“Dregs Island” by Dr. Bon Blossman and Zakk Myer


Dr. Bon Blossman and Zakk Myer
CreateSpace (2017)
ISBN 9780996524834
Reviewed by Evan Weldon (age 15) for Reader Views (7/17)

“Dregs Island” by Dr. Bon Blossman and Zakk Myer is about seventeen-year-old Alex Cardin who, while driving home one day, witnesses a fatal hit and run. Trying to be a Good Samaritan, Alex immediately calls the police with the license plate of the offending car. You can imagine his shock when he is the one arrested. The year is 2032, six years after President Gray’s Prison Reform act which allows for expedited trials and alters the prison system so that all felons are deported to prison islands. Alex Cardin quickly finds himself an innocent victim of the Prison Reform Act. His trial for the hit and run proceeds without time to even find a lawyer. False witness testimony is presented against him and he suddenly finds himself guilty of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment on Dregs Island.  Deposited on Dregs Island, Alex finds himself struggling to survive in its harsh environment of toxic animals and violent inhabitants. Will Alex be able to find allies and survive against those who wish to harm him? Read and find out!

My favorite character is Mia. When Alex is first stranded on the island, Mia quickly picks him out as innocent.  That is, imprisoned without cause, and attempts to assist him however possible.  She is one of the most believable characters and provides insight into the how the island works.

If you enjoy a good dystopia, this is the book for you. From a corrupted justice system and government, to brutal punishment methods, this book portrays a perfectly dismal future.  The characters are all original and very dynamic, often because they are psychotic! However, it sometimes feels like Alex Cardin is adapting too quickly. Alex goes from being a kid on a dangerous island to a powerful player in the island’s politics in only a few weeks.  These rapidly changing characters sometimes made book confusing and unbelievable, but did not take away from the entertainment.

All said, “Dregs Island” by Dr. Bon Blossman and Zakk Myer was a very enjoyable read and I hope to see more books in this series!

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper: Stella Star” by Jim Henry and Jimmy Patterson


Jim Henry & Jimmy Patterson
Willy Nilly Stories LLC (2016)
ISBN 9781939368065
Reviewed by Willow Cramer (age 7) for Reader Views Kids (6/17)

“The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper: Stella Star,” by Jim Henry and Jimmy Patterson is about Willy Nilly and Thumper helping Stella Star get back to her stars. When Thumper asked to see a star, Stella answered his wish and came to visit. These big bad guys steal Stella’s star dust so she can’t get home. But Willy Nilly, Thumper, and Stella go after the bad guys and get the stardust back by scaring them. Then they get attacked by Wanda the Wicked Witch! Oh no! Wanda tries to kill them by blowing up their airplane, but they beat her because Stella sprinkled her stardust on both of her wings and Wanda’s fire flies back and hits her! She screams, “You haven’t seen the last of Wanddddddddda!” When they beat her, Stella can go back to the sky!

What I liked most about this book is that Stella Star goes back to the stars so ships can use her to go back to their countries or other countries. I also liked seeing Willy Nilly, Thumper, and Stella’s friendship, and that they were very good creator’s of the plane.

The end of the book where it told about the constellations was interesting. My favorite was the rabbit.  The drawings are another favorite part of the book. I thought Stella was pretty.

I didn’t like when the witch attacked Stella and Willy Nilly and Thumper, or when the bad guys stole Stella’s stardust.

I would recommend “The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper: Stella Star,” by Jim Henry and Jimmy Patterson to everybody because I like this book a lot and I think you will too.

Dad’s Comments

My daughter seemed to really like each section of this book, especially the story. She also was very interested in the section on constellations and meteorites. She seemed a little bored with the story about the history of airplanes, though I thought this whole section was great. I wish more books would include lessons like these.

Posted in EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Sammy and The Headless Horseman” by Rona Arato


Rona Arato
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
ISBN 9781554552696
Reviewed by Jordan Willis (age 16) for Reader Reviews (6/17)

“Sammy and the Headless Horseman” by Rona Arato is a youth book about an eleven-year-old boy from Poland named Sammy, and his adventures at the Pine Grove hotel in the Catskill Mountains of New York. While Sammy is there, he befriends Adam, a fellow employee at the hotel. Sammy learns of the local ghost stories and decides to investigate. After hearing the mysterious hermit’s complaints and seeing the Headless Horseman with his own eyes, he decides to help the hermit by investigating. Together, Sammy and Adam piece together clues and work to solve the mystery.

This entertaining youth detective story really captivated me. Sammy’s task to solve the mystery kept me on my toes. I personally love the Headless Horseman legend, and I believe that the author, Rona Arato, did an excellent job at representing Washington Irving’s classic novel “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

The chilling atmosphere of this book is in keeping with the ghost story genre, and the author’s imagery compelled me to continue reading. I liked the fact that Arato included the Yiddish language and various aspects of the Jewish culture. When the author described Sammy’s background and the things he went through, she did an excellent job at giving me a mental image and sense of what Sammy was feeling at the time. This made it easy to understand and sympathize with Sammy’s thoughts and emotions.

I found the diverse personalities of the characters very intriguing, as well as the characters’ accurate behaviors for the time period, including their perspectives. There were not many things that I didn’t like about this book, however, I felt the comedy scenes were a bit cheesy and there were so many of them that they lost their effectiveness.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading “Sammy and the Headless Horseman.” Rona Arato did an excellent job at writing this book at the appropriate reading level for the target audience. This book is perfect for light readers because the plot isn’t too complicated and it is easy to follow. Although I am sixteen, I do believe that this book would appeal to 12-14 year olds and would highly recommend it to young readers.

Posted in YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Rogue Wolf” by Robin Mason


Robin Mason
Tricklewood Press (2017)
ISBN 9780994837165
Reviewed by Evan Weldon (age 15) for Reader Views (05/17)

“Rogue Wolf” by Robin Mason is a book about seventh-grader Jackson and his friend Sarah. All is well in the magical glen that grants Jackson and Sarah the ability to speak with animals, until a pack of eleven wolves arrive. Jackson and Sarah know that such a large wolf pack will quickly deplete the glen’s herds of elk and deer. In order to preserve the magic of the glen, they must find a way to make the pack leave. However, Rogue, the leader of the pack, does not seem to care that he might jeopardize the glen and his pack’s own food supply, even when Jackson and Sarah bring these concerns before him. Jackson is now in a difficult position. Jackson is sympathetic to the pack’s need for territory and is loath to bring the news of a wolf pack to the authorities, knowing they will hunt and kill the wolves, but he is also faced with the possibility that the wolf pack will destroy the glen he’s come to love. How will Jackson and Sarah resolve this conundrum? Read and find out!

My favorite character is Jackson. Faced with difficult situations, Jackson always strives to find the best solution. It’s interesting to watch him develop throughout the series, going from staying indoors as much as possible to finding every excuse to visit the glen. Even during Rogue Wolf, one sees Jackson grow and mature. All the characters in Rogue Wolf are interesting and distinct. Robin Mason does a good job of developing each character individually, never overwhelming the reader with an excess of names.

However, Rogue Wolf and the series at large are not only great reads; each book addresses important environmental issues that are faced today. It is refreshing to see an author who can tell an interesting and engaging story while still conveying a vital message about the importance of environmental conservation.

I would suggest this book for all audiences. Although talking animals may seem cliché at first, the author does a fantastic job of making it new and original by tying the ability to a certain area. The animals all have fun personalities that make the book a joy to read. The plot is ever evolving as more and more threats come to light, which keeps the book interesting. Overall, “Rogue Wolf” by Robin Mason is an entrancing and enjoyable book that will draw you in and never let you out.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP, YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Zeke Will Not Eat!” by Delin Colon


Delin Colon
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781534960848
Reviewed by Russ Cramer (age 5) for Reader Views Kids (5/17)

“Zeke Will Not Eat!” by Delin Colon is about a little boy named Zeke and he didn’t want to eat. His mom said that dinner was ready and spoiled all his fun. He wanted to play. His dad told him that he was a giant and that he could eat up every bit of his dinner plate, and that’s what it was about.

I liked the book because it was about Zeke who didn’t want to eat. Actually, I don’t like to eat either, except when my mom makes chicken. I also liked at the end that he ate because I like to eat pizza. I think being a giant would be cool.

I didn’t like that he didn’t eat at first because it is good for you to eat, but he didn’t eat.

I liked the way the art was done because I like blue and white.

I think girls would not like “Zeke Will Not Eat!” by Delin Colon because it’s all about a boy. I think other boys would like the book because it’s all about a boy like them.

Posted in PRESCHOOL - UP TO AGE 5 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“Stories of the Aurora” by Joan Marie Galat


Joan Marie Galat
Whitecap Books Ltd. (2016)
ISBN 9781770502109
Reviewed by Willow Cramer (age 7) for Reader Views Kids (5/17)

“Stories of the Aurora” by Joan Marie Galat explains what an aurora is, the science of the aurora, and then lots of stories about legends from around the world about auroras.

I did like the legends in the book, especially the legend about Eos, and how she fell in love with the handsomest young man, and asked Zeus to give him eternal life so that they could be together always. The problem was she didn’t ask him for eternal youth and eventually he grew so old that he turned into a cricket.

I did learn that an Aurora is some glowing lights in the sky. I remember my daddy read to me what caused an aurora but I don’t remember it now.

I have to admit, when I got this book, I expected a book about Princess Aurora from Disney. I thought it would be about Sleeping Beauty.

I would recommend this book to little boys who would enjoy it. I don’t think little girls would like it. I do think little girls would like the story about Eos, though. That was a cool story.

 A Note from Dad:

I think that “Stories of the Aurora” by Joan Marie Galat has a lot of great features—I really enjoyed the sections that explored what an aurora is and how different cultures each understood the aurora. While I was reading this to my daughter, she seemed to enjoy each of the myths, though she got antsy with some of the science sections. I recommend breaking these sections down more and perhaps adding some activities that will further demonstrate the science of the aurora in a real way (especially since we live in a place where an aurora is not likely to appear.)

Posted in YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Whack, Whack, Whack, Goes the Tail!” by Mark Rouillard


Mark Rouillard
Fire Monkey Publishing, LLC (2017)
ISBN 9780997673005
Reviewed by Willow Cramer (age 7) for Reader Views Kids (5/17)

“Whack, Whack, Whack, Goes the Tail!” by Mark Rouillard is about a dog named Jack who really loves his family. He decides that there are lots of things to do with his family. One of the things he decides to do is to protect his mom by whacking a stranger who is putting stuff in their house on the butt.

I really liked that the family loved their dog Jack, and that he really loved him them. He showed his love by waking Johnny up, standing still for a portrait, and trying to protect his mom.

I also liked the art because it’s so funny. The family is taking a nice picture on the front cover, but on the back, you see the kids go flying because Jack accidently whacked them with his tail. I really liked throughout the book that Jack would whack someone and things would go flying (like when he whacked Johnny and the dog food went flying on his head).

I did not like that whenever Jack messed things up the family had to clean up his mess (the entire house)! This makes me think of when we have friends over and they mess up my brother’s room and he has to clean up his room (while whining the whole time). So, I understand if people get frustrated.

What I learned from this book is do not get a dog because it will mess everything up and I’ll have to clean up after it. It might get fur balls all over my bed and my brother’s bed! I’d rather have a fish who won’t mess everything up.

I would recommend “Whack, Whack, Whack Goes the Tail!” by Mark Rouillard to other little girls my age because it is a really great story and I think other kids would like it too because it is so funny.

Posted in EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment