Category Archives: Sunshine

The Taken by Iserles

the-takenFROM THE PUBLISHER: The first book in a thrilling fantasy trilogy starring one of the animal kingdom’s most hunted heroes. Foxcraft is full of excitement and heart, and a touch of magic.

The Taken
Foxcraft #1
by Inbali Iserles
Scholastic Press
September 2015

Isla and her brother are two young foxes living just outside the lands of the furless — humans. The life of a fox is filled with dangers, but Isla has begun to learn mysterious skills meant to help her survive. Then the unthinkable happens. Returning to her den, Isla finds it set ablaze and surrounded by strange foxes, and her family is nowhere in sight. Forced to flee, she escapes into the cold, gray world of the furless. Now Isla must navigate this bewildering and deadly terrain, all while being hunted by a ruthless enemy. In order to survive, she will need to master the ancient arts of her kind — magical gifts of cunning known only to foxes. She must unravel the secrets of Foxcraft.

REVIEW: A fox, Isla, returns to her home one day to find it destroyed and her family missing. So she goes in search of them. To find them she will have to gain new magical abilities (Foxcraft). While this is a pretty straight forward premise, this story diverges from the expected by placing the world of the magical foxes firmly in contemporary human society (think muggles). This isn’t just about fantastical creatures who live in a fantasy setting and I appreciated that. Personally, I found the book to be a little slow at times and ended up skimming some chapters to get to better ones later on. By the end, there was a satisfying set up for the next book in the series. I found it a fun, interesting, easy fantasy read. But I’m not the target audience.

Here’s what my 12 year old daughter thought: “This book is absolutely amazing! It’s so full of adventure and mystery. I really loved the idea of foxes and how the story was laid out. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and how they acted differently towards each other. I think everybody will enjoy this book a lot for those reasons! And many many more!” So satisfied target audience: achieved.


Sunshine is a 12 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share a young reader’s perspective with you!

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis by Ferraris

galaxypiratesFrom the publisher: On the night Emma Garton’s supposedly boring parents are kidnapped, she is forced to face the truth that they’ve been lying to her about many things. The most important of which? They aren’t even from planet Earth.

The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis
by Zoe Ferraris
Crown Books for Young Readers
August 2015

To find her mom and dad, Emma and her best friend, Herbie, must leave Earth and enter the Strands—the waterways of space, where huge galleons ply the intergalactic seas. But a journey through the constellations won’t be easy—not with every scoundrel in the galaxy determined to find them and the pyxis, a mysterious amulet that holds the key to saving their world.

REVIEW: I really enjoyed this book! I think that there was a lot of thought put into this book, and a lot of creativity, and that’s why I personally love it so much! I was of the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading because I was so excited to find out what would happen next! It’s a very adventurous and imaginative book, so I think that anybody who likes adventure and intensity will love this. I really enjoyed reading or watching the characters really come to life from the pages. They are so well described and thought out and all their personalities are amazingly put together! When I was done reading I felt as if I knew them as real people. They felt so alive to me, after reading that book I just feel very inspired to go out and do something fun or adventure somewhere with friends. I really think this could be considered enjoyable to all ages I’d say around 12-13 and up due to some of the language. Overall all I can really say that I didn’t enjoy about it was all the bad language they used. Because the characters come out to be so young…I didn’t really expect that from them, but I guess I can’t blame them…the were basically living with pirates haha. My personal favorite part is when they go to space for the first time and they get to explore everything and they just seem so astonished by their surroundings! I wish that I could live in this book. I really hope a second one comes out soon! I just know everybody will really love reading this amazing story.


Sunshine is a 12 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share a young reader’s perspective with you!

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Cassidy’s Guide to Everyday Etiquette (and Obfuscation) by Stauffacher

cassidyEleven Cassidy gets sent to etiquette school to rub off some of her rough edges. The plotline of a troubled kid who gets sent to class to refine her sounds like the premise of a dozen Disney movies, but there are three problems with this story in my opinion. First, it’s very tough to root for bratty Cassidy and second, there isn’t a real payoff at the end, and third, it is slow moving and in my opinion is downright boring at times.

Cassidy’s Guide to Everyday Etiquette (and Obfuscation)
by Sue Stauffacher
Knopf Books for Young Readers
June 2015

Since I’m not the target audience for this book, after I was done with it, I decided to give it to my daughter (11 years old – so right in the target demo) to see what she thought. Here’s what she said, “I didn’t really like this book a whole lot. I think it was very dragged out, and it had a lot more details than necessary. I liked the way the plot was laid out, but towards the end of the book or kinda got boring. I was very happy with how the characters where created, because characters are supposed to be detailed, I think they turned out very well. This book is definitely one for around the ages of 13-14 years due to some of the language. (“Big words”). This book is more for people who have a very high reading level, like they read the Harry Potter books and things like that. I think I would’ve enjoyed the book a whole lot more if it was just a little more straight forward. Overall I enjoyed it, but I think it’s not really normally the type of book I would like to read.”

My final thoughts: Cassidy and her antics are definitely in the love or hate category. How she acts, whether we root for her or even like her is really dependent on the reader. I didn’t. My daughter kinda did. We both thought it was boring at times and neither of us really liked the book. With so many really good books out there I find this one hard to recommend.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

Sunshine is a 11 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share a young reader’s perspective with you!

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Galaxy’s Most Wanted by Kloepfer and Edwards

galaxyWhen an alien visits Earth it’s up to Kevin, Warner, Tara, and TJ to handle business at summer camp while also getting rid of the alien. What ensues is a hilarious teen story filled with drama, twists and turns and witty resolutions.

Galaxy’s Most Wanted
Written by John Kloepfer
Illustrated by Nick Edwards
HarperCollins
July 2014

As a parent of teens I thought it was great, clean fun. But to ensure that it actually was as funny to its intended audience I gave it to my (almost) 12 year old daughter. This is what she said:

“This book is unlike most books I’ve ever read because from the beginning I could tell it would be an exciting adventure with many mysteries and fun filled days. Other books most of the time start out as boring and are often annoying to most people because you basically have to wait 4 or 5 chapters to get exciting. This book was nothing like that at all for me. The details and descriptions made it full of adventure and excitement. I would call this a perfectionist’s masterpiece. All the adventure and non-stop fun and danger made me not want to put the book down. And it’s a cliffhanger, too. I’m dying to read the next book. It was absolutely amazing.”

So yeah, adults and teens will love this funny adventure.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Kylie Jean Drama Queen by Peschke

kylejeanIn the fourth book released in the series, Kylie finds herself competing against the new girl in school for the part of the Queen of Hearts in the class play.

Kylie Jean Drama Queen
by Marci Peschke
illustrated by Tuesday Morning
Picture Window Books
January 2011

Unlike in previous books where the competition was mostly internal (raising money in Hoop Queen, racing competitions in Rodeo Queen,) Kylie’s competition here is a new girl who beats her out for the coveted part. All looks lost early on and to top things off the girl who won the part is totally mean. Will Kylie learn to overcome her jealousy of the new girl and stay pretty on the inside as well as the outside?

This book is the first one that puts the challenge of treating people the right way instead of simply dealing with internal issues or timeliness issues. It deals with beauty in a way that provides a positive role model for young readers.

This is a great book in a really great series!


Sunshine is a 10 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share a young reader’s perspective with you!

With Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Kylie Jean Hoop Queen

Kylie Jean has been Rodeo Queen, Blueberry Queen and now she is going for Little Dribbler Queen a prize that she’ll have to work harder than ever before if she wants to win.

Kylie Jean Hoop Queen
by Marci Peschke
illustrated by Tuesday Morning
Picture Window Books
January 2011

The Little Dribbler basketball league wants to raise money for charities. Kylie’s team, the Honey Bees, are trying to raise money for Places for Pups – a shelter service for dogs. To raise the funds Kylie has to convince friends and family that she can shoot baskets in a free throw tournament, with each made shot earning money from pledges.

The book is a great example of putting others ahead of yourself. With charity the focus, winning or losing is secondary. This is another example of a fun book with a good lesson for young people. This series is quickly becoming a family favorite.


Sunshine is a 9 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share it with you!

With Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Kylie Jean Blueberry Queen by Marci Peschke

Kylie love pink, sassy and is pretty because “pretty is as pretty does.” In each book, she tries to become different kinds of queens. In this book, she wants to be the Blueberry Queen.

Kylie Jean Blueberry Queen
by Marci Peschke
illustrations by Tuesday Morning
Picture Window Books
January 2011

The Blueberry Festival is coming up and it’s time for Kylie and her community to enjoy all the contests and fun. One of the most popular is where you have to try to collect as many blueberries as possible to win. Another is the blueberry pie making contest, one her mom is excellent at! Everyone she knows is competing for the prizes.

But there is one competition that Kylie has her sights on: to be the festival Blueberry Queen, complete with crown! To be eligible she has to complete several steps including getting a sponsor, raising the application fee, getting a recommendation letter, and writing an essay. And she does all these things as a surprise, even without telling her parents.

Kylie is a great role model for young girls in elementary school. She is smart, hard working and does the right thing. A great series for young ladies.


Sunshine is a 9 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share it with you!

With Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Kylie Jean Rodeo Queen by M. Peschke

Kylie Jean is a funny, smart second grader who lives with her parents and her two brothers – one of them human and one a dog, who she thinks wishes could be human so she calls him her ‘Ugly Brother.’ She is funny because she talks with an accent.

Kylie Jean Rodeo Queen
by M. Pescke
Picture Window Books
January 2011

Kylie’s Grandma is the Rodeo Queen, the champion, of barrel racing and Kylie wants to be Rodeo Queen, too. The problems are that she doesn’t have a horse or know how to race. But her Grandfather gives her a horse, Star because of the mark on its head, and her Granny decides to teach her to barrel race. She teaches Kylie how to ride Star around the barrels in a circle. A very interesting part of the story is the day before the race Kylie is practicing with her horse when she fell off her horse. Kylie becomes worried that Star would buck her again in the big race. In the end Kylie does win the race in 12 seconds and becomes the Rodeo Queen!

The moral of the story is that even if you are really bad at something at first if you keep practicing at it every day you can get really good.

There are no bad words or bad attitudes in the book. It is for kids like me – kids 8 and up. The words weren’t hard, it was easy for me. I think that most of my friends would really like this book. On a scale of one to 10, this book is a 10! It was amazing! I liked it because it tells you that you can be whoever you want to be and do anything you want to… but in a great way.


Sunshine is an 8 year old avid book reader at school and home, with a reading level several classes ahead of her current grade level. She loves to read and we love to ask her what she thought of the books she reads so we can share it with you!

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Pierce (Give Away!)

BookGateway is dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to get into reading – including children. They offer perspectives that adult readers just won’t get. This review is by an 8 year old who we call Sunshine. Note: We did not edit her answers because they were amazingly funny. We did fix spelling and punctuation errors.

From the publisher: Big Nate will surpass all others! But it won’t be easy. He’s stuck with Gina, his all time enemy, who just might ruin everything! Will Nate win or lose? Pass or fail? Or end up in detention . . . again?

BG: Was this book easy to read for you? Were you able to get into it quickly?
Sunshine: Big Nate is about how he is trying to get back at Gina and Randy for being mean to him. Yes, the book was really easy to read. Yes, I really got into it fast.

Was it fun to read? If so, what was fun about it?
It was fun to read. Well it was really funny in a lot of different ways so I really liked it. The boring thing about it is that he is always talking about Gina and Randy it get’s annoying.

Would you recommend it to your friends to read? What age group is this book for?
I recommend it. Well I would say six and up at the most but really ten and up is my real answer. I mean really the book is talking about middleschoolers but I think everyone should read it.

Do the characters show good moral values? Is it religious in any way? Do people pray or read the Bible?
I don’t think so. It’s mostly talking about mean middleschoolers and lot’s of things Christian’s don’t say. Okay the whole story says nothing about God, Jesus or the Bible.

Is there any language or actions that parents should worry about?
Noooooooooo never! Nope, not a single word only hitting and kicking each other.


The contest has now ended. If you are the winner you will receieve an email with information on when to expect your book.

Thank you for entering!


Sunshine is an 8 year old avid book reader at school and home, with a reading level several classes ahead of her current grade level. She loves to read and we love to ask her what she thought of the books she reads.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Big Nate Strikes Again

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka and Fransesco Sedita

BookGateway is dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to get into reading – including children. They offer perspectives that adult readers just won’t get. This review is the first by an 8 year old who we will call Sunshine. Note: We did not edit her answers because they were amazingly funny. We did fix spelling and punctuation errors.

From the publisher: Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn’t hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren’t kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, “kids” who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?

BG: Was this book easy to read for you? Were you able to get into it quickly?
Sunshine: The book was easy to read (even for me and I’m eight). I got into it quickly.

Was it fun to read? If so, what was fun about it?
Well it is hard say there wasn’t much fun in the story so I say well duh nothing. Well I can’t say it was kind of both, well maybe yes. Or no. I don’t know. I didn’t like it much. It was a good book. As I said there was no fun in the story. Not really. I mean totally.

Would you recommend it to your friends to read? What age group is this book for?
Well let me think NOOOOOOOOOO! I already told you it was boring not fun and the worst book I have ever read in the whole earth people! There is the reason why I don’t like it: it was meant to be for middleschoolers not me. I am eight years old. Well I am not OLD.

Is this a good book for girls?
No way never! The girl is an alien. She stinks.

Do the characters show good moral values? Is it religious in any way? Do people pray or read the Bible?
Ok, for the tenth time NO.

Is there any language or actions that parents should worry about?
Maybe. I think so ya. There arent, well, that is to me, there is everything that is in my brain is wrong I think so.


Sunshine is an 8 year old avid book reader at school and home, with a reading level several classes ahead of her current grade level. She loves to read and we love to ask her what she thought of the books she reads.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Spaceheadz