Posts from the ‘chapter book’ Category

ROCKET RUCKUS

Sascha Martin’s Rocket Ship

Written by John Arthur Nichol

Illustrated by Manuela Pentangelo

 

Sascha Martin is a second-grade genius. One day he brings a rocket ship to class and places it on a table with a sign that says, “Do not touch.” Well, you can guess what happens when one of the students pushes the button. It launches into space creating all manner of havoc in the school. The rocket tears holes in the walls, the roof, and damages the athletic fields. It carries a few teachers as well as Sascha into the atmosphere to the horror of the those watching from the ground. Will they successfully return to earth?

This book is part of a series about the exploits of Sascha. It is written in rhyme, which sometimes appeared a bit off, though these rhymes could be peculiar to Australia. Illustrations are delightfully clever and sharp. My rating was lowered in part because the book contains a few errors in punctuation and grammar, but many middle-grade students who enjoy science fiction, adventure, and humor will find it an easy and enjoyable read.

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BAD BOY

The Worst Book Ever

Written by Beth Bacon

Illustrated by Jason Grube and Coriander Hale

This book desperately wants to be a bad boy. His goal is to become a banned book in the library. He tries everything to win the librarian’s disapproval. Some of his tactics include using gross words, misspelled words, and made-up words. The book enlists readers to assist him by being loud and doing everything possible to annoy the librarian like flapping arms, wiggling and jumping up and down in their seats. To his dismay, the book makes its way into storytime.

This book is filled with much humor, graphics, and simple illustrations. There are vivid colors, lots of variation in print size, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Bacon playfully encourages her readers to become accomplices in the book’s quest for notoriety.

Bacon targets the book for a kindergarten through grade five audience. Beginning, intermediate and reluctant readers can join in the fun.

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MAGGOT MANIA

We’ve Got Maggots

Written by Kevin Kendall

 

Okay, so this is not the most appetizing subject. This book is an interesting read for elementary and middle-grade readers who are interested in insects. Illustrations are simple and rather cartoon-like. Kendall provides lots of humor as he explains the life cycle of a fly. I feel the most valuable part of the book comes at the end. Readers find a diagram with the life stages of a fly, fascinating facts about the insect, and step by step instructions on how to draw the cartoon maggot portrayed in the book.

I would recommend this book be placed in a classroom or homeschool reference science shelf. The information provided could be a good introduction to a science project. It is an interesting read for children interested in insects.

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CINDERELLA GONE WILD

Zombie Books for kids: Princess of the Dead (from Cinderella)

Written by Dina T. Seth

 

Do you like classic fairy tales? Maybe you can’t turn down a good horror story? Not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name of Cinderella. This book is a macabre twist on the fairy tale.

The first scene opens with Cinderella working feverishly tending the home at the edge of the forest. Familiar characters include the wicked stepmother, two ugly stepsisters, fairy godmother and the prince. But in this version the fairy godmother is not the kind-hearted hero, the prince no heroine, and the major players become zombies who are victims of a disease that Cinderella actually initiates. Will Cinderella and the Prince live happily ever after?

This book is cleverly written, though the amount of violence, gore and detail are too probably way too much for elementary school readers. Recommended for middle-school, young adult and adult readers who enjoy fantasy and horror stories.

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GETTING THROUGH FIFTH GRADE

Pi

Written by Lori Ann Stephens

Illustrated by Trevor Yokochi

Pierre Francois is a fifth-grade student who lives in Texas. As you may have guessed from the name, Pierre’s father is French. To his chagrin, Pierre spends his Christmas holiday in France with his grandparents. He tells his readers that he hates fifth grade because the boys are annoying and the girls are mean.

Readers follow Pierre’s troubles in school, his attempt to impress his friends by winning the spelling bee, his first crush on Cynthia, the new girl in school, and his disastrous camping adventure with school buddies. The book has a few simple illustrations. It is a pretty easy read, and I would categorize it as an early chapter book or a good choice for reluctant readers. Especially recommended for readers in grades three through six. Lots of humor and plenty of situations that they will find familiar.

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TIME TRAVEL ON THE THAMES

The Hexed Child (Bertram Bile Time AdventureTravel Series, Book 3

Written by Sarah Weldon

This is not my first time reading a book from the series. I did not find that a real advantage, though fans of time travel adventures might prefer beginning with Book 1. Bertram Bile and his friend, Molly are sitting in Miss Petrenko’s geography class. She is reputed to be the worst geography teacher in the world. Molly develops a plan giving them an excuse to escape class. She is eager to visit Bertram’s aunt, who just happens to be a witch. They hide in the bathroom and put on their gold-colored goggles, their key to arriving at the witch’s old ash tree home.

The witch gives each child a magic cloak. They amble through the woods and discover a child who is crying. The kind-hearted witch promises to help the mother, who has never been able to quiet the child. The storyline is a mixture of fantasy and reality. Weldon explores themes important to her middle school audience and gently guides them by discussing solutions.

The author bases her series on her experiences swimming the rivers of London. She is an environmentalist and STEM teacher, donating a part of her book sales to these interests. Recommended for readers third grade and older. A perfect chapter book for the middle-grade student audience.

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OUT OF THIS WORLD

Alien Kid

Written by Kristen Otte

 

Charlie Baker is the new sixth grader in Silver Lake Middle School. Middle school is a difficult period in any child’s life, but for Charlie, things are especially tough. Charlie and his family tell everyone that they have just moved to upstate New York from Cleveland, but they are aliens from Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A revolution led to a militaristic faction gaining control. Charlie’s family had to flee in order to survive. The family struggles to blend in on Earth, but their ability to read minds is both a blessing and a curse.

Charlie is bullied by Caden and Jordan. He falls in love with a fellow student named Maya, to whom he reveals his secret. But Maya wants Charlie to use his gift to help others. Charlie is having enough problems trying to understand the culture and the language. He says things like “hot spaghetti” and “oh pug” leaving his fellow sixth-graders mystified. The book focuses on middle-grade issues like bullying, peer-school relationships, and first love. This tale will appeal to students struggling to fit into a new school or neighborhood. The characters are believable and realistic.

Recommended especially for readers in fourth through seventh grades, but the story is well-written and appealing for any age.

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