Archive for October, 2015

ROSCO to the RESCUE

Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch

Written by Shana Gorian

Illustrated by Ros Webb

Rosco,pic

James and Mandy McKendrick live on a farm. They look forward to their annual adventure in late September to the pumpkin patch where they will walk the corn maze, go for a hayride, visit the petting zoo, ride a pony, and of course, find the perfect pumpkin. This year they are bringing their German shepherd pup named Rosco Their mischievous pup promptly finds himself in trouble by stealing another family’s pumpkin. In quick sequence Rosco  gets into more mischief by opening the door and releasing baby sheep. He finds trouble on the hayride, but manages to redeem himself as a hero when James and Mandy get lost in the corn maze. Dad has a reputation to maintain; will he manage to find the children and still have the time to find the perfect pumpkin to carve? After all, every year James has managed to carve the best jack-o-lantern in the neighborhood. When all is said and done, the McKendrick family have an exciting day at the pumpkin patch, while learning valuable lessons in the process.

This chapter book is targeted for children in the six to eight age range. Illustrations add charm to the story, but they are quite small in the kindle version The tale could be broken up into a classroom read aloud or independent reader for second or third graders. Nice change of pace from the more common Halloween spooky story for kids.

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HALLOWEEN HIJINKS

Mr. Boggarty:The Halloween Grump (Spooky Adventure for Kids 9-12)

Written by Tevin Hansen

Mr.Boggarty,pic

 

The question on the cover sets the main plot. Can Trix and her friends escape the Lime Green Ghost of Lincoln County? At first, I found the layout strange. The author chose to introduce each of the main characters in a separate chapter. Then he proceeds to explain Halloween customs in different countries. Finally, he gets to the subject of eggs and the plot that the five friends have hatched for this upcoming Halloween. Last, bit not least he sets the scene with each of their customs and moves to Mr. Boggarty’s house on Halloween night.

Trixie, Frank, Darby, Darren, and Preston crouch behind the tree in Mr. Boggarty’s front yard and prepare to ring the doorbell. When Darren “chickens out,” Trix cautiously turns the doorknob and the five friends find themselves inside. At first the house seems normal, but soon they see a lit jack-o-lantern on the table. Deciding to throw their rotten eggs inside the house, they are paralyzed with fear when the door slams shut and the lights go out.

Suddenly the fifth-graders are confronted with a bright green flying ghost. He orders them to kneel down and informs them he has just stolen the soul of Mr. Boggarty. He gives them a history lesson about the Great Depression But the worse news is yet to come. The children have been selected to be the new Demons of Lincoln County; they will be sent to school to learn how to be ruthless, evil and diabolical creatures who prey on poor farming communities like the one they live in now. The ghost’s brothers and sisters will arrive at six o’clock to whisk them away forever. As a thunderstorm rages outside the house, the five friends await their fate.

The plot has a ending with a surprise twist. Hansen takes his time building up to the main plot, but keeps the suspense going once the children arrive in the house. Middle grade students will enjoy the diversity of the characters, the humor, and the scary story line. Good choice for a Halloween party or a classroom read aloud. The dialogue is easy to read and the length of just over 130 pages is a good fit for reluctant readers.

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REALITY CHECK

Dreasmscape: Saving Alex

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

Dreamscape,pic

An intriguing young adult novel that combines elements of fantasy, adventure, coming of age, romance and suspense. I was drawn to the book by the image on the cover; the eyes invite you to investigate further.

As the story opens, sixteen year old Alexis is distraught over the fact that not only is her family moving away, but her mother has just informed her that the move has been pushed up to this weekend. The teen’s best friend, Natalie has come over for a sleep-over and is enlisted to help her pack. I must admit that in the beginning of the story I thought Alexis a spoiled brat: Natalie seemed so much more centered. After packing many boxes, the teens decide to play a video game that they used to love. This is where the action begins.

Natalie falls asleep, but Alexis is somehow transported into the adventure game that she used to know by heart. Once inside, she is confused because she cannot differentiate between reality and the game. Suddenly she is called upon to be the heroine who will rescue the queen. Alexis discovers that appearances are not always what they seem. She learns that life is an adventure that we live everyday: sometimes we play a part that can be altered, but that is not always the case. During Alexis’ time in the game, she learns a lot about character, commitment and relationships.

The characters are well-developed; they evolve as the plot unfurls. I would like to know more about what the future holds for Alexis. Perhaps a sequel? Highly recommended for adults and young adults twelve and up who enjoy adventures with suspense and a touch of romance.

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CREEPY CRAWLERS

Spiders: Fun Facts and Amazing Photos of Animals in Nature Book 6

Written by Emma Child

Spider,pic

Another entry in the Amazing Animals series of kindle books. The photos can be enlarged for closer inspection by young readers. I enjoyed this nonfiction book; facts were presented in an easy to read and interesting format.

Readers learn what a spider looks like, how they spin webs, the venom they engender, what they eat, and the families in which they live. The book is packed with little known information. I learned that crab spiders often live in tree trunks and that the diving bell spider lives entirely underwater. Tarantula spiders are even kept as house pets. Some spiders actually live in colonies with as many as 50,000 spiders who hunt and share food together.

The books in this series are targeted for children ages six through twelve. I would recommend collecting them as good nonfiction resource for the study of animals. Teachers and parents can use them as a starting point in research study. Too bad they are not currently available in print versions.

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INSPIRING CONFIDENCE

Title: Kool Kid Kruncha And The High Trapeze

Written by Emma Calin

Krundra,pic

Interesting early chapter book features protagonist ten year old Charlie. The author calls it an interactive bedtime story adventure. This book touches on many of the issues facing today’s children like bullying, moving, and living in a divorced family. Charlie has carrot red hair; children love to pick on him. To make matters worse, his mom tells him that she has been offered a better job in London. He will have to leave his friends and home in Suffolk and move to the city.

On the first day in his new school, the “popular kids” make fun of Charlie’s physical appearance and athletic abilities. His Aunt Kate suggests that things will be better after he makes a friend. Charlie is puzzled when she takes him to the circus. What does Charlie discover? How can this possibly be a solution to his problem?

This book contains seven short chapters whose length is perfect for children who are learning to read content independently. I would recommend it particularly for seven to ten year old readers. The simple black and white drawings enhance interest. Free downloads, video clips, and competitions included in the book will sustain interest and extend reading.

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GHOSTS, MYSTERIES, AND HISTORY

xandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart

Written by Angella Graff

AlexandraFry,pic

This is Book One of the Alexandra Fry detective series. Angella is a pretty ordinary twelve year old, who is nervous about starting the first day of seventh grade in a new middle school. She shares time with both of her divorced parents. At the beginning of the tale, readers are introduced to Alexandra’s unique talent. She is able to see the ghosts of famous historical persons, who ask her help in solving mysteries. Alexandra has assisted Magellan in finding his lost compass and Abraham Lincoln in finding his stolen top hat. As if the first day in a new school isn’t difficult enough, Alexandra is contacted by Queen Elizabeth I of England, who insists that if the family locket is not located, a curse will be visited upon the current community. Her classmates and teachers think that she is talking to herself.

Fortunately for Elizabeth, her dad works in the City Museum. Her ability to gain easy access has helped her solve many cases in the past. In this mystery, she will be able to enlist the aid of a new friend, Penelope, and an eighth grader named Jack who at first appears to be more of a suspect than a friend. Alexandra must face the same issues most preteens face: bullying, fitting in with the crowd, negotiating their way with adults and asserting their independence. The author narrates a plot that has lots of twists and turns and combines elements of paranormal, history, mystery and adventure. Characters are believable and use authentic dialogue. The text is easy enough for preteens, but also is sophisticated enough for a young adult or adult reader. I was totally drawn into the mystery and felt empathy for the young characters.

Readers age eight and older who enjoy history, mystery, detective, paranormal and coming of age books will all find something here to their liking. Look forward to the rest of the series.

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BOOK BLITZ FOR MAGELICA’S VOYAGE AND RESCUE

Title: Magelica’s Voyage: Book  One

Author: Louise Courey Nadeau

Magelica's Voyage,pic

At the beginning of the story we meet Magelica who has supposedly been hatched from a sapphire egg. She wants to know where she really came from. Tris, her pet dragon, and she go on a journey through the woods when darkness falls. Magelica calls on her guardian angel to guide them home. A strange creature named Odin retrieves her feather necklace and takes her on a journey in a flying bathtub to an island inhabited by a wizard. Odin teaches her to fly to the Isle of Dreams where she will meet Queen Raya and learn about the lost prince. Magelica realizes that wonderful things happen when you open your heart, use your imagination and trust in love. She no longer worries about where she came from, but now understands that it is more important to know where you are going. Young children will enjoy this book as a read aloud. Older children will find it a challenging independent reader.

 

 

Magelica’s Rescue

The Second Book is the series written by Louise Courey Nadeau

MagelicaRescue

In her second adventure, Magelica has a dream shortly after being tucked into bed by her guardian, Gri. Magelica dreams that Prince Will is in trouble; she sees him washed ashore on The Island of Darkness. Together with her pet dragon, Tris, she embarks in her magical bathtub on a voyage back to the island where she met Queen Raya and discovered her power to make effective changes once she believed in herself. Magelica does indeed find that the prince is stranded. The people of the kingdom learn how to stay positive and use the power of laughter to achieve their goals. Magelica teaches the prince a song of inspiration. By the time Prince Will is returned home and Magelica is tucked back into her bed, they discover a very special connection that not only will help them to protect each other, but one that might help Magelica discover her true origin and birth family. Future books hold the promise of many new adventures and the seeds of inspiration for Magelica’s readers to achieve great things.

 

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