Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

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Speaking from Among the Bones is the fifth book in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery series. These books feature a precocious child sleuth who solves mysteries in her sleepy English village in the 1950s. I’m slightly behind with this series, but I’ve been savoring them slowly so that I don’t run out of books.

Bishop’s Lacey is preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of St. Tancred, whose tomb is located in their village church. Naturally, Flavia wants to be there for the big event, and when the tomb is opened, they find a body. However, it’s not St. Tancred in the tomb- it’s the body of Mr. Collicut, who played the organ at church. There is no way that he could have wandered into the tomb on his own, so it’s clear that he met with a gruesome end. Who could have killed Mr. Collicut? Read more

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Guts & Glory: The American Revolution by Ben Thompson

 

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Guts & Glory: The American Revolution was written by Ben Thompson. I picked up the Audible edition of this book (as well as the others in the series) during a sale, and my girls and I listened to it while we were driving around during all of our after-school activities.

This book is a wonderful introduction to the foundations of American history. Thompson uses a jocular storytelling format to convey information, and I found myself enjoying listening to this book as much as the kids. Much of the story is slightly irreverent, which naturally appeals to children. He uses modern pop culture examples to draw comparisons with events from the Revolution, like comparing Bunker Hill to an epic battle from Lord of the Rings or saying that he has to pay tax “every time he buy[s] a new Xbox game or a Big Mac”. Understanding history is so important, and I have a great deal of appreciation for Thompson’s ability to make learning about history appealing. Read more

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

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Herding Cats was created by Sarah Andersen, and it is a collection of her Sarah’s Scribbles comic. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve seen some of Andersen’s comics shared on social media, and I appreciate her brand of humor.

Herding Cats is an astute look at “adulting”, and how stressful modern life can be. There is a new comic on each page, and the jokes are more observational humor rather than a cohesive storyline with characters. Some of the jokes are broad, like time management and being anxiety prone. Some of the jokes are oddly specific, like trying (and ultimately failing) to refold a shirt at a clothing store. But all of the jokes were relatable to me as a thirtysomething year old woman. Read more

Big Nate: Silent but Deadly by Lincoln Peirce

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Big Nate: Silent but Deadly was written by Lincoln Peirce. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of the Big Nate comic strip and I knew that she would be interested in reading it too.

Nate is an average American boy who goes to elementary school. He has somewhat of a contentious relationship with teachers and administrators, and he has friends and adversaries within the school community. He’s a bright boy, but he doesn’t like to do schoolwork, which is something most children can empathize with. He plays sports, and interacts with his family. Read more

Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson

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Unicorn of Many Hats is the seventh book in Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and her Unicorn series of comics. I was very excited to read this book and share it with my oldest daughter because she loves this series.

The premise is fairly simple: Phoebe is an elementary school student, and her best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Marigold is mostly invisible, but she does have some interactions with the other characters.

Unicorn of Many Hats tends to follow a similar setup to the other books, wherein the good part of a year is covered, without the characters really aging from one book to another. There are story arcs devoted to starting school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the familiar secondary characters have returned, including frenemy Dakota, Max, Phoebe’s geeky parents, and even the goblins make an appearance. Read more

The Uncanny Express by Kara LaReau

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The Uncanny Express is a middle grade novel written by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Jen Hill. This is the second book in The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters series. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book with my girls because we enjoyed reading The Jolly Regina, which is the first book in the series.

After their pirate adventure in the first book, Jaundice and Kale are looking forward to returning to their bland lives sitting at home, darning socks, and eating cheese sandwiches. Their plans are thrown off-kilter when they are directed to go to the train station to meet their aunt, and inadvertently end up on a train speeding off to the Uncanny Valley.

Jaundice and Kale agree to help a glamorous magician and serve as her assistants, but then she disappears- even though the train never made any stops. Luckily, one of the other passengers on the train is the famous detective Hugo Fromage. Can he help solve the mystery of the missing magician? Read more

Here Comes Teacher Cat by Deborah Underwood

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I preordered this book back in March, so it was very exciting when the Amazon delivery van pulled up in front of my house. My three girls wanted to read this book immediately, and I was happy to oblige.

Here Comes Teacher Cat is the fifth picture book in the Cat series. These delightful books were written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda. If you aren’t familiar with Cat, you should know that the books follow a similar format. The narrator addresses Cat directly, and Cat responds by holding up signs that express his feelings. Cat is a bit of a curmudgeon and he can be selfish at times, but he has a good heart.

As the title suggests, Cat spends this book working as a substitute teacher for a class of little kittens. At first, he seems intimidated by the job, but he quickly realizes how much fun he can have and the students seem to appreciate his “improvements” to music, building blocks, and art. But can they clean up their mess before Ms. Melba returns? Read more

The Force Oversleeps (Star Wars: Jedi Academy) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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I purchased The Force Oversleeps for the girls because they have enjoyed the previous books in this series. This is the fifth book in Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Jedi Academy series.

This book is about a boy named Victor who is starting his second year at Jedi Academy. He’s hoping to get the lead role in the school play, but it doesn’t work out. That’s not even the worst thing though- everyone thinks that Victor’s big sister is going to the dark side! Read more

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

 

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I recently listened to the Audible edition of Tessa Dare’s Do You Want To Start a Scandal after purchasing the Kindle edition and adding the audiobook at a discounted price.

Even though the basis of the plot utilizes a fairly common trope- the forced engagement- it is apparent even from the beginning that this is going to be a rather unconventional story. To begin with, a young child claims that he heard noises coming from the library in which our hero and heroine are discovered. But wait, there’s more- the aforementioned child then proceeds to imitate the noises he heard. This, of course, shocks the house party guests, but it had me doubling over with laughter.

It should be noted that although Charlotte and Piers were in the library together, they were not, as Piers so eloquently puts it, the “mystery tuppers”. However, he declares his intention to marry Charlotte to preserve her reputation. Charlotte is less than pleased with this development; her mother is a known schemer, and the consensus is that Charlotte has tricked/trapped Piers into marriage. Read more

Dragons Love Tacos 2 by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

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My three girls loved the first Dragons Love Tacos book, so I preordered the sequel here on Amazon a couple of months ago.

Dragons Love Tacos 2 is a picture book written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that dragons like tacos. But what would happen if we ran out of tacos? Well, in this book, you’ll find the answer to that question. Here’s a hint: it involves a time machine. But you’ll have to read the book to find out more than that! Read more