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161. Five Children and It
$16.32 $14.90 list($24.00)
162. Surviving the Applewhites
$50.37 $50.00 list($79.95)
163. Mastering Spanish: Level 2 (Foreign
$18.48 $15.45 list($28.00)
164. The High King (The Prydain Chronicles)
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165. The Sisterhood of the Traveling
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166. Funky Phonics.... and More: Reading
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167. Junie B. Jones Collection: Books
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168. The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles
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169. Turn! Turn! Turn! (Book and CD)
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170. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer
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171. Chasing Vermeer
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172. Dogs Rule!
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173. The Tiger in the Well (Sally Lockhard
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174. More Adventures of the Great Brain
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175. Easy English, 1st
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176. Multiplication/Rock Version (Rock
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177. Scary Stories Audio CD Collection
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178. The Young Person's Guide to the
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179. Japanese for Young People I (Japanese
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180. Teaching Tunes Audio CD and Mini-Books

161. Five Children and It
by E. Nesbit, Johanna Ward
list price: $32.95
our price: $32.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786107790
Catlog: Book (1994-09-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 783695
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

To Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother, the house in the country promises a summer of freedom and play.But when they accidently uncover an accident Psammead--or Sand-fairy--who has the power to make wishes come true, they find themselves having the holiday of a lifetime, sharing one thrilling adventure after another.

Asleep since dinosaurs roamed the earth, the ill-tempered, odd--looking Psammead --with his spider-shaped body, bat's ears, and snail's eyes --grudgingly agrees to grant the children one wish per day.Soon, though the children discover that their wishes have a tendancy to turn out quite differnetly than expected. Whatever they wish whether it's to fly like a bird, live in a mighty castle, or have an immense fortune --something goes terribly wrong, hilariously wrong.

Then an accidental wish has horrible consequences, and the children are faced with a difficult choice: to let an innoncent manbe charged with a crime or to lose for all time their gift of magical wishes.Five Children and It is on of E. Nesbit's most beloved tales of enchantment.This deluxe gift edition, featuring twelve beautiful watercolor paintings by Caldecott medalist Paul O. Zelinsky, is sure to be treasured addition to every family's library.

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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sandy delight
This 1902 fantasy, a gift from my parents when I was in fourth or fifth grade, features an irritable Psammead whom Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother dig up in a sand pit. Then the magic begins. The sand-fairy does not like granting wishes, and his misshapen body with bat's ears and snail's eyes bloats when he does. The wishes, lasting only until sunset, all take unexpected, funny turns.

The sand-fairy and other personalities and Victorian details render the magic entirely real-world, believable. This was my favorite children's book and I relived the delight when I found a copy to share with my own children. That this volume is illustrated by one of my favorite people from one of my favorite families triples the delight.

The book is too challenging for independent reading for children under 10, but it's a great read-aloud for small children, as are the classics of Frank Baum, E.B. White and C.S. Lewis.

Edith Nesbit was like J. K. Rowling a single mother in need of a means to support her children. Her books in their era were as popular as Harry Potter in this one. Some of her observations are surprisingly humane. Nesbit's treatment of a clan of Gypsies, for example, transcends the deep prejudice of her time. Not to worry, the book is not preachy or teachy. It's just grand, eloquent fun. Alyssa A. Lappen

4-0 out of 5 stars My review of "Five Children and It"
This book is about Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother who discover a Psammead,
or Sand-fairy, who agrees to grant the children one wish per day.
Soon, their wishes start to turn quite unlike what they expected.
Then, an accidental wish has terrible consequences, and the kids
are faced with a hard choice: to let an innocent man be charged
with a crime, or to lose their gift of magical wishes.

I read this book in one day, and I thought it was pretty good.
This book turned out to be fairly interesting.
I would probably read "Five Children and It" again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for...
E. Nesbit's classic story of about some Edwardian children who find a sand fairy one summer is an unsentimental delight. Each day the odd fairy grants them one magic wish, be it beauty, wealth, great size, etc. which will only last until sunset. Somehow each wish they make turns into a disaster, but through their own cleverness and a bit of luck, the children are able to make each problem work out in the end. Nesbit's writing is particularly full of amusing asides and offbeat humor in this one. Her turns of plot are inventive, and as the plucky children face their outlandish predicaments, it becomes clear that Nesbit has her finger on the pulse of the way real children might think. Her work has held up quite well considering it is over a hundred years old. This novel would be suitable for kids in about fourth or fifth grade.

3-0 out of 5 stars sadly, this classic does not stand up to the test of time
Edith Nesbit is a charming writer. She tells her story with wit and humour, and interjects sly digs that engender a wink and a smile, but while the premise is timeless and interesting, the prose is extremely dated, making the book a bit tedious to read for any length of time. Also, the ideas and prejudices exhibited by the characters date the material.

The five siblings of the title, who have found a Sand-fairy willing to grant them one wish a day, continually make silly wishes that get them into trouble. Their first wish is to be "as beautiful as the day". Right there you get a sense of the book's outdated charm. This is of interest more as a tribute to a talented children's writer of a bygone era rather than for its own sake.

I wanted to enjoy this classic, but I found it hard slogging through. That is just my opinion, however, but I'd suggest you read a bit of the text before purchasing it unless you're already familiar with, or particularly interested in, author Nesbit.

Caveat: The occasional black-and-white line drawings are by H.R. Millar, not the Paul Zelinsky watercolors promised in the Editorial Reviews section.

3-0 out of 5 stars A cynic's delight
I doubt I would have liked "Five Children and It" even as a child: an ordinary child's troubles are so much more troublesome than the challenges these kids face, it's almost (but not quite) funny. Cyril, Robert, Anthea, and Jane live in a countryside mansion replete with servants, they take trips to toy stores where they can buy whatever their hearts desire (the author informs us that this is the way children ought to be brought up), and inside a gravel-pit they have found a prehistoric sand-fairy that grants them wishes, one each day, but all their wishes have been turning out rotten so far. Well, boo hoo.

It isn't the concept that bothers me; it is the execution. Baum's and Carroll's heroines face comparable situations, but neither authors' books evoked such negative reactions from me. The reasons why the children's wishes fail I found especially abominable: when peerless beauty is wished for, the maid won't let them in since they look like "eyetalian monkeys"; when wealth is asked for and antique guineas appear by the bushel, the kids are arrested for thieves; when stolen jewellery magically reappears, it is Beale, the gameskeeper, who is immediately and incontrovertibly the chief suspect; when the four wish (accidentally) for the baby to grow up, the Lamb (Or Devereuz, or Hilary, or St Maur, as he should be rightly called) becomes a snappish fop. Nesbit draws miscellaneous moralistic lessons from her tale ("I cannot pretend that stealing is right"), but what use are these lessons when you are arrested whether or not you tell the truth? I would much rather Nesbit turn a cynical eye on the people she is describing, instead of using her keen powers of observations to weave an antithetical yarn.

At least her prose is reasonable enough. Nesbit's language is lucid, and while her sentence structure is rather sophisticated, it is not unduly so. Sadly, the same cannot be said of her characters. The four children who are the novel's protagonists are essentially the only developed characters, and while they are developed rather well, with plausibility and realism, they are bland. They are honest, noble, polite, friendly, sociable, and well-off; they treat the servants and people of lower station as functionaries, tools, ways of getting from A to B, and so does the author. Thus, there is little desire on the reader's part to come to know them better. They allow little conflict, little empathy. I'm probably the first to levy the charge that they have little wit and, if not for the fact that the wishes disappear at sundown, they would have great difficulty dealing with ther wishes.

But more about those wishes: it is quite surprising how many of them are accidental. In fact, there is little premeditated wishing going on past chapter six: otherwise, Nesbit would have been hard-pressed to find a reason for the children to wish for marauding Indians. What lesson are we, as readers, to draw from this? "Word your wishes carefully?" I'm reminded of the movie "Big," in where a twelve-year-old wishes to be grown-up to impress an older girl, and instead becomes Tom Hanks and scares the heck out of everybody. Just once I'd like a book where the characters get their hearts' true desires and have to come to terms with THAT. ... Read more


162. Surviving the Applewhites
by Stephanie S. Tolan
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060582588
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: HarperChildrensAudio
Sales Rank: 76428
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Will anyone take on Jake Semple?

Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state.

Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D. -- a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the unruly Jake.

Jake thinks surviving this one will be a breeze ... but is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?

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Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars Survivng The Applewhites Book Review
Surviving the Applewhites, is a witty story about a
family out of the ordinary. Each member has his or her
own individual talent and come together at the end of
the book to put on a unique version of the Musical The
Sound Of Music. In this story, the Applewhites except
a boy into their home named Jake Semple. Jake has been
kicked out of many institutions and schools and this
home school called "The Creative Academy", is his last
hope. The setting of the story is modern time, which

makes all the mishaps in the book believable. Jake is a
unique character because like many teenage boys, he is
rebellious and causes some problems. The dialogue used
in this story provides the reader with a clear,
descriptive insight to the characters. For example,
the youngest Applewhite boy named Destiny, is a
typical, curious little boy who just wants to be
treated like everyone else. He especially likes Jake
and is always following him around. Destiny likes to
ask Jake all types of questions, and even dies his
hair to look just like Jake. The words and vocabulary
used in this book are precise and mainly to the point.
It is a very easy book to read and follow. The reader
can see the use of figurative language in the story,
when the schoolroom Jake's classes are held in, is
being described. A banner decorating the wall reads,
"Education is an adventurous quest for meaning of the
life, involving an ability to think things through"
(pg 27).
In the story, there are many observations and
dilemmas that occur that almost kill the plot. It also
kills the major dramatic question of the book which
is, Will the group all pull together, over come all
the problems that have happened and still put on this
modernized version of The Sound of Music? This makes
the reader want to continue reading to the end, to see
if this question is answered. The pacing and style are
very appropriate in this book. Each event proceeds
after the next one and one event leads into another,
in an organized manner.
This book could be enjoyed and appreciated by various
groups of people. It would mainly be found in an upper
elementary school or middle school classroom. There
are references made in the book and some concepts
talked about, that show this book needs to be used
with older children. It also is a neat book because it
gives a great background and incorporates the famous
musical, "The Sound Of Music". I always loved that
musical and I am sure many people do too. Mentioning
The Sound Of Music is a great eye catcher to have in
the summary of the book, because someone might see
this and automatically pick up the book because he or
she likes this musical. This book can be used in a
classroom, to teach children not to give up and that
everyone has a special talent inside them. He or she
just needs the opportunity and time to show it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Crazy Family and School
In the book Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan, a bad city kid, Jake Semple, has been kicked out of every school he's been to. He was taken to a school called the Creative Academy, where you study what you want to, when you want to. A family called the Applewhites owns the school and they both are crazy, chaotic, and creative. During his stay, Jake learns new things and his life starts to change. He becomes part of a production of The Sound of Music along with other Applewhites. Through this school Jake finds deep inside himself who he really is, without being a bad boy.
We personally thought the book Surviving the Applewhites was a great book. We really liked it because it was funny, especially when a four year old named Destiny tried to dye and spike his hair. Many times we could relate to the characters because their interests and personalities were a lot like our own. It was very fun to read because of these things. We would recommend it to sixth - eighth graders or anyone who wants to read a really great book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 45th Review
Tolan's writing could have been more than just an average farce. The protagonist, a troubled youth, does not test for trust and acceptance with his arrival to the eccentric Applewhite household. She misses an opportunity to challenge the reader to wonder whether they could tolerate and overcome his past and form a bond.

5-0 out of 5 stars surviving the applewhites
this book is about a sixteen year old boy by the name of Jake.
one day his parents stop a car outside their house. they asked the person driving it if they had any drugs, and to their surprise, it was an undercover cop ! oops, bad idea! anyway, the cop read them their rights and off to jail they went. so with his parents in jail, jake was sent to live with his grandfather and his grandfather lived with this wierd family , the applewhites.after awhile, jake gets tired of being bored so,
he decides to get into a little trouble! so, he gets aciggarette and smokes it ! if you want to find out if he gets into trouble , read the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars APPLEWHITES REVIEW
SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. THE WEIRDNESS OF THE APPLEWHITES AND JAKES PUNK ATTITUDE REALLY MAKE THIS A SPECTACULAR BOOK. THIS BOOK WOULD PROBABLY ENTERTAIN KIDS IN 6TH TO TO 8TH GRADE THE MOST BUT ADULTS WOULD GET KICK OUT OF IT BECAUSE OF ITS TINY SINCE OF HUMOR. AS A 7TRH GRADER I READ THIS BOOK IN ABOUT 2 WEEKS READING WHENEVER I HAD TIME SO THIS IS A QUICK BUT INTERESTING BOOK. BUT DON'T LET ME SPOIL EVERYTHING FOR YOU , READ IT AND ENJOY FOR YOURSELF! ... Read more


163. Mastering Spanish: Level 2 (Foreign Service Institute)
by Mastering
list price: $79.95
our price: $50.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812079191
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Sales Rank: 200409
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars to the point
I purchased both level 1 & 2 of the spanish language series. I also had studied two semesters of Spanish. I believe that with two semesters of college Spanish and using these tapes-for about six more months after your freshman Spanish classes- you can acquire a solid and fundamental grasp of Spanish. The courses are very untilatirian: but you will be able to have conversations in Spanish. I work at an Ct. Casino and it is a polyglot environment, and I am able to speak Spanish with people from all over the central, carribean, and south american world. you will learn standard, no slang, no lazy pronuncements, spanish. People often believe that Spanish spoken by people versus taught in school is radically different. It is not. Spanish has its aints, gottas and all that.
If you wish to read and write in Spanish, you will probably have to study in college as I did, but for general fluency the tapes can work. I do however suggest at least a semester of college Spanish or if you are a high school student two years of study. The tapes teach language in the old fashion way: you either want to learn the language or do not. you will not take this tapes into your car and use them on the way to work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hard to Beat
These cassettes can at first be off-putting: there's almost no English heard, and the Spanish is spoken quickly. But that's the way real Spaniards speak and as your ear gets used to the language as it's really spoken, it is truly exciting. With frequent repetition, your confidence and fluency grow rapidly. These tapes were made by the State Department in the late 50's, and some of the dialogue is hilarious: the men go out to the airforce base to review the bombers, while the women fret about their dresses and clean out the ashtrays. But if some of the social customs are dated, the rigor and clarity of the tapes are classic. For the committed learner, I don't think there's anything out in the market that compares.

I didn't start with Barron's. For the first month or two, I worked with the Learn in Your Car series -- excellent for basics. I switched to this for greater fluency -- and found them to be a superb combination.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow up to Level I class
I have both the Level I and Level II Foreign Service Institute courses, and since I've already reviewed in detail how the Level I course works and compared it with the other major offerings out there, such as Michel Thomas's, Berlitz, and Instant Immersion, I'll keep this review brief. If you're interested I refer you to my review of the Level I class which I've also posted on Amazon.

This is basically the advanced course and continues with the same philosophy and structure as the Level I class. It is intended to get you up to speed conversationally as quickly as possible without getting bogged down in too many formal details of the grammar. The approach here is to teach you the grammar by means of many examples of individual spoken sentences and brief conversations and through substitution drills, along with brief discussions of the grammar which are interspersed occasionally between the audio sections. The big, 600+ page workbook allows you to follow along with the native language speakers, which is very helpful also. This contrasts with Michel Thomas's approach, which is just as pricey, but contains no workbook, drills, exercises, or even any memorization at all. It also emphasizes starting with the most basic sentence structures and then building up slowly from there, so that the principles are acquired almost intuitively. I also have the Thomas course and it is excellent as well, and for many people would also be a good choice. I like having the detailed workbook that this course provides, however, so I still have a preference for this one over the Thomas offering. But if you're looking for the most painless approach possible, without the rigors of any formal grammar, the Thomas course might be your best choice.

I have a pretty strong background in structural and comparative grammar and linguistics in general so I don't mind a little formal grammar, but most people don't and just want to get a speaking command of the language as quickly and painlessly as possible. For that purpose this course serves very well and is regarded by many as still the best one out there for that. Someone who masters the 24 tapes in these two courses, which is twice as much material as in most of the other big self-study courses, should have a pretty good command of spoken Spanish and be able to do pretty well conversationally.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful to help your Spanish jump up a level
I am so grateful to the previous reviewers, as I bought these tapes on their advice. I have reached the point where I can read and write Spanish well and my grammar is pretty good, but I still get lost in real world situations where natives are speaking Spanish quickly. These tapes are just the answer I was looking for.

They speak really quickly, so these are definitely not for beginners, but I am loving them because natives talk just as quickly as they do on these tapes. I also like that they include a book, because often times they talk so fast I just can't catch what they are saying, but a quick glance at the book gets me back on track immediately.

They have a lot of drills and grammar and verb conjugation practice that I really appreciate. I also think these are a real bargain for the price -- I am too cheap to pay ... for some of the others that I see have good reviews. I think these are a real bargain for [the price].

The only criticism is, as mentioned in other reviews, they are REALLY dated and you will definitely feel like you are in Ozzie and Harriet land (50's era for you ... out there reading this).

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Fluency but I wouldnt recommend for a beginner
I bought the cassette version and found it to be the best investment in Spanish that I've made. As stated in some of the other reviews, there isn't a lot of English spoken (one of the features I was looking for). I've had 4 years of Spanish prior to this (but it's been about 7 years since my last class). I bought the tapes for a trip to Spain and found them to be incredibly helpful. If you do have a grasp of the spanish language, I would recommend about a year (just the fundimentals of verb tenses), I think that you'll find these tapes the best on the market (yes better than Pimsluer). If you don't have a grasp and are looking for a basic tourist phrases etc, I would recommend ultimate spanish basic intermediate or Pimsleur 1. Some other great additions to this set are 501 Spanish verbs. ... Read more


164. The High King (The Prydain Chronicles)
by LLOYD ALEXANDER
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400085608
Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Sales Rank: 338795
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series to a new generation of young readers. Jackets have been handsomely redesigned while retaining the original art of Caldecott Medal-winning artist Evaline Ness. Each retypeset volume now includes a pronunciation guide prepared by Lloyd Alexander. A companion book of short stories, The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain, is also available in hardcover for the first time in twenty years.

In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.
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Reviews (115)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Rise of the High King
The High King was descriptivelywritten as it tells the quest of an Assistant Pig Keeper on his journey to save the most powerful weapon in all of Prydain from the clutches of the evil deathlord Arwan and his hordes of twisted warriors. The High King is truly a great book of good versus evil.

4-0 out of 5 stars The High King gets high marks
The High King is a book about an assistant pig-keeper named Taran who is living a peaceful life on a farm ...Until the wounded prince Gwydion turns up without the magical sword Drnwyn, that the kings of Prydain wear.Taran assists the prince on his quest to reclaim the sword Dyrnwyn from the Arawn Death-Lord and his army.It has a lot of battles, armys, magic, and death.This book would be right up a boy's alley.This book is easy for 4+ grades.
This book has a bit of talking and romance, but, it's still an awesome book.

5-0 out of 5 stars "In Their Secret Hearts, Are They No Less Evil than Arawn?"
"The High King" is the fifth and last book in the truly wonderful Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, preceded by "The Book of Three", "The Black Cauldron", "The Castle of Llyr," and "Taran Wanderer", all of which are necessary reading if you want to fully understand and enjoy this last installment. "The High King" however has the added distinction of being the winner of the Newbery award, as well as being a good deal thicker than the previous books.

Throughout the last four books the allied forces of Prydain under leadership of Prince Gwydion and the enchanter Dallben have waged war against the evil Death-Lord Arawn, whilst the Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran has grown from man to boy. Now returning from his journey of self-discovery in "Taran Wanderer", he is eager to be home, especially since Princess Elionwy has returned from the Isles of Mona. Soon everyone is reunited in the cottages of Caer Dallben, which is a special treat if you've read the previous books as everyone is there: Gwydion, Fflewddur Fflam, Gurgi, Doli, Llyan, Kaw, Hen Wen, Glew, Rhun, Coll, Hen Wen - you name it and they're there. Predominantly among them is the conquered enchantress Achren - a shadowy figure who despises Arawn and has her own secret plans to have her vengeance.

But Arawn has struck sooner than the good guys intended, and the magical black sword Dyrnwyn has been stolen. Now Taran is swept up once more on an adventure that's way over his head. Guided by the mysterious prophesy of the oracular pig and devastated by a betrayal amongst the allied forces, Taran gathers together the people of the Free Commots and begins a dangerous journey through the mountains to reach Annuvin in time to help Gwydion's fleet. On the way we re-met every possible character we've ever met in Prydain - Magg, Gwystyl, Eiddileg, Smoit, Medwyn, Dorath, Melynlas, all the common folk from "Taran Wanderer", and of course Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch - Alexander hasn't missed a single one, and they all have important and meaningful parts to play.

Previously, the books have been told solely from Taran's point of view, but now for the first time we see events through the eyes of other characters - everyone from Elionwy to Dallben to Kaw gets a chance to be in the spotlight. "The High King" is an exhilarating read, as by this stage most readers will be deeply invested in these characters and the land of Prydain, and the author swings us continually back and forth from despair to hope and back again. The fortunes of the good guys are always up for grabs, and Alexander makes sure we know that the stakes are high and the cost of defeat is unthinkable.

As well as Alexander's wonderful sense of humour that is found throughout the series, there are (many) moments of great wisdom, poignancy and bitter-sweetness, not to mention romance, magic and mild horror. There are sacrifices, deaths of major characters, destruction of beautiful things and many a difficult decision to be made. Some of the issues are incredibly deep, and not at all what you'd expect to find in a children's book.

Every story is wrapped up satisfactorily, from Magg's escape in "The Castle of Llyr" to Taran's role to play in `The Book of Three' to the gwythaint fledgling that was saved in the first book. Very few endings to series leave you with a sense of completion, but I believe "The High King" is one of them, as well as having my highest recommendation in terms of a truly worthwhile and rewarding read - a perfect five stars.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not that great
I think in my own apinion that this book is not really a childern book.I think this book doesn't have one main idea and you get lost in the book , you don't know whats happening because it always switches ideas.This book should ownly get 1 or 2 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars May smile at a king
I'm always fascinated by books and movies that are parts of larger series, and yet win major awards entirely on their own.A good recent example of this might be the third part of the "Lord of the Rings" films winning the Oscar.Similarly, the final book in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles won the coveted Newbery Award.I pity the graduate film and literature students that discover these award winners without having seen/read their predecessors.Fortunately, "The High King" doesn't require too much backstory or catching up.If you are reading this book on its own you'll undoubtedly be annoyed by its continual references to characters or situations you're not personally familiar with.My advice is not to begin with this, the last in the series.Find "The Book of Three" and carry on from there."The High King" is good, butit's best within context.

When we last saw our heroes, Taran and Gurgi were finally returning to Caer Dallben after more than a year of Taran "finding himself" in the classic sense of the term.At last they are coming home, and to their delight everyone has turned out for their arrival.Unfortunately the joy is not for long.Prince Gwydion has been grievously hurt on his way to the party and his sword of Dyrnwyn has been stolen.Needless to say, this is very bad news.Soon the armies of Arawn-Death-Lord are marching and the time for an end to his reign is at hand.With Taran now a wiser steadier fellow, our band of ragamuffin heroes sets off once more towards adventures, traps, and triumphs.Old friends are met, new friends are found, and many good stout-hearted people die.Still, through it all our heroes never give up and the book is a stirring testament to the will of the average joe.By the end of the book Taran must face his greatest decision yet.And, as author Lloyd Alexander points out, "whether the ending is happy, heartbreaking, or both, readers must decide for themselves".

Out of all the Prydain books, this is the one that bears the most similarity to the aforementioned "Lord of the Rings".This is based on a variety of different factors.The types of battles waged.The evil lord's landscaping.The idea that the bad guy has gotten an object of particular power and can now wield it for evil.Even the ending is similar (though Taran makes a surprise decision that is the direct opposite of Frodo's own surprise decision).Don't feel that this book is a weak knock off of Tolkien's (admittedly) better written baby though.Alexander's at the top of his game here, posing as many philosophical queries as he does political jabs.The presentation of a former good guy who believes peace can only come by joining up with bad guys... heck we're talking WWII political theory here.On top of that Taran is at his wisest in this book.He's poised and confident without being cocky.There's the odd inclusion of a terribly annoying fellow named Glew in this book who serves only to create important plot points and a form of weak comic relief, but fortunately he is the sole flaw of the book.I was greatly relieved too.After the meanderings of Alexander's far weaker, "Taran Wanderer", I was worried that, "The High King" might bog down into dreary who-am-I? type speechifying.Fortunately Eilonwy is present and accounted for in this novel.She fights and gets captured, but at least she's a gutsy ball of gung-ho goodness.As the sole female of the novel she's a welcome relief to everyone's serious even toned conversations.Once again, Eilonwy saves the novel.

"The High King" is far longer than its predecessors, but that's fitting since it's the last in the series.Alexander keeps the action constant and upbeat.I doubt you'll find any serious objections to it.It is sad to say goodbye to the characters we've all grown to know so well in the books.I've always had a serious crush on Fflewddur Fflam so I think I'll miss him most of all.Fortunately there's always "The Foundling" and "Coll and His White Pig" to read for fun.They're not officially part of the Prydain canon but they belong squarely in that world.Consider checking them out if you fall into Lloyd Alexander withdrawal."The High King" is rightfully considered the strongest book in its series.I recommend it with nary a reservation in sight.
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165. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
by ANN BRASHARES
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807205893
Catlog: Book (2001-09-11)
Publisher: Imagination Studio
Sales Rank: 219930
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Read by Angela Goethals
Approx. 6.6 hours
4 cassettes

Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great; they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d LOVE to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Over a few bags of cheese puffs they decide to form a sisterhood, and take the vow of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants…the next morning, they say good-bye. And now the journey of the pants—and the most memorable summer of their lives—begins.

Angela Goethals' many film credits include Changing Lanes, Jerry Maguire, and Home Alone.She also starred on television in the series Phenom.
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Reviews (554)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Teen Novel
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is a novel about four girls (Tibby, Carmen, Bridget, and Lena), and the first summer that they spend apart from each other. But there's a twist.

The day before all of them separate for the summer, the girls each try on the same pair of pants, only to find that that pair of pants fits all of them perfectly, and makes them all look great, despite their physical differences. The girls make a pact that they will send the pants, which were picked up at a thrift store, to one another over the course of the entire summer. So each of them has a chance to experience the magic.

Brashares created four girls who were nothing alike, and brought them all together with the help of the pants. Readers will find it easy to relate to one, or all, of the characters. I found that I related the most to Tibby, because while she is at times cynical, and judges people to quickly, she has a very kind heart.

Overall, this is an EXCELLENT book, that I found myself unable to put down. I'd say that this book is for people 13 & over. Teenage girls will find this book easy to relate to, and feel a kinship with the four characters.<...

5-0 out of 5 stars The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is one of the best books I have ever read. (Trust me on this; I read A LOT.)
The story focuses on these four best friends who find this pair of presumably 'magical' pants at a second-hand store. Although all four girls are of very different sizes and builds, the pants fit each girl perfectly. As the girls embark on their first summer apart, they decide that the only way to keep their friendship truly alive would be to share the pants by mail. The Pants would be witness to all the big events throughout their summer, and would be a way to connect them while they are apart.
There is Lena, the introverted beauty, who goes to Greek to visit her grandparents for the summer and ends up falling in love with a boy out their and not knowing how and whether to tell him how she feels. There's emotional, Puerto-Rican Carmen, who goes out to South Carolina to spend time with her father, only to discover that he's engaged to a snotty woman with two blond kids. Tibby, the rebel, becomes a friend of a twelve year old girl, a rebel herself, who is dying of cancer. And Bridget, the hard-core athlete, goes to soccer camp in Baja only to find herself in lust with one of her coaches.
At times hilarious and at others emotionally intense, 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' is a great book for teenage girls. It gives us an in-depth look at the world, and shows us how four very different girls found their identities.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all teenage girls
This is one of my favorite books of all time and one every teenage girl should pick up at some time or another. Brashares skillfully weaves together the tale of 4 very different girls' adventures over one summer bringing them together by the means of a magical pair of pants representing their friendship. while the idea of the magical pair of pants may seem a bit farfetched to some, this story couldn't be more true to teenage life. Both humorous and heartwrenching, i enjoyed every page of this book. i especially enjoyed the quotes that appeared at the beginning of each chapter. i think every girl can relate to one of the characters in some way or another. I find it almost scary how much i can relate to Lena. My two best friends (who are a lot like Tibby and Carmen) also love this book and we've started our own sisterhood v. similar to the one in the book, which has made us even better friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars MUST READ FOR TEEN GIRLS OF ALL AGES
This book is an incredible look into the lives of 4 teenage girls as they face issues of their own and help eachother work through them. This is the best book I have ever read and I, like many teenagers do not like to read and finished this book within the first week I had it and right after I finished it I bought the sequel which is also incredible. I CAN'T wait for the third!!

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book!
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?" you might ask.
All the people (well, at least, me.) who have read it will say "Yes. This is a great book. The idea is very creative. (Magical Pants?). The characters are fun and believable. Carmen, Bridget, Tibby and Lena were best friends since they could remember.
They always spend time together in the summer, but in this particular summer, they have to be apart. They discover that the pants Carmen had all along were magical!
They decided that the pants should be passed around the world to each other so they would be together without actually being together!
Ann Brashares is a great author, I could almost actually feel the sadness/anger/whatever emotions that the character is feeling!

This book is not like any other!!! ... Read more


166. Funky Phonics.... and More: Reading Readiness, Vol. 1
by Sara Jordan
list price: $14.95
our price: $12.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1895523087
Catlog: Book (1992-08-01)
Publisher: Sara Jordan Publishing
Sales Rank: 374802
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A great introduction to Reading! Uses both phonics and whole language approaches. Learn about the alphabet, vowels, consonants (C and G), telling time, days of the week, seasons, the environment and more...

Age: SK - Grade 3 ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a great and memorable song collection for kids!
I am a second grade teacher and I have to say that "Funky Phonics and more, vol. 1" really livens up my classroom, every year!

Favorite tunes include "The Vowel Song", "The Animal Song", "Telling Time" and "Androide".

I would say that "Funky Phonics" is really a Reading Readiness kit which also introduces phonics through song. Lots of the songs are action packed.

For example, when we are singing "The Vowel Song", I make giant flash cards for the kids and each child gets a chance to be one of the vowels. Then as we are singing about each vowel, the child proudly gets a chance to pop up and show off his letter.

"The Animal Song" is great. It's much more that an alphabet song. It introduces a new animal for every single letter of the alphabet and teaches an interesting fact about each of the animals too!

"Telling Time" is wonderful because not only does it each kids how to tell time, it reviews skip counting in 5's because after all, this is often the way we tell time.....ie..10:05, 10:10 or 10:15.

"The Androide Song" is an interesting approach to telling time. The kids love to hear the Androide sing about time and his daily race through the fast lane of life.

Of course, other interesting songs, such as "Days of the Week", which teaches how the days were named after the planets, and "Who's Going to Save Us Now?" a great environmental tune, really spice up other curriculum units.

Whether for home use or in the classroom, I hope you'll be as excited and pleased with "Funky Phonics and more Vol. 1" as I am. ... Read more


167. Junie B. Jones Collection: Books 5-8
by BARBARA PARK
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807206016
Catlog: Book (2001-11-06)
Publisher: Imagination Studio
Sales Rank: 182845
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Read by Lana Quintal
approx. 2 hours
2 cassettes

What kind of mess has Junie B. Jones gotten herself into this time?Listen to four Junie b. Jones favorites in one audiobook collection.
In Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake, Junie B. wins the Carnival Night Cake Walk and chooses the bestest cake of all.How was she to know it was lethal weapon?
Guess who's NOT invited to Jim's birthday party in Junie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim's Birthday.
In Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, Junie has tofigure out how she can get the handomest guy she's ever seen to love her.
In Juine B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, Junie worries that Paulie Allen Puffer is right and she really does have monster under her bed.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lana Quintel's voice is perfect for Junie!
My daughter absolutley loves Junie B. Jones, so I thought these cassettes would be great for long car rides. The first thing that I got a kick out of is Lana Quintel's voice--she is just perfect as Junie. She's got a little-girlish, slightly nervous tone, which really fits. Some audio stories can really bore you to tears, which is bad for the adult driving the car, but these keep you listening and aware.
The story lines really fit for young kids (older 5's+), since Junie has to get through typical situations like loose teeth, "boyfriends", self-inflicted hair cuts, etc.
Some of the books show Junie's more obnoxious, negative self, so I just avoid them and go for the cuter stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Junie B. Jones First Grader at Last
I have been reading the Junie B. Jones collection to my kindergarten class from the beginning of the school year. They absolutely love the collection. At times I have found the language inappropriate for kindergarten. I have chosen to change some of the words as I read. The children do not realize and the books still remain enjoyable and fun. Barbara Park is a great author and has truley captured the uniqueness of a child's kindergarten career. All books are HIghly remcommended. I tried to keep this book until the last day of school when my students would have officially been first graders. They wouldn't let me. One of my students brought the book from home and we finished it in two sittings. Junie B. Jones First Grader at Last is a great book to read to the child who is anxious about first grade and the changes that my come with growing up. ... Read more


168. The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia Bk. 3)
by C.S. LEWIS
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553478842
Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 679360
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Shasta discovers he is not Arsheesh's son and therefore does not belong in the cruel land of Calormen, he joins forces with Bree the talking horse and flees north towards Narnia, where freedom reigns.

And so begins their hazardous journey, fraught with mystery and danger. Calormen's capital city of Tashbaan must be crossed, a harsh desert endured, the high mountains of Archenland climbed, their enemies overcome. For the young Shasta it is an adventure beyond his wildest dreams and one destined to change his life forever.

This acclaimed BBC Radio dramatization perfectly captures C.S. Lewis' magical world, inviting us to "breathe" the sweet air of Narnia once again and to join the mighty Aslan and his people in defending its most precious borders. ... Read more

Reviews (84)

4-0 out of 5 stars Agreat book to read, and a mysterious title!
The Horse and His Boy was one of the best books I have ever read.It had little magic in it, but scenes were very gory and intense.Sometimes things were very exciting especially in the beginning which most books don't.During this story many odd things happened to the four adventurers.Those four are Bree, Shasta, Hwin, and Avaris.One of my favorite events in the book is when they four were attacked by lions!So pick up a copy of The Horse and His Boy, by Clive Staples Lewis, to figure out what the title means!

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining story + good theology = classic Lewis
The second book in Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia is a more traditional "heroic quest" story than the previous book. The character of Aslan takes a bit of a different role in the story this time around. Whereas in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe we are introduced to the lion Aslan, the Son of the Emperor-Across-the-Sea, and his sacrifice to atone for a character's sins, in this book His sovereignty is the focus, as it is He, unbeknownst to the reader for most of the story, who drives the events that happen to the main characters. Lewis also throws some important theology into the mix. One of the characters postulates that Aslan can't be a "real" lion, that He must be some other sort of higher being. Aslan Himself quickly corrects this thought, however, pointing out that He is a "true beast," a real lion like other lions in the world. This corresponds to the Christian doctrine that Jesus was both true God and true man. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

4-0 out of 5 stars Escape into Narnia
"The Horse and His Boy" is a bit of an oddity in the Chronicles of Narnia. It is the only book in which the main characters are natives of the fantasy world of Aslan (rather than being from ours), and is set in the era glimpsed in Chapter 17 of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe".

Shasta lives in Calormen, a very Arabian Knights sort of place south of Narnia, full of beautiful palaces, dark skinned warriors, and citizens who quote their verbose poets and philosophers frequently. Shasta's lived all his life by the sea, treated cruelly by his "father" and made to do all the work. His humble life changes when a Tarkaan (something like a duke) arrives in town, riding a horse named Bree. Through an overheard conversation, Shasta discovers that his father isn't really his father, and that he comes from Narnia, a faraway northern country. Curious of his origins, he decides to run away to Narnia, and so does Bree (who is actually a talking horse, taken from Narnia when young, and forced to act tame). They meet up with runaways Hwin and her girl Tarkheena Aravis, (also headed for Narnia) and together they ride northwards, braving bustlings cities, sweltering deserts, and a wild lion that just won't leave them alone...

I struggled through this book when I was younger (fifth grade), even though I was something of a big reader. There's a lot of wordy dialogue, like the quotes of the poets, and a lot of political intrigue that a kid won't neccesarily appreciate, like the motives for Rabbadash's war and his flirtations with Queen Susan, which go on for quite a bit. I know I didn't really enjoy those parts back then, and kind of scanned over those chapters. There is much to enjoy though. I loved the landscapes. I could feel the heat of the desert, and the balmy, unpredictable climate of Archenland, and the bustle of Tashbaan.

C.S. Lewis was a devoted Christian, and even though it doesn't shine through as strongly as in the other Narnian Chronicles, there is still some allegory to be found. The theme, I think, is something close to Proverbs 16v9 in the Bible: "In his heart man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps". Shasta, Bree, Hwin and Aravis all decide to escape Calormen to Narnia, but it is Aslan who guides their way. Even if it they didn't know it, it was he who brought them together, kept them safe, and got them to where they were going just in the nick of time.

"The Horse and His Boy" was the fifth Narnian Chronicle to be written, and the third chronologically. Well, that's not techincally trueIf you were being really chronological, you'd start with "The Magician's Nephew", go on to "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe", stop halfway through Chapter 17 after the children become kings and queens to read "A Horse and His Boy", finish that, then go back to finish the "The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe", then going on normally until "The Silver Chair", where you'd stop towards the end of Chapter 3, (where "The Horse and His Boy" is told to Jill and Eustace), read "The Horse and His Boy" again, then go back.

But that's being REALLY picky, and probably a little obsessive. It wouldn't be much fun at all to read the series like that.

The only book you really need to read before it, I think, is "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe", which explains how the Golden Age of Narnia began.

I've been reading the series in the order that Lewis wrote them in, and again I've noticed a feeling of a looming end, a feeling that began with "The Silver Chair". The pieces of "The Last Battle" are falling into place. Apes being associated with deception, the introduction of Tash and the religion of Calormen, hints of Susan being too grown up for Narnia (she stays in the castle, acting like an adult, while her sister Lucy goes to battles), all elements very important for the Narnian finale.

Probably not an essential in the series, but enjoyable enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Horse and his boy
Sarah Godfrey


The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis is about a child who runs away form his family because he finds out that the father that has always said he was really isn't. So when the child runs away, of course he will bring his horse. In the series of the Chronicle Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, everyone knows that Narnia is a magical world. There are talking lions, rats, horses, gofers, dears, there are Minnie midgets, dwarfs, giants, and all sorts of animals. Even the trees can talk. Well in The Horse and His Boy the child Shasta just went on a huge adventure through the woods and found his real father. The whole book is about him finding who his real dad is.


Lewis, C.S. The Horse and His Boy, New York: 1954. 234 pgs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun & Adventure Return to Captivate Little Ones
As my five year old son and I make our way through the Chronicles of Narnia (see my other reviews), we've found that, predictably, CS Lewis isn't always at the top of his game in every one.After the relatively dreary tale of The Silver Chair (see my review for the merit I did find in it), we're glad to find in The Horse and His Boy a grand adventure that illuminates how God works in our lives.It's an escape story, a war story, a story of someone desperate to warn others of danger, and a story of the virtues of trust, forgiveness, and love.Highly recommended, and can be read on its own independently of the rest of the series (though you really should start with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, still the best of the series). ... Read more


169. Turn! Turn! Turn! (Book and CD)
by Pete Seeger
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689852355
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Sales Rank: 282593
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


To ev'rything
there is a season
and a time
for ev'ry purpose
under heaven.

For thousands of years Ecclesiastes' beautiful words have inspired and given solace to people all over the world.

Pete Seeger was so moved by these words that he set the psalm to music and added a refrain and a line of his own. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" was recorded in 1962 by the Byrds. You can still hear the song on the radio today -- more than forty years later.

Now Wendy Anderson Halperin lends her talent and artistic vision to the famous song, creating a book like no other. Wendy's art invites you to turn, turn, turn the pages and investigate all the different ways people live and laugh, love and mourn, and the ways in which war and peace affect humanity.

It's your turn now, to read the words of Ecclesiastes, listen to Pete Seeger's music, gaze at Wendy Anderson Halperin's illustrations, and contemplate what being human is all about. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars 2003 Notable Book, Association of Jewish Libraries!
This title was declared a 2003 Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries! Almost 200 children's books of Judaic content were reviewed during the year to find the best of the bunch. Find out more at www.jewishlibraries.org. ... Read more


170. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood
by ANN BRASHARES
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400098564
Catlog: Book (2005-01-25)
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Sales Rank: 181014
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Book Description

The Pants first came to us at the perfect moment. That is, when we were splitting up for the first time. It was two summers ago when they first worked their magic, and last summer when they shook up our lives once again. You see, we don’t wear the Pants year-round. We let them rest so they are extra powerful when summer comes. (There was the time this spring when Carmen wore them to her mom’s wedding, but that was a special case.)

Now we’re facing our last summer together. In September we go to college. And it’s not like one of those TV shows where all of us magically turn up at the same college. We’re going to four different colleges in four different cities (but all within four hours of one another—that was our one rule). We’re headed off to start our real lives.

Tomorrow night at Gilda’s we’ll launch the Pants on their third summer voyage. Tomorrow begins the time of our lives. It’s when we’ll need our Pants the most. ... Read more


171. Chasing Vermeer
by BLUE BALLIETT
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307206726
Catlog: Book (2004-11-09)
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Sales Rank: 155192
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When a book of unexplainable occurances brings Petra Andalee & Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen: seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, & an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal. As Petra & Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth they must draw on their powers of intuition, their skills at problem solving, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled?
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's that good.
Secrets, lies and mysteries surround the work of one of the greatest artists of all time. Moonlit chases, hidden hiding places, and even a secret code help to solve the mystery. Is this the new sequel to THE DA VINCI CODE? Nope --- it's an equally entertaining novel for younger readers. CHASING VERMEER encourages kids to use all their creativity and problem-solving skills to tackle a real-life mystery surrounding the elusive painter Johannes Vermeer.

Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee are both a little odd. Their intellectual curiosity and their unique hobbies fit right in, though, with their eccentric families and with their creative classmates at the University of Chicago Lab School. When three mysterious letters show up in their neighborhood and seem linked to the theft of a famous Vermeer painting, a chain of coincidences brings Calder and Petra together to help solve the crime.

First-time author Blue Balliett seems to enjoy playing with coincidences, both plausible and far-fetched, and the theme of chance and coincidence cleverly runs through the novel. The novel, with its high-profile crime of a well-known painting (secretly reproduced on the book underneath the dust jacket), also seeks to inspire young people to appreciate art as both dynamic and relevant to their lives. "Children were thinking about Vermeer, too. They were comparing, writing, and visiting museums with friends. Many said that they hadn't realized how cool old pictures could be."

The novel's illustrations breathe almost as much life into the book as the text does. Illustrator Brett Helquist (best known for illustrating Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events) includes a full-page illustration for each chapter. Pay attention! Some of the drawings reveal a secret that careful readers can help uncover.

With its emphasis on puzzle-solving, CHASING VERMEER is reminiscent of classic novels like THE WESTING GAME. Its focus on connections and coincidences will remind many of HOLES, and its art-related mystery calls to mind FROM THE SECRET FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER. In other words, CHASING VERMEER deserves a spot alongside many well-loved children's books. It's that good.

--- (...)

5-0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone
What a fun mystery. There seems to be something for everyone.It has secret codes, mathematical puzzles (pentominoes), a dash of art history and good characters. There is even a coded message/puzzle in the Bret Helquist illustrations. Codes are always interesting to kids. I think this book will be very popular with middle grade readers. I can see Calder and Petra collaborating on future mysteries. Kids who enjoyed The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine by Diane Stanley, will be happy to have a new and interesting mystery to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars More accurate than The Da Vinci Code
This may not be The Da Vinci Code for kids, because it seems that the scholarship and research in Chasing Vermeer are more accurate than that in The Da Vinci Code. However, it's a clever marketing technique, and it seems to be working.

Having read The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, and all sorts of "simpler" mystery novels as a child, this really was refreshing. I wish something like this had been around (or that I had known of it) when I was in 6th grade. Even for an adult, it's an interesting, provocative work, with excellent pacing and sure handed writing. And any book that increases interest in art, thinking, or ideas has automatically hit a home run for me.

Aside from the terrific storytelling and infectious plotting, I was very intrigued by the two main characters. Both are "hybrids" - a far cry from the typical Caucasian heroes we see everyday. Bravo to the author for the varied ethnicity!

It's also a pleasure to read a book written "in" Chicago. Too many novels take place in New York, or L.A., and believe me - Chicago is culturally rich enough to support many more stories of this nature.

The hidden clues were fun to figure out. I've never had much of a brain for puzzles, so even one aimed at kids between the ages of 9 and 12 challenged me. It took me a while to puzzle the clues out, and when I did, I discovered that there isn't only one solution! There are two, equally valid solutions - the one on the website, and the one I found. And yes, there really are two - even though I don't possess a proclivity for this sort of thing.

I'm already anxiously awaiting Ms. Balliett's next book. As she is a teacher in the Hyde Park area of Chicago (which is as rich and culturally diverse as it gets here), I hope to see even more of this magnificent city!

4-0 out of 5 stars Mystery and Discovery
CHASING VERMEER is the delightful first book by Chicagoan and former Lab School teacher, Blue Baliett. The plot revolves around the growing friendship of sixth graders Petra and Calder as they work together to solve the mystery of, A Lady Writing, a Vermeer painting stolen en route the Chicago's Art Institute. Baliett creates children who are unashamedly eccentric and intelligent and are multi-ethnic in way that seems natural and uncontrived. Calder keeps pentominoe tiles (tiles in a variety of shapes that all include 5 squares) in his pocket and Petra connects words and circumstances. The story will draw younger readers in by its mysterious plot and the opportunity to do a little code breaking of their own to translate letters Calder receives from his absent best friend. It is the kind of book that might draw students into and interest in art, math and logic and could be used by an enterprising teacher to discuss all three. The resolution of the tale feels a bit sudden but is not unsatisfying.

The use of Chicago and Hyde Park landmarks is particularly delightful (the names of some of the buildings on the University of Chicago campus have been changed). It is clear that illustrator Brett Helquist (Known for the images he created for the Lemony Snicket books) visited or had pictures of the lovely Hyde Park architecture to work from as some of the illustrations closely match buildings in the neighborhood, a nice detail for Chicagoans. Helquist's drawings provide an additional layer to the story as they also contain a code for readers to solve. CHASING VERMEER is a tale of mystery and discovery that children of many ages will enjoy and I look forward to seeing more work by Baliett in the future.

4-0 out of 5 stars "NOT ON EVERYONE'S 'V' LIST ??"
Here is a book heralded by much publicity; one to put on your "Vermeer List" ... It will appeal to young mystery readers & kids who relish being considered 'above & beyond' the generic middle school student. This has the lure of PENTOMINOES (for a pronunciation aid, think "dominoes") which are diagrammed in the book and even avaiilable to *move* on your computer screen after accessing the website given in the book ... plus the challenge of clues encoded in the illustrations.

The hero Calder invents a secret code based on the above, and his new friend Petra discusses happenings that may or may not be coincidences. In a book full of clues I wonder whether the author is dropping hints that a future book may revolve around the art of Alexander Calder and/or the artifacts of Petra, ancient city in Jordan. I was hoping Balliett's convoluted tale(as all good mysteries are?) would involve some action inside Chicago's ART INSTITUTE but perhaps in the future the author will use that setting, with a mystery about the unforgettable Chagall stained glass.

This book could open up discussions about art critics and art history *experts* ~ also fads in all the necessities of life, including art. The young people are students at the Univ. of Chicago's lab school, where they have an open-minded but nervous teacher; also in a 'leading role' is an elderly eccentric neighbor. The star, of course, is the painting "A LADY WRITING" by Johannes Vermeer. It disappears between the National Gallery in D.C. and Chicago. Mysterious letters are delivered and demands made. Your reading will speed up with the chase scenes.

All ages are involved as players in this drama and that may ensure an audience of a wide age range. REVIEWER MCHAIKU predicts good fun for readers in the 4th-8th grade range, more discussion in classrooms & increased sales of Pentominoes ~ ~ & some of these are definitely works of ART ! ... Read more


172. Dogs Rule!
by Daniel Kirk
list price: $18.99
our price: $12.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786819499
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 18394
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Arf! Bark! Bow wow! That's what dogs say, but just what are they trying to tell us? Find out: Why they chase their tails. Reasons to play fetch at 6 a.m. What's so great about fire hydrants? Which collars they don't want to wear and why. From a posh, perfumed lapdog to the ever-hungry chow hound, dogs tell you why cats drool and dogs rule! ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Too Funny
If you or your kids like dogs, this is a great book and CD. Good illustrations, fun lyrics, good music. Your favorite dog is probably here somewhere!

5-0 out of 5 stars a favorite
My daughter, a true dog lover at age 6, has read and listened to this book over and over and over and...
My husband and I now also know all the words. The book and music are original, funny and entertaining. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!
I previewed this book at a gathering, ended up doing a live reading, and kept 6-7 adults and 2 children enthralled and laughing out loud for about 30 minutes. This book is a wonderful 'read aloud' and the illustrations are superb. The edition I saw had an accompanying CD. I did not get to listen to it, but am excitedly anticipating it's arrival so that I may! ... Read more


173. The Tiger in the Well (Sally Lockhard Mysteries)
by PHILIP PULLMAN
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400089735
Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Sales Rank: 498637
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174. More Adventures of the Great Brain
by JOHN FITZGERALD
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807207454
Catlog: Book (2002-06-25)
Publisher: Listening Library
Sales Rank: 519017
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description




From the Audio Cassette (Unabridged) edition.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars More Laughs
I read these books as child by checking them out of a library. Now almost 20 years later, I have decided to reread them all starting from the beginning. While, the first book ends with T.D., aka the Great Brain, supposedly reformed, after he receives that shiny new bike for Christmas he's back at it again in More Adventures of the Great Brain. One of my favorite chapters in this book is the one about Old Butch because it shows T.D.'s feeling side and allows his character to have depth beyond his tricks. Much of this book is typical of the Great Brain and is good for some laughs. I recommend all the books of this series to children and adults alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for any age
John Dennis Fitzgerald intended to chronicle his youth in Utah for adults, not children. His publisher thought otherwise and the result are these gems. I don't even call them children's lit gems because I find them just as enjoyable as an adult. Before I go on, you should know that Fitzgerald wrote one book about his youth that is for adults, called "Papa Married a Mormon". It is one of the most amazing books on the American west that I have ever read. Sadly, it is out of print, and you may, like me, have to pay an exorbitant sum to get a copy. Trust me, save up and do it. Now back to this book. Every single Great Brain book in the series is pure gold, and the entire set can be had cheaply, so I say buy them all at once. I "put my money where my mouth is" as Tom the Great Brain would say, and bought the lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Absolute Favorite Childhood Book Series
Growing up, this series was my absolute favorite. The western themes, the sibling plots and the historical aspect of it kept me interested and kept me reading. The books stood on their own, but the characters developed from novel to novel. I read them in fourth grade, vigorously, and can not recommend them strongly enough.

It was the first real page-turned I ever came across.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Adventures of the Great Brain
This book was an adventurous, and exciting book. It always kept me off my seat, and always kept me wondering.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading for all.
I am surprised at the lack of attention the "Great Brain" series gets. There is a great charm to small town America which is represented in each book. Futher, the interplay between the "kill or be killed" attitude of Tom and the sweetness of his brother John makes for great reading. As well, young children learn the benefits and drawbacks of both attitudes. Truly a great read for kids and a great re-read for adults. ... Read more


175. Easy English, 1st
by Living Language
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400020859
Catlog: Book (2004-02-17)
Publisher: Living Language
Sales Rank: 237450
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176. Multiplication/Rock Version (Rock 'n Learn)
by Brad Caudle, Richard Caudle
list price: $12.99
our price: $9.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1878489054
Catlog: Book (1992-05-01)
Publisher: Rock 'n Learn
Sales Rank: 195567
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177. Scary Stories Audio CD Collection
by Alvin Schwartz
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694526126
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: HarperChildrensAudio
Sales Rank: 37799
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Walking corpses, dancing bones, knife-wielding madmen, and narrow escapes from death -- they're all here in this chilling collection of ghost stories. Brought to spine-tingling, flesh-crawling life by acclaimed Broadway actor (and master ghoul) George S. Irving, these horrific tales are guaranteed to raise goosebumps. Let the faint of heart beware.

Pull up a chair, find a hand to hold, and prepare to be horrified.

... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Campfire Stories
When I was in elementary school in the early 90's my Girl Scout troop used to camp at the local Girl Scout Camp which had its own scary story/local legend to go along with it.We'd scare eachother around the campfire, taking turns reading these outloud.To this day, I am 22 now, we joke about "Wherrrrrrrrre's Myyyyyyyyyyyyy Liverrrrrr?" They are definitly stories meant to be told around a campfire, or at a slumber party when you can snuggle up in your sleeping bag and have fun. I also love the illustrations.They still creep me out!I recomend that every kid has these stories.They were definitly a memorable part of my childhood.

5-0 out of 5 stars OLD GREAT MEMORIES

I fell in love with this set when I was younger, I used to scrap up money from my parents and grandparents just to get each book at the book fair at my school, the stories are sooooo awesome and inforgetable!!! And the drawing's are just wicked!!! If you don't have this book set get it!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Putting Chills Down Your Spine!!
Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz are books filled with horrifying detailed stories that will definitely spook you and your friends on sleepovers. There great around Halloween or just reading them in the dark, while watching every corner in your house and every light flicker. I can see how these books could be banned because they are very detailed in there language and pictures of ghastly creatures and so on. With there gruesome and sick stories you could be terrified for days. But, all and all they are just exciting stories that will put chills down your spine. So if you love to be frightened or just want to have a little fright night I think these stories are for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars GOOD STUFF!
It's good reading to spook you.I especially like the excellent illustrations, so much that I adopted a similar pencil drawing style.

I was scared half to death long ago after hearing the story "The Thing". I had to go down a dark street at 10 at night to get home, and my mind created images of the zombie in the white tuxedo. So I thought it was following me and I raced home very quickly. But I like the books now.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE WENDIGO
Not too long ago, I had a nightmare about "The Wendigo" in one of these books. When I read it now, I just have to read it more than once. I do not recommend it for kids who aren't as old as 10 yet. 10+up.
{The Guests is also very good}. These books can possibly keep someone up at night. I AM NOT KIDDING. THEY CAN BE SCARY.All of the stories are very very much enough to make someone shudder after thinking about what they had just read.{It makes me do that for some of them LIKE The Wendigo}. I DO recommend The Wendigo for camping trips.
REMINDER:MY MOM DID NOT LIKE THE MOVIE "SALEM'S LOT" BECAUSE I SAW WHAT THE VAMPIRES LOOK LIKE. {THIS JUST REMINDED ME OF THAT STORY IN HERE CALLED "THE WINDOW". Read that too! Read all of them!! ... Read more


178. The Young Person's Guide to the Opera: [Book-and-CD Set]
by Anita Ganeri, Nicola Barber, Royal Opera House, San Diego Opera Association
list price: $25.00
our price: $15.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152164987
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Sales Rank: 216805
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Book Description

Opera’s colorful history is rich with exciting stories. Through conversational text, informative sidebars, and full-color photographs, young readers will learn about the talented people--composers, singers, musicians, stagehands, set and costume designers, makeup crews--and the technical wizardry that go into staging opera’s lavish performances. There are even behind-the-scenes glimpses of many of today’s great opera companies, including the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the San Diego Opera. Created in association with London’s Royal Opera House and the San Diego Opera, this book-and-CD package is a sumptuous introduction to the world of opera. The accompanying CD captures memorable moments from some of the most famous operas. ... Read more


179. Japanese for Young People I (Japanese for Young People)
by Association for Japanese Language Teaching
list price: $48.00
our price: $32.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 4770021798
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Kodansha International (JPN)
Sales Rank: 545705
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180. Teaching Tunes Audio CD and Mini-Books Set: Nursery Rhymes: 12 Delightful Nursery Rhyme Songs With Sing-Along Mini-Books That Build Early Literacy Skills
by Jean Feldman
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0439305861
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Teaching Resources
Sales Rank: 27153
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Book Description

12 Delightful Nursery Rhyme Songs with sing-along Mini-Books that Build Early Literacy Skills
Get kids ready for reading!
Kids will love building early reading skills with 12 irresistible nursery rhyme songs on CD! Includes reproducible mini-books with song lyrics and illustrations that support the text. Once children learn the songs, they can read along in their own mini-books. You'll also find lots of creative activities to extend learning. A delightful way to enhance children's phonological awareness and introduce concepts of print!
... Read more


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