Tag: middle grade

Book Review: Dwarf Story, by W.W. Marplot

Dwarf Story Cover
Image belongs to the publisher.

Title:   Dwarf Story
Author:   W.W. Marplot
Genre:   Middle Grade
Rating:   3.5 out of 5

For Arty to miss a day of school, either he is very, very sick or a fairytale-character turf-war has begun in his backyard — such as what begins this particular Wednesday. First, he finds an ax-swinging, bearded, sweaty warrior Dwarf scaring his dogs. Soon enough, Emma, Cry and other middle-school friends also find fairy creatures — Elves, Spriggans, Pixies, and a hoped-for Dragon — crashing into their normal homework-doing, backpack-carrying, phone-charging schooldays. 

Why are these magical beings here? What should be done? Is that axe sharp? Can Pixies be given aspirin? 

Arty with his friends — and spying jerks, and questionable strangers with long names — follow the clues and try to find out, even as things turn dark and dangerous. 

The mythical beings are taking sides. The Gwyllion, that legendary Old Woman of the Mountains, has a sinister plan, turning the neighborhood into a fantasy battleground. One that awaits young heroes.

This is a middle-grade fantasy adventure that was a so-so read. And it’s not listed on Goodreads that I can find, so I can’t point you in that direction. I don’t read much middle-grade, so this may just be a case of being the wrong reader for the book.

I thought the premise was great, but the execution was lacking. I’m not the target audience, but solid-storytelling and logical plot progression should still be prerequisites for a good story, and this veered a bit off-track in places. Like the fact that none of the parents seemed at all concerned about what their kids were into. Or any of their siblings, for that matter. These kids had smart phones, but they were left to wander around without interference? That didn’t really make sense to me.

(Galley courtesy of Waxing Gibbous in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Forgotten Book, by Mechthild Gläser

the forgotten book
Image belongs to Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan.

Emma’s life is pretty good. She attends a prestigious boarding school. Her friends all trust her enough to ask her for advice. She’s pretty sure the guy she’s had a crush on for ages is about to ask her out. Things are going well. Except for arrogant Darcy de Winter, the heir to the family who owns the school, who’s there searching for clues about his missing sister.

Then someone trashes the abandoned library Emma and her friends have taken as “theirs,” and Emma finds an old book hidden there. The book is filled with pages written by many different people over the years. A diary of sorts, Emma thinks, and she starts writing in it as well.

When the things Emma writes in the book come true—sort of—Emma realizes there’s more to the book than she thought. But someone else knows of the book’s power, and will stop at nothing to take it from Emma. Emma must unravel the mysteries hidden in the book—and the school—if she’s to figure out what the book is—and who’s after it.

The Forgotten Book is labeled as YA, but that seems a tiny bit too old for this book, to me. Or maybe Emma’s led such a sheltered life that she seems younger. And, considering this is a boarding school, there is surprising little conflict or animosity between a group of students who all live together. Everyone gets along. That was the most far-fetched part of this book for me. Not the magic book.

I enjoyed the mystery, as Emma tries to figure out the secrets of the book, as well as the mysterious creature mentioned in the book. The school sounds like a fantastical place to live, or at least to visit. Emma is an interesting character:  she’s very innocent and oblivious to some things, but she’s inquisitive enough to make up for her naivety.

Mechthild Gläser is an award-winning German author. The Forgotten Book is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

 

Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs, by Catherine Carvell

 

darcy-moon
I do no own this image. Image belongs to Star Bright Books.

Catherine Carvell was born in England but moved to Australia at age 8. She loved nature and stories, so she studied biology and journalism. Now she lives in Singapore with her family and pet turtles. Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs is her first middle-grade book.

Darcy Moon has enough problems, her father’s wacky job and her mom’s hairy armpits are just the tip of the iceberg. When she wanders into the local swamp and an old turtle asks for her help, she is understandably freaked out. The Aroona frogs are disappearing, and Darcy is an Earth Guardian. She has to help, but she’s up against a local millionaire while she tries fix the food-chain and save the swamp. And that doesn’t count the talking frogs.

Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs is a unique, humorous middle-grade book dealing with environmental issues, greed, and quirky families. It’s totally worth reading…and I don’t even have kids!

(Galley provided by Star Bright Books via NetGalley.)

Winell Road: Beneath the Surface, by Kate Foster

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Jet Black Publishing.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Jet Black Publishing.)

Kate Foster is an English author who lives in Australia. She has three sons who keep her very busy, and she has loved to read and write for as long as she can remember. Her newest book, Winell Road: Beneath the Surface, is the first book in a middle-grade series reminiscent of Men in Black.

When you’re 12 years old, living in a boring neighborhood with weird neighbors is the worst thing that can happen. Welcome to Jack Mills’ life. His mom likes to spy on the neighbors and create odd recipes. His dad is the inventor of such things as the Camera Belt and the Self-Closing Window. His best friend is away on one of his clandestine vacations and can’t be reached. So when Jack sees a spaceship one afternoon that no one else has seen, he’s on his own.

Until a new neighbor moves in, extremely tall Roxy Fox. With Roxy’s help, Jack is soon on a mission to find an item that could save the galaxy from horrible aliens intent on destroying the world. But Winell Road has secrets that Jack never suspected, and these secrets could be enough to thwart Jack’s mission. For good.

Winell Road:  Beneath the Surface is a fast-paced middle-grade adventure story with the feel of Men in Black. Jack is a smart, resourceful boy with more abilities than he’s ever dreamed off, and he finds out that the world is a far stranger place than he imagined. The action is non-stop and will keep readers riveted.

(Galley provided by Jet Black Publishing via NetGalley.)