Thursday, October 5, 2017

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American Chillers #20 Mutant Mammoths of Montana

Reese and his sister Beth were out camping with their parents in Montana. They were at Montana's Glacier National Park when they go out hiking and find strange footprints, which brings suspicion and they soon find out the footprints are far bigger and more normal than any creature they have ever seen. They both follow the footprints into the mountains and encounter a big hideous beast and they then are on the run to get out and save themselves.
These stories are always good to read if you are looking for a quick and easy imaginative story that allows you to picture the story in your head as you are reading it. American Chillers was a childhood favorite for me when I was in middle school so therefor middle school would be the age group that is appropriate for most readers.
TS

American Chillers #3: Florida Fog Phantoms


Florida Fog Phantoms is a thriller book about a boy, his sister and their neighbor as they deal with fog phantoms after a hurricane. They deal with what could be considered a life or death situation. If they don't escape the fog in time, they will become fog phantoms as well.

This book was slightly confusing for me but I think younger students would be able to understand what is going on because they have a more active imagination than I do. It was really interesting how the author decided how the book ended. I was convinced that the kids weren't gonna make it out.

The cover art was really cool and gave me a visual of what the phantoms look like.

I would recommend this for grades 5-12

MH

George By: Alex Gino

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George is a little boy who is in the fourth grade and who feels to have women like tendencies. She has never told anyone. As she was in class doing the play "Charlotte's Web", George didn't think that she would be a good Charlotte even though she really wanted to play that part. When she went to tryout for the part the teacher didn't let her finish and she then didn't get the role. Kelly, her best friend received the part and let George play the part in the second play. George did an exceptional job. George and Kelly took off to the zoo with Kelly's uncle, it was outstanding due to the fact that George could dress like a girl and even be called Melissa.
This is outstanding because transgender is a topic that is sensitive to people because it is known as not the "norm" or comes across as something different. This story gives students the opportunity to come out about who they truly are and being able to be happy with themselves and not worry what others will think and do.
This is a great story to read to a middle school classroom due to how things in the real world are challenging for transgendered community.
TS.


American Chillers #2: Ogres of Ohio by Jonathan Rand

Danielle and her younger brother Derek have just moved to Sandusky Ohio to a creaky old house on a stormy day. What Danielle finds behind a boarded up door was so unbelievable it made my heart stop! Ogres flying in the air, dwarfs fighting against the ogres, and magical orbs that look like buckeyes!

The artwork on the title page of this book helps children to understand what the book will be about. It fits the book itself well with bright colors and a cartoonish feel. The pacing of Ogres of Ohio felt a bit rushed at times, as though Rand was really trying to fit a lot of information into a few pages. The book itself felt meaningless. When I finished reading George by Alex Gino, I felt exposed, as though I had come to a new understanding of something I knew very little about. However, I could barely get through this American Chillers chapter book, every page rambled on as meaningless as the last.

The American Chillers books was a series I did not think I would enjoy -- and I did not enjoy Ogres of Ohio. Every sentence felt like a clickbait title on a social media website and there was no substance to the book. However, I can see where it would fit in an elementary schools' library. The books appeal to a young male audience and they help promote creativity and imagination in children, something that is becoming increasingly important. However, there are plenty of books that provide the same imagination with more creativity, substance, and a whole lot more value.
AP 10/5/17


American Chillers #4: New York Ninjas by Johnathan Rand


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American Chillers #4: New York Ninjas is neat! The book written by Johnathan Rand kept me on the edge of my seat. The narrator, Mike, is a normal kids from Albany, New York. His brother Brad and their new neighbor friend Sarah are going out on Halloween night as three very scary, yet fun, trick-or-treaters. A vampire, a ghost, and a witch make their way around the city, normal as can be. Then they find a mask. But it is not just any mask. It is what Mike describes as a Japanese Kabuki mask! Brad did the one thing people should never do when they find a mask… he put it on! One thing led to another and pretty soon the three kids were interacting with ninjas, some white and headless even. The ninjas do not stay for a while when they visit, so the kids try to find evidence of something, anything! They find a book called “The Legend of the Mask of the Masters, and they try to figure it out. Mike, Brad, and Sarah just want to know why they are being tracked by ninjas. New York has never had ninjas before, or so it seemed! Do the ninjas want to kidnap the kids or do the ninjas want to train the kids to be ninjas? You’ll have to read the book to see what happens…

The genre of New York Ninjas is fictional and horror. It has many ellipses, “...,” throughout the book, which tells that the book has a lot of suspense! Words that suggest a scary theme, such as “bugged,” “dark,” and “fangs” appear in the text. I think the book is also very fatual because there are a lot of fun facts about New York. There is even a list of facts about Albany, New York in the back of the book!

The book is labeled with a fourth grade reading level. I would agree that fourth graders would enjoy and be able to read this book. If an elementary or even middle school student is looking for something scary, this is the book for them!

Overall, New York Ninjas is exciting and thrilling. Pick up this book to go on a jump-filled, ninja-hopping, and super-chilling adventure with Brad, Mike, and Sarah on Halloween night. American Chillers books are sure to send chills down the spines of intrigued readers!

JS

American Chillers: Minnesota Mall Mannequins by Johnathan Rand

American Chillers: Minnesota Mall Mannequins is about three friends go on a class trip to Mall of America. They were expecting to have a great time since it is a mall but they figured out something was wrong in the mall. They go looking for the problem when they figure out that the mannequins are alive.
They fight the mannequins to get to the only way out and stop their plans. They deal with traps and difficulties. Later they find out that the mannequins are actually aliens. When they escape they knew they would never forget their dangerous adventure.
The book was as good as I thought it was when I was younger. They had too many cliffhangers at end of each chapter and kind of cheesy on the story altogether. There is no illustration in the book but the cover matches the story pretty well.
This book is mostly for a middle schooler. It's a book to read if you want a silly thriller. It would be a book to read if you have absolutely nothing to do.
KM

American Chillers: Nebraska Nightcrawlers

Banned book week is a very interesting and eye opening event. I don't think people realize how many books are banned or flagged for various reasons. The book I read in honor of banned book week and criticized books was American Chillers: Nebraska Nightcrawlers by Johnathan Rand. Rand is the author of the American Chillers and Michigan Chillers books.This book follows two neighbors, Jim and Brittany. Jim catches nightcrawlers and sells them to fisherman. It is all fun and games until one day when they discover that huge nightcrawlers have come into their town. Jim and Brittany are now possible victims to the nightcrawlers. Jim and Brittany try to take down the giant nightcrawlers. Will they be successful? Read the book to find out.
I thought this book was thrilling and it kept me on my toes. There were some moments which were a bit “chilling.” Overall I would say it was a good book. This book would be appropriate for an older age range who were not easily scared or worried. I would not necessarily recommend this book unless I knew the reader personally and I thought they would enjoy it.


This book is a fiction book which fits both into thriller and mystery. It keeps you intrigued and wanting to read. There were no illustrations in the book, though I really liked the cover. It pulls you in and gets you excited for the reading. I really liked how at the end of the book there were a couple of chapters from another American Chiller book. This is a great way to keep readers excited!

-AS

American Chillers #6, Invisible Iguanas of Illinois: Johnathan Rand


Growing up every child uses their imagination whenever they can to make their days more enjoyable. But, what if one day you weren't using your imagination, what if you had a day to save the whole city from HUGE, INVISIBLE, IGUANAS! Alyssa has her own pet iguana, Iggy who she loves very much and becomes her very own best friend. She then meets a new student at the beginning of the school year who has two iguanas himself. He politely asks Alyssa to look after his pets while he goes on a trip with his family.

Now taking on three iguanas is a lot of work, especially when you have to keep the other iguanas in your annoying little brothers room. Little do you know that your brother had just ordered invisibility powder!! And it works! Long story short the iguanas ate the powder and turned invisible and grew 10 times their normal size!! Alyssa and her little brother Ryan try to reverse the powder by throwing baking soda on them, although that makes it worse and they grow bigger, grow fangs and huge wings! They freak out and go hide from the iguanas, and they figure out how to see them while they are invisible by using 3D glasses. They also learn that cat food is the ultimate cure to reverse the invisibility.

I personally think that this story was a good story for younger students in the 3rd-5th grade. Reading this as a College Freshman I feel it was very predictable and some of the points in the story did not make any sense to me, in fact it was comical as to how the author came up with the ideas to the story. The chapters are 2 maybe 3 pages in length which is good and makes the story seem like it is going much quicker than it actually is. I also feel that the cover art for this story may scare off some female readers, although it more than likely is directed towards young men.

CR

Michigan chillers: #9 Sinister Spiders of Saginaw by Johnathon Rand


Michigan chillers: #9 Sinister Spiders of Saginaw by Johnathon Rand

Today I am posting about the book titled Michigan chillers: #9 Sinister Spiders of Saginaw by Johnathon Rand.  This is a first Michigan chillers or even American chillers book for me.  However, I do know that they are popular with the kids.  I once had a student who rode my bus that owned every title written to date and was so excited because he got to meet the author and get autographs from him, including an autograph on the newest published book at the time.  His experience and him sharing it with me was actually my introduction to this author and series.

I chose the Michigan chillers book versus the American chillers book because I am from Michigan and I was curious to see what places were written about that I could identify.  I chose the Sinister Spiders of Saginaw because my husband is from Saginaw and I thought it would be fun to read the book through that extra connection.  In addition, I thought the cover art was fun and the giant spiders made you wonder where this story was going to go.  I also appreciated that the cover art included a picture of Michigan with a star depicting where Saginaw was within the state.  I feel that gives any reader who is not familiar with Saginaw a sense of just where this action was happening, especially in relation to where the reader may live within the state.

This book falls into the fiction horror novel genre of books.  The series started as only Michigan chillers but then expanded into American chillers as well.  From what I found, there are 17 Michigan chillers books, and currently 40 American chillers books.  Eventually there will be an American chillers book for each state of the union including Washington D.C. 

The story centers on three friends who end up having to help a classmate and teacher save Saginaw from being poisoned through the water supply that will soon flow from Saginaw’s newest water plant.  The three friends find themselves taken into the pipelines below the city by giant spiders called octogores.  The octogores are collecting humans and spinning them into webs to hold them until they can complete their plan to put poison into the water supply which will poison the humans and turn them into octogores too.  The three friends manage to escape only to continue to run in one giant spider after another.  Soon, the friends discover that the octogores are not the only type of giant spider roaming Saginaw.  The friends find help through the shape shifting giant spiders called arachno-sapiens which are half spider, half human.  Through the course of the book the friends realize that they know many of the arachno-sapiens.  Together, the friends and the arachno-sapiens fight the octogores and their evil plan to take over.  Good won over evil in the end and Leah Warner, one of the friends, finds out that part of the arachno-sapien help was none other than her own parents and that she too is an arachno-sapien!

I was not sure how cheesy this book was going to end up being considering that I am an adult reading a children’s book.  I was pleasantly surprised in the end.  It had a decent story, twists and turns that were not totally predictable, and the end had some interest.  My only complaint is that the cliff hangers at the end of each chapter were a bit juvenile.  The cliff hanger seemed to basically be the same at the end of each chapter, just worded slightly differently.  It got to the point that I pictured in my mind the visual scene fading to black, the commercials running and the story picking back up after the commercial break and it often repeating just a bit of the story that was aired just before commercial.  All in all, I can see why kids like these books.  They are fun, easy to read and adventurous.

Although there is no illustration within the pages of the book, it sure is not hard to imagine the scene within the mind’s eye.  The way the story is written, the reader can imagine clear scenes and the feelings of the characters.  I liked too that the chapter numbers were written in a fun font that gave a little creepiness to the pages surrounding it.

I feel that the Michigan chillers books would be good books for students starting in about third grade, especially if the student is already a good reader.  I can see kids reading these books through all of middle school and maybe into high school, especially if the student was a challenged reader. I think that these stories could help get the creative juices flowing if you were asking students to write their own adventure stories.  You could possibly tie each book into geography lessons since each book is written about as specific area.  The teacher could also use the same concept and assign a city or state to each student and have them write a different genre of story that centers on the city or state they were assigned.

JR

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American Chillers: Wisconsin Werewolves by Johnathan Rand

                                 

The American Chillers book Wisconsin Werewolves by Johnathan Rand, is a children’s chapter book. This book would be good for children in grades 4th-6th. American Chillers could be used as independent reading or in small reading groups. You could use the book to teach prediction, asking students what they predict will happen after ever few chapters. Then you could have students write their own suspense books and teach how to grab the reader’s attention.

Image result for american chillers wisconsin werewolvesWisconsin Werewolves is about a group of friends who are playing hide and seek in the woods when Jeremy sees a silhouette in the shadows of where he is hiding. He things it’s his friend about to tag him, but then he hears a low growl. Again, he thinks it’s just one of his friends playing a trick on him. He turns on his flash light and shines the light into the face of a werewolf. Jeremy runs off scream, when he finally meets up with his friends. He tries to tell them what he saw but they don’t believe him. They decide to go back into the woods and look for the werewolf as a group. The group was getting tried and wanted to go back home when they heard a long, loud howl. They flew out of the woods back to their houses.

That night Jeremy was woken up from his sleep to see a werewolf standing outside his house under a street light. In the morning, Jeremy met up with his friends to find they all had some sort of werewolf siting over the night. In Colette’s yard there were footprints, claw marks on the back of Tyler’s house, and fur in James backyard. The group was sure that there was a werewolf lose in their neighborhood, so that night they set out on another search that night. Before they go they decide to go to the library and do research on werewolves. They meet a very creepy librarian who spies on the kids. They didn’t know it then, but they would meet this man later in the book.

The group goes back into the woods and come face to face with two werewolves. The werewolves start chasing the group out of the woods when James was caught. The kids didn’t know what to do. Jeremy started to go after him when he realized James was laughing. The kids figured out that the two werewolves were high school students just playing a prank on them.

The kids thought the nightmare of the werewolves was over, but they were wrong. The creepy librarian starts to follow the kids and they find out they are in great danger, but you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find out what happens.

The cover of the book are the only images in the book. There are two werewolves wearing jerseys and jeans in a yard. I think the images on the book cover create suspicion for the reader.


Overall, I think this book is great for students! I think this a great book for students to feel a little scared, just enough to want to keep reading.

NS

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Michigan Chillers: Poltergeists of Petoskey By: Johnathan Rand

The Michigan Chillers book Poltergeists of Petoskey was written by Johnathan Rand. This is a young adult children's horror fiction book. I believe that this book would be good for children in grades fourth through seventh. This book could be used both in and out of the classroom. I could see this book being assigned as independent reading material, but I could also see it being used as a group reading. This book could be read as a class during Halloween time, and projects could be done to dig deeper into the book.


Poltergeists of Petoskey is about two children, Alex and Adrian, who find that their house is haunted. Alex and Adrian are twelve year old twins. They just moved into a new house and they think that the house is creepy and haunted. One night Alex goes downstairs to get a drink of water. When she reached the bottom of the stairs she heard them still squeaking behind her, like someone was walking. However, when she turned around she did not see anything or anyone. When she made it to the kitchen all of the cupboards were open, and this really scared her. She shut all of the cupboards and ran back upstairs straight to her bed. When she came down the next morning Alex’s mom asked her why she opened all of the cupboards last night. Alex was really confused because she knew that she had closed them before she went back to bed. Later when she was talking to her brother he said that the same things happened to him. It was then that Alex and Adrian realized that their house was haunted.


A few nights later Alex was lying in bed when she heard someone whispering her name outside. When she looked out her window she saw a girl, about her age floating above the grass with a blue light around her. Later that night her brother had the same experience. Then the girl outside came inside and went into Alex’s and Adrian’s bedroom. She said that her name was Catherine and coming up behind her was her brother Caleb. They were both very friendly, but they said they were in trouble because a mean poltergeist, named Robert, had taken over their house. Because of this, they all decided to work together to get Robert out of the house, but while they were trying to do this Robert looked at Alex and turned her into a ghost. In order for Alex to not be a ghost anymore, they had to get Robert to move out of the house and into another. Luckily Robert was cool and wanted to move out. In the end they were able to find Robert a new house and Alex turned back into a human.

The only images for this book is the cover. On the cover there is a scary blue ghost with red eyes. Just looking at the cover makes the reader think that the book is going to be very scary. I think the cover of the book helps to set the reader in a suspenseful mood.


Overall, I really liked this book and it took me back to my childhood. I remember reading this book when I was in elementary. This was one of my favorite books, even though it started off a little scary. I think that a lot of children would like this book and it would keep them interesting. It is a quick and easy read and at the end of the book there are a few chapters to the next book. Therefore, this would keep the children interested more because they will want to continue in the series.

ER

Sunday, October 1, 2017

George by Alex Gino

George is about a boy that is actually a girl in 4th grade. She was born a boy but she was never comfortable about her body. She kept the secret from everyone for a long time. She was made fun of being feminine.
When she read Charlotte's Web in her class, she loved the book. Her class was going to do a play for the book and George wanted to audition for Charlotte. When she auditioned in front of her teacher, her teacher was upset and didn't let her finish her lines. She didn't receive the role and she was upset. Her best friend got the role and when she told her friend that she is actually her friend accepted her for who she is. Later her mom found a bag full of girl magazines that she hid in her closet. Her mother was upset about the magazines that she took them away. Her friend Kelly was able to convince her to take her part in the second play that they were going to show. When the show came around she played Charlotte and she did wonderfully. A lot of people enjoyed it but there was someone that was not happy about it. After the play, Kelly invited her to go to the zoo with her uncle in a different town so they wouldn't run into anybody else. George was able to dress like a girl and be called Melissa instead of George. She got to be who she was.
Geoge is a great book for people that are afraid to be themselves. It is a creative book for young students. There are barely any books about the transgender community and young transgender kids. It gives a new perspective to people about how it starts out very young with figuring out who you truly are.
George is a book for middle school students. It can help students that worried about showing their true selves or even for kids that don't understand being transgender. It can show that it is a struggle for a lot of people but that there are people that can accept it and help out. I would recommend having a class read the book and help them understand the LGBT community.
KM

Saturday, September 30, 2017

George by Alex Gino


George George is a book about a boy named George who thinks he is a girl. Throughout the book George goes through daily life events with a question in his mind. He has some hardships but has a friend named Kelly who is always there for him. George plays Charlotte in the play of Charlotte’s Web and it brings him great joy.
This book is realistic fiction. The events in this book could take place in real life. George follows a lot of school events and home events. There are no illustrations in the book. The cover, however, gives a preview of what the book will be about.
I would not use this book in my classroom. This book would have a lot going on for younger readers to understand. It would be more suitable for older students.

This book could be used to discuss how we are all unique. Students need to know that it is never okay to bully someone. Our classrooms should be a place where all students feel welcome.

-AS

Thursday, September 28, 2017

George by Alex Gino

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George by Alex Gino is a children’s fiction chapter book brings up some very intense things.

In the book, a little boy, in 4th grade, named George feels like he should be a girl. George has always felt like girl inside but has never told anyone. As Ms. Udell, Georges 4th grade teacher, reads the last words of Charlotte’s Web, George feels sadden by the ending. A few boys in her class heard her sniffling and made fun of her for crying over a girl. Now that the book is over, the class will audition for roles in the play Charlotte’s Web. George tells his best friend, Kelly, that she wasn’t to be the role of Charlotte in the play. Kelly tells George that he would play a wonderful Charlotte. When Ms. Udell hands out the sheets for auditions, she gives all the girls sheets that say ‘Charlotte’ on the top and the boy’s sheets that say ‘Wilbur’. George gets a Wilbur sheet, which she hates. When it’s his turn to go out in the hall and audition, she worries what Ms. Udell will say. When George starts Charlotte’s monolog, Ms. Udell was not very happy. George returns to the room and tells Kelly that it was a bad decision to audition for Charlotte. Later that day, out at the school buses, George starts to tell Kelly that he feels like a girl inside, but when Kelly doesn’t understand what she is saying, George runs off to the bus. George struggles will be telling her mom that she feels like a girl inside but after planning with Kelly, who got the part of Charlotte, to switch roles during the second performance, Georges mom finds out how George feels. At the end of the book Kelly’s uncle takes her and George to the zoo. Kelly comes up with the idea to have George dress like a girl. George goes over to Kelly’s early in the morning to try on different skirts. She also says her girl name out loud for the first time, Melissa.

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started reading it, but by the end of the book I was very happy with it. I’m not sure I would read this with or to my future students, but I do think it will be something I would let my own kids read when they are older.


This book is recommended for 3rd-8th graders.

N.S.