EMGSF Smallish Books

The Lonely Lake Monster
by Suzanne Selfors
First sentence: “Pearl smacked the alarm clock until the loud beeping stopped.”
Content: Nothing objectionable or difficult at all. My only problem is deciding whether or not it’s happiest in the middle grade (3-5) section or the beginning chapter book (grade 1-2) section. It could go either way.
Others in the series: The Sasquatch Escape

I really liked the first one of the series; and this was more of the same. It wasn’t bad; Pearly got to shine as her own heroine, saving her friend Ben from a lonely lake monster. She came up with and executed a solution on her own, which I was very proud of and grateful for. It just lacked substance, which is just me as an adult talking. It’s perfect for the target age group.

The Ghost Prison
by Joseph Delaney/Illustrated by Scott M. Fisher
First sentence: “For pity’s sake, get up, lad.”
Content: Lots of ghosts. Would sit in the middle grade (3-5) section of the bookstore.

This is a ghost story. For kids. It’s got (duh) ghosts, and kid-eating monsters, and atmosphere coming out the wazoo. Except, it wasn’t scary. At all. Even the twist at the end wasn’t a surprise. Perhaps it was because I am an adult, and it’d be terrifying to a 7-year-old. But, honestly? You want something scary? Read Coraline.

Mickey Price: Journey to Oblivion
by John P. Stanley
First sentence: “Every great adventure starts with a moment.”
Review copy sent to me for the Cybils.
Content: Seventh-graders being put in dangerous situations. But other than that, nothing. Would reside in the middle grade (3-5) section of the bookstore.

Mickey Price — confusingly telling this story to his kids when he’s older — is a seventh grader who gets chosen to be a part of a super-secret astronaut program in 1977. They get sent to the moon and Save The World. There’s science and math because, you know, they’re Useful. And I spent the entire book alternately wondering WHY this was in the Speculative Fiction category — was it because it’s unrealistic to send seventh graders into space — and wishing Stanley had gotten a better editor. Good idea, lousy execution.

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)

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