Horrible Harry and the Kickball Wedding

I had my doubts about any book starring a character called “Horrible Harry,” but at least in Horrible Harry and the Kickball Wedding, Harry isn’t really all that horrible. He’s a bit of a prankster and he prefers to be the center of attention, but he’s actually kind of sensitive and figures out how to […]


Ungifted is the story of Donovan, a very academically average kid, who through a series of circumstances accidentally ends up in the district’s school for the very gifted. It’s not like he’s actually brilliant and no one ever noticed—it doesn’t take long for everyone to realize he doesn’t have the academic chops to be there. […]

Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog

Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog is the second book in the Stick Dog series. It’s useful but not necessary to read the first one before reading this one, but I’ll assume you read my review of the first one. The tone and approach are similar, with the narrator asking the reader not to give […]

Stick Dog

When I told my son I wasn’t a huge fan of Potterwookiee, he said that if I want books that look like they’re written by middle schoolers, I should totally read Stick Dog. So I did, and he was right. The cover looks like one of those school notebooks with the sewn binding and a […]


We bought Potterwookiee at a Scholastic book fair because it combined Harry Potter and Star Wars, two of my son’s favorite universes. He read it a while ago and I think he said it was ok. I finally got around to reading it, and I’m equally unimpressed. It’s part of The Creature from My Closet […]

Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life

I read the second Dork Diaries book before I read Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life, and I think I’m glad I read them out of order. The first book fills in some minor gaps for me—I now know that Nikki is new to her private middle school and that she’s there on scholarship […]

Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl

Unable to get my hands on the first book at any of the libraries available to me, I started with the second book, Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl. The books seem to stand alone just fine—I didn’t feel at all lost starting with the second one. The Dork Diaries are the […]

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends

When you look at the cover of Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends, you can imagine the tie-in dolls (and they look about as you’d imagine). Normally neither my daughter nor I would be intrigued by a book whose copyright is held by Mattel. But then I noticed that it was written by Shannon […]

The Last Dragonslayer

I’m a huge fan of the Thursday Next series, so I was excited when Jasper Fforde wrote his first book for younger readers. The Last Dragonslayer has much in common with Fforde’s other books. It features a competent female character calmly solving problems in the center of a collection of bizarre characters and situations. It […]

Star Wars: Jedi Academy

Joining the quickly growing genre of “books that are part journal, part graphic novel, and aimed primarily at middle school boys” is Star Wars: Jedi Academy. It’s a cute quick read, but not my favorite entry in this competitive field. Aside from a veneer of Star Wars, it’s pretty much par for the course. Roan […]