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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
05/15/2022 What we found in the sofa and how it saved the world Clark, Henry 4 - 7 Generally Acceptable
2 boys and a girl find a strange crayon and save the world
Divorce/Dysfunctional Families
Vague references to boy's drunk and abusive father
Language
snot.Boy's nickname is Freak
05/13/2022 Kelsey Green, Reading Queen Mills, Claudia Franklin School Friends 2 - 4 Questionable
A girl who loves to read competes in a schoolwide reading contest. She deals with her suspicion that the best reader in the class is cheating (he isn't) as well as helping the weakest reader to read some books. Many, many books mentioned through out which may or may not be appropriate. At the end of the book is a full booklist of all of the books mentioned. There are also interesting facts at the back of the book about a variety of books which may or may not be appropriate. The principal offers to shave his beard if the school can read a certain number of books but as it seems like they will reach the goal he says that instead of shaving he will kiss a pig. The children get up at the assembly and tell him they think he shouldn't change his mind about that (chutpah?) so he shaves and kisses the pig.
Language
stupid, dumb
05/12/2022 Izzy Barr, Running Star Mills, Claudia Franklin School Friends 2 - 4 Questionable
A girl who loves to run deals with jealousy that her father attends the sports games of her half brother more often than he attends her events. One word xmas. One sentence that mentions going to church on Sunday. Friend tells the story of a Greek maiden who said she would only marry a man who beat her in a footrace. In the end a man distracted her and beat her so she married him. The back of the book has an interview with the author and illustrator and a preview of the next book.
Language
dorky
05/09/2022 Act Miller, Kayla 3 - 5 Problematic
A graphic novel about a girl who decides to take up the cause of children who can't afford school field trips and runs for student council. A lot of preteen boys/girls acting awkward around each other and possibly having a crush. GIrl studies past protests and book shows pictures in the story and a brief summary at the back of the book of gay liberation front protests and queer youth protests. A new season of a TV show is streaming and kids want to do a "marathon" of watching it.
Language
that stinks, nerds, stupid
05/09/2022 37 Days at Sea Krasner, Barbara 5 - 7 Problematic
A Jewish girl (non observant Conservative) writes about her experiences on the St. Louis, the ship that left Nazi Germany for Cuba but was not given permission to dock there. Girl looks forward to going to America where she will be allowed to go to the movies even if she is Jewish. Girl wants to sneak out at night on the ship and watch her first "grown up" movie. Boy carries around a rabbits foot as an amulet. Girl recounts the menu- meat and dairy served at the same meal. On the "Sabbath" there are three different services- for the orthodox, the conservative and the reform. Boy and girl kiss and hug goodbye (not overtly romantic). Girl recalls being called a "dirty Jew" and other bad things Nazis did in Germany.
Language
blasted, creepy
05/09/2022 Simon Ellis, Spelling Bee Champ Mills, Claudia Franklin School Friends 2 - 4 Questionable
A boy who is really smart fears that he is losing his best friend since he always seems to win him. Additionally, he has to compete with a team for the spelling bee and he has difficulty with that. Eventually he comes to appreciate that people with different talents can all contribute. Boys play a lot of video games. Boy has his own TV in his bedroom. Boys tease smart boy and call him "Super Duper Pooper". Mantions of Mary Poppins movie. Boy's family likes to play scrabble and when they lose they say words like "ratfink: and "stinker" in a humorous way. A few book titles and authors mentioned in the back section where the author and illustrator are interviewed. A book character "creeped her out".
Language
dumb, stupid, gross
05/03/2022 Bloom Skinner, Nicola 5 - 7 Questionable
A girl who usually behaves perfectly finds a packet of magic seeds that cause her to be naughty and ultimately cause plants to grow out of the townspeople's heads. In the end the seeds transform the culture of the school and the entire town from very restrictive to more free and closer to nature. When principal tries to pave the school yard to build an exam hall girl writes a petiton against it which is quite chutzpadik. One word easter and one word xmas.
Language
weird, suck up, berserk, stupid, freakish, shut up, scum
05/03/2022 Click Miller, Kayla 3 - 5 Questionable
A graphic novel about a fifth grade girl who finds herself left out of groups forming to perform in the school variety show until she discovers her own talent with the help of her aunt (who has multicolored hair). Aunt tells her that soon children in her class will start dating. Boy and girl flirt but mostly it is just hearts floating over their heads.
Language
weird
05/02/2022 Camp Miller, Kayla 3 - 5 Questionable
A graphic novel about two cousins who go to camp for the first time. One has an easy time adapting and making friends while the other doesn't and clings to her cousin. They eventually work it out and enjoy their own individual interests. Many cartoonish pictures of girls and counselors in bathing suits, shorts and other summer clothing. Girl says she loves watching scary movies. At a coed dance boy asks girl to dance with him but she doesn't. Group goodbye hug with girls and boys.
Language
kicking their butts, dumb, cruddy
05/02/2022 Lemons Savage, Melissa 5 - 7 Problematic
After girls mother dies she is sent to a small town to live with a grandfather she never met. She eventually is befriended by a boy who runs an agency that tries to spot bigfoot and eventually comes to love her grandfather and her new town. She calls her grandfather by his first name. She is very sad and thinks often about how her mother died of cancer. Boy says he doesn't have a dad "Mama told me he didn't want to be a father when I was born". Girl visits an old woman" She's old. I mean ancient. Like Jesus old or maybe even older. Who's older than Jesus? G-d I suppose". Girl is nervous about her grandfathers driving skills "I silently repeat parts of the Our Father prayer that I can remember from church. Mama and I only made it to church on christmas and easter and sometimes good friday." Mentions of old time singers by name. Girl says a boy has the "greatest dimples". Boy is "cutest boy on the planet". Boy turns the color of "marachino cherries" when girl is around "because he sent her a note asking her if she wants to be his girlfriend... NOw they dont' talk or look at each other or anything". Kids make fun of boy and girl who are friends by calling them boyfriend and girlfriend and singing the KISSING song. Girl thinks boy gives girl a bouquet of candy becuase he "loves" her. Boy's father went missing after fighting in VIetnam. Eventually find him hiding in the woods since he had PTSD. Brief description of "peeing in the woods". Mentions of watching television. Boy explains that bigfoot is a mother and he knows because she has "extra girly parts up top" and he blushes. Woman explains to girl that the rift between her mother and grandfather was caused by grief. Mentions of TV reporters. When girl discovers that classmates have always been mean to the boy who befriended her she stands up to them and puts a stop to it. One word Halloween.
Language
weird, weirdo, dope, stupid idiot,butt, what the heck?, stink, dumb
05/02/2022 A Ceiling Made of Eggshells Levine, Gail Carson 6 - 8 Not Acceptable
A Jewish girl in Spain experiences the anti Jewish sentiments prevelant just before the expulsion. Many questionable Jewish references and practices and thoughts about G-d- for example, girl often thinks G-d is angry with her for her typical childish thoughts, girl is sure her grandmothers amulet is what protects the wearer, girl is sure stars guide her llife. Many many mentions of yoshka and details of christian beliefs and philosophy. Girl has a difficult and complicated relationship with one of her brothers who is quite mean most of the time and eventually converts to christianity. Girls loses some siblings and a beloved grandmother to the plague. Her grandfather becomes very dependent on her and doesn't allow her to marry since he needs her to travel with him . Mother is dysfunctional and says hurtful comments. Wealthy family tries to protect fellow Jews from the church by buying the church things like an expensive alter. Grandfather and granddaughter eat treif and drink wine when dining with influential goyim. Preist comes to synagogue at every holiday to tell Jews how horrible they are, how yoshka curses them, how they will burn etc. Girl often wonders if christians are correct in their beliefs and if she would like converting and becoming a christian. GIrl begs G-d for a sign so she should know if she and her family are meant to convert or not (other than her brother they don't ) Family marries her to a boy much younger than her to protect her, but it is never a real marraige since he is still a child and they eventually divorce.
Language
stupid, stinking, hell
04/27/2022 The Girl and the Ghost Alkaf, Hanna 6 - 8 Not Acceptable
After her evil grandmother dies a pelesit ghost attaches itself to her young granddaughter who gradually finds out that the ghost has a dangerous dark side until she eventually sets him free and finds out more about her past and why her mother is so troubled. Mentions of book "A Wrinkle in Time". Mentions of Star Wars movie and plot and characters. Mention of movie Pinnochio. Girl has a laptop and TV and DVD player. Mention of bullys and a lot of detail of the ghost taking revenge on people who are not nice to the girl and when it is jealous of girl's budding friendship.Many ghosts. Girls gossip about teacher who was seen with a boyfriend at the cinema. GIrls watch a romance movie which is very "sappy". Mother falls asleep in front of a "flickering TV screen".
Language
stinky, ear boogers,weird, freaked out, stupid, jerks, damn , buttocks, shut up
04/19/2022 City Spies - Forbidden City Ponti, James City Spies 4 - 8 Generally Acceptable
Boys and girls work together to solve mystery. Some friendly negiah.
04/19/2022 Final Warning Patterson, James Maximum Ride Series 7 - 10 Problematic
Teen
Bird kids spread the word about climate change
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
can be edited: 44-46, 108-111, 114, 125, 154, 159, 164-165. More in preview of next book, at end of this book.
Language
Crap, etc.
Violence
descriptive violence
04/19/2022 School's Out Forever Patterson, James Maximum Ride Series 7 - 10 Problematic
Teen
Bird children try to save the world
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Intermittent romantce, can be edited: 129-130, 148-150, 161-163, 194-198, 298-299Women's undergarments in store: 287
Language
: crap, dumbass, etc.
Violence
Violence, some extreme
03/07/2022 Amari and the Night Brothers Alston, B.B. N/A Questionable
An African American girl growing up with a single mom refuses to believe that her brother who went missing is dead. Mean girl bullies her since she is poor and in school on scholarship. Then she receives a nomination to attend a camp run by a secret government agency that deals with supernatural occurrences and proceeds to try to find the bad guys, her missing brother and to save the world. Girl creeps down the stairs "as if I am hiding from a bad guy in a scary movie". Boy tells guys to leave a girl alone- they joke about them being boyfriend and girlfriend (they aren't). A few one word mentions of xmas- no religion. Girl remembers that when she was a child her parents separated and her father didn't show up for her birthday with the promised bicycle. When her mother called on the phone to find out where he was "I heard my daddy's drunken voice say, "{she probably ain't even mine. Tell whoever her real daddy is to get her the stupid bike". Boy from the neighborhood comes up to the roof late at night and explains "Ma's new boyfriend don't like having me arond so I come up here till they fall asleep". Girl says a man has a "dreamy voice" girl blushes. Boy takes girls hand and they stand like that for a long time.
Language
butt, dumb, weird, stupid, heck, dorky, freakish, creepy, freak, blasted, idiot, shut up
03/07/2022 Amira & Hamza The War to Save the Worlds Ahmed, Samira 5 - 7 Questionable
An Indian American brother and sister go to an Islamic astronomy exhibit and accidentally become involved in a magical journey to save the world. The girl is very into science and there is a lot of scientific information throughout as the girl attempts to figure out how all of the magical experiences she is having are possible (she often can't). Boy spends his time comparing their adventures to cartoons- titles, plots and characters and superpowers referenced. Many Islamic sayings and philosophy referenced- mostly neutral. Girl says her mother watches "the news and swearing at the TV when she doesn't think we're listening to her". Boy names a horse after his "celebrity crush". Girl grew out her hair becuase she wanted to be Rapunzel for Halloween which is bsed on a persian story of "a beautiful girl who unfulred her black hair from a tower so the boy she loved could climb up and see her because her parents didn't want them to get married. Mention of a movie about a quest to find the holy grail. They pray a few times but no description. In the back of the book there are explanations for the terms used which include detailed legends and nythology about fairies and creatures as well as information about historical figures who are mentioned.
Language
gross, stupid, nerds, kick your butt, nerd, weird, dang it, puke, freaked out, dumb, heck (frequent), butt, creepy, snarky, snot nosed, shut up, I was pissed, stink
03/07/2022 Thornghost Almhjell, Tone 5 - 7 Questionable
A boy who is a troublemaker lives on a farm with his grandmother since his mother died a few years earlier (the story of her dying is mentioned often- very sad) . His mother appears to him in very scary nightmares and strange things are happening near the farm. Boy befriends a wild lynx and they end up in a different world inhabited by animals who belonged to children and then died (quite different from hashkafic belief of olam habah). Boy and lynx team up to save the world from scary fantasy creatures. The people built a cemetary with a chapel "to anchor their souls". Animal says "when our humans die, we don't linger. We leave. Become travelers.. where do you go? No one knows.Travelers leave in the middle of th enight and there are no bodies or anything."
Language
stupid, idiot
02/13/2022 Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch Abe, Julie Eva Evergreen 4 - 6 Generally Acceptable
A girl with a little bit of magic goes on a quest to save the land from a master witch who is causing terrible destruction out of misplaced love for his daughter. She teams up with her best friends, a boy and a girl (nothing romantic).
Language
weird, shut up,dumb
02/08/2022 City Spies - Golden Gate James Ponti City Spies 4 - 8 Generally Acceptable
Group of orphans continue spying activities.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Male adult gives thankful/comforting hug to child.Adult friends give friendly hug.
Middos
Girl is obnoxious to mean mother in public.Child spies are instructed by adults to lie under oath, and they do.
02/08/2022 City Spies James Ponti City Spies 4 - 8 Generally Acceptable
Group of talented orphans work as spies for MI6.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Passing mention of adults flirting, dating app - page 163.Male spy is code named "Mother" but no gender issues involved.
01/30/2022 The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror Stevenson, Robert Louis 9 - 12 Classic
All comments are related to the Penguin Classics Edition. There are several short stories in this volume after the main story. A doctor invents a potion that causes him to transform into an evil being that represents his worst self and commits all kinds of crimes with impunity. This edition also contains shorter stories by the same author - The Body Snatcher and Ollala as well as A Chapter on Dreams and a scientific review of the story. Introduction- mentions titles of various works of horror fiction which may or may not be appropriate. Mention that some of these stories were written for the "Christmas ghost story market".pxviii- damnable young manpxix- "But what was this unspoken bad fancy tacitly understood by both Utterson and his client? These circumstances appear to be carefully plotted to point to, without actually specifying a suspicion that some erotic attachment is at the bottom of Jekyll's relationship with Hyde. Blackmail and homosexuality have a long history of association...blackmail attempts involved a threat to expose a man as a homosexual, whether or not he wer in fact gay...Oscar Wilde himself had been subject to a number of blackmail attempts, most of them by rent boys with whom he or his lover... had consorted..."pxx-"A suggestion of homosexuality provides a plausible hypothesis ...of course Stevenson could not describe or directly refer to what was called 'unnatural" and deemed unspeakable in the pages of prose fiction designed for a popular readership;, but he could, and perhaps did manipulate the expectations and suppositions of his readers who could not complain if their own imaginations had supplied what Stevenson had refused to actually state..." "...the use of legal and medical procedures and forms of knowledge (which apart from pornography, constituted almost the sole place where homosexuality was discussed in print)..."xxi- "That Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is something more than a shilling shocker, a creepy tale for Christmas 1885...the story has a much larger and deeper interest...it is a marvelous exploration into the recesses of nature... a parable with a profound allegory...based on the two fold nature of man...taught to us by the apostle Paul in Roman7...his tale provided the text for the sermon preached from the pulpit of St Paul's Cathedral...it is a fight between good and evil, duty and temptation, in the human soul, a story as old as Genesis."xxiii- Jekyll conceives of Hyde as his lower element. Whilst this is principally a moral or even metaphysical designation, it is also strongly suggested that Hyde is also lower on the evolutionary scale..a less upright individual evokes suggestions of the simian.. ape like fury... ape like spite, his bestial nature and remarks about how hairy his opposite is. This inference eventually culminates in a frightening vision of primordial immorality...this emphasis on criminality or sinfulness being a primitive condition or impulse corresponds with that found in a number of writings from the period which employed evolutionary models to understand criminality and mental disorder.xxiv-"In short, Hyde is the physical expression of moral lowness according to post Darwinian thought".xxv- "Jekyll attempt to make an absolute division between the respectable and the disreputable, the righteous and the libertine,, the social and the sensual/sexual. xxxiv-comparisons with other novels listed by title and author which may or may not be appropriateStrange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:p7- hellishp7-damnedp9-damnablep35-what an assp53-your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satanp64- the spirit of hellp67- child of hellThe Body Snatcher- a man is hired to pay for the cadavers used in medical school but eventually discovers that they are actually murder victims but he does nothing to stop itp73 - man had some "fleeting infidelities"p88-hellOlalla- a man goes to the mountains to recover and falls in love with the daughter and discovers that his hosts have a strange secretp97-suspicion that man and women didn't marry and their children are "bastards"p118 very descriptive about mother- "passive sensuality"p119- very descriptiveabout his feelings for the girl "eyes exchanging salvos of attraction" etc.p120- man wonders if what he feels for women is love or "brute attraction"p121- girl goes to the man who stretched out his arms "she leaped to me and clung to me"p124-125 man is injured and girl cares for him-he goes into detail about how he perceives her - for example- "I saw the faultless face and through the robe the lines of the faultless body" "the touch of her smooth hand lingered"p126- he kisses her handp126- she tries to convince him their relationship isn't meant to be "What am I then...if not a curve in this poor body of mine (which you love, and the sake of which you dotingly dream that you love me"p132- "it was there that one of my comrades sold himself to satan; the virgin sheild us from temptaions! He has paid the price; he is now burning in the reddest place in hell"p133- girl kneels to pray before a crucifixp134- references to yoshka as "man of sorrows" "friend of the distressed" "rays of glory encircled it"Diagnosing Jekyllp154- a multipage essay about "sexual perversion" connected to the Jekyll and Hyde story
01/07/2022 Vanished! A Framed Novel Ponti, James Framed novels 4 - 8 Questionable
Boy and girl who are friends, solve mysteries by looking for small clues. Running story of girl trying to find her parents who abandoned her when she was born.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Friendly negiah between boy and girl, no romance. Adults are boyfriend/girlfriend, no romance
Religion/Hashkafa
Passing mention of C____ the Redeemer statue
Middos
Boy intentionally allows mean boy to cheat off his test - because he knows he has a different test with different questions
01/07/2022 Trapped! A Framed Novel Ponti, James 4 - 8 Questionable
Boy and girl solve mysteries using small clues. Boy and girl are very close friends, several mentions of this.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Page 105 (can be torn out): Explicit mention that girl's parents gave her up for adoption because they couldn't get married because people don't approve of blacks and whites having babies together. (Elsewhere in books topic is discussed but without mention that they weren't married).Affectionate negiah between adults.Mention of adults who are boyfriend/girlfriend.
01/07/2022 Framed! A TOAST mystery Ponti, James Framed novels 4 - 8 Questionable
Boy and girl who are close friends, solve mysteries using a method of looking for small clues
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Boy notices that a boy in the museum is interested in a pretty girl, not the art. FBI agents pretend to be boyfriend/girlfriend; girl says maybe they should try it out for real.
Language
heck (once)
11/18/2021 Billy Budd Melville, Herman 9 - 12 Classic
A young sailor who is liked by his peers is framed for treason. He punches his accuser and accidentally kills him, thereby being convicted and hung. This happens despite the fact that the captain and the court all feel that he is innocent. They convict him to follow the rules of martial law and to ensure that the other sailors don't think they can get away with things. Can lead to discussions about following rules or conscience- which would have to be monitored carefully. A few allusions to religion, but since they aren't explained, they will likely go over the head of most ignorant readers.A young sailor who is liked by his peers is framed for treason. He punches his accuser and accidentally kills him, thereby being convicted and hung. This happens despite the fact that the captain and the court all feel that he is innocent. They convict him to follow the rules of martial law and to ensure that the other sailors don't think they can get away with things. Can lead to discussions about following rules or conscience- which would obviously have to be monitored carefully. A few allusions to religion, but since they aren't explained, they will likely go over the head of many ignorant readers. In this edition, Tom Doherty Associates, the foreward (pg. x) mentions that some scholars compare this to the life of yoshka "in spite of Melville's life long skepticism about religion- and the perceptive reader will pick up on the frequent Christian symbols and images such as references to Calvinism and the Holy Writ, Claggart's elemental evil, and Billy Budd's acceptance of his fate, his ascension into the "soft glory of the fleece of the lamb of g" etc. and later mentions (pg.xii) that "Billy's acceptance of his fate is as essential to the novel as C's acceptance of the crucifixion to the Christian story.". Comparision of captain telling sailor he was sentenced to die to Abraham telling Isaac (chapt 22 pg 91). When the captain announces to the crew that the sailor was sentenced to be executed "Their captain's announcement was listened to by the throng of standing sailors in a dumbness like that of a seated congregation of believers in hell listening to the clergyman's annoncement of his Calvinistic text." The ship's chaplain comes to talk to the sailor before he dies - he is called a minister of yoshka. The sailor is compared to the barbarians in history who took on christianity (chapt 24 p97) which continues (on p98) talking about seraphs/angels. The priest understands that he shouldn't talk to the convicted man about "thoughts of salvation and a savior" since he wouldn't understand. Brief mention that the priest's role was to put a religious stamp of agreement on the decision. As he is killed "the vapory fleece hanging low in the east was shot through with a soft glory as of the fleece of the lamb of god seen in a mystical vision" (chapt 35 p102)
11/04/2021 The Dawning of the Day: A Jerusalem Tale Sabato, Haim 9 - 12 Classic
A Yerushalmi Sephardic man with deep, sincere faith in G-d makes his way through a changing Jerusalem. He is comfortable with many types of people both Sephardi and Ashkenazy, scholar and simple. Many, many references to BIblical and Talmudic commentaries which seem fine, but would need to be reviewed by someone knowledgeable to ensure that they are accurate. Although this is a short but slow moving read, there is very little objectionable (assuming all quotes are accurate). The man's brother in law is a scholar at Hebrew University who analyzes medieval Hebrew poetry, but still seems to be a believing man.
10/22/2021 Heart of Darkness Conrad, Joseph 9 - 12 Classic
Page numbers are from Roads Classics Edition. A European man travels to the Congo to pilot a steamship for a European company gathering ivory and riches. He witnesses terrible brutality in the way the company treats the natives, and how Europeans act when they are far from civilization and not bound by the usual niceties and code of conduct. He looks forward to meeting a certain European at one of the outposts but when he arrives he discovers that he had turned himself into a diety for the natives and murdered people and put their heads on posts. There is a description of a tall native women involved with this man- it is implied she is his mistress, but it is not said outright. The man had a fiance in England. p32 niggersp36 stupidp39 man thinks of someone as a "chattering idiot"p55 refers to a man as "that ass"p76 gory and detailed description of a man killed by a spearp107 stupidp115 stupid
10/13/2021 The Empty Grave Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
In the final book in the series, the children finally figure out what is causing the uptick in hauntings and proceed to destroy the causes despite great danger. There is a sme romance when the boy gives the girl his deceased mother's necklace that was a symbol of his father's "undying devotion" to his mother- also minor romantic negiah between them- stand next to each other "shoulders touching.", when they are both upset he "put his arms round me and pulled me to him...we stood like that for I don't know how long. I would have been happy for it to go on longer." Describes the "other side" as "I guess it had other names too which people in the old religions and the ghost cults use. But from what I saw it wasn't a heaven or a hell; just a world very similar to our own, only freezing cold and silent and stretched out under a back sky. The dead walked there, and it was their home..." Something called ectoplasm "represents the part of you that survives-that passes from one side to the other. You can call it your essence, your life force, whatever you want. It doesn't decay. It doesn't die. It doesn't really change." Story of a ghost who was once a "cruel and wicked woman... who wrapped men round her little finger...the popular papers of the day were full of stories about the rich marrired men who'd fallen for her, and all the wives she'd wronged.. she never stayed with her lovers for long, and discarded them like candy wrappers." Now , as a ghost, she has power over "addled young men".
Language
stupid, idiot, berserk, oh hell, hellishly early, darn, dumb, shut up, bloody (as an expletive), weird, drat, heck of a lot, freaked out, butt
10/11/2021 The Creeping Shadow Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
Girl leaves agency to become a freelance agent since she is afraid she is putting her friends' lives in danger. Eventually, she goes back to working with her friends. Horrible story of a man who was a cannibal and ate his neighbor. Boy comments that a jealous skull is acting like "a jilted lover". Discussion about Greek gods. DIscussion about an ancient cross in a graveyard with an engraving of "the gatherer of souls" with a depiction of the last judgement- no explanations. Boy and girl grab each other's hands when scared and then after, realize they are still holding hands- quickly drop them. Children spend some time on the "other side" where souls go after they die- it is cold and colorless and scary.
Language
shut up, idiots, weird, hell on earth, freak us out, maniac, stupid, dumb, punk, bozos, what the heck was that,
10/10/2021 The Hollow Boy Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
Children continue their adventures as they try to solve dangerous hauntings. A new girl is hired causing the experienced girl to be very jealous of her - tries to come to grip with her feelings after she saves her life. Sometimes girls and boys grab each other's arms when scared but not romantic. People often hold an iron crucifix to ward off ghosts. Department store featured belly dancers (no description). Boy "let out a giggle" as he shook pretty girl's hand.
Language
weird, hellhole, idiots, shut up, what the hell, hell of a lot, stupid, berserk, bloody idiots, going to hell, sure as hell, all hell's breaking loose, heck,what the hell..., drat, it would be hell, a darn sight too many, creepy
10/04/2021 The Screaming Staircase Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
A girl who can hear ghosts, joins 2 boys in an agency run by teens that investigates hauntings and solves them. Girls mother doesn't pay much attention to her children- she sits and watches TV. Boy takes a ghost in a jar into the bath with him as an experiment- girl comments "You got naked with a ghost". Art work is "three plump semi naked women". Monks "turned away from G-d to the worship of darke things".
Language
stupid, idiot, weird, butt, cock and bull story, shut up, what the hell (frequent), freaked out, hellish thing, how the hell, dumb, damned, drat, sure as hell
09/30/2021 The Whispering Skull Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
Children who solve dangerous hauntings are hired to be present when the tomb of a dangerous man is opened. They find a mirror that he created that can make someone see the "other side" - where people go when they die. Anyone who looks in the mirror dies. When it is stolen they go on a mission to locate it and end up in a very dangerous situation. Discussion about talking to spirits and finding out secrets about "death, about the soul and its passage to a place beyond".
Language
idiots, stupid, damned fool, weird, sure as hell, dumb, bloody hell, who gives a damn, shut up, lunatic, to hell with this, what the hell are you doing?, drat, it would be hell, a darn sight too many
09/26/2021 World's Collide Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Problematic
Boy finishes setting up his storybook army to conquer the bad guys, but his twin sister is bewitched to fight for the other side. The characters from the previous books in this series come together to fight the war set in New York City. Author says he and his wife were "middle school sweethearts"- their relationship is described in previous books. Mentions of TV and movies and Broadway shows. Many mentions of characters from classic novels and movies made from them which may or may not be appropriate. Lady kisses frog man all over when they are reunited. Female trollputs her hand into the tinman's hand and makes him blush. At a wedding the bride and groom "share their first kiss as a married couple".
Language
frequent language- creepy, holy crap, heck, freak out, weird, kick butt, bastards, stupid, blasted, damned, shut up,idiot, brats, stinking
09/26/2021 A Grimm Warning Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Not Acceptable
Boy twin travels to Germany with his teacher and discovers a clue left by famous authors that points to a dangerous army coming to attack the fairy tale world. In the meantime, the girl twin remains in the fairy world training to become the next fairy godmother. The grandmother unexpectedly weakens and is close to death as the twins try to save the world. Girl has a crush on a "cute" boy. they go on a "walk" together hand in hand and eventually end up kissing.She wonders if she is expriencing "her own classic love story" or if it is "just a mild case of puppy love" Boy has a crush on a classmate and isn't sure how to handle it- he blushes every time she talks to him. At wedding the gromm and brdie "locked lips as the crowd cheered wildly". Breif description of a sci fi TV show about outer space. Cemetary has a crusifix on the gate. Old woman tells children that when she was young she fell in love with a circus clown and followed him around the globe- after 6 months she told him how she felt and they got married. Children run out of money and convince a random hotel to charge two bikesl to a stranger's room- they feel justified in doing this since it is for a good cause "sometimes you have to do the wrong things for the right reasons". Young boy discovers he can't save someone in real kife "like a superhero in the movies". Sad when the grandmother dies. It is explained that "a fairy never really dies. When a fairy's time is up, jis or her soul simply returns to magic They become the very substance that helps the fairies make the world a better place.
Language
gross, idiot, creepy, stupid, heck, idiot, brats, jerk
09/17/2021 Beyond the Kingdoms Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Not Acceptable
Twins try to capture an evil man who at first they suspect is their dead father, but eventually, he turns out to be their wicked uncle. They end up in classic storybooks- the boy in Robin Hood and the girl in King Arthur.The girl ends up having a romance with the teenage king arthur- she is "smitten" with him- many descriptions- she gets "lost" in his blue eyes, they walk "hand in hand", she kisses him "passionately" etc. Mother goose has a romance with Merlin- they drink together, flirt,etc. and she decides to stay with him instead of returning to the fairy tale world. With the help of the book's characters, they return to the fairytale world and help save the day. Many other book titles mentioned as well. Nineteenth-century author finds writing a challenge because the church will accuse him of alluding to something unholy. Man gave a lady love potions so he could "seduce her and marry her" as a stepping stone to taking over the world. One word xmas. Girl gives her former boyfriend a hug and a kiss on the cheek to thank him and he blushes. The padre says a prayer and holds a crucifix before a "hovering spirit". Man and woman "share a kiss". Boy writes a love story
Language
damn, idiot, creep me out, stupid, give me the creeps, shut up, brats, what the heck, lunatic, dang it, freaked out
09/17/2021 The Wishing Spell Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Not Acceptable
Boy and girl twins who have recently lost their father and are still mourning him, travel to a fairy tale land and find they have to go on a quest to gather enough items to leave and return to their world. They encounter many famous fairy tale characters on their journey and discover that they aren't exactly as simple as they were made out to be in the stories. Teacher says that "the only exposure to the tales some children acquire are versions bastardized by the film companies. Children remember their father's funeral "holding their mother's hands as they walked down the church aisle". Girl sees that her brother got the answers wrong on his test so she changes some of them. She feels guilty but then realizes "she'd done the right thing- not as a student, but as a sister". Boy misses watching television.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
At a ball "guests paired up and began waltzing around the room, each looking lovingly into their partner's eyes the entire time". Queen is in love with a man and proposes to him each week, but he is in love with an outlaw and refuses her. Man meets his outlaw girlfriend by a fence and holds her hands and they touch foreheads and kiss "passionate, pure and long overdue". Female troll has a crush on boy and flirts with him. Boy has to let her kiss him so she will let them escape. As soon as prince saw girl it was "love at first sight". Love letters are detailed- say things like "My time is filled with a longing to be in your arms" and "Not being able to touch your skin or kiss your lips has made my soul hurt." etc. Woman finally frees man she loves from a magic mirror but he dies in her arms. Man and woman "fell madly in love" and "used to laugh together and hold each ohter in their arms until dusk each day".
Language
idiot, creepy, annoyed the heck out of them, stupid, weird, freaky looking, dumb, shut up, brat, stupid. heck of a fight, freaks, crappy, jerk, one heck of a trial, that would just suck, bimbo, shut up you red blooded harlot, gives me the creeps, gross, who screwed you up?
09/17/2021 The Mother Goose Diaries Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Problematic
A short book giving the backstory to the Mother Goose character in the Land of Stories series. She volunteers to tell fairy tales to children who are dying- they tell her "soon the L-rd will take us to be with our parents. After they die a nun says a "prayer for their souls" and covers them with sheets. Whenever Mother Goose is having a hard time she takes a "swig" from her "flask" that she hides in her bonnet. She is often "tipsy".When fairy godmother isn't acting herself, Mother Goose asks her if she "got a boyfriend" since "lots of men are dating older women these days". Friend "seduces" Mother Goose's fiance. She goes to march for marraige equality for LGBT people. She pretends to be Saint Margaret to influence Joan of Arc who she finds kneeling in a catheral playing (illustration of her on her knees).
Language
weird, idiot, ditz, numbskull, moron, suckers, shut up, crap, creep, heck, butt
09/05/2021 Shooting Kabul Senzai, N.H. 5 - 8 Questionable
An Afghani American boy is riddled with guilt for letting go of his little sister's hand as they fled their country leading to her getting lost. He is amazed to find out everyone in his family feels equally guilty. Eventually, he locates her picture in a photography contest he enters and this information leads to her rescue. Girl is angry at the Taliban for banning everything- movies, music, kite flying etc. since it doesn't say anything about those things in their bible. Father grew a beard since they forced him to but explains to the children that "no one can force someone to be religious. It must come from their heart." School children display poor middos- call a girl "Fatty Patty".Boys hurt children they see as different. Discussion of kid's favorite movies- they list the titles of their favorite ones including Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Friday the 13th, The Terminator, Predator, etc. Iman translates from the Quran- "We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people". A lot of bias against muslims after September 11. Ice cream truck driver was beat up because he was wearing a turban and a beard even though he isn't even a Muslim. In school bullies pick on Muslim boys- call them turban-heads and terrorists- detailed description of the bullies trying to beat up a mulsim boy.
Language
butt, brat, morons, darn (p93, 179, 206), twerp, stupid, dumb, freaked out, idiot, gross, shut up, crud, heck (p247)
09/05/2021 NIght of Soldiers and Spies Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Questionable
Time travelling dog helps a boy who is spying for the Continental army. Boy compares xmas in the army to xmas at home "At home.. there would have been meat pies baking and bells ringing in the churches. Here in camp, the chaplains called men together for simple quiet services. Boys are friends from church.

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The Serpent's Curse
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 5 - 7
Questionable
Series
The saga continues along the same lines as the previous book. Violence. A lot of cell phones, tablet, internet, technology. Children visit monastery/monks, church,mentions of saints, christian art work, kneeling in prayer, . Opera described. Non romantic negiah. Language- stinking/bloody (as an expletive), weird, stupid,snot, blast it all, freaking out, freak, idiot
The Coiled Viper
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children chase bad guys who came into their world from the magic world.
Voyage of the Jaffa Wind
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children help rescue their friends
The Isle of Mists
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Kids help prevent evil man from taking over the world.
Search for the Dragon Ship
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children rescue world from evil princess.
The Moon Dragon
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children join townspeople in battle with the bad guys. A bit more violence than the other books in this series, but still pretty tame.
The Forbidden Stone
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 5 - 7
Questionable
Series
2 boys and 2 girls search for items that were parts of Copernicus' time machine, and run away from the bad guys. Put themselves in dangerous situations, sometimes with encouragements of adults. Books do not stand alone, a reader will want to read them all. Very mild references to boy's admiration of girl, not developed in this book, appears to be more as a friend than romantic; mentions of them being in close physical proximity or brief touching, no romance. Boy's parents are divorced, mention that he wished they would get together again, but now he is happy in his new blended family. Mention of girl wearing shorts and 'stylishly slashed t-shirt'. Man hugs woman who saved them - not romantic. Language: screwy. Passing mention of temples for Greek gods. Evil woman kisses precious artifact; her male employee briefly wishes he was the artifact. Violence.
The Genie King
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Questionable
Series
Children try to find a medallion in a city that is in a bottle. Very subtle boy/girl, some children might miss it. One accidental hug (p66 chapter. 5) some blushing, goodbye hug (pg. 167 chapter.12) language- dummy, dumb, minor bathroom humor. Subtly alludes to Santa Claus but never mentioned by name.
Moon Magic
Abbott, Tony
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Series
Children go to the future and the past to save the magical world. In the future a boy and girl hug "it was an embrace that never seemed to want to end"; page 127 illustration.
Space Bingo
Abbott, Tony
Series:
Grades: N/A
Questionable
Series
Note on series: Children travel to the future and try to save the world. A lot of juvenile slang. In each book preview of the next book in the back. In this book middos among classmates and siblings. A few brief references to a meteor crashing into earth sixty five million years ago and killing all the dinosaurs.Brief mention of rock band.Non Romantic negiah. Language:nerd, weird,
Mondo Meltdown
Abbott, Tony
Series:
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Mention of watching TV, reading comic books, Language- freak,weird, stinky,stupid,nerd, dorky, gross.
The Great Ice Battle
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children help save the city from an ice curse.
Journey to the Volcano Palace
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children go into a secret volcano to steal back a magical jewel. Lies to his mother to protect magical land. Language-weird, stinky, dumb, creepy.
Into the Land of the Lost
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children go to a ghost land to save their friend.
The Crown of Fire
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 5 - 7
Problematic
Series
The conclusion of the saga. Similar to previous books in violence, technology. The mild romantic interest continues as boy still can't find the courage to tell girl that he "likes" her. However another boy and girl become more of a couple after she almost dies, though nothing happens between them other than hugs when they realize they are safe , when girl isn't feeling well boy puts arm around her shoulder- it feels good to her, etc.Mention of Greek gods. Hide out in a church- boy thinks stained glass windows are beautiful. Temple with statue gods. Sistine chapel- analysis of the symbolism in the painting "The Last Judgement" with the help of the Pope- many mentions of yoshka- this is very detailed and specific, but only a minor part of the story- a parent needs to use careful judgement. Language- idiotic/idiot, shut up, gross, dang,stupid, dumb, jerk, stinky head, weird, bloody 'ell, hell,
The Golden Vendetta
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 5 - 7
Problematic
Series
The saga continues along the same lines as the previous book. Violence. A lot of cell phones, tablet, internet, technology, movies. A mild romantic interest beginning to develop- Boy realizes he likes girl when they are forced to stand "pressed up against each other" when they are hiding from a killer- but he is afraid to tell her.Girl is miserable because of her parent's impending divorce. Man daydreams about the time he held a woman in his arms for "countless seconds". Husband and wife kiss and hug "for a long time" in front of the children. Woman kisses boy on both cheeks in greeting he blushes. Mosque described in detail in very positive terms. Language- weird, stupid, creep, dumb, brat, freak, blast it all, idiot.
The Race to Doobesh
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children prevent beasts from creating powerful armor. Unimportant mention of children seeing a movie in a theater.
Escape from Tabar-Loo
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children help rescue the king and queen.
Flight of the Blue Serpent
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children battle bad guys and give a dying serpent back his scale. Girl holds hand of boy she thinks is dead and cries. Somewhat scary.
Pirates of the Purple Dawn
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children prevent bad guys from the past from building an evil city.
Wade and the Scorpion's Claw
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 4 - 7
Questionable
Series
Shorter books that continue the story between the fatter Copernicus Legacy books.Told from the viewpoint of one character. Make many references to the thicker books, so they don't really stand alone.Violence, technology. Girl jokingly "shoves" boy. Man is killed on airplane- kid sitting next to him discovers he is dead- description. One sentence mention of an xmas ornament. Many mentions of church bells.Kids look for clues in a church- described. Language- dumb, geek, freaky, weird, freak out, stupid, idiot, creep
The Final
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Questionable
Series
Conclusion to series, children save the magical world. Language- creepy. Non-religious xmas, non romantic negiah.
The Golden Wasp
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children accidentally bring something from the magic world into their world, thereby upsetting the balance between the worlds
The Sleeping Giant of Goll
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children prevent the bad guy from getting more power. An innocent hi-five between boys and girl.
In The Shadow of Goll
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Kids unsuccessfully try to rescue their friend from being transformed into a villain. Sad. Language- creepy.
The Riddle of Zorfendorf Castel
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children try to stop bad guys from using a portal to their world.
The Treasure of the Orkins
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children help recover a stolen treasure
The Mysterious Island
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children help save magical world.
Queen of Shadow Thorn
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children are not sure if they should trust a queen from the future. Book ends very uncertainly - are the children OK or not?
Orbit Wipeout
Abbott, Tony
Series:
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Comic book hero and villains.Brief mentions of enjoying eating snacks while watching TV.Language:gross, stinko, stupid,creepy,weird,stinky.
Knights of the Ruby Wand
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Kids try to find a magical wand to rescue their friends. A bit convoluted for younger readers. Non romantic negiah. Language- weird, dudes
The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children help destroy an evil city that reappears from the past. Girl is happy to see her friends (boys) so she hugs them- not romantic. Language- weird, creeps.
The Mask of Maliban
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children try to prevent bad guys from getting a magical mask. One of the children discovers that he has magical powers. Non-religious mention of Halloween. Minor language: doofus.
City in the Clouds
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children visit an invisible flying city and help prevent the bad guy from gaining power. The Guardians of the magical city are dinosaurs - no mention of years.
The Tower of the Elf King
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Unimportant mentions of children mixed swimming.
The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
2 boys and a girl help save a magical world that they accidentally find when they clean up the boy's basement.
Becca and the Prisoner's Cross
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 4 - 7
Questionable
Series
See comments about first book in series above.Man says if go by view of some biblical scholars world is 6,000 years old, if go by big bang notion it is 13.8 billion years old. Children look for relic that is shaped like a cross. Husband quickly kisses wife goodbye. Girl wonders why boy keeps staring at her, friend says it's because he "likes" her.Girl holds boys hand when she is scared. Kids search tombs in churches for relic. Old movies referred to by title. Language- stupid, gross, dummy
Quest for the Queen
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children help save the queen.
Under the Serpent
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Picture of a sea serpent/lady in low cut outfit on cover - somewhat cartoonish.
The Chariot of Queen Zara
Abbott, Tony
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Series
Children rescue world from evil genie.