Posts tagged ‘personification’

CAT CAPERS

Wendy and Black (Cat Detective 1): The Mystery House

Written by Amma Lee

First in a series of chapter books featuring a fifteen-year-old girl named Wendy and Black, her cat. Wendy has been endowed with a special gift. Once every hundred years a member of her family develops the ability to converse with cats. Wendy uses this gift to communicate with her cat. Together they have become a talented detective team. When a house down the street suddenly appears to be inhabited, Wendy and Black set out to investigate. Wendy’s mom, Mrs. Michaels, asks her to pick up a welcome package for the new neighbor.

Wendy and Black cannot contain their curiosity. They illegally break into the house drawn in by a mysterious purple light. When the floorboards cave in, and Black detects Mrs. Michaels’ presence in the house, their level of fear rises. Will the detective pair solve the mystery? Is Wendy’s mom safe?

This is a short chapter book that is most appropriate for beginning readers. There are a few editing issues. The book is targeted for nine to twelve-year-old readers but probably is not challenging enough for the older end of that age group. I would recommend it especially for reluctant readers and mystery fans.

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CHAMELEON TO THE RESCUE

Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs

Written by Janet-Hurst Nicholson

Illustrated by Barbara McGuire

What a charming chapter book! Nicholson succeeds in creating a clever detective mystery for middle-grade readers. At the same time, the soft illustrations encourage reluctant readers and beginning readers transitioning to chapter books to handle the ten chapters. The text is large and easy to read. Using the technique of personification, Nicholson endows animal creatures like Leon, the chameleon, and Egg Eater the snake with human personalities and a sense of humor. Readers will enjoy practicing their sleuthing skills as they attempt to unravel the mystery of the missing canary eggs. I especially enjoyed the trial process and the very clever dialogue.

This book is part of a series. Although this is my first read, I would explore reading the others. I heartily recommend this book for middle-grade readers, reluctant readers, and mystery lovers. Clever characters and crisp dialogue keep the story interesting. Enjoyable for readers of all ages.

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SEVENTH HEAVEN

Yuri And The Legend of the Seventh Sea

Written by Denis Boystov

Illustrated by Lana Khrapava

This is a sort of coming of age tale of a curious and brave fish named Yuri. Little Yuri lives in a lake where he is loved by his parents and big brother. Yuri is always questioning and never takes no for an answer from his parents and teachers. When he overhears his father tell of a hidden secret map that gives directions to the Seventh Sea, which is a paradise where fish live forever in peace without enemies or danger, Yuri immediately launches a search to find it. He is tired of dodging boats filled with humans, fish hooks, and larger sea creatures desiring to eat him.

After embarking on his journey, Yuri meets up with many dangers but also makes the acquaintance of another fish named Otto who looks out for him.   Yuri and Otto eventually find themselves at the entrance to the Seventh Sea. Now they must get through without wakening the Sea Serpent who will destroy them. Will Yuri survive and if he does, will he find that the paradise truly does exist?

Yuri is an adorable character that children will love. He appears almost human with a personality much like a curious human. The dialogue among the characters is so realistic that readers will forget that Yuri is a fish. I found myself cheering for him to succeed. Children can see themselves in Yuri as he tests his limits, but also faces his fears. The illustrations are beautiful. While I did enjoy this book as an adult reader, I would especially recommend it to a middle-grade audience.

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PONIES AND PRINCESSES

Magical Adventures and Pony Tales: Six Magical Stories in One Spellbinding Book

Written by Angharad Thompson Rees

A magical collection of tales that feature ponies, princesses, adventurers, and sorcerers. Each of the six tales features a type of pony, some of them are real, others are carousel ponies or rocking horses. Little girls will love the combination of princesses and magical ponies, boys can empathize with Hannan seeking his lost parents in the Sahara Desert. Six separate tales feature a well-conceived plot that is filled with an adventure and characters that young readers will find worthy of emulation. The human characters are sometimes naughty and sometimes nice. All of the ponies are personified creatures who bond with their human protagonist.

My favorite story is the first one featuring a painted pony on a carousel ride who dreams of coming to life and spending time running free in the woods. I have fond memories of jumping on my favorite carousel horse and imagining myself doing just that. One night a boy named Seb tells Stargazer about the wild ponies who run free. He dares the pony to wish for more than being trapped on the carousel. Seb encourages Stargazer to imagine, dream and believe. Then anything becomes possible. Will Stargazer achieve his newfound dreams?

I loved the enchanting characters and wonderful relationships the author creates in these tales. While the plots are fanciful, readers of all ages come away really wanting to believe. Targeted for children in grades three through six, these tales are short enough for young readers and engaging for older readers as well. My only critique lies in some formatting issues of text when reading on my Kindle HD Fire. These do not appear to be present in the paperback edition.

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PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

Dottie’s Daring Day

Written by Meg Welch Dendler

Dottie is an adorable dog who lives with Mindy, a University of Arkansas student, and her cat Mindy. About a year before, Mindy had seen Dottie’s picture online and had driven all the way to Oklahoma to adopt her. One Saturday, Mindy decides to take Dottie for a walk on the Razorback Greenway Trail. That decision would begin an adventure Dottie would never forget.

When a bike rider inadvertently loosens Dottie’s leash, she decides spontaneously to run away. Dottie rationalizes that she will be home before dark. Dottie meets a raccoon, a hog, and a seeing eye dog, to name a few travelers along the way. She is frightened and scared, but like a rebellious teenager, her curiosity and love of freedom spur her on. Then Dottie finds herself at a football game. Will she ever be reunited with Mindy?

This animal adventure tale is told in first person. The dialogue is amusing and feels genuine. While the story is marketed for ages three and older, the book is really appropriate for a middle grade and young adult audience. Dendler includes a glossary to assist younger readers with some of the more difficult vocabulary. A few photos enhance the appeal.

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COLD CASE?

Bread N’ Butter: Private Rye

Written by A.J. Cosmo

When Floret Viridian, a beautiful head of broccoli, comes to visit Private Rye in the fridge, he suspects trouble. Floret asks him to find out who stole the royal jelly from her last night. She is the maid for the Dom, who will be furious with her when he finds out. Rye goes with his sidekick butter to Cereal Box Alley, the seedy side of town. There he interviews a potato who tells him that Leek is a suspect. The trail leads to the Carton Egg section and eventually to the Soda Can Diner. Eventually Rye solves the mystery after the plot takes a surprising turn.

There is lots of humor and some clever lines filled with creative analogies and plays on words. This beginning chapter book is perfect for reluctant readers. Clever characters, mystery, and humor set up a winning combination. Recommended especially for seven to ten year old readers.

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LOOKING BEYOND GROUNDHOG DAY

Margot gets an unexpected visit Nature in Quebec, Pictures of Astonishing Wildlife Book 1

Written and photographed by Lieve Snellings

http://smarturl.it/e7uowx

A charming picture book that combines a heartwarming tale of friendship between a groundhog named Margot and two sisters, and amazing facts that feature the wildlife of Quebec. Lowieske and Marie are two sisters native to Belgium who vacation in Quebec. They share their feelings and enjoy adventures together. Margot keeps her own journal. She shares information about her distant relatives, the squirrels. Readers become aware of the many similarities among humans and the groundhog families.

I found the tale of Eufrazie, the squirrel hairdresser, particularly amusing. Margot enlightens us with photos of the hairdos Eufrazie creates for all the animals who are cheering for the Canadian women in the World Hockey Game. I won’t reveal the winner, but as the sisters get ready to depart for Belgium, they are already looking forward to more adventures with Margot and her animal friends next year.

This beautiful book can be used as an introduction to nature for younger children. There is quite a bit of interesting information about the wildlife of Quebec. As such, the book is a good beginning reader that will sustain interest due to the nice blend of fiction and nonfiction. Children can easily empathize with Margot and her wildlife friends. I would particularly recommend it for children in the six to nine age bracket.

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