Posts tagged ‘boys and girls’

REVENGE IS SWEET

Jesper Jinx and the Sneezing Season: The Jesper Jinx Series Book 2

Written and Illustrated by Marko Kitti

Jesper Jinx is an eleven-year-old British boy who lives in a seaside village called Puffington Hill. The name jinx is attached to him because he has a knack for experiencing bad luck or inflicting it on others. At the outset, readers meet Jesper trying to win over Chloe, (the girl he has a crush on), by appearing at just the right moment with the sandwich for which she has no money. Fate intervenes when a seagull swoops in to steal it, knocking him down and embarrassing Jesper.

The following weekend Jesper is lured with a prize of 50 pounds to accompany his family to get a photo of a rare purple buzzard. The journey involves being outdoors in allergy season. Of course, Jesper secretly spits out his medicine and disaster ensues just as he thinks he has the winning photo in hand. A squirrel couple named Ronald and Ramona achieve their revenge for Jesper’s kite ruining their home and injuring them. When Jesper and his friend Oliver challenge his teenage sister to a balancing contest, what appears to be a victory rapidly switches to disaster and embarrassment for Jesper.

Kitti cleverly intertwines plot elements and characters to create a cohesive story. The comic pictures add a whimsical touch to the humorous dialogue. Middle-grade students will enjoy the preposterous circumstances and antics of sibling rivalry. Fans of this book will enjoy all the books in this series.

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HATS AND HIJINKS

Gaspar and the Fantastical Hats

Written by David A. Lindsay

Illustrated by Pilich

GasparHats,pic

This fantasy novella just short of one hundred pages is set in medieval times amidst dark alleys, cobblestone streets, a wizard’s den and raucous taverns. Gaspar has just spent the night at one of his favorite haunts, The Bag O’Silver Inn where he could pick up gossip on who to target and who was after him. Shortly after, two assassins named Sloat and Weasel confront him in a dark alleyway. An unknown intruder saves his life.

The Council of Guild Masters run the city. These guilds are arranged in a hierarchy of power. Strangely enough the City did function. The wizards had a monopoly of magical artifacts. Gaspar is a petty thief who is a freelancer not a member of any guild. How does he get involved in a dangerous caper? The women of the Merchant’s Quarter had taken a liking to wearing hats that were decorated with magical objects. Some of the wizards began taking bribes, while the milliners took advantage of the fad. Eventually magical artifacts became scarce. Gaspar is enlisted to steal a magical artifact for one such hat. His friend, Hubris, the Spell-broker is recruited separately to steal another. They break into the Wizard’s Hall where they are confronted with a golem, a giant living stone statue. Both thieves must steal an artifact and successfully escape the golem. These partners will discover that appearances are deceiving; the plot twists and turns to reveal new deceptions, and the reader does not foresee the conclusion.

The characters are interesting and the plot well developed in this novella even though the sentence descriptions can be wordy at times. The combination of fashion, mystery, adventure and intrigue are nicely balanced in the right amount for a middle grade reader that will appeal to boys and girls. The golem’s riddles are a nice touch; they will encourage young readers to ponder and philosophize This book can easily be read in a couple of hours or broken up into sections for discussion as a class read aloud.

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HAUNTED HOUSE?

Junior Ghost Hunters – Case of the Chadwick Ghost

Written by Sam Grasdin

JuniorGhostHuntersClub,pic

The adventure originates as four friends are hanging out in Nate’s room. Nate is twelve years old and an admitted nerd who loves science and comic books. Lanie Talbot, the only female, has recently emigrated from England. Pete, the athlete, rescued Nate from a bully last year. Greg is an electronic genius with the nickname Gadget because he is always inventing things. Greg has just burst into the room with the news that he has seen a ghost in the upstairs window of the abandoned Chadwick house. Initially the group is skeptical, but Nate convinces them that they should investigate. They decide to form a Junior Ghost Hunters Club; their mission to prove or disprove what Gadget claims to have witnessed.

When Nate’s father convinces the real estate agent to allow the group to view the house in question on the next Saturday, their exploration begins. Mrs. Davenport allows them a couple of hours to “do research for a school report.” They are equipped with a digital recorder, flashlight and video camera, the tools of modern ghost hunters. At first, they fail to uncover evidence until Nate picks up a faint voice on the recorder, saying, “Get out of my house.” They are now determined to make a nighttime visit. Coincidentally, the four friends discover that a couple named Barnes are interested in buying the house. Mr. Barnes is undeterred by the childrens’ revelations that the house may be haunted. He invites them to spend the next Saturday night camping out in the living room of his new house.

The courageous group share pizza and then settle down for their adventure. They appear to be at a standstill until Nate remembers something. His computer research will lead him on a trail to uncover the final clues in solving the mystery. Is there a ghost? Who is it? Will the ghost hunters continue their career as sleuths of the paranormal. Tune in for the next book in the series.

The author is targeting his writing toward children nine to twelve. I believe the text is appropriate and readable for that group. Plot and characters are likable and modern detectives who are equipped with the technology expertise twenty-first children expertly employ. As an adult, I was entertained, amused and convinced that the characters are real. They are multicultural and cover both genders. Looks like the beginning of a good middle grade detective series that will possess wide appeal.

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