Reviews You’re Sure to Relish

Students took to Newsbee’s March Picks, which focused on “The Wonder of Words,” like bees to honey. The books’ main characters entertained readers: Pete the quirky pooch, Max the blockhead and Duncan, the Scrabble whiz. Sure you’ll relish reading the student reviews, and checking out Newsbee’s recommendations at your library. Until next month — page on!

‘What Pete Ate From A-Z,’ by Maira Kalman

Reviewed by Audrey Richardson, 7, St. Francis Borgia Grade School.

“After looking at the book and reading the title I thought it would be about a dog that ate stuff from A-Z, and I was right. I think this is a good title for the book because that is exactly what happens. Pete the dog eats everything!

“The story takes place in a town, and Pete goes all over the town eating anything. You see Pete is hungry all the time so he eats anything, including things he shouldn’t. First he ate an accordion, then a bouncing ball. After that he ate a camera. You’ll have to read the book to find out what else he ate all the way to Z, including someone’s underwear.

“Pete’s owner is Poppy and like me she has a young brother. Poppy’s younger brother is named Mookie.

“I think this book is funny because Pete keeps eating things and people are getting mad, but no one ever tries to stop him. I like this book the way it is because it is funny, and it teaches a lot of words for each letter of the alphabet. I would tell younger people about this book so they can learn a lot of new words.”

Reviewed by Mrs. Otten’s second-grade students, New Haven Elementary School.

“We think this book is funny and that the author wrote a great book. The dog’s name is Pete. Pete’s owner’s name is Poppy and Moochie is her little brother’s name.

“Moochie reminds some of us of our redheaded cousin. Pete does not eat dog food. Instead, he eats many things in the story like: underpants, a camera, money, half of Poppy’s homework, shoes, 25 jelly beans, and a glue stick.

“We thank you, Book Buzz, for this amazing book!”

Reviewed by Ella Horkey, Central Elementary School.

 “This book is about a dog who eats everything! Pete ate a fez, camera, eggbeater, glue stick and even half of some homework. I’m surprised this dog didn’t get sick! He even ate money and shoes and more.

“You really can’t stop this dog! The funny thing is he won’t even eat his dog food.

“My favorite part is when he ate the money. That was funny! I highly recommend this book because I think others will like it a lot.”

Reviewed by Mrs. Dubuque’s first-grade PC class, Clark-Vitt Elementary School.

“This book is about a dog who eats everything he’s not supposed to. For example, he ate a camera, half of the homework, a fez, several yo-yos, a magic key and underpants!

“Our favorite part was when he ate Cousin Rocky’s underpants, but won’t eat his food. Others should read this book because the dog eats some crazy things.”

“Max’s Castle,” by Kate Banks

Reviewed by Natalie Oesterly, second grade, Clearview Elementary School.

“This book is about a boy who has an amazing imagination. He tells his brothers about something amazing. It turns out to be a block. Then he decides to build a castle out of his blocks.

"After his castle is finished his brothers ask for a room in the castle. His two brothers find one of their old toys. One is a bugle and the other is a toy monkey. Everything they build is made out of blocks, and says what they are. If they want to change the words they can rearrange the order that the letters are in.

“My favorite part of the book is when Max and his brothers get chased by a black cat. I think students who love blocks and love using their imagination would love this book. I love this book.”

Reviewed by Cam Millheiser, second grade, Clearview Elementary School.

“Max was looking for something under his bed. When he found it he put it in his pocket. Then his two brothers walked in and asked what was in his pocket. It was a toy block with letters on it. He found more blocks and started to use his imagination, and started building a castle.

“My favorite part is when Max and his two brothers start walking through the castle. I recommend this book to 4- to 9-year-olds. Yes I did like the book because Max used his imagination. I really liked the book because it has a good ending and that’s what I like about the book.”

Reviewed by Isabella Bolzenius, third grade, Immaculate Conception School.

“Max got something under his bed. His brothers demanded to see what it is. They looked at it and said, ‘Aren’t you too old for blocks?’ Max started to build a castle. Every time Max would make a word it would happen. Max was the king and Benjamin and Karl, his brothers, were knights. I want to be Max’s friend because I like to be imaginative like him.”

Reviewed by Brandon Segelhorst, Immaculate Conception School.

“I love to play with blocks. They are fun when sisters don’t bother me.”

Reviewed by Evan Hall, third grade, Central Elementary School.

“Max looks for a box under his bed. He finds it and shows it to his brothers. First he builds a castle in his imagination with his brothers, and he builds it with words. Finally he uses the leftover letters for spaghetti.

“My favorite part is when they’re in the dungeon because they escape from a snake. I recommend this book because it is funny.”

Reviewed by Ryan Ewald, second grade, Central Elementary School.

“This book is so cool and funny. A kid named Max imagined he was making a castle. I like it when he mixes up words. You should read this book. It is cool.”

“The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman,” by Meg Wolitzer.

Reviewed by Ryan Glatz, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“I thought ‘Duncan Dorfman’ was very interesting and just blew my mind away. The book was amazing! I love this book because it is very detailed and has very creative thoughts. I like how in the beginning all the characters were split up, and in the end they all became friends.

“I think the author is a great author and should keep writing more books. I really love how one of the characters, Duncan, found out who his real dad was because he did not know who he was throughout the book, and thought he had died.

“I also loved how Duncan could have cheated in the Scrabble tournament by using his powers to read the letters in the bag without looking at them.

“I strongly advise you to read this book. This book was mind blowing and it’s telling you to read it.”

Reviewed by Brooke Lange and Drew Snider, age 10, St. Francis Borgia Grade School.

“We predicted that this book was going to be about an unpopular kid’s life but our prediction was wrong. The book is about a new kid at school named Duncan. Duncan has a special power, which is that he can read without looking. When Duncan told his friend at school about his power, a bully named Carl found out and he tells everyone. Carl and Duncan make a deal to go to a big Scrabble tournament and Carl wants Duncan to use his power to win.

“They go to the Scrabble match with a bunch of other kids including April and Nate. Duncan decides he likes to play without using his power. This book is full of suspense because you never knew who would win or lose, or if Duncan would use his powers to win.

 “We would not change a thing about this book. It was interesting from beginning to end. Neither one of us could put the book down. It is too good to change. Boys and girls will enjoy this book. We would recommend it to someone who is interested in reading and loves to play Scrabble. (If you don’t know already, you might just learn how to play.  And, you will love that too!)

“Drew is like Nate because he is athletic and smart. Brooke is like April because she wants to impress people.”

Reviewed by Kullen Brueggemann, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“In the book, ‘The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman,’ Duncan is not an ordinary teenage boy. He has a power. His power is being able to read with his fingertips. He starts as ‘Lunch Meat,’ a mean name that he got from a piece of bologna on his back, and goes to be a hero to the school.

“So let’s back up a step. Duncan comes to school one day and shows his friend, Andrew Tanizaki (aka China Man) his power. A few kids saw that and came over to his table. The Scrabble Club saw him do this and made him join the club. The leader said that he should come to the Youth Scrabble Tournament (YST). He and his partner won the YST and were happy. The team had to beat some of their friends to win. The book, all in all, was a great book.”

Reviewed by Jade Noud, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“This book explains the life of a boy named Duncan who wins a Scrabble tournament. First, Duncan discovers he has a special power, where he can touch words with his left hand without looking, and he can read the words through his fingertips. Duncan just moved, and he just started a new school. At first the kids bully him. They even give him the nickname Lunch Meat.

“When Duncan reveals his power to a new classmate named Carl, he asked Duncan if he would be his Scrabble partner for the Youth Scrabble Tournament. Duncan agrees.

“At the tournament he meets a girl named Maxie, and a guy named Nate, and two other kids named April and Lucky. April is looking for a boy she met at a pool once, who she taught Scrabble to.

"In the end, Duncan and Carl end up winning the tournament. April ends up meeting the boy she was looking for. And Duncan is more ‘popular’ in school.

“I would recommend this book to anyone who likes exciting, surprising books.”

Reviewed by Cassidy Keeven, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“This book is about how there are teams of Scrabble through the United State, all meeting at a Scrabble tournament. The name of the tournament is the YST, Youth Scrabble Tournament.

“If I had to grade this delightful book, one the worst and 10 being the best, I would give it a nine point nine. I recommend this book to older readers who absolutely love to read, like me, so you understand the whole book.

“I want all of your family, friends, neighbors, or anybody you know, including you, to read this pleasant book! Enjoy the book!”

Reviewed by Kennedy Smith, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“I really enjoyed ‘The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.’ It was so good. I wish that the book continued. There were a few things I didn’t like, like when Carl only liked Duncan because of his so-called ‘power.’ Good thing it changed at the end.

“I liked how the book told three different stories which collided into one. I also liked all the mysteries, especially ‘roasted mules.’ I think Meg Wolitzer, the author, plays Scrabble. I said that because most of the characters in the book play Scrabble. I wish I could go into the character’s shoes and feel what they feel.

“Some more things I didn’t like in the book was when Duncan forged his mother’s name, posed for a cigarette ad, and didn’t tell his mother about any of this. I like when at the end Duncan met his ‘dead’ father after 12 years. I wish there wasn’t so much lying in the book, but then how would it be interesting? I hope Meg Wolitzer writes another book about Duncan.”

Reviewed by Olivia Sankee, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“Hi, it’s Olivia again. We just got done reading ‘Duncan Dorfman.’ There were a lot of main characters, like Nate and Maxie, Duncan and Carl, April and Lucy and a bit more.

“The book starts off with Duncan moving into Drilling Falls. Duncan was already getting bullied and got lunch meat thrown at his back. Duncan had a power in his left hand, which is to read words when his eyes are closed. But Carol was interested in Duncan’s power to win Scrabble tournaments at the Youth Scrabble Tournament.

“At the tournament, Duncan meets all these friends who the book told about. The lesson I learned was never judge a book by its cover. This was a story full of mysteries, and I like mysteries. This book keeps you hanging on until the end.”

Reviewed by Sam Schmitz, fifth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“This book was great. It was a little boring in the beginning, but in the middle it started getting good. I liked that Duncan didn’t cheat at the Scrabble tournament with Carl. I liked how April, Nate, Carl, Maxie, Lucy and Duncan were different stories in the beginning, but at the end they came to one story.

“I don’t like that Duncan hurt himself on the skateboard and that he was called ‘Lunch Meat.’ I didn’t like that Carl’s mom told Duncan to do an ad for cigarettes and that Carl told Duncan to cheat.

“I like that Duncan and Carl became good friends and split the money 50/50 instead of 30/70, otherwise it wouldn’t have been fair. This was a great book.”