The Candymakers


By Wendy Mass


5 out of 5 stars

by Anna

Do you like candy?  Well, I’m guessing you probably do.  In that case you’ll love this book!  The Candy Makers is about four kids who love to make candy. Daisy, Miles, Philip and Logan, those four kids, compete in the annual candy contest.  Of course they hope to win, but it isn’t always that simple.

When you’re reading this courageous book you won’t believe what is happening.  You’ll never guess at what secrets will come out of this book!  I liked a lot of things about this book. One thing I liked about this book is that you never know what will happen next! I also liked that it was written from each kid’s different perspective! That was fun! If you like this book as much as I did, you will love other books by Wendy Mass. They are awesome too!

You should read this book because it’s fun.  It will lighten up your whole summer! There were a lot of things that kept me hooked! One thing is that you have to read to the end to find out who won the candy contest! I really wanted read on and find out! This book does not have a sequel yet but I hope it will! This is an amazing, fun and delighting book to read!


The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict SocietyBy: Trenton Lee Stewart

Genre: Mystery/Adventure

Review by: Jenny

Rating by opinion: 5 out of 5

This book all starts out with a newspaper ad that turns into a suspenseful adventure. The Mysterious Benedict Society is about a genius boy orphan named Renie who decides to take the test advertised in the newspaper. Soon after the test he finds out that he passes, but he also finds out many other things. The test he took wasn’t even for a school.  It was for a secret society. The man leading the society is trying to take down his evil brother and thwart his evil plans. The most surprising part is that Renie and three other odd, but interesting companions, will be the ones risking their lives to do so.

I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. It is a suspenseful, action packed adventure that will have you turning the pages like crazy. If you like suspense, mystery and adventure you’ll love this book! It’s for ages 8 and up.

Read it!

Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism

Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism!!

By: Georgia Byng

Rating : 5 out 5

Review by: Finn

This book is adventurous and very hilarious.

Before we get any further, let me tell you, “ ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover,’ or you will regret it later.”  This book is about an orphan named Molly.  She lives in Hardwick House, a dark and gloomy orphanage, but when Molly finds a book about hypnotism it turns her life upside-down.  This book will hook you by the back and forth relationship between Molly and Molly’s friend, Rocky.   This hilarious book is a 4 book series and made for anybody and everybody !!!!!!

Here’s passage from the book that might get you hooked:

“The image of bad-tempered professor in the library crossed her mind. Molly felt slightly guilty.  This must be the best textbook about hypnotism in the existence, written by one of the world famous hypnotists.  The poor professor’s research would be incomplete without Dr. Logan’s thoughts upon the subject, and he had come thousands of miles for it.  No wonder he was so angry.  Well Molly thought she’d put the book back after she’d finished with it.  Then he could pour over it for years.  And with her conscience appeased, she drifted off to sleep.  She didn’t give the professor another thought.  And that was her big mistake.”

Read Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism.  You’ll be glad you did.

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)

Book 1 – The Books of Beginning

By John Stephens

Ages 9 to 12

Ten years before the story begins, on Christmas Eve three children are whisked from their home and away from their parents to be kept secretly hidden away the Dire Magnus.  With the help of a tall, white-haired man they race black monsters through the snow to escape without a trace.  They find themselves at St. Agnes’ orphanage – readers know, it’s to await their destiny; they think it’s only until they can be safely reunited with their parents.  You see, they do not for a moment believe they are orphans.

Now ten years later the call of fate is upon them and their adventure begins.  Kate, Michael and Emma discover that magic is real, that different worlds exist in space and across time.  This book combines magic, time travel, and new worlds with great characters on a quest to save the world.  The main characters have strong personalities.  Here’s a passage from the book that let you understand a bit about them from Emma’s (my personal favorite – plucky, intense and strong) point of view.

“The moment Gabriel and the other men had charged into the square, Emma had set off.  Kate and Michael were nearby and in trouble.  She wasn’t going to wait around with her hands in her pockets.  She would free Michael from his cage (she wasn’t quite sure how yet), the two of them would get Kate from the Secretary (he wasn’t sure how she’d accomplish that either, but it would probably involve her being incredibly brave while Michael scribbled some nonsense in his notebook), and they then would all three finally be together (of that she was absolutely sure).  There was just one problem.  The young warrior, her and Dena’ appointed guardian, had intercepted Emma as she made her break and now held her struggling, a foot off the ground.” p. 301

The supporting characters add to quest and offer interesting twists to the story as it unfolds.  It’s not quite what you expect and that’s the fun part.  The story continues in the next two books and I can’t wait for them to come out so I can find out how evil is vanquished and the worlds are restored.  I have lots of questions right now that I hope will be answered as the tale is told.

If you could travel through time, would you?

You might enjoy viewing this:  The Emerald Atlas trailer

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks, #1)

The family of four girls: Batty, Jane, Sky, Rosalind and their father, find their dream rental house. A small yellow cottage called ARUNDEL COTTAGE. But when they meet the neighbors, a boy named Jeffrey and an insane woman who they find out to be his mother, they befriend the kind boy Jeffrey and have numerous adventures with him throughout the book. Read The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall and learn how Jeffrey and the Penderwick sisters meet up and have excellent adventures. This Newbery Award Winner has fabulous writing and creates realistic and connectable characters to wrap the story right up into the awesome book The Penderwicks is.

Click here to view Jeanne Birdsall’s website!!

Upcoming Reviews

A teacher from our school found out about our blog and really likes it. She asked if we could put her students’ reviews on the blog. I said of course and so did Mrs. Eaves so some of the upcoming reviews and posts will be written by the students of 5ER. They will be tagged “By Guest Bloggers”. Look for those posts!! They will be new and different from our reviews so try to tune in when they are being posted!

The White Giraffe

The White Giraffe

When Martine’s house catches on fire and her parents die in the blazing house, she ends up going to her Grandmother’s house – but there’s one thing. She didn’t even know she had a grandmother! She ends up going to her grandmother’s house at the Sawubona Game Reserve. When she arrives, she discovers that the only place she fits in is with the animals. But her grandmother strictly forbids her to pass behind the fence of Sawubona without Tendai, the keeper. When she learns about the Zulu myth, things happen that make her question if it’s myth or reality. Read The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John to find out how Martine manages to live life in Africa.

For Lauren St. John’s website click here.

An Unusual Look at History

Hurricane Dancers – the first Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck

Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle

Set in 1510, readers of Hurricane Dancers meet pirate Captain Bernardino de Talavera, a ruined conquistador who has worked the native Indians on his land to death. To escape debtors prison he steals a ship, takes some hostages, and becomes the first pirate of the Caribbean. One of those hostages, Alonso de Ojeda, has been governor of Venezuela and is known for selling the native people for profit. Another captive is Quebrado.  He claims a Taino mother and Spanish father and although this makes him an outcast, it gives him the ability to communicate in two languages.

Quebrado has been enslaved and traded from ship to ship for as long as he can remember.  Called El Quebrado, the boy of broken dreams, by the sailors he toils under – Quebrado takes care of all things on the pirate ship until it is caught in a hurricane and capsized.  Quebrado is freed.  He is washed onto Cuba, the only free island left in the Caribbean.   Helped by islanders, Quebrado thinks he will find a new way of life until Talavera and Ojeda make their way to the same village.

Now the question is, what will Quebrado do?  Will he escape?  Will he stay? Will he go off on his own?

Beautifully written in verse this piece of historical fiction offers an unusual  view of life in early 16th century Cuba.

Behind Rebel Lines

Behind Rebel Lines by Seymour Reit is a historical fiction – that is based on a true story from back in the time of the Civil War. Emma Edmonds is a adrenaline-lover that feels it her duty to serve the in the real war, not just be on the sidelines. She has an imp voice in her head screaming it’s approval. So when Emma disguises herself as a man and enlists herself in the Union army of The Civil War, she discovers her hidden talent. Then she becomes the most valued soldier in her regiment. This book is a true story, Emma Edmonds is actually a real person. If you want to know the specific details of her real happenings, read her memoir, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army. It was published over 120 years ago but publishers have reprinted it since in readable writing.

I read this book in a book group and read it in sections, but I think you’d like it better if you read it in bigger chunks opposed to reading in small bits. If you read or have read Emma’s memoir, leave us a comment and tell me how it is. I have not read it but I will try to in the future.

Looking for Ordinary

I was reading Ann Lamott’s book, Grace (Eventually), when it struck me that I was glad she was like me in many ways – just ordinary.  That thought led me to my class this year and their connection to mostly realistic fiction.  They love graphic novels of all kinds, but if they are going to invest the time into reading something with more text, this year they prefer realistic fiction.  I decided to take those titles from my stacks of “to-be-read” books to see if I could find just one more book to offer readers in the last few weeks of school.  I did.

Marty McGuire (Marty McGuire #1)

If you connect with realistic fiction too, I think I have another book you will like – Marty McGuire by Kate Messner.  Marty is not into girly-girl things.  Her favorite thing to do is to meet up with Annie and go exploring as Jane Goodall would.   That used to be Annie’s favorite thing too, but not anymore.  And maybe, Marty thinks, they will not stay best friends.  Marty is mostly okay until she is chosen to be the princess in the class play.  She totally doesn’t want to do it – but with encouragement she does.  She learns a lot about acting and about making responsible choices – even when someone else is being totally annoying and bossy.  It is the beginning of a series and has much to connect with in the ordinary day to day of school

Just Grace and the Terrible TutuJust Grace and the Terrible Tutu is another great book – the sixth in the “Just Grace” series by Charise Harper – for exploring “ordinary.” Grace notices the groups of friends – the Fairy Girls, who play fairy at recess, the Giggly Girls, who tell secrets (about silly things, come to find out) – and individuals – Owen, who love special rocks.  Everybody has a place and Grace’s is with her best friend, Mimi.  This friendship stretches with a secret and a new neighbor.  Grace turns out to be an amazing friend and all because of her super power, EMPATHY.  Wow!  If we could have friends like Grace, or be friends like Grace what an amazing world it would be. – hardly ordinary!


I am looking for “ordinary” in books with male main characters and I may have found it in Melonhead by Katy Kelly.  Adam Melon (a.k.a. Melonhead) deals with a mom who wants polite, tidy and safe and a dad who is often called away by his work on Capitol Hill.  In school he works to do the regular stuff, but also want to win the “REINVENTION – Recycling the Old int the New” challenge.  Melonhead feels good about his invention abilities but as he tries to come up with a winning idea there are mishaps – the ordinary things in life.  He takes an across the roof shortcut (not safe enough for mom), he gets stuck in a tree (lots of flashing light and rescue vehicles), and captures a snake that must be fed (neither the snake nor the rodents are parent favorites).  Eventually he and his friend come up with an idea that might win, but so do his classmates.  Some of their ideas are really good and Melonhead has to wait to see what will happen until the day of the science fair like competition – the ordinary nervousness of life.

Do any of you have recommendations of great realistic fiction titles?  We’d love to hear your suggestions!