Image: Nat Geo Action Journal cover

The votes are in! We are very excited to announce the names of the three finalists who received the most votes for their reviews. Beginning early next year, these winners will join the blogging team on the NG Kids DogEared Book Blog:

Anuva, 10, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Kennan, 12, Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

Tamar, 10, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Thanks to everyone who sent in book reviews and to everyone who voted! We will run this contest again next year.




"2010 So You Wanna Be a DogEared Blogger" Finalist Reviews



Anuva, 10, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Anyone interested in adventure books would definitely enjoy reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It is a classic adventure book that was written by Mark Twain. This book teaches you that being kind and loving always pays off.

Tom Sawyer is a young boy growing up in the late 19th century in Mississippi. He is mischievous and always gets into some kind of trouble. But, sometimes he can be caring and nice. He lives with his strict Aunt Polly and his two cousins, Mary and Sid. Tom attends the village school where he does a lot of tricks and often receives a spanking from the teacher. Tom loves to spend time with his infamous buddy, Huckleberry Finn. Huck is poor and doesn't attend school. Together they set out to become pirates. While they are enjoying, their families are worried and think the kids are dead. Meanwhile, the kids get homesick and return to attend their own funeral! Later, there is news about Injun Joe, a devil who has been caught for doing a murder. Tom and Huck are so keen to get the money that he has left behind. They search for it everywhere and eventually find it dug up in the mud! This was a great accomplishment for the adventurous Tom!

I liked reading this book because the author's use of imagery helped me picture Tom's adventures. The vivid descriptions helped me get an insight into an average boy's life in te 1800s. This is an amazing literary composition.

Cate, 11, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

When I read The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, I didn't have very high expectations. I looked at reviews of the book at [the Barnes & Noble website] and I saw that some weren't very good, but once I started reading it I couldn't stop! This book is so enthralling. It is about four kids: Kate, Sticky, Constance, and Reynie. They see a peculiar ad in a newspaper that leads them to take a series of extremely difficult tests. Many other children take the tests too. But in the end, only four special children are chosen to go on a perilous journey to foil an evil mastermind's plan and save the world. Their adventure takes them many different places including a large and confusing maze, a training house, and a mysterious "school." It was extremely thrilling and suspenseful. I tried to think of something negative about the book, but in all honesty I couldn't find a single thing I didn't enjoy. It was probably the most original book I have read in a while and I loved everything about it. From trying to figure out the twisting and turning plot to testing my wits along with the characters, it was all fabulous. I would recommend this book to any person—adult or child—looking for an adventurous and clever read.

Emma, 13, Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

If you are looking for an action-packed adventure book, then The Lost Hero is for you! This book, from the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, is the first book in the next series about Camp Half-Blood, the camp for young demigods.

This story begins with Jason, one of the main characters, waking up on a bus, having no idea where, or who, he is. After an encounter with some storm spirits, called venti He and his friends, Leo and Piper, are taken to Camp Half-Blood. There, they find that they are all demigods, and the goddess Hera is missing. They go on a quest to find her. on the way, they must fight mythical monsters, rescue a bronze dragon, try to discover what happened to a missing camper, and more.

I love the way that this series, like the first, incorporates Greek mythology indo the storyline, creating excitement, interest, and humor all at the same time. Also, in this new series, you will find many of your favorite characters from the first series, including Annabeth, Thalia, Rachel, and Percy.

If you are just starting with these series, are an avid reader of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, or even just want a fun way to learn some Greek mythology, then this is a book you should definitely read. Funny, adventurous, exciting: what more could you want in a book?

Evalyn, 9, School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

Imagine you are going to a summer school run by a certified lunatic. Creepy, right? Well, add a bulldog named Macaroni, four kids with four kinds of fear, and a disgusting dish called Casu Frazigu aka maggot cheese (yes, I did say maggot) and you've got School of Fear This hilarious story is also educational with a new kind of fear every chapter. (For instance, phobophobia is the fear of phobias.)

You want to know more?! Okay. Madeline Masterson totally freaks out at any sign of bugs. Lulu Punchalower is afraid of confined spaces—big time. Once she ruined the class field trip just to get away from one tiny elevator. Theodore Bartholomew is terrified of death. He keeps track of all his family members with texts—all day long. He has a serious problem. Garrison Feldman, afraid of deep water, is a big sports player. Problem though, he lives right next to the water, an ocean to be precise.

And then there's Mrs. Wellington, that certified lunatic I was talking about. When she dies everything now depends on the foursome to put aside their fears and save Macaroni from the evil and very greedy lawyer. As they journey through a surprising summer of maggot cheese (yes for the last time, maggot) and good breath, which seem not to go very well together at all, they become very good friends. Gitty Daneshvari has made a hilarious (or somewhat gruesome, either works) story for kids with this great book.

Julia, 13, Notes From a Liar and Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko

Have you ever found yourself caught up in a net of lies, or found it impossible to tell the truth? This always seems to be happening to eleven-year-old Antonia "Ant" MacPherson.

Ant has a hard time fitting in with her family. Her mother's standards are high, and Ant always feels like she's competing with her pefect sisters, Elizabeth and Kate. The only ones that Ant really thinks she can trust are her dog, Pistachio, her best friend Harrison and her art teacher, Carol.

One day, Ant discovers a disturbing brochure on her mother's mail table. By the looks of the brochure, it seems that Ant's mother wants to put Pistachio to sleep! Starting with one itsy-bitsy fib about Pistachio's vet bill, Ant quickly becomes involved in a long string of lies. So, when Carol invites Ant and Harrison to come to the zoo with her, of course Ant brings Pistachio along. She can't let him out of her sight! Things go a bit awry when Pistachio is almost swallowed whole by a group of hungry lions.

This book kept me laughing out loud as I read about all of Ant's misadventures. I also really liked how the book was written because so many things happened in such a small number of pages. I definitely recommend it!

Justin, 13, The 39 Clues Book Four: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson

The 39 Clues Book Four: Beyond the Grave is by Jude Watson. In the book, Amy and Dan Cahill are racing around the world to find another one of the 39 clues. Their family, the Cahills, are the most powerful in the world and are related to the most famous people. The 39 clues are the source of the family's power. Unfortunately, the clues are scattered among the four branches of the family and no one wants to give them up. So once again Amy and Dan are on the run. This time they are going to Egypt and when they run into other clue hunters, they get into some trouble.

This book is perfect for anyone who likes adventure with suspense and a bit of humor. Something is always happening and challenges are always around the corner. Jude Watson has a very unique style and really makes the book come alive. Not only that, but you can start your own clue hunt. It has a website that allows you to create an account, play missions, collect clues, and more. Each book comes with six trading cards that unlock things online. So anyone who is looking for action and adventure and really wants to get sucked in to a good book, read The 39 Clues Book Four: Beyond the Grave is by Jude Watson.

Kennan, 12, Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

Imagine if you had to fight a pack of bloodthirsty monsters, what would you do? That's what Toby needs to decide, because that is exactly what he has to do! Toby has just been employed at a restaurant called Killer Pizza. Little does he know that Killer Pizza is actually a monster hunting organization. Soon, Toby and his new friends, Annabel and Strobe, are recruited for the Hidden Hills monster hunting team. Now it's a race against time to stop a group of ferocious monsters from taking over the town.

Killer Pizza is my all time favorite book. It was very action packed and fun to read. My favorite part is when Toby and his friends battled the monster leader. Toby really had to problem solve in order to fight huge, muscular, fang-toothed monsters with only a few weapons. Every chapter left me wondering what would happen next. I would recommend this book to people who like mysteries and fantasy books because this book is both. Toby and his friends have to find the monster hideout, and there are monsters, of course! This book is mildly scary, but I think everyone who is 8 years old or above will love this book.

Maggie, 11, Just Add Magic by Cindy Callaghan

Imagine that you and one of your friends are cleaning your attic, when you find an encyclopedia with magic recipes inside.

This is what happens to Kelly Quinn and one of her BFFs, Darbie. Kelly , Darbie, and their friend Hannah decide to start a cooking club. The recipes call for Mexican ingredients that they find at a store called La Cocina. While at La Cocina, the girls meet Señora Perez, who warns them about the Law of Returns.

The girls make Keep 'em Quiet Cobbler for Kelly's brother Bud. Bud loses his voice the next day. A Hexberry Tart is made for Kelly's mean neighbor on the day Bud gets sick. The girls make one other secret recipe, and strange things happen to the girl who adds the secret ingredient. For example, Darbie keeps having klutz attacks. Kelly finally remembers Señora Perez's warning, so she asks Señora Perez about the spells. The ending is a surprise, but it's good.

I love to read. My friends always joke that I have a new book every day, and I loved this book. I thought it had a good moral of "What goes around comes around." The whole story can't be told in three paragraphs, so there are even more surprises, like a chili contest and a wild bet. The characters each had their own story. I would recommend Just Add Magic to girls ages 9 to 12. So, turn back if you ever find an encyclopedia with magic recipes inside.

Tamar, 10, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sara Crewe, or as her papa called her "Little Missus," was a young girl living in India. Her papa thought India was becoming too dangerous for young girls. He decided to send his daughter to a boarding school in England. Sara was completely spoiled at school. She had her own maid, the perfect room, and everything she desired.

One day, a friend of Sara's father came. The man had come to deliver the sad news that Sara's papa had passed away, leaving her poor. But Sara's papa owed the principal money. The cruel principal sent Sara upstairs to change into her black dress, and she told her, "Your father has died, and has left you poor with no money to pay back what he owes me. So, instead of paying me, you will work for me as a servant."

From then on, Sara's life as a princess no longer existed. She slept in the attic room. None of the girls who used to be her friends talked to her now. But Sara didn't let that affect her. Even though she wasn't a princess on the outside, she could still be a princess on the inside!

The book is bittersweet. There are times when you will cheer, yet there are also times when you will feel like crying along with the character. Just like in fairy tales, Sara's story has a happy ending. But you'll just have to read the book to find it out.

Truth, 10, The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh Katherine Marsh has written an exciting book about a twelve year old boy named Jack, who, after a car accident, somehow gains the ability to see ghosts. One such ghost leads him into the underworld of New York City and on an amazing adventure. This mystery was really fantastic. It kept me on the edge of my seat, having no idea where the story was going. The book is somewhat of a cliff-hanger with a sequel called The Twilight Prisoner. I can't describe that one yet because I've only started it, and I don't want to give away the ending of The Night Tourist but I'm already gripping my chair!

Which review is your favorite?

Vote