Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Almost Super by Marion Jensen April 22, 2014

Filed under: ages 9-12,humor — Bethany @ 8:15 pm
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Almost SuperIt’s a leap year, February 29 to be exact. Rafter and Benny Bailey are gathered with their family in the living room. On this day on a leap year, at 4:23 pm, every member of the Bailey family over the age of 12  gets his or her super power. Rafter is hoping for super strength like his grandpa. Benny wants super speed. When the moment finally arrives, they both get their powers. The problem? Their powers are really, really lame. Benny can pop his innie belly button into an outie. Rafter can light a match on any polyester surface. How are they going to help the family fight the villainous Johnson family with powers like that?

This book was super cute and funny. The descriptions of the super powers, the battles of good versus evil, and the humor make it a good recommendation for boys (and girls) in upper elementary or middle school. The underlying themes of friendship and the vulnerability kids feel at that age make it a book adults will like for kids.

5 out of 5 stars


Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich May 6, 2012

Filed under: adult mystery,humor,mystery — Bethany @ 6:20 pm
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Vinnie Plum, owner of the bail bonds office where Stephanie works, is in trouble.  He gambled and scammed the wrong guy and now mobster Bobby Sunflower is mad.  When Vinnie disappears, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie realize that they rely on him for a job.  No matter how many dumb mistakes he made, they need him back.  Armed with an Uzi, stink bombs, and a wild plan, the women of the bail bonds office are to the rescue.  Of course, things never go exactly to plan…

Another entertaining chapter of the Stephanie Plum saga complete with fried chicken, doughnuts, and explosions.  This one wasn’t quite as good as previous books in the series, but it made me laugh out loud and was a light read during my lunch breaks.

4 out of 5 stars


Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea March 5, 2012

A young hippo has to show his dad how to do everything, including how to get dressed, how to get in the car, and how to give big hugs.

This one was very popular in Toddler Time.  I used it for the theme Getting Dressed, but it would work for a number of other themes as well.  I liked how it showed the little hippo doing things by himself.  The illustrations were wonderful.



Bossypants by Tina Fey January 25, 2012

Tina Fey started her life in show business at Summer Showtime, an acting camp that did double-duty as a refuge for gay teens.  With a short, less-than-glamorous stint at the front desk of the YMCA, she went on to do an improv show in Chicago.  After a nerve-wracking interview with Lorne Michaels, she became a writer for Saturday Night Live and later created her own comedy show, 30 Rock.  Sprinkled throughout the book are stories of her childhood, memories of her near-death experience on her honeymoon, tips for a successful fashion shoot, opinions of Photoshop, tales of motherhood, and her true feelings about Sarah Palin.

This book was hilarious yet poignant and had a nice balance of truth and sarcastic asides.  I really enjoyed it and found myself laughing out loud more than once.  I would definitely recommend this to any adult, especially those who have seen her on TV.  Her voice really shines throughout the book.


It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong November 13, 2011

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita is the story of Heather Armstrong’s brave journey into childbearing.  Armstrong called her father after her first date with Jon and told him this was the man she was going to marry.  A few years later, they decided to have a baby.  This meant sacrifice- she had to give up things she really liked- beer, caffeine… and antidepressants.  After 9 long months of pregnancy (which are described in great deal), baby Leta is born.  What follows is Armstrong’s immense love for her child and a bout with postpartum depression so intense she checks herself into a mental hospital.  This is a hilarious and touching story of what it’s really like to have a baby and the changes it makes to your life.

As soon I finished this book, I went to my parents’ house, handed this book to my mom, and said, “Read this and tell me if it’s true.  If so, I’m never having kids.”  The book both made me laugh and terrified me to the core.  It’s not for the easily offended, but if you do like it, Heather Armstrong has a blog with more observations on day-to-day life at


I Love You, Miss Huddleston by Philip Gulley

Filed under: adult biography,humor — Bethany @ 11:38 pm
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I Love You, Miss Huddleston and Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood takes us back to the childhood of Philip Gulley.  He grew up inDanville,Indiana in the 1970’s, the fourth of five children.  His father was a “bug spray salesman” and his mother watched out for the kids, warning them from such dangers as riding their bikes down Main Street and carnival rides.  He grew up Catholic; his feeling in the church was “a cluelessness tinged with a vague fear” and did odd jobs for the Quaker widow next door.  He recalls going trick-or-treating with the goal of hitting every house in town, a long distance bike ride with his friends involving little food and lots of blood, and a big crush on his sixth grade teacher.

This book had me laughing out loud at the antics of boys growing up in theMidwestand the hilarious observations of daily life.


Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Filed under: drama,humor — Bethany @ 11:35 pm
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Contestants from all 50 states board a plane for the Miss Teen Dream competition.  On the way to the island destination, the plane crashes, leaving only a fraction of the contestants alive.  Now the girls must survive alone on a deserted desert island.  Or are they alone?

What started as a humorous, witty commentary on the roles of advertising and consumerism in the lives of Americans today, slowly degraded into a silly, tiresome attempt at female empowerment.  I was really disappointed in the last third of the book.  It seemed too forced and I almost didn’t finish.


Lunch Walks Among Us by Jim Benton July 27, 2011

Filed under: ages 7-10,humor,strange fiction — Bethany @ 10:11 pm
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Frannie K. Stein’s family just moved to a new house at the end of Daffodil Street.  This means Frannie is starting at a new school.  The other kids don’t understand the new girl, a mad scientist that keeps a bat (the animal) in her backpack and eats crab ravioli with pumpkin sauce for lunch.  Frannie wants to fit in the with other kids, so she trades her chomping, oozing dolls for pretty dolls, her shish kebab lunches for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on squishy white bread, and her bat with black wings for a baseball bat.  But when a monster terrorizes the school, will the new Frannie be able to save the day?

This was a cute book.  I like Frannie K. Stein so much better than Junie B. Jones and will recommend this series to my 7 to 10-year-old readers as an alternative.


Hank Zipzer: Niagara Falls- Or Does It? May 11, 2011

Hank Zipzer is supposed to write five paragraphs about his summer.  Five!  Impossible!  Instead, Hank comes up with a great idea.  Instead of doing a boring essay, he’ll build a working model of his summer vacation to Niagara Falls.  With the help of his friends Frankie and Ashley, he just might pull it off.  Or he might have a disaster on his hands.

This was a quick read that is funny but touches on the “learning differences” some students have that make a five paragraph essay seem impossible.  The main character had a great voice and the plot was authentic.  (Hank is the class clown to cover up his difficulties with school and his parents assume he doesn’t do well because he is lazy.)  This is a great book, especially for reluctant readers and boys.


Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer April 19, 2011

Filed under: ages 9-12,humor — Bethany @ 11:12 pm
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Will thinks life is hard with four brothers, but things are about to get a lot harder.  His parents decide he and his older brother need something to do during the summer- a (gulp) educational hobby.  Marty and Will are sent to the public library.  Their parents think the librarian is a nice older lady, but kids know the truth.  She is known as Spud Murphy, named for the gas-powered spud gun she keeps under her desk to shoot soggy potatoes at anyone who makes trouble.  Will the boys survive a summer surrounded by nothing but books under the watchful eye of Spud Murphy?

This was a great book about boys being forced to spend their summer at the library only to discover they like reading and the terrifying librarian is not so bad after all.  This book is funny and imaginative enough to interest the reluctant reader and would be especially appealing to boys.


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