Once upon a time – Winnipeg Free Press

The third edition of the Summer Reading Challenge for Kids kicked off in June, and for the past few weeks our group of voracious young readers who have signed up for the challenge have taken a critical look at the books curated by McNally Robinson Booksellers. Now they’re ready to share some of their thoughts in the reviews below.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs until the end of August, so there’s still time to get involved. To register, visit wfp.to/kidsbookclub and sign up – you’ll receive email updates on review submission deadlines as well as reading resources specific to each book. The full reading lists for the three age groups (7-9, 10-12, 13-15) are also available on this page.

The Undercover Book List
By Colleen Nelson
Pajama Press, 264 pages, $22

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Lyla Mister

When Jane’s best friend Sienna moves away, Jane doesn’t think she’ll ever find a new friend who loves books as much as Sienna does. But that changes when she finds out Sienna left a note in one of her favorite books hideout and spy. The note urges anyone who finds it to join a secret book club.

When Tyson gets detention, he goes to the library and finds the note. Will he join the secret book club? Will he be Jane’s new boyfriend? Or will he stay the same?

I give this book 5 stars. I love the characters, especially Jane because she shares my love of reading. My favorite part is when Jane finds out that Tyson is the one who replied to the notes.

★★★★★ out of 5 stars

— Lyla Bemister, 11 years old

The Undercover Book List includes two main characters, Tyson and Jane. It all starts when Jane’s best friend moves away. As she drives away, her friend Jane gives a clue that leads her to her favorite book in the library and a chance to meet a new friend.

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amy b

Tyson, known as the school joke, thought the library book was an opportunity to prank Jane. Little do they both know that they are embarking on an adventure that would lead them to find the friend they both need.

I loved this book and would give it 5 stars out of 5. I liked how the author slowly brought together the most unlikely characters. One of my favorite moments is when Tyson starts to find joy in reading. This book kept me in suspense. Each chapter brought a different point of view and opinion, making it fresh and entertaining at every turn. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes good twists!

★★★★★

– Amy B

Personally, I liked Tyson’s perspective more because I felt more like him and he seemed funnier. I won’t lie, Jane was a bit boring because she was too stuck. I didn’t like that Tyson was a bully, not cool at all.

I would recommend this book to people who like mysteries and books about friendships that come from the most unexpected places! If I was on the Kids Lit Quiz team I would be something like Hillman because my stomach upsets when I’m nervous. I had heard about all the books that X and Y had suggested holes and Wonder. I also read some Harry Potter books. I was happy to add it to my stack of book suggestions.

Overall, this book was a great read and I loved it. I hope you like it!

★★★★★

— Lillian Cadeau, 11 years old

bear in the family
By Eric Walters
Orca, 89 pages, $8

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Stephanie Blessing

I read bear in the family by Eric Walters. I give this book 4 stars. It was a good story and I also learned about animals. Sometimes I could just picture a picture in my head from the words. It was suspense and I waited to find out what would happen next.

★★★★ out of 5 stars

— Stephanie Boon, 7 years old

Poppy and Sam and the Leaf Thief
By Kathon
Owlkids books, 48 ​​pages, $19

poppy and sam is a puzzle book. Poppy and Sam live in a pumpkin house. I liked it because it had a happy ending. The drawings are beautiful and the plants are pretty. I liked it when you found out who the thief was.

★★★★ out of 5 stars

— Elly Lyons, 7 years old

Weenie with Frank & Beans: Mad About Meatloaf
By Maureen Fergus, Alexandra Bye
Tundra, 56 pages, $17

This book was very funny. I loved it. It was about a Weiner dog who loves meatloaf and his two friends, Frank (a cat) and Beans (a guinea pig). I think mainly 6-8 year olds would like this graphic novel but whoever wants to can read it! What I liked most about this book was when Weenie wanted to catch a wild meatloaf.

★★★★★ out of 5 stars

— Jonah Sawatzky, 9 years old

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Emily Whiteside

This book is about a sausage who eats his owner’s meatloaf and tries to sneak into the store to buy another meatloaf. It was fun and I just liked it!

My favorite character is the guinea pig because it’s cute and fluffy! His name is beans. The cat named Frank is very grumpy.

Weenie is very fond of meatloaf. Weenie calls Bob his #1 father. Bob is her owner. Weenie hates the postman.

★★★★

— By Emily Whiteside, age 7

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Lyla Mister

Peanut Butter and Mayhem
By Anita Therefore
Great Plains, 176 pages, $13

When a boy named Sam is struck by lightning, he only sees pixels. But then he meets Flum, who comes from a parallel world and cannot find her way home. Will Flum find his way home? Will Sam’s vision return to normal? I give this book 4 stars because I like the fantasy and adventure in it.

★★★★ out of 5 stars

— Lyla Bemister, 11 years old

This is a book about science and magic. I would recommend this book if you like science fiction. I will read this book again. Once you start reading, you always want to read more. What wasn’t great about this book was that it wore off very quickly. There wasn’t as much detail and explanation as there could have been. The book is easy to read and not boring.

★★★★

— Sophie Lyons, 10 years old

The big bear
By David A Robertson
Tundra, 240 pages, $22

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Joshua Whiteside

The big bear is a good book. The book is about Morgan and Eli going back in time and finding out more about the past in Misewa, seeing young Ochek and learning about Mason who started the White Age and learning about the Great Bear. The plot was well done, but it was confusing at times, so I didn’t think it was as good as the first book. Although it is a thought book; What I mean by that is that after reading the book you start thinking about all sorts of things, wondering, imagining, like… B. How hard it must be for Morgan and Eli to be foster children. This must be so hard for her. Morgan is a kid who’s been through a lot and Eli is still a kid who’s been through tough times, but Eli is a lot more optimistic.

My mother gave me the first book for my birthday and of course she gave me the second book for my next birthday! I would rate this book 3 stars out of 5. A good book!

★★★ out of 5 stars

– Joshua Whiteside, 9 years old

Beatrice and Croc Harry
By Lawrence Hill
HarperCollins, 384 pages, $23

Beatrice is the main character who finds herself alone in the jungle without remembering anything but her name. She meets the crocodile named Croc Harry and over time they become friends. This book is about Beatrice getting her memories back and trying to find her way back home.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5 because I really enjoyed it. At first it was cheerful and fun. The suspense that Beatrice didn’t know anything but her name kept me reading to the end. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was a bit confusing at first, but over time the story started to flow and you could get a better grasp of the big picture.

★★★★★ out of 5 stars

– Amy B

The fabulous Zed Watson
By Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester
HarperCollins, 304 pages, $13

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Atticus Penner

This novel is about a character named Zed Watson and her neighbors Gabe and Sam who are out hunting The monster’s castle, a lost book that they must race against time to find, lest a greedy historian find it first. I like this book for many reasons, but one is the different characters like Zed identifying as non-binary. There aren’t many characters like Zed in books I’ve read and it has given me a new perspective on the world.

This book is also packed with action, drama, comedy and clever puns like “Theydies and Gentlethems!” I really hope the authors do more books about Zed Watson!

★★★★★ out of 5 stars

— Atticus Penner, 9 years old

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