Chapter Books

Happy Birthday from Aunt Kerri and ML

Today is a special day.  It’s the day ML was due to arrie in 2006.  She didn’t.  But a few years later my nephew did.  Every year, I send him books for his birthday.  This is the first year I wasn’t sure which direction to go.  He’s at the age where children could be reading Easy Readers or as some parents like to brag, “books on a high school reading level.”

I did what every responsible Aunt does.  I asked what he’s enjoying reading.  My sister-in-law quickly responded Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid but thought I’d be hard pressed to find one he hadn’t read.  This was music to my ears.  My nephew has entered the independent chapter book reading stage of life.  One where series are king.  In later years he will reminisce about these characters he met and fell in love with as he was truly learning to be a reader.  Not just someone who sounded out words.

I had a few ideas but consulted with ML too.   A Diary of a Wimpy Kid series read-alike was easy.  Timmy Failure started the amazon shopping cart.  Mr Pants was added as  T’s next graphic novel series to explore.  I knew I wanted to send an I Survived book; but was at a loss of which one to order.  ML helped with this.  She suggested The Shark Attacks of 1916.  Then, she reminded me how much she loved Geronimo Stilton at this age.  With the edition of Geronimo Stilton:  The Karate Mouse, our order was complete.

After the order shipped a new graphic novel arrived at the library.  I read it Thursday night and there’s no doubt it would have been a perfect edition to the list.  With Christmas around the corner, I’ve started a new cart.  Yes, I am THAT aunt.  The one who gives books.  Come December 25th my nephew will also own Toby Goes Bananas.  And a few other yet to be determined titles.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid + You Wouldn’t Want To = Julius Zebra

Julius Zebra

There’s a new series in town just in time for the summer rush.  It makes me think of Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets You Wouldn’t Want To.  If you don’t know who Diary of a Wimpy Kid is, you’ve been hiding under a rock since 2007.  If you’re not familiar with the You Wouldn’t Want To series I’ll cut you a little slack.  You can learn more about it on my blog post  Books for Boys – You Wouldn’t Want To.

“What happens when you you mix the gladiatorial combat of ancient Rome with a fast-talking creature who is DEFINITELY NOT A STRIPY HORSE?” (Candlewick Press webpage)

The answer is Julius Zebra, the coolest zebra to enter children’s literature.  I read a portion of the first book a few weeks ago.  Until, a mother was looking for a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.  There were none on the shelf so I added her name to the request list.  In the meantime, I encouraged her to take home Julius Zebra:  Rumble With The Romans by Gary Northfield.

So far it appears the second book Julius Zebra: Bundle With the Britons is only available for Kindle.  I hope paper copies land at the library before school ends on June 9th.

 

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used In War

Child Soldier

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.   Yesterday, I read Child Soldier:  When Boys and Girls Are Used in War written by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Michael Chikwanine and illustrated by Claudia Davila.  This book covers a horrifying subject matter in an age appropriate way for later elementary and middle school students.  It’s written in the graphic novel format.  According to wikipedia, “A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word “novel” normally refers to long fictional works, the term “graphic novel” is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term “comic book“, which is used for comics periodicals”

While the subject is one of the most horrific ones I’ve read in children’s literature.  The illustrations are not graphic.  Ml doesn’t like graphic  novels.  Anytime, I’ve brought one home, she’s said, “You know I don’t like graphic novels.”  If she did, I would take it home and introduce her to this heartbreaking reality before she sees a more graphic version in the news.

Until yesterday, it would not have occurred to me to add the fact that my daughter and friends are not being recruited as soldiers to what I am thankful for.  After reading this book, it will be one of the top things on my list.

Super Fly: The World’s Smallest Superhero!

Super Fly

I read 5 pages of this 115 page illustrated, novel. . . Super Fly:  The World’s Smallest Superhero! by Todd H. Doddler.  That’s all it took to realize this book is going to be a hit.  Particularly with the Kindergarten through 3rd grade set obsessed with the word poop.  Notice I did not single out boys.  I’m amazed at how often the words poop and pee come out of ML and her friends’ mouths.  I do not remember having this fascination in elementary school.

Now for a synopsis from the publisher, Bloomsbury.  “From just a tiny larva in diapers to . . . SUPER FLY! This is the story of Eugene Flystein, a small and nerdy, mild-mannered housefly, who also happens to be the world’s smallest superhero and humanity’s greatest crime fighter.

SUPER FLY!: Able to stop tornadoes from destroying towns with just one breath.
Strong enough to push a ship away from a looming iceberg.
He’s even read every book in the library twice. Yes, twice!

Can this four-eyed little bugger, along with his trusty sidekick Fantastic Flea, take on Crazy Cockroach and his army of insect baddies? It’s housefly vs. cockroach in this epic battle of good vs. evil. Who will come out on top? Stay tuned!”

Lily’s Review of Fish in a Tree

FishinTree

I’ve found an avid reader to help me review books for middle grade children.  Lily is a fourth grader.  I gave her mom a few new library books at a PTA meeting last week.  Within days, Lily had written two reviews for me.  She emailed me her first review saying, “Thanks, I really liked the book.”  Based on the word bookworm in her email address, I anticipate she will be an active reviewer.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

  • Write three words to describe this book.  Intriguing Exciting Satisfying
  • What was you favorite part of the book?  Why?  My favorite part of the book was the end when Mr.Daniels meets Travis because Travis will start learning to read.
  • Who was your favorite character?  Why?  My favorite character was Mr.Daniels because he is funny and not like an ordinary teacher.
  • How did the book make your feel?  The book made me feel happy for Ally because she is finally getting help.
  • Did anything in the book make you happy?  If so, what?  The part of the book that made me feel happy was the part when Albert finally stands up to the boys that are mean to him.
  • Did anything in the book make you sad?  If so, what?  I didn’t like the parts where Shay and Jessica are mean to Ally.

Book Synopsis from Penguin – “Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.”

Presidential Reads

Presidential MisadventuresThose Founding FathersThomas JeffersonDear Mr WashingtonPresident TaftiPhone George Washington

 

It’s Presidents Day and I planned to finish this post before the day arrived so I could post it.  I didn’t; but have decided to post it in it’s incomplete form.  These are some great books.  Trust me.

Presidential Misadventures:  Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge by Bob Raczka and art by Dan E. Burr – Have you ever heard of a clerihew?  I hadn’t until I read this book.  It’s a four line poem that pokes fun at a famous person.  The first two lines rhyme and the third and fourth lines rhyme.  There’s a poem written about each of the forty-four presidents.

The Founding Fathers: Those Horse Ridin’, Fiddle Playin’, Book Readin’ Gun Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Barry Blitt

Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything by Maria Kalman – An exquisitely illustrated picture book describing the interests and complexities of Thomas Jefferson in simple age appropriate words.

Dear Mr. Washington by Lynn Cullen and pictures by Nancy Carpenter

President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

The Left Behinds and the iPhone That Saved George Washington by David Potter