Book Reviews Summer Reading


Written by Leslie Penkunas



The Red Thread


Ann Hood $23.95 W.W. Norton & Co.


Confession: I have been mesmerized by Ann Hood’s writings ever since reading Comfort, her wrenching memoir about the sudden and tragic loss of her young daughter. This novel is certainly an easier read, an engaging and heartfelt look into the hopes and fears of five families wishing to adopt a daughter from China. Hood, herself a mother to an adopted daughter from China, intersperses the main storyline with sad but insightful vignettes showing how each of the five to-be-adopted babies winds up at the Chinese orphanage.




Make These Toys: 101 Clever Creations Using Everyday Items


Heather Swain $13.95 Perigee Trade Paperback


Are the kids bored this summer? In need of some indoor activities, other than via the Wii or computer? Then check out this book. Swain shows readers how to use everyday objects from cardboard tubing to clothespins to create a wide range of seriously simple to downright clever creations. My second grader couldn’t wait to dive in and start making things.


The 39 Clues, Book 9: Storm Warning


Linda Sue Park $12.99 Scholastic


Want to keep your child reading this summer? Check out The 39 Clues book series chronicling the adventures of the fictitious Cahill clan—the most influential family in world history. The series follows the youngest generation of Cahills as they search for 39 hidden clues that, when found, will grant them unmatched powers. In Book 9, siblings Amy and Dan hit the high seas as they follow the trail of some infamous ancestors to track down a long-lost treasure. The series ends with Book 10, Into the Gauntlet, to be released Aug. 31.




The Secret Lives of Princesses


Philippe Lechermeier, illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer $19.95 Sterling Publishing


We all know about Snow White and Cinderella and their lot. But this book pulls back the curtain on some of the world’s most mysterious princesses. Each is uniquely captivating, as are the accompanying tales of related princess topics. The words are engaging on their own; with the fantastic illustrations, this is a can’t-put-down book for all princess-wannabes.


Kindergarten Rocks!


Katie Davis $6.99 Sandpiper


Dexter claims not to be at all scared to start kindergarten. However, his stuffed dog Rufus is another matter: he’s very concerned about things like getting a mean teacher, navigating the cafeteria, being the only one who can’t read, and getting a mean teacher. With the help of his supportive older sister, Dexter and his pup discover that Kindergarten rocks! What a fun, reassuring read for any child preparing to go to kindergarten this fall.

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