Posts tagged ‘loyalty’

JUNGLE MATES

The Jungle Crew

Written by Emma Scott

 

The lion walks alone in the forest until he comes across a lonely hippo. The two become friends and the journey continue as new animals like a giraffe, elephant, toucan, zebra, and monkey eventually join in the fun. Each of the animals brings a new character trait or talent like humor, brains, loyalty, and generosity to the group.  The animals bring out the best in one another.

While the illustrations are simple and rather stylized, the rhymes are crisp and sharp. Counting skills are reinforced as each new animal is introduced. I would recommend this book as a bedtime story or fun read-aloud for children ages two through five.

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ARMED AND READY

Prince Martin Wins His Sword

Written by Brandon Hale

Illustrated by Jason Zimdars

Hale has written an original, charming chapter book that began as a way to keep in touch with his son while Hale was away from home. The book is divided into eight short chapters that are completely written in verse. Hale does not shy away from challenging vocabulary in a book that is written for the six to ten age group.

Martin is a young prince who lives in a faraway kingdom. At the beginning of the tale, Martin experiences a dream in which he fights a dragon with a loyal dog at his side. One of Martin’s favorite pastimes is visiting the castle armory, where all types of swords and weapons are stored. Unfortunately, the king permits his son to possess only a wooden staff and a slingshot, until the prince is able to prove that he is loyal, brave and true. Martin is unsure of how to do so, but he is determined to set forth out of the castle to the forest beyond.

Chapters two through eight covers the adventures that await Martin. He will meet a farmer who warns him of wild hogs, a deer whose fawn is trapped, and a brave dog who is willing to defend the helpless with his life. Martin must face his own fears as well as bullies. Will Martin find the courage and strength to survive and prove himself worthy?

The rhymes are perfect for a read aloud. Younger children might need the help of an adult to decipher some of the vocabularies. Color illustrations in each chapter enhance the adventure. This first book in a series should appeal especially to boys who love adventures, dragons, swords, and dogs. Highly recommended for elementary and middle school age children.

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A COLORFUL FANTASY ADVENTURE

The Black Pearl of Osis (Osis Fantasy Trilogy Book 1)

Written by Ingrid McCarthy

Jonathan Alexander Fenton is visiting his Aunt Josie who has just given birth to a baby girl. He is ambling around her studio and glancing at the posters on the wall when he spies one that he does not recognize. The poster shows a girl skipping rope on a cobblestone street surrounded by a tall tower. As he moves closer, Jonathan is literally drawn into the poster. Immediately he engages in a conversation with the girl. He discovers her name is Magenta, she is the daughter of King Cadium, Jonathan has been taken against his will into a fantasy world. Everyone here bears the name of a color, time is governed by the cycles of sun and moon, and danger looms over the kingdom.

Jonathan soon learns that he is destined to free the kingdom from the evil of the black pearl. A sage old teacher named Master Cobalt trains Jonathan. He is able to turn Magenta’s skipping rope into a deadly weapon that can be used to fight their enemies. Magenta, Jonathan, and her dog Monte face all manner of obstacles on their adventure. They meet threats of torture, deadly traps, and must learn to distinguish between friends and foes. At the end of the long journey, the two friends will grapple with the ultimate test of courage and loyalty.

The author keeps the plot interesting by using clever characters and imposing lots of twists and turns. Middle-grade readers who enjoy fantasy, adventure, and magic-tinged with dark overtones should find this first book of the trilogy an entertaining read.

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COURAGEOUS AND LOYAL

Heart of a Hero

Written by Billi Tiner

HeartofaHero,pic

This book is a portrait of a loyal and brave Irish Setter, inspired by the author’s childhood family dog. As a pup, Lady wanted nothing more than to emulate her mother, who was a prize hunting dog.  Carl, a teenage farmhand, develops an affinity for her, and Lady is elated when her owner Mr. Thompson sends her to live with Carl. At first life is wonderful, then World War II breaks out; and Carl leaves for battle. Carl never returns. A friend suggests to Carl’s dad that the Marines are looking for war dogs, and Lady is offered up as a candidate. After rigorous training and many adventures with new dog friends Scout and Fancy, Lady is sent to the Pacific with her human handlers, Tim and Steve. Lady succeeds in becoming a war messenger dog. She will prove herself a worthy hero.

After the war things return to normal for a while, but Lady has battle scars and her new owner will make a decision that does not include her. More uncertainty for Lady and a dramatic change in life circumstances again. Will Lady find peace, dignity and happiness in her final years?

This book makes a great read for middle grade students. It deals with complex issues in a plot that is simply laid out and easy to follow. Loyalty, bravery, courage, coming of age, bullying, and family relationships are explored. The characters are well developed; the reader can identify with Lady as she narrates the story from her point of view. I do think the plot moves a bit slowly in sections, but that may be due to the fact that the reader is eager to see what happens next. Recommended for dog lovers, history lovers and anyone who enjoys a good family read. Available in kindle and paperback editions.

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SUMMER ANGST

Indian Summer

Written by Tracy Richardson

IndianSummer,pic

Twelve year old Marcie Horton is feeling good about finishing the last day of school, but at the same time is dreading the upcoming summer. While she has always enjoyed spending time at her grandparents’ home on Lake Pappakeechee, this year is different. None of her friends will be going.

Marcie is a talented and competitive athlete, but not one of the “popular girls” at school. Her discomfort is increased when the parents of one of these girls inform her that they have just built a huge house on the lake, and invite her to spend time at their home with their daughter, Kaitlyn.

As the summer unfolds, things get more and more complicated. Kaitlyn pushes Marcie to make decisions with which she is not comfortable. Her loyalties are torn between peer pressure and family. When Kaitlyn’s father plans a development that will threaten the existing lake environment, Marcie is again forced to choose. To make matters worse, strange visions are haunting Marcie. She feels as if she in living both in the past and present. An unexpected turn of events allows her to be drawn by some mystical force to make a miraculous discovery.

In some ways the plot is predictable, yet the characters are compelling and so well-drawn that I read the book in one sitting. This book hits on so many issues that face tweens and teens. A bit of magic, history, fantasy, coming of age, environmental issues, family, and loyalty all combine to make one entertaining story With a page count of just over two hundred pages, it is a bit long for a middle grade read, but the book is a comfortable and easy read. Recommended for ages ten and above with lots of appeal for both boys and girls.

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SHARING MEANS CARING – BOOK BLITZ

Bash and Lucy Fetching Jealousy Book Two

Written by Lisa and Michael Cohn

Illustrated by Heather Nichols

BashandLucy,pic

Book Two in the Bash and Lucy Picture Book series is a charming picture book for children in the early elementary grades. In this adventure, Lucy is the mascot of Bash’s soccer team; her support has helped lead them to the team championship. Lucy delights the crowd with her antics dressed in her baseball uniform and cap. But on the day of the championship, another team led by a boy named Tristan asks that they allow Lucy to guide their team to a win in the Special Olympics. Bash and his teammates are overcome with jealousy as they watch Lucy cheering and entertaining for another team. They become so desperate that they crawl around the ground acting like puppies in order to lure Lucy back to them.

Lucy is overjoyed to help her new friends and doesn’t have a problem sharing, but Bash and the team can’t seem to understand. Who will win Lucy’s loyalty? Is there a way that both teams can win?

The illustrations in this book are beautifully done in soft pastel colors, portraying the emotions of the characters well. I think that children will experience the deep emotions on both sides. This book can help parents and teachers guide children to understand their feelings of jealousy in a simple, forthright way. Recommended especially for children ages five through eight.

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AVIAN VACATION

Robby’s Quest :Ocean Bound

Written by D.C. Rush

Illustrated by Daniela Frongia

Robby'squestocean,pic

Robby’s Quest:Ocean Bound is the second book in the four book series featuring Robby as the protagonist and leader of a diverse flock of bird adventurers. I enjoyed this second chapter book even more than the first. It is more richly illustrated and the story flows seamlessly.

The fourteen feathered friends have arrived in Arizona to which they fled after a hurricane destroyed their winter home in Florida. Lately, the weather has been getting quite warm so the birds have a conference and eventually vote to migrate further west to San Diego where they can take advantage of the cool ocean breezes and plentiful food supply. Ruby has been there with her last flock; she offers to serve as a guide.

Less than a week later, the flock arrives in San Diego, where each group goes off to explore the sights. Two of the younger birds, a robin named Joy and her friend Josie, the sparrow, fly out to investigate a cruise ship, only to fall asleep and find themselves stranded at sea. Robby leads a group of six rescue birds in a search party. The reader follows the adventures of both groups. Will Joy and Josie ever rejoin their group of faithful friends?

This early chapter book story contains endearing story characters and a well integrated plot with just the right amount of challenge for an early elementary school reader. Color illustrations are simple but add interest to the story. Qualities like friendship, team work, bravery, cooperation and loyalty are seen as valuable traits. The ending to this adventure involves a new discussion among the birds as to future plans. Will the friends remain together or find new adventures on their own? Stay tuned.

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