystery Scents and Sensibility, I knew I was in for a treat! Quinn is so great at writing the way I and my kind think, I just love his Chet and Bernie books!

In this newest book, Chet and Bernie are finally back in the valley, only to find Bernie’s house burgled and their next door neighbor mixed up with the law! The great thing about this book, what really makes my tail wag, is that the mystery starts on a personal note for Chet and Bernie, and then just shoots off from there, getting better with each page, like a nice big rawhide chew. Its a story I can really sink my teeth into and that’s saying something–everyone tells me they’re really big.

For anyone who’s already a Quinn fan, this book will not disappoint you! For anyone who’s just hearing about Chet and Bernie’s mysteries now, the first is called Dog on It, but I don’t really think you need to read them in order; each mystery is contained in its own book–you can start with this new one if you want! You should totally read them all though, they’re more fun than chasing a tennis ball on the beach! Quinn’s solid, well-thought-out mysteries are full of excitement and witty writing and are the second best thing to a nice meaty steak.

Oh and I almost forgot, this book has a surprise in it! A new character who . . . well, you’ll just have to stop by Eight Cousins and pick up a copy to see what I mean.

~ Arlo, the Portuguese Water Dog

WoofI’m so psyched about Woof, Spencer Quinn’s new doggy mystery for puppies in grades 3-5! I’ve always watched the bigger dogs read the Chet and Bernie mysteries and love them, so now it’s great there’s a book for a pup my age to enjoy too! I could just leap seven feet in the air with joy–in fact, nothing’s stopping me . . .

Just like the Chet and Bernie books, Woof is told by one of my guys, a big, fluffy, loveable dog (Bowser) who’s just been adopted by a girl (Birdie) who lives by the bayou in Louisiana with her grandma. Turns out a thief has taken her great grandfather’s prized black marlin from her grandma’s bait shop, and it may or may not contain the secret to a hidden treasure in it! The sheriff is . . . less than helpful, so it falls on Birdie and of course Bowser to get to the bottom of the crime!

Reading a story in the bayou of Louisiana really makes my tail wag, it’s such a cool place to set a mystery! Quinn puts in so much great detail, he really uses the setting to spice up the story, not that the story needs spicing, because it’s a fantastic story, harrowing at the right times, with a good sense of humor, and a really juicy mystery. Quinn adapts his style from the Chet and Bernie books perfectly, this book is just as good as the adult variety, so puppies can enjoy this great kind of mystery too! The narration by the dog is, as always, super on point! Just like my mom’s cooking . . . which I take off the table when she isn’t looking . . .

~ Woody, the Portuguese Water Dog

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A Bookseller and a Librarian Review George

GeorgeI love books that reflect on books. Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me shows Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in a new light. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein reads like a love letter to the best books in children’s literature. Now, we have George. George, the title character, wants desperately to play the role of Charlotte in her class’s production of Charlotte’s Web. Not only does she love Charlotte’s dialogue and the idea of playing such an iconic role, but she knows that playing Charlotte will show the world who she is on the inside, not the boy that everyone sees on the outside.

Charlotte is exactly the literary character to help facilitate George’s longing. Charlotte is welcoming, “Salutations!” She’s supportive, “Some Pig.” But most of all, she’s smart; she’s a critical thinker and she demonstrates agency. Charlotte knows what will happen to Wilbur before he does, and in order to protect him she facilitates a change in the way the world views Wilbur. After Charlotte saves Wilbur, she passes her legacy to the next generation. We all know these things about Charlotte, which is why she has remained one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature. Having Charlotte as George’s inspiration is fitting. Kids, particularly kids like George, need to be welcomed. They need support. And they need people around them who are critical thinkers, who demonstrate agency, and who can change world perception. Moreover, George needs to see herself as Charlotte, because she too needs to be welcoming, supportive, thoughtful, and possessing agency to make change.

Readers will find themselves cheering for George and hoping that she will have the chance to become such an iconic character, and maybe even change the world. In turn, they will be inspired to become everything that Charlotte and George represent. The tag line for George is “Be who you are,” something Charlotte taught us years ago, but Alex Gino’s book takes this classic message and reframes it for a new generation. Terrific.

~ Sara, Eight Cousins

GeorgeA wise friend (Sara from Eight Cousins) told me that books are windows through which we can see other’s worlds or mirrors which give us an opportunity to see ourselves in print. As a teacher librarian for 5th and 6th graders, I cannot express how much I feel George has to offer my students. I absolutely loved it, and believe that it could help build such a sense of community for my students by providing some with empathy and others with a sense of belonging.

Before I became a library teacher, I taught 5th grade for years. To my knowledge, I have only had one transgender student. Yet, this book gives me pause and makes me realize that I could have had many, many more. If that student, or students, had George to read, I think they would have felt so much less isolated, and far less tortured.

I think George is a must-have for any middle school library. I absolutely loved this book, miss George now that I am done reading and can’t wait to purchase it and put in on the shelves in August!

~ Mrs. Abbott, Librarian

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Morse Pond is Buzzing about “The Next Big Thing!”

For the past couple of years, I’ve been working with Mrs. Abbott, who is the amazing and passionate librarian at Morse Pond Middle School in Falmouth, MA. Mrs. Abbott coordinates two book clubs, one for the 5th grade and one for the 6th grade. Thanks to many generous sales reps and publicity people at publishing houses, I have been able to bring ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of books for the kids to read and review. In the spring of 2013, our Random House rep highly recommended Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. I read it, loved it, and handed my copy to Mrs. Abbott. She read it, loved it, and passed it on to one of the 6th graders in the book club who read it, loved it, and reviewed it. That review kicked off a series of events that none of us could have anticipated, culminating a Mr. Lemoncello Weekend, where Chris Grabenstein visited Morse Pond AND we had an after hours event for 12 kids at the Falmouth Public Library.IMG_5995*

In preparation for this school year, Mrs. Abbott and I had a conversation about how many amazing things happened because of a seemingly small gesture: handing someone a book and telling them they have to read it. However, word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the most important factors in publishing. So we decided we wanted to see what books would capture the attention and imagination of Morse Pond’s book clubs this year.

We don’t know what will happen, but here are the steps so far . . . I asked people from various publishing houses to make recommendations of what books they think could be “The Next Big Thing.” Kate (Random House), Bernie (HarperCollins), Debra (Candlewick), Barbara (Simon & Schuster), Eileen (Algonquin Young Readers), Lisa, (Little, Brown) all kindly sent a few contenders. I also picked up ARCs from Abrams, Macmillan, Scholastic, and Penguin at a recent conference (see the full list of books here). Mrs. Abbott and I talked about each book and let the kids decide which ones they want to read. We’ve explained to the kids that buzzing — both via word of mouth and in written reviews — is crucial to this project. IMG_6039Mrs. Abbott put this awesome board up in the library and kids can post their comments about the books for their peers. Kids are talking to each other, their families, and teachers about some of their favorites. Mrs. Abbott can’t stop talking about Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai! Reviews are starting to arrive and will be posted here on the Eight Cousins blog — readers are, of course, free to read and review books not on the list. Although we don’t know what *will* happen, Mrs. Abbott and I already seeing a lot of middle school kids getting really excited about books, reading, and buzzing!

~ Sara




Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a favorite at Eight Cousins, Morse Pond, and the Falmouth Public Library. It was one of the Eight Cousins 2013 Picks of the Year, was one of Jill Erikson’s (Head Reference Librarian at the Falmouth Public Library) Summer Reading Picks, is currently listed on the Morse Pond Battle of the Books, and continues to get rave reviews from everyone who reads it.

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