Book Review: The Little Gentleman by Philippa Pearce
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Bet lives with her grandparents the Allums, and often accompanies her grandmother when Mrs. Allum cleans house for the eccentric Mr. Franklin. One day, after Mr. Franklin breaks his leg in a fall, he asks Bet to do him a strange favor. She is to go out to a tree stump in the garden and read aloud from a book about worms. Bet does as Mr. Franklin asks, and soon makes the acquaintance of a mole. A talking, intelligent mole who has been touched by magic.

Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Brian Robeson, aged 13, thinks it’s tough having divorced parents. He thinks it’s tough having to fly from New York to northern Canada to visit his father over the summer. He doesn’t find out what tough is until the pilot of a single-engine Cessna dies of a heart attack right beside him. Brian finds himself alone at 70,000 feet, with no idea where he is and no one on the radio to help him land the plane.

Book Review: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Jessica Day has just moved from Chicago to the small town of Bixby, Oklahoma. On her first day at Bixby High School, she attracts the notice of three weird kids who dress in goth clothing. They call themselves the Midnighters, and they have spotted Jessica as one of their own. Even before she knows it herself, this normal, bright, vivacious girl has a destiny in a strange, dark world known only by a handful of teenagers.

Book Review: I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Ed Kennedy is a bit of an underachiever. Let’s face it: he drives cabs in the same Sydney suburb where he grew up, runs errands for his trash-mouthed Ma, enables his smelly old dog’s caffeine addiction, and has a hopeless crush on one of his best friends. His young life seems to have settled into a rut of quiet mediocrity… until the day he single-handedly thwarts a bank robbery.

Book Review: The Dragons of Spratt, Ohio by Linda Zinnen
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Salt (full name, John Salt) is a kid who lives near the Wilds, a chunk of reclaimed coal-mining land in Ohio where wild animals from all over the world are fed, studied, and protected. Salt’s Dad is an animal doctor; his mother is the director of the Wilds. So he gets to spend a lot of time with animals. But Salt’s favorite specimens are the brood of rare, flying dragons that have just hatched on the Wilds—the first live dragons in recorded Ohio history.

Book Review: A Plague of Sorcerers by Mary Frances Zambreno
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Jermyn Graves lives in a world in which technology is at a level of 19th century England, but magic is a huge part of society. Agriculture, medicine, trade, and political intrigues are all touched by some kind of wizardry—and in the Empire which, I take it, is loosely based on England, no one sees anything wrong with this. Only across the channel, on the Continent (sort of like our Europe), wizards and witches aren’t allowed, and magic is a dark art carried out in the shadows.

Book Review: Dragon and Herdsman by Timothy Zahn
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Jack Morgan has gone through a lot with his K’da symbiont. Draycos, in his three-dimensional form, is a large, powerful, dangerous dragon, a poet-warrior whose values of honor and courage have increasingly rubbed off on the boy. Or maybe this “rubbing off” happened during Draycos’ spells in two-dimensional form, when he needs to spend one hour out of seven resting against his host’s skin like a moving, talking tattoo.

Book Review: Dragon and Slave by Timothy Zahn
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Fourteen-year-old Jack Morgan is a remarkable boy in many ways. He has his own spaceship, for starters. An orphan since the age of 3, he was brought up by his late Uncle Virgil – a con-man, safe-cracker, and thief who taught Jack everything he knew. Now he flies around in a ship called Essenay, whose computer has been programmed with Uncle Virge’s memories and personality. He tries not to get into too much trouble. But it’s hard, especially when he has a tattoo that moves, speaks, and sometimes slides off his body to take the 3-dimensional form of a golden dragon.