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Detective Delight

At Your Service!: Blondie McGhee Detective Series: Funny Detective Stories Written by Ashley Eneriz  

The first book in a detective series based on fourth grade Graham Elementary student Blondie McGhee. Blondie became interested in mysteries when her Grandmother gave her a detective kit when she was in third grade. As the story opens Blondie is excited to begin fourth grade. She is eager to recruit students at the school who have a mystery to solve. One week passes by with no case in site. Blondie fears she has not advertised enough so she stands on the lunch table and offers her detective services to all the students. All seem to ignore her, except Owen Thomas who claims there is a mysterious noise coming from the janitor’s closet. Blondie makes an excuse to leave class and investigates. She is horrified when Mike, a friend of Owen, is hiding inside dressed as a monster. The three students are in big trouble; Blondie is a laughingstock. Blondie feels a little better after her mother shares her own embarrassing school story, but Blondie is reluctant about returning to school. She is shocked when Owen comes to her door to apologize and beg her help to solve a real mystery. Blondie is back on the case of the Tuesday Food Fight. She methodically follows the clues until this genuine mystery is solved. Blondie wins back her credibility and reputation. There will be many more mysteries to solve in the next books of the series. The author recommends her series for girls in the nine to twelve age range. I think boys will enjoy them as well. The book-length of fewer than one hundred pages and adorable black and white illustrations allow the stories to appeal to reluctant readers and advanced beginning readers as well. Detective story fans mark this series as one to add to your collection.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Horses and Hope

Mary’s Song (Dream Horse Adventures Book 1)

Written by Susan Count

Mary is a twelve-year-old handicapped young lady. Her mother died when
she was three; no one wants to talk about it. Mary lives with her father
and a housekeeper. The story is set in 1952. Her father constantly
searches for a possible medical breakthrough to cure his daughter. Mary
is strong-willed and determined. Her best friend, Laura, rides and cares
for horses at her home. The girls become obsessed with saving a horse
named Illusion who needs surgery. They find ways of earning money toward
that end.

Mary’s overprotective father frequently gets upset with Mary’s obstinate
behavior. Laura and Mary disobey their parents and end up in trouble
often, but that means lots of interesting adventures along the way. Will
the girls be able to save Illusion? Can Mary’s father find a medical
cure to help Laura walk again?

Middle-grade and young adult readers will find the antics of these two
friends’ fun and endearing. There’s plenty of humor and a few surprises
in store for readers. Two strong female role models and a tender story
of animal affection will appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommended.
I look forward to reading the sequel.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Hero or Villain?

ANDREW THE GREAT: The Heroic Story of Andrew Jackson That “They Don’t Want You to Know” Written by MS King  

This book, as the title implies, is not a traditional retelling of the life and times of Andrew Jackson. The author is not a historian. He is an investigative journalist with a penchant for uncovering inaccuracies and misconceptions widely accepted by the public. King carefully traces the origins of the American Revolution as an important prelude to how the Republic came to be and the influencers behind its foundation. He names the major players in the Federalist Party like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams as well as the opposing, Democratic-Republicans like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who believed in limited government and states’ rights.

Andrew Jackson grew up as a self-educated orphan who would rail about the powerful interests like the Rothschild bank in Europe that would greatly influence the role of the central bank and its early failures in the United States.

The author is a firm believer that a person’s actions and role in history should not be judged by the standards and morals of the present. Consequently, King points out that though Jackson owned slaves and trapped Native Americans, he also recruited blacks and Native Americans to fight alongside him in The Battle of New Orleans and paid them equally.

Jackson also foresaw the importance of eliminating Spain and English control of Florida and the Mississippi River trade. King gives a fascinating account of Jackson’s struggles with the news media, his enemies and his personal struggle to maintain individual rights and avoid global entanglements.

The book contains lots of illustrations of contemporary reports, drawings, and speeches. I would recommend this book as a highly readable and informative account for students and the general public. While it does not qualify as an objective, unbiased resource, it certainly contributes to a healthy discussion of Andrew Jackson and the period in which he lived.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Canine Super Sleuth

Hide and Panic Stations (Super Sleuth Sam Book 1)

Written by Monty J. McClaine

This is the first book in a nine-part series. The author uses the introduction to present the characters of the series. Jack is a mischievous six-year-old. His father likes to tinker in the garage with his Corvette, his mother is a devoted stay at home mom, his sister, Molly has just begun to crawl. Sam, the basset hound is always on red alert protecting the family and serving as Jack’s constant companion. But Sam is no ordinary dog, he has magical powers passed down to him from his ancestors. When Sam recites his chant, he develops super speed and the detective skills of a Sherlock HolmesadventureBook Reviewschapter bookchildren’s booksclassroom resourceselementary gradesfictionhomeschoolingmiddle gradesmysteryreluctant reader

One day Jack and Sam are playing hide and seek. Jack pushes the envelope by finding a hiding place in which no one discovers him. While Jack is comfortably ensconced reading his dad’s comic and enjoying a snack, the rest of the family is in panic mode. Readers will enjoy how Sam employs his super speed and detective smarts to solve the mystery of Sam’s disappearance. Sam’s parents are about to call the police. Will Sam be able to solve the mystery? Perhaps young readers will be able to help.

This book is a fun chapter book for beginning and middle-grade readers. It presents a typical family with some atypical characteristics, some humour, and a mystery for readers to ponder. Recommended especially for third to fifth graders. The length of approximately one hundred pages makes it a good choice for reluctant readers as well.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Stewardship with Joy

The Adventures of Joy Sun Bear: The Blue Amber of
Sumatra

Written by Blanca Carranza and John Lee

This is the first book in a series of adventures featuring a bear named Joy. Set in the tropical rainforest of Sumatra, readers are rapidly propelled into a nonstop fantasy adventure. Joy will learn a lot about himself and teach his readers about courage, bravery, and standing up for themselves and others. Joy meets an assortment of magical characters, an exotic bird, a magical frog, orangutans, and a trickster fox to name a few.

Joy teaches readers the importance of family relationships, stewardship of Mother Earth, and respect for creatures of other cultures. Readers are exposed to the good and bad of humans as well as the inner struggles faced within oneself. The color illustrations move the story along for younger readers and help to illuminate the hidden storylines. The  chapter book runs close to two hundred pages so it might be a challenge for beginning readers who might want to approach it in several phases; it would make an excellent teacher read aloud book to discuss in the classroom.

Recommended audience is for ages six through ten, though I would classify it more as a middle-grade selection. I am looking forward to reading the next tale and following Joy’s growth journey.

Barbara Ann Mojica
LittleMIssHistory.com

A Star is Made

Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13

Written by Barbara Roman

Illustrated by Vladimir Cebu

Ten-year-old Alicia is shopping with her mother for new lamps. Her mood is upbeat as she walks through Walker’s Furniture store two weeks before Christmas. Suddenly, she is mesmerized by a beautiful Christmas tree which appears in the middle of the floor. Alicia stares at its beautiful star and is whisked away to the 13th floor on an elevator that opens to a light bulb factory. She finds herself in a factory where light bulbs are retired after they stop working. Alicia meets Carelia, the fairy goddess who oversees the factory. Carelia informs Alicia that the light bulbs must pass a test to determine whether they might become stars and that she needs Alicia to help her. Alicia is confused and upset. She doesn’t understand why she is needed and how she wound up in a place where there is no past or tomorrow, but she will learn much about unique personalities, utilizing our talents, and working cooperatively. What is expected of her and why was she chosen? Will Alicia ever get back to her world? Did she ever leave it?

This book is a charming fantasy, mystery, and science fiction read. It might be considered both a chapter book or a short story. The fifty-page length makes it a good choice for reluctant readers. Cebu creates dazzling illustrations and the large font size make it a good choice for beginning readers, while the intricate plot and well-developed characters will appeal to middle-grade and young adult  audiences.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

COMEDY WITH A SPRINKLE OF REVENGE

Max’s Revenge

Written by Sally Gould

This is the first comedy book in a series of books revolving on the main character, Max. Max always seems to get the short end of the stick. His older brother, Charlie, is perceived to be perfect. In the first story, the siblings are invited to the wedding of their Uncle Dan. But before the vows are exchanged, Charlie lures Max into a trap that ends with his falling out of a tree and disrupting the wedding. Things further deteriorate at the wedding reception, when Charlie attracts the flower girl, Lucy, who Max adores. Charlie becomes a partner in crime with the bartender and Sophie’s three brothers who conspire to booby trap the marriage getaway car. To make matters worse, Max’s evil Aunt schemes to get Max into trouble. Of course, Max finds devious ways to get his revenge.

The second story centers around Charlie and Max’s visit to their Nana’s house. A social worker has persuaded the boys’ parents to take a much-needed break. While at Nana’s house, the boys discover that the evil Aunt is trying to get Nana to sell her house. The boys get their revenge on their Aunt and try to prevent the sale. They plan several pranks to thwart the sale, but they discover Nana secretly wants to move. How will they undo the damage? The hilarious result will be that Max has to eat dog food stew.

Children in grades three to six will find themselves empathizing with poor Max. Perhaps they have a relative like Max’s evil Aunt. The comedy is spot on and the dialogue appears genuine and age appropriate. Length of the stories is not too long so the book will appeal to reluctant readers.

 

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY Book Series

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away and other short stories

Written by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Three short and charming stories set in Australia. In the first containing the book’s title, Amanda writes to her sister Sonya from overseas about the love of her life,Thomas, a fisherman who has literally just “got away.” This story is poignant, yet contains humor and an optimistic bent. In the second story, a grandmother struggles with a change of fortunes and the realization that she will have to sell the piano that has given her granddaughter such pleasure. Grandma’s daughter, Angela seems cold and indifferent to her dilemma. The last story brings Caroline back to the beach where she met her true love twenty five years ago. She meets Barry, a young artist, and strikes up a conversation. He reminds her of the man she left behind long ago. A surprise ending brings the story full circle.

The author does a good job of developing her characters and creating the mood for each of these short stories. They are a quick and delightful read. Recommended for anyone age ten and older who enjoys clean well-written short stories.

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY Book Series