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Book Reviews by Kids for Kids


‘You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P!’

By Esme Beaudry, age 10

In Alex Gino’s book “You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P,” the main character is Jilly P. Her mom and dad just had a new baby who is deaf. The baby sister’s name is Emma. 

Jilly is 12 years old and she really likes books. Her favorite books are part of a certain series, called “DeLaCourt’s Magically Mysterious Vidalia Trilogy.” Jilly goes into an online chat called “De La Court” to talk about her favorite book series with other fans her age. 

One of the fans she chats with a lot in “De La Court” is deaf and black. His name is Derek. His username is “profoundinoaktown.” 

Jilly is interested in learning more about sign language. She finds speaking to her friend online is helping her learn about what deafness will be like for her sister. They also talk about racism and what it is like for Derek. Sometimes Jilly goes too far with her questions for Derek, and he gets frustrated and a little insulted. His usual response is, “You don’t know everything Jilly P.” 

Jilly’s extended family is biracial. She has black aunts and cousins. Her white uncle is very racist and is very unkind to some of her black family members. This causes some family members to stop coming to holiday dinners because of racism. Jilly decides one a day to stand up for her aunt, Alicia. Jilly tells her uncle to stop being mean. Her uncle tells her “you don’t know anything about this.” Jilly’s parents decide to leave because they agree with Jilly standing up to her uncle. 

This book is so amazing and I highly recommend it. It really touched me. I learned more about people who are deaf and what it is like for families that are biracial. Jilly learns things that feel really important. She learns how to be a good sister to a deaf sibling and that she can be a good friend to Derek.

‘The Pearls of Lutra’

By Alice Brown, age 10

This is a book of medieval adventure. 

A story of mice and adventurous hares 

Horrible rats and voles without cares.

Sweet and terrible (some better at heart)

With infamous ditties, one and all play their part!

Feasts that will make your mouth water, 

A tale to read to daughter

And son

Not just to them but to everyone!

In the “Pearls of Lutra” by Brian Jacques, an evil pine marten named Ublaz, Emperor of the Seas, attacks a large otter den called Holt Lutra and steals the mythical Tears of All Oceans. In doing this, he unleashes upon himself the wrath of otter Grath Longflech, daughter of Lutra. When his armies attack Redwall and kidnap the Abbot and the young vole maid Viola, questers Martin, Skipper, Gerul the Owl, Clecky the Hare, and Grath herself journey to find and rescue them from the clutches of Ublaz’s underlings, the ghastly monitor lizards and Romsca the corsair and her crew. But not all is as it seems. 

Meanwhile, Tansy the Hedgehog and her Redwall friends try to find the mysterious Tears of All Oceans as a ransom for the Abbot and vole maid. Can they find them in time to save the two? Who knows, for they are in the clutches of evil Ublaz Mad Eyes, Emperor of the Seas!!

I like this book because it has strong female characters as well as male. I love the descriptions of feasts and landscapes. 

All of the books in the Redwall series are good, but I like the storyline of “Pearls of Lutra” the best. These characters will enthrall you and pull you in, so you will feel like you’re really there with them, adventuring in the wilderness, fighting great battles, and giving a sad farewell to fallen comrades. When you stop reading you will be surprised to find yourself on your bed, or couch, or chair instead of in the adventure. This book will really transport you away. Readers of magical fantasy such as “Chronicles of Narnia” “Harry Potter,” “Enchanted Forest Chronicles,” “Warriors,” and “Lord of the Rings” will enjoy this!