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Sofia is an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

Let me introduce you to my new best friend, A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer! I read this book with my mom for a “book battle“ in which we see who can finish their book first and actually have read it! I chose this book, a 500 something paged book and my mom read a 200 something paged book! I was so surprised when I finished my book first! This book pulled me in right from the start and I could not put it down! This book is recommended for ages 8-12!

Magic is strictly forbidden in the place and time this book takes place. The punishment for use of it is death. Madame Weatherbury is a very powerful fairy and wants to change that law. At the beginning of the book Madame Weatherbury is allowed to take two magical kids, one named Brystal from the Southern Kingdom. The world is split up in five sections, the Northern Kingdom, the Eastern Kingdom, the Southern Kingdom, the Western Kingdom and the In-Between.

Here is a map that shows the world back then. It is in the beginning of the book. Brystal is a kid in the Southern Kingdom, her father is a judge and her oldest brother is one too. Brystal’s second oldest brother is going to be taking a big test to become a judge too, soon. Brystal likes to stay up late and read books! Unfortunately, reading books is a crime, at least for girls. One time her mother catches her doing it! She gives Brystal a warning and takes all of her books but doesn’t tell her father anything because he hates Brystal as is. Brystal is expected to do chores like washing the dishes, cooking food and setting the table.

Just then Brystal’s biggest brother, Brooke, enters the dining room. He sends Barry, her second-oldest brother, a mean comment and then sits down at the table. After his butt hits the chair they all hear some commotion on the front of the house and they all stand up assuming it is father. They stand up because everybody always stands up to the judge in the courtroom and he expects that he is welcomed the same way at home. As they sit back down Brooke tests Barry in mental flashcards and gives him the wrong answer even when Barry says the right one! Brystal can’t stand her older brother lying to Barry so she yells out all of the correct answers and tells Brooke to stop telling him the incorrect answer. Her father is surprised and asks her in a stern voice how she knows all of that. Do you think that he will get really mad because then her mother tells him about the books that she was reading or do you think he will calm down after a while? And even better yet, it gets even better!

When I was reading this book I thought it would never end and I loved the idea! I also love this book because this book propelled me through its pages! It has so much detail and excitement in it! The author, I must say, did a beautiful job pushing the story along. So far this is my favorite read of 2021! It is of course a bit too early in the year to say that, BUT STILL! I also loved this book because the characters were so relatable and had many good and bad characteristics. During this book I noticed some changes in character and Brystal changed in a way I would have never imagined. I really enjoyed this book and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do! (I just figured out this is a series and the second book is called A Tale of Witchcraft by Chris Colfer! Also a third is coming out in September. It is called A Tale of Sorcery by Chris Colfer! I am really excited to read the second book in the series!!!)

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this review! We love that you not only beat your mom, but you found a new best friend!**

 

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Sofia is an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

WOW! That was a hilarious read! The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas is so funny and super interesting! If you like comedies, fantasy books, books that include some Spanish and maybe a myth or folktale that comes to life, then this is made for you! This book is recommended for ages 8-12.

Nestor’s dad is in the army and because of that Nestor has had eight or nine first days of school. He has moved to five different places at least. But no matter what he does, he always follows his one rule, DON’T MAKE FRIENDS BECAUSE IT WILL BE TOO HARD TO LEAVE THEM. Nestor also has a secret, he can talk to animals! Nestor isn’t exactly happy with his ability because the raven that lives in his neighborhood can be pretty annoying sometimes. Nestor likes to go into the forest sometimes to chat with other animals like a deer.

When he visits them just before going to school on the first day of school, he has a little chat about what he should pretend to be, for example he could be the brainy one, the athletic one etc. Sometimes Nestor thinks what the animals tell him could bring him into detention for a month, so he just acts like himself. After talking to his science partner, Talib, he discovers that his dog went missing and also after overhearing a girl called Maria Carmen he discovers that her goats went missing. He thinks something is definitely wrong when other people in the town report their pets missing. And even worse, all of the people in the town think it’s his grandma who is making all of the animals disappear! Nestor is sad that he can’t write to dad about all of this because that would be breaking his mom’s rule, Always be positive, Always be Happy. Nestor accidentally makes friends with Maria Carmen and Talib.

One day Nestor sees his grandma sneak into the woods with a knife and gets super suspicious and scared. When Maria Carmen invites Nestor to her home, her mom wants him to leave as soon as possible as soon as she hears his last name. When Nestor figures out what the thing is that is taking the animals, he also realizes that the thing gets stronger with every eclipse and the next eclipse is coming up!

I love this book because of how funny it is! Seriously, this line is classic, “The faded sign outside New Haven Middle School declares HOME OF THE FIGHTING ARMADILLOS. The only fighting I’ve ever seen an armadillo do is against a truck on a highway. And they don’t usually win.” Like how funny is that? Another reason I love this book is because you don’t usually come across books with kids that have superpowers – well, actually you do, but none of them are this good. No offense to other superhero books.

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this review! We love books that are funny!**

 

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Sofia is an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

This book is something I have never seen before in my life, a different type of book. This book, The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks, has QR codes! These QR codes, more about them later, show famous paintings that are being described on the page that the QR code is on. Most of the paintings are by Van Gogh but some are by other artists like Hans Holbein the Younger and Leonardo Da Vinci. This book is recommended for ages 10-12!

The book is about a boy. The boy had lost his memory, meaning he didn’t know who he was, where he lived or who his parents were. He was found in the National Gallery of Art, Gallery number 83 and was sitting on a bench there for most of the day. When the security guard comes to check on him because he finds his behavior suspicious, he finds out that he has lost his memory. The boy gets sent to the police station and then they realize he has amnesia which is when you lose your memory because of a blow or a traumatic event. They ask him questions about who he is and where he lives but he doesn’t know the answers to any of these questions. They send him to foster care and he ends up with a woman named Mary Sullivan and her ten-year-old daughter, Camille. The police also put an ad in the newspaper about the boy.

Meanwhile a man, who the book leaves in the dark at first, breaks into a person’s house and takes their phone and looks through their computer. The man has a whole team of grown-ups who are the best in their field in the whole world. This person, I will say no more about because everything needs to stay a surprise.

I love this book because of its amazing feature that I have never ever come across before, QR codes! It’s something extraordinary! I love how the QR codes bring you to different sites that show those paintings and let you experiment a bit with them, meaning you can sometimes watch a video about the painting or zoom it in and out and rotate the painting or, of course, the virtual painting. On one of the sites, while zooming in, I could even find a bristle of the paintbrush that Van Gogh himself used! If you do not know what a QR code is, then I can tell you. A QR code is a code which you have to scan using your mobile phone or tablet. You would enter the camera app and then hold the mobile device closeish to the QR code as if you were about to take a picture of it. Then after holding it there a while you would see a website pop up on the top of your screen. You would have to click on that link to the website on the top and then voilá! You’ve done it! If it doesn’t work maybe your phone or tablet is too old and does not have the technology in it to recognize the QR code. If you want to find out more about them, then do what I told you to do and scan this QR code! This one goes to Wikipedia’s page about QR codes!

Another reason that I love this book is the author’s style of writing. I love when they do different perspectives but I love even more when one of the perspectives is, figuratively speaking, “left in the dark”! Get your paint brushes out and get ready to read to them!

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this review! We love those books that are so, so difficult to put down!**

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