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Houdini Box

Brian Selznick (2001), 64 pages
Illustrated by Brian Selznick
Audience: 2nd Grade - 5th Grade
Category: Fiction, Historical, Picture Books
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Victor is amazed at Houdini's ability to do almost anything: escape from a bolted metal box dropped in water, walk through brick walls, or hold his breath for five thousand seconds. When Victor tries to imitate these feats, he's stuck. Not only is he unable to escape even a simple locked trunk, he makes no progress whatsoever in walking through walls. Then, Victor meets Houdini himself, who promises to mail Victor a letter with secrets Houdini cannot tell him in a crowded train station. What secrets will Houdini reveal? This book will be great fun for readers who love the mysteries of magic and those who enjoy lots of pictures with their stories.
Awards nominated: Bluestem 2011
Reviewed by: emc
Date read: 6/11/2010
ISBN-10: 0689844883
ISBN-13: 9780689844881
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House of Dies Drear

Virginia Hamilton (2006), 256 pages
Audience: 4th Grade - 7th Grade
Category: Fiction, Mystery, Scary
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One hundred years ago, two runaway slaves, and abolitionist, Dies Drear, were murdered in his home, an important station on the Underground Railroad. Legend has it that the ghost of Mr. Drear haunts the lonely old house. No one has lived in the house for decades, and everyone in town avoids it. But Thomas Small's dad, a Civil War history professor, doesn't believe in ghosts and legends. He buys the house and moves the family in. Thomas is fascinated by the secret passages, hidden doorways, and his imagination runs wild when odd things begin to happen- noises like someone crying or moaning; cold drafts of air when the windows are closed. What is causing these things? Is someone playing a prank? Are there really ghosts here? Hold on tight - the suspense is riveting. Sequel; The Mystery of Drear House.
Reviewed by: sc
Date read: 4/13/2009
ISBN-10: 1416914056
ISBN-13: 9781416914051
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House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer (2002), 400 pages
Audience: 6th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Science Fiction
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A boy is a clone of an old man who he believes loves him. When the old man is sick and needs his blood, he finds out the truth. Can he save himself as well as making things right again?
Awards won: Newbery Honor 2003
Reviewed by: St. Charles Reader
Date read: 11/12/2009
ISBN-10: 0689852223
ISBN-13: 9780689852220
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House on the Gulf

Margaret Peterson Haddix (2004), 208 pages
Audience: 4th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Mystery
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Everything seems to be going their way. Britt's brother got a job house sitting for an elderly couple and now Britt, Bran, and mom could live in the house without rent. This would give mom the chance to go back to school full time and possibly earn a scholarship. But something doesn't feel right. Britt is suspicious of Bran's actions. He is hiding boxes and acting very nervous. When the owner Mr. Marquis dies, the secret unfolds. Britt did not have permission to move in. He thought the owners were his mother's parents that had disowned her. He thought it would be a wonderful reconciliation but since they were not his grandparents it was a disaster. Luckily, the kind neighbor that Britt had come to know welcomes them in her home and each of them finds the feeling of family that they were missing.
Reviewed by: rn
Date read: 10/13/2011
ISBN-10: 0439699703
ISBN-13: 9780439699709
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How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Jane Yolen (2000), 40 pages
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Audience: Preschool - Preschool
Category: Fiction, Picture Books
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Parents will be delighted to know that dinosaurs are, in fact, very obedient with their bedtime routines. A dinosaur doesn't 'slam his tail and pout' or 'throw his teddy bear all about.' This rhythmic story portrays classic bedtime resistance activities (moping, moaning, crying, etc.), asking if dinosaurs do that when they're saying goodnight. Each spread features a comic portrayal of an enormous dinosaur resisting his/her bedtime in a bedroom like a human child's room. At the end, we learn that the way dinosaurs actually say goodnight is by being polite, kissing the parent, and quietly going to sleep. Dinosaur lovers will note that each bedroom has the name of the dinosaur featured on the page hidden somewhere in the bedroom.
Similar books: How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen; How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen; How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? by Jane Yolen; How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? by Jane Yolen and other 'How Do Dinosaur' titles
Reviewed by: emc
Date read: 6/17/2010
ISBN-10: 0590316818
ISBN-13: 9780590316811
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