Sunday, August 21, 2011


By: Brandon Mull

Kendra and Seth's parents are dropping them off at their grandparents' while they go on a cruise.  Kendra and Seth are not excited especially when they arrive and their grandfather gives them stern rules to follow.  It doesn't take long before the two children realize that their grandparents live on a secret preserve for magical creatures called Fablehaven.  And, quickly, Seth's curiosity gets them in trouble.  Suddenly, spending a few weeks with their grandparents is a wild adventure!

Mrs. Senechal says:
At first, this seemed like a typical fantasy, but I soon found myself not wanting to put this book down!  The challenges and adventures that Kendra and Seth face are exciting!  There are some scary moments in this book, and the evil magical creatures do everything they can to take over Fablehaven.  However, I really enjoyed the author's descriptions and have already started book #2 in the series!  Special thanks to Chance for suggesting this series.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Search for WondLa

By: Tony DiTerlizzi

Eva Nine has grown up with her robot mother in an underground Sanctuary.  All of her experience and knowledge of the outside world has been taught to her through holograms and computer technology.  Eva longs to meet other humans, and when their Sanctuary is attacked, Eva is forced into the real world.  Quickly, Eva realizes that the world is very different then what her computerized training had taught her.  Eva must rely on new friends who know can guide her through the dangers of her environment.  Eva also hopes that she is not the last human on this planet.

Mrs. Senechal says:
The concept of this story is very intriguing!  DiTerlizzi describes this new scenery and technology with detailed and unique vocabulary.  I enjoyed reading about the new creatures Eva encounters throughout the story.  Not only is this an excellent, adventurous story, it has an awesome website, too!  Readers who have a great imagination will really like this book!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Raiders' Ransom

By: Emily Diamond

Set several hundred years in the future, this story tells what life is like after "the Collapse".  Lilly and her seacat fish the waters near what used to be London until raiders attack their village and kidnap the Prime Minister's daughter.  While attempting a daring rescue, Lilly meets Zeph, the raider chief's son.  As Lilly struggles to free the Prime Minister's daughter, Zeph tries to prove his worth as a raider warrior.  Throughout the story, the two have to decide whether they are friends or enemies.

Mrs. Senechal says:
It was fascinating to think of life in the future where many people view computer technology as evil.  I also loved how the author wove together the stories of two very different characters.  The story was exciting and suspenseful!  This book does contain some rough descriptions, and some students may find parts of the story too vivid.  In my opinion, it is a better choice for students in sixth grade and above.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Emily's Fortune

By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

All Emily has known is living in the quiet house of Miss Luella Nash.  Miss Nash only had one fault - she liked to drive her carriage fast!  This caused quite a tragedy when Emily's mother and Miss Nash went to town.  There was an accident, the carriage overturned, and the horse was the only survivor.  Emily's father had died years ago in a steamboat accident, and suddenly Emily is left with her tiny turtle, Rufus, and a stagecoach ticket to take her farther west to her Aunt Hilda.  On the way, Emily must hide from the "child catchers" and her mean Uncle Vincent.  Thankfully, an orphan boy named Jackson is there to help Emily on her journey.

Mrs. Senechal says:
This book was a fun, quick read.  Emily is a great character who starts off extremely quiet and shy but learns to be strong and stand up for herself.  On her stagecoach adventures, Emily meets lots of lively characters who make the story even more enjoyable.  I also liked the illustrations!  This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys the Wild West!

Flawed Dogs

By: Berkeley Breathed

Sam the Lion, a dachshund, has been through a lot.  Crazed dog show ladies, a cruel poodle, a bear trap, a dog fight, and several harrowing escapes actually cause Sam to plan the downfall of the famous Westminster Dog Show.  From the beginning, Heidy sees that Sam has the heart of a Lion which draws the two into a special friendship.  Sam also makes friends with a band of misfit, flawed dogs - their flaws actually become the strengths that help them to make their plan a success!

Mrs. Senechal says:
As a dachshund owner, I couldn't wait to read this book.  However, I have never liked sad books about dogs, and since I wasn't sure how this book would end, I put off reading it.  I encourage you not to wait - it's a great book!  The author does a wonderful job of describing the sweet, special bond between a girl and her dog.  Even though Sam has to go through many difficult things, he comes through each one in a heroic way.  There were some parts that tugged at my heart, but their were more parts that made me grin and even laugh out loud.  If you like dogs, you will really like this book!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens

By: Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Smedry feels that he has finally gotten used to his special talent of "breaking things", and wants to use his skills to help fight off the librarians as they continue their assault on the Mokian people.  However, Alcatraz, along with the unique talents of his other Smedry relatives and the fighting skills of Bastille might not be enough.  It is up to Alcatraz to get to Mokia and help his grandfather convince the Knights of Crystallia to join the fight.

Mrs. Senechal says:
The character of Alcatraz has learned a lot since the beginning of this series.  He now has better control over his "talent" of breaking things, and he can use various Oculator lenses to his advantage.  Alcatraz has also become a better leader - which is put to the test when he becomes king!  In this book, I especially enjoyed the numbered chapters and the author's suggestions of how to read the book out loud.  Even though this is listed as the "fourth and final" book in the series, the end of the book does not seem to be the end of Alcatraz's story.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia

By: Brandon Sanderson

This is the third book in the series, and Alcatraz finally gets to visit his home of Nalhalla in the Free Kingdoms.  But instead of being able to enjoy his royalty and fame, Alcatraz and his friends find that the Evil Librarians  are trying to take over more of their land and people.  And that is not the only problem - Alcatraz's newly-freed father seems to ignore him, and the knight who is supposed to protect him, Bastille, is on trial!

Mrs. Senechal says:
I continue to love this series!  Not only is it adventurous, but Sanderson continues to include the great humor that made the first two books so fun.  I especially enjoyed that the story was set in the "Free Kingdoms", and we get to meet more members of both Alcatraz and Bastille's family.  I'm glad I already own the fourth book in the series - that's what I'll start reading tomorrow!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

School! Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School

By: Kate McMullan

Ron Faster and the other students at his school have quite a few unusual experiences.  Their bus driver, Mr. Ivan Stuckinaditch, always gets the school bus stuck in a ditch on the way to school.  The school's music teacer Mrs. Doremi Fasollatido loses her orange cat (who also acts as her wig).  And, throughout the story, the janitors, Iquit and Quitoo, must deal with the messes left behind by Chuckie Upkins and Oppsie Spiller.

Mrs. Senechal says:
I loved the creative character names throughout this book!  However, the story was a little predictable and repetitive.  I think fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series would enjoy this book because it's funny and has comic-like illustrations throughout.  Even though this book isn't a favorite for me, it did make me smile.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Red Pyramid

By: Rick Riordan

Since their mother passed away, Carter has traveled the world with his archaeologist father, while his only sister Sadie lived with their grandparents in London.  In one of their rare visits together, their father takes Sadie and Carter to the British Museum.  The two quickly realize their parents had many magic secrets!  Their father attempts to summon an ancient Egyptian god, but things don't go smoothly.  Suddenly, Sadie and Carter must learn to use their own magical powers to stay alive, save the world, and try to save their father.

Mrs. Senechal says:
If you liked Riordan's Percy Jackson series, you will love this book, too!  The story is filled with non-stop action and suspense.  It is really fun to read about modern kids dealing with historic locations and mythological creatures.  Riordan's description help you picture the adventures, and the characters are very realistic.  Of course, this is only the first book in the series, so you'll have to keep reading to find out what happens!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Whole Nother Story

By: Dr. Cuthbert Soup

The Cheeseman family is back!  At the end of A Whole Nother Story, they cracked the code to the LVR (a time machine) and have traveled back to 1668.  Their main goal was to help Captain Jibby and his crew return the White Gold Chalice and therefore end the family's curse.  However, damage to the LVR changes their plans and requires many additional adventures!  The Cheeseman family and their friends will need to survive witch-hunters, pirates, and more if they want to return home.

Mrs. Senechal says:
When I finished A Whole Nother Story and found out that was not the end of the story, I couldn't wait for this sequel!  So many of my students wanted to borrow the book that I was just now able to finish it.  This book absolutely lives up to the great reputation of the first.  My favorite characters are back and better then ever, and a whole host of lively new characters have been added.  As with the first book, I love the author's witty words - I actually find myself laughing out loud!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


By: Elise Broach

James Pompaday has no idea that the pen-and-ink set he receives for his birthday will lead to adventures including art, robbery, and beetles!  Marvin is one of the beetles who lives in the walls of the Pompaday's home. Using his tiny legs and James' new ink, Marvin creates an intricate drawing of the scene outside the window.  James is mistakenly credited for the drawing and soon finds himself (and Marvin) forging famous drawings and trying to catch art thieves!

Mrs. Senechal says:
The author's descriptions of the beetles' day-to-day life were very imaginative - I could just picture the beetles using the tiny leftovers of human life for their own needs.  Even though it seemed unrealistic for a boy and a beetle to be friends, it was fun to read about such a unique relationship.  If you enjoy art (and bugs), you'll definitely life this book!