Archive for October, 2018

#HAPPY HALLOWEEN – G is for Ghost

The Ghostly Night

Written by Jeanette W. Stickel

This book is a clever ghost tale written by a speech pathologist to introduce the letter g. Kristy cannot sleep. She fears there is a ghost in the room. Kristy sees the full moon casting shadows, the wind blowing the curtains, hears the branches scraping against the window, and an owl hooting. Her mother keeps peeking in to reassure her, but Kristy, despite her mother’s reassurances, remains fearful. Finally, she climbs out of bed and builds a tent with her animal friends. The last time Kristy calls her mom into the room, the tables are turned and there is a surprise ending.

Stylized and simple illustrations with simple text allow young readers to easily follow the story. Recommended for toddlers, preschoolers and primary grade children. The book doubles as a beginning reader.

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PANTS IN CHARGE

The Tyler Files #1: Smarty Pants

Written by Brian Rock

Illustrated by Joshua Dawson

Rock has created a clever chapter book that will keep readers chuckling and thinking long after they have finished reading it. Tyler is a fifth grader who experiences a unique problem. One day in school, his pants start talking to him. Tyler and his best friend, Paul, are mystified and neither can figure out how to solve the problem. As Tyler goes through his day at school, his pants’ chatter gets him in trouble at the library, in the gym, and how will he find the time to study for his math test? But his pants help him solve his problems with Rhino, the school bully, and allow him to impress Audrey, the girl he has a crush on. Will Tyler ever get his “smarty pants” to keep his mouth shut?

The author targets this book for readers in the seven to ten age range. It is a beginning chapter in the sense that the chapters are short and the font large. It also contains a few drawings done in Wimpy Kid style. The humor is infectious and appropriate to a fifth grader. I particularly enjoyed the extension activities at the end of the book. Rock asks what readers think about the characters and presents what-if scenarios to encourage further thinking about the plot. He includes fun facts and a few jokes to continue the fun.

I would recommend the book as a beginning chapter book for elementary school readers, but middle-grade students will also appreciate the quirky characters, humor, and coming of age sections of the plot.

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HANDY FOR HALLOWEEN

23 HALLOWEEN CRAFTS for KIDS: Halloween Costume Ideas and Spooky Décor

Compiled by Prime Publishing Décor

 

This book is an interesting read that can be shared by the whole family. Halloween costumes have become ridiculously expensive. There are some good ideas here for easy to make costumes from materials found around the house. Skeletons, monsters, knights, fairies, and superheroes are featured. Directions are included for luminaries, wreaths, pinecone owls and spooky spider webs. Monster snot is a meringue dessert that is sure to please.
Younger children can help with the simpler crafts and older children can get involved with paper mache, cutting and gluing materials. What a fun way for a family to share a chilly, Fall weekend afternoon or evening!
Recommended for siblings and families to share or a classroom project.

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YOU GOTTA BELIEVE

Rusty and the Circus of Doubt

Written by G. Russell Reynolds

Illustrated by Sherrie Molitor

 

Rusty The Elephant lives in the circus. As a young boy, Rusty believed that he was destined for greater things. The Circus Boss berates Rusty when he doesn’t act like a “normal” elephant. All the other animals bully him. Over time, Rusty begins to lose confidence in himself. One night he cries out for help. A monkey appears and informs Rusty that he has the key to Rusty’s freedom. This monkey works step by step to encourage self-confidence and independence in Rusty. Soon Rusty no longer cares what the other animals think of him. Will Rusty ever achieve his dreams?

This International Book Excellence winner contains beautiful illustrations and a message to encourage children who experience a lack of self-confidence and fear of not fitting in with the crowd. While the book is targeted at children in the six to nine-year-old age group, I feel it is appropriate for older children as well. Well-written and highly recommended for all ages.

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IMAGINATIVE AND CREATIVE

Jess and Wiggle (Imaginata Children’s Books Book 1)

Written and illustrated by Uvi Poznansky

Jess is a beautiful young child, but she lacks the ability to smile. She has an active imagination. One day Jess invents a friend that she calls Wiggle. Wiggle is a ribbon-like creature. Jess invokes a contest to see which of them will break down and smile first. I won’t ruin the surprise by revealing the ending.

The artwork is beautiful, soft and charming containing rhymes that are in sync. While the text font is beautiful, I did find it difficult to read at some points. There is a standard print version at the end of the tale. The targeted audience is children ages three to six, but older children will enjoy it as well.

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STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT

Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13

Written by Barbara Roman

Illustrated by Vladimir Cebu

Ten-year-old Alicia is shopping with her mother for new lamps. Her mood is upbeat as she walks through Walker’s Furniture store two weeks before Christmas. Suddenly, she is mesmerized by a beautiful Christmas tree which appears in the middle of the floor. Alicia stares at its beautiful star and is whisked away to the 13th floor on an elevator that opens to a light bulb factory. She finds herself in a factory where light bulbs are retired after they stop working. Alicia meets Carelia, the fairy goddess who oversees the factory. Carelia informs Alicia that the light bulbs must pass a test to determine whether they might become stars and that she needs Alicia to help her. Alicia is confused and upset. She doesn’t understand why she is needed and how she wound up in a place where there is no past or tomorrow, but she will learn much about unique personalities, utilizing our talents, and working cooperatively. What is expected of her and why was she chosen? Will Alicia ever get back to her world? Did she ever leave it?

This book is a charming fantasy, mystery, and science fiction read. It might be considered both a chapter book or a short story. The fifty-page length makes it a good choice for reluctant readers. Cebu creates dazzling illustrations and the large font size make it a good choice for beginning readers, while the intricate plot and well-developed characters will appeal to middle-grade and young adult audiences.

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DON’T BE A CHICKEN

Chicken Wants to Roller Skate

Written by Elsa Takoda

Illustrated by Catherine Toennisson

This beginning reader has a lot going for it. The protagonist is a chicken who wants to do more than an average chicken. She decides that roller skating looks like fun. Chicken lays out the steps necessary to roller skate and proceeds to try. After falling down and feeling bruised, chicken gives up just as many children might do. When Cat begins to chase her, Chicken decides to try once more. Sometimes one must take a risk in order to succeed.

Toennisson’s illustrations are humorous and cartoon-like, perfect for young readers. Takoda uses onomatopoeia effectively. Children will love reading the book aloud and imitating the sounds as they learn the vocabulary words. Recommended for all beginning readers, but I think readers in the five to seven year age range will enjoy it most. Look forward to reading more of this series.

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