Posts tagged ‘mystery’

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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FOREVER FRIENDS

The Stranger’s Secret: A Tale of Friendship Bog Book 5

Written by Gloria Repp

Illustrated by Michael Swaim

Photographs by Bill Beck

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This chapter book is part of a series, but Book 5 is a first time read for me. I had no difficulty following the tale as a stand alone story. Pibbin is a rather small young frog excited to be going on a work party for the first time. They need to repair Uncle Dip’s Bridge. Before Pibbin can begin the journey he meets up with an unconscious large frog named Riff who is clinging to a branch. With a mighty effort, Pibbin is able to rescue Riff because “Bog Keepers are good at helping strangers.” Riff has a large bump on his head and is carrying a large sack, but he cannot remember anything about the accident. Now Pibbin is torn between his feelings of responsibility to take care of Riff and to be part of the work team repairing the bridge.

Readers meet lots of personified characters: a snake named Miss Green, squirrels, beaver, chipmunks and a clawed enemy named simply Cat. When the residents of Friendship Bog decided to exterminate the enemy, Pibbin and Riff fear they will never solve the mystery of his missing sister. It will turn out that lending a helping hand to friend or foe can be rewarded. Cooperation, moral support and friendship are the major themes tying the inhabitants of Friendship Bog together. Young readers learn the benefits of practicing these themes in everyday situations.

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#READ KIDS CLASSICS – CLASSROOM CHAOS

Miss Nelson is Missing!

Written by Harry Allard

Illustrated by James Marshall

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One of my favorite books to be read and shared with my students and my own two children. Originally published in 1977 in Hardcover edition, today it is available on amazon in multiple formats.

Miss Nelson is a sweet and pretty young teacher who has great difficulty controlling the rambunctious students in Room 207. They are rude and obnoxious, spitballs are visible on the ceiling and paper airplanes soar through the air. One day Miss Nelson fails to show up. Miss Viola Swamp dressed all in black and wearing ugly white make-up walks in as their substitute. The students soon learn, “ Be careful what you wish for.” Miss Swamp goes way beyond mean, and they could never have imagined so much classwork and homework. The children realize what a good teacher they have lost. Fear, panic and desperation flood their hearts. When it appears that Miss Nelson is not coming back, they even hire a detective to try to find her.

Marshall does a fantastic job with the illustrations, which look like a combination of cartoon and watercolors. Each one portrays exactly what is unfolding in the classroom. As a teacher and mom, I certainly enjoyed the humor and reality of the situation. Targeted for ages four through eight, this book is perfect for that age group, but my second grade students chose this book as one of their favorites. The book is a fun read any time of year, but also is perfect as a back to school read.

About the Author and Illustrator ( bios taken from their Amazon Page)

Harry Allard is the author of several hilarious books for children, including three books about Miss Nelson and four books about the Stupid family, all illustrated by James Marshall. He currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.

James Marshall (1942–1992) created dozens of exuberant and captivating books for children, including The Stupids, Miss Nelson Is Missing!, and the ever-popular George and Martha books. Before creating his canon of classic, hilarious children’s books, James Marshall played the viola, studied French, and received a master’s degree from Trinity College. He also doodled. It was the doodles, and the unforgettable characters that emerged from them, that led him to his life’s work as one of the finest creators of children’s books of the twentieth century. In 2007, James Marshall was posthumously awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal for his lasting contribution to literature for children.

READCLASSICS,PIC

SCIENTIFIC SLEUTHING

Frankie Dupont AND THE SCIENCE FAIR SABOTAGE (Frankie Dupont Mysteries Book 3)

Written by Julie Ann Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

FRankieScienceFair,picEleven year old Frankie Dupont’s parents are off for the day to attend an awards ceremony. Frankie’s dad leaves his in charge of his detective agency. Sounds strange? Well, Frankie has already proved his mettle in assisting his father in previous investigations.

Shortly after they leave, Frankie gets a call from his cousin Kat and her friend, Amy Applebyto assist in solving a mystery at the science fair being held in Enderby Manor. Seven kids are competing in a science contest in which all the entries must be made from recyclable materials. The winner will receive $300 and a ticket to science camp. Seven contestants have employed creativity in projects such as a musical instrument made from drinking cans, Lego blocks made from Stevia, a balloon recycling center and cloned blue salmon. Upon his arrival, Frankie discovers that Angus and Archie Appleby’s robotic chip has been stolen while they were arguing over how to assemble their robot made from household items. Frankie has the scene secured and methodically proceeds to interview each of the contestants in order to collect clues and solve the mystery.

Middle school readers will enjoy the adventure as the clues are revealed by Frankie as he investigates. But things are not as they appear on the surface. Readers may be surprised by the end result of the investigation and the just rewards that follow. Recommended for Encylopedia Brown fans in the eight to twelve year old age range.

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EGYPTIAN EXPLORERS

Hieroghyph (TC’S ADVENTURES BOOK 1)

Written by WJ Scott

Illustrated by John Helle-Nielsen

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I will be honest in saying that this book was different from what I expected. The cover is a bit of a mystery and the table of contents lists numbers only with no word clues. Once into the book, the reader is quickly drawn into the narrative. Thirteen year old TC is sitting in the Vice-Principal’s office trying to explain how she knew where a stolen ring could be found. TC lives with her Aunt Letty in New Zealand since her archaeologist parents were killed in a cave in. Aunt Letty is off on an environmental expedition, and TC will be going off to spend a weekend with her uncle in Australia.

Here is where the book takes a dramatic departure. The reader learns that TC has a special gift. She is able to time travel and connect with past history when she touches hieroglyphs. Her uncle Max is trying to get funding for an archaeological expedition to prove that ancient Egyptians traveled to Australia in search of gold.

I will not reveal details of the plot, but Scott seamlessly takes the reader back and forth as TC alternately explores the shipwreck and explorations of Prince Setka and Prince Kanefer in ancient times and back into the present with TC, her Uncle Max, her friends and enemies who seek to undo their discoveries. Characters are well developed and the narrative carefully written to make the plot believable. TC is a strong-willed female who faces modern problems and crises, while longing to solve the mysteries of the past.

Targeted for readers nine and older, the book will appeal to younger and older audiences. Promises to be a good series for lovers of ancient Egypt, adventure, mystery and intriguing characters.

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MARDI GRAS MAYHEM

The Mardi Gras Chase (True Girls Book 1)

Written by Maggie M. Larche

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Fast moving middle grade mystery adventure involving three friends, Melanie, Kate, and Faye. While attending one of the mardi gras parades in Mobile, Alabama, the girls notice that some of the letters on the floats are upside down. They copy the letters R.C.E.N.R.A.P. In addition, the strange letters appear only on the high and “poufy” floats. These friends do some internet research, discovering that Mr. Simmingham is their designer. The girls visit the museum to investigate the floats stored from the parade they had missed and vow to attend the rest of the parades during the week to continue the investigation. But the friends must attend a history presentation on Saturday, so they enlist Matt to collect the information. The plot thickens when Matt is arrested; the girls are relieved to find he had already succeeded in his mission. They are unsuccessful in cracking the code until they receive help from an unlikely source. A visit to the cemetery leads to another hair raising adventure and unexpected rewards.

Targeted for a middle grade audience of eight to twelve year olds, the plot moves along quickly. There is probably a bit too much dialogue, but that is appropriate for this age group. Strong female role models, strong family relationships, a tinge of scariness and mystery, plus the unusual Mobile mardi gras setting, set it apart from the typical middle grade adventure tale. First book in a series that will succeed if the characters continue to grow and evolve.

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A YEAR ON THE FARM

Toby’s Tails: Still Wagging (Fantasy Farm Tales Book 4)

Written by Susan Keefe

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Toby, the Border Collie, narrates his adventures at Fantasy Farm in France. He lives with two humans and an assortment of farm animals with whom he shares many adventures. Readers learn a lot about Toby as well as real life facts about life on the farm.

The first book tells about Toby’s first year of life and how he was trained to be a proper border collie. In this book, readers are treated to adventures on the farm throughout the seasons from spring, summer, autumn and back to winter. Toby meets Scarlet, a squirrel who introduces us to her drey and new babies. On a car trip, Toby explains what log lorries are, we meet some bees in the meadow pollinating plants, and noisy baby goats who are growing fast. Young readers learn about the differences between a mouse and a vole, the arrival of the swallows and the wrens. At the market, mum buys fresh vegetables and guinea fowl. Of course, there must be a mystery adventure. When Henrietta, a brown hen is missing, Toby is on red alert. Readers learn about rabbits and how they breed in the spring. Toby has quite a strange experience when the family decides to go on a picnic and Mum has an interesting experience with stick insects. Mum is excited when a horse named Marine comes to live on their farm. As the season turns to autumn, the slow worms emerge to do their work. In practically no time at all, frost has returned and winter is just around the corner. How will the animals on the farm adapt and change?

Love this approach to teaching children about animals and life on a real farm in the countryside. The photos are beautiful and charming. This chapter book of a little more than fifty pages could be broken up in sections as a classroom read aloud. There is a lot of information packed within the pages. Perfect choice for an eight to ten year old who loves animals.

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