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Carol Thiesen and Angelique Campbell's fourth-grade class, Charles (Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

Carol Thiesen and Angelique Campbell's fourth-grade class, Charles E. Walters Elementary School, Yaphank. They are showing off the books they read this spring. (March 19, 2012)

Children's book reviews from LI kids

Every month new children's books are released, teaching and entertaining kids of all ages. So who makes better reviewers than the kids themselves? From fun adventures to historic tales, here Kidsday reporters review the latest children's books.

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Moon Pie," Simon Mason
(David Fickling Books; $13.25)
Best for ages 10 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“Moon Pie" is the story of a girl, Martha, whose life is spun in different directions by her father whose addicted to drinking. In this book Martha must take the risk of trying to be an adult to protect her little brother Tug. She does all she can to make things better. But soon realizes this is not her battle. Her and her brother are soon not allowed to see their dad so they’re taken to their grandpa and grandma’s house. Soon after Martha and Tug want to return to their dad. Make sure you read this story to find out what happens. “Moon Pie” is a very heart-touching book. Most scenes are very deep and emotional. I recommend because it is very thrilling and spectacular.
-- Natasha Magee, Kidsday Reporter, age 10, Medford (March 19, 2012)

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"The Whole Story of Half a Girl," Veera Hiranandani
(Delacorte Press; $16.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 5 smiles

I loved this book "The Whole Story of Half a Girl” because I feel a lot like the main character Sonia. This is my favorite book. I just couldn’t put the book down. My favorite part was when Sonia said “Here I am, the luckiest girl in the world, but all I can think about is what I don’t have.” I thought that was really deep. I wish Sonia was my friend. It seems like you just can’t help but to be happy around her. In the story, Sonia’s father loses his job. Sonia has to go to a new school because her old school was too expensive. Soon her dad finds a new job. But, he has a lot of stress and depression. At Sonia’s new school people make fun of her.
--Emma Paschke, Kidsday reporter, 10, Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

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"The Witch's Revenge," D.A. Nelson
(Random House; $16.99)
Best for ages 10 and up
Rating 4 smiles

The book “The Witch’s Revenge" is mostly about a group of four friends (Morag, Aldiss, Bertie, and Shona) trying to find the town wizard. The wizard is missing because he got sucked into a vortex. But the four friends go on a crazy adventure to find him. This book has a lot of surprising twists and turns. I think there are characters that young kids can relate to, but none of the events young kids can relate to. I don’t think that younger kids will understand these advanced events in this book, but fourth-graders and older will.
-Stephanie Harders, Kidsday reporter, 10, East Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

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(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Explorer: The Mystery Boxes," Kazu Kibuishu
(Amulet Books; $10.95)
Best for ages 9 and up
Rating 4 smiles

We read the comic book “Explorer: The Mystery Boxes." It has all different kinds of comics. Some of them are funny and some are a little sad. The reason we like this book is because it is mostly funny. The “Escape Option” is the last story in the book. This story felt like it ended right in the middle of the story. That is what made me ask, “Did the author forget to finish it?” We liked that!
--Stephen Fuentes and Derek Hardison, Kidsday reporters, 9, Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Penny and Her Song," Kevin Henkes
(Greenwillow Books; $12.99)
Best for ages 2 and up
Rating 4 smiles

We read the book, “Penny and Her Song." It is about a girl who learned a song at school and wanted to sing it to her family. But she had to wait until the right time. Everyone kept putting her off with different excuses. Finally, when it was time to eat, she wanted to sing her song, and this time, she actually got a chance to finish it! We recommend this book to kids because they would really love how there is a song in the book so they can sing by themselves.
-- Corie Crews and Angelina Kotsonis, Kidsday reporters, age 9, Medford (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Flint Heart," Katherine & John Paterson, John Rocco (Illustrator)
(Candlewick Press; $19.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 4 smiles

The story “The Flint Heart" is about a charm made by Fum, a charmmaker in the stone age. A kid named Charles and his sister try to get the “Flint Heart.” I think the book was great. I think the author reached his goals. Have you ever tried to get rid of something and something goes wrong? That’s what happened to Charles. I would recommend this adventure book for both boys and girls. I think kids 8 and up could read this book.
-- Richard Engesser, Kidsday reporter, 9, Medford (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Winter Pony," Iain Lawrence
(Delacorte Press; $16.99)
Best for ages 7 and up
Rating 5 smiles

This book, “The Winter Pony,” is breathtaking, and it takes you on such a magnificent journey. The feelings of James Pigg, who is the winter pony, are tremendously detailed as you read his story, his journey, and his life. Nobody can explain how great this book isThe thrills and spills of the ponies, men, and the journey are terrifically wonderful. The deaths and cruelty in the book are especially sensitive and may have anyone crying. The end is sad and sorrowful, but also happy and bright. Please find out the end and read about the adventure of James Pigg and his friends.
-- Julianna Rivera, Kidsday reporter, age 9, Middle Island (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Dead Gentleman," Matthew Cody
(Random House; $15.99)
Best for ages 10 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“The Dead Gentleman” is a fantasy story and it is about a boy Tommy who tries to stop the evil Dead Gentleman and his army of Grave Walkers from taking over the world. The year is 1900 in New York City. Tommy is a street thief, and has no parents. His character takes risks and is slightly obnoxious. I can relate to him because I am obnoxious, too! Also, he is good at exploring and I like to also. I really like this book because it was scary and it made me want to keep reading to find out what happened next. I would recommend this book to kids who like mysteries and sci-fi fantasy.
-- Reese Krueger, Kidsday reporter, 10, Yaphank

"Black Gold," Albert Marrin
(Alfred A. Knopf; $19.99)
Best for ages 12 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“Black Gold" is about the oil industry and how oil is used in our lives today and many years ago. Also explained is where oil comes from, how they get it out of the ground, what it is used for and different types of fuels. They show a diagram called The Herbert’s Peak Diagram which predicts that in the year 2050, the USA will have no more oil. This book tells about how different countries went to war over oil and how oil is connected to terrorist groups. This book gave me a lot of information and also made me wonder about what might happen in the future when we run out of oil. Will we still have cars or war weapons, computers or planes? Will we have to walk far again? It is also a very challenging book for a fourth grader.
-- Reese Krueger (March 19, 2012)

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(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Princess Baby," Karen Katz
(Schwartz & Wade Books; $14.99)
Best for ages 1 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“Princess Baby” is about a baby who wants to be called by her real name. Her mom and dad call her Buttercup, Giggly Goose and Sweet Gumdrop. Her parents put outfits on her and dress her up as a flower, a lamb, a gumdrop and a cupcake. Princess Baby likes to wear a crown, shiny jewels, and a robe. Everyone keeps calling her cute names. She just wants to be called by her real name. The pictures were really bright and fun to look at. Kids can relate to the main character. I would recommend this book to kids especially if they have little sisters or brothers.
-- Angelina Kotsonis, Kidsday reporter, Yaphank

“Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters,
(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

“Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters," Claudia Mills
(Alfred A. Knopf; $12.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 4 smiles

This is a book about a fourth grade boy named Mason. Mason’s school, the Plainfield Platters, was having a play. Mason did not want to be in the play because he did not like singing, but his mom forced him to be in it. My opinion about the book was that it was a great book because there were dramatic parts and serious parts. I think whoever reads this book might like it, especially fourth graders. This book was really great to me and I hope you like it to.
-- Derek Hardison, Kidsday reporter, 9, Shirley (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Beswitched," Kate Saunders
(Delacorte Press; $16.99)
Best for ages 10 and up
Rating 5 smiles

The main character in “Beswitched” is Flora Fox. Flora is supposed to be going to Penrice Hall in the 21st century but when things go wrong she is in a whole other century. Along the way Flora meets new friends and an enemy. Can Flora get back to her own century? Will she go back to her old life or stay with her new life? Was it all just a dream? Now don’t get confused by the cover I did.
-- Kaleigh Harman, Kidsday reporter, 10 Shirley (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine,” Allison Wortche
(Alfred A. Knopf; $17.99)
Best for ages 5 and up
Rating 4 smiles

This book, “Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine" is about a girl named Violet who is the best in her class at everything. Everyone in the class feels this way except for Rosie. She thinks she is pretty good too. Then their teacher told the class they would be working on a project. Violet got sick and could not finish her project. Would Rosie show everyone she could be the best? I recommend this book before everyone has felt this way before.
-- Gia Gennarelli, Kidsday reporter, Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Legend of Diamond Lil," Doreen Cronin
(HarperCollins Publishers; $14.99)
Best for ages 7 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“The Legend of Diamond Lil” is an interesting illustrated mystery book about a dog Lillian. My opinion about her changed three times throughout the story. Other characters that took big parts in the story were J.J., who was a rescue dog, the narrator, Moosh and the chicks. Since J.J. is retired, his new job is to guard the chickens from predators. He hears about Lillian from the chicks. J.J. is not pleased to meet her and he says some rude things in front of her. Trouble begins when the two decide to guard the hen house together. I thought that this book was very exciting. The characters were very funny and I laughed several times when I read it. This book would be great for kids who love mystery stories.
-- Madison Gallina, Kidsday reporter, age 9, Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

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(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again," Frank Cottrell Boyce
(Candlewick Press; $15.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again" was about the Tooting family traveling half around the world in a magic car. The car flies to many cities. It goes to Cairo where Lucy, one of the main characters, wanted to go. This book very detailed illustrations. Mr. Boyce does a great job writing this book and definitely leaves you on the edge of your seat.
--Hailey Wenzek, Kidsday reporter, 9, Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Mad Mask," Barry Lyga
(Scholastic; $17.99)
Best for ages 9 and up
Rating 5 smiles

In “The Mad Mask" the main character, Kyle, is the Azure Avenger and he has a robot, Erasmus, for a partner. They team up to defeat Mighty Mike, but there is an interesting twist in the story! Since there are no illustrations in this book, I imagine what they would be like in my head—and that was great!
-- Logan Sherlock, Kidsday reporter, age 9, Shirley (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"A Big Boy Now," Eileen Spinelli
(HarperCollins; $16.99)
Best for ages 5 and up
Rating 5 smiles

I liked this book, “A Big Boy Now" because it tells how a little bunny is growing into a big boy. When he stays up later at night and how he learns to ride his bike, with no training wheels. This book is about how a bunny grows up. But, it is mostly about how he learns to ride a bike. The first time he tries he falls and gets hurt. He goes to his mom to get a bandage. Then he says “Now I’m not a big boy anymore, because I came to you.” But, his mama says “No, you are still a big boy even if you come to your mama.” So he doesn’t give up on riding his bike. He keeps on trying and soon he gets it.
-- Emma Paschke, Kidsday reporter, age 10, Yaphank (March 19, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Daughter of the Centaurs," Kate Klimo
(Random House; $17.99)
Best for ages 10 and up
Rating 5 smiles

I read "Daughter of the Centaurs." The main character is Malora. Her story starts with her going out to wait for her father’s hunting party to return. Malora watches creatures called Leatherwings kill everyone except for her father’s horse, Sky. Malora warns her village, but the Leatherwings keep attacking and after the third attack, her mother sends her away on Sky and makes her promise never to come home. Time passes and Malora gathers a herd of horses of her own, but she misses her mother. Malora returns to the village and finds everyone is dead. She realizes she is the last human left alive in the world! Alone, with nothing of her family but her mother’s knife and her father’s training rope, Malora takes her herd and runs from the village –straight into a trap. It is now when Malora first meets the centaurs and she thinks they are mean and they don’t like her either. I loved the book. I was glued to every page. Malora is great heroine, she is brave and courageous.
-- Brianna Henkel, Kidsday reporter, age 10, Shirley (March 19, 2012)

Carol Thiesen and Angelique Campbell's fourth-grade class, Charles
(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

Carol Thiesen and Angelique Campbell's fourth-grade class, Charles E. Walters Elementary School, Yaphank. They are showing off the books they read this spring. (March 19, 2012)

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(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Brendan Buckley’s Sixth Grade Experiment," Sundee T. Frazier
(Random House Children's Books; $16.99)
Best for ages 9 and up
Rating: 4 smiles

“Brendan Buckley’s Sixth Grade Experiment" is a book written for sixth-graders. I personally think the book is great, and also that most kids would like to read this book because it is fun and very educational. This book makes you feel like you are in an adventure. Brendan is a smart boy who faces many challenges in his life. Brendan goes to middle school and meets many strange people and faces many challenges. I don’t want to spoil the story for you, so if you want to hear more you should read the book. I highly recommend it.
-- Nicholas Marrone, Kidsday reporter, 11, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"One Dog and His Boy," Eva Ibbotson

Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 5 smiles

The book, “One Dog and His Boy," is a story about a boy Hal, who is turning 9. The book takes you on an adventure with Hal, Fleck, the dog, and Hal’s friends. It is action-packed and makes you feel that you are on the adventure with them. In this story, all Hal wanted for his birthday was a dog, but every time he asked for one his mother said no. On Hal’s birthday he was taken to the pet shop, and surprised by being able to pick out a dog. What Hal didn’t know was that the shop was a rent-a-pet agency. Hal was so happy when he came home with the cute white terrier, with a fleck in its eye. Hal knew he found a friend for life. But his happiness didn’t last long. Hal came home from school expecting to see Fleck, but he was gone. Hal’s parents brought him back to the pet shop. Read the book to find out what happens! I loved this book. If you are a dog lover, you will love this book, too. The story of Fleck and Hal made me laugh, cry and kept me wanting to read more.
-- Lindsey Dodenhoff, Kidsday reporter, 11 Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Horse Diaries #8: Black Cloud," Patricia Hermes
(Random House Children's Books; $6.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 4 smiles

I read the book “Horse Diaries #8: Black Cloud and I thought that it was an outstanding book. It was about a horse named Black Cloud, a horse that loves to roam and play with other horses. His whole life changes because in one part he is attacked by wolves and in another part humans come to where they live and change everything. You should read the book to find out if Black Cloud can survive. This illustrated book is a must read for horse lovers.
-- Stephanie Panowich, Kidsday reporter, 11, Holtsville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters," Claudia Mills
(Random House Children's Books; $12.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 5 smiles

“Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters" is about a young boy, Mason Dixon, who went to Plainfield Elementary School. His friend Brody Baxter loves to play basketball and wants Mason to play with him. Mason said he does not want to play because he thinks that he is not good at it. Brody told Mason that practice makes perfect, so Mason practiced basketball at the playground. After he practiced he realized that he was good enough to join Brody’s team. He was so good that he won the championship for that team. I think this is a good book because it tells that you should never say that you are not good enough to do anything. It teaches you to never give up on yourself. If I were you, I would read this book.
-- Alex Russo, Kidsday reporter, 10, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Earwig and the Witch," Diana Wynne Jones
(HarperCollins Children's Books; $15.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 4 smiles When Earwig was a baby, she was taken to the adoption center because her mother was a witch and she was chased by other witches. Before she left she said, “I will be back for her when the witches stop chasing me.” As Earwig got older she met many interesting characters. Earwig is adopted by a mean witch. This is where the adventure gets interesting! I think you will really enjoy this book.
-- Emily Monteleone, Kidsday reporter, 11, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

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(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Giants Beware!," Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
(First, Second; $14.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 5 smiles

This fantasy-adventure book is about young Claudette and two of her friends who set out to, as Claudette would say, “slay” the baby feet-eating giant. However, will Claudette make it? Is Claudette ready for the big twist of the journey? Will Claudette ever see her friends or family again? I think you should read “Giants Beware” because it’s fun and suspenseful. At the end of the day our whole class would read silently and I would say in my head “No, no! I want to read more!” This book is that good!
-- Ben Brummerloh, Kidsday reporter, 10, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Big Nate: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?," Lincoln Peirce
(HarperCollins; $9.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 4 smiles

This book is part of the Big Nate book series and it is very funny! I think it is a good book for kid’s in third- to seventh-grade. The book is about a kid named Nate. He does all different things during the book. My favorite part in the book is when they had to sell these posters that had all different pictures and writing on them. I really enjoyed this book you should get it, too.
-- Chris Bock, Kidsday reporter, 10, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Unseen World of Poppy Malone #2: A Gust of Ghosts,"Suzanne Harper
(Greenwillow Books; $16.99 )
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 4 smiles

The book “The Unseen World of Poppy Malone: A Gust of Ghosts” is a very good book. Poppy Malone is almost 10 years old and has a twin brother, an older sister and a younger brother. Her parents are ghost hunters and they moved the family to Austin, Texas so they could prove that ghosts are real. In a cemetery one night, Poppy sees the ghost of a little boy named Travis who follows her home to her house. Travis tells her there are a lot more ghosts in the cemetery. When Poppy, her brothers and sister go back to the cemetery, they meet five ghosts and a ghost dog. The ghosts all decide that they would rather live in Poppy’s house instead of the cemetery. I really liked this book.
-- Lauren Blando, Kidsday reporter, 10, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Hunger Games: Movie Tie-In Edition," Suzanne Collins
(Scholastic; $12.99)
Best for ages 12 and up
Rating 5 smiles

In Panem there are 12 districts, each very different from the next. In the middle of Panem is the powerful capitol. Every year the capitol holds The Hunger Games for their own amusement and to show they’re in power. The Hunger Games are every year and consist of a boy and a girl from each district to fight to the death. Katniss, the main character an inhabitant of district 12, volunteered in place of her sister when they announced the competitors from each district. I couldn’t put this book down. It was the most interesting and thrilling book I’ve every read. I would recommend this book to ages 10 and up.
-- Joseph Traina, Kidsday reporter, 10, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Popular Clone: The Clone Chronicles #1," M.E. Castle
(EgmontUSA; $15.99)
Best for ages 8 and up
Rating 3.5 smiles
In this book there is a boy Fisher Bas. He is an only child and goes to Wampalog Middle School. Fisher has extremely smart parents. His mother and father are Nobel Prize winners. Fisher’s parents invented kitchen appliances that talk and communicate with people. The refrigerator even plays chess. Fisher dreads going to school every day because he gets bullied by a group of boys. Fisher has to run and hide from them so he doesn't get beat up. Fisher comes up with a great idea to clone himself so he doesn’t have to go to school and get tortured each day by the Vikings.
-- Marisa Damiano, Kidsday reporter, 10, Ronkonkoma (Feb. 17, 2012)

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(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Isabella: Girl On the Go," Jennifer Fosberry
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; $16.99
Best for ages 4 and up
Rating 3 smiles
I read this book to my younger sister, Gabriella. My sister really liked it because she felt that it mimicked her. Even though I’m a boy I thought it was a really good kids book, too. The characters are Isabella and her dad. The story takes place in the backyard of the girl’s house. The moral of the story is that Isabella’s dad had a lot of chores and asked his daughter to help him and she started fooling around.
-- Zachary Fontana, Kidsday reporter, 10 Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"Above World," Jenn Reese
(Candlewick Press; $16.99)
Best for ages 10 and up
Rating 5 smiles

This book is about two friends named Aluna and Hoku. Hoku and Aluna are Kampii. Kampii are people designed to live under water. The Kampii’s are starting to die one by one, so Aluna and Hoku go on an adventure to find something and save their people. I chose this book mainly because of the cover. At first the book wasn’t that exciting, but it became very interesting. “Above World” was scary, disturbing and funny.
-- Caitlin MacDermott, Kidsday reporter, 11, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"The Flying Beaver Brothers,"a book series by Maxwell Eaton III
(Random House Children's Books; $6.99)
Best for ages 6 and up
Rating 4 smiles

We each read a book from the “The Flying Beaver Brothers” book series. Joseph read “The Fishy Business” and Andrew read “The Evil Penguin Plan.” We think they are both funny and smart. It’s about these two Beaver Brothers named Ace and Bub. Ace is the active one while Bub is just sleeping on the sand. They’re on a mission to save the beach. Hold on, it’s going to be a wild ride. We think kids 11 and younger will love this series.
-- Joseph Martinez and Andrew Pesonen, Kidsday reporters, ages 10 and 11, Holtsville (Feb. 17, 2012)

(Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly)

"May B.," Caroline Starr Rose
(Random House Children's Books; $15.99)
Best for ages 9 and up
Rating 5 smiles

I was fortunate to have read the Early American story “May B.” It was about a girl May B., who was sent away from her family because they needed her to earn money for her family because they are so poor. The story took place at the Oblinger’s house out on a prairie. Her parents make a deal that they will get her back by Christmas. Unfortunately, something bad happens and the family’s plans don’t go the way they want them to. You will like this if you like adventures.
-- Daniella Meyer, Kidsday reporter, 10, Farmingville (Feb. 17, 2012)

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