Beginning with Owen fishing by the river behind Mom Mom’s house, they pack a lunch and head out to see the forest. Through Owen’s questions about the stunning things he sees along the way (combined with his grandmother’s bright, colorful pictures), readers get to stop, watch and learn all about the mighty bald eagle, the woodpecker and the deer. We get to see pictures of trees that transform with the seasons, changing into those bright red colors of autumn to a whole lot more.
Andy and his brother Zack find themselves in 2009, one hundred years in the future after their quest to destroy the evil CORT corporation. It may be one hundred years since their last adventure, but 2009 is home to Andy and Zack and they cannot wait to see their parents again. The brothers quickly realize this isn’t the 2009 they remember, however. Somehow CORT is back and well on its way to controlling everything again. But how is that possible? Andy and Zack team up with an old friend in an effort to bring the world back to normal again.
In the story, a powerful corporation named CORT controls just about everything in the world. If successful in achieving total domination, human life as we know it will cease to exist. There is a resistance faction working to destroy the totalitarian conglomerate, including 4 teens selected as the “chosen ones.” They have a daunting task ahead of them, especially since CORT’s latest technology, “Spirral” appears to be indestructible. Do these kids have what it takes to save the world?
The location of the Wisconsin woods is a beautiful backdrop for this tale, one that the illustrator definitely does justice to with her drawings. This is also a book that fits its subtitle perfectly, because this is a laid-back, pleasant tale that readers of all ages (over 6) will have a lot of fun reading. (Personally, however, I really like this one in the hands of an adult who loves sarcasm. Not only can you clarify things in the book for younger readers but also because these characters have a dry sense of humor at times that really makes you laugh out loud.)

“Bulldog” by Matt McCracken is an exciting and realistic read with a storyline that pulls you in from the first page. Once I started reading I found it very hard to put down.

“Bulldog” is a story about a boy who finds himself in trouble and gets help from the most unlikely source. Bulldog is the nickname for Wayne Nathanial McCarthy. The story opens with Bulldog and his gang of friends in the process of robbing their local hardware store to get items needed for their latest operation – stealing and reselling bicycles. Bulldog gets caught red-handed and the store owner, Mr. Goldstein, threatens to call the police.  Bulldog’s friends flee the scene leaving him to wonder who his friends really are and since he can’t risk being arrested again, agrees to work off the debt. Bulldog learns a lot working for Mr. Goldstein and starts to straighten up his whole life, but will it be enough to graduate, or will he fall back into his old ways?

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