Posts tagged ‘chapter book’

Food for Thought on Earth Day…..

HEARTWOOD

Written by Polyanna Darling

Illustrated by Kirsty Chalmers

Heartwood,picHeartwood is a heartwarming story that takes places in The Linney, which is a magical forest filled with trees that are hundreds of years old. Four trees are featured characters: Seth, The Tully Tree, Kelsey, and Tuleah. Each of these trees is inhabited by a different type of creature. A family of thirteen squirrels live in the Seth tree. Magpies sip the nectar in the flowers of the Tully tree. Tiny fairies live in the Kelsey tree, while a single raven named Bella makes her home in Tuleah. All of these creatures had lived in their homes for many years, but sadly none of them spoke to each other.

One day the peace of the forest is broken by a horrible noise. The creatures recognize it as a machine that knocks down trees. They call the bulldozer a “Smashbuster.” Forest inhabitants are in a panic about what to do, until Bella calls them together and warns them to stop quarreling if they intend to save their home from destruction. Bella berates them for their indifference and selfishness. She develops an ingenious plan to save the forest, but they must all agree to cooperate and work side by side.

The author skillfully reveals the clever plan step by step. Both the forest creatures and the humans who operate the machines have a lot to learn. This book of approximately fifty-five pages is a perfect chapter book for readers in the seven to ten age group. That is not to say that older readers and even adults will enjoy it. The charming and delicate illustrations done by Chalmers add much to the character and mood of the book. They are really exquisite. I cannot find anything not to like in this offering. Story-line flows nicely, the characters are believable, the lessons carefully crafted , and the artistic touches so well executed.

Pick up a kindle or paperback copy and enjoy!

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

LESSONS THAT NEED TO BE LEARNED

Fairy Tales For And About Kids

Written by Alexei

Translated by Katerina Lejkova

Illustrated by Galina Krylova

Fairytalesforkids,pic

This book of approximately forty pages contains seven fairy tales translated from Russian. For that reason, the language is a bit awkward in a few spots but does not seriously inhibit the story. A few of the tales center around little boys. Willie is a little boy who gives an eccentric old man directions and is rewarded with three wishes. The boy meets up with his friends and uses his wishes foolishly and learns a lesson the hard way. Another tale involves a young boy named Brian who is thought to be a simpleton but later undergoes an experience that turns the tables for him. On the other hand, Tom is a boastful boy intent on bullying the other children and forcing them to comply with his demands. One day his mom and a dog named Pluto prove to be his undoing. A boy and a wicked dog named Molly have a series of adventures that lead to bold actions by another little boy. Sam, a very superstitious little boy misses out on a lot of fun until a little girl named Kate teaches him how superstition is ruining his life. A lazy boy named Lukas spends his summer days watching TV, lying in bed and eating through a tube because he is too lazy to get up. He will have to learn the hard way that being lazy just leads to unhappiness. I think my favorite story is the one about the big trains and the little trains. In this tale, the large trains believe that might makes right and the spend their time quarreling with the little trains over who is more important until both parties realize they are both necessary. Unlike most fairy tales, many of the characters in this collection are boys and the setting is often in a large city.

All of these stories teach life lessons for children, and maybe for some adults! They are charming if nontraditional. There are a few illustrations which add to the appeal, but unfortunately they are a bit small on the kindle version. These short stories make up small chapters so the book is useful as a beginning reader. Parents could use the chapters as bedtime stories; teachers might approach them as short read alouds. Refreshing and different selection for anyone who enjoys fairy tales. Recommended for children age seven and older.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS Feed button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

Column A or Column B

Once Upon An Island

Written by D M Potter

Onceuponanisland,pic

After opening the attractive cover, the reader will discover the words HOW to PLAY. Yes, this book is a game of sorts; it is an interactive story. The reader’s decisions allow her to shape the story. At each chapter break, the reader obtains an opportunity to redirect the story. So, in effect, the reader is almost writing the outcome of the story.

General plot involves you being invited to New Zealand to spend holidays with your cousins, Stella and Max. These cousins are planning to journey to an island named Arapawa. You don’t have to go there. Instead you can make the choice to stay with your mother’s friend, Maddy. That is only your first choice.

I spent some time alternating between choices so I could get a good feel for the divergent story lines. Depending on whether you want to make a “safe” choice or be adventurous, your journey might involve time travel, animal adventures, exploring social issues, becoming a hero or getting involved in a kidnapping. I like the fact that the author chooses both a strong male and female protagonist allowing the book to appeal to boys and girls. The text is written clearly and simply. It could be considered an early chapter book. Siblings might enjoy reading the book together and taking turns making alternate choices. There are so many variations that children will want to go back to it over and over again to see what happens as different combinations are selected.

I feel the author missed an opportunity by not including some illustrations to accompany the alternate chapters. The cover is attractive and appealing. While the book is certainly fun and interesting, having a few pictures could have piqued the interest level even more. I would still recommend the book highly to parents, teachers and librarians as one that will encourage creativity, decision making and critical thinking skills for children in middle grades and older. Adults will certainly enjoy reading it aloud as well.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

PRINCESS PANORAMA

Princess Meredith Bedtime Tales

Written by Marshall Best

PrincessMeredithBedtime,pic

This approximately forty page e Book selection available on Smashwords and Amazon is a departure from the author’s previous works. These consist of chronicles centered on a character named Guiamo which combine history, legend and adventure in a series of books focusing on exploration and civilization. That series appeals to an older child. In his new book, the author and father of six is centering on children age three to ten.

The Princess Meredith book actually contains five short fairy tales. This book would make a good early reader chapter book. While advertised as bedtime stories, they can just as easily be read individually at separate times. Our Princess Meredith is well-loved in her kingdom. She is intelligent, loyal, compassionate, and generous. The themes appeal to young girls: ponies, castles, magic, witches, spells, picnics, poison, and adventure. Each of the tales involves danger, but all of them end with the theme that they lived happily ever after. Main characters include the king and queen, a royal baker, a witch, an uncle, cousin and children from an orphanage. The princess is already in training; she convinces the king and queen to consider and adopt her plan to redesign the way orphans are treated in the kingdom. The illustrations on the cover are charming and appealing; too bad there were not a few more illustrations dispersed throughout the chapters to hold the interest of younger readers. I would especially recommend the book to parents and teachers of children age six and up.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Hannah and the Kingdom of Bugbears

Written by Tom Steephen

Hannanandthekingdompic

This rather short fantasy adventure of approximately seventy five pages attempts to pack a lot of elements into one story. There are classic fairy tales, witches, soldiers, princes, even animal heroes like mice, penguins and parrots. Strange combination but the story does work for the most part. The language is not complicated though at times a bit forced. There are enough twists and turns to keep a young reader on the edge of his seat, and adults could make this a really exciting read aloud for a young child.

Hannah, our heroine, is the loyal companion of Princess Aleena who has just turned eighteen and is about to marry Prince Ronald of Linesland. Suddenly, the Bugbear army of Prince Brewer appears outside the gates of the castle. They inform King John that their Prince Brewer will marry the princess. The humans of the kingdom of Cait Berg are unable to subdue their scaly and much larger Bugbear enemies. King John’s army is defeated, and the princess is abducted. Hannah manages to sneak away and hide in the carriage transporting the princess. After many trials and tribulations, Hannah finds the princess, who is locked in one of the chambers of the castle. But the princess urges her to go back to their kingdom and get help to rescue her. Hannah bravely consents. She will meet many animal friends and enemies like a witch who tries to prevent her return. Once Hannah arrives home at the castle, she needs to concoct a strategy to rescue the princess from her dilemma.

Why does Prince Brewer want to marry a human princess? The reader does not find out until near the end of the adventure. In the interim many of the characters in the story like Chef Maatia and Prince Brewer learn a lot about themselves and others. Many moral lessons like the value of trust, loyalty, determination and being true to oneself are embedded in the tale.

Most early chapter readers and tweens will find familiar and popular threads in the tale. Seems to be just the right mixture of adventure, fantasy, fairy tale, battle scenes, danger and moral lessons that do not come off as adult preaching. A nice book to spend a couple of hours reading.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

A PRINCESS WITH PIZAZZ!

Sir Princess Petra: The Pen Pieyu Adventures

Written by Diane Mae Robinson

SirPrincessPetrapicAs the story opens, we meet Princess Petra who is about to celebrate her birthday on the ninth day of the ninth month on the ninth year. According to royal custom, she may request anything she wishes as a birthday gift. Petra addresses her parents and informs them that she is tired of the usual gifts of jewelry and clothes. This year she wants to become a royal knight. Her father, King Longstride cannot find anything disallowing her request in the royal rulebook. However, she must choose and successfully accomplish one of three acts of royal bravery: capture a crocodile and make his skin into a royal leather chair, quiet the howling dragon named Snarls who lives in the Forest of Doom, or eat a roomful of raw onions! The princess dislikes onions and is friendly with the kingdom’s crocodile, so she quickly decides on quieting the dragon.

Princess Petra departs the castle in a suit of armor made of pots and pans because all the royal armor is too big for her. Her weapon looks more like a cake knife than a sword. The poor princess soon meets adversity. During her adventures, she must figure out how to stop the dragon from howling and keeping the royal family awake, cope with a witch in the bog, and deal with an army of knights from a neighboring kingdom who want to challenge her. This princess has brains and common sense along with her beauty. She does not win her battles with force and bullying; Petra is a good judge of character and human nature! (even if some of those characters are not technically human)  She has a wonderful sense of humor and can turn adversity into advantage.

Petra provides an outstanding role model for young boys and girls for she has many lessons of courage, friendship and character to teach them. She and the other quirky characters in this book possess a delightful sense of humor. The black and white pencil drawings are soft and subtle complementing the quick moving text of this short chapter book which could be read in one sitting as a read aloud or in chapters for discussion in a classroom setting. Looking forward to reading more of The Pen Pieyu Adventures from this talented new author.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

DINOSAUR DIG DILEMMA

The Berenstain Bears and the G-Rex Bones

Written by Stan and Jan Berenstain

G-Rex Bones

This e book version is based on the 1999 book version of the same title. The authors have published more than 250 books in this series with the beloved Berenstain bears. I really enjoyed this book. As a bonus it includes an excerpt from The Berenstain Bears and the Phenom in the Family.

At the beginning of the tale we encounter Ralph Ripoff relaxing at home when the doorbell rings. The door opens to reveal that Professor Zoltan Bearish has come to make a proposal.  It appears that this is a very unlikely and strange relationship. The Professor is a well respected chemistry professor at the Bearsonian Institution. Why is he coming to engage Ralph Ripoff, the notorious swindler in a scheme?  Simply because Zoltan wants revenge!  Actual Factual recently had him fired from his position for what Zoltan considered a trivial reason.  The reader learns that the well known dinosaur expert, Professor Factual has been searching for years to complete a T-Rex skeleton in the rotunda of the Bearsonian. Zoltan’s plans include faking the discovery of an even greater find, that of a giant dinosaur skeleton. He asks Ralph to find other accomplices and stage a fake digging discovery. Ralph is bothered by this because he does not want to hurt the reputation of an innocent man, but his love of profit wins out over his conscience. Zoltan manages to persuade Ralph and the swindle is staged. One year later after he is no longer in danger of being arrested for fraud, Zoltan will reveal that the discovery was a fraud by using chemical analysis.  One of the bones is marked by a chemical symbol known only to himself.

Plans do not go smoothly. The bear cubs are on a school trip when they notice something amiss in the desert, a large truck and some digging near Sandcrab Jones’ small house in the desert. They persuade Papa Bear to drive out to the desert to investigate. But the family lock themselves out of the car. A tour bus visiting the dinosaur discovery site rescues them, and affords them the opportunity to look around the discovery site.. Finally, the day for the sale and unveiling of the reconstructed skeleton arrives. Professor Actual Factual will be paying five million dollars for the skeleton. Will the fraud be discovered? If so, how will the culprits be discovered and punished. There are several surprises  and unexpected events in store for the reader. This nearly seventy five page chapter book will appeal to children who are dinosaur lovers, detective story enthusiasts, and of course, Berenstain Bear followers.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

%d bloggers like this: