The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Reviewed By Mikala
onecrazysummeroldOne Crazy Summer is about a girl and her sisters who live in Brooklyn and go to see their mother, who lives in California. Delphine, who is eleven, and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are put on an airplane to go visit their mom who left them seven years ago, when Fern was just an infant. If they were expecting a welcome, with lots of hugs and kisses, they could not be more wrong. Their mother, Cecile, showed up at the airport disguised and didnʼt talk to them at all on the way to her house. Their mom isnʼt very nice to them and asks for all the money their dad gave them. When they get to Cecileʼs home she refuses to cook for the girls and makes them go out by themselves in the dark to get food from a little Chinese restaurant. They learn their mom is a poet and campaigns for African American rights. Cecile doesnʼt want them in her home so she sends them to camp at the community center. The camp is run by the Black Panthers. The girls learn about African American leaders who are trying to change the rights of African Americans. The girls start to think for themselves about their rights, and about what they deserve. Delphine begins to understand her mom, but read this book to find out why! This story takes place in the 1960ʼs.onecrazysummer

I think this book would appeal to people who are interested in the Civil Rights movement or people who like challenging story lines. It might also appeal to people who enjoy books with complicated characters.
I think Rita Williams-Garcia did a good job, because I could picture everything when it was happening. I could also relate to Delphine and understand how sheʼs feeling because of all the specific descriptions of Delphineʼs feelings. Sometimes I found this book a little unsettling because of how unmotherly Cecile is, but for the most part I really enjoyed this book.

The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall

Reviewed by Eoin

Penderwicks2Allow me to introduce you to…The Penderwicks!

The Penderwick family is made up of one lovable dog, (Hound), one affable father, (Mr. Penderwick), and four very interesting daughters. The youngest one is called Batty, then comes, in order, Jane, Skye, and the eldest is Rosalind. The author of these books, Jeanne Birdsall, doesn’t write in a particularly fast-paced style, but she always keeps her readers on their toes. She manages to suck you into their adventures. These are not fantasy adventures, but they are definitely timeless adventures nonetheless. So much happens in any one book that is it hard to try to summarize, but you can count on fun, excitement, humor, and one really loyal dog.

“For a long time after that summer, the four Penderwick sisters still talked of Arundel. Fate drove us there, Jane would say. No, it was the greedy landlord who sold our vacation house on Cape Cod, someone else would say, probably Skye. Who knew which was right?”

This quote tells you about the difference in the sisters and it also gives a sense of the gentle but also funny and sharp tone the author uses throughout the series.

In the first book, we are introduced to the Penderwick Sisters. During the summer, the sisters rent a small cozy cottage in Arundel. It does not just turn out to be an ordinary vacation. They meet a nice boy, whose mother is a snotty rich woman and her boyfriend is, well, let’s just say even worse. The sisters encounter Jeffrey in a way that is far from ordinary. In spite of his unfortunate connections, the sisters become friends with Jeffrey and there are so many events that happen to them in just one short summer!

The second book takes place once summer is over, during the school year. The news of this book is that now the sisters have concocted The Save Daddy Plan, which means that they are responsible for some horrible, disastrous “fix-ups.” There is frightening talk for the sisters about their father dating, and even more terrifying than that: marriage. By the end, there is a new Save Daddy Plan. To say more would give away the ending, but just be confident that everyone ends up happy, even Hound.Penderwicks[1]

In the latest Penderwick tale, the sisters are split up. Rosalind goes off the beach. That leaves the rest of the sisters to go visit Aunt Clare in Maine. Hound accompanies them, and he refuses to let Batty out of his sight. Skye is really horrified to realize that she is the OAP, oldest available Penderwick. The situation has changed a little, and there is new anxiety about the different roles in the family. Also, there is a surprise appearance from Jeffrey, who stays with them the whole time. This book is as thrilling and full of unexpected twists & turns as the others, but one is special to Jeffrey.

The four Penderwick sisters range in age from four to thirteen, but I highly recommend this series to people of all ages! Kids who are not yet reading at this level would enjoy having the books read aloud. And the great news is that Jeanne Birdsall plans to write more of her fantastic books.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

Reviewed by Rida (you can also check out Rida’s review of the first book in this series!)
sparkscoverEmber is a city underground that was built long ago by the builders. The chief builder and the assistant builder decided that the people were going to stay in Ember for at least two hundred and fifty years until a metal box opened and inside would be instructions on how to get out of Ember.

Lina Mayfleet is a girl who finds the instructions and and goes to her friend Doon Harrow to show him and they set of with Poppy, Lina’s baby sister to the river where the first instruction begins….

This book by Jeanne DuPrau is a book full of ideas and adventure.
The people of Ember think there is no light in the dark, dark world except for Ember.

The people of Ember have just escaped from their home underground and have entered a city where there is barely any room for them and where hard labor is done. They have no idea about this of course, and they think that The People Of Sparks are trying to get rid of them by writing horrid things in the plaza or poisoning them with poison ivy.

Then one day a war begins.

This adventurous tale by Jean DuPrau makes people think about war and how you should try to do something good even if someone has done something bad to you.

OK Readers — you’ve got series, adventure, mystery, and two brave kids! Irresistible!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

millicentminReviewed By Mikala

Millicent Min Girl Genius is about a girl named Millicent who is really smart. I donʼt mean that as in smartest girl in her class, I mean she is eleven and is in high school. So smart she is taking a college course in poetry over the summer. Since there is such an age difference between Millicent and the kids she goes to school with she has no friends at high school and college and everyone her own age thinks sheʼs weird. Her grandma is like a friend to her. Millicentʼs mom signs her up for volleyball and she meets a new girl her age, named Emily. She doesnʼt want Emily to think sheʼs crazy and desert her so she doesnʼt tell Emily that sheʼs goes to high school and is taking a college class in the summer. Millicent is not good at volleyball so you feel her pain. When she does things with Emily you realize she is just a normal girl trying to fit in. For example, when she goes to Emilyʼs house and Emily shows her how to make jewelry she has never done it before and from her perspective it is really different from what she usually do, like read books and study. She is smart in certain ways but things like jewelry making seem strange to her. Another one of Millicentʼs problems is that one of her grandmaʼs has a grandson, named Stanford, who Milli has to tutor. They hate each other so when she tutors him they both get very angry at each other.

I think this book would appeal to people who have trouble fitting in or have trouble making friends. It might appeal to people who get teased for always getting right answers or people who donʼt get the right answer a lot.

Millicent doesnʼt usually go to the mall or care about boys, but Emily does care about these things, so Millicent sometimes ends up doing them with Emily.

“Emily is excited about going to school in Rancho Rosetta. “I bet the guys here are cuter than the ones in New Jersey,” she declared as she scoped out boys in the mall.

“I wouldnʼt know,” I muttered. I was adding our Taco Bell receipt to make sure we hadnʼt been over charged.Before I had a chance to tally up the tax, Emily got up and pulled me over to the photo booth.”
– passage from the book

! I think Lisa Yee did a good job, I thought all the characters were really interesting. She uses many different ways to describe the characters so you can picture everything in your mind very clearly. She did a good job describing Millicentʼs feelings, so you begin to root for Millicent to make it through all the different and difficult situations in which she finds herself.standfordwong

BNS/BCS readers, this book has one of the funniest opening lines ever — you’ve got to check it out! And then, check out Ms. Yee’s, STANFORD WONG FLUNKS BIG TIME (if you read MILLICENT, you’ll get to know Stanford and and how much he infuriates Millicent) and her most recent, WARP SPEED, which is absolutely wonderful.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen


Review By: Ava

13-year-old Lamar Washington LOVES to bowl; He would bowl all day at Striker’s (the place he goes to bowl) getting strikes 3 times in a row. Lamar’s great at bowling but with girls, now that‘s a whole different story. One time he asked out 4 different girls, on the same day!!!! He didn’t realize that they would all talk to each other about that and after school they wanted to know what was going on. They all cornered him and poor Lamar didn’t know what to do, so he panicked and said, “You took me seriously? I was just kidding around.” And guess what? There’s even more! Now Lamar is betting money on bowling games, now of course he’s winning but that may soon get him in to trouble. He bowls on a team with his so called “partner” Billy Jenks A.K.A. the troublemaker. Last but not least, Lamar’s older brother X A.K.A. Xavier the basketball savior is getting all the attention from his dad, and I know you’re probably wondering why doesn’t he get any attention from his mom? Lamar’s mom died from cancer the year before. So, so far his life is pretty messed up, will Lamar be able to fix it? Read the book to find out!!!!!!!!!
I think this book is a very good book and if you liked what you read, you should definitely read this book.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: The Hero’s Guide To Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Reviewed by Cameron
In this book of magic and strange creatures four Princes Charming
join together to save a princess.

Duncan is the Prince Charming from the fairy tale “Snow White And The Seven Dwarves”, Duncan likes to name the animals in his backyard and isn’t really the type of prince to go on dangerous quests like battling dragons and fighting trolls, instead of these daring feats of bravery he chooses to play on his flute and eat picnics with Snow, not really what you would expect huh? Gustave is the thirteenth prince of the barbaric kingdom of Sturmhagen is the Prince Charming of the fairy tale “Rapunzel”, Gustav is a joke to his family and kingdom since he was supposed to save Rapunzel but the witch threw him off the tower and he was blinded, Rapunzel’s magical tears healed Gustav and restored his vision, again, not exactly what huh?

Fredrick is the prince of Harmonia and has never seen a single speck of danger, Fredrick is the Prince Charming of the fairy tale “Cinderella”, Fredrick won Ella’s heart by being the best dancer on the floor, yet again!! Not what you would expect huh? Liam is a hero, he battles dragons and faces trolls with out a sign of fear in his eyes, Liam is the Prince Charming of the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty”, but she isn’t as beautiful inside as she is outside. This is the kind of Prince Charming you would expect!!

If you enjoy fantasy and fiction books with magic, this would definitely be the book for you!!

Hey Readers, this is a series, and the third book comes out this month. Come on up to the library and catch up on these hilarious reads!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: LITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE by Cathleen Davitt Bell

littleblogReviewed by Esmé and Mikala

Have you been looking for a historical fiction must read? Well I think I found just the right book for you…

LITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE is indeed a must read with bunches and bunches of cliffhangers where you must not stop reading, you *have* to turn the page, it’s almost like the page reads, “You have to carry on!” or “Turn that page now, you know you want to!”

The Welsh family is supposedly going on a family vacation, but it isn’t just like any family vacation, they are going to take a plane ride to the 1890s, mom’s great persuading made them go. Gen and Gavin aren’t that happy about it, just taking away everything that the normal days would have — T.V., candy, phones, t-shirts, video games and so much more. But how would it feel going to a camp in the 1890s that didn’t allow iPods, phones, computers, sports, friends, or games! And not even that, but Gen’s aunt Betsy, uncle Ron, and annoying cousin Nora run the famp! So how does Gen think she can even survive the camp? When the Welches arrive, they are put into normal clothes people would wear in the olden days, for Gen, normal is crazy.

Luckily there is one good think that Gen likes about the camp — Caleb. The cutest boy ever, but at the same time Nora likes him too. Nora has always lived in this camp so she can tend to sometimes not understand Gen and Caleb. And well of course another good thing is that Gen sneaked in her new phone that her mom said not to touch before she got home but Gen didn’t listen and brought it so she could text her friends.

Cathleen Davitt Bell writes this book so well that you think the book is a movie and you’re in the movie, and it feels like you’re in the book. The book reads, “There was the late-night packing, the airport breakfast, the fighting with my little brother over the window seat, the chewing of three pieces of gum as the plane took off so my ears wouldn’t pop.” This shows that Cathleen has a lot of humor in her writing, which I am sure a lot of people like in books, right?

So if you happen to pass this book in the library…check it out!


Little Blog On The Prairie is about a girl named Jen. Jen’s mom plans a vacation for the family over the summer. Jen is excited to see her cousin Nora for the first time because she lives at the vacation place where they are going. When they get there Jen learns that they are staying at a camp where everyone pretends it’s the 1890s! They live like the colonists: with no electronics, electricity, modern clothes or anything they didn’t have in the 1890s. Luckily Jen snuck her cell phone into the camp and texts her friends. One of Jen’s friends is taking a computer class and she makes a blog out of the tests that Jen sends her. You’ll find out that Nora competes with Jen for a guy, that Jen and her family struggle like all the other families in every day life and that Nora is a bossy know it all. See what happens in Little Blog on the Prairie.

If you read and liked Little House On The Prairie or like reading about colonial times you would probably enjoy reading this book. People in fourth or fifth grades would like this book.


The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: The Detention Club by David Yoo

detentionclub Reviewed by Eoin

Detention is usually something kids dread getting but for the one and only Peter Lee, detention may be the key to getting popular again. When Peter and his best friend Drew enter middle school, they are almost immediately pegged, by the rest of their grade–and at one point the whole school!–as “losers.” To Peter and Drew, middle school is a big step down from grade school. Their scramble to get into the “cool” crowd becomes a hilarious adventure as written by David Yoo.

As our main character ventures farther into the mystery that is middle school life in general (which Peter’s genius and–or so he thinks—“popular” sister also attends). Peter and Drew sink even further down the social ladder than they could image. Things that made them “cool” in elementary school are now making them look like total nerds. They are obsessive collectors of mica, they are expert kickball players, they have lots of skills and interests. Or they thought they did, but apparently, as Peter says, their talents are “so last year.” But as the school year goes on (and Peter’s status doesn’t change), there is a well-known thief lurking in the mist of the students and soon the kids in detention see that all the evidence points to one person, a person who wants to get revenge on those who were mean, and they think that person is……(read the Detention Club to find out who is the prime suspect!)

This book is a funny read and, at points, exciting and suspenseful. The author captures the feeling of a scary transition from grade school to middle school with humor and sharpness. I would definitely recommend this book and it would not be a waste of time! Four and a half stars from me!

Thank you, Eoin! Hey, 5th graders — take note. This might be the perfect time to check this one out!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon Draper

outofmymindReviewed by Ava

Have you ever imagined not being able to talk, no way to communicate with anyone, not being able to say “Mom, can we go there and eat instead of here?” or “Dad, I don’t like that shirt because it’s hot pink.”
Melody couldn’t say any of those things in fact she couldn’t even act it out! She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk, she could somewhat kick and scream but besides that she couldn’t do anything for herself, like feed herself, dress herself or pick herself up if she fell.
Melody is almost 11 years old, she has straight brown hair, a bright pink wheelchair and she was born with Cerebral Palsy. She is a determined character who is strong, smart, brave and who wants to be heard! At first Melody communicated with a board that had words and letters that allowed her to spell as well. Read this book to find out how Melody found a special new way to communicate. It’s a must read!

I really enjoyed the book, it was a smooth read, the descriptive text let me imagine and picture what the characters and scenes looked like. Melody is a character that mostly anyone can relate to or understand because we all want to be understood. Melody’s disability made me wonder how I would feel if I were her.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park

Reviewed by Adedayo

The war in Sudan is raging. People can’t find water. There are two enemy groups in Sudan. These groups are called the Nuer and Dinka. They have fought for many years, but the war coming will bring much more. The author makes two storylines for this book. A Dinka boy named Salva is running far from his home to escape the war. Nya, a Nuer girl, is worried because they are running out of water, and the water they have now is not clean. The whole AMAZING book is about their two AMAZING journeys. Will Salva survive? Will Nya find clean water?

This book is very dramatic and I think you would like it if you like books that start piling on action right away. This is also a depressing book, but it can also bring hope to your heart. The characters really come to life in all of the suspense! I think any reader who loves those qualities will love this book.

Thank you, Adedayo! Readers, this AMAZING story is based on the real life and work of Salva Dut. You can read more about him and his organization, Water for South Sudan, online.

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