Posts Categorized: middle grade reader

Pip Goes to Camp Blog Tour and Review

27 Aug, 2012 by in middle grade reader Leave a comment

We are today’s stop on the official blog tour for Pip Goes to Camp hosted by Cedar Fort Books and Donna L. Peterson. Here’s our 5 star review…

Pip Goes to Camp (The Misadventures of Phillip Isaac Penn)
by Donna L Peterson
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published: August 14, 2012
by Cedar Fort Inc
ISBN: 1462110770
Book source: Netgalley
5 stars

Book summary from Book’s websiteSummer camp won’t know what hit them! Pip’s parents are sending him away on an adventure, but Pip’s sure a whole week at camp will be more like torture! Filled with fun comedy, eye-catching pictures, and an easy-to-follow storyline, this book is perfect for young readers and guaranteed to keep the whole family grinning to the very last page!

Cathy’s review: Phillip Isaac Penn or Pip as he’s called by everyone, is thrilled to finally be done with school for the summer. But his father informs him that he is leaving the very next day for “8 fun-filled days at summer camp!” Summer camp! Pip doesn’t want to go to summer camp, especially right after school ends. Pip’s father assures him that he is going to mature only Pip can’t find “mucher” in the dictionary, and he’s unsure of what it means or why he would even want to do it. Pip reluctantly climbs aboard the bus to summer camp only to find his nemesis, Cheater Chad, already aboard the bus. He knows there’s bound to be problems with Chad at the same camp and wants to run off the bus, but he sticks it out, only to find that Chad is not the worst boy at camp. Oh no! Join Pip and see what kind of misadventures he has in his week at summer camp.

This book was hilarious! I loved that you could sense Pip’s mischievous personality from the very first page. You can tell that he very much needs to “mucher” like his dad says. He’s always in trouble at camp, yet he’s not really a bad kid, he just ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time an awful lot. This book teaches kids to be treated how they would want to be, without sounding preachy. Kids are able to see the difference between Cheater Chad, Joker Joey, Show-Off Shad, Bossy Billy and Corrector Cora and how you really should act. This book would be a fun book to read aloud to your kids. It’s the second of The Misadventures of Phillip Isaac Penn, but it stands alone just fine. I hadn’t read the first misadventure and I had no problem understanding what is happening. I like that the book is fun for both adults and kids. 

Content: clean

About the author: Donna Peterson has enjoyed writing stories and poetry since she was in the second grade. Donna had her first book, The Misadventures of Phillip Isaac Penn: It’s Not Easy Being a Kid, published in 2011. She has also been published four times in the Idaho Magazine and wrote a weekly humor column, “Kaleidoscope,” for the Three Rivers Chronicle. Donna recently made a difficult decision to take an early retirement from her job of twelve years with the school district so that she will be able to spend more time doing what she enjoys most: writing for young readers. However, she has signed up on the sub list, so she plans on being involved with school activities.

Donna lives in Idaho with her husband, Brad, and their three beloved pets: Rusty, Sam, and Links. Her son Erik and his lovely wife, Shawna, live in Utah. Her other son, David, just joined them as a roommate while he plans on attending a nearby college in Utah.

Along with writing, Donna’s other favorite pastimes include Zumba and photography. Having her first children’s book published last year was a dream come true.

Find out more about author Donna L Peterson: Goodreads/ Facebook/ Website

The Code Busters Club: Case 1 by Penny Warner

05 Nov, 2011 by in middle grade reader Leave a comment

The Code Busters Club
Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key
by Penny Warner
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 13th 2011
by EgmontUSA
ISBN 1606841629
Source: BEA
Rating: 4 stars

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. may be really different, but they all share one thing in common: they love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much, they have their own private club, with a super-secret hideout and passwords that change every single day.

When Cody and Quinn notice what could be a code on the window of a nearby house, the one owned by their strange neighbor, the guy they call Skeleton Man, the club gets to work. And it is a cry for help!

Now the Code Busters are on the case—and nothing will stop them from solving the mystery and finding the secret treasure that seems to be the cause of it all!

This exciting interactive mystery offers more than fifteen codes for you to decipher, including the Consonant code, Morse code, and American Sign Language. Test your brain with the Code Busters and solve the mystery along with them. Answers are in the back, if you ever get stuck.

For more code-breaking fun, visit and join the club! Ages 8–12

This is a fun middle grade book. Cody, Quinn, Luke and M.E. love codes and have created the Code Busters Club. They have a secret club house and communicate with each other using different codes, including sign language (which they learned because Cody’s little sister is deaf). Noticing a coded message from a neighbor, calling for help, the Code Busters use coded messages to solve a crime.

I love how this book encourages kids to learn different ways to communicate (it even embraces the language of children today, texting). Mixed in with the story we find codes for the readers to unravel (don’t worry, there is a key at the back of the book) so the story becomes interactive. Kids will easily be able to relate with the characters, and enjoy sharing their adventures by helping crack the codes.

The idea of communicating via code brought back memories for me. Back in High School, a good friend created a code (utilizing small shapes and images in place of the alphabet) and we used it to pass notes back and forth. Our logic was that if we got caught passing notes, our teachers would have no idea what we were saying! (Honestly, we were pretty good kids who had to find our own little ways to rebel. Our notes usually related to pretty tame things like where we were going to meet at lunch or when the next church dance was taking place). It was so much fun to have our own coded means of communication. We got pretty good at both writing and reading it with out our answer keys (which we, much less creatively than the characters in the Code Busters, had written down on 3X5 cards).

If you are looking for a fun book (and soon to be series, the next adventure being alluded to at the end of this book) for your middle grade reader, look no farther than The Code Busters Club.

Content: Clean

Dungeons and Dragons Series

05 Jul, 2010 by in middle grade reader, monster slayers 20 comments

Monster Slayers
published May 11th 2010 by Mirrorstone (first published 2010)
details Hardcover, 256 pages
isbn 0786954841
3 stars
For as long as Evin can remember, he has dreamed of being a real hero. And when his entire village is kidnapped by evil monsters, he finally gets his wish. With the help of his friend Jorick, a young elf wizard named Betilivatis, and an ancient guidebook of magical beasts called A Practical Guide to Monsters, Evin treks through ancient ruins and faces all kinds of strange and terrible creatures on his quest to find his family.

But soon, Evin realizes that not everything is as it seems. Why is Betilivatis sneaking off to report their every move to someone only she can see? Why can’t Evin remember anything before the day of the kidnapping? Why does it seem as if someone—or something—is controlling the monsters and drawing the three friends deeper into a battle they might never win?

A Companion Novel to The New York Times Best-Selling A Practical Guide to Monster

If you have a middle grade boy this is the series for you. Dungeons and Dragons fans can follow the adventures of two boys and an elfin wizard out to save their village. Along the way they encounter ruins, troll-like creatures, all sorts of monsters and men that are really machines. Can Evin and Jorick battle the seen and unseen forces that work against them to save their families? Who is Betilvatis speaking to and what is she really up to? Does magic win out over sheer force and the sword? Find out by reading the Monster Slayers!

We are currently touring Monster Slayers and Nocturne, both Dungeons and Dragons companion novels. Email us if you are interested in reading and reviewing either of them.

Comment below to enter to win this prize pack of Dungeons and Dragons Goodies which includes two hardback books and a Young Wizards Handbook. Contest ends August 6, 2010 Good Luck!