Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Book Review Club (February 2011)

Welcome one and all to our Book Review Club's second meeting of 2011! Grab a mug of java, some calorie-free, cyber cookies and make yourself comfortable. There are links to lots of great reviews below! Including a review by Sarah Laurence of our own Ellen Booraem's middle-grade fantasy SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS!!!


Middleschoolers Sofia and her BFF, Nona, want to be popular. Things don't go according to plan, especially when Sofia's mother becomes a substitute teacher at their school. Sofia decides to use her anonymous blog to dish the dirt on the popular girls. From Booklist: "Written as a journal with illustrations and asides, this humorous take on trying to fit in will find wide appeal."

Child #4 is a reluctant reader. Which means her mother is beyond thrilled when a book grabs her ten year old's imagination. Here's how it went down with GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS' ROOM. I hand Child #4 said book. Child #4 flips through a few pages. She flips through a few more pages. She turns the book over and reads the back cover. She sits down and begins to read. And smile. And read. Child #4 read GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS' ROOM in ONE SINGLE DAY! That is not something that happens too often in our little house!

So, what was it my reluctant-reader daughter loved about GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS' ROOM?

Straight from Child #4's mouth:
"It's funny." "I love the illustrations." (drawn by the talented Rose Cooper, I might add!) "It's as good as DIARY OF A WIMPY KID** and DORK DIARIES, my favorite books."

(**Reviewed recently by our own Scott Parker and Ellen Booraem)

Thanks, Rose! Hurry up and write the sequel!

Now, people, please, please click on the links below. You'll find thoughtful, interesting reviews about a variety of books.


Sarah Laurence: SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS by Ellen Booraem (middle grade fantasy)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by Kate DiCamillo (middle grade)

Stacy Nyikos: MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool (middle grade, Newbery Winner)


Scott Parker: SKATING AROUND THE LAW by Joelle Charbonneau (mystery)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT by Laura Lippman (mystery)

Linda McLaughlin: DISSOLUTION by CJ Sansom (historical mystery)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND by Mary Stewart (suspense)

Jenn Jilks of My Muskoka: MIDSUMMER NIGHT by Freda Warrington (fantasy)

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell (literary science fiction)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: THE JOKE by Milan Kundera (satire)


Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE by Diane Ackerman

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: AT HOME: A SHORT HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE by Bill Bryson

Beth Yarnall: JUST KIDS by Patti Smith (memoir)

**Note to Reviewers: Leave a comment or email me if I've made a mistake. For some reason, I had a lot of trouble with blogger this go-around.**


  1. Barrie, It was so much fun to get your daughter's review too - the best endorsement! It sounds like Gossip Girl for the younger set. Thanks for hosting another book review club!

  2. Great job, Barrie. We are snowed in, and I'm happily reading book reviews. Here is mine!

  3. That sounds like a book I would have loved at Child #4's age.

    My review is finally up. I thought I had the review scheduled to post at 8 AM this morning. No, I had it saved as draft. Oops.

  4. Given child #4's comments, I think my nine year old will love this. She has gobbled up all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. She recently read Year of the Dog and loved that too. Those illustrations really help!

  5. There's no better endorsement for a book than when a reluctant reader pronounces it good! Definitely sounds like a winner. Thanks for hosting the meeting once again, Barrie.

  6. Sarah: Gossip Girl for the younger set. ;) And thanks for the help with the code!!

    Jenn: Enjoy the snow. Thanks for the link and for reviewing!

  7. Stacy: I will not tell you how often I've done that!

    Stacy N: Yes, I think she'd like it! Always fun to know there's a sequel in the works too.

    Rose: Good to see you! Yes, I love an endorsement from a reluctant reader. :)

  8. I'm starting a list for when my 7-year-old is ready to read independently. I think books like this (engaging, illustrated, broken up into smaller bits like journal entries) will be key to her learning to love to read!

  9. Great review! Glad Child #4 found a book that she liked!

  10. Love that photo...that's what we all want to see, hey?

    Great story, Barrie--what an endorsement for a book!

    And thanks for the mention of SMALL PERSONS and Sarah's interview. That was fun!

  11. Just saw this book at my kid's school's book fair. And I saw TWO of your titles, too. So OF COURSE I had to go blab to everybody "I know her! She's a friend of mine."

  12. My boys love The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, so I can see how this would be just as appealing for girls. Glad she enjoyed it!

    And thanks for hosting once again!!

  13. It's always a huge thing to get a reluctant reader to enjoy a book. This must have been a good one for her to read it in one day.

  14. I wanted to share my category of posts for Reluctant Readers for Child #4's parents or other parents of Reluctant Readers at

    I hope this helps a child learn to love to read!


Comments are always welcome!