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Grades 4-6 Annotations


The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville� (Harcourt, 1997)� Charlie finds himself in a mysterious magic shop in the middle of a swamp where he has gone to avoid a fight with a classmate. He also finds himself stealing "The Skull of Truth" which guarantees that Charlie will only speak the truth when near it. This leads to some very embarrassing moments for Charlie, but, it also leads him to know the difference between "telling the truth" and the quest for Truth as he helps a friend who is dying of cancer and his gay Uncle Bennie.

Autumn Journey� by Priscilla Cummings (Cobblehill, 1997) Will has always loved visiting his grandfather's farm in Pennsylvania, but, it's different when his family� is forced to move there from Baltimore when his father loses his job. It is difficult for both the adults and the children in this story to learn to deal with disappointment and loss, however, a supportive grandfather and a Canadian goose help Will and his family stay together in the face of hard times.

The Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia DeFelice (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1998)� Allie loves to collect fossils and she first hears a strange voice when she is stranded on a fossil-covered hill and about� to fall 100 feet to certain injury or death. This mysterious event is only the first for Allie as she puts together the clues of the disappearance of a young girl several years before. Her own life is in danger as she comes closer to discovering the greedy motives of a land-developer.

My Life as a Fifth Grade Comedian by Elizabeth Levy (HarperCollins, 1997) Bobby is great at one-liners and quick retorts, but, slow on doing his homework. He is the class clown, but, much of his clowning hides his hurt over his inability to get along with his father.� A supportive teacher gives him one more chance before sending him to a school for kids with behavior problems and the "Laugh Off"� he organizes for April Fool's Day is a resounding success in many ways.

A Season of Comebacks� by Kathy Mackel (Putnam, 1997)� Ten-year old Molly Burrows feels overshadowed, both on and off the field, by her 12 year-old sister Allison, star softball pitcher. But when one disaster after another strikes Allie's team, the two sisters gradually become friends again and even manage to show their Dad that family is more important than winning.

White Water� by P.J. Petersen� (Simon and Schuster, 1997) When Greg's father is bitten by a rattlesnake while on a family rafting trip, Greg must overcome his fears and use his ingenuity to get them all to safely. In this exciting family adventure story, a young boy comes to understand his own inner strengths.

The Kidnapers: A Mystery by Willo Davis Roberts� (Simon and Schuster, 1998)� Eleven-year-old Joey learns that making up stories for entertainment can backfire when no one believes his eye-witness account of the kidnapping of a classmate. While trying to solve the mystery, Joey finds his own life in danger when he is almost run over--twice! This is a fast-paced adventure with an imaginative and intelligent, yet realistic hero.

For Your Eyes Only by Joanne Rocklin� (Scholastic, 1997)� Sixth grader, Lucy, has a substitute teacher who assigns journal writing to the class and you learn of her concerns, emotions, problems, and a growing interest in poetry as you read her journal entries. Lucy's caring mother, pain-in-the neck brother, and obnoxious classmate will interest intermediate level students.

Bug Boy by Carol Sonenklar� (Henry Holt, 1997)� Charlie Kaplan, better known as "Bug Boy," is really into bugs!� He knows lots about bugs and loves them! He mysteriously receives a "Bug-A-View"� and it has the magic to turn him into a bug! His adventures as a bug add hilarity to the story.

101 Ways to Bug Your Parents by Lee Wardlaw� (Dial, 1996) Sneeze (Steve) is a twelve-year-old inventor whose inventions generally get him into lots of trouble! He hopes to find a way to raise money to attend an inventor's conference and his enforced enrollment in a summer writing course results in a book of ways� to bug your parents. He decides that selling the book is the solution to his money problems, however, it is only the beginning of lots of other problems. The story illustrates strong family ties, perseverance, and the triumph of individuality.

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