Posts from the ‘chapter book’ Category

AN ACTIVE IMAGINATION

Ronan’s Dinosaur

Written by Nadishka Aloysius

Illustrated by Manoshi de Silva

This chapter book features a five-year-old boy named Ronan who is suddenly moved to join his parents at his Grandmother’s rural home in Sri Lanka. Ronan and his parents lived in the urban area of Colombo.

Ronan is an anxious, lonely boy who does not like change. His parents have moved in temporarily to help his ailing grandmother. Ronan’s parents are kind and caring parents who do their best to assuage his fears. One day while playing in the garden, Ronan finds a lizard named Scoot. Scoot can talk. He explains to Ronan that she is a dinosaur. Ronan is skeptical, but he learns to enjoy exploring with her and making friends with Tryx, her dinosaur friend who lives in the trees.

When Ronan’s parents hear him talking aloud, they think he is talking to himself and become concerned. So, they take him to visit a neighbor next door who has a dog named Spike. Ronan is afraid of the dog, until Scoot talks to the animal. Again, Ronan learns he has nothing to fear.

Ronan’s grandmother has a setback and must visit the hospital. There he confides in his grandmother and reveals his secret. She remembers her own youth spent with Scoot. The time has come to sell the house and move to a nursing home. Ronan is devastated. Will Ronan ever see Scoot again?

This is a wonderful book to share with children who like to be alone or who experience anxieties. It gently explains that change is not necessarily bad and that we grow from personal experiences both real and imaginary. Targeted for children ages seven and older. I would especially recommend it for ages nine through twelve as a portion of the vocabulary is challenging.

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HUNTER OR HUNTED?

Etty Steele: Vampire Hunter

Written by Grayson Grave

Etty lives in the town of Brightwater, a seaside town that is rumored to be inhabited by witches. Etty lives with her human father and her mother who is a vampire hunter. Every day Etty must endure training sessions in a secret room that is hidden away in the basement of her house. Etty has one friend, a classmate named April Showers. They have not spent much time together lately as Etty has spent the summer at a vampire hunting training camp.

When Etty and April return to school in September, things become awkward. A new boy named Vladimir Dox has all the markings of a vampire, dark glasses, red lips, pale skin, and strange behavior. April befriends Vladimir; Etty is skeptical. Then two people are murdered, and April reveals her grandmother has given her a ring for protection. Etty discovers that April comes from a family of witches who don’t want vampire hunters interfering with their work.

When a schoolmate and Etty’s mom disappear, April and Etty decide to take Vladimir with them to investigate. What will happen to this strange alliance? Is Etty’s mom in danger? Will they solve the murder mystery and discover who is the vampire lurking around the town? What will happen to the friendship between April and Etty?

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LOVE GROWS

Una Bo: The Magic Tree of Love

Written by Dr. Rebecca Verghese Paul

Illustrated by Ada Konewki

Podero is just a six-year-old boy when he meets Filgard, a wizard, who is passing through the town of Darae. Little Podero has been thinking about the way things were before the war. Podero wishes that he could have something sweet and that his parents would allow him to have a puppy. Filgard asks what he would do with the sweets and Podero says he would share them with his brothers. The wizard rewards Podero by causing a huge tree to grow in the center of town. This tree has the power to grant wishes, but only to those who are pure of heart and do not ask for more than they need.

Pretty soon the villagers gather round and try to rob the tree of its gifts, but they soon learn they will get nothing if they are greedy. Eventually, all learn to partake of the tree with good intentions and moderation. Podero and his best friend, Miyana develop a friendship and trusting relationship with the tree. They name it Una Bo, the tree of love. The tree helps the two friends to achieve their dreams of becoming a baker and a carpenter. Their life if happy until war threatens the town once more. Will the tree be able to save the villagers of Darae?

This chapter book tells a heartwarming story filled with lessons about bullying, generosity, greed, and coming of age. The characters are interesting and relatable. A few color illustrations enhance the tale. That adds to the appeal for beginning and reluctant readers. Highly recommended for middle-grade readers.

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SERVICE ORIENTED

Louis Joseph’s OOO-RAH

Written by Jennie E. Nicossio

Illustrated by Dorothy Ransil

Louis-Joseph is an adorable bear cub who has an insatiable curiosity and a desire to serve in the marines just like his dad. He has a best friend named Dusty who is a cat with a warble eye. Louis is kind and generous, he never bullies or makes fun of his friend. When Louis overhears one of his mother’s navy friends suggest that Louis practice for being a marine by digging a foxhole in the yard and living in it for a week., Louis and Dusty decide to take it one step farther and build a foxhole in the forest. Their parents are in a frenzy. All the military forces are called out to search for them. Dusty and Louis learn a valuable lesson to place their schooling first and always tell their parents where they are going to be.

This is a cute and easy to read beginning chapter book that is especially appropriate for ages six through eight, but younger children will also enjoy the story that contains a few beautiful illustrations accompanying the text.

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A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS

The Frights of Fiji: (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Series Book 1

Written by Sunayna Prasad

This is the first in a series of fantasy adventures for middle-grade readers. Alyssa is the twelve-year-old protagonist who lost her parents in an accident five years prior. Although her parents had named her Uncle Alex as her guardian, she is now living with her Uncle Bruce and his daughter, Hailey.

Bruce is a stern taskmaster; Alyssa lives a life of unending rules and drudgery. When magic becomes a part of her life, along with some strange-looking wizards and creatures, she believes there is the hope of escape from her plight. But then she learns that an evil wizard intends to capture her and remove Bruce from the picture.

Alyssa has been whisked away to Fiji where her situation goes from bad to worse. She is enslaved with several other children and forced to do the evil wizard’s bidding. Will Alyssa find a way to escape back to the United States and find refuge with her godfather?

There are many fantastical characters and a series of rather far-fetched incidents. Even though this book is a magical fantasy, some of the plot connections don’t come off as genuine.

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CASE SOLVED?

The MEAN GIRL Who NEVER SPEAKS: (The Maya Dove Case Files Book 1)

Written by Zuni Blue

Maya Dove is a six-year-old detective who has already established her reputation at school. One of Maya’s classmates asks her to determine if a new girl at school, Libby Smith is mean or nice. Instead of chapters, the book is presented as a day of the week chronicle as Maya attempts to solve the case. Readers are brought through the day’s happenings in the classroom. Maya gathers her clues, but when Friday arrives she reveals her opinions in a classroom speech.

I am not sure whether Maya really solves the case. She does not state whether Libby is mean or nice but presents her solution in a way that introduces an important social issue. Certainly, Maya’s opinions are quite sophisticated for a six-year-old.

This book is targeted for 5 to 11-year-old readers. The text and vocabulary are an easy read until readers come to the end and Maya’s conclusion. I am not sure whether younger readers will understand the concept of social anxiety. That part of the book is most appropriate for readers ages nine and older. Younger readers will probably need adult help in understanding this concept. I was left with the feeling that the book ended a bit abruptly and the characters might have been fleshed out with more detail.

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BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

The Moth and the Moon

Written by David Kelley

 

This is an intriguing tale that is told in the first person by a newly hatched moth and the friends she makes on the windowsill of a garden shed. Upon opening her eyes, the moth is irresistibly drawn to the light from the moon shining through the window,

Readers follow her development as her friends name her Flutter. She learns quickly from her friends, Horsey the Wasp, her two ladybug friends, and Bumble, the bee. Flutter finds herself in trouble with their arch enemy, Sinister, the Spider. Flutter learns to develop trust and courage that she will one day find her moon.

There are many pitfalls along the way, and some of her friends will be lost to Spider. Will Flutter discover a way to achieve her dream and still retain her bonds with the friends who have nurtured and protected her?

This tale is written clearly and the story flows smoothly. Its length of approximately 100 pages is a bit long for a beginning reader even though the plot sustains interest. I would especially recommend it to middle-grade and young teens, but adults might enjoy it as well.

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