My first copy of Frankenstein was a graduation gift from my senior English teacher in high school. I read it on my own soon after (i.e., not as a class assignment), and I adored it. After reading The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, I decided it was time to read it again. I still […]


Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. Hatchet is one of my favorite-est “boy books” (more on that below). It freaks me out to think that it’s 25 years old! Maybe that’s partly because it seems like it should be ageless. The core of the story is a boy living alone in the woods, and no amount […]

Pawn of Prophecy

Review written by Clark Valentine. Pawn of Prophecy kicks off David Eddings’s Belgariad series, which chronicles the adventures of the ancient sorcerers Belgarath and Polgara, with their young companion Garion, in a quest to save the world from the evil god Torak. It is Nope Not At All Just Like The Lord Of The Rings […]

Encyclopedia Brown

Like most people my age, I loved the Encyclopedia Brown books when I was young. I also adored the Two-Minute Mysteries, even if most of the clues were well above my experience (did you know that men and women have different etiquette when telling a taxi driver their destinations? I sure didn’t.). Donald J. Sobol […]

Basil of Baker Street

Since Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective is one of my favorite animated movies, I’ve been meaning to read the books the movie is based on. Finally I got around to reading Basil of Baker Street. Basil is a mouse who lives in the basement of Sherlock Holmes’ house on Baker Street. He idolizes the human […]

Anne of Green Gables

Review written by my 11 year old daughter, MRValentine. Anne of Green Gables is about Anne Shirley and her adventures at Green Gables in Avonlea. She gets into all kinds of trouble, finds friends, and loses her temper about her “hair of the most disastrous red.” I liked the book because you can find connections […]

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)

Ellen Raskin was one of my favorite authors as a kid, so after the success of reading The Phantom Tollbooth with my kids, I was eager to share her books with them as well. The first book we read was The Mysterious Disappearence of Leon (I Mean Noel). It led to much laughter with the […]

Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia is one of the reasons I started this site. It’s become a childhood classic, but it’s also one that many people list among the most traumatic books they read as kids. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about depictions of death in kids books, I decided I’d better reread it, instead of […]

The Witches

The Witches is a classic Roald Dahl novel with an over the top plot that will probably make most parents cringe. It felt at first like a story that the grandma was telling that just got out of control—except it all turns out to be true! Witches are out to kill or otherwise get rid […]

The Phantom Tollbooth

I remember loving The Phantom Tollbooth as a child and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it held up. I read it out loud to my kids, which allowed me to explain some of the jokes and the overall metaphorical plot (why words and numbers require rhyme and reason to reach their full potential). […]