The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 6, 2017

Author: Kelly Barnhill. Summary: Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known….

The Silver Trumpet
Middle Grade / Juvenile / May 31, 2017

Author: Owen Barfield. Summary: In this delightful fantasy of kings and queens, a magical Silver Trumpet, a jester dwarf, and castle intrigues, English author Owen Barfield has created an enduring tale to captivate the imaginations of all readers. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: Really, a lovely fairy tale in the old style. A handful of interesting metaphors for older readers to discuss, but nothing that tangles the story up or leaves it moralistic or boring. Content Review: Sexual Content: None. Language: One instance of ‘demme’. Violence: One character is killed by fright. There are two instances of planned mob-violence, but both times it is stopped.

Dragon Slippers
Middle Grade / Juvenile / March 17, 2017

Dragon Slippers #1. Author: Jessica Day George. Summary: Poor Creel. She can’t believe her aunt wants to sacrifice her to the local dragon. It’s a ploy to lure a heroic knight so that he will fight the dragon, marry Creel out of chivalrous obligation, and lift the entire family out of poverty. Creel isn’t worried. After all, nobody has seen a dragon in centuries. But when the beast actually appears, Creel not only bargains with him for her life, she also ends up with a rare bit of treasure from his hoard, not gold or jewels, but a pair of simple blue slippers-or so she thinks. It’s not until later that Creel learns a shocking truth: She possesses not just any pair of shoes, but ones that could be used to save her kingdom, which is on the verge of war, or destroy it. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Dragon Slippers is usually shelved in the middle grade section, but I find it a fun fantasy read even for older readers. There’s humor, tension, and dragons – what more could you ask? Content Review: Sexual Content: Girl walking alone runs into a band of young men. She decides not to pray…

Greenglass House
Middle Grade / Juvenile / February 14, 2017

Greenglass House #1. Author: Kate Milford. Summary: It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House-and themselves. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Greenglass House was lying around the house when I picked it up, and I didn’t realize it was middle grade at first (a good sign), not because of adult content but because the writing style was actually interesting and non-condescending. Our two main characters, Milo and Meddy, start investigating a seemingly minor mystery just to pass the time – but the further they go, the more tangled it gets, and the events at the house only add to it. As more questions are raised, their quest…

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel)
Middle Grade / Juvenile / February 3, 2017

Author: Ellin Raskin. Summary: Glub! Blub! Mrs. Caroline “Little Dumpling” Carillon isn’t quite sure what to expect when she sets off to meet her husband, Leon. After all, she hasn’t seen him since their wedding when she was five and he was seven. But their reunion is cut short when a storm knocks him off their boat, and he disappears completely, leaving only one very waterlogged clue (Glub! Blub!). Will Dumpling be able to find Leon (or is it Noel) again? And just what is a glub blub? (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: A light-hearted, humorous affair full of ridiculous riddles and quirky characters. Content Review: Sexual Content: Kid says: “Mavis Bensonhust’s mother always wears lace underwear in case a truck hits her and her dress flies up in the air” … “That’s why I never wear any underwear,”. A little further on she explains that instead she always wears a purple bathing suit under her clothes. Language: None. Violence: Building blows up and bodies of people inside it are never found. Girl bites her governess, who dives down a laundry chute. Man trips, hits his head on a table, and needs stitches. Man falls off a boat and seems to…

Talons of Power
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 29, 2017

Wings of Fire #9. Author: Tui T. Sutherland. Summary: The war is over. The false prophecy has been fulfilled. But the dragonets still have enemies. A dark evil, buried for centuries, is stirring. And a young NightWing may have had the first true prophecy in generations . . . Something is coming to shake the earth Something is coming to scorch the ground Jade Mountain will fall beneath thunder and ice Unless the lost city of night can be found. (Published summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: None. Language: None Violence: Two eggs found crushed, killed. One dragon enchants a mop to whack another dragon over the head. Dragon threatens to kill her sisters. One dragon slashes another with its claws. Some magical control of other dragons, changing their perceptions or directly forcing them to action; some mind-reading.

Manxmouse: The Mouse Who Knew No Fear
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 22, 2017

Author: Paul Gallico. Summary: The brave little Manxmouse is on a special journey. But can he survive fearsome foxes, terrified elephants and cats big and small to reach his destination? The Manxmouse is one-of-a-kind. He’s the strangest little mouse you’ll ever see, with bright blue fur, huge rabbit ears and a distinct lack of tail. But Manxmouse doesn’t mind being different. He knows that destiny awaits him, and so Manxmouse sets out on an exciting adventure. He meets tigers and hawks and dastardly pet-shop owners, but there’s someone he dreads and desires to meet more than anyone else. The someone who has been waiting for him all along…the Manx Cat. (Published summary) My Thoughts: I remember really liking this when I read it as a younger kid, but on a second read through I found it less interesting. The plot is disjointed, moving from mini-adventure to mini-adventure as Manx wanders through the world. The writing style is clearly aimed at younger children, as are the characters. Overall I’d say a fun story with a nice moral for younger children. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: None. Violence: Cat pounces on mouse, and hawk picks the mouse up, but both are…

The Morrigan’s Curse
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 19, 2017

Eighth Day #3. Author: Dianne K. Salerni. Summary: Evangeline’s younger sister, Addie, is working with the dangerous Kin who originally kidnapped her. They value her power, and they’re willing to teach her more, an irresistible offer. She doesn’t understand the true consequences of the work – the devastation they mean to unleash on the world by undoing the eighth day spell. Jax, meanwhile, is frantic to help, to get her out of there, but entangled in his promises. As usual, he’s in trouble again, having somehow claimed a powerful artifact that won’t rest until it kills. As the battle between Kin and Transitioners comes to a head, both sides race to accomplish their opposing goals, manipulating meanwhile by the sinister figure of the Morrigan. My Thoughts: The Morrigan’s Curse picks up straight away where the previous book left off, providing no back information. (This is good or bad depending on how recently you read the last book.) Action-packed and definitely fast moving, the story felt almost too hasty – the characters had no time to think and neither did the reader. The narrative went back and forth, for the most part, between Jax and a new view point, Addie. Jax…

Fridays with the Wizards
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 12, 2017

Castle Glower #4. Author: Jessica Day George. Summary: After the complex and convoluted castle history was worked out in the last book, Celie and her friends are back in the castle safe and sound. It’s not happily ever after quite yet, though – not when the Arkower wizard breaks out and is running around on the loose! Celie needs to stop him, save her friends, and prove to her parents that she’s level-headed and mature, all while dealing with the blow of her sister’s impending marriage. My Thoughts: This is clearly an effort to combine a magical adventure with a more mundane struggle of growing up. It might work better for children in the age range intended, as they may sympathize with the character more. For myself, I found Celie grating on my nerves through the book, as she complains about not getting enough credit, shouts at her sister about abandoning them for the Grathians, and demands to be more involved with things. In other words, she lost the pleasing maturity she showed over the last few books. On the good side, it was fun to see more griffins. Content Review: Sexual content: One hug. One character asks for another’s…

The Demigod Files
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 11, 2017

A Percy Jackson and the Olympians Guide. Author: Rick Riordan. Summary: How do you handle an encounter with Medusa on the New Jersey interstate? What’s the best way to take down a minotaur? Become an expert on everything in Percy’s world with this must-have guide to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Complete with interviews, puzzles, games, and original short stories by Rick Riordan. My Thoughts: Some interesting backstory for the Heroes of Olympus (My name is Bob!) but overall the stories seemed random and unnecessary, with the quality being of a lower age-level than the books. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: None. Violence: Non-graphic. Ghosts/monsters are stabbed and disintegrated, one monster has his memory wiped clean, some buildings are blow up during a fight. Love Triangle: No.