Posts from the ‘chapter book’ Category

FOUR FRIENDS SIT FOR A SPELL #HappyEaster #EarthDay

Cassie’s Coven: The Case of the six-legged frog (The Cassie Coven Series Book 1)

Written by Helen Allan

The first book in this middle-grade mystery series features four Australian girls. Cassie and Lolly share a love of horses and attend school together. One day Cassie buys an old book and discovers it is a magic book of spells. Shortly after Cassie finds a sickly fox kit and Lolly discovers a six-legged frog in a nearby creek. The book talks about a coven of four witches, yellow, black, white and green. Lolly and Cassie invite Charlotte and a new girl at school, Pia to join their group. Pia’s great-grandmother offers an old cottage on her property as a clubhouse. Soon the girls are using it to solve the mystery of why nearby animals and cattle are becoming sick and dying. Lolly and Cassie fall ill, and they show symptoms of poisoning.

The four girls decide that Mr. Larkin, a neighbor, seems too eager to scare them off his property and they vow to investigate why. They use the clubhouse to get close and are shocked to discover that the book of spells can help them to solve the mystery. This is the first book of the series that combines fun adventures of four ten-year-old friends, some magic, and issues related to the environment set in Australia. Recommended for readers ages ten and older.

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CLEVER KATZ

THE KATZ PAJAMAS: THE MISS KITTY MYSTERY

Written by Jack Lugar

Katz is the name of a clever, Maine Coon cat who is a private investigator. Katz is sitting in his office when Kitty Cat, a famous nightclub performer strolls into his office. Kitty wants to hire him to find out who has been stealing personal possessions from her dressing room. Katz jumps at the chance and he is invited to her club to investigate the mystery.

Katz meets Bogey, Kitty’s dog, Rufus, the bouncer, Cali the state manager, Thom, the stagehand, and Mr. Bigly, Kitty’s guard. He carefully observes and looks for clues as the night progresses. Before long, Katz has the solution to the mystery. He calls together the cast of characters and explains how he solved the case. Of course, he is saddened that there is no longer a reason for Kitty to pay attention to him because Katz has developed quite a crush on Kitty.

This is a cute chapter book of fewer than one hundred pages. The characters are charming and the dialogue clever and humorous. There are no illustrations. While the book is targeted for ages five through ten, I believe it better suited for ages seven through twelve. It is a fast-paced fun read and I would read other books in the series.

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IN SEARCH OF SOMETHING BETTER

The Magic Forest: The Secret of the Golden Egg

Written by Maya Sanders

Shu is a mythical creature with a horn in the middle of her head. She lives at the top of a tall tree and acts as the protector of the Urman forest. Together with her horse, Tu, Shu wanders the forest assuring that the weak are protected. One day, Shu awakes in a bad mood because she is no longer satisfied with her small, cramped home.

Shu has heard rumors of a golden egg that can turn into a castle, so she and her winged-horse friend seek out Yukka, a 1000-year-old viper who knows all. Yukka assigns Shu three tasks to complete before revealing where to find the golden egg.

On the journey, Shu helps Su find her lost comb, restores the confidence of the Firebird, Rukh, and learns that appearances can be deceptive. Children come to understand the importance of helping others and the necessity of keeping our own needs in check. The tale is an old Tatar folktale that combines magic and fantasy with lessons to learn for humans. There are a few color illustrations that make this book choice more appealing for beginning readers. Recommended for ages seven through ten.

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ONLINE SAFETY

How to Protect Children from Online Predators and Cyberbullies: Survival Guide for Non-Techie Parents

Written by Ram Muthiah

I found this guide informative and essential for parents with children growing up in a world dominated by digital technology. The author wrote this book for two reasons: as a supplement to a novel based on true experience and as a practical guide to help parents navigate the rapidly changing world of the internet in which their children engage daily. Muthiah wants to protect children from those who use the internet to engage in crimes that prey on children. The author’s opinion is that the most important thing parents can do is to gain the trust of their children so that they can engage in honest conversations about internet abuses.

Pedophiles use the internet to lure children into meeting them or to collect pornographic pictures of them. Cyberbullies are cowards to hide behind the anonymity of the internet to attack and scar children mentally. The Internet is a tool to set up human trafficking networks. This author covers all the social media networks like Facebook, Skype, Instagram et al and breaks down different social networks and how they can be used as traps to engage children. He provides links to effective tools for screening out the threats and includes an appendix of secret internet language used by children and teens with which parents may not be familiar,

I would urge parents, teachers, and all those who work with children to keep this book on their shelf as valuable reference material.

THREE STARS FOR ADULTS, FIVE FOR KIDS

My Giant Farts

Written by Neil Roy McFarlane

 

This book might be considered a fractured fairy tale with humor in the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Personally, I am not a fan of this kind of humor, but I do know how popular it is with middle grade students.

The plot involves Tom, a boy who is playing down by the old factory and comes across a pile of rubbish. He spies a shiny metal object sticking out. Tom discovers a lamp like Aladdin’s lamp, so he rubs it. Instead of a genie, a giant pops out. Tom thinks he can make wishes. He asks for a time machine and a flying car but the giant informs Tom that he cannot grant wishes.

During the day, Tom meets a few of his friends. Sally Patterson shows him her new dog who fetches, Horace Chomsky demonstrates how his parrot talks and Becky Wilkinson shows him her flea that does circus tricks. Tom is dismayed that his giant has no unique qualities. But when Tom crosses paths with Basher Bates and his gang, the giant’s response is an unexpected relief.

This book is targeted for ages five and older. I believe eight to twelve-year-old readers will particularly find it to their liking.

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OCEAN PLAYMATES

DOLPHINS: Fun Facts and Amazing Photos of Animals in Nature

Written by Emma Child

I have read several of the amazing animals books written by this author. Who can resist looking at the face of a dolphin? Child begins by describing the general features of dolphins like smooth skin and bottlenoses and then goes on to explain there are many variations. I had never heard of the dalmatian dolphin and was surprised to learn that dolphins migrate each year.

Child’s discussion of the way dolphins communicate by echolocation and a whistle sound that is unique to each dolphin is fascinating. I learned that dolphins use sea sponges to protect their mouths from spiny fish and that some dolphins have more than one hundred teeth. Children will be surprised to learn that dolphins live in families like theirs and that they delight in playing with each other. The dolphins’ intelligence level is second only to that of a human and they are good problem solvers.

This book is informative and a great research tool for children in the elementary or middle grades. Only one thing disappointed me. The photos on the Kindle can be enlarged by double-clicking, but this was not simple to do and once enlarged some of the photos looked blurry.

Recommended for dolphin lovers everywhere regardless of age.

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THE WHOLE TRUTH

The Kurious Kid Presents Lying

Written by Brian A. Cliette

 

This book can be used as a bedtime story or beginning nonfiction chapter book to help preschoolers and elementary children understand the concept of lying and why telling the truth is important.

Smith explains the definition of a lie, the reasons for lying, and how lies prevent other people from trusting the liar. He discusses how it is okay to pretend and that accidents do happen, but that covering up the truth to protect oneself from punishment, blaming others, and hiding the truth to protect someone else or to get something one wants is wrong. He stresses the fact that as a child grows older, the consequences of lying get more serious and the opportunity to be thought of as an honest person decreases.

This is a clearly written explanation about lying. Recommended for parents and teachers as a tool to initiate discussion with children on the importance of telling the truth.

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