Posts from the ‘middle grades’ Category

THE MANY ASPECTS OF LOVE

Mom, What is Love: The Various Aspects of Love as Perceived by Children

Written by Lili Benkel-Bergman

Illustrated by Nurit Tsarfati

This book is part of a series of books that attempt to tackle a series of emotions that young children find difficult to comprehend. In this volume, the author tries to explain the many kinds of love that one experiences throughout life. The young boy protagonist knows that he loves his mother because she is his mom. He is confused about his feelings for his younger brother, his friends, and grandparents. He reasons that if his grandparents have a love that is old, why can’t they trade an old love for a new one. What happens to love when a parent divorces? Why do some people love animals more than people? Why do we love some things and hate others?

The book jumps from one scenario to another very quickly. Parents or teachers will need to guide children in understanding the author’s point of view. I think the author’s objectives are sound, but perhaps the book is more appropriate for children a little older who are prepared to discuss these issues in greater depth with an adult. Recommended especially as a read-aloud for elementary and middle school readers.

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CRUISING AROUND THE BIG APPLE

Hey Kids, Let’s Visit New York City

Written by Teresa Mills

Mills has written a travel guide that performs a dual purpose. Families who are planning a vacation or move to The Big Apple are provided a comprehensive introduction to the history, culture, and entertainment highlights that will appeal to young visitors and this just under one hundred page book can also serve as a reference for a classroom report on New York City.

Iconic architecture like the Empire State building, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Flatiron Building are featured. Historical landmarks like The Statue of Liberty and Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum are explored and explained. The book features recent additions to the NYC landscape like the 911 Memorial and Museum. Who can forget the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller City? Mills talks about Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock. She takes us on a walk through Central Park and Times Square and reminisces about the history of Broadway and some of its famous productions. The City is a big place and after a day of shopping along Canal Street, one will eventually need to jump on the New York subway and visit Grand Central Station. Visitors to New York City will want to take a tour or eat in one of the many ethnic neighborhoods like Little Italy or Chinatown. Perhaps a trip over the Brooklyn Bridge might entice visitors to try one of the famous Coney Island hot dogs.

Mills has it all covered, the culture, the entertainment, and the history wrapped up in an easy to read guide for middle-grade, young adult and adult members of the family. Highly recommended for any prospective visitor to the Big Apple.

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To find out more about The State of Liberty and Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum, check out my Little Miss HISTORY book series at http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

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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