Friday, September 25, 2015

Pre-Review - Early Chapter Books

It's a pre-review, not a preview, because these are some books that aren't on our list to for the Early Chapter Book materials review next Friday - so we reviewed them early.

Check out the pre-review books below and then join us on October 2nd at 9:30 am for an Early Chapter Books materials review with reviews, updates on popular series, refreshments, giveaways, and a bit of the author's perspective from panelist Doug Wilhelm (Treasure Town, Choose Your Own Adventure). Event details are here. These are always a fun event, lots of time for conversation and to check out new and upcoming books. We hope you can join us upstairs in the Children's room next Friday!


published by Puffin, paperback series, $4.99
Friday is always an exciting day for Humphrey, the class hamster. That's when he finds out where he will spend the weekend away from his usual home at Longfellow School. This time it will be Mandy's house, and her own hamster, Winky, has his very own hamster-size car. Humphrey falls in love with driving the first time he's behind the wheel --with a familiar nod to some of our favorite literary characters-- and wishes he had his own car to race Winky. Lucky for him, the teacher in Room 26 is able to make his dream a reality. Humphrey is a sweet protagonist who makes amusing observations about the students. This title has the same characters, humorous action, and gentle tone of the original Humphrey books for older kids, but the large print, short chapters, and numerous cartoon-style illustrations make this series perfect for readers brand new to chapter books.

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo
published by Candlewick, paperback series, $5.99
DiCamillo has incorporated characters from her popular Mercy Watson series into this slightly lengthier spin-off. Leroy Ninker is a concession stand worker at the local drive-in movie theater with dreams of being a real-life cowboy. (“Yippee-i-oh, that is the life for me! A cowboy is who I was meant to be.”) One day he discovers a horse for sale-- Maybelline, a horse who responds to generous and poetic praise. Part cowboy story and part pet love story, this multi-layered tale beautifully balances comically exaggerated details and true spirit. DiCamillo is a master of creating fully developed characters and plotline while retaining accessibility for emerging readers. Yee-haw!-- we give it a definite thumbs up.

The Princess In Black by Shannon Hale
published by Candlewick, paperback series, $6.99
The authors of "Rapunzel’s Revenge" and "Calamity Jack," writing here for a slightly younger audience, successfully turn the typical princess genre on its ear, offering beginning readers a clever, adventurous, and self-reliant heroine who is equally at home in black or pink. Princess Magnolia’s superhero identity is top secret; Duchess Wigtower must not find out. The Duchess snoops around her castle, always looking for evidence of the princesses' imperfections. Short sentences, a simple vocabulary with the occasional challenge, a manageable length, and a near picture-book level of illustrations give this chapter book immense accessibility-- for boys and girls both.

Space Taxi-- Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass & Michael Brawer
published by Little Brown, paperback series $5.99
This sci-fi adventure introduces an engaging character, Archie Morningstar, who can’t yet appreciate his last name, even though ‘Morning Star’ is the nickname for the planet Venus. When the action begins, it is Take Your Kid To Work Day and Archie doesn’t know about his father’s secret identity as an intergalactic voyager who pilots a space taxi. Soon Archie himself is being tested as a navigator who can expertly spot wormholes, with the help of a furry deputy named Pockets. A zippy plot propels the reader through a galactic adventure that never overdoes it-- the surprises are gentle, and the humor is always on target for a young demographic.

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