MADreads

A review of The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Eleven year old Violet Diamond has a pretty good life. A loving mother, a close relationship with her older sister, and fun grandparents. While she recognizes her good fortune, she also often feels out of place. Violet is bi-racial, and the rest of her family is white. Her sister’s father was white and her father was black. She is used to people staring at her and asking if she’s adopted, but that doesn’t mean she likes it. Violet’s father died before she was born and, due to a falling out ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
July 4, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

The Great Trouble is the best kind of historical fiction. It tells the story of a real event, the 1854 London cholera outbreak, through the eyes of a fictional thirteen year old boy, Eel. Eel is a likable protagonist with a secret and a story of his own. He is a mudlark, sifting through the muck of the Thames river for things to sell. He supplements his income by doing odd jobs around his neighborhood and beyond. One of those jobs is cleaning the animal cages of the great Dr. John Snow ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
March 28, 2014 | 3 comments
A review of Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch

Behold the awesome power of the volcano! Leveling cities, creating mountains, capturing a child’s rapt attention. If you know a child who appreciates the more explosive aspects of Mother Nature, you’ll want to check out this title by Elizabeth Rusch. Describing the different types of volcanoes and the way they destroy and create, Rusch pulls off an impressive feat of writing. The text is simple enough for younger kids to understand, yet provides enough detail to keep older readers engaged. ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
December 27, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Gideon & Otto by Oliver Dunrea

Gideon and Otto are best friends. Gideon is a playful little gosling and Otto is his very special toy octopus. Parents of children with Very Special Friends will appreciate just how strong that bond is. And children will understand how Gideon feels when Otto goes missing. Simple, yet adorable, guache illustrations accompany this sweet story, perfect for a snuggly read-aloud. ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
October 4, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager

A Tale of Two Daddies is a conversation between an adorable, pig-tailed little girl and her friend. Her friend has heard that she has two daddies, and he’s curious. While adults can talk endlessly about where same-sex parents fit in the current political and social landscape (blah, blah, blah), the little boy gets right to important stuff. Which daddy braids your hair? Which one fixes a skinned knee? Builds a treehouse? Tucks you in? Each parent, Daddy and Poppa, has a special role in ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
July 12, 2013 | 1 comment
A review of The Diviners by Libba Bray

The latest offering from supernatural master, Libba Bray, is sure to thrill fans of her last series. Set in 1920s New York, The Diviners follows seventeen year old Evie O’Neill who has been banished from her hometown in Ohio after a party trick has unintended consequences. Evie, a quintessential flapper, is thrilled with the arrangement, planning her days around shopping and movies and her nights around glamorous speakeasies. The only drawback is living with her uncle, the stuffy ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
March 22, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans by Mary Quattlebaum

Fred the ghost is happy in his leaky, creaky, dusty old house. He tends his cactus, gobbles air, and is perfectly content. But when Pierre and his daughter Marie arrive, declaring the house their new restaurant, Fred loses his quiet corner of the universe. Walls are painted, cobwebs swept away, and suddenly, Fred’s house is…CLEAN. Then came the noise. The horrible clanking of silverware and dishes disrupting Fred’s peace. After throwing a fit of ghostly proportions, sending food flying, Fred is ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
January 18, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of One Smart Cookie by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

One Smart Cookie is the latest in a series aimed at teaching big words to little people. Written for children in grades K-2, One Smart Cookie introduces words like “procrastinate,” “diligent,” “empathy” and many more. The words are big, and the concepts complex, but Rosenthal does a brilliant job both defining the words and relating the concepts to a child’s life using cookie-based lessons. “Integrity means, It doesn’t matter whether anyone sees or not. I know inside myself ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
July 8, 2011 | 0 comments
A review of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Seventeen year old Andi is spiraling out of control. A guitar prodigy, she retreated into music and drugs following the death of her brother two years ago. When her absent father learns she may be expelled from her exclusive private school, he insists she accompany him to Paris over winter break to work on her senior thesis. It is there that she discovers the diary of Alexandrine; a first hand account of the French Revolution seen through the eyes of a young woman. As Andi is drawn deeper into ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
April 28, 2011 | 0 comments