Posts from the ‘chapter book’ Category

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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AN UNEXPECTED REWARD

Hazelita And The Magic Broom

Written and illustrated by Hope Finning

Hazelita is a destitute, lonely old woman. Every day she wanders from village to village with her only valuable possession, an old broom passed down to her from her mother. At night she knocks on the door of a local inhabitant seeking a warm meal and a place to state. In return, she promises to sweep their home in gratitude for their kindness. Hazelita cries herself to sleep each night because she has no family to care for her. After a while, word spreads around that her broom is magic and that it will grant any wish the family requests.

One evening she comes to a family headed by Thomas who goes out of their way to shower kindness upon Hazelita. The next day, they refuse to allow her to sweep as she is their honored guest. But Hazelita is horrified to discover the next day, that her broom has lost its magic. What will happen to Hazelita now that she cannot pay for her room and board? The answer lies in kindness rewarded. Read the book to find out how.

This book teaches children the value of community responsibility and the lesson that we should not expect rewards for everything we do. I would recommend the book to elementary and middle-grade students.

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PROBLEM SOLVERS FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN

Lee and his Big Hair

Written and Illustrated by Leela Hope

This is another book in the series about a little boy named Lee who lives near a lake. Lee has a penchant for getting into trouble. He is strong-willed and obstinate. Lee refuses to comb or brush his hair. One of his favorite pastimes is playing in the mud. Lee also refuses to cut his hair. One day he rolls around in the mud. When Lee gets up, everything is stuck to him. He runs to the lake to wash the mud off, but he cannot get the mud or the debris that is stuck in his hair. A barber is summoned. Readers will be shocked at what he finds in Lee’s hair.

This book is written in rhyme with humor that children and adults alike will enjoy. Perfect for teaching children the importance of good hair grooming. Recommended for ages three through seven.

 

Lee Has To Stop Eating Candy

Written and Illustrated by Leela Hope

Lee is a young boy who decides to take advantage of the fact that his mom is busy gardening. He spies a tin full of candy and decides to finish it all. Of course, he gets really sick. Lee’s mom finds him in a sugar trance on the floor. The doctor has never seen a case as bad as this. Lee is forced to drink a concoction of healthy fruits and vegetables. A difficult lesson to learn that will not be forgotten.

This book is written to teach children the value of good nutrition and that too much of a good thing has consequences. Colorful illustrations and large font make this book a good choice as a beginning reader or picture book. Recommended for ages preschool through primary grades.

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SPY DOGS AND SCI-FI

Spy Dogs (1): A Suspicious Neighbor

Written by Amma Lee

 

This book is the first in a series of spy dog detective mysteries. Puggy is an adorable pet who is totally devoted to Bill, his human master. When Puggy notices a new neighbor dragging a large black plastic bag into the house next door, he immediately becomes suspicious. Puggy peeks into the neighbor’s window and discovers lots of computers, strange mechanical devices, and caged dogs. Puggy learns that many dogs in the area have recently been kidnapped so he develops a plan to spy on the neighbor and unravel the mystery. Puggy is astonished to learn that this neighbor is actually an alien who has a plan to use the dogs to control humans. The faithful dog must mislead his master and risk his own life in an attempt to unravel the mystery. This book is the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger.

This series is of interest to mystery and adventure enthusiasts. I believe it will especially appeal to middle-grade audiences.

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CHOOSING YOUR OWN WAY

The Village Alien

Written by Steve and Kathleen Donoho

On a sunny Saturday morning in Zionsville, Indiana, the protagonist and his younger brother, Andy head off to Lions Park on their bikes. The reader will determine the outcome of this interactive alien adventure. The boys encounter an alien spaceship landing in the park, setting the table for the rest of the story. Readers are given three choices at the end of each chapter. Plot outcome changes according to the reader’s decision.

This book affords readers the opportunity to revisit the scene several times, changing the outcome each time. It would be fun for siblings or friends to share it together. I like the fact that children can see that making choices affect outcomes and the characters. It allows them the opportunity to take risks or to play it safe.

Recommended for middle-grade readers. The length of sentences and manageable vocabulary will appeal to reluctant readers. It might also be a good choice for a classroom discussion group.

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SAVE SMART, START YOUNG

A Guide to Investing for Kids: Teaching Them About Money While They Are Young

Written by Stephanie R. Baker

This book is based on the author’s theory that children who learn how to be financially independent and conscious of tracking their own expenses grow up not only to be self-aware but good global citizens. Baker gives reasons for children to learn fiscal responsibility like how to invest and be responsible for handling their own money by choosing their own purchases wisely. They learn financial independence from their parents and awareness of community needs around them. These children acquire goals and dreams of future financial success.

Children may learn how to invest by talking with their parents and picking up knowledge from schools and community programs. There are many different platforms offered for children’s investment, and Baker lists several of them with links to finding them on the internet. Alternatives to stock investment include lotteries and investing in independent funds that parents set up for them. Certainly, if many children would choose investment and financial independence the entire world community would benefit both in the short and long term.

I think this book is a worthwhile investment for parents and grandparents to consider in creating strong, resilient, independent, successful citizens of the future. Recommended for children age eight years and older to read and discuss with parents and teachers.

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THREE TECHIE FRIENDS

Ai and Big City Adventure: New Age Pinocchio, Adventures of Ai, his new friends, and Old Man in the Big City

Written by Olga Go

 

Old Man Steve lives by himself in a small apartment in New York City and often feels lonely. One day he finds a smartphone and decides to try to fix it. He names the phone Ai. Suddenly, the phone comes to life. The next day, Ai leaves the apartment while Steve is sleeping. He plays in the park with a computer, a camera, and an i pad. They exchange information with each other. The new friends hatch a scheme to sell Ai to get some money. Ai is sold to Jack, but Ai feels guilty about leaving his friend Steve. They arrive at a compromise that makes everyone happy.

This story is a clever 21St Century Pinocchio story. The illustrations are modern, crisp, and colorful. Elementary school children will enjoy the clever characters and empathize with Steve’s plight. My only recommendation would be to make the print text bolder as it is sometimes difficult to read when placed against the illustrations.

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