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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
12/19/2018 Exile Messenger, Shannon Keeper of the Lost Cities 4 - 7 Questionable
Second book in the saga. Girl/elf is further involved in finding one secret group as another tries to kidnap her and a magical animal she is training. When an elf dies they plant a tree and mix it with the elf's DNA and the tree grows- "letting the lost live on". Boys and girls dance together in a school performance. Bathroom humor. A lot of nonromantic negiah. Suggestions of romance, but very subtle. Language- shut up, freak, stupid, weird, idiot, pee, freaked out, butt, dumb, jerk
12/19/2018 Rosalie the Rapunzel Fairy Meadows, Daisy Rainbow Magic 2 - 4 Questionable
Girls help fairy find items that allow stories to end well. Reader is expected to be familiar with original story. In this book, children help restore Rapunzel's original ending-prince climbs girls long hair to rescue her from a tower.
12/19/2018 Predator vs. Prey McMann, Lisa Going Wild 5 - 8 Problematic
Children use their super powers to rescue the girl's father from the villians. Evil scientist is trying to create hybrid race to "jumpstart evolution".Girl is very disturbed and acts badly because her parents are getting divorced and don't pay attention to her. Technology- cell phone, text messaging, computers,ipad, apps. Movies, TV show , internet show described in detail- audience riots when they are dissapointed in the guest being interviewed.Girl sends friends picture of a teenage boy she saved from drowning kissing her on the cheek. Good guy vs. bad guy violence. Language- idiot, maniac, weird, freak out, dang, weirdo, brat, bummed, crap (twice), heck (twice), gross, shut up, dumb, stupid, heck (once), poop, jerk, butt, dang it.
12/19/2018 Island of Shipwrecks McMann, Lisa The Unwanteds 6 - 8 Problematic
The saga continues as the unwanteds journey to uncharted territory and end up getting shipwrecked on an island with constant hurricanes. Young man constantly thinks about his former girlfriend who he would like to get together with. He regrets that the time he tried to kiss her ruined their relationship. When he is with her he can't think straight and only thinks of her. When he touches her casually he feels "a flutter in his stomach". Man puts hands on woman's shoulders and "pulls her close"- they have an "intimate conversation".Language- stupid, blasted, idiot, jerk, weird, drat, moron, shut up
12/19/2018 Going Wild2 McMann, Lisa Going Wild 5 - 8 Questionable
A girl finds a bracelet that gives her superpowers and fights villians who want to take it from her. Violence. Boy and girl are best friends- get annoyed when people refer to them as boyfriend and girlfriend. Minor chutzpah when girl is upset family is moving. A lot of technology- hacking cellphones, internet, ipad,snap chat, texting, TV , movies. One word Halloween. Comic books- plots and characters. Superstrong girl catches boy who is falling from a tall ladder- friends chant- "Kiss the girl"- he doesn't Language- weird, stupid, dang, dumb, heck, freak, bitt, darn it, oh crud, shut up, idiots, jerk, creep, crap.
12/19/2018 Dragon Captives McMann, Lisa The Unwanteds 6 - 8 Questionable
Children of the characters in the original series go on a quest to free dragons who have been enslaved and get into all sorts of danger. Children like to hear story about when man and woman "fell in love". Woman is "love of his life". Man and woman hold hands. Wife "pecks" husband "on the lips". Language- stupid, crud, gross, creeps, weird, jerk, idiotic, freak out.
12/19/2018 Dragon Bones McMann, Lisa The Unwanteds 6 - 8 Questionable
The saga continues as the magical characters return to save an imprisoned girl.Girl and boy in captivity become friends- no outright romance. non romantic negiah. Brother has a "crush" on girl, when she kisses him on cheek, little sister wonders if they are "suddenly in love or something". Wife kisses husband. Langauge- stupid, heck, dumb, freaked out, weird
12/19/2018 The Half Court Hero Lupica, Mike The Zach & Zoe Mysteries 2 - 3 Generally Acceptable
Twins (boy and girl) figure out the identity of a mysterious benefactor who fixed up their basketball court. Play on a coed team (girls guard girls and boys guard boys). Sports are very important to this family- grandfather, father, and children all value it strongly. TV. Mother kisses father on cheek.
12/19/2018 The Dying of the Light Landy, Derek Skulduggery Pleasant 7 - 10 Problematic
Sub-plot of heroine's 'reflection' who is now girlfriend of the boyfriend she broke up with. Girl kisses boyfriend 37, 38. Humorous discussion about girlfriends 97. Passing mention of Gay/lesbian (as joke). Hug 164. Discussion of whether heroine's former boyfriend is now going out with her 'reflection' because he can't have her (208, 209). Reflection tells heroine that she is a better girlfriend 216. Boyfriend and heroine talk about him choosing reflection as girlfriend 235-236. Mentions of 'gods' = very powerful, usually evil beings. Character who died and came back to life says he found no evidence of the Judeo-Christian G-d, and death was just darkness with no afterlife (305). Passing mention of "the birds and the bees" 311. Beautiful woman prepares for bath and opens door to speak to men while undressed 370, she invites them to speak to her while she bathes 372. Ch- used as exclamation twice.
12/19/2018 Mortal Coil Landy, Derek Skulduggery Pleasant 7 - 10 Problematic
Teen
Continuing story of girl with magical powers. Kisses boyfriend (51, 401, 402, 403, 533) and wishes he could hug her to comfort her when hurt (478). Vampire is attracted to main character (72-75) and they kiss (73-74); kiss is referred to later when she feels guilty (170, 440) . Girl magical fighter reflects about how she needs a real date (171). Girl thinks about another girl's affectionate negiah with her boyfriend (172). Mention of girl undressing - no detail 230. Hug between girl and male partner - not romantic. Passing mention of xmas, no religion. Father tells girl going on date that her dress is too short and should be saved for 8th or 9th date. Girl goes to dance. Minor side story: woman magic character is so beautiful that when men see her they fall speechless and say they love her. Discussion of villain having crush on "good" woman, and how she already has a boyfriend 466-467; later she is possessed by evil being and he does become her boyfriend; they kiss (557, 558)
12/19/2018 Kingdom of the Wicked Landy, Derek Skulduggery Pleasant 7 - 10 Problematic
Teen
Girl with magical powers fights new evil sorcerers. Non-romantic hug. Very powerful sorcerers are called gods. Girl calls boy hot. Girl purposely falls onto boy so he will catch her and be attracted to her; she is hurt when he isn't161-163. Language: Mother of G-d.Kiss page 298. Discussion of whether male "undressed" skeleton is gross, and whether a female one would be 'hot' (418). Girl tells former boyfriend he is hot, and they hug (270)
12/19/2018 Dark Days Landy, Derek Skulduggery Pleasant 7 - 10 Problematic
Teen
Continuing saga of teenager with magical powers. Lots of violence. Some language: hell, damn. Passing mention of man living with woman. Girl hugs (395) and kisses (398) boyfriend. Non-romantic hug between girl and male partner, for saving him (406).
12/19/2018 The Secret of the Forgotten City Keene, Carolyn Nancy Drew 4 - 6 Problematic
Teenage detective and friends figure out who is making mysterious tapping sounds in a former actess' house, while capturing a criminal and a mentally unstable man. Girls help reunite the actress with her former leading man/boyfriend- they decide to marry- she takes his hand and kisses him on the cheek. Girls meet with their "dates" who help them try to solve the mystery. Girl is proud of her date and "tucks her arm into his" Boy picks up his exhausted girlfriend and carries her.Watch movie on TV.One sentence mention of services at church. Language- creep, idiot
12/19/2018 The Clue of the Tapping Heels Keene, Carolyn Nancy Drew 4 - 6 Problematic
Teenage detective and friends travel to the Nevada desert to participate in an archeological dig and find hidden gold. A few mentions in passing- no details - boyfriend kisses girlfriend, kiss goodnight. Hold hands while sliding down a steep mountain. Brief discussion of world being millions of years old. Watch an "exciting western movie". Man says grace "giving thanks for the works of the Diety". Uncover a skeleton- say it is a "magnificent find"- they did up the rest of it and then jiggle it to make it dance to make a "spook show".
12/19/2018 The Sight Hunter, Erin Warriors 6 - 8 Questionable
The saga continues as the grandchildren of the cats in the original series come of age and train to be warriors. Mild boy/girl between "teenage" cats, basically they think about each other and are happy to see each other. Male cat would like a "starlight stroll with a pretty female"- but it doesn't happen.Medicine cats go to a special lake and go to sleep touching the water and receive "prophecies" from their deceased ansestors.Violence between cats in a dispute about the borders of their land. Language- dumb, stupid, idiot.
12/19/2018 Sunrise Hunter, Erin Warriors 6 - 8 Problematic
The saga ends with the murderer's identity being discovered and subsequent suicide- very disturbing. Male and female cat's "lean into each other, their pelts brushing and their tails twined together." Cats finally discover that their mother pretended they were from another cat because she conceived them with a cat from another tribe and she wasn't allowed to since she was a medicine cat. Language- dung, stupid, shut up, idiot, weird
12/19/2018 Outcast Hunter, Erin Warriors 6 - 8 Questionable
Cats travel to help a defend a tribe of cats being attacked by intruders. Violence between cats. Teenage female cat "likes" male cat and tries to get his attention- her friend is surprised she is thinking about "taking a mate" at such a young age. Lots of discussion about power of the ancestors to change destiny and power of the living to control the deceased ancestors. Cat "brushes her pelt" against her mate, he gives her a "quick lick". Violence between cats. Father cat does not treat his son nicely. Frequent language- stupid, dung, weird, shut up
12/19/2018 Long Shadows Hunter, Erin Warriors 6 - 8 Questionable
Saga becomes a bit more scary when a cat tries to kill younger cats and then is murdered. Cats find out that their mother isn't really their mother. As in the rest of the series, constant mentions of dead anscestors guiding the living. A cat comes and convinces one of the clans not to believe in the anscestors anymore. Other cats are shocked at this blasphemy. Violence. Language- stupid, dung. It is possible a piece of this comment was erased.
12/19/2018 Eclipse Hunter, Erin Warriors 6 - 8 Questionable
Teenage cats become warriors and try to figure out the meaning of a prophecy dealing with their destinies. Violence between cats. Cats gossip about how a female cat follows a male cat with a "drippy look on her face" and how they wish she would stop "mooning" over him, and how two cats started "sharing tongues"- the nursery will soon get crowded. Cat is amazed how much he now a hates a cat he once loved (previous book). Language- stupid, dumb, wierd, shut up, weirdo
12/19/2018 Dark River Hunter, Erin Warriors 6 - 8 Questionable
The teenage cats continue to grow up and discover their destinies. One male cat sneaks out regularly to meet with a female cat from another tribe- they are "just playing"- eventually cat realizes he has to end their relationship if he wants to be a warrior for his tribe. Medicine cat continues to have prophesies and conversations with cats who have died. Affectionate negiah between cats. Language - weird, idiot, shut up, dumb
12/19/2018 One for the Murphys Hunt, Lynda Mullaly N/A Not Acceptable
A girl who is almost beaten to death by her stepfather is put into foster care with a warm lovng family. Vivid description of the incident as well as clear neglect by her mother. Descriptions of gambling and drinking in Las Vegas.Girl cuts school to go to the library, foster father worries she is doing drugs. Girl is outrageously chutzpadik to foster parents until she comes to trust them. Girl secretly watches married couple dance romantically in their house- clear description. Girl describes being forced to sleep in the bathtub when her mother needed the bedroom for "parties". Girl wishes her father had married her mother. Little Mermaid. Broadway shows. Wizard of Oz. Neutral grace before meals. St. Patricks day, Easter, xmas. TV, movies, internet. Language- creep, sucker, pee, dumb, dufus, poop, butt, freak, jerk, weirdo, moron, gross
12/19/2018 Grimtastic Girls Series Holub, Hoan and Williams, Suzanne Grimtastic Girls N/A Not Acceptable
Fairy tale characters attend a magical middle school and try to prevent an evil society from destroying their school. Every book I have reviewed has a side story involving some sort of boy/girl crush, liking, dancing together, holding hands, etc.
12/19/2018 Allistair Grim's Odditorium Funaro, Gregory 5 - 7 Problematic
An orphaned,mistreated chimney sweep accidentally ends up in a mysterious building with mysterious people and ends up helping to save the world.Scary creatures risen from the dead. A lot of convoluted hashkafa issues about death, resurrection, spirits, Roman gods, energy, science vs. magic, ghosts, shades, banshees, etc.. Man has a daughter our of wedlock. Bullys display horrible middos. Ongoing bathroom humor about someone having a "spotty bottom". Language- poop, blasted, blast it
12/19/2018 The Tournament at Gorlan Flanagan, John Ranger's Apprentice 6 - 8 Questionable
Prequel to the original series. Men team up to rescue the king who was kidnapped by an evil baron. A lot of good guys vs. bad guys violence. A lot of men drinking/ getting drunk. Men good naturedly tease and insult each other. Many bathroom humor references to passing gas. Silly lyrics about men meeting prettty ladies and asking for teir hand. Mild romance- man thinks woman is beautiful, gets flustered when talking to her. Language- shut up, idiot, stupid, darn
12/19/2018 The Battle of Hackham Heath Flanagan, John Ranger's Apprentice 6 - 8 Problematic
The saga continues. Wicked baron trains semi human creatures to be his deadly army so he can attack the kingdom and take over. Continuing very mild romance between a man and woman. He kisses her hand. Queen is sent to an abbey to be cared for by nuns as she is having a difficult pregnancy. A lot of good guy vs. bad guy violence Language- idiot, damn (three times), brat, stupid, bum (backside)
12/19/2018 Return of the Forgotten Fiedler, Lisa Mouseheart Trilogy 5 - 7 Problematic
Final book in trilogy. Rodents rebuild. Boys make "goofy eyes" at pretty princess- she ''''bats her eyes at the smitten young rats who gaze at her with dreamy eyes and blush when she bestows a smile". She sends a "love letter" to a boy. Male mouse describes how he went "weak in his little mouse knees" the first time he met a female. Mystical creature is revealed as their friend, but people still pray to him and look for his prophecies. Language- priss, idiocy,heck (p139) darn (p157), dumb, damned (p170), stupid, shut up, idiot, hellhole (p300)
12/19/2018 Mouseheart Fiedler, Lisa Mouseheart Trilogy 5 - 7 Questionable
First book of trilogy. Mice escape from pet store and end up in a rodent kingdom in an abandoned subway station. Middos between mouse siblings. Male rodents can't "take their eyes off" pretty female rodent. Girl blushes. Female "likes" male. Good guy vs. bad guy violence. A mystical creature makes prophecies which are collected in a "sacred book" . There are "believers" and those who don't believe in him. Language- stupid, idiots, dang, hell (p 293)
12/19/2018 Hopper's Destiny Fiedler, Lisa Mouseheart Trilogy 5 - 7 Questionable
Second book in trilogy. Rodent kingdom is destroyed, many are killed. Brother and sister team up to try to rescue their wayward brother. One word xmas. Nature decides for animals what happens to them. When male mouse looks at female mouse he feels "bubbly" (entire paragraph describes this feeling). Male and female act "weird" around each other because they are "mad for each other". Groom places a "shy kiss on the bride's cheek". Language- poop, weird, creep, shut up, darn (p 98), damned (p108), dumb, heck (p 165, 167, 332), idiot
12/19/2018 The Eyre Affair Fforde, Jaspar 12 - 12 Not Acceptable
Adult book, realistic fantasy, based heavily on classical literature theme. Very mild romance, 2 instances of romatic negiah. Biggest problem is LOTS of strong language including sh-t and possibly once f--.
12/19/2018 The Search for Wondla Diterlizzi, Tony Wondla Trilogy 5 - 7 Questionable
A girl who was raised in an artificial environment by a specially programmed robot looks for other humans on a strange planet. This book has an interactive map which readers can access by going to web site and holding illustrations up to web cam.Robot has "movie star voice". Grl becomes friends with old male alien- puts her arms around him to comfort him, takes his hand, gives him a "peck" on the cheek - illustration of them with their arms around each other- innocent, not romantic at all. Wizard of Oz. Language- weird, stupid, dumb
12/19/2018 The Battle for Wondla Diterlizzi, Tony Wondla Trilogy 5 - 7 Problematic
The final book in the series. Girl and friends bring peace to earth. Girl kisses boy on the cheek, boy kisses girl on the cheek and says she is his best friend- eventually frienship seems to have evolved into a romance though never stated outright- he brings her a birthday present and she puts her arms around his neck- book ends. Violence. Language - weird, jerk, darndest (once)
12/19/2018 A Hero for Wondla Diterlizzi, Tony Wondla Trilogy 5 - 7 Problematic
Girl and alien find human colony ruled by man who wants to take over planet and kill aliens. Try to stop him. Boy plays rock and roll music. Earth apparantly shut down and a new planet took its place. Discussion of test tube babies.Boy lovingly refers to his grandfather as a "crazy old man". Teenagers follow crazy fashion trends- like attaching a false tail, clothing that changes color. Girls want to "meet boys". Girl remembers watching "romantic programs". Girl says boy is "cute". Girl embraces male alien in friendship. When someone dies their spirit leaves their body"but still it continues on". Story takes a strange twist when girl discovers a vitae virus generator that creates things in the world. It turns her sister into a tree and changes her as well. Full illustration of girl laying on her side wearing nothing- private areas covered by hands. Language- creepy, stupid, dumb, freak, jerk, weird, damn (p324)
12/19/2018 The Void of Mist and Thunder Dashner, James The 13th Reality 6 - 8 Problematic
Saga becomes more scary and even more problematic with the addition of "karma" thrown into what is already a hashkafic mish mash.Book defines karma- " The notion that the universe pays back what people deposit...Be a good person, do good things, and then good things will happen to you eventually. Be a bad person...and bad things will happen...karma is a scientific principle as rigid as gravity" TV, movies. MIld romance develops between boy and girl- she hugs him and crys when she is upset,she leans her head on his shoulder, they enjoy spending time together, Language- blasted, brat, jerk,weird, stupid, darn tootin', shut up, bloody tarnations, a freak, freaky, stupidity, idiot, dumb, I'll be darned, fart
12/19/2018 The Hunt For Dark Infinity Dashner, James The 13th Reality 6 - 8 Questionable
The saga continutes as the children try to destroy a weapon that makes people in alternate realities insane. Non romantic negiah.Boy jokes that he wants to visit alternate realities "to check out the ladies"- friends tease him that he would be lucky to get a date with a little sister. Wizard of Oz. TV, movies. One word Halloween. Minor good guy vs. bad guy violence. Woman describes she loved a man so much that "it hurt when he kissed me good night, whenever his hand let go of mine." Language- stupid, stinkin', freaky, weird, idiot, heck (frequent), maniac, dang, berserk, shut up,dummy, jerk, dumb
12/19/2018 The Blade of Shattered Hope Dashner, James The 13th Reality 6 - 8 Problematic
Story gets more intense as boy learns how to control and harness his powers. Message of book seems to be that everything is "natural" and can be explained by science- quantum physics- including life, soul, etc. Scary moments. Violence. Man says that he loves his boss even though she is disfigured "she is beautiful to me". When he is told to capture her alterant he "can't take his eyes off her" and wants to "hold her, kiss her". Computer, email, internet, TV, movies. Nonromantic negiah.Langauge- stupid, dumb, creepy, weird, freaky, sucker, idiot, freaks,, shut up, wimp, freaked out, brat, psycho, idiot, blasted, heck (once)
12/19/2018 Sophie Squire and the Last Storyguard Auxier, Jonathan Peter Nimble 4 - 7 Not Acceptable
Blind boy and enchanted knight from previous novel rescue a girl who is charged with guarding a magical book in a society that wants to burn all fantasy and magic. A woman keeps trying to seduct men into getting them to do what she wants by showing her "bare , perfectly smooth shoulders" or "a scandalous glimpse of milky thigh"- sometimes successful, sometimes not. Woman tries to sell girl a "love potion" for a "special boy". Woman dresses her in revealing gown because" a walled garden must have a lattice gate. Before a wman can be desired, she must reveal a bit of what makes her desireable"- girl responds- "I have no interest in being desired". Girl is sad becuase mother was killed when guarding a book- at the end of the book mother comes back to life. A lot of non romantic negiah and suggestions of romantic negiah. Language-shut up, stupid, dumb, damnable, brats, idiot, blasted
12/19/2018 Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes Auxier, Jonathan Peter Nimble 4 - 7 Questionable
Orphaned blind boy is trained to be a thief in order to survive on the streets until he becomes involved in saving a magical land. Mistreatment of boy detailed. Parents are brainwashed into forgetting their children and are then told to kill them. Gang of boys mistreat an animal. Head of gang killed his parents when his drunk father tried to sell him to be a cabin boy but boy was afraid of water. One sentence mention that girls were "developing a crush" on a boy.When he finds his long lost sister she throws her arms around him- he "didn't like touching girls all that much,but he thought it might be allowed if they were brother and sister. Language- stupid brat, blasted, dumb, maniac
12/19/2018 Crenshaw Applegate, Katherine 5 - 7 Problematic
Boy grows up in a home where his parents have a very hard time financially- father has ms and can't get a job, and mother works many shifts as a waitress. They are loving parents to him and his sister, but despite their best efforts they are evicted since they can't pay their rent. Descriptions of living in their mini van and watching parents beg on the street. Vivid descriptions of the children's feelings as they go through this- inappropriate for a more sensitive or insecure child. Boy has an imaginary friend, a cat, who helps him get through this. Boy shoplifts and feels terrible about it. Eventually gives his parents money to give to store to apologize for stealing.
Religion/Hashkafa
Boy goes to see Easter bunny at the mall- yanks off his hand and realizes it is a man in a costume. One word Halloween. Mother tells father to write "G-d bless" on the sign he will use when he begs at street corners. Father refuses because "As it happens, I have no idea what G-d is up to"
Language
weird, poop, maniac, idiots, freaking out
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
TV watching. After they are forced to sell their TV, go to a store to watch the game on the TVs that are for sale.
12/19/2018 The Missing Diary Stilton, Thea Thea Stilton 2 - 4 Questionable
Teenage mice decide to start a school newspaper. Mouse with terrible middos steals a girl's diary and publishes the contents. Text and illustration about having a secret crush. GIrl wants to publish a gossip coluimn.
language- stupid
12/17/2018 The War That Saved My Life Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker 6 - 8 Problematic
A girl with club foot is kept in her London tenement apartment because her mother is embarrassed of her. Mother is dysfunctional and abusive- denies the daughter medical treatment, locks her up in a small cabinet fullof bugs as punishment, and even denies her food. When the children are evacuated from London during WWII, girl sneaks out to join her brother. They end up in a small town, living with a woman who they come to care for very much. Polite handshaking. Girl isn't sure how old she is. She wonders if she is 14. Woman comments she probably isn't or she would have "a bit of a bust".
Religion/Hashkafa
girl marks time with church bells, boy plays leapfrog among tombstones in churchyard. Woman is trying to explain why teacher is forcing a boy who is a lefty to write with his right hand- "In the bible the good people stand on G-d's right and the bad people stand on the left before they get cast into hell so... some idiots think left handedness comes from the devil. It doesn't. It comes from the brain.". Lady takes children to church to show them how to behave (detailed, but no religion) but she doesn't go "She said churches and her didn't agree"- girl wonders why since her father was a pastor. Lady responds"Yes. My father has made it clear he doesn't think I can be redeemed- redeemed means changing my evil ways and regaining my heavenly crown. It means my parents don't like me". Later she explains more about her estrangement from her parents- her father was unhappy the way university changed her, but she doesn't regret the choices she made. Detailed explanation about xmas trees- remind us G-d never dies like an evergreen tree and more metaphors for G-d. Woman has warm memories of childhood xmas- described in detail.
Language
heck (p37), stupid, blasted, idiots/idjits, puked, hell/ 'ell, shut up, dumb, slut
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Children go to the movies. GIrl is scared by newsreel that shows a boat sinking.

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Circle of Fire
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Series
A black girl and a white boy try to stop the KLu Klux Klan. They aren't allowed to play together because they are getting older and it's not right for them to be boyfriend and girlfriend and do "kissing and stuff". Discussions about a movie. Mentions of xmas and playing piano for church. Symbol of the klan represents yoshka's blood. Mother calls father honey and kisses him on the cheek to get him to agree.Violence. Language- stupid, darn tootin, peeing,dadgummit, dang.
Enemy in the Fort
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: N/A
Acceptable
The Minstrel's Melody
American Girl History Mysteries
Grades: 4 - 6
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)
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
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
The Mysterious Schoolmaster
Anckarsvard, Karin
Grades: 4 - 6
Generally Acceptable
side plot of a boy/girl party - totally juvenile and unromantic
Nightborn
Anders, Lou
Grades: 5 - 7
Questionable
Series
Boy goes on a quest to rescue his friend, a small giantess. He encounters many characters along the way, some good and some evil. Good guy vs. bad guy violence. Injured boy leans on girl who rescues him.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
girl pulls her best friend who is a boy into the water with her and they have a small splash fight. Boy and girl "cling to each other" on the back of a dragon so they don't fall off. Girl punches boys arm "affectionately" to thank him for saving her. Girl gives boy "a tight hug" goodbye.
Religion/Hashkafa
boy wonders why his friend has a statue of a goddess when she doesn't believe in gods. Boy does believe in gods and often prays to them, especially the god of luck. Many other mentions of gods throughout
Language
stupid, idiotic, dumb, gross, pee, freak
Skyborn
Anders, Lou
Grades: 5 - 7
Questionable
Series
Final book of the trilogy. Friends play in a deadly game to save the kingdom.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Girl reaches up her hand to help her best friend (male) dismount. Children go mixed swimming. Giantess gives her male best friend a "bear hug" after not seeing him for a long time.
Religion/Hashkafa
many mentions of gods and goddesses
Language
stupid, idiot, moron, shut up, gross, dung, jerks
The Last Treasure
Anderson, Janet S
Grades: 6 - 8
Problematic
A boy and girl who are distant cousins find the family treasure and help make peace among their elders. Biggest problem: at end (chapter 40), treasure is described: " apostle spoons". Discussion of apostles by name including JC. Language - dumb, screwed up, stupid, dork, freaking out, hell (once), weird. Mentions of ghosts and spirits. Non-romantic negiah. Girl is bitter because mom remarried and she doesn't see dad (abandoned her??). Boy found pictures "so dirty they made his eyes pop" A lot of boy's feelings about mom dying and about how son fought with parents about girl he married - he cuts off all contact with them. Mild description of church service and beliefs.
My Diary form the Edge of the World
Anderson, Jodi Lynn
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
A girl living in a parallel universe inhabited by magical creatures including angels, goes on a journey with her family to save her brother's life. A ship's captain tries to convince her mother to abandon the family and come with him- she refuses since she is "a married woman", but entire relationship is innapropriate. Children keep speculatin if their mother would leave their father for another man who is much more attractive and "wildly romantic". Girl points out that they laugh together a lot. Mother kisses man on both cheeks and blushes, strokes his hand. Older sister always looking for boys her age to flirt with. Girl wishes she could meet her "first love" and have her "first kiss". Kisses guardian angel (looks like a teenage boy). Girl asks mother why she fell in love with her father she said it is because he reminded her of a character in a book. Girl wonders if she has a crush on a boy. Hashkafa questions as well. Girl's bodily functions. TV, movies, romance novels. Gambling. Greek gods. Xmas- santa claus as real person. Brief halloween. Books mentioned by title which may or may not be appropriate. Dinosaurs, millions of years. Language- poo, weirdos, heck, dumb, stupid
Mrs. Bixby's Last Day
Anderson, John David
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Sixth grade boys team up to give their teacher a wonderful last day since she is in the hospital dying with cancer. Significant lying to parents and others as well as cutting school to make this experience happen. Boy's mother died, father was injured and sits around all day watching TV and being depressed, so boy basically raises himself. Humorous while being very heavy. A lot of language. Middos. Boy wonders if friend has a crush on teacher. Boys tell girl she has cooties so she chases them and kisses them so they will catch it from her. Teacher comments that in a few years they will want her to catch them. Teacher of parallel class not portrayed in the best light- he is late to class, curses, talks badly of the principal, etc. Parents are also not portrayed in the best light. Teacher got divorced because she realized her husband was a "jerk". Boys want to buy wine for a sick teacher but they can't since they are minors so they give money to a man and ask him to buy it for them- he steals the money, they chase him and put themselves in danger to get it back. Many mentions of movies, TV, comic books- description of innapropriate movie. Boy says he and two friends are like "the three kings in the xmas carol". One word Halloween. Brief non religious mentions of xmas - e.g., xmas cards. Boy uses Yoshka's last name as a curse. Brief mention of going to mass, going to church on Sundays.Boy explains that ther are saints for every occassion and lists some of them. Book "The Hobbit".Frequent language- idiotic, stupid, dumb, weirdo, butt, booger, suck it up, gross, poop, weird, creepy, hell, screw you, shut up, idiot.
Fever 1793
Anderson, Laurie Halse
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Girl deals with deadly epidemic. Boy/girl.
Chains
Anderson, Laurie Halse
Grades: N/A
Questionable
Teen
Teen
Slave girl tries to win freedom. Some violence. A lot of racism and mistreatment of slaves. Description of X-mas – brief mention that it celebrates the birth of baby J___. Lots of talk of ghosts and other black slave superstitions. Mild description of church service. Sleeping girl feels a man pulling a blanket off her and is afraid he "meant me harm" - turns out he was cold and wanted the blanket. Girl feels boy's head to see if he has fever. Church is called house of G-d. Mild description of church service. Beseech the trinity but no explanation.One word mention of Easter. Language- blast/blasted (used as expletive), hellfire, idiot, stupid, brat, dolt.
A Pals in Peril Tale: Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware
Anderson, M.T.
Grades: 5 - 8
Problematic
Tongue-in-cheek adventure tale.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Several references to crush, dance, minor boy-girl, non-romantic negiah.
Language
butt.
The Game of Sunken Places
Anderson, M.T.
Grades: 7 - 8
Generally Acceptable
Boys unwittingly become players in supernatural game. Scary. Minor non-romantic negiah between cousins.
Whales on Stilts
Anderson, M.T.
Grades: 4 - 6
Problematic
Children try to save the world from a takeover by whales. Entire book is a farce poking fun at adventure thrillers. Main character is the result of a mating between a whale and a human. Language: sexy (p. 97) Gollblasted (p. 165). Non-romantic negiah. At end author implies she wants to marry a whale hybrid man. Whole book is very strange.
Feed
Anderson, MT
Grades: 9 - 9
Not Acceptable
Very inappropriate boy/girl.
Faery Rebels Spell Hunter
Anderson, R.J.
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
A fairy secretly befriends a human boy and they fall in love. Romantic negiah.Inappropriate
A Little Taste of Poison
Anderson, R.J.
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Companion book to A Pocket Full of Murder. A poor girl who is best friends with a wealthy boy helps him accuse his brother of murder. A lot of magic. The children have a running joke that he asks permission to kiss her and she refuses- at the end she accepts and things become romantic. A lot of description of boys and girls, men and women dancing together. Girl and her family belong to a religious group called Moshites that is persecuted- they only pray to the "All One"
Language
stinking, stupid, idiot
The Bus People
Anderson, Rachel
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Stories told from perspective of developmentally disabled children and teenagers. Descriptions of loving adults as well as very dysfunctional adults. Very explicit and detailed descriptions of non-tzniusdik thoughts and posters.
Paper Faces
Anderson, Rachel
Grades: N/A
Problematic
A British girl struggles with poverty during WWII and with mentally ill soldier father. Mother very lower class - always talking about movie stars - she has "film star legs". Mention of J---. Calls parents by first name. Now that father is home he will take girl's place "beside mother in bed".
Snow Lane
Angelini, Josie
Grades: 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.
A Home is to Share and Share and Share
Angell, Judie
Grades: N/A
Acceptable
Religion/Hashkafa
detached description of dog's pregnancy, eg.-babies moving inside
Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'lady Luggertuck's Corset
Angleberger, Tom
Grades: 5 - 7
Not Acceptable
Strange story where a kitchen boy is accused of stealing a valuable jewel. There is a lot of tongue in cheek humor. He likes a wealthy heiress who is being courted by his master's nephew. A lot of mentions of the loosening of the lady's corset- "a painful item of underwear". Rich boy and his mother have terrible middos (emphasized to be funny)
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Boy is "smitten" by girl and dreams of her. They make a costume ball in the hopes the heiress will "fall in love" with the nephew. Boy is excited to share the gossip that male and female servant were seen in the garden walking and holding hands. Girl means to kiss boy on the cheek, bjt "by some little accident her lips went astray and landed upon his...it was the first kiss she ever gave and the first he ever got and neither one of them ever forgot exactly what it felt like". Lady dances with handsome man and regrets not tightening her corset. GIrl needs to change out of her costume- boy blushes. Servants are flirting.
Language
dungbrain, stupid, shut up, gross, brat
Star Wars The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear
Angleberger, Tom
Grades: N/A
Questionable
Based on characters and plotlines in the movie Star Wars. Smugglers take on a mission to smuggle animals out of the planet and end up on a dangerous mission to find a dangerous book on a planet inhabited by a huge monster and the dark force. One of the characters is so busy flirting with the woman who hired him that he doesn't realize he has fallen into a trap.
Language
cruddy, freaking out, weird, stupid, gross, creepy, dumb
The Rat With The Human Face
Angleberger, Tom
Grades: 5 - 7
Not Acceptable
Series
Children are bored again and decide to sneak into a research facility to find a rat with a human face. Get into major trouble with their parents. Boy is excited that girl he likes held his hand when they were locked in., other boy/girl as well. Nonreligious mentions of Easter and xmas. A lot of language- discussion if "pervert is a bad word or not etc.
Poop Fountain!
Angleberger, Tom
Grades: N/A
Problematic
Series
Two boys and a girl are bored and decide to look for adventure. They hear about a Wastewater treatment plant that has a "poop fountain" and they decide to sneak off to see it. As can be expected, a lot of bathroom humor. Mention of books and authors which may or may not be appropriate.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Boy has a crush on a girl- more pronounced in later books- he is very happy that girl gave him a "half hug" and hopes some day he will get a full one.
Religion/Hashkafa
Children don't have much to do on Xmas. Santa
Language
Boys father says "h-e-double-l, poop, dumb, computer, jerks, weird, idiot, heck
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Children watch a lot of TV and movies. Cellphones.
Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue
Angleberger, Tom
Series:
Grades: 4 - 7
Not Acceptable
Series
Children form a "rebellion" against a program instituted in their school that they consider a waste of time. Threaten principal- but eventually, she joins their side. Constant references to the movie "Star Wars". TV. Juvenile boy/girl. Long discussion about if boy is gay or not because he wears pink shirts. Mentions of pastor in church who things Star Wars is "the greatest parable since "The Pilgrim's Progress" language- freaked out, butt, shut up, idiot, dumb, gross, suck, weird, jerks
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Angleberger, Tom
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Boy tries to figure out if a paper puppet can really predict if he should ask a girl to the school dance. Lots of boy/girl, middos, and language.
Fake Mustache
Angleberger, Tom
Grades: N/A
Not Acceptable
Boy tries to stop his friend from taking over the world by wearing a fake mustache that hypnotizes people. Inappropriate boy/girl and language.
Adam & Thomas
Appelfeld, Aharon
Grades: N/A
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.
The Underneath
Appelt, Kathi
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
A cat befriends an abused dog whose owner was an abused boy. Abusive personalities described in detail. Although book is full of imagery and symbolism, it is very gritty and unpleasant.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp
Appelt, Kathi
Grades: N/A
Problematic
Racoons try to save their swamp from marauding wild boars at the same time as a boy tries to save the swamp from a developer who wants to turn it into an arena for alligator wrestling. Boy is in mourning for his grandfather who recently passed away. He is being brought up by his mother who runs a restaurant in the swamp. One word xmas.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
comical description of pigs fallilng in love "He immediately fell in love with her soft sow's ears. She immediately went gaga over his yellow gleaming eyes..." . Lady wears a tank top to show off her "impressive biceps". Lady briefly thinks about kissing man "an urge that both disgusted her and thrilled her all at the same time. It was the same with kissing alligators. Thrill. Disgust. Thrill. Disgust..."
Language
frequent language- heck, darned, dang, freak, stupid, freaking
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Alligator wrestler is in negotiations with a reality TV show.
Keeper
Appelt, Kathi
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Inappropriate plot, boy/girl, boy/boy, language
Animorphs (series)
Applegate, K. A.
Series:
Grades: N/A
Problematic
Series
Kids are endowed with power to change into animals, in order to fight aliens who are taking over the world by taking over people's brains. Lots of violence. Lots of philosophical discussions about killing some people to save many. Various mentions of attractions between boys and girls, with some negiah.
The One and Only Ivan
Applegate, Katherine
Grades: 5 - 7
Questionable
Book written from the perspective of a gorilla who lives in a cage in a shopping mall for the entertainment of shoppers. Gorilla enjoys watching movies on TV- cartoons, westerns, and romance movies with "much hugging and sometimes face licking" (p24). Gorilla is puzzled by TV commercials "I don't understand ads. They're not like Westerns where you know who the bad guy is supposed to be. And they're hardly ever romantic, unless the man and the woman are brushing their teeth before they face lick (p185). Girl draws a picture of male and female gorilla holding hands - text and illustration (p247,248) . When male gorilla is put in cage with female gorilla he comments "romance is hard work.. it looks so easy on TV...I try to recall all the romance movies we watched together...I remember the talking, the hugging, the face licking... I"m not very good at this but it is fun trying. (p285-286)Language- to save our sorry butts (p69), stupid brat (p71), heck (p73,180, 209), darn (p 89), idiot (p149), dumb (p251)
The One and Only Bob
Applegate, Katherine
Grades: 3 - 5
Generally Acceptable
Sequel to The One and Only Ivan. Told from perspective of dog who befriended gorilla, helps save animals after tornado.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Passing mention of gorilla who has girlfriend - another gorilla. When dogs are in danger of drowning, a female dog tells the male dog that she always loved him. He answers "you're a looker... and you're too good for the likes of me".
Language
What the heck. Pee
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Passing mention of wanting to watch TV.
Crenshaw
Applegate, Katherine
Grades: 5 - 7
Problematic
Boy grows up in a home where his parents have a very hard time financially- father has ms and can't get a job, and mother works many shifts as a waitress. They are loving parents to him and his sister, but despite their best efforts they are evicted since they can't pay their rent. Descriptions of living in their mini van and watching parents beg on the street. Vivid descriptions of the children's feelings as they go through this- inappropriate for a more sensitive or insecure child. Boy has an imaginary friend, a cat, who helps him get through this. Boy shoplifts and feels terrible about it. Eventually gives his parents money to give to store to apologize for stealing.
Religion/Hashkafa
Boy goes to see Easter bunny at the mall- yanks off his hand and realizes it is a man in a costume. One word Halloween. Mother tells father to write "G-d bless" on the sign he will use when he begs at street corners. Father refuses because "As it happens, I have no idea what G-d is up to"
Language
weird, poop, maniac, idiots, freaking out
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
TV watching. After they are forced to sell their TV, go to a store to watch the game on the TVs that are for sale.
Sammy and the Headless Horseman
Arato, Rona
Grades: 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
Pyrates #3: Dead Man's Chest
Archer, Chris
Grades: 3 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Kids continue dangerous mission to find pirate treasure. Side story of boy who lives "underground" because he & mother ran away from abusive father & mother died.