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TPCA Media Class… Grow In Grace

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Complicated Tests and Obstacles

Review of: The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

Reviewed by: Graham S

mysterious benedict“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” In The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, this is an advertisement that was in the daily newspaper that caught four kids’ attentions: Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance.  All these kids pass extremely complicated tests cleverly created by Mr. Benedict. Mr. Benedict is a jolly, small, plump man who is looking for a team of kids to defeat an evil mastermind. The mastermind is telepathically sending secret messages to ordinary people’s minds. The messages make them socially disappear by erasing their minds and personality. Mr. Curtain, the evil mastermind, made a school for highly talented kids; he uses these kids to send the secret messages. So, Mr. Benedict sends Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance to the school. Reynie is a very smart and clever orphan. Sticky’s real name is George, but everyone calls him Sticky because anything he sees or reads “sticks” in his mind. Kate is very tall and athletic; she also wears a bucket around her waist that has any special tools that might come in handy. Constance is a grumpy, annoying, short girl, but by the end of the story she will surprise you. While they are at the school, they are only Students; they need to increase their rank up to Messengers, so they can find out hidden information. Every night the kids are supposed to use Morse Code with their flashlights to communicate with Mr. Benedict. Quickly, Reynie and Sticky are among the few of Mr. Curtain’s favorite students. Kate and Constance are falling back in their schoolwork, so the team decides to cheat, but Sticky gets caught. Surprisingly, Mr. Curtain lets Sticky off the hook, but Mr. Curtain has a feeling that the kids are up to something. The team finds out very interesting and important facts and clues throughout the story. They learn to work together and trust each other.  Will they ever defeat Mr. Curtain? Will they ever get out of the wretched school safely?

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Trenton Lee Stewart did a great job explaining and describing the characters and story. He made it feel like I’m right in the story with them. Another reason I liked this is because of how different the characters are and how they learn to get along and work as a team. They all have certain strengths and weaknesses. They learn that they all have to work together or they won’t accomplish anything.

I would recommend The Mysterious Benedict Society to kids ages 10-14 because younger children wouldn’t understand some of the words. Also, it wasn’t a piece of cake to keep up in what was going in the story. If you are 10-14 this is the perfect book for you to read if you are looking for some action, humor, and fun.

 

 

 

Adventurous, Astonishing ,and Amazing

Review of: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Reviewed By: Luke

 

tom sawyer

Do you think you’re a rebel? Compared to Tom Sawyer, you’re just a goody-two shoes. Mark Twain writes about a rebellious boy who steals, runs away, and is always ready to explore. The title perfectly fits the story, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. There is also two more important characters in Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Joe Harper. Huckleberry Finn is famous for being the baddest kid in town, but he and Tom become friends throughout the story. Joe Harper has been Tom’s pal since either of them could remember. Tom Sawyer involves wacky and exhilarating adventures including runaways, creepy graveyards, and a mysterious cave. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry are wandering throughout a graveyard to find some treasure, they encounter men putting somebody’s body in the graveyard. They figure out that a man named Injun Joe had murdered someone. They run as fast as they can and swear that they will never tell anybody about what they have just seen. As Tom and Becky, Tom’s crush, are stuck in a cave with no sense of direction. Tom hears somebody walking throughout the cave; as he gets closer to the person he realizes it’s Injun Joe, the town scoundrel. He realizes that Injun Joe is coming for him because Tom had gotten him in trouble, in court, for murdering an innocent man. He runs away from him and tries to find his way out of trouble.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a interesting and exciting book. In my opinion Tom Sawyer has some useless detail like what he is doing at school, which can make the book boring at times. However, Tom Sawyer is an outstandingly written book, containing  descriptions that really makes it amusing and sensational to read.  I like how Mark Twain describes Tom as a tough kid, but when he gets away from home, he wants to go back even though it doesn’t seem like it.  Tom Sawyer is a fantastic book, and once I got into it, I didn’t want to put it down.

I would recommend Tom Sawyer for kids that are 10+. The book contains contains scenes in it that aren’t quite a good fit for younger kids. Other than that, this book would be satisfying for kids to read because it contains excitement and entertainment for all. This book is also adventurous, astonishing, and amazing. Tom Sawyer has lots of themes too like, its has lots of action, mysteries, and it is very humorous.

 

1 In 4 Million

Review of: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Reviewed by: Graham

wonderHappiness, sadness, and laughter are all emotions in the wonderful book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio. August Pullman has a facial disorder that one in four million people when they are born. All his life he was homeschooled, until middle school; he decided to attend Beecher Prep Middle School. Before school started, August, also known as Auggie, took a tour of the school; he thought it was a good fit for him. He also met some kids from school: Jack, Julian, and Charlotte. According to Auggie, they were all pretty nice, except for Julian. The first day of school for Auggie was not the best day of his life; people were whispering and staring at Auggie. At lunch, he sat at a table by himself. A girl, Summer, sat down with him. Throughout the year, they became great friends, but other kids still thought Auggie was different. Jack and Summer were Auggie’s only friends. Auggie just wanted to go to a school and be treated like a normal kid, but people still get freaked out when they see him. He must learn that you just have to be yourself. Will others ever be nice to him and be his friends?

This book was wonderful. I think this because it was written so well. I loved Auggie’s character. He was so brave to go to school after all the other kids made fun of him. He has a great attitude; he never did anything mean to the other kids, while they were horrible to him. I also liked Summer’s character. She stood up for Auggie. She thought he was just a normal boy and treated him that way, while otherthought he was different.  Another reason I thought this book was tremendous because I loved how R.J. Palacio changed perspectives in different chapters. Every once in a while, the narrator would change and the story would be told from a different character’s point of view. I liked this because it was easier to understand what the characters thought about things. 

I recommend this book to both boys and girls ages 9 to 13, because it contains a good lesson. It teaches you to be yourself, and to be thankful for who you are. Also, it is a great story; even though Auggie is teased and made fun of, he doesn’t have self-pity.

Love Will Find a Way

flora and ulyssesReview of:  Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo

Reviewed by:  Claire

Have you ever wondered what a squirrel’s perspective may be? In the book Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, a young independent girl named Flora, oddly enough, becomes best friends with a squirrel. Not only that, but this special squirrel named Ulysses has superpowers! He has the ability to communicate with Flora and he types poetry for Flora about her face, food, and how much he cares for her.  Flora and Ulysses are stopped in their tracks of becoming friends when Flora’s mother boldly states that she will not allow the squirrel to stay or become attached to Flora because of their special ability to understand each other and their love for each other. Flora is forced to make a decision:  will she choose the squirrel or her mother?  I really enjoyed how much Flora and her mother become closer because of their adventures with Ulysses It’s such a sweet and heart-breaking story that shows that love will always find a way.

I personally wasn’t too fond of this novel. It seemed kind of “little kiddish” to me. The author uses comic strips every once in a while to add to the story line; it seemed a little annoying because I couldn’t make my own unique mental picture.  Also, I have noticed that many modern authors are creating parents to be the “bad guy” or villain.  I find this very ungodly and it completely goes against the Bible. Kate DiCamillo stuck with this same bad parent idea. My favorite scene is when Flora and her mother talk face to face at the ending.  I really enjoyed how realistic the author wrote that scene and how the author could find humor in such a touching and heart-warming way. She does a tremendous job at making this disagreement into an almost realistic experience. 

I would recommend this book to any 3rd to 6th grader. There really aren’t any mature parts or foul language or anything of that sort.  It becomes a book that you think back to from all the lessons of faith, love, hope, and the power of a kid. I hope that you enjoy this book and will remember the love that the characters had for each other and do the same with people around you.

‘Dem Crazy Animals

REVIEW OF:  The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

Reviewed by:  Luke

The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a thrillingly exciting book that distracted me from everything but itself.  Rat, Toad, Mole, and, Badger are the funny, outgoing, characters in this story. Sometimes they aren’t the most honest, but they will always stay friends, and help each other no matter what. They all want to to get Toad Hall back, but the fiend’s that took it over will not give it up. They even tried to shoot Toad when he tried to see what was happening in Toad Hall.  I never wanted to put this novel down, especially because of scenes like these:  Rat and Toad’s cart broke down and Rat told Toad to fix it, but instead Toad bought a fancy motor-car; also, Toad was arrested and when he was in jail, Toad Hall was taken over! It’s great to find out if he will take it back or not; and if they do, how do they take back their beloved Toad Hall.

I really enjoyed this humorous, adventurous, and crazy book. I was really surprised that i liked this book because the cover looked kiddish.  I really enjoyed getting to know the Water Rat because he is brave, humorous, funny, and gallant. Rat goes into the Wild Wood, and he knows it’s dangerous, but he keeps on going, looking for his friend. Luckily he carries two pistols around for safety. I didn’t like when Toad was a selfish, lazy liar because he was told to fix a broken cart, but instead he bought a snazzy motorcar. But I think this is a wonderful, off the hook, and fun book to read. If anyone disagrees that means they don’t know what a good book is.

This would be a good book for kids that are around 10 years old and up because there is a little bit of language, and there are some hard and perplexing vocabulary words. I also think anyone that is 10 years or older ought to read it because this is a book that is for all who love reading and enjoy some funny, and creative characters.

 

Toad The Selfish, Lazy, Liar

This book has some characters that have a connection to people from the Bible but… they aren’t always good. Toad from The Wind In The Willows can be a little selfish sometimes. You can also say a liar too. Toad and Rat’s cart broke down and they needed it fixed, so Rat told Toad to go fix it and he said he would. Then the next day Rat found out that Toad had bought a motor-car. I think he was selfish because he did what thought was best for him, lazy because he didn’t fix the cart, and a liar, because he said he would fix the cart but instead he bought a motor-car. I think it’s wrong because God says being selfish, lazy, and a lair is not following and obeying his word. Instead we should care for others, put other’s needs in front of ours, and tell the truth even when we don’t want to. I think we should all be followers of God even in the tough times, and in times that we want to do things the easy way. I think none in the world should be like Toad, but be like the people God wants us to be.

A Long Way From Chicago

Review of:  A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck

Reviewed by:  Daniel

The novel A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck is one of the many reasons I love historical fiction.  Joey and Mary Alice Dowdel visit their grandmother every summer for the nine years of the Great Depression.  Grandma Dowdel is an extremely funny woman.  Throughout this book, there are several stories where Grandma shows her mischievous abilities. But, in each and every story is the problem of the Great Depression.  There are many great examples of the humor in this book such as, the mouse in the milk story and the two old men fighting.  You will also find out what can be done with a cherry bomb!  Will this difficult time get the better of the Dowdel family?  Find out what the kids learn from Grandma’s hilarious lifestyle and adventures.

I really loved this book.  My favorite part was when two old people fought each other.  One thing I did not understand is the relationship between Grandma Dowdel and Mrs. Wilcox.  I say this because it seems Grandma doesn’t like her when she says “her tongue is attached in the middle and flaps at both ends.”  But, later in the story when Mrs. Wilcox leaves, Grandma is depressed.  Mary Alice tells Joey that he doesn’t understand girls; I assume the same for myself.  This an over all great book and I would give it 5/5 stars!

This is a great historical fiction novel.  I think that advanced 3rd grade and up would enjoy it. I really enjoyed the humor in this book and I hope you will too!

Love is in everyone

Have you ever chased down a bird in an automobile no bigger than a sneaker? Stuart Little, an adventurous, 3-inch tall mouse, chases one from New York to Ames to who knows where in that kind of vehicle! In the novel Stuart Little by E.B. White, Stuart ventures north to find a friend. Stuart also “teaches” school and meets a pretty little lady. I am not joking when I say “little lady” – the girl is literally smaller than him. Stuart also steers a boat in a pond, gets thrown into a garbage truck, and sleeps in a cigarette box, but will he ever find Margalo?

I loved how Stuart “taught” school.  My favorite quote was “Bother arithmetic!  Let’s just skip it!”  I enjoyed this novel but I didn’t like the reason Margalo the bird left in the first place.  This novel made me feel curious about what would happen next at the end of each chapter.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who is 8 and up.  It is a heart-warming story for everyone.  It has some difficult vocabulary, but it is still a story that kids in 3rd grade and up would enjoy!

Cliffhangers

holes Review of:  HOLES by Louis Sachar

Reviewed by:  Colin Heniff

In the novel Holes by Louis Sachar, Stanley Yelnats is a teenage boy who was punished for a crime he didn’t commit.  For his punishment, he was sent to Camp Green Lake, a reform camp.  Stanley finds out there might be buried treasure in the dried up lake.  Stanley’s only friend is Zero; they face many dangers together.  One of Stanley’s main problems is one of the counselors, Mr. Sir, who is very mean and stern.

I loved Holes.  Whenever I started reading it, I could not stop.  My favorite thing about Holes is the mystery and the cliffhangers.

People who like mystery and cliffhangers will enjoy this book.  I recommend it for ages 9-12 because there is a little violence, but it is an easier book than it seems.

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