Posts tagged ‘humor’

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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A LOT TO CHEW ON….

Life in the Gumball Machine

Written by Maureen Bartone

An interesting chapter book targeted for readers in the seven to eleven year age range. On her tenth birthday, Daisy goes for a bike ride with her two best fourth grade friends, Patrick and Michael. Daisy is often considered a tomboy, but one thing her two friends have never persuaded her to do is to play football. When the three friends pause to investigate an old shed, they discover an abandoned gumball machine. Daisy decides that she must have one so she deposits a coin. Soon the machine rumbles and sucks all three of them inside. Little do they realize the adventure awaiting them inside.

Bartone uses lots of human and kid friendly dialogue to describe how the three humans shrink and meet the gumball people and their exciting world. Our three human friends will discover that outside appearance matters little, the real person is wrapped inside. Daisy will experience that football game and face her hidden fears. Lessons learned include how we behave and what we do are a lot more important than how we look.

Daisy is looking forward to her birthday party that afternoon, but things are looking grim that the three friends will free themselves from the gumball world and return to their normal size. The only way to escape is for another person to come along and discover that abandoned candy machine. That does not appear to be a likely possibility. Will the three friends keep their cool and figure out a way to return home? What will happen to their newly found gumball friends? How will Patrick, Michael and Daisy’s lives be changed forever?

The plot of this middle grade chapter book is simple and the text straightforward with enough excitement, surprises and humor to keep the reader entertained and the advice from becoming preachy. A surprise near the end sets the scene for a new adventure. Recommended for children in grades two through six.

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LOST AND FOUND

Lorelei and the Lost and Found Monster

Written by R. Scott Kimsey

Lorelei is apprehensive about her first day back to school as a second grader in Davis Elementary School. She is happy to learn that two of her first grade friends, Penny and Leon are in her new class. Her new purple and yellow lunch box with adorable cat faces makes her friends envious. Everything is going fine until Lorelei forgets her lunch box on the table in the lunch room. Lorelei is told to visit the Lost and Found room. Little does she realize the adventure that awaits her. She discovers a secret room between the walls. Seamus, a gnome, tells her that a monster who lives behind the walls has stolen the precious box. He invites her to become small so that she will be able to retrieve it.

Lorelei eats a magic gumdrop and intrepidly enters the scary village between the walls. She must challenge the gnomes to a contest to gain their confidence. If she wins the math contest challenge, they will assist her in finding the thief. Readers will follow Lorelei’s scary adventure, learn some math, and keep up her spirits along the way. This beginning chapter book contains enough challenging text and plot twists and turns, while at the same time remains a comfortable, humorous first person narrative. Recommended for beginning readers in the six to ten age range. Short chapters also make it appropriate as a bedtime story to share.

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DON’T DO IT!

One Creepy Street: Annica’s Broom

Written by Lee Jordan

Interesting book that focuses on a topic so important in the modern age of texting and cell phones. Annica is a witch who is about to come of age. At age thirteen all witches are given their broomstick, the human equivalent to a teenager getting a driver’s license. Today’s parents worry not only about their children paying attention to driving skills, but keeping their hands off that cell phone to answer a call or text while driving.
On Annica’s first flight, she is tempted and decides to text just one word. Sure enough, she crashes down on Creepy Street where she promptly meets some frightful creatures like a one- eyed policeman, spiders and trolls. Finally a recalcitrant elf tossed out by Santa makes the decision that he might want to help her. Will Annica be rescued and find her way home? What will happen to her if she does succeed?

This book has fun illustrations and plenty of humor, which will make its message palatable to pre teens and teens. The book is targeted for readers age six and older, but is most appropriate for readers age nine and older. The text needs editing in some spots, but that will probably not detract from its appeal to young readers. Recommended to parents and teachers who want to impart a serious message without being didactic.

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A STICKY SITUATION

Andy the Spider: Captured (Volume 1) 2nd edition

Written by Samantha Rindfuss

Charming chapter book for lower middle grade students focusing on a somewhat unusual grouping of large and small animals. Andy and his sister Emily are sibling spiders who often find themselves at odds. Emily is an expert web weaver, and Andy can’t seem to catch a meal so he often uses his speed to snatch Emily’s food. When Emily disappears, the timid Andy goes off to search for her. This trek into the forest results in a host of adventures and intrigues told in first person by a cast including owls, squirrels, fireflies, a hamster, a porcupine, a skunk, a caterpillar, and a coyote. Two human siblings alternately provide the spiders with a source of hope and fear.

The plot has lots of twists and turns in its 120 plus pages. Rindfuss leads the reader on a roller coaster of emotions but also supplies ample amounts of humor. Animals are infused with human character strengths as well as flaws. Harry the villain owl is a classic bully. Will the laws of the forest ensure justice? Do Andy and Emily resolve their differences and what lessons will their harrowing experience teach them?

Perfect book for beginning readers as well as reluctant readers who enjoy adventure stories with animals. Good discussion book for a teacher read aloud.

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FROM BAD TO WORSE

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked #1

Written by Maggie M. Larche

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What else could go wrong? Charlie is in love with his teacher, Miss Walker. His best friend Brad brings his one-eyed lizard to school and loses it. The intelligent but insecure and nervous Brad has just been nominated to be on the Knowledge Bowl team. Miss Walker’s favorite alarm clock has disappeared. Two girls who are bitter enemies vow to become detective rivals locked in a contest to find the culprit. To make matters even worse, their muscle-bound music teacher, Mr. Wainwright, is also enamored of Miss Walker. He is determined to find and punish the student thief. Throughout the school day this elusive clock will make its way around the school until the culprit is found. Will the truth ever come out? Who will finally solve the mystery? Will the thief get the punishment he deserves?

This book is aimed at the eight to twelve year old audience and features a nice balance of elements that appeal to this age group. There is lots of humor, enough plot twists, and empathetic characters with which readers can identify. Readers will surely be able to see themselves either as victims or heroes in the plot. Recommended as a fun read for friends or classmates to share and discuss.

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IT’S A DOG’S LIFE X 5

A Night at the Animal Shelter

Written by Mark J. Asher

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Sweet Christmas tale centering on the plight of five dogs who now find themselves at Blithedale Animal Shelter on Christmas Eve. These five animals narrate the story: Maizie, a four month old Black Lab puppy, Dutch, an eleven year old mixed breed, Raider, a three year old pit bull, Peg, a six year old lame Chihuahua, and Georgie, a seven year old Golden Retriever. Each of these animals have been given up for various reasons they deem to be no fault of their own. On Christmas Eve, their favorite volunteer Ginny is feeling blue, but willing to spend time comforting the animals. Maizie discovers her cage door is left ajar. She will soon be persuaded to let her friends out for a few hours of fun and mischief. Christmas comes and goes; none of the animals seem destined for adoption. In January a visitor to the shelter will leave them behind once more, but provide them with an unforeseen opportunity.

The personification of the animals and their dialogue is both humorous and realistic. It is obvious that the author has a good handle on human and canine behavior. He has written nine books about dogs. This short, sweet and heartwarming tale is a good choice for a holiday read or for any age reader, especially one who loves dogs.

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