The Pirate Pig
Written by Cornelia Funke
Illustrated by Kerstin Meyer
Age Level: 7 - 10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
This is a great read! It’s an easy chapter book that’s also a pirate story! Poor Julie is thrown overboard by pirates, but she’s rescued by Stout Sam and Pip. They quickly discover Julie’s talent . . . she can sniff out treasure. Really! Of course the pirates discover they threw away a treasure-finding pig, and they are off to capture Julie, by hook or by crook. Pirates and pigs, kids will love this book!
Written by Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
Age Level: 7 - 10
Grade Level: 2 - 5
I loved this book, and I think kids will too! Poor Daniel! He has to move to a new house, and he thinks it’s haunted. And Megabat! He falls asleep on a papaya and wakes up in a foreign country with broom-swatting humans. Daniel and Megabat discover they need to help each other. They bond over important things like Star Wars, juice boxes, light sabers, and a common enemy – the mean boy next door. It’s a friendship in the making, and a great new series.
The Language of Spells
Written by Garret Wehr
Illustrated by Katie Harnett
Age Level: 10 - 14
Grade Level: 5 - 9
This week’s blog was about saying goodbye to a friend, and so is this book. Its hook, the magic of being ordinary. Grisha the dragon’s super-power is seeing the ordinary, which seems so dull and unmagical. Grisha’s tested when he’s turned into a vase. He sits on a shelf and watches life pass him by first in an Austrian palace, then in a London shop during the bombing of WWII. It takes the magic of one friendship to return him to dragon-form and to Vienna. It takes the magic of another to help Grisha solve the mystery of the missing dragons of Vienna. Read this story to discover how an ordinary girl saves them by sacrificing the thing she loves most. This story is truly magical!
The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
Written by Holly Schindler
Age Level: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 3 - 7
I read this book 3 years ago, but I still remember it. I loved the message! The title and the cover first caught my eye, and I was curious about that junction. The main character, Auggie Jones lives in a poor neighborhood with her grandfather who’s a junk man. Her school closes, and she’s sent to a new one. That’s where she meets the school’s mean girl, Victoria. Her father is on the beautification committee, and he wants to get rid of Auggie’s neighborhood. She fights back by turning garbage into art, but Victoria and her father don’t see it. They still see junk. Read to find out how this story turns out. It has a great message about what’s trash and what’s treasure. Hint…there’s a happy ending at the junction of Sunshine and Lucky!
Written by Annemarie O’Brien
Age Level: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 - 6
I’ve been tracking my reading since 2015. This was the 10th chapter book that I read. I’m at #99 now, but I still remember how much I loved this story. I hope you’ll check it out too.
Lara’s Gift is historical fiction, and it’s so well researched! I loved the detail that Annemarie wove into her plot. Lara is a young Russian girl who wants to become a kennel steward, but not just any steward. She wants to be the one who cares for the borzoi dogs that belong to the Russian Tsar (king). Lara has the job, until her mother has a baby boy. Nowadays that’s not a problem, but back then boys got all the great jobs. The drama increases when you discover Lara has 2 gifts…she has a special understanding for borzois, and, she has visions, something her father doesn’t understand, or approve of. Read and find out how Annemarie weaves this great story together.
PS- Annemarie got this idea from her time working in Russia. She was even given her 1st borzoi puppy. Lucky Annemarie!
PPS- I found this in my notes…I loved this book so much I had trouble stopping at the end of the chapters. I wanted to find out what was next for Lara.
A Dog Like Daisy
Written by Kristen O’Donnell Tubb
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 - 7
I knew when I was halfway through this book that I had to review it. The hook, a dog is 2 days away from being put down when 3 people enter the pound. They’re looking for a special dog that can be trained to become a therapy dog. This is the perfect book to honor our veterans, many of whom return home with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After serving our country, they find themselves flashing back to the horrors of the battlefield. It makes life difficult for them, difficult for their families. Read this book to find out how Daisy passes her tests to become a therapy dog, and how she heals her new pack of humans. If you are interested in learning more about therapy dogs, read all the way to the back matter. Kristin will tell you how she got the idea for this book, and how she researched it. Daisy has become one of my favorite books, one of my favorite dogs!
Ranger in Time: Escape from the Great Earthquake
Written by Kate Messner
Age Level: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 2- 5
I love learning history from the eyes of a dog! Ranger travels back in time to rescue children from history’s most famous disasters. When his first aid kit hums to life, it’s time to travel. In book 6, Ranger is sent back to San Francisco for the 1906 Earthquake. His job— to rescue 3 kids, first from earthquake, then from fire, and worst of all, from anti-Chinese prejudice. Ranger is thrown clueless into each mission, and he can't return home until the kit hums to life again.
The back matter helps you uncover the truth to this story which was based on accounts from people who survived the quake. The best part—the words and pictures about San Francisco in 1906, and today.
Lunadar: Homeward Bound
Written by Donna L Martin
Ages/Grade Level: teen/young adult
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Sorry, wrong book! Mystics, Mermaids, and Fairies, Pirates, Drundles and a Dark Lord, oh my! This is the book Donna has woven in a far away land named Lunadar. The hook, our heroine, 18-year-old Princess Ariana must fight to save her kingdom from the Dark Lord and his minions, the Drundles. She must turn pirate to find food and money to keep her kingdom afloat. Her allies, the fairies and mermaids, are limited in what they can do. Lunadar is only available in Kindle now. A paper copy is coming soon, and so is the next book in the series.
Mermaid Tales #18 Fairy Chase
Written by Debbie Dadey
Ages: 6 - 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
It’s another mermaid tale! The hook, do you believe in fairies? Peter Pan did, but Echo isn’t so sure. She’s fascinated when her aunt and uncle return from an ocean adventure, and they got to meet the Hairy Fairy! Echo is determined to find out if fairies are real. Read, and you’ll find out too. The best part, a sweet ending. That’s when you discover why Echo’s mom never liked fairies.
PS- I reviewed Twist and Shout, another Mermaid Tai in November of 2017. Here’s the link:
Written by Debbie Dadey
Ages: 9 - 12
Grade Level: 4 – 6
This book is old, 18 years old. It was originally published in 2000. In 2001 it came out in paperback. It was out of print till 2014. That’s when kindle offered it again.
The hook, 2 girls are swept onto the Trail of Tears. It all starts when Allie sneaks out of church and over to Leaf Sweetwater’s house. She tries on Leaf’s new dress, and that’s when soldiers arrived to take everone prisoner, including Allie,. The soldiers see her Indian dress, her tan, and refuse to set her free. Allie must find a way to leave word for her family. Read to find out if she succeeds.
I’m glad kindle offers books like this. Kids still need stories like this one about cross-cultural friendships.
Snow & Rose
Written and Illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
Ages: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Can you imagine…your father disappears, your mother goes into a deep depression, and you’re thrown out of your house? I thought that was the hook, but Emily’s version is much better…. “Snow and Rose didn’t know they were living in a fairy tale. People never do.” What a great line! Maybe I can use it someday!
In this retelling of SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED by the Brothers Grimm, 2 little girls must adjust to a new life, and it’s nothing like Disney’s Snow White. I kept looking for the 7 dwarfs. I never found them, but I found gorgeous pictures in every single chapter. Check out the illustrations, but don’t forget to read the story!
Whenever I read or write, I find a comfy chair with a great view. I get my favorite drink, stretch out, and let the words take me away.