Posts from the ‘reluctant reader’ Category

MOVING RIGHT ALONG….

Miss Perfect and Tiny Tail

Written by Rachel Schlessinger

Illustrated by Sigalet Carmely

 

This book is a fairly well-written chapter book that features a ten-year-old named Lily who faces numerous challenges one summer. Lily is the middle child. Her older sister, Miss Perfect, and a younger sister, Tiny Tail are both dearly loved and constant annoyances. A large part of the book focuses on sibling and peer relationships as well as Lily’s conflicts with her mother.

Lily’s mother informs the three sisters that they will be moving from their small village to the big city because their father has found work there. This is the second conflict that Lily, as well as her sisters, must face and resolve. Lily has developed a crush on Tommy. At first, he seems to ignore and make fun of her.

The summer setting provides the backdrop for these three challenges. As time advances, each member of the family must face the issues revealed in the first person narrative told by Lily. Many middle-grade readers will see themselves mirrored in the characters and their conflicts. Because this book consists of short chapters consisting of less than seventy pages, reluctant readers will not be deterred. A few illustrations enhance its appeal. Recommended for middle-grade readers, teachers and parents who wish to explore the challenges faced by the middle child, parent and sibling relationships, and families who are planning a move.

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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.

 

CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT

How Santa Changed

Written by Karl Steam

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title of this book but was immediately drawn in by the nostalgic illustrations. It turns out that the plot of the book revolves around the changes that took place from the time Santa was a young man to the present.

In the beginning, young Santa, a magical elf, made and delivered all the toys himself with the help of one moose. As cities sprang up and the population grew, Santa could not pull his heavier sleigh with one moose. As the story continues, the reader learns how Santa came to rely on a team of reindeer, how he moved farther north, and the need to have additional helpers. Mrs. Claus even learned to bake, and Santa’s slim shape evolved to the fat, jolly character of today. Recommended for children and adults as a read aloud or holiday bedtime story.

The illustrations in the book are beautifully done, even if the rhymes are sometimes a bit off.

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GIVING THANKS….

Title: I’M THANKFUL FOR…A Book About Being Grateful

Author: Uncle Amon

This is a charming book that contains five short stories for children about reasons for being grateful. Billy and his cousin Jillian are the main protagonists. Each of the stories contains a practical lesson that children and adults may share. For example, in the story about tools, Billy comes to the rescue for Jillian when her desk needs fixing. Later his mother gets in trouble and Billy is able to use both his tools and ingenuity to come to the rescue. His good deed results in an unexpected reward. Without giving away too much of the plots, the other tales focus on pets, older friends, school and fresh air and sunshine.

The stories are full of humor. There is quite a bit of dialogue that develops the characters and makes the story easy to follow for beginning readers. Although the book is targeted for ages four through ten, I would especially recommend it for the six to eight-year-old age group. Bonus features include mazes, puzzles, and a followup activity for each of the tales. Th perfect book for parents and children to share and enjoy. If you are looking for a Thanksgiving holiday book, this one is a good choice.

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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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