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Comments are explicit and detailed and are intended for parents to use to determine acceptability for their children. Please read comments - do not rely on ratings alone. Books are reviewed to the best of our abilities, we apologize for any errors.

Review Date Title Author Series Grades Rating Teen Comments
01/27/2019 Countdown Zero Rylander, Chris Codename Conspiracy 4 - 7 Generally Acceptable
Boy and friends are sent on dangerous mission by government agency
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Boy hugs girl who saved him, not romantic. dart hits bad guy in crotch
Language
poop, jerk, suck, crap, heck. pee in pants. nose picking. butt
Violence
People get injured and die
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
passing mention of Star Trek, star wars
01/18/2019 The War I Finally Won Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker 6 - 8
Sequel to the book "The War That Saved My Life". GIrl's cruel mother dies and girl with cured clubfoot is officially adopted by her guardian, but still has trouble getting past the abuse she was subjected to by her mother. Jewish refugee girl comes to live with them to study math with her adoptive mother. A lot of religious discussion, some of it problematic. People are very mean to girl because she is German and England is at war with Germany. Very sad when girl's big brother is killed. Mother falls into a depression.
Religion/Hashkafa
xmas-special dinner, special clothing, presents, tree. Description of church on xmas including characters from xmas story mentioned by name. GIrl has many questions about religion. " Jewish girl is served pork "my father would tell me not to eat anything cooked in the same dish as pork sausage, my mother would say it is more important for me to be a good guest." Jewish girl eats lamb cooked in a separate pot (not kosher) instead of pot. Long, detailed problematic discussions about difference between Judaism and Christianity- belief in JC, new testament. DIscussions about why Hitler hates Jews. Easter, Good Friday. Discussions of heaven and eternal life and angels.
Language
stupid, idiot, blasted
01/18/2019 The Xanadu Adventure Alexander, Lloyd 8 - 10 Questionable
A short adventure book, more appropriate for older readers since it contains difficult, old fashioned language and scholarly references. Girl, her boyfriend, and her adoptive parents travel to an archeological site that claims to be ancient Troy. They encounter an evil villain they thought they had eliminated in a previous book and have many close escapes. Many mentions of classical literature, authors and ideas. Brief, easily missed references to "scandalous affairs" and man "running off" with another's wife. They are imprisoned in rooms meant for a harem which are kept cool- "those harem ladies could be chilly, parading around in their next-to-nothings".
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Adoptive father is concerned that his daughter and boy are working closely "her marmalade covered tresses practically entangled with his tousled mop... I suspected they might share some small measure of affection." WHen he mentions is to his wife she says to him "what's the harm... le teh young people enjoy each other's company". Eventually leads to marraige.
Religion/Hashkafa
Description of a Greek wedding based on ancient beliefs in gods and goddesses and other mythology,.
Language
damn, idiot, weird, stupid
01/18/2019 Thea Stilton and The Dancing Shadows Stilton, Geronimo Thea Stilton 3 - 5 Problematic
Teenage mice travel to Italy to investigate cheating at a prestigious dance contest. Many illustrations of mice in leotards. Coed dancing- text and illustrations. Dancers work at "nightclub openings... movie premieres".
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Teenage boy mice keep looking at a girl- friend thinks it is fun to watch "two handsome young ratlings compete for her shy friends attention". Boys and girls go touring together- illustration of them walking arm in arm. Girl hugs boys goodbye.
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
TV, cable TV,
01/18/2019 Dance Challenge Stilton, Thea Thea Stilton 3 - 5 Questionable
Teenage mice compete in a dance challenge in order to be accepted to a special dance class. Many illustrations of mice in leotards. Coed dancing-0 illustrations and text.
Language
weird,
01/17/2019 The Third Journey Through TIme Stilton Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 3 - 5 Problematic
Mice travel through time to visit the Ice Age, Ancient Greece, and The Renaissance. Information about Ice Age presented as factual including it happening millions of years ago. Quiz at the end of the book checks for "factual" knowledge. Mentions that dinosaurs were already extinct in that era. Illustrations and descriptions of Greek gods and festivals dedicated to them- large illustration of statue of goddess . Mentions that in Renaissance artists were hired by churches.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Tease mouse about a pretty rodent who nursed him back to health- he responded "my heart beats for another rodent". When told he mentioned her name many times when he was unconscious, he blushed.
Religion/Hashkafa
see comments above
Language
shut your snout (shut up)
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Brief mentions of movies
01/10/2019 The Storm Tower Thief Cameron, Ann The Lightning Catcher 5 - 7 Questionable
The saga continues as children try to find a way to stop a villain from unleashing deadly ice storms that can kill people. Also continue to try to find information about boy's captured parents. Boy finds a "lightning heart" that was created from a person who was killed while trying to capture lightning- it has mysterious powers and energy. Very bad middos between classmates. Same juvenile bathroom humor as the previous book.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Bully asks boy if his new scarf is from his girlfriend (it isn't and he doesn't have a girlfriend)
Religion/Hashkafa
brief mentions of xmas- no religion. A chapter is titled "A xmas podding" but it only mentions the holiday briefly- holiday lights, holiday cards, presents, tree.
Language
shut it, maniac, moronic, stupid, idiot, drat, blasted, shut up, creep, weird
01/10/2019 The Lightning Catcher Cameron, Ann The Lightning Catcher 5 - 7 Generally Acceptable
Boy is whisked off to a secret school where they learn about extreme weather and how to control it. Finds out his parents have been kidnapped by a wicked weather villain and that he has a rare talent for being able to predict dangerous weather. He becomes close friends with a boy and a girl and they have adventures together. They face classmates who are bullies. Quite a bit of juvenile bathroom type humor.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
children are surprised to see a male and female teacher ice skate arm in arm- though the surprise seems to be that they can skate so quickly "at their age", not that they are together.
Religion/Hashkafa
Brief mention of xmas presents.
Language
stupid, idiots, lunatic, blasted, moron, idiotic, jerk, weird
01/06/2019 Superposition Walton, David 12 - 12 Problematic
Teen
Adult science thriller. Man battles entity created from quantum physics. Although cleaner than most adult novels, contains some significant issues which can be edited
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
**inappropriate and suggestive scene between husband and wife; 40-41, 43, 300.Passing mention of mother bringing home men.Description of woman in low cut blouse and short skirt 125.Man left wife behind in Russia and sent her money, found out she married another man.Husband hugs wife 28. 185Passing mention of man seeing his room where he and his wife "slept and made love" 174.Woman who was man's "girlfriend", complains that he got a new one, and she thought she was going to marry him 199.Mention of man hitting another man who said "sexually suggestive things" to his wife 209.Husband accuses man of "sleeping with" his wife (he didn't) 200-201, 263Mention of man finding a man "copulating" with his mother on the couch, he beat him up and the man ran away without his clothing. 211Description of man having sexual relationships with married women 212, lawyer suggests man's wife was "sleeping with" that man 212-213. (211-212 can be torn out without damage to plot).Married woman talks about having inappropriate relationship with man 272, 273
Religion/Hashkafa
Christian theology: demons, Ch-- 113. Passing mention of xmas.Man who "found J---"
Language
ass, asshole, jerk
Violence
man was professional boxer; referrences to his rage, and hurting other people to protect loved ones. Shooting and attempted shooting.
01/05/2019 Playing with Matches Rosen, Suri 8 - 10 Problematic
Teen
Book about frum characters, written for a non-Jewish audience. Fun and well-done. Not your typical "Bais Yaakov" book.16 year old girl accidentally causes her sister's engagement to be broken. While trying to secretly set up her sister, she accidentally becomes a shadchan for numerous other singles.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Lots of talk of singles "finding true love", falling madly in love, etc. 2 prospective husbands dump their (almost) fiancees - one calls a former date on the phone during a serious date and gets engaged to the former girl over the phone; one was dating another girl while he was engaged. Description of picture of husband with arm around wife. Girl visits old man and is alone with him in his house.
Language
freaking, bum (behind), butt, jerk
Street Reality, "Gritty" books
Aunt asks secretive girl if she is on drugs or alcohol - she isn't. Passing reference to Oprah.
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Girl uses internet on computer, watches sports on TV.
01/05/2019 The Genius Plague Walton, David 12 - 12 Problematic
Teen
Tropical fungus infects humans' brains for its own agenda. Adult science thriller. Quite clean for an adult book, although there are some issues.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Man's parents are divorced, but his mother moved back in to take care of father with Alzheimers.Some discussion of reproduction of fungus, with facetious use of word s-- - page 12.Passing mention of looking at girls in bikinis (155). Passing mention of boy kissing girl 169. Passing mention of man who flirts -180. Woman invites exhausted man to sleep on couch in her hotel room - says she "won't take advantage of him" - nothing happens - p.189. Man tells his troubles to a pretty woman, when he leaves to go home she asks him if he "needs some company", he considers, but refuses (152-153). Some friendly negiah. Passing mention that mind-control drug could allow girls to "perform as s-- slaves" - p 296.Throughout book, man has friendly relationship with woman - some tension, but no actual romance.
Religion/Hashkafa
Some mentions of evolution, millions of years.
Language
ass, crap, bastard
12/25/2018 Adam & Thomas Appelfeld, Aharon 4 - 6 Problematic
Two Jewish boys hide in the forest on their own for the last few months of the war. Not very realistic since their mothers pack them plenty of food and medicine and seem to be in fairly good shape compared to the real conditions of ghetto children (and adults) who would not have had access to any of those things. The book does describe the boys hearing gunshots and helping wounded fugitives, but it is all very sterile. One of the boys is from a family that believes in G-d the other not. They have many juvenile discussions about G-d and believing in him- mostly positive, but there is questioning. A few mentions about their religion teacher, a monk, who told them relatively unobjectionable things. Parents/ teachers should review the following pages before giving this book to their children- religious discussions are on pg. 19, 36,41, 64,69, 80, 85, 94,98.
12/25/2018 Taran Wanderer Alexander, Lloyd The Chronicles of Prydain 6 - 8 Generally Acceptable
The saga continues as boy goes in search of information about his parentage and encounters adventures. Meet a man who somehow finds things that provide for his family- calls it luck- some discussion about it.
Language
drat, blast it, stupid
12/25/2018 Sammy and the Headless Horseman Arato, Rona 5 - 7 Problematic
Jewish boy is brought to a kosher Catskill hotel by his wealthy aunt and uncle where he is assigned work to pay for his room and board. He gets involved with helping a former black slave and finding out who is trying to scare him. There are a lot of Jewish and Yiddish terms and discussions about a kosher kitchen and the Sabbath but other than that there is not much religion- there is mixed swimming, card games, singing of secular and Yiddish songs, friendly negiah, etc.- pretty accurate description of things in those days. Mentions of Washington Irving and his story about a headless horseman. Cousin is spoiled and exhibits bad middos. Many mentions of boy's mother dying and his difficulty relating to his father's new wife. Children speak badly about boy's aunt (who is a difficult person)- call her a "dragon lady". In back of book there are pictures of author as a little girl in the hotel featured in the story shows her with her aunt on the pool deck, not dressed sniusly (but it is a blurry black and white photo, not so clear)
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Boy comments that he notices that non Jewish boy who works in hotel is "pretty close" with the daughter of the owners. The tips of his ears get red and he says they are "just friends". Owner of hotel worries they will bring "hotsie totsie" show girls in "skimpy costumes kicking up their legs" to perform in her hotel. Boys say they would like that.
Language
weird, idiot, stupid, shut up, heck, pee, jerk
12/25/2018 Snow Lane Angelini, Josie 6 - 8 Not Acceptable
Youngest child in a very religious Catholic family describes dysfunctionality and abuse, especially at the hands of her mother. A lot of religion and hashkafa issues. A huge amount of language issues. Boy/girl issues.
12/19/2018 Need to Know Cleveland, Karen 12 - 12 Problematic
Teen
Adult spy novel. Woman finds out her husband is a Soviet sleeper spy who married her because she works for the CIA. Some gun violence. Mostly mild inappropriate references (with some more explicit), could be edited. Description of bleeding and cramping for miscarriage. Mention of CIA agent who has a male "roommate", implication of deviant lifestyle: 18, 48. Some romantic negiah before marriage: 32, 49, 50, 51 (more explicit). Engagement with some inappropriate references 74-77. Romantic negiah after marriage (hugs and kisses, not detailed) 87, 104, 137, 272, 281 282, 283. Friendly negiah 274, some language: hell, damn, crap.
12/19/2018 The Martian Weir, Andy N/A Not Acceptable
Adult sci fi novel. Lots and lots of language including many f---, a few inappropriate references.
12/19/2018 Loot Watson, Jude 6 - 9 Questionable
Boy and sister follow in footsteps of criminal father, to steal jewels and break a curse. Although the kids have a nonchalant attitude towards breaking the law, the methods they use are so complex that they could not be models for real life kids; if the book is taken as clean fun, it could be considered OK. Refer to looking up things on a computer. Boy and girl join their team, they are close friends but not romantic. Non-romantic negiah. Mention of women wearing skinny pants, and in leotards and tights. Language: sucker.
12/19/2018 Giant Trouble Vernon, Ursula Hamster Princess 3 - 5 Questionable
Continuing adventures of a princess who would be a hero- loosely based on fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. Magical harp wants to form a "heavy metal" band.Bathroom humor about giant who smells bad and passes gas. Language- heck , weird, stupid, idiot, fart, dumb, poop
12/19/2018 Houston, We Have A Klutz Time, Nicholas O. In Due Time 4 - 6 Questionable
Boy and girl go back in time to the first rocket launch to stop villains from changing history. Girl is teased by classmates in a very mean way for being klutzy.One word xmas. Brief mention of Egyptian goddess. Girl makes "pinky promise" with male astronauts.Woman warrior checks out man's bicepts to see if he is strong- then she runs her fingers through his hair- kids think her behavior is "weird". TV Language- stupid, weird, freak, dumb, darn (p25), gross
12/19/2018 One Came Home Timberlake, Amy N/A Not Acceptable
Newberry Honor Book. Girl is very upset when a body is identified as being that of her older sister- girl doesn't believe it is really her sister. Sister was engaged to a man, but then she was seen kissing a former boyfriend and the engagement was broken- continues along these lines throughout the book.
12/19/2018 Timothy of the Cay Taylor, Theodore 6 - 8 Questionable
Companion book to the classic "The Cay". Tells the story of the old black man who saved the boy's life after being shipwrecked. Alternating chapters tell the story of the boy having surgery to get his vision back. Boy's parents can't understand why he feels so attached to a "negro". Other discrimination against him also detailed. Description of slavery and terrible conditions of slaves brought over from Africa. Boy thinks about his deceased saviour alot and what he must see from heaven. Nurses tell boy he is good looking and "can get all of the girls he wants". THey flirt with him. One word xmas.MOther is concerned son attached to someone dead "THere are no such things as guardian angels. There is no communication from heaven. Or from Hell." Lady battles evil spirits and casts spells for the superstious people in town. When boy comes back from sailing, wonders if he will get girlfriends. Language - stupid , dung, damn (chapt 16 p 101).
12/19/2018 We'll Bite Your Tail, Geronimo! Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Space mice travel to an alien planet to help save them. Mention of movie trilogy. Small illustration of female mouse dancing with male alien- innocent.
12/19/2018 Thea Stilton and the Venice Masquerade Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Teenage mice travel to Venice for the Carnival season and become involved in catching the person who is mysteriously stealing pieces of costumes. Picture of girl wearing scanty gown in an imaginary beauty contest. Girl hugs boy in greeting- not romantic. Illustration of boy and girl holding hands- no text or explanation. Language- weird
12/19/2018 Thea Stilton and the Tropical Treasure Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Problematic
Teenage mice volunteer at a wildlife center and search for a treasure in the Caribbean. Romance between two workers at the center eventually leading to an engagement- she hugs him (text and illustration), they hold hands (illustration), boy tells her he is interested in her and she blushes, they hug each other "tenderly" when they get engaged (text and illustration). Mouse said she is an "expert when it comes to recognizing the signs of a crush". Retelling of a legend of a pirate and victim who fall in love- "star crossed lovers" llustration of them holding hands- mouse comments "how romantic". Language- weird
12/19/2018 Thea Stilton and the Madagascar Madness Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Teenage mice travel to a nature preserve to compete in an adventure camp to benefit an ecological society and end up confronting poachers. Male and female "shake paws". One sentece xmas and "santa mouse". Full page illustration of teenage female mice in bathing suits. Illustration of boys with arms over girls shoulders- no text.
12/19/2018 Thea Stilton and the Journey to the Lion's Den Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Problematic
Teenage mice go on safari and help save a lion cub from poachers. Boy and girl shake hands- not romantic- text and illustration. Boy and girl dance together- text and illustration. Boy and girl email each other every day.Factual side bar says the rift valley has been forming for thirty million years. Developers plan to make an exclusive resort that will attract movie stars. Language- weird
12/19/2018 Thea Stilton and the Frozen Fiasco Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Teenage mice hunt for missing detective story author in Iceland. Male and female teenagers shake hands, give a friendly shove, female hugs male to thank him for saving her. Illustration of coed swimming- male and female teenagers in one piece bathing suits.Technology- laptop, email, text messages
12/19/2018 The Helmet Holdup Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Viking mouse figures out who stole the chief's helmet. Mouse has a crush on a girl who is "fascinating"- illustration of him looking at her with hearts in his eyes. Language- blasted
12/19/2018 The Dragon of Fortune Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
A very fat, but still easy to read continuation of the fantasy series. Mouse goes to fantasy land to retrieve a stolen ring and save the world. References to previous fantasy series books. Mouse shakes ladies hand in greeting. Bathroom humor about ogres.Girl says boys are "cute". Language- pee, poop
12/19/2018 Cyber-Theif Showdown Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Mouse figures out who stole his identity online. Book assumes that readers are on the internet and gives extreme examples of identity theft and rules for safe surfing of the web including- to only surf with the help of an adult and to tell an adult if anyone sends a message that makes you uncomfortable or if you receive photos from someone you don't know. Illustration of male mouse dancing with female mouse. Exciting and detailed description of playing a virtual reality game online.
12/19/2018 Bollywood Burglary Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Mouse travels to India to guard a diamond belonging to an old friend who is a movie star. Cover shows them dancing side by side. Plot of movie written in detail- prince sees portrait of princess and instantly falls in love with her- eventualy marry. Illustration of them holding hands. Bride and groom hug "joyously"- text and illustration. Illustration of bride and groom cutting a wedding cake together. Language- weird
12/19/2018 A Cheese-Colored Camper Stilton, Geronimo Geronimo Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Mice travel to Ratzikistan, the coldest spot in their world, to write a travel guide. Full color illustration of bathing suits on a line including very shaped two piece woman's bathing suits- a small one on top of every page in that chapter. Wonders if mouse on sleigh is "santa mouse". A few unimportant mentions of xmas. Sister goes on more dates than a movie star. She says she can't go into the woods for help in case she meets a "cute" mouse.
12/19/2018 Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition Shetterly, Margot Lee 5 - 8 Generally Acceptable
True story about mathematicially talented African American women who broke through racial and gender barriers to help launch the space program. African Americans compared their treatement in the US with treatment of Jew at the hands of Nazis. A few mentions of one word xmas. Brief mentions of attending church "worship services", singing in church chior. Language- wierdo
12/19/2018 The Treasure Trap Scott, Lisa Ann The Wish Fairy 2 - 3 Questionable
Girl finds a fairy who grants her wishes, but she discovers the hard way that she has to be very careful how to word her wishes. In this book she wishes for buried treasure which causes many problems. Black and white pictures of fairy in a somewhat scanty gown. TV. Language- darn (p106)
12/19/2018 Hurry Up, Houdini! Osborne, Mary Pope Magic Tree House 2 - 3 Questionable
Children journey back in time to meet Houdini. Man says his wife writes him "love notes" every day. She calls him "dreamboat" and her calls her "sweetheart". Black and white illustration of woman wearing short dress/leotard on stage. Man shakes girls hand in farewell. Language- darn (pg. 39), weird, heck (pg 162)
12/19/2018 Abe Lincoln At Last! Osborne, Mary Pope Magic Tree House 2 - 3 Generally Acceptable
Children journey back to time of Abraham Lincoln- as a boy and as a president. Boy and girl shake hands in greeting.TV, movies. Language- bratty, darn (p18), weird
12/19/2018 Troubletwisters Nix, Garth and Williams, Sean Troubletwisters 5 - 7 Questionable
Strange things happen when twins go to live with their grandmother and they end up needing to save the world. Some scary/dangerous/magical creatures and incidents.Children can't imagine how they will survive in grandmother's house without a TV. Parents seem to have a complicated marraige- father is away often- not clear how welcome he is- this is very minor to the story. One sentence mentions of church as a geographic location. Head of school is dysfuntional. Language- freaky, weird, blast, sucks, idiot, stupid, dratnation, shut up
12/19/2018 Impyrium Neff, Henry Impyrium 7 - 10 Questionable
Teen
Magical future world. Well written, long novel for older readers. Low class boy is sent to infiltrate royal family of powerful magicians. Befriends princess, no romance, but passing reference to princess having a 'crush' - not developed. References to 'gods'. Violence. Boy is son of mother and father from 2 different tribes; they were not permitted to marry because tribes did not approve; in his culture this is an insult. He is called a bastard. Princess is also considered a bastard; she does not know who her father is, it is acceptable in her culture because the maternal line is all that matters. After initial mentions, this is not a big factor in the book. Some language: hell, damn, piss. Boy prays to spirits and gods. 2 passing mention of flirting; man squeezes woman's bottom. Non-romantic negiah. References to "The Little Mermaid"
12/19/2018 Keeper of the Lost Cities Messenger, Shannon Keeper of the Lost Cities 4 - 7 Questionable
Girl discovers that she isn't really a human, she is an elf who can do amazing things. She gets tangled up with secret groups who seem to be out to destroy the human world. Dinosaurs. Middos between classmates, both human and elf. Boy is "good looking" like a "rock star" with "spiked hair". Girl needs to leave her human family forever and wipe their memories of her- very sad. Girl blushes around "cute" boy and her heart does a "strange fluttery thing". Girl is sure that "half the girls in the school have a crush" on a "cute" boy. A lot of very minor kiddy boy/girl- she likes him, doesn't like him, flirting, etc.. A lot of nonromantic negiah. Minor bathroom humor about farts and burps. Technology. Frequent language- freaking out, idiot, stupid, dumb, weird, pain in the butt, jerk, dung, gross, freaky, kick his butt, suck. Later books more problematic

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Caroline - A Caroline Mystery Caroline's Secret Message
American GIrl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Girl goes with her mother to try to convince the British to release her father. Some bad middos between children- eventually work it out. In back history section picture of wife clinging to her husband as he goes off to battle.Preview of A Surprise for Caroline- mention of xmas gifts.
Addy - Addy Learns a Lesson
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Acceptable
Series
A former slave girl goes to school and learns to read along with learning the meaning of true friendship.
Josefina - Josefina Learns a Lesson
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
In back of book, history section has paragraph about Catholicism with picture of an alter.
Julie - A Julie Mystery - The Tangled Web
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Problematic
Series
A new girl seems nice but she is keeping a lot of secrets which turn out to be lies. Girl uncovers the truth and ends up helping her family including her brother is traumatized by his experiences in Vietnam. Mention of Nancy Drew mysteries. A lot of mention of parent’s divorce and missing her old life. Titles of various seventies TV shows and rock singers. Teenage sister has crushes but no steady boyfriend so younger sister tries to find her one. She says boy is “dreamy”. Coed singing. A lot of Thanksgiving. Language- jerk, weird, creepy, stupid, suckers, heck (twice).
Gabriela - Time for Change
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Questionable
Series
Girl with a stutter feels overwhelmed with all of her commitments and wonders which she should drop. Girl says that when she does ballet she feels like she is in church. Kids plan a Halloween party- a lot of detail about Halloween- no religion.Girl dresses up as "Bride of Frankenstein"- says she looks like a character from a movie. Girls dress up as a social butterfly- one dresses like a butterfly, the other like social media. A few mentions that boy's mother is a "single mom"- no explanation. Boys and girls are in a poetry group together and good friends- nothing overtly romantic. Language- heck, creepy, stupid, weirdness
Molly - Meet Molly
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
brother has crush. Sister sings k-i-s-s-i-n-g song. Minor middos between siblings.
Felicity - A Felicity Mystery - Lady Margaret's Ghost
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Questionable
Series
Colonial girl is afraid that a ghost is haunting her house, but in the end uncovers the true culprit- an orphaned girl whose guardians mistreat her and force her to steal. Girl asks the minister of the church if he believes in ghosts- he asks if they are talking about the father, the son and the holy ghost. They say no and ask if ghosts are real. Discussion on pg 131-132 chapter 12. he tells her he is "openminded" about it and finds it "reasonable" to think that maybe ghosts are "restless spirits who are disturbed about something that happened to them in life or worried about the people they cared about". Description of minister's dress.
Kirsten - Happy Birthday, Kirsten
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Swedish pioneer girl celebrates her birthday and the birth of a new sibling. One full color picture of a mixed dance - looks more fun than romantic.
Samantha - A Samantha Mystery - Clue in the Castle Tower
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Girls travel to England and with the help of two unruly boys, discover the true identity of the “ghost” haunting the castle. At a museum, they look at Greek and Roman sculptures and comment “I guess people did’t wear many clothes back then” girl wants to get a job instead of getting married.Boys play practical jokes. Language- daft, dumb
Samantha - The Lilac Tunnel - My Journey With Samantha
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Problematic
Series
Reader chooses own ending. Reader is encouraged to go to an unreviewed website for the ending to one of the scenarios. The book begins with a modern girl who is having difficulty adjusting to her parent's divorce and her father's subsequent remarriage. Her journey to the past helps her come to terms with it. A lot of emphasis on how much more comfortable and practical pants are (old fashioned girl calls them bloomers) - point is really made very clearly. Coed swimming with uncle. Girl can't believe how uncomfortable and old fashioned bathing dress is. Can't believe women swim in stockings. End up swimming in their underwear. Man kisses girl's hand (to be polite) she blushes. Brief mentions of movies, TV, computer, cell phone. Language- freaked out
A Winning Goal
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Reader chooses endings- a girl tries to balance having fun when playing soccer and winning as she tries to coach a friend who is just learning the game. A lot of detailed soccer plays. .
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Illustration of a poster advertising a dance recital- cartoonish girl in a leotard
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
TV.
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Reader is encouraged to go onto a (unreviewed) website to find one of the endings to the story.
Kaya - Changes for Kaya
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Questionable
Series
Indian girl rescues home from forest fire. Lots of Indian religion - needs guidance.
Samantha - Samantha Saves the Day
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Rich girl discovers the island where she spent time with parents before they died. Side story of a man who is said to propose to her grandmother each year and she says no - he kisses her hand.
Isabelle
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Problematic
Series
A girl attends a special school for the arts where she studies ballet and modern dance. A lot of ballet culture. Very prominent. realistic full color illustrations as well as photos of girls in skimpy costumes at the back of the book. Boys are in ballet class as well. Mean girl displays very bad middos.Mother approves of girl wearing pink hair extensions. Family is very artsy- mother is a clothing designer and artist and father plays drums in a band- his playing described in detail as a "madman twisting and flailing behind the drums and cymbals". Girls dance before coed audience. One word xmas and jack o' lanterns- no religion. Language- shut up.
Kit - A Kit Mystery - Missing Grace
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Two girls and a boy try to find a missing dog and uncover a criminal scheme. Woman touches her fiance's shoulder in sympathy. middos between children. coed singing. Language- stupid, stinkers.
McKenna
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Girl who loves gymnastics begins to have trouble in school when she starts fourth grade.Girl lies to her friends about her tutoring sessions because she is so embarrassed- eventually learns her lesson. A lot of gymnastics culture. Teacher emails parents to request a meeting. Full color, full page illustration of fourth grade girls in short shorts and t shirts. Mention of watching TV. Brief mentions of divorce. Language- darn(once-p.38), weird.
McKenna - McKenna, Ready to Fly
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Questionable
Series
Girl prepares to compete in competitive gymnastics while trying to balance friendship and volunteering in a stable for special needs children. Cover of book is a very clear picture of fourth grade girl wearing a skimpy leotard. Similar large full color pictures of girls in leotards throughout the book.Girl's friend deals with pressure of a very competitive mother. Mention of watching a movie. Language- freaked out.
Saige
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Girl overcomes her embarrassment to run a fundraiser for her school's arts program after her grandmother is injured and can't do it.At the same time she deals with her changing relationship with her best friend. Calls grandmother by her first name, but otherwise very respectful.Cover has large picture of fourth grader wearing sleeveless dress- as well as a 2 page full color illustration inside. Goes to a movie theater on Friday night with her friend.Non religious mentions of xmas..Language- weird,stupid, freaking out.
Maryellen - The One and Only
American Girl
Series:
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Series
Girl tries to stand out from her older sisters in school and tries to convince her friends not to be prejudiced against their new Italian classmate. Many mentions of old TV shows by name. Girl and friends like to imagine themselves as characters on TV. Girls listen to rock and roll records. Girl imagines mother would like to be a movie star. Older sister eventually gets engaged to her boyfriend, but until that happens younger sister makes it her project to convince him to propose.. Younger sister says he is a "dreamboat" who reminds her of TV actor who is so handsome.Girl notices that sister sits next to boyfriend "closer than was strictly necessary" and boy took girlfriend's hand to help her in "holding it longer than was strictly necessary". Mother takes girl on shopping trip to buy underwear- girl says it is very "dull". A lot of xmas- songs, trees, etc. Girl living in Florida wishes she could have a traditional xmas with snow and ice skating since she sees it on TV.Many chapters about how her dream about a traditional xmas came true and how she came to realize that appearances aren't so important. Minor middos between siblings. Language- weird
Marie-Grace - Marie-Grace and the Orphans
American Girl
Series:
Grades: N/A
Generally Acceptable
Series
A girl cares for a baby left on her father's doorstep and worries he might be the son of slaves and will be caught. A lot of fear of an epidemic causing many deaths. Baby is brought to the "Holy Trinity" orphanage which is run by nuns and priests.Upcoming wedding to take place in a cathedral which girl admires. No real religion mentioned.
Caroline - A Surprise for Caroline
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Problematic
Series
Girl wishes her older cousins would go ice skating with her until she finds out one of them is scared to. She learns to consider other people's point of view and to be more responsible. Entire book revolves around xmas- special gifts, special food, read the bible with the xmas story (not detailed). Small illustration of man and woman skating arm in arm. In back discusses how different people celebrated xmas in olden times.
Addy - Addy Saves the Day
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
Addy wins over a mean girl with kindness;
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
History section in back - picture of old fashioned woman's swim suit - explains that it was thought to be improper for men and women to swim together and women wore bulky dresses as swimsuits - written in a way to make separate swimming seem old fashioned - can be easily crossed out.
Religion/Hashkafa
children help with a church fundraiser - no religion
Felicity - A Felicity Mystery - Peril at King's Creek
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
A girl helps catch a British spy. A lot of rehashing about if she should have helped an abused horse escape his owner or not (as told in previous books ) and if she should have lied to her parents or not. Answer left unclear - eg. P. 66-69
Kaya - Kaya and the Lone Dog: A Friendship Story
American Girl
Series:
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Series
An Indian girl befriends a dog. Lots of descriptions of Indian religious beliefs.
Hoofbeats of Danger
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Series
A girl figures out who harmed a pony express pony.Girl wishes her mother would let her wear pants. Girl squeezes boy's wrist to thank him for his help. Language-darn (once), dumb.
Whistler in the Dark
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Problematic
Series
After girl's father dies mother is determined to move out west and become an editor of a newspaper. Mother is a women's libber- believes in "dress reform" and wears bloomers in public which is "scandalous". Daughter wrestles with feelings of embarrassment about the way the mother dresses and loyalty for her mother. The book is written in such a way as to cause the reader to sympathise with the dress reform movement and wonders why women should be "hampered by tight corsets and enormous skirts." A few mentions of going to church, no religion. Minor chutzpah. Many descriptions of the saloon where men gamble and get drunk. A poor woman abandoned by her husband earns money by dancing with miners in the saloon who pay her to dance with them. Girl rides behind boy on horse- text and illustration- no obvious romance between them, but very friendly. Language- thunderation, stupid
The Smuggler's Treasure
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Acceptable
Betrayal at Cross Creek
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Questionable
Series
During early Revolutionary War, girl's family leans towards Loyalist & tries to find out who is betraying them to Patriots; turns out it was her own grandmother, to scare her grandfather into not going to war. Coed dances where older boys and girls dance, her male cousins "had no trouble finding girls to dance with". Male cousin swings female cousin off the ground in greeting, "drapes hand over her shoulder" when he comes to walk her home. War and death. Go to church on Sunday. Language- stupid
Trouble at Fort LaPointe
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Questionable
Series
Girl who is half Indian half French figures out who is framing her father for stealing furs. Many Indian beliefs including belief in a great spirit. Girl says her father who is French "believes in just one spirit, G-d, to protect him. Carries a silver crucifix. Father gives daughter a crucifix and it is one of her "most cherished possessions".Father puts hand around mother's waist. Father grabs wife's hands and dances a jig with her. Celebration includes a coed dance. Father hugs mother. Scary when girls become trapped in smugglers' cave. Language- shut up, imbecile. In back section small color picture of a coed dance.
Shadows in the Glasshouse
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Acceptable
Series
Girl is kidnapped to be indentured servant in early American colonies. Solves mystery in glass-making factory.
Secrets on 26th Street
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Questionable
Series
Girl tries to locate her missing mother while at the same time uncovering the secret of her mysterious border. A lot of suffragists fights to get women the right to vote. Girl who likes to watch "romantic" movies thinks border's secret is a "love affair" Name of old time actress mentioned. Mention of "Hell's Kitchen"- a geographic location in New York City. Language-dumb,
Mystery of the Dark Tower
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Series
A girl suspects that her father is being unfaithful to her mother when he whisks her away from her home, leaving her mother at home, and then she sees him with another woman. Even though it turns out fine, the entire premise is highly inappropriate.
Gangsters At The Grand Atlantic
American Girl HIstory Mysteries
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Series
Girl hatches a plan to capture a dangerous gangster, while saving her sister and her boyfriend. A lot of boy/ girl, coed dancing, drinking, smoking, mixed swimming, negiah, etc.
The Minstrel's Melody
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: N/A
Problematic
Series
Black girl in segregationist south defies mother and runs away to join minstrel performing group. In end parents agree she was right. Several mentions of J--. Several instances of Christian imagery - burning in hell ("your fat sizzling") for singing "sassy" songs and lying. An important setting in this story is the church- prayers, hymns, organ, choir. Boy falls "smack in love" with fourteen year old girl and follows her around "like somebody's pet goat". Girl tells her sister she will tell strict mother that she was "flirting and twisting your behind and kicking up your legs with a boy around."Girl wonders why mother tells her she can't dance and sing songs that aren't religious- "how can something so enjoyable as music and dancing be a sin?" A lot of information about black music styles and minstrel shows.. Language- darn (frequent)
Danger at the Wild West Show
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Problematic
Series
Girl tries to prove her brother's innocence when someone gets shot at a wild west show. Many mentions of older brother having girl friends, wooing women, flirting, etc. Girl enjoys tormenting shy boy by talking about "unmentionables" like "getting a swat on my backside" or "nethergarments". Children admire new invention of bloomers which are split skirts which are much more practical for trick riding a horse or bike riding. In back history section more discussion about girls wearing "divided garments" with a photo. Girl "cusses" by saying "bloody blazes". Boy and girl are embarrassed when they realize they are accidentally holding hands. Language- dang/ danged,
The Night Flyers
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Series
Girl tries to figure out who is stealing her homing pigeons during World War I. Middos between classmates. Brief mention of going to church. It's "Christian duty to help out those less fortunate than us" one word xmas. Girl is frustrated because "grownups expect you to be honest , except when being honest was rude". Language- dang, stupid
Mystery on Skull Island
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Series
Girl suspects her father's fiancee of betraying him. She is forbidden from meeting with friends because they are working class, but she goes behind her father's back- in the end she is justified. Mentions of going to church for Sunday services. Non romantic negiah between men and women as befits that time period (men take women by the arm to escort them, kiss their hand, etc.) Minor violence. Language- berserk.
Voices at Whisper Bend
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Questionable
Series
Children try to capture the person who stole the scrap metal they collected for the war effort.Middos among classmates.Soldier brother writes to his little sister and tells her not to grow up too fast and not to start inviting "fellas" over so he can inspect her "admirers". Classmate warns girl to stay away from a boy or else people will think she has "a crush" on him. Father says blessing before they eat. Sisters at the convent give orphans clothing. When mother dies children "pray over her" and wrap a rosary around her hand so they should know she is a Catholic then leave her on church steps.Sad descriptions of poverty and loss. Non-romantic negiah. In back history section mentions that women "traded dresses for overalls" when they went to work in factories to help the war effort. Language- dumb, goofball,darn/darn it (frequent), stinkers, creepy, stinkin'.
The Strange Case of Baby H
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Questionable
Series
In the midst of the great San Francisco earthquake a mysterious disguised baby is left at the doorstep of a family who then become entangled with kidnappers. Detailed and scary descriptions of the earthquake and its aftermath. Detailed and sad descriptions of loss of a boy in a boating accident and it's horrible effect on the family- especially on the relationship between the two parents.Eventually their relationship improves- daughter is happy to see father touch mother "it's been a long time since her parents had touched each other" . Girl likes going to the park and watching young men "courting their lady friends out in the rowboats" - Language- hell, brat, stupid. damnation, Mention of opera singer Caruso in story and in back history section (with photo)
Mystery at Chilkoot Pass
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
Problematic