Illustration by Chris Rooney
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:
Elizabeth, 14, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Joshua, 14, Goliath by Scott Westerfield
Kyle, 13, Legend by Marie Lu
Thanks to everyone who sent in book reviews and to everyone who voted!
2011 "So You Wanna Be a DogEared Blogger" Finalist Reviews
Bithia, 11, The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
The Bar Code Tattoo is an interesting, mysterious book full of incredible clues that have your mind racing. The book is focused on Kayla Marie Reed a young schizophrenic girl who wants to resist getting a bar code tattoo. In that tattoo are genes that tell exactly who you are. With this tattoo the officers, known as Global-1, can track your every move and know every detail about your life. Kayla faces many exciting difficulties with the Global-1 officers because she was seventeen and the bar code tattoo was mandatory at that age. Although Kayla tries to hide, the Global-1 officers are everywhere and are out to get her. In this book it is tattoo or hide.
What I personally enjoyed about this book was that, the story took place in the future around 2025. This book really got me interested with its incredible detail I could feel the emotions of the characters and I could feel myself there with them. The book made me realize the importance of the world we live in today and that if this story became a real event. I would be part of Decode, the resistant group Kayla joined. If I wrote this book I would be proud because this was an amazing book that I will remember forever.
Elizabeth, 14, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
If you enjoyed Brian Selznick’s first book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, then I know you will not want to miss reading his newest, awe-inspiring novel, Wonderstruck.
Wonderstruck follows the journeys of two seemingly opposite characters. Ben, a newly orphaned boy living in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota in the year 1980, is running away to The Big Apple in search of the dad he never knew. Rose, the daughter of a selfish movie star, is fleeing her home in Hoboken, New Jersey in the year 1927 to find comfort and understanding from her brother who works in New York City. Despite living in times fifty-three years apart, growing up in completely opposite places and facing very different circumstances, Ben and Rose have two things in common: both are deaf and searching for a sense of acceptance. The surprising resemblance and intertwining of their stories will both amaze you and leave you in wonder.
One unique characteristic of Wonderstruck is that it is told not only with words but also through a series of illustrations. Throughout the novel the story switches from Ben’s journey (told with words) to Rose’s journey (told with pictures). The unusual form makes the book an interesting read and will keep you mesmerized for hours! I guarantee that as you follow Ben and Rose through their journeys and eventually see how similar and ultimately connected their stories are, you, like me, will not be able to put down this book.
Jenna, 9, Finding Danny by Linzi Glass
How would you feel if you lost your FAVORITE thing in the world? Would you care? Bree Davies definitely would. What if it was your Border Collie, Danny? Would you care then?
Finding Danny is a book about a girl named Bree Davies. Bree is 11 years old. She has to deal with the crisis of losing her dog Danny. She loves her dog more than anything in the world. She has had Danny since she was a little girl. They have been through so much together. Because her mom is always broadcasting on TV and her dad is always gone, it seems as though Danny is the only one that has been there for her. When Bree finds out that her mom accidentally lost Danny, she is heartbroken. Will that itty bitty mistake tear she and her mom apart? Bree does everything, including making fliers, using friends and even making a website on the computer to find Danny. On her way to finding Danny, she will find a love for dogs that she never knew that she had besides Danny. Instead of trying to find Danny, she does all she can to try and save other dogs that might not survive otherwise. Will she find Danny? Can she find Danny?
This book is GREAT!!! I recommend this book to all dog lovers because it shows true friendship and love and the care that you need for taking care of a dog. I hope you enjoy it!!!
Jordan, 10, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The book I am reviewing is Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. It is about a boy named Greg who goes to middle school. There is nothing special about him. He keeps a journal because in the future when he thinks he will be rich and famous he “wouldn’t have time to answer people’s stupid questions”. He would just give them his journal.
I like the book because it is like a middle school student actually wrote it. It is printed with letters that look like the handwriting of a kid and has cartoon illustrations even with speech bubbles. It sounds and looks as if a kid has made it with all the pictures and everything.
The kid who writes the journal met his best friend Rowley when he moved. His parents bought him a book on how to make friends in new places. He kept going to his house and trying dumb gimmicks, so Greg felt sorry for him and “took him under his wing”.
Greg has a little brother Manny and an older brother Roderick. Manny is his parents’ favorite. When he drew a self portrait on his door with permanent markers so ugly it was scary, his parents said “Awwwwww…how cute”.
This book is full of stories like these. All those who love to read comic books with funny pictures must not miss this one.
Joshua, 14, Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
As WWI rages between the Darwinists and Clankers, the British airship Leviathan is ordered to pick up Nikola Tesla, a famous inventor, who claims that he has invented a weapon called Goliath that will swiftly end the war. The crew, including Deryn Sharp and Alek, is suspicious of Tesla, but it is ordered to transport him to America. As the Leviathan embarks on a perilous journey throughout the world, Deryn can’t help that she’s in love with Alek. However, as the fate of the war rests on the Leviathan, Deryn and Alek’s loyalties to their countries and each other will be tested to their limits.
Goliath is a stunning book that will enthrall you. It features thrilling action, an intricate plot, and historical references. Goliath is packed with suspenseful action. Readers will be drawn in to the action and feel as if they’re there when they read about narrow escapes from famished bears and furious battles between battleships and monstrous creatures. The book’s complex, but dramatic plot features a solid beginning and builds up to a climactic conclusion. The author adds historical references to the book to make it as similar as possible to WWI, but gives things a “twist” to forge a perfect alternate history setting. For example, he incorporates real characters and historical events such as Pancho Villa (a Mexican Revolutionary) and the Tunguska Event (a meteorite that struck Siberia in 1908). Goliath is an excellent read for any science fiction or historical fiction reader ages 10-14.
Katelyn, 10, The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
How do you like being under unbearable pressure that forces you between life and death? Widge, a poor orphan boy is under extreme pressure. His master, Simon Bass says if he does not follow the command he will be sent back to the orphanage with grave consequences. But Widge’s command is nearly impossible! I bet you are wondering what his command is, right? It is to steal the play Hamlet from Mr. Shakespeare himself! Widge gets into trouble when he accidentally befriends some players from Mr. Shakespeare’s theatre! Would you steal from your best friends? Right as Widge thinks things can’t possibly get worse he makes an enemy who can easily overpower him. Will he have enough pride and courage or will he just become another orphan child who no one cares about? My favorite part of the book is the scary horse ride to Simon Bass’s house. This book is great for people who are up for an emotional action packed book. But beware this book is so suspenseful it will leave you reading on your couch for hours!
Kyle, 13, Legend by Marie Lu
Legend by Marie Lu was full of action, surprises, and tons of “shockers”. When the Day’s family’s house gets marked with an “X” that has a line through it (the “X” refers to the plague), he attempts to collect plague medicine from the nearby hospital. The hospital is out of the cure, so he is forced to steal suppressants; but he gets stopped just before his escape by a military soldier, and throws his knife at him. When the soldier turns up dead, the soldier’s sister, June (who scored a perfect score in her Trial) is sent to track down and kill Day. You will be shocked by what she finds. Will she be able to find Day? Will Day be able to save his family?
I thought that this book was great. I loved the names used; simple and straight to the point. Day is my favorite character because he is passionate, spart, and optimistic. I envy his trait of optimism because that is something that I just don’t have. He would rather die that watch his brother or mother die. I also admire his perseverance throughout the book. At several points, he could have just given up and died; this looked appealing a couple times. The plot was set up amazingly, not just “action-driven” like Hunger Games, but with well-developed characters that you cared about. I would recommend this book to anyone 10 and older because it is not a very complex book and does not get too violent.
Lizzy, 9, Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow
What would you do if you had an illegal dog and a soldier was suspicious? This book, Saving Zasha is about a boy named Maikul who lives in Russia after WWII and he finds a wounded, dying man behind his house in the woods. The man gave him a German Shepard named Zasha because he can’t take care of her. At that time, in Russia it was illegal to have ANYTHING German. They take in Zasha and grow a bond that can’t be separated. When they find out Zasha is going to have puppies, a soldier finds out that they have a German dog. I really recommend this book because it has suspense and is always keeping you on the edge of your seat. Dogs are special to me and I am always interested in wars and historical fiction, so if you are like me you will LOVE this book.
Madelyn, 14, Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher
In Ralph Fletcher’s Fig Pudding eleven year old Clifford Allyn Abernathy III tells the story of his crazy family and five younger siblings: Nate, Cynthia, Teddy, Brad, and Josh. His mom says, “We Abernathys always overdo everything.” And that’s quite true.
The book follows the Abernathy’s adventures throughout the year from one Christmas to the next. Cliff and his brothers and sister try to figure out what little Josh wants for Christmas based on only two words: yidda yadda. They eventually figure it out after Josh sees it at the hospital. Teddy, who “was born wild”, is constantly getting in trouble. Finally his mom sends him under the kitchen table to punish him. Unfortunately, the punishment plan backfires and he ends up loving it under the table. That’s where he figures out that old Mrs. Reamsyder needs some socks for her birthday.
From lost a kitten to a crazy fishing trip, the Abernathys have an unforgettable year. And not all memories are happy ones: someone very close to the Abernathys dies. Though that sounds awful, it fits with the story and shows the reader the togetherness of the Abernathy family.
I think that the author did an amazing job developing the plot and describing the characters. The story felt like it could actually happen, and all the characters were very real. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, heartwarming story.
Thomas, 11, The Dark City by Catherine Fisher
The book is told from the point of view of a 16 year old boy named Raphael or “Raffi.” He is apprenticed to the relic master Galen Harn, Galen is a ember of a group called the Oder, the order were the peace keepers of Anora until a villainous group called the watch took over. Raffi and Galen travel across the world of Anora looking for items of power called relics. Raffi had been learning sorcery from Galen until, one night, a relic exploded leaving Galen powerless. Desperate for a cure Galen and Raffi follow the rumors of a relic to a town full of bandits where they are captured. They are released from capture when they promise to perform an errand for the criminals, while doing the task they are sidetracked to the dark city of Tasceron where there is a possible cure.
I have read many fantasy books but none like this. Everything in this book, the magic, the relics, and even the moons were different from all the other books I have read. Along with being very different it was full of action, even when they weren’t fighting the descriptions kept you interested in the book.
I would recommend this book to any one who really likes fantasy. I would also recommend it to people who have never read a fantasy book before and want to try something new. Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.