These book reviews are from Mary Tripp’s fifth- grade class at Bateman Elementary School in Chicago.
Do you like sad stories, the sunrise and making new friends? If you do, then you’ll love Getting Near to Baby by Audrey Couloumbis.
Willa Jo and Little Sister stay with Aunt Patty for a few days because of an accident that left Little Sister without a voice. Even though Willa and Aunt Patty can understand her perfectly, Aunt Patty wants Little Sister to talk because she thinks it is embarrassing that she isn’t speaking.
Getting Near to Baby is a very emotional book, both sad and happy. One of my favorite parts is when Willa defines the colors of the sunrise from her view on the roof. I think Willa’s friend, Lizzie, is a good friend because she is honest and easy to talk to. If there is one thing I would change, it is that Aunt Patty dislikes Lizzie just because she is a Finger and Aunt Patty thinks the Finger family is too messy. I don’t think it’s right to judge people like that.
I would recommend this book to anybody who likes reading, whether 5 years old or 25. Age isn’t what matters; it’s the emotions and I am confident your feelings will grow throughout the book. Nancy Miguel, 10
What does friendship mean? Are you a good friend? Friends are people who care about others. Find out about the ultimate friendships in The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.
The Greasers gang includes Pony Boy and his brothers, Soda Pop and Darry, who lost their parents in a car crash, the gang’s pet, Johnny, and Dallas. They are enemies with the Socs. Pony Boy and his brothers are fighting to keep their family together. The Greasers have to be careful of the Socs, who will jump them because they are poor and from the other side of town.
One night, Pony Boy and Johnny take things too far when they kill a Soc named Bob in self-defense. Now they have to flee from the police. Dallas helps them hide out at an abandoned church, where they pass the time reading Gone with the Wind.
The Outsiders teaches you what life is like for gangsters, who must always worry about being jumped. This book is magnificent because it explains what real friends do for each other.
The best part is when there is a fire in the church and Johnny, Pony Boy and Dallas risk their lives to save some kids. I think this scene shows that even if people seem bad on the outside, they can still care about others. Juan Alvarez, 11
A friend by your side Have you ever had a friend who had cancer? Well, if you have (and even if you haven’t), you should read Sort of Forever by Sally Warner to find out what it’s like.
Sort of Forever is about Nana, a 12-year-old girl who has cancer. Her best friend, Cady, is always looking out for her, such as asking her if her leg hurts. This can be annoying for Nana.
Nana reminds me of a girl I used to know who had cancer. I would ask her if anything was bothering her, and she would get irritated with me, too. Luckily, she no longer has cancer.
I think Sort of Forever is a great example of how deep friendships can grow. Even though the book made me want to cry, it taught me that even in the toughest of times you can count on your friend to be at your side.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction or is dealing with a tough time. Vanessa Pena, 11
Need some laughter? Four, six, one, nine, five. There are five pencils, Mrs. Jewls,” said Joe. “That’s wrong,” said Mrs. Jewls.
“How many pencils are there?” asked Joe.
“Five,” said Mrs. Jewls.
“That’s what I said,” said Joe. “May I go to recess now?”
Did this scene make you laugh? Are you looking for more stories like this? Then you should read Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacher.
A mixed-up school 30 stories high with one room for each floor is the setting for this collection of stories. In one, Mrs. Gorf turns each child in her classroom into an apple. When Jenny holds up a mirror and Mrs. Gorf turns herself into an apple, Todd eats her.
When you read this book, it will tickle your funny bone. It’s wicked funny. Leonardo Gayosso, 11
This loser needs respect Do you want nonstop laughing? Do you love to laugh out loud? Then read Loser by Jerry Spinelli and find out about one kid’s ridiculous acts.
Donald Zinkoff is a boy whose mind is always in the clouds. He is not an ordinary kid because he likes school. A lot! He always cares for other people and gets nothing in return. One day a little girl named Claudia gets lost, and Donald goes looking for her. What will Claudia’s and Donald’s fates be? Find out in Loser.
The reason I like this book so much is because I can be crazy just like Donald. I think I’m like him because sometimes my mind is in the clouds, too, and I don’t get as much respect as other kids do, which is not a good thing.
I give Loser four thumbs up, including my toes. Jannese Espino, 11
Enjoy the surprises of Ruby Holler If you read Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech, I guarantee you will laugh. It’s about twin orphans, Florida and Dallas, who live in the Boxton Creek Home. They are sent to a lot of foster families who treat them badly and disrespect them.
Then two very nice people named Sairy and Tiller take them home and treat them as their own children. Sairy and Tiller have “understone funds,” which are boxes of money they buried under rocks in the woods instead of deposited at the bank.
Mr. Trepid, the evil man who runs the orphanage, is out to get the funds. When he starts looking for the money with the help of a man named Z, he finds a lot of surprises.
I recommend this book to people who like funny, adventurous and entertaining books. Jonathan Sosa, 11
Anything is possible Imagine a world where a pig, a rat and a spider are friends. If this sounds interesting to you, then you should read Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.
A girl named Fern saves a runt pig that she names Wilbur. After Wilbur grows up, he is sent to a farm where he makes friends with a spider named Charlotte.
When Wilbur is about to be slaughtered, Charlotte saves him by spinning a web that says “some pig.” After this miracle, he is sent to a fair where he wins prizes and has more adventures.
Charlotte’s Web is a book I enjoyed a lot. My favorite adventure was when Wilbur tried to make a web with a rope but he ended up flying and falling against the floor. I also liked how Charlotte greeted Wilbur with the word “Salutations.”
I would recommend Charlotte’s Web to kids who are about 7 through 10 years old. If you like books that include good fellowships, incidents and passing of time, you will enjoy this book. If you have a pet that you take good care of, you will love this book even more. Lucia Lopez, 11
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.