Category: Female Protagonist

Nest Review

I grabbed this book from the shelves because it was newer and I liked the cover art. I didn’t expect to be drawn in to the quiet life of eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein and the difficulties she faced in 1972 when her mother developed multiple sclerosis.

The writing in the book is wonderful; Chirp’s perspective on life she faces throughout the book seemed so innocent and real compared to the harshness of the situations she faces. The angry boy who lives next door lives in fear of his father’s wrath, and doesn’t like to go home. Chirp’s mom is dying from her disease and progressively becomes more depressed throughout the book. This book has more than it’s fair share of heartbreaking moments, and I would be hesitant to recommend this book to a child for casual reading. This book would make a great window for children who are dealing with similarly tough situations in their own lives.

Flora and Ulysses Review

Continuing with the Ds brings us to Dicamillo, and I have selected Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures!DIC Flora and Ulysses

The concept of this novel is hilarious; self-proclaimed cynic Flora Buckman rescues a squirrel from an out-of-control vacuum cleaner. The squirrel, named Ulysses, gains self-awareness, super-strength, the ability to fly and… can write poetry? Together these two find beauty in the world around them and friends in this cast of unique characters.

Dicamillo is not afraid to bring large vocabulary words into her writing, and this could be either a good or bad thing depending on the level of your reader. Children (and adults like me) will be drawn to the pages filled with comic strips depicting Ulysses’s adventures.

Matilda Review

Ah, Matilda. One of several children’s classics written by Roald Dahl. Overall, I thought this book was far from perfect, especially when I’m reading it for the first time in 2016. But this book has lots of charm, even though some of the wording would be considered outdated and have to be explained for students, I think this book would make a great read-aloud for elementary students.DAH Matilda

I was drawn by this book specifically because Matilda is a young reader. She has a passion for learning at her age (since she was 2!)that is rare. Her parents abhor education, and shudder at the thought of reading for fun! Regardless, Matilda deals with her home situation by playing pranks on her awful parents. When she enters Kindergarten she befriends her teacher, Miss Honey, and learns to be wary of the school’s principal, Mrs. Trunchbull. Matilda wants to deal with Mrs. Trunchbull the same way she deals with her parents; by pranking them, and discovers that she has telekinetic abilities.

Unfortunately, this is where the book lost it’s ability to be believable. Telekinetic powers are interesting and all, but I felt as though Matilda would have been more than capable of getting Mrs. Trunchbull to quit and leave without having those powers.

Walk Two Moons Review

I’m back! We’re starting right back where we left off at the end of the C’s with Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I selected this book because it was awarded a Newbery medal in 1995, and a friend suggested it.

CRE - Walk Two Moons Cover

I thought this book was okay. Creech weaves the story of all her characters together in a way that is well done, and tells an excellent story that mixes missing mothers, depression, romance, and metaphors for the unexpected adventures of life together in this book. I do not normally read realistic fiction, and I feel that that is why this book fell flat for me. I felt it took forever to start moving the plot along, the romance between Sal and Ben felt forced, and Sal, a thirteen-year-old, drives four hours down a dangerous road on her own just after her grandmother was admitted to the hospital. I don’t know about you, but if my grandmother was admitted to the hospital and I was worried about her health I do not think my thirteen-year-old self would be able to think straight enough to make that kind of trip.

Lunch Lady Review

COM - Lunch Lady Cover

Our next column of shelves features most of our graphic novel collection, so for today I selected Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians. Because anything featuring evil librarians has to be awesome!

The Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka is a unique comic series that is black, white, and oddly enough, yellow! Our hero seems to be an ordinary school lunch lady, but is actually the hero, Lunch Lady! Lunch Lady serves up justice against those who would cause crime, including the school librarians who are bent on world domination! Starting by… Destroying video games? (Because video games rot your mind and stuff.)

While I enjoying picking on the librarian stereotype as much as the next person, some of the jokes/details I loved in this book while others fell totally flat for me. Maybe it’s because I started with the second installment of this series instead of the first, but I did not understand what purpose the main characters, aside from our Lunch Lady, served. Regardless, Lunch Lady will save the day and win the hearts of children from grades 2-3 in a pinch.

NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society Review

BUC NERDS Cover

When I saw this series on the shelf I couldn’t help but pick it up, because it has the word NERD in large bold text right on the cover. And I am, after all, a nerd. I was also a fan of the show Codename: Kids Next Door when it aired on Cartoon Network, and this book reminded me of my love for it.

Our protagonist, Jackson Jones, starts out as the most popular kid at his elementary school. He is a star athlete on the football team, and adored by all of his peers… Or so he thinks. After a trip to the dentist he discovers that he was born with two rows of teeth, and is required to wear a large head brace indefinitely. Overnight he is kicked off the football team for not being able to wear a helmet, and his friends stop talking to him completely. Left alone to his own devices, Jackson begins to uncover some mysteries about his school. He notices that the biggest group of nerds always sneeze at exactly the same time in class and then leave together, disappearing in one of the school’s hallways. Jackson climbs into a locker, and finds himself transported into an underground laboratory, home to the National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society.

Jackson is offered the chance to join NERDS, but can he get along with the same group of people that he once tormented for being nerds?

This book offers a unique perspective in that there are also chapters told from the Hyena’s point of view, these were also my favorite chapters in the book. The Hyena is an assassin for hire, even though she’s eleven years old and has yet to kill anybody. She works for the antagonist of the story, but grows to question his motives as the story continues. I would highly suggest this book for children in grades 2-5.

The Penderwicks Review

BIR Penderwicks

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy is a heartwarming tale that reminded me of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I loved the author’s ability to give each sister their own personality, and each girl shone in her own way, from responsible Rosalind, spunky Skye, imaginative Jane, and four year old Batty. The girls spend part of their summer on a family vacation at a cottage located on the Arundel estate, owned by a rather mean-spirited woman named Mrs. Tifton. The girls explore the lush gardens, make friends with the gardener Cagney, the cook, and young Jeffery Tifton, who develops strongly as an important character throughout the novel. Together they do their best to uphold the Penderwick family honor and stay out of trouble. Only one thing is for sure; this is a summer vacation they will never forget.

So much can be said as to how much I enjoyed this book, it definitely deserved the National Book Award it earned.  I think boys and girls from grades 2-6 would enjoy this story on their own, or read together.