Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party

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Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party by Melanie Watt

The fifth in the very popular Scaredy Squirrel series has Scaredy planning his own birthday party.  He wants it to be quiet and private, because that’s how he can avoid any surprises.  Surprises like Bigfoot, confetti and ponies must be avoided!  He carefully plans his solo party with lists and charts, but even then he is surprised by what he finds in his mailbox.  It’s a birthday card from Buddy.  So Scaredy decides that he will invite just one guest in addition to himself.  Now he has to rethink the entire party!  There has to be a schedule, topics for small talk, and a list of dos and don’ts.  But even with all of his planning and worrying, Scaredy is sure to be surprised at his birthday party!

This is a great addition to the series.  I love how Watt takes events that can have children worried and allows Scaredy to worry for them.  And Scaredy is so much better at worrying, that he’s sure to show how silly all that worry really is.  Heck, some parents could take a lesson from Scaredy about birthday parties that are more about structure and less about fun. 

Make your own plan to read this book!  But don’t worry, you are sure to love it.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.

Cryer’s Cross: Thrilling Fun

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Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

The tiny community of Cryer’s Cross has been witness to a tragedy when Tiffany disappears without a trace.  Because the town is so small, 16-year-old Kendall knew Tiffany though she was several years younger.  Returning to their one-room high school, Kendall needs to tidy the desks and room before a new school year begins thanks to her OCD.  Kendall returns to her areas of comfort, playing soccer, dreaming about leaving Cryer’s Cross for Juilliard, and her boyfriend Nico.  When Nico begins acting strange and then disappears, the community enforces a curfew.   After Nico disappears and soccer is cancelled, Kendall’s OCD becomes much worse.  She only finds relief when playing soccer with Jacian, a new boy in school who manages to both bother and intrigue Kendall.  When Kendall starts hearing Nico’s voice when she sits at his desk and receiving messages through the graffiti scratched into its surface, she is drawn into the horror that lives in her small town.

This thriller has great teen appeal.  It is creepy, frightening, but not fully horror.  Just right for teens who want a little scare but not too much.  The romance is nicely built in the book as well.  I liked that it was not instantaneous but rather built as they got to know one another better. 

The pacing is well done, drawing out the scary moments and allowing the story time to build.  I found it nearly impossible to put down, my mind kept working on unraveling the mystery even when I was not reading.   The conclusion was exciting, frightening and great fun to read.  It was also nicely foreshadowed in the book, making it very satisfying.

A thrilling, fun read that is sure to appeal to McMann’s fans.  The cover is eye-catching and will welcome additional readers too.  Get this in the hands of teens who want a jolt of terror in their reads.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon Pulse.

Also reviewed extensively throughout the blogosphere.

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