Posts from the ‘chapter book’ Category

CAT CAPERS

Wendy and Black (Cat Detective 1): The Mystery House

Written by Amma Lee

First in a series of chapter books featuring a fifteen-year-old girl named Wendy and Black, her cat. Wendy has been endowed with a special gift. Once every hundred years a member of her family develops the ability to converse with cats. Wendy uses this gift to communicate with her cat. Together they have become a talented detective team. When a house down the street suddenly appears to be inhabited, Wendy and Black set out to investigate. Wendy’s mom, Mrs. Michaels, asks her to pick up a welcome package for the new neighbor.

Wendy and Black cannot contain their curiosity. They illegally break into the house drawn in by a mysterious purple light. When the floorboards cave in, and Black detects Mrs. Michaels’ presence in the house, their level of fear rises. Will the detective pair solve the mystery? Is Wendy’s mom safe?

This is a short chapter book that is most appropriate for beginning readers. There are a few editing issues. The book is targeted for nine to twelve-year-old readers but probably is not challenging enough for the older end of that age group. I would recommend it especially for reluctant readers and mystery fans.

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CHECKMATE

An Evening with Grandpa: Adventures in Chess Land

Written by Diana Matlin

This chapter book contains a story that achieves two objectives: it teaches a child how to play chess and presents an engaging fairy tale promoting strong female role models.

Annie is sick in bed with a sore throat. To make matters worse, her family is attending The Nutcracker Ballet and she is stuck home with grandpa. Grandpa sticks his nose in his newspaper. He won’t consider playing one of Annie’ s favorite child games. But once he begins telling her a story about a young girl named Pawnie who is enlisted by the Queen to fight for her kingdom, Annie wants to hear more. Grandpa cleverly reveals how to play chess in the tale about two queens and kings who are battling for control of the kingdom. Grandpa includes all the chess players and carefully details their moves and strategies for winning the battle. The white queen promises that if Pawnie successfully gets to the other side, she will become a princess. Annie is enthralled with the tale and eagerly sets out to learn how to play the game of chess with grandpa.

Matlin keeps the plot moving with clever dialogue and a detailed description of how the chess characters can succeed in winning the game by learning the right chess moves. It is a unique way to introduce children to a challenging game of skill. The chapters are kept short and the print font is large, making it a good choice for beginning and reluctant readers. The strong female role model focus combined with the traditional princess protagonist is a powerful magnet for young girls. Highly recommended for budding chess players and readers in the six to ten age group but a fun read for all.

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CELEBRATE A NEW BEGINNING

“If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I’d like to wish all my friends and followers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Wherever you are, no matter which way you celebrate with family and friends, I hope that the end of this year brings you joy and happiness. My wish for each of you is that 2018 will bring good health and prosperity to you and those you cherish.

In 2017, I added a Coloring/Activity book to allow readers the opportunity to put their own creative touch to Little Miss HISTORY and become familiar with words of wisdom from historical characters. I listened to teachers and homeschool parents who requested a book that contained multiple adventures in one book so The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY included her trips to The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. This bargain book offers three books for the price of two individual books. Last, but not least, Little Miss HISTORY journeyed back to The Ice Age in her latest trek to La Brea Tar Pits & Museum in Los Angeles, California.

The Little Miss HISTORY Travels to….picture book series added four new juvenile/nonfiction awards in 2017. A Gold Global EBook Excellence Award, International Book Excellence Award, Independent Author Network Award, and Reader’s Favorite International Book Award.

I closed out the year with a revised one page, one click website. Just hover over my name, book cover or link to preview or purchase a Little Miss HISTORY book, merchandise or to connect. Visit the website at http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com I am eager to meet many more of you in person next year. Simply click on the word CONTACT to message me to schedule school visits, book signings or speaking engagements or we can just chat through email. I will be glad to answer questions or suggest resources if you subscribe to my newsletter.

Looking forward to January, I will again be participating in Multicultural Book Day the week of January 27 and will be busy reading and judging finalists in the EasyReader/Chapter Book Category of the Cybils Awards. Results will be announced in February. My family-friendly book reviews will continue each Wednesday and Sunday on my blog. If you have not subscribed, I urge you to sign up.

Hold on to your hats! Little Miss HISTORY has many surprises in store for 2018, including a trip to The North Pole before next Christmas arrives.

Stay tuned….talk to you in The New Year.

 

CHAMELEON TO THE RESCUE

Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs

Written by Janet-Hurst Nicholson

Illustrated by Barbara McGuire

What a charming chapter book! Nicholson succeeds in creating a clever detective mystery for middle-grade readers. At the same time, the soft illustrations encourage reluctant readers and beginning readers transitioning to chapter books to handle the ten chapters. The text is large and easy to read. Using the technique of personification, Nicholson endows animal creatures like Leon, the chameleon, and Egg Eater the snake with human personalities and a sense of humor. Readers will enjoy practicing their sleuthing skills as they attempt to unravel the mystery of the missing canary eggs. I especially enjoyed the trial process and the very clever dialogue.

This book is part of a series. Although this is my first read, I would explore reading the others. I heartily recommend this book for middle-grade readers, reluctant readers, and mystery lovers. Clever characters and crisp dialogue keep the story interesting. Enjoyable for readers of all ages.

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END OF THE LINE OR NEW BEGINNING?

Diary of an Ender Dragon

Written by Aurora Lee

 

This beginning chapter book narrates the adventures of Ender Dragon, who has been appointed by the ruler Notch to guard the End dimension in the Minecraft game. His life is usually boring, but one day a human named Steve arrives with his sword. After Ender is wounded, he strikes a bargain with Steve. Ender will show Steve the way to the portal which leads to the outside portal. Ender and Steve are about to embark on an adventure that neither of them will forget.Ender details their adventures in a diary that takes place over the course of a week’s time. Both discover parts of themselves as their lives are changed forever.

Fans of Minecraft will enjoy the book, but the book does not focus on the game, but rather the interaction of human and dragon personalities and capabilities. At less than fifty pages, the book is an easy read for beginning readers. Because the chapters are short, it could also be used as a read aloud. Recommended especially for readers in the seven to ten age group.

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ARMED AND READY

Prince Martin Wins His Sword

Written by Brandon Hale

Illustrated by Jason Zimdars

Hale has written an original, charming chapter book that began as a way to keep in touch with his son while Hale was away from home. The book is divided into eight short chapters that are completely written in verse. Hale does not shy away from challenging vocabulary in a book that is written for the six to ten age group.

Martin is a young prince who lives in a faraway kingdom. At the beginning of the tale, Martin experiences a dream in which he fights a dragon with a loyal dog at his side. One of Martin’s favorite pastimes is visiting the castle armory, where all types of swords and weapons are stored. Unfortunately, the king permits his son to possess only a wooden staff and a slingshot, until the prince is able to prove that he is loyal, brave and true. Martin is unsure of how to do so, but he is determined to set forth out of the castle to the forest beyond.

Chapters two through eight covers the adventures that await Martin. He will meet a farmer who warns him of wild hogs, a deer whose fawn is trapped, and a brave dog who is willing to defend the helpless with his life. Martin must face his own fears as well as bullies. Will Martin find the courage and strength to survive and prove himself worthy?

The rhymes are perfect for a read aloud. Younger children might need the help of an adult to decipher some of the vocabularies. Color illustrations in each chapter enhance the adventure. This first book in a series should appeal especially to boys who love adventures, dragons, swords, and dogs. Highly recommended for elementary and middle school age children.

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A DRAGON’S BEST FRIEND

James and the Dragon: The Farloft Chronicles, Vol. 1

Written by Theresa Snyder

 

This is a well-written chapter book or novella with an intriguing set of characters, flights of fancy, and wonderful lessons to learn. The three main characters are a dragon named Farloft, a dastardly wizard named Laval, and a ten-year-old human named James. A plague has recently struck the kingdom. About two-thirds of the population have succumbed. Farloft avoids humans because relations have soured over time. Laval is bitter because the plague has made his daughter ill. James has been orphaned. One day as he struggles to dig peat in the bogs to keep warm, the blacksmith and his son steal it from him. James becomes trapped in the bog; Farloft takes pity and rescues him. As James recovers in the dragon’s lair, they become close. Farloft regales him with legends of past exploits and reveals his treasure chamber. When James returns home, villagers nearly kill him. Farloft rescues him once more. In the meantime, Laval has hatched a devastating plot to exact revenge for his daughter’s death. A surprise ending brings book one to a conclusion and sets the stage for more adventures.

Middle grade, young adult readers, and adults will enjoy this fast-moving story with its pleasing blend of magic, myth, and charm. Characters are well developed and easy to like. By the end of the first book, readers have already become engaged and are eager to learn more about the characters and what will happen to them in their future engagements.

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