Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives ExtraordinaireMr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire!

translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath is laugh out loud funny from beginning to end.

As in all the Polly Horvath books I have read there is a uniquely functioning dysfunctional family situation.  In this case Madeline is more an adult than her parents.  She takes care of everything for them because they don’t seem to see the need for her traditional wishes to go to school, have friends or fit in.  They get kidnapped and it is up to Madeline to find them.  She knows she’ll have to because they don’t know how to do anything for themselves.  She does this with the help of rabbits.  She is able to talk to them because she is a one-of-a-kind person, “a Rabbit Whisperer.”  They are detectives and work to make sure she has what all children need – someone to take care of them.    Through many hilarious twists and turns they outsmart the foxes, break the code (sort of) and wear retro-purple sequin disco platforms in the process.

My favorite lines are, “I’ve often heard animals speak.  Plants too.  It’s all a matter of noticing, isn’t it?  The richness of our lives depends on what we are willing to notice and what we are willing to believe.”

So true – what do you notice?  What do you believe?  Enjoy reading while you wait for Everything on a Waffle‘s sequel to come out next fall.  Books by Polly Horvath are fun!

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

320 pages that will make you think and wonder, imagine and cry

Ivan is a silverback gorilla.  He lives alone in his small domain in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall.  Yes, that’s right a mall.  Ivan is there with Stella and a stray dog, Bob who sneaks into Ivan cage for comfort, companionship and warmth.  Once a star attraction, the mall is no long doing very well so Mack, Ivan and the mall’s owner, must do something about that.

Mack brings in a new baby elephant, Ruby, as the new star attraction.  Ruby lives with Stella, until an unattended infection leaves her weak and dying.  Her last wish extracts a promise from Ivan – he must find a way to make sure Ruby does not spend her life alone in the mall; he must find her a better place.

Julia, the janitor’s daughter, comes to the mall most days to do her homework while her dad cleans.  Over time she has discovered that Ivan is an artist.  She has given him paper and crayons.  Mack has discovered Ivan’s artistic talent too.  What Ivan draws, Mack sells.  He doesn’t look as closely as Julia does.  She sees what Ivan is working to represent. Julia knows it is more than just a scribble.

Ruby brings new life to Ivan. Watching Westerns and romances is no longer enough. Living in a day-to-day haze is no longer enough. Her questions lead Ivan to remember. For years, not remembering has been Ivan’s habit. He prefers not to think of his past, either with his family in Africa or as a young gorilla who didn’t have to stay confined to the mall. But soon he is telling what he does remember of the past to Ruby.

The young elephant also brings a new urgency to Ivan’s art. Ivan has a plan.  He has an idea of how he can keep his promise to Stella.  Every night he paints.   All the little pictures lead toward one goal. All Ivan has to do is find a way to make someone, anyone, understand what he is telling through his art?

The One and Only Ivan is a book that will change you.  You will wonder at the endurance, friendship, kindness and commitment found in the characters.  You will question and wonder – and then you will discover that this story is based on a real Ivan, and you will wonder even more.  How?  Why? Can we be more mindful, more empathetic, more involved.  Read The One and Only Ivan, you’ll be glad you did!

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic EyesPeter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

by Jonathan Auxier

380 pages of exciting adventure, fantasy and determination

A great middle grade read

What a grand adventure; funny, scary, prophetic and imaginative.  Peter Nimble has been blind all his life.  Because he is blind, his other senses provide information the rest of us don’t even notice – the smells of stones and of wealth, the sound of beating hearts and of friendship.  These abilities lead him to becoming an extraordinary thief; perhaps the best thief in all the world.  He can pick any lock.  At the end of one particularly difficult lock-picking challenge he discovers a box containing six amazing eggs.  The yolks of these eggs turn out to be three sets of fantastic eyes that launch Peter on a journey.  From gold, to onyx to emerald, Peter moves from world to world and shape to shape on a quest to help the writer of the note that may have come from the Vanished Kingdom.

“Kings aplenty, princes few,

The ravens scattered and seas withdrew.

Only a stranger may bring relief,

But darkness will reign, unless he’s …”

Each step of the way is hard but Peter knows he has a friend, Sir Tode.  He has the fantastic eyes which will be all that he needs if he uses them only when the time is right.  And he knows the person he is now is the reason this quest is part of his destiny.  It is his true nature that will lead him through  each problem he encounters.

One page will lead you to the next and the next and the next.  You won’t be able to put this adventure down – enjoy this unique story from cover to cover

The Hunger Games

North America has split into 12 districts. When the number gets higher the poorer the district gets. A girl in district 12 named Katniss Everdeen is having a tough time getting food for her familiy, on top of her father dying, and having her mother in the house since the tragedy happened. But with her extreme skill in archery she manages to get by. The Hunger Games are approaching and the picking of the contestants is about to begin. The  hunger games is where one person from each district is choosen to compete in an arena in the capital where the contestants are to fight for their lives. The last one to live is the winner and gets to live in one of the Victor’s Mansions in their district. When the hunger games picks her sister, Primrose, Katniss takes her sisters place to be in the hunger games. Along with her teammate Peta Melark they head to the arena where Katniss uses her extreme archery skill to battle for her life.


A movie of The Hunger Games is coming out in March!

Review by Jenny

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss MaloneThe Mighty Miss Malone

By Christopher Paul Curtis

320 pages of characters you will love in situations that will give you much to consider

Deza loves school.  She is the best and the brightest.  She has a wonderful best friend, a passion for reading and her exceptional family.  What is not to like about Deza?  Well, maybe she is a little to verbose and maybe she is a bit to sure of herself and bossy, but… The Mighty Miss Malone is 12-year old Deza Malone part of a close-knit family whose motto is “We are a family on a journey to a place called Wonderful.” Deza dreams of going to college and becoming a teacher just like her beloved, Mrs. Needham.

Dreams are hard to keep alive in the Great Depression. Deza’s father is out of work and further changes mean the Deza’s mother is also out of a job. This forces her fine friendly father figure to leave home in search of some kind of work.  When they hear nothing from him Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go to find him.  They try to stay together.  They try to make it right, but nothing seems to work.  Deza’s world seems to go up in smoke.  The hut they’ve been living in at the Hooverville outside Flint is burned down. Jimmie leaves to see if he can make it as a singer in Chicago. With one room to share, Deza and her mother want more than anything else is to have their family back together.  How can that be?

The twists and turns of the Malone family story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.  It’s hard to predict which direction the story will take.  The story keeps taking twists and surprise turns so you must keep on reading.  You just have to find out what happens to Deza and her family – there is no way not follow her through to the end of the story.  You’ll need to know what happens in the end.  Will her family find “wonderful” – the trip to find out is worth every step.   Along the way you’ll moments that will give you something to think about – no matter how bad off a person is, someone else has it worse. What an amazing story.  It offers an honest and painful look at a terrible time in our country through the eyes of an amazing girl who refuses to let go of her dream.  May we all be so courageous!

The Name of this Book is Secret

     X xxxxx.


     Xxx, Xxxx.

     Xxx xx xxxxxx xxx xxxxx…

That is the end of the first chapter. That’s how secret this book is. The whole first chapter is X’s and the names written are not the real names of the characters. Okay, now to the review.

Cass is a survivalist, always prepared for the next natural disaster. Max-Ernest is a logical boy, with an unidentified impulsive talking condition. Do you think that they would be “collaborators”? Probably not. But they are doing what they do best when they meet, and get mixed up in a dead magician’s story. Including a symphony of smells, an underground house and a two evil villains! Read The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch to find out what happens.

The Name of this Website is Secret includes a biography of Pseudonymous Bosch, all about the books and more. It’s awesome!!

The publisher’s version of the series website here.

Buy this book from! 🙂

This book is part of  “The Secret Series.” Here are all of the books:

Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5

Kidnapped by Gordon Korman

The Abduction,The Search and The Rescue

from the Kidnapped trilogy by Gordon Korman

Abduction (Kidnapped, #1)The Rescue (Kidnapped, #3)The Search (Kidnapped, #2)


adventure +action= page-turning excitement

Even though the Falconers have been proven innocent and their name has been cleared, their story isn’t over.   Aiden and Meg are walking home from school, Aiden’s worst fear becomes a reality.  A van pulls over and Meg is kidnapped. He tries to stop it, of course, but then barely escapes himself.  Aiden’s the only witness to his sister’s disappearance.  What should he do?  Why has Meg been kidnapped? Is it for ransom? Is it as a vendetta against the family? Is there an even bigger conspiracy at work?

Aiden knows he must work fast to figure out how to save her.  After all their time together working to clear their family name, Aiden knows Meg better than anyone else.  He knows she will leave clues whenever and however she can.  Meg, a fearless fighter, fends off her kidnappers and plans an escape.  Aiden, away from her,  must team up with the FBI – the very same agent who caused his family so much trouble before – to try to find her–tracking down clues only a brother could recognize.

Read The Abduction, The Search and The Rescue for a thrilling adventure complete with  unexpected twists and turns.  Which Falconer are you more like?  Or who would you like to be like if the situation ever arose?  I’d wish to be fearless but I don’t know if that could be true.  If it’s not that, what could be true…what would I do?  What would you do?

The post-script at the end of the third book shares how Meg has changed after her kidnapping and how she has realized what a gift freedom is.  It makes me question… in how many ways do we limit and enslave our actions and thoughts.  What happens when we take freedom for granted?


PS – thanks for the recomendation Maddie! – this isn’t a genre I’d pick up on my own.  Thanks for stretching me.


The Kneebone Boy

288 pages – great for 4th or 5th graders and up

Living in Little Tunks, (no big tunks) a small town in the middle of nowehere can be hard. It is harder still when you are the Hardscrabble children, the kids that are treated as if they had a monstrous case of chicken pox. They live alone with their father, because their mother had mysteriously disappeared. Their father usually gives them a few weeks to warm up to the fact that he is going away, but this time, no. He packs their bags, and whisks them away to London to stay with their cousin Angela. But when these adventuresome kids run into the dead end of Angela being on vacation, they have to fend fro themselves on the dangerous streets of London.

Ellen Potter delivers an awesome storyline, an incredibly discreet sense of humor (not a bad thing, a good thing) and some excellent characters in The Kneebone Boy. This was a great read!

Ellen Potter’s website is here.

Sweet on Books, a new book website I found that has a really good perspective on The Kneebone Boy, and it even has some book group questions for teachers.* (*Psst, kids, you can use the questions too, for homework in a pinch!)

Buy this book on!