Posts tagged ‘moving’

THE POWER OF SUGGESTION

The Hungriest Dragon A Tale of Food and Friendship

Written by Kimberly Segraves

Illustrated by Peipei Liu

HungriestDragon,pic

Lyric had just moved to a new neighborhood. He goes to the playground daily, but on one is ever there and he has been unable to find a friend. One day Lyric hears a growling noise. A red dragon steps out of the bushes. Frightened, Lyric falls from the slide ladder and finds the dragon standing over him. They strike up a conversation. Lyric invites the dragon to his house, but Dragon-Fire is most interested in meeting his pet cat. When they get to the house, Lyric finds his mother napping and his new friend doing his best to eat his cat, Dolly. Lyric tries to distract the dragon from her objective by enticing her with other types of foods, but nothing seems to work. Then Lyric’s mother wakes up and together they hatch a plot.

This story has a page count under seventy and bright colorful illustrations. It appears to be targeted to elementary school children. A few points in the plot concern me. Lyric goes alone to the playground day after day, his mother is home napping while he is away and he does not wake her when he gets home. It seems strange that there are never any children at the playground; no mention is made of school or other community sites where children gather. No doubt this book might appeal to children who like dragons or those who feel lonely after a new move, but I think the narrative might upset some children to see a pet cat chased and tied up. The idea of a lonely boy finding a friend is a good starting point, but the tale veers off in strange directions. I would recommend that parents and teachers read first and be prepared to answer their children’s questions.

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STRANGE NEW WORLD

Walker Wildcats Year 1: The Extraordinary Life of Cassandra Jones Episode 1: The New Girl

Written by Tamara Hart Heiner

Illustrated by Elisa Allan

CassandraJones,pic

Cassandra Jones is a fifth grader who has just been uprooted because her family has moved from Texas to Arkansas. Facing the first day in a new school with trepidation, her fears are allayed when Danelle invites her to eat lunch with her and join her on the playground. Maybe things won’t be so bad.

Cassie is disappointed when her mom is late picking her up, but then rejoices when she finds out that their new house is ready. Soon after she finds a problem when a classmate who wants to be her friend doesn’t get along with Danelle. Then things don’t go smoothly at Girl’s Club, and she is tempted to quit because she is treated unfairly. To make matters worse, her mother says no when Cassie falls in love with a dog that her friend’s family is offering for adoption.

This book discusses many of the trials and tribulations preteens face with their peers and the adults with whom they interact. Marketed for children from second grade through middle grades, girls who are dealing with coming of age and family or school adjustment issues will find it has genuine appeal. Lots of dialogue and a few simple black and white illustrations. I think that teachers in grades three to five may find it a good candidate for a group discussion.

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A FAIRY MERRY CHRISTMAS

Have a Fairy Christmas (The Magic Library Book Series2)

Written by Kymberlee Miller

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This is my first time reading a book in this series of early chapter books targeted for seven to ten year old readers but a delightful read for any age. The Book of Wishes of Wishes only reveals its contents to those to wish to leave their normal world. Magic is unlocked by reading the wish aloud three times and then opening up the book This book travels from library to library seeking a child who needs it.

Holly is a nine year old fourth grader who has recently moved from Texas to Montana. On Christmas Eve, she is thinking about how much she misses her friends and former life. Her only comfort is her fairy doll named Cora. In an attempt to cheer her up, Holly’s mom takes her to visit Santa. Holly confides that she wants a baby sister, a horse, and her friends back. Knowing that this is a tall order, Santa tells her about a magic book in the library. He warns her that not everyone gets what they wish for and that there is a price to pay. Holly races to the library, and to her surprise, the Book of Wishes finds her.

Holly will take an unforgettable journey to Fairy Land, but she learns that once she goes back home she can never return. Will Holly leave her family to live in a Fairy wonderland? What will happen if she decides to return to her unhappy life in Montana. Tomorrow is Christmas Day……perhaps magic will happen.

I did not expect to love this book as fantasy is not my favorite genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to lovers of fantasy, Christmas stories, and those who like to see the glass half-full.

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INSPIRING CONFIDENCE

Title: Kool Kid Kruncha And The High Trapeze

Written by Emma Calin

Krundra,pic

Interesting early chapter book features protagonist ten year old Charlie. The author calls it an interactive bedtime story adventure. This book touches on many of the issues facing today’s children like bullying, moving, and living in a divorced family. Charlie has carrot red hair; children love to pick on him. To make matters worse, his mom tells him that she has been offered a better job in London. He will have to leave his friends and home in Suffolk and move to the city.

On the first day in his new school, the “popular kids” make fun of Charlie’s physical appearance and athletic abilities. His Aunt Kate suggests that things will be better after he makes a friend. Charlie is puzzled when she takes him to the circus. What does Charlie discover? How can this possibly be a solution to his problem?

This book contains seven short chapters whose length is perfect for children who are learning to read content independently. I would recommend it particularly for seven to ten year old readers. The simple black and white drawings enhance interest. Free downloads, video clips, and competitions included in the book will sustain interest and extend reading.

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BETTER THAN AVERAGE

O.K. IS GREAT

Written and Illustrated by David Tiefenthaler

Cover Design Robin Ludwig, Design, Inc.

O.K., jpg

What a great story for children in middle grades covering so many of the issues facing pre teens and teens in today’s world. Issues covered are fitting in, cyberbullying, sibling rivalry, peer relationships, and moving. Otis Kashwonkee, (yes, that’s his name) goes by the nickname, O.K. That would be fine if it were not for the fact that Otis doesn’t seem to excel at anything and the O.K. initials indicate to Otis that he is just ordinary. When his parents tell him that they are moving to the suburbs, Otis must add a new problem, adjusting to new friends and a new school.

For the reader, many of these situations are funny simply because the things that happen are so bad they might be considered outrageous. Otis has to endure his older brother’s success on the high school football team and his younger sister’s talent with music, but he finally has made friends with Leo and Horace. They devise a plan to prove themselves important and successful by breaking seventh grade records physical fitness records and getting their names on “The Board of Beasts.” The story continues with a series of mishaps with fellow students, including Stephanie, “The Queen of Amazons,” who seems intent on making their lives miserable.

Will these three friends be able to overcome all obstacles and achieve their record-setting goals? Does life in seventh grade ever get better? The black and white drawings interspersed throughout the story enhance the text with humor. Boys and girls age eight and older will love this story; adults will laugh and cry as they remember similar experiences. Makes a great classroom read aloud for group discussion. Highly recommended.

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ODD ONE OUT?

A Sliver of Sun (The Piper Lee DeLuna Series Book 2)

Written by Dianna Dorisi Winget

ASliverofSun,picThis is the second book in a series centering around the character of Piper Lee DeLuna, but I did not read the first book and feel this second book can easily be read as a stand alone story. Piper is ten years old. She is trying desperately to fit in with her new family. Piper’s dad died in an airplane crash, her mother has recently remarried. Her stepdad, Ben, also has a ten year old daughter. Now Piper has a new dad, stepsister, and a new home. To complicate matters further, the girls soon find out a new baby is on the way.

Piper is funny and clever; the book covers issues of bullying, blended families, struggling to fit in, and the everyday problems children in middle school face. You want to root for Piper; the reader empathizes with her struggles and laughs at her foibles. One of the funniest incidents involves the girls’ attempt to control the sex of their soon to be born sibling. The dialogue is fun and authentic; the characters are believable and the text flows along well. Middle grade readers and teens will probably find themselves identifying with many aspects of this tale. Look forward to seeing what happens to Piper next. Recommended for readers age eight and older.

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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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