Posts tagged ‘monsters’

Teen Troubles

The Rise of the Olympians Book One

Written by Belle Ward

riseolymppic

First book in a middle grade short story series. Lilah is about to celebrate her thirteenth birthday. Her father surprises her with her favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon. As she departs for school with her older brother, Jay, Lilah looks forward to her first class in which she is studying about Ancient Greece. Mr. Fisher is discussing the Olympians. For some reason, Lilah can’t stop thinking about the lesson.

When Lilah gets home she is surprised by the gift of an angel-winged necklace from her dad. But when she prepares for bed, strange things begin to happen. The necklace heats up, her rainbow colored extensions suddenly become attached to her head, and she experiences a strange dream. The next day, Lilah is invited to join a special dream club. She is astonished to learn that the other members are Apollo and Hades. They think she is the goddess who will help them find the Father of the Monsters. A sudden crash, and all must run for their lives…..Will Lilah cast her fate with these strangers? Will she wake up from this nightmare?

This short story is a good length for reluctant readers. The characters are believable and interesting enough. What some readers may not like is that the tale ends in a cliffhanger. Readers will be left disappointed unless they immediately get a hold of Book Two.

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NIGHTMARES NO MORE

Furry Friends No More Book 1: Boris to the Rescue

Written by Kaz Campbell

Boris,pic

Bob is pretty much your average fourth grader. His father is a teacher at his school; that can be a problem. Lately, he has been having bad dreams that keep him up at night. His mother has a solution; she gives him a dream catcher and explains that his dreams will be trapped there and no longer keep him awake. Bob is astonished when a red furry monster named Boris materializes out of the dream catcher. Boris will answer Bob’s call whenever he needs help. Turns out Boris can help him with homework and bullies who pick on Bob at school. How can Bob explain Boris when no one else can see this little furry friend?

The comical adventures of Bob and Boris cover topics important to elementary school children like fitting in at school, bullying and parental relationships. Book can best be described as an early chapter book. There are a few digital illustrations randomly added to provide support for early readers. First in a series. Recommended especially for ages six through eight.

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MONTE’S MEANDERINGS

Books in the Adventures of Monte Series: Book 1 Monte Travels the Rainforest

Written by D.J. Thomas

Monterainforest,pic

Monte is a monster with a penchant for travel. He takes the reader on a journey through the African rain forest. Monte takes photographs as he departs his campsite and walks through the forest. Readers gain knowledge of twenty animals including size weight, habitat, breeding, food choices, communication and distinguishing features. Each animal’s description is accompanied by a photograph of the animal.

The book is advertised as an interactive book. This author offers readers and subscribers activities to accompany the books. The first kindle book in this series is just over fifty pages and targets readers ages three to nine. Young children might enjoy looking at the pictures, but they will have difficulty understanding the text containing sentences with as many as thirty words. The book needs some editing; there are too many adjectives and exclamation points.

Monte the Monster is pictured on the cover, but does not appear inside the book. He is narrating the story, and I think that children would like to visualize him doing so. This book contains information that could be useful for elementary school children, but the text is difficult for children under age ten to read independently. Parents, teachers or librarians might want to break down the information and simplify for easier understanding.

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TOUGH TIMES

Fing

Written by G. Papa

Illustrated by Gary McCluskey

Fing,pic

An unusual and well-written chapter book featuring six year old Ulrich Von Strudel as the protagonist. Ulrich has a major disability; he was born without knees. When the story opens, Ulrich is about to be picked up from boarding school for Christmas vacation. He learns that his parents have been captured by a pygmy tribe in Africa and are presumed dead. To make matters worse, his mean great aunt, Mrs. Lipstick is taking charge of him.

Poor Ulrich learns he will have to sleep in the attic and eat one meal a day. After a difficult struggle to get upstairs, he discovers a furry one-eyed monster named Fing in the closet. Fing will turn out to be an ally, when Mrs. Lipstick conspires with the family lawyer to eliminate Ulrich.

This modern fairy tale has a definite dark side, but the author intersperses humor throughout. Ulrich faces his disability with strength of character. How will he survive his parents’ death and the machinations of his nefarious guardian? There are a few surprise twists in this one hundred page chapter book.

I enjoyed this story immensely. The book is an interesting book for early readers who are not disturbed by a bit of the dark side and are not overly sensitive. In general I would recommend the book for readers age eight and older. The short chapters lend themselves to a class read aloud for discussion. Black and white pencil drawings really bring the characters to life. As a bedtime story, parents need to use their own discretion, though I think adults may enjoy the book as much as a child. Very entertaining read.

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MONSTERS AND MISHAPS

Bedtime Stories For Kids! Funny Monsters Go Camping

Written by Alice Cussler

FunnyMonsters,pic

The author’s aim is to teach children to respect animals and nature. In the second book of this series about Furry Monsters, Melton and his friends go on a camping trip. Cussler involves them in situations that teach children about planning ahead, fire safety, becoming too confident, overcoming unreasonable fears, eating the right kinds of foods, and working cooperatively.

The print edition of this book is sixty-two pages. It is marketed for ages four through eight, but it really is a chapter book more appropriate for independent reading by a beginning reader or as a classroom read aloud for discussion. I would suggest the book for readers aged six through nine. The lessons in the book are worthwhile for discussion among families planning a camping trip. Colorful drawings of these adorable fuzzy monsters encourage young readers to follow along with the text. Look forward to following these fuzzy friends in many more educational adventures.

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CHINESE NEW YEAR FOR LITTLE ONES

Mao Mao and the Nian Monster

Written and Illustrated by Anna Zech

MaoMao,pic

 

This book is a delightful interactive kindle picture book for young children seeking to explain some of the traditions of Chinese New Year,

Mao Mao is an adorable panda bear who lives in a bamboo forest. She loves to play with her human friends who live in the village nearby. But the inhabitants of the village were fearful of the Nian who came out after dark to plunder their livestock and food. Once the sun set, the entire village barricaded themselves inside their homes. When Mao Mao’s grandma gives him some books to read, he discovers that monsters are afraid of loud noise, bright lights, and the color red. So Mao and his friends outfit the village with all three of these elements. Mao and his friends come upon Nian while playing in the forest one day. They find out that Nian is more like them than they thought. Will the villages and the Nian find a way to coexist after all?

The simple text and beautifully done illustrations will assist preschoolers and primary school age children in understanding some of traditions involved in the celebrations of Chinese New Year. This book is an excellent choice for a teacher exploring multiculturalism or a parent’s bedtime story.

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AN UNLIKELY PAIR

My Monster Burrufu

Written by Alberto Corral

Illustrated by Alessandra Sorrentino

MyMonsterBurrufu,pic

This chapter book is targeted for eight to twelve year olds; the easy going storytelling style and charming illustrations interspersed throughout make it visually appealing as well. I can’t make up my mind which character I love the most, Olivia, the seven year old mistress of the monster’s house or Burrufu, the melancholy monster.

At the beginning of the adventure, Olivia is about to move from the city to a home four hours away in the country. She immediately endears herself to me when I read the note she left to the new tenants asking them to take care of the house and sending them hugs and kisses. Upon arriving at the old three story house, Olivia and her dog Tula begin to explore the home’s nooks and crannies. They hear noises in the attic; her father, Steve, tells her jokingly that maybe it is a monster. Olivia thinks he is making fun of her, and when he assures her that a monster in the house is good luck, she feels relief.

Olivia can’t sleep and goes down to the kitchen to have some milk and cookies. To her surprise she spies a furry white claw stealing cookies! So the adventure begins….Olivia is determined to lure the creature out by setting a cookie trap. She discovers that the monster lives in the attic and is a writer like her father. Because Olivia’s dad spends lots of time in his study writing, she has lots of time on her own. Olivia learns that her friend Burrufu can make himself very large when he frightens people; he is fearful of going outside and scaring people. Olivia wants to make him feel wanted and secure so she tries to provide him with courage. One day Burrufu is discovered and chaos ensues. Will Olivia be able to remain friends with her monster, who is really a talented and sensitive writer or will they both be forced to relinquish their friendship due to the fears of others?

This book contains approximately one hundred pages and ten short chapters. It can be used as a classroom read aloud or read independently as a chapter book for readers in the middle grades. There is plenty of humor and adventure. The plot contains enough twists and turns plus thought provoking issues to challenge the middle grade reader. Highly recommended.

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