Posts from the ‘middle grades’ Category

FOUR FRIENDS SIT FOR A SPELL #HappyEaster #EarthDay

Cassie’s Coven: The Case of the six-legged frog (The Cassie Coven Series Book 1)

Written by Helen Allan

The first book in this middle-grade mystery series features four Australian girls. Cassie and Lolly share a love of horses and attend school together. One day Cassie buys an old book and discovers it is a magic book of spells. Shortly after Cassie finds a sickly fox kit and Lolly discovers a six-legged frog in a nearby creek. The book talks about a coven of four witches, yellow, black, white and green. Lolly and Cassie invite Charlotte and a new girl at school, Pia to join their group. Pia’s great-grandmother offers an old cottage on her property as a clubhouse. Soon the girls are using it to solve the mystery of why nearby animals and cattle are becoming sick and dying. Lolly and Cassie fall ill, and they show symptoms of poisoning.

The four girls decide that Mr. Larkin, a neighbor, seems too eager to scare them off his property and they vow to investigate why. They use the clubhouse to get close and are shocked to discover that the book of spells can help them to solve the mystery. This is the first book of the series that combines fun adventures of four ten-year-old friends, some magic, and issues related to the environment set in Australia. Recommended for readers ages ten and older.

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CLEVER KATZ

THE KATZ PAJAMAS: THE MISS KITTY MYSTERY

Written by Jack Lugar

Katz is the name of a clever, Maine Coon cat who is a private investigator. Katz is sitting in his office when Kitty Cat, a famous nightclub performer strolls into his office. Kitty wants to hire him to find out who has been stealing personal possessions from her dressing room. Katz jumps at the chance and he is invited to her club to investigate the mystery.

Katz meets Bogey, Kitty’s dog, Rufus, the bouncer, Cali the state manager, Thom, the stagehand, and Mr. Bigly, Kitty’s guard. He carefully observes and looks for clues as the night progresses. Before long, Katz has the solution to the mystery. He calls together the cast of characters and explains how he solved the case. Of course, he is saddened that there is no longer a reason for Kitty to pay attention to him because Katz has developed quite a crush on Kitty.

This is a cute chapter book of fewer than one hundred pages. The characters are charming and the dialogue clever and humorous. There are no illustrations. While the book is targeted for ages five through ten, I believe it better suited for ages seven through twelve. It is a fast-paced fun read and I would read other books in the series.

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SLOTHS 101

Sloths! Two-Toed and Three-Toed Sloths

Written by Leanne Annett

Sloths! Sloth Book On Two-Toed Sloths & Three-Toed Sloths For Children: Fun Animal Picture Book for Kids with Interesting Facts & Wildlife Photos (God's Amazing Creation Series 3) by [Annett, Leanne]

 

This book discusses the two family groups of sloths which are further broken down into six species. Annett presents information about what they eat, where they live, their relatives, the dangers they face, how they move, and daily living habits. There are lots of color photographs that display sloths in all sorts of positions and situations.

Annett introduces the book by explaining that she feels all the creatures in her book series are part of God’s amazing plan. She urges her young readers to marvel at nature’s beauty. The rest of the book is a nonfiction narrative.

The Fun Sloth Facts is a summary of the most important facts contained in the book. It is a good starting point for those who wish to do a report or additional research on sloths. A glossary is helpful for students who may not be familiar with some of the more scientific terms.

I would recommend the book to readers of all ages who are interested in these curious, friendly creatures. Children of all ages will enjoy looking at the photos and learning about them.

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ONLINE SAFETY

How to Protect Children from Online Predators and Cyberbullies: Survival Guide for Non-Techie Parents

Written by Ram Muthiah

I found this guide informative and essential for parents with children growing up in a world dominated by digital technology. The author wrote this book for two reasons: as a supplement to a novel based on true experience and as a practical guide to help parents navigate the rapidly changing world of the internet in which their children engage daily. Muthiah wants to protect children from those who use the internet to engage in crimes that prey on children. The author’s opinion is that the most important thing parents can do is to gain the trust of their children so that they can engage in honest conversations about internet abuses.

Pedophiles use the internet to lure children into meeting them or to collect pornographic pictures of them. Cyberbullies are cowards to hide behind the anonymity of the internet to attack and scar children mentally. The Internet is a tool to set up human trafficking networks. This author covers all the social media networks like Facebook, Skype, Instagram et al and breaks down different social networks and how they can be used as traps to engage children. He provides links to effective tools for screening out the threats and includes an appendix of secret internet language used by children and teens with which parents may not be familiar,

I would urge parents, teachers, and all those who work with children to keep this book on their shelf as valuable reference material.

THREE STARS FOR ADULTS, FIVE FOR KIDS

My Giant Farts

Written by Neil Roy McFarlane

 

This book might be considered a fractured fairy tale with humor in the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Personally, I am not a fan of this kind of humor, but I do know how popular it is with middle grade students.

The plot involves Tom, a boy who is playing down by the old factory and comes across a pile of rubbish. He spies a shiny metal object sticking out. Tom discovers a lamp like Aladdin’s lamp, so he rubs it. Instead of a genie, a giant pops out. Tom thinks he can make wishes. He asks for a time machine and a flying car but the giant informs Tom that he cannot grant wishes.

During the day, Tom meets a few of his friends. Sally Patterson shows him her new dog who fetches, Horace Chomsky demonstrates how his parrot talks and Becky Wilkinson shows him her flea that does circus tricks. Tom is dismayed that his giant has no unique qualities. But when Tom crosses paths with Basher Bates and his gang, the giant’s response is an unexpected relief.

This book is targeted for ages five and older. I believe eight to twelve-year-old readers will particularly find it to their liking.

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TACKLING OUR FEARSI

I DON’T WANT TO GO TO KINDERGARTEN: I’LL MISS YOU TOO MUCH!

Written by Maureen White

Illustrated by Tracy Taylor Arvidson

The author is a school counselor. She uses her expertise to develop a “Powering Up” stress management technique to help us deal with challenging situations. The activity used in this book proves that the body can instantly respond to a change in our thoughts. This book is made interactive by tapping on the pages. White includes instructions on how to reinforce the superpower method and links to videos and workshops that can be used to practice the technique.

White presents a story that features Tina, a young girl who is fearful about beginning kindergarten. While shopping for a backpack, Tina and her mom meet Bobby and his mom. Bobby shares with Tina that he has developed a superpower in preschool that he will teach her. The next day Bobby introduces Tina to Paddy Penguin, a puppet that can help make our muscles strong. He shows Tina that happy thoughts can make one strong.

These techniques can be practiced by children or adults of any age to manage any challenging situation. Recommended for parents and teachers.

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OCEAN PLAYMATES

DOLPHINS: Fun Facts and Amazing Photos of Animals in Nature

Written by Emma Child

I have read several of the amazing animals books written by this author. Who can resist looking at the face of a dolphin? Child begins by describing the general features of dolphins like smooth skin and bottlenoses and then goes on to explain there are many variations. I had never heard of the dalmatian dolphin and was surprised to learn that dolphins migrate each year.

Child’s discussion of the way dolphins communicate by echolocation and a whistle sound that is unique to each dolphin is fascinating. I learned that dolphins use sea sponges to protect their mouths from spiny fish and that some dolphins have more than one hundred teeth. Children will be surprised to learn that dolphins live in families like theirs and that they delight in playing with each other. The dolphins’ intelligence level is second only to that of a human and they are good problem solvers.

This book is informative and a great research tool for children in the elementary or middle grades. Only one thing disappointed me. The photos on the Kindle can be enlarged by double-clicking, but this was not simple to do and once enlarged some of the photos looked blurry.

Recommended for dolphin lovers everywhere regardless of age.

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