Posts from the ‘chapter book’ Category

MIGHT MAKES RIGHT

The Race: an inspiring story for Left-Handers

Written by Janet Hurst-Nicholson

Illustrated by Vanessa Burger

Vicky hates sitting next to Graham in school. He is always bumping into her. Vicky is left-handed and finds it difficult to accomplish simple tasks that seem to come easy for everybody else. She is a klutz in sports and never seems to excel. To make matters worse, everyone seems to make fun of her. Vicky is looking forward to her grandmother’s upcoming visit. She has been busy trying to finish a needlepoint cover as a gift, but even that seems to be coming out wrong. Vicky wants to prove to her grandmother that she is successful, so she and her friend Vicky practice nonstop to win the egg balancing race. Her grandmother will be watching; they are determined to win. An unexpected turn of events leads to a new race being added at the last minute. Will Vicky get a chance to prove to herself and others being left-handed actually be an advantage?

I loved this chapter book. Perhaps being married to a left-hander and having a left-handed son has made be acutely aware of some of the everyday problems left-handed people face. This book presents the problems and enables all of us right-handers to understand how difficult it can be for someone who is a “lefty” to function in a world of right-handed preferences. The world is finally becoming more attuned to the need for left handed tools and devices. Recommend this book highly for teachers, parents and children as a read aloud or a book for families to discuss and share.

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TINY BUT FEARLESS

The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins

Written by Karin Kaufman

A delightful chapter book consisting of ten stories that revolve around a fearless family of mice facing the dangers and challenges of winter. Geraldine is the protagonist who was born in April, but now in October is facing the end of the gathering season. She and her brother Nigel have much to learn and experience. Readers are introduced to their friends in the forest, Penelope, the sparrow and Cheddar, a white rabbit. The children love to hear their father Nigel read to them stories from the Book of Tales. These adventures teach them about common sense, trust, gratitude, empathy and sharing. As October wanes, the family and friends celebrate Thanksgiving and the joys of Christmas. On the other hand, the children’s curiosity put them in danger of being eaten by wolves and ravens, swept down the river on a log and being destroyed by a forest fire. Charlotte is a sensitive and inquisitive mouse who desires to read, write and explore the world around her. She and her brother share sibling rivalry, but at the same time deeply love and care for one another. Their parents teach them to have faith that Very, Very Big Hands will be there to guide and protect them.

This chapter book is geared toward readers in grades three to six. Some younger children may enjoy individual stories as a read aloud. There are no illustrations; a few simple drawings would add appeal to younger children. I would thoroughly recommend the book as a gentle, sweet read for children who love animals. The many lessons learned and bravery in facing adversity allow for lots of discussion on the topics of developing strong character and interpersonal skills.

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FROM BAD TO WORSE

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked #1

Written by Maggie M. Larche

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What else could go wrong? Charlie is in love with his teacher, Miss Walker. His best friend Brad brings his one-eyed lizard to school and loses it. The intelligent but insecure and nervous Brad has just been nominated to be on the Knowledge Bowl team. Miss Walker’s favorite alarm clock has disappeared. Two girls who are bitter enemies vow to become detective rivals locked in a contest to find the culprit. To make matters even worse, their muscle-bound music teacher, Mr. Wainwright, is also enamored of Miss Walker. He is determined to find and punish the student thief. Throughout the school day this elusive clock will make its way around the school until the culprit is found. Will the truth ever come out? Who will finally solve the mystery? Will the thief get the punishment he deserves?

This book is aimed at the eight to twelve year old audience and features a nice balance of elements that appeal to this age group. There is lots of humor, enough plot twists, and empathetic characters with which readers can identify. Readers will surely be able to see themselves either as victims or heroes in the plot. Recommended as a fun read for friends or classmates to share and discuss.

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NO BULL

Easy 8: The Big Event

Written by Carrolyn Foster

Illustrated by Michael Bermundo

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I received a copy of this paperback from the publisher and voluntarily chose to review giving my honest opinion for no compensation.

This short 28 page book could best be described as a beginning chapter book. There are eight color illustrations that enhance and keep the story interesting. The plot centers on the last bull riding competition of the year in which the bulls will compete for the Bull of the Year award. At the beginning of the competition the Native American bulls perform a dance that tells the story of Mother Earth, which was my favorite part of the book. Children are given an education about Native American folklore in addition to meeting the bulls entered in the competition. The results of the contest provide children with an important message about winning. I like the fact that the story is told in first person by the bulls. The personification is effective; each of the bull’s personalities is clearly revealed.

Book purchasers receive a bonus audio down link. This story is available in kindle and paperback format. Recommended for beginning independent readers and reluctant readers, especially for ages seven to ten.

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ARE THESE BOOTS MADE FOR WALKING?

Bossy Boots

Written by Steve Ellis

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Cute early chapter book for beginning readers. Sophie has just finished shopping with her mother who has bought her a new pair of shoes. Suddenly a mischievous pup steals one of her shoes; she finds her naked foot standing in a puddle. An old woman in the store comes to the rescue by coming up with a pair of boots in a box behind the counter. When Sophie tries the boots on, she hears a squeaky voice. Sophie finds herself running down the street disrupting traffic, walking up and down the walls in her room and generally wreaking havoc. Of course Sophie now secretly gets a bit of pleasure from her talented feet. One day, the inevitable happens when the boots become too small for Sophie’s feet. What will happen to Sophie now? Will the mischievous boots find a new owner or will they be condemned to life in a box behind the counter?

I would recommend this book for children ages six and older. The illustrations interspersed within the chapters enhance understanding of the story. This humorous and easy to follow plot also makes the book a good choice for reluctant readers or children with special needs.

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HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS……

June Peters, You Can Change the World

Written by Alika Turner

Illustrated by Naafi Nr

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June Peters is a ten year old fifth grader who is responsible and independent. She feels stifled by the fact that her parents don’t allow her to walk to school by herself. June convinces them to give her a chance, so they agree to try it for one week. On the very first day, June meets a homeless man and decides to give him her lunch money. Her parents and older brother chide her for talking to strangers and explain that not all people are as innocent as they seem. June cannot shake the feeling that helping those in need is a greater reward so she continues to press the issue with her family. They volunteer to help her cause, but insist that she place herself in a safe environment. June gathers family and friends to contribute by making lunches for the homeless and distributing them in a local park. She is able to fulfill the homeless man’s prophecy that, “You will do great things one day.”

This book is targeted for children in the five to twelve age range. Story is most appropriate for children who are ages seven to ten. The illustrations are bright, bold and multicultural, portraying June’s brown family and the local community members. There is a bit of a disconnect between the full page picture book illustrations and the plot which addresses homelessness. Certainly the aspect of not talking to strangers and the issue of desiring to help others is one that should be addressed with younger children as well, yet the illustrations may be seen as babyish to older readers. I look forward to learning more about the independent and intelligent June Peters in the future.

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A FLYING CIRCUS

In the Land of Broken Time

Written by Max Evan

Illustrated by Maria Evan

Translated by Helen Hagon

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Charming tale mixing elements of fantasy, magic, adventure, and time travel. Christopher is looking out his window when he sees the circus passing by. He desperately wants to go out and investigate, but his mother refuses because he has been ill with a cold. Christopher sneaks out and arrives at the circus tent. A young girl his age named Sophie helps him gain admission. Their adventure begins when they are chased by a cleaning woman who looks like a witch. They hide in a hot air balloon basket and discover a golden retriever circus dog named Duke sleeping inside. Suddenly the fugitives find themselves aloft. What an adventure lies before them!

The three become friends and allies. Landing in The Forest of Chornos, they discover a magic sundial, and a professor called Temporis Certus who experiments with hourglasses and time.. He gives them advice on how to escape by sailing down a river into the town on the other side of the forest. There the trio encounter a gnome, a nefarious regent and the time machine that could allow them safe passage home. Duke finds himself in a strange predicament. Will Duke ever find his way back to the circus? How will Sophie and Christopher solve the shifts in time and adjust the time machine to return to their past?

This book is targeted for ages six through twelve; it is a chapter book most appropriate for children in grades three to six. The book is well-written, fun and fast paced. There are plenty of surprises and intriguing characters. Nice blend of fantasy with a bit of science intertwined. I hope to see additional books written by this talented couple.

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