Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

by Lynne Jonell

I read this book in 3rd grade (With Mrs. Eaves as a teacher!) and I remember how I could really feel the story, especially the evilness of Miss Barmy. I hope you can too… Enjoy!

It feels to Emmy like she has no parents at all. They are always off on trips, exploring faraway places and she is stuck at home with her nanny Miss Barmy. Emmy never talks back to her nanny, nor does she refuse vegetables, not do her homework and things of the sort.  Miss Barmy is very mean to her and she makes her eat and drink peculiar things. She writes letters to her parents, but she never gets a response. Life is not so great.

Emmy does not have many friends, but she likes to sit by the classroom pet, the Rat.  This was because she could hear him speak. A rat, speaking! Nonetheless, he was rude and and angry all the time. No one else could hear him until one day, when a boy in her class, Joe gets bitten by him. Joe is talking to Emmy and in response to him saying “I was just trying to feed him a carrot. You’d think he would have been grateful.” the Rat said “Ha!” Joe was stunned. He had to leave right after, but for most of the rest of the book, Joe becomes 4 inches tall.  Read this story and In guarantee that you will want to read the next book, Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls, right away.

Click on the book cover to access Lynne Jonell’s website and her summary of the book. And click here to see the video book review on YouTube courtesy of 60secondrecap PickoftheWeek.


“Jonell takes readers on a merry, sometimes scary romp… It’s fun to watch remarkably good Emmy and especially bad Barmy spar.”

— Booklist, starred review


Henry Huggins lives on Clickatat Street with his parents and his dog Ribsy. When they bring Ribsy to the mall in the station wagon, and he somehow manages to put down the window and hop out. Being color blind, he finds his way into another families station wagon. Ribsy goes home with them and then  has many adventures with different people in different environment. If you read this book, you will grow to love the characters and setting that Beverly Cleary uses and also her style of writing.

This was a book that I took out of the library lots of times, and took three copies when they were discarding the old ones. Beverly Cleary’s series of related books are so great, they give you an excellent image on what’s happening. I recommend this book from when I was 6 years old.

Beverly Cleary’s Website: www.beverlycleary.com

Buy Ribsy by Beverly Cleary on Amazon.com here.

The Giver

 The Giver by Lois Lowry

In this community, there are very few differences. You are assigned a job, a spouse, and children by a group of distinguished Elders. You have designated privileges at different ages, a haircuts at eight, a bicycle (the only form of transportation besides walking) at nine, and so forth. You all turn the same age on the same day, and there is a ceremony for all the ages up to twelve. The ceremony of twelve is the special ceremony where each child is selected for a job by the Elders. Jonas’ turn has come.

Jonas is a normal kid, with a normal family. A mother, father, a male child and a female child. The only difference about him is that he has unusually pale eyes, and only a couple other people that he knows of has them. When Jonas’ is about to be assigned a job, he is skipped. He was SKIPPED! They passed over his number. At the end of the ceremony the Elder said,

“‘Jonas has not been assigned,’ she informed the crowd, and his heart sank. Then she went on. ‘Jonas has been selected.”

He was selected to be the Receiver of Memory. This is an immensely important job to the community, so Jonas is told, and he will be working with the old Receiver of Memory, who now becomes the Giver.

The Newbery Award winning  book is a short book, but not a quick read. It is deep, thorough and thought-provoking, as it winds its way through the ‘adventures’ of Jonas and the Giver. Lois Lowry does a great job, and although it is great to read any book more than once, with this book you want to read it again, right away.

Lois Lowry’s website can be found here. It is a very good author’s website.

Read this book! Leave a comment below and tell us what you thought!

Everything on a Waffle

Everything on a WaffleEverything on a Waffle

by Polly Horvath

176 pages for middle readers and beyond

Have you ever known something to be true; known with all your heart, but not had any proof?  Primrose Squarp knows that her parents are alive.  She knows they were not lost at sea in the terrible storm that came to Coal Harbour.  Everyone else, however, considers her an orphan.  At first they try to pay elderly Miss Perfidy to take care of her.  That doesn’t work very well.  Then the town finds Uncle Jack – the developer – but they don’t like him very much.  Miss Honeycut, the school counseler (who no one seems to like much either), has it in for Primrose and see that she becomes a ward of the state and put into foster care.  Only Miss Bowser, owner of the The Girl on the Red Swing, has time for Primrose, recognizes her sadness and understands the beauty of hope and joy when it seems there should be none. Miss Bowzer talks to her, teachers her to cook and knows that sometimes accidents happen – just because they are…accidents.

The charactes in this book are both funny and philosphical.  The books shows you there is mucht to be said for traveling, and at the same time there is much to be noticed about your own home town.  Having everything on a waffle may be ho-hum at home, but extraordinary for those who come to visit. You’ll love the characters and be surprised by how events unfold – or rather fall like dominoes, one after another after another.  You may even decide to try some of the recipes shared at the end of each chapter – perhaps chocolate covered cashews, tea biscuits (no mothballs please) or even waffles, because everything should come on a waffle.

Winner of the 2001 Boston Globe Hornbook Honor Award book for Fiction and Poetry  and a 2002 Newbery Honor Book.

I’ve decided that I am going to read all of Polly Horvath’s books over our next vacation break – well, as many as I can.  All that I have read are funny in a bittersweet way.  The characters are ordinary and yet, totally unique.  They stick with me and keep coming to mind with a flash of happiness and calm.  I’m curious.  You might be too.  You can learn more here at her website. I’ll let you know what I find.

George’s Marvelous Medicine

George's Marvellous Medicine first edition.jpgGeorge's Marvelous Medicine

George Kranky lives with his Mother, Father and Grandmother on a farm. When George is alone in the house with his Grandmother, she is rude and mean to him. She tells him that if he is selfish, he will shrink and if he wants to grow, he  has to eat some cabbage!! Ugh!!  She is the most selfish person George knows, so he thinks that she should get a taste of her new medicine. You see, his Grandmother has to take her medicine periodically, so why not make a new one for her. So George follows no specific recipe, just adds a little bit of this and a little bit of that, some toothpaste and some antifreeze and violá! Her new medicine is born! Read this book and see the spectacular affect that it causes.

***Notice that “Marvelous” is spelled differently on both covers. The alternate spelling is “Marvellous”. Maybe this is because that is the version from the UK. Maybe.

Click HERE for the Official Roald Dahl website where you can find games, lots of stuff about Roald Dahl and much more!

Watch and hear a clip from the audiobook version of George’s Marvelous Medicine:

Click HERE for RoaldDahlFans.com which has everything, if not more than the Official Roald Dahl Site. It even includes stuff for teachers!