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Dewey is in charge of Marriss’s Bike Barn while his parents are out of town. Dewey doesn’t really mind. He likes working on bikes. His little brother Vince helps out too. Vince is actually the one with mad mechanic skills but he’s kind of shy, so he relies on Dewey to handle the customers. Between the two of them, the cheat sheets their Dad left and their list of 8 Rules for Bicycle Repair, they’ve got the shop covered and their big sister Lil can take care of everything else, including the twins.

Everything is under control until a fuel shortage strands their parents away from home and makes everyone in their town suddenly need their bike repaired. The boys wake up to people lined up outside The Bike Barn before they’ve even had breakfast. It gets so bad and Dewey gets so tired that he stumbles outside one morning…without his pants! That’s sleep depravation for you!

The longer the fuel shortage lasts the testier people get. It is so bad that there are no longer cars driving on the highway that passes their house. The highway is full of peole riding bicycles. It’s weird…and quiet.  It sure is good for business until the boys start to run out of parts and tempers start to flare. Meanwhile, back at the house, the kids are beginning to run out of food and the twins ask every 5 minutes, “when is Mommy coming home.”

With bicycles piling up and not enough hands to fix them Dewey hatches a plan that is just like a Marriss – sometimes you’ve got to help people help themselves. I loved watching Dewey and his brothers and sisters get through this crisis together. Each one brings something to the team that helps them cope with each situation that comes up. And don’t even think about messing with a Marriss because you’ll then be dealing with the other four.  Lil, Dewey, Vince, Angus & Ava, I’d want them on my team any day! Author: Leslie Connor

Try Waiting for Normal, also by Leslie Connor,or, if you want to read about other kids who have to step up and take care of business try these:
Waiting Normal My Life in Pink and Green The Last Newspaper Boy in America The Cupcake Queen
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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Tommy has a question that every kid asks himself eventually. Does that cute girl like me, or not? Should I ask her to the dance? Tommy is looking for answers and he thinks he may have found a way to avoid total humiliation by asking Origami Yoda what to do. What is Origami Yoda? He’s Yoda. Made out of paper. A puppet.

Is he REAL? Does he really know things? Can he see the future? Does he use the Force? Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us at Mcquarrie Middle School? (page 1)

To find out of Origami Yoda is the real deal Tommy has compiled a case file that is this book. He interviews each kid in his class who received advice from Origami Yoda and then he comments on each case trying to decide if the advice was good, proving that Origami Yoda is real. His friend Harvey comments too. Harvey definitely doesn’t believe in Origami Yoda. He thinks Origami Yoda is just a green paperwad. He likes to point out that even the “real” Yoda was just a puppet.

How does Origami Yoda speak you ask? Well, the kid who folded him does the talking. Dwight is the kid who walks around school with Origami Yoda stuck on the end of his finger.

The strangest thing about Origami Yoda is that he is so wise even though Dwight is a total loser. (page 4)

You want to know what Dwight is like? His kindred spirit would be Greg Heffley’s friend Rawley (from Diary of a Wimpy Kid). He barfs in class. He picks his nose. He wears knee socks with shorts. And then he goes around school asking people to talk to his finger puppet. When Origami Yoda saves one of the boys from making a total fool of himself in front of a girl he likes, it makes Tommy think. The advice COULDN’T have come from Dwight. He’s a total loser. It HAD to come from Yoda. And this begins Tommy’s collection of evidence about Origami Yoda’s advice. Because he really, really needs to know, does Sara like him. Or not? I laughed all the way through this one! Author: Tom Angleberger

This book has an interesting pre-publication story. The author, Tom Angleberger, had to get permission to use Yoda in his story. Yoda is owned by Lucasfilms and George Lucas. Ater Tom wrote the story he had to ask Lucasfilms for permission to publish a book that has Yoda in it. As Tom shares in this interview, he heard that the person in charge of approving books at Lucasfilms took the book home and had her son read it. The son liked and said, “Let them do it.” Sometimes, kids DO get to make big time decisions! Read the Full Interview.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda Web Comic Used With Permission:


If you like Tommy and his friends try some of these:
Dog Days Bobby vs. the Girls Big Nate Zoobreak
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The Kings of Clonmel

The Kings of Clonmel

The Kings of Clonmel

There is something rotten going on in the kingdoms around Aruluean. Halt, Will & Horace are sent to find out what it is and what they find surpises even these seasoned warriors. What’s even more surprising is that Halt…steadfast, strong, reliable Halt…has a HUGE secret none of his companions would ever have guessed. Book 8 in the series Ranger’s Apprentice is just as action packed & funny as the other seven. Author: John Flanagan

Series: The Ranger’s Apprentice

#1 The Ruins of Gorlan on CD and Downloadable eBook
#2 The Burning Bridge on CD and Downloadable eBook
#3 The Icebound Land on CD and Downloadable eBook
#4 The Battle for Skandia on CD
#5 The Sorcerer in the North on CD and Downloadable eBook
#6 The Siege of Macindaw on CD and Downloadable eBook
#7 Erak’s Ransom on CD
#8 The Kings of Clonmel on CD
#9 Halt’s Peril on CD
#10 The Emperor of Nihon-Jin on CD

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Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise
Turtle knows real life isn’t anything like Shirley Temple.Shirley Temple is this kid actress everyone’s calling “America’s Little Darling.” She has dimpled cheeks and ringlet curls and is always breaking into song or doing a dance number at the drop of a hat. Everyone thinks she’s the cutest thing ever.I can’t stand her. (page #8)And it isn’t just Shirly Temply Turtle doesn’t like. She thinks all kids are rotten and adults aren’t far behind.

Turtle is on her way to Key West, Florida to stay with her Aunt Minerva, a person she has never met. Turtle’s mom got a new housekeeping  job and the boss’s rules are: no kids. Turtle is riding to Florida with a guy who sells hair tonic, a guy who is a friend of her mom’s boyfriend. Turtle doesn’t even KNOW the guy. So, you get the picture about Turtle’s mom. I’ll just say she isn’t quite as careful as you would expect a mother to be.

This trait becomes painfully obvious when Turtle arrives at her Aunt’s house and her Aunt says, “Why are you here without your mother?” Problem. Luckily Turtle’s Aunt takes her in anyway and Turtle starts an adventurous summer with her cousins. Their adventures include crying babys, a secret formula, a mean old lady, a stolen boat & a treasure map! It turns out not ALL kids are rotten, and some adults can be alright too. Author: Jennifer Holm 2011 Newbery Honor Book

In this story Turtle finds a map. If you like maps and the idea of following one to find something, give these a try.map-icon You can use the Map Machine to make your own map.

  • National Parks Service Reading a Map Activity & Quiz
  • Nationa Geographic Map Machine. Enter your address and the machince will show you a road map of your neighborhood, satellite view of your neighborhood and sometimes a bird’s eye view too. Cool!

If you want to Treasure Hunt right now, give these online treasure hunts a try:


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Big Nate In a Class By Himself

Big Nate In a Class By Himself

Big Nate

Nate is sure he is destined for greatness. He’s either going to be great playing soccer, playing in his band, playing table football or cartooning. He is NOT going to be great in opera, synchronized swimming, or cat grooming. Nate thinks his greatness will evolve as long as the grown-ups and mind-numbing school don’t wreck his carefully laid plans.

When a fortune cookie predicts “Today, you will surpass all others,” Nate is sure his time has come. Even after Mrs. Godfrey, his teacher, finds his checklist of nicknames he has for her (Godzilla, She Who Must Not Be Named, Queen Kong, Dullapalooza), that one little detention slip doesn’t trample Nate’s belief that his day will have greatness in it. He keeps his chin up even after the next detention slip, and the next…

If you like Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I think you’ll like Nate too. Flip through a few pages by clicking on the “Browse Inside” Icon. You’ll see what I mean. LOL. Author: Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate Series:
1: Big Nate in a Class By Himself
2: Big Nate Strikes Again
3: Big Nate On a Roll
4: Big Nate Goes for Broke
5: Big Nate Flips Out (February 5, 2013)
6: Big Nate In the Zone (Sometime 2013)
7: Big Nate Cracks the Code (Sometime 2013)

If you think Nate is funny, try some of these:
Dog Days Smile Amelia Rules Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday
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