Archive for October, 2021

AN EXTRA PINCH

The Witch’s Cat and the Cooking Catastrophie

Written by Kirstie Watson

Illustrated by Magdalena Sawko

A witch’s cat decides to cook his witch lunch, but things don’t go as he planned. When the orange cat comes across what he thinks is a cookbook, he gets to work on his surprise treat.

Unfortunately, the cat decides to add a few extras. When the witch sits down to her lunch, she receives an unexpected surprise. The cat tries to undo his mistake and only succeeds in making the situation worse.

There are lots of laughs and surprises for elementary school readers in this richly illustrated and fun picture book. A perfect read-aloud for Halloween or any time of the year.

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CLEVER AND CREATIVE

Spectacular Stories for Creative Kids

Written by Jesse Sullivan

The author has a way with words. Sullivan has succeeded in telling 100 stories about history, science, art, and culture and with wit and charm. Young readers will be intrigued by topics like ghosts, curses, snakes, space, and vampires. Each story reveals an adventure and interesting facts. Black and white illustrations accompany many of the chapters. Young readers unwittingly learn a lot while they are laughing and having a great time reading.

This is a book they will want to share with friends and family. Targeting the middle-grade audience ages nine through fourteen, but any age reader will enjoy and appreciate these gems.

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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

The Flip: A Haunting on Long Island

Written by Michael Phillip Cash

A fast read with interesting characters and a nice blend of genres. Brad and his wife Julie are house flippers. Julie would love to earn enough money to quit her day job to join her husband, who is a full-time contractor.

What could go wrong when they purchase an old Victorian house named Bedlam in Cold Spring? Plenty. Turns out the original owners, Gerald and Tessa decide to put their ghostly talents to the test by torturing the new owners.

Why were Gerald and Tessa killed? Readers learn about the history and the mystery of the abandoned property as they follow the clues and become absorbed in the lives of its inhabitants, past and present.

Highly recommend this entertaining read for young adult and adult audiences.

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PUZZLES AND HISTORY

The Secret of the Snallygaster: Washington, DC., USA (Cities of Adventure)

Written by Rishi Piparaiya

This book is part of a series. In this adventure, the author presents a travel guide to Washington D.C, while presenting a family mystery for the protagonists to solve.

Tara is an insatiable reader, while her younger brother is more interested in sports. They are on a family trip to the US capitol, when they uncover a family mystery. As they wind themselves through the historical monuments and museums of the city, they follow the clues to solve the mystery contained in the yellow envelope they find in Arlington Cemetery.

Readers learn about the museums of the Smithsonian, the National Zoo, the White House and the National Mall as they follow clues. There are a lot of bonus features like a short American history summary, a description of American versus British English, interesting facts about the US, and some of its famous people.

The book is perfect for middle-grade readers who shy away from nonfiction. It is an easy read with short chapters for reluctant readers. Recommended to teachers and parents looking for a good children’s travel guide or American history introduction.

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OUT OF PLACE

Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family

Written by Andi Cann

Illustrated by Eduardo Paj

This is a charming, cute, picture book about a platypus who gets washed down the river while sleeping. Maximus frantically searches for his family. Along the way, Maximus meets a beaver, an otter, and a duck. They all have some similarities to Maximus, but none are an exact match.

Maximus has always been big for his age. Will he ever be able to fit in? Does he get home to his family?

The soft and colorful illustrations are appealing to young readers. Slightly older children in the five to eight year old age range will find the book a delightful read aloud.

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Rough Around the Edges

Fatechanger: Penny Lost

Written by L. M. Poplin

Penn is a fourteen-year old girl who knows her way around the streets of Boston. Clever and curious, she attends one of Boston’s finest public schools and loves the library. On the other hand, Penn has learned to be tough, she was born with a heart defect, and her father left suddenly when she was seven.

One day, Penn is off exploring the city when she meets an old woman who gives her a penny to make a wish on. When she gets into trouble for stealing and uses it, she is transported back to 1915.

Penn’s whole world is turned upside down. She is now an orphan who struggles to survive. Penn worries how she will survive without her medication and if she can get back home. Penn gets mixed up with thieves and gangs. She masquerades as a boy. All she really wants is to fit in and find a true friend.

Will her secret be discovered? Can she find a way back to the twenty-first century?

The author paints colorful characters that succeed in involving the reader emotionally. There are lots of twists and turns to keep readers actively engaged. Recommended for teens and adults.

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