Posts tagged ‘humor’

SOUP TO NUTS #POETRY MONTH

It’s Crazy in Here!: Fun Poems for Fun Kids of all Ages

Written by Malia Ann Haberman

 

This is a fun book that will have even those children who would never read a poem change their minds. The author has chosen a wide variety of topics that will appeal to boys and girls. There are monsters, fleas, dragons, dogs, cats, and bedbugs. Situations, like eating leftovers, classroom pranks, and falling in love, are explored with finesse and humor.

April is poetry month. Teachers might use this book to entice their students to explore poetry. While the book is recommended for ages five and up, I would especially recommend it to middle-grade students.

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FINIS #Cybils 2017

 

FINAL REFLECTIONS ON EASY READER AND EARLY CHAPTER CANDIDATES

NUTTY ABOUT NUMBERS

 We Need More Nuts

 Written and Illustrated by Jonathan Fenske

This is a Step 2 Reading Book intended for readers in Grades 1 and 2. It is also a counting book. Children are introduced to squirrels who are hoarding and counting nuts. The number combinations begin with one and range up to twenty-four. This book may be read over and over to teach number skills or left in the hands of a child to practice independently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run, Run Run…

What is Chasing Duck? (The Giggle Gang)

Written by Jan Thomas

This is another book in the Giggle Gang series that features farmyard friends who get into sticky situations. Duck is being chased and he summons his friends to try to get him out of a jam. They come up with some hilarious solutions that don’t appear to be working. Repetitive language, expressive illustrations and lots of humor will keep beginning readers laughing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Fantastica Family

The Beach Trip (Sofia Martinez

Written by Jacqueline Jules

Illustrated by Kim Smith

Sofia Martinez belongs to a huge family. Whether spending a routine day at home, heading off to the beach or shopping for school supplies, things are never dull. Sofia is gentle and tender, but she is also determined and loyal. The chapter book contains three short adventures with Spanish vocabulary words inserted throughout. This book is an excellent choice for ESL students, bilingual families or English-speaking readers who want to learn a bit of Spanish. Sofia’s antics are fun for boys and girls who enjoy having fun.

 

 

 

 

 

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Barkus

Written by Patricia Maclachlan

Illustrated by Marc Boutavani

This early chapter book chronicles how Barkus became an integral part of Nicky’s family. Uncle Everton shows up at her dog with his dog named Barkus who is well-trained and intelligent. Nicky’s uncle will be traveling and can’t take Barkus with him. Barkus follows Nicky to school where he is immediately adopted as the class dog. When Barkus’ birthday rolls around, he invites the neighborhood dogs to crash his birthday party. One day Barkus is bored so he adopts a neighborhood kitten to become a part of his family. Nicky, Barkus and his kitten have a tent camp out in their backyard. Each of them comforts each other; no one is afraid of the dark.

Large font accompanied by simple illustrations and lots of dialogue assist young readers in maintaining interest. By using four different stories and reweaving them at the end, children learn how to recap and summarize events. Family and pets are two themes that appeal to young readers. Highly recommended especially for children in the six to eight-year-old range.

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#WinnerWednesday

Two more winners in the Easy Reader and Early Chapter categories:

Easy Reader

ONE SENTENCE SAYS IT ALL

I Like the Farm

Written and illustrated by Shelley Rotner

 

 

 

 

This book is a Step A Guided Reading book which features one sentence I like the…… Blanks are filled in with the names of familiar farm animals. There are full-page multicultural photographs of a child with the associated animal. Especially recommended for preschool and kindergarten children just beginning to read who love animals.

 

 

Early Chapter Book

No Need to Be Perfect

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Written by Laura Amy Schlitz

Illustrated by Brian Floca

Poor Princess Cora is a victim of parents who are obsessed with her development into the role of future ruler of the kingdom. Cora is beset with a nanny who is obsessed with cleanliness and forces her to take three baths a day, a mother who forces her to read boring books all day, and a father who wants her to be strong and forces her to skip rope every day. When Cora requests a dog for a pet, her parents are horrified. She writes a note to her fairy godmother asking her to intervene. To her surprise and dismay, the next day a crocodile is delivered to her in a cardboard box.

This crocodile assures her that he will take charge and teach her tormentors a lesson. He demands only to be fed cream puffs as payment. So, Cora escapes into the woods for a day of adventure, climbing trees, eating strawberries, picking buttercups, and getting dirty. In the meantime, her pet crocodile is taking revenge on the nanny, the queen, and the king. At the end of the day when Cora returns she makes her request once more. What has happened at the castle? Have the adults learned a lesson? How will Cora be treated in the future?

This story presents the inner conflicts of Cora, and the adult versus child conflict clearly. Cora is a strong female role model, who is also obedient and respectful. The soft watercolor illustrations with a vintage feel are soft and appealing. The crocodile character adds humor and a hint of naughtiness. I would especially recommend this chapter book for second and third graders who are comfortable with the seventy-page length and some challenging vocabulary.

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#Cybils2017 #Finalists

Proudly presenting two more books that were finalists in the contest this year:

EASY READER CATEGORY

FRIENDS FINDING SOLUTIONS…

My Kite Is Stuck! And Other Stories

Written by Salina Yoon

 

All three stories feature the same three main characters, Little Duck, Big Duck and Porcupine. In the first story, Big Duck gets his kite stuck in the tree. His two friends try to help, but only make the problem worse. Children will laugh at the silly solutions the characters invent.

The second tale revolves around Porcupine making friends with a bug. Big Duck and Little Duck discuss the qualities needed in a friend and try to persuade Porcupine why he can’t be friends with a bug. There is a surprise ending.

In the third story, the three friends decide to build a lemonade stand. They model cooperation, patience and hard work. Of course, there are a few hiccups and lots of humor when the friends forget about the main ingredient needed for their success.

These stories employ speech balloons with dark text and brilliant digital illustrations that fill the page. I would recommend it to preschoolers and kindergarten beginning readers. Each story can be enjoyed separately for beginning readers with shorter attention spans.

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK CATEGORY:

SCIENCE, MAGIC, AND GIRL POWER…

Zoey And Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows

Written by Asia Citro

Illustrated by Marion Lindsay

 

What a charming way to combine science, a bit of magic and a strong female role model in an interesting story! Zoey is an inquisitive, intelligent, sweet girl. One day she discovers her mother holding a photograph that appears to be glowing. Her mother attempts to hide it, but when Zoey reveals that she can see the glowing creature, her scientist-mother reveals her secret.

As a child, her mother discovered a purple glowing frog that was severely injured. To her amazement, the frog named Pip began talking to her. Ever since that day, Zoey’s mom had been helping other magical creatures who needed assistance. She installed a hidden doorbell in the barn. Zoey’s mom thought she was the only one who had this ability, but now she understands that Zoey also has the gift.

When Zoey’s mom must travel to a scientific conference, Zoey hopes that she will receive a call for help from one of these magical creatures. Zoey studies her mom’s journals, notes, and photos. Sure enough, a few days later, she hears the bell and finds a small reptile near death in the barn. Zoey gets to work, but there is so much to learn. She sets forth a hypothesis and sets out her materials. Like a true scientist, she uses trial and error and controls in her experiments. Together with her cat, Sassafras, they work to save the creature. Who is this creature? Will Zoey be successful?

I found lots to like in this chapter book. Large print, beautiful black and white drawings, and a table of contents that lists the subject of each short chapter. Citro carefully crafts a multicultural, curious and hard-working female protagonist who is empathetic and appealing to young readers. Children quickly become engrossed with the plot, while hardly realizing they are learning about the scientific method and the reptile species. The glossary reinforces understanding of unfamiliar vocabulary. Highly recommended for beginning readers, but certainly challenging enough for middle-grade readers.

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ROLE REVERSAL

The Runaway Mommy

Written by Jane Paris

Illustrated by Scott Rim

 

This book contains a similar story to The Runaway Bunny except that in this edition the parent is running away from the child. The text layout and illustrations are simple, suggesting that the book is appropriate for younger children. On the other hand, the vocabulary which includes things like a tech startup, trauma surgeon, and flamenco dancer, probably won’t resonate with a younger child. The plot revolves around a mother bunny who threatens to run away and pursue new careers around the globe. Her young child is willing to accompany her no matter what role mom decides to pursue.

This short book could be an amusing bedtime story if the parent is careful to explain he or she does not intend to run away. The humor will be appreciated more by adults than children.

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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

Diary of a Cool Boy

Written by B. Campbell

AJ is the middle child. He has an older sister, Jane, who is learning to drive and a younger brother, Taj, who has the gross habit of picking his nose. AJ’s mom is a neatness and control freak, while his dad is laid back.

Middle school readers will love the humorous situations in which AJ constantly finds himself. Cedric is the classroom bully, and the new boy, Hawk reveals a secret to AJ that will eventually enhance AJ’s reputation. Readers will enjoy reading about the family foibles and mishaps, as well as the sixth-grade classroom escapades. There are a few valuable life lessons to be learned, but the plot is fairly predictable with few twists and turns.

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CYBILS BLOGGING AWARDS 2017

This year I had the honor of participating on a panel of judges to determine the winners in the Easy Reader and Early Chapter Book categories of the 2017 Cybils Blogging Awards for Children’s Literature.

Today I would like to share my reviews of the winning books in the Easy Reader and Early Chapter Books. I will share reviews of the finalists in each category in the next few weeks.

EASY READER WINNER!

King and Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code

Written by Dori Hillstead Butler

Illustrated by Nancy Meyers

This is the first book in the mystery series featuring Kayla and her golden retriever, King. I enjoyed the author’s approach of first introducing the dog and later his human, Kayla. King is frustrated that he cannot communicate to his owner in words, so he uses actions to express himself. By the end of the tale, readers learn more about King’s intelligence.

Kayla and King answer the doorbell. No one is there but a letter has been left on the doorstep. When Kayla’s friend Mason comes to visit, he reveals that he has received a letter as well. Neither of the friends can read the letter because it is written in secret code. Kayla and Nathan set out to decode the letters. They find that only the second word is different. King is sure he knows the author, but the humans don’t understand what he is saying. A chance meeting with Jillian, who lives a few houses away may hold the key to the mystery.

I would consider this book more of a chapter book than an easy reader. Children in second and third grade will better understand the nuances and messages of the plot. This book presents multicultural characters and interactive learning opportunities. Recommended for boys and girls in the seven to nine age range.

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK WINNER!

Wedgie & Gizmo

Written by Suzanne Selfors

Illustrated by Barbara Fisinger

Book 1 of a new series featuring a cavy named Gizmo and a corgi named Wedgie. Gizmo introduces himself as a Genius with an Evil Plan. Gizmo has recently been uprooted once again. He began his life in a pet store where a parrot taught him to read. His human, Elliot, chose him and brought him home. But Elliot’s dad has remarried and now Gizmo must learn to live in a new human house. Elliot now has a stepsister named Jasmine and a stepbrother named Jackson. Worst of all, Wedgie, their corgi pet, wears a cap and thinks he is the protector of the family.

The book hilariously describes how Gizmo and Wedgie compete for control and human attention. Gizmo gets seriously ill when he attacks a cereal box in the pantry, and Gizmo hatches a scheme to get Wedgie in trouble with Jasmine. Selfors artfully weaves the animal conversations into the story. Children who feel displaced by moving or becoming a part of a blended family will empathize with their situation. Gizmo undergoes serious trauma when he learns the grandmother comes from Peru where caves are eaten. There are a lot of twists and turns, laughter, and tears, as the new family learns to live and love each other.

The illustrations are fun and humorous. My favorite illustration depicts grandmother (abuela) sleeping in bed with curlers in her hair while Gizmo places a delivery label addressed to Peru on her head. The story is almost two hundred pages and that might be a challenge for beginning readers. While the plot moves along quickly and is really entertaining, I believe it better suited to a third to a fifth-grade audience. Can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

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