Written by Jenny Goebel
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: P – 3
LOVED this book! I couldn’t imagine a pig as a pet, let alone as a therapy animal, but now I can. And the characters in this story – they’re so well done! Grace is a 12-year-old girl whose mother just got married. There are so many kids who can identify with Grace and the adjustments she’s making to start this new family. This is her first Christmas to share her mom with anyone else. Poor Grace! She can’t even decide what to call her new stepfather.
It gets even worse when Mr. P, her stepdad, gives her a pig for Christmas. Grace was absolutely sure she was finally going to get that doodle dog she’d always wanted. NOT! This book is full of great themes for tweens and teens, stepfamilies, boys, friends, and even for understanding yourself. I hope teens and tweens will love it like I did.
Don’t Check Out This Book!
Written by Kate Klise
Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Please check this one out! It’s so well done! The plot, the characters, especially their names! Rita B. Danjerous or May B. Danjerous – so clever! It’s also a graphic novel, done with text messages, emails, and newspaper articles. Warning – there’s so much to read that I needed reading glasses . . . I didn’t want to miss a detail, and I don’t think kids will either! This book is TOO much fun!
Written by Daniel Pinkwater
Illustrated by Adam Stower
Age Level: 5 – 9
Grade Level: K – 4
Mrs. Noodlekugel was one of the first books I recorded in my reading journal back when it was a new book. It’s been a while!
I loved the story from cover to cover! The setting – a tiny house in the center of New York City. The characters – a little old lady, her pet mice, and a few gingerbread ones too. The genre – fantasy with a gingerbread man, a little magic, plus a modern twist. It’s an early reader that doesn’t talk down to its audience, and it’s also the first book in a series of three. It’s perfect for young readers who are looking for an adventure!
Cat Stronauts: Digital Disaster
Written by Drew Brockington
Age Level: 6 – 10
Grade Level: 1 – 5
This is a great graphic novel! It’s Book 6 in this series! The Cat Stronauts have been sent to check out the Space Hotel before the grand opening. The top kittens at Space Camp are invited too. Everything’s on track until AVA (Advanced Artificial Intelligence) meets Cat-Stro-Bot. AVA wants to escape so she quits the hotel system and takes over Cat-Stro-Bot’s circuits. Can you imagine the disasters! Can the cats save the hotel? You’ll have to read to find out.
BTW – I was sure this story was written by someone who understood space. Drew did! He flew in the space shuttle – at Space Camp!
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us
Written & Illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Age Level: 5 – 8
Grade Level: K – 4
I love this story of friendship and teamwork! Hedgehog lives on an island, alone with his best friend Mutty. When a storm hits, they’re washed away. Hedgehog makes it to safety, but not Mutty. Follow the search as Hedgehog finds new friends. The best part – they all work together to find the missing Mutty. This is a new series of friendship adventures for Hedgehog.
Written by Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Age Level: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
Who doesn’t love a good mystery? The chicks from the Chicken Squad sure do! This is the 6th book in their crime solving series. The day starts off with Anna McClanahanahan’s missing hamster. Things get worse when Barbara disappears before she feeds them breakfast. Then the unimaginable – a headless bear’s roaming the neighborhood. So many mysteries! Can the Chicken Squad solve any of them, AND get fed?
Written by Mike and Rachel Grinti
Age Level: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
This book was so clever I couldn’t put it down. Emma’s sister is missing. It looks impossible . . . until a talking cat, Jack, tells Emma that her sister has been kidnapped by fairies. The kind who use human eyes to see. Follow Emma and Jack into a forest filled with harpies and hags, trolls and crags. Will Emma and Jack return with her sister, and their eyes intact? You’ll have to read to find out!
PS – My favorite part was the Crag fact that started each chapter. They led me deeper into the fantasy of this story.
Weekends with Max and His Dad
Written by Linda Urban
Illustrated by Katie Kath
Age Level: 7 – 9
Grade Level: P – 6
I loved this book! It’s a quiet chapter book for young readers, especially boys. It’s divided into 3 stories taking place over 3 weekends. Max is a 3rd grader whose parents aren’t together. When he visits his dad’s new apartment that 1st time, he becomes a detective so he can scope out the new neighborhood. The next weekend, Max has a bad case of the no-where to sit blues. They find the cure with a little furniture, and some good music. The final weekend Max needs to build a porcupine habitat, but he forgot his supplies at school, and dad is sick. Would you believe Max found 2 habitats, one for the porcupines? And one with his dad.
PS – I discovered Max has a 2nd book that I’d love to read – ROAD TRIP WITH MAX AND MOM.
Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion:
The Questioneers Book #3
Written by Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by David Roberts
Age Level: 6 – 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
I didn’t know Andrea Beaty did chapter books! I knew about her picture book series with titles like ADA TWIST SCIENTIST. I love how clever they are! Now Andrea has gotten cleverer – she took all of her picture book characters and put them into a series of chapter books, called the Questioneers!
I loved this story! I was looking for one with hope, and this one popped up in my search! Ada’s Aunt Bernice inherits Herbert Sherbet’s house. He was once the ice cream king and a millionaire. The house used to be incredible, but now it’s run down. Nobody’s done maintenance for years. That means it’s going to take LOTS of MONEY to keep it, and to repair it. Aunt Bernice doesn’t have that kind of money, but she hopes to find Herbert’s collection of antique furniture. If she does, she can sell it and use the money to repair/keep the house. I’ll tell you there’s a happy ending thanks to the questioneers, but you’ll have to read it for yourself!
PS – There’s Back Matter! A tiny bit on subjects that come up in the book like art noveau, art deco, cats with different eye colors, making ice cream, the science behind it at the molecular level, and finally a short bio about Ida Wells.
PPS – Even the end papers are fun, but you’ll have to get the book to see why.
Treasure Hunters #3: Secret of the Forbidden City
Written by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein
Illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
I loved this book! It’s punny! The Kidd family kids must rescue their mom. She’s being held for ransom in the Forbidden City, where the Chinese emperors once lived. The kidnappers don’t want money. They want the Kidds to find missing artwork. MASTERPIECES!
Some of the artwork was taken by the Nazi’s back during World War II. I knew about the artwork, but I absolutely loved how the authors wove that history into a mystery for kids. This story is so well written! I loved following the bread crumbs to find the artwork, and their mom.
PS- So far this is a series of 7 books. The 7th came out in June of 2020. My fingers are crossed that #8 is on its way!
PPS – My post this week was about the White Rose, a set of college kids who used letters to protest against Hitler. Here’s a link to another one for older kids, THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER. It’s about some Danish middle schoolers who decided to resist. Rinda Beach - Beach Reads - Rinda Beach -