Sunday, October 21, 2012

When Only an Early Chapter Book Will Do

I just finished reading a fabulous early chapter book, and realized that I had been remiss in posting for these readers.  As I have said before, I think the early chapter book is an area that many kids and parents struggle through.  Kids are ready for more than an early reader, but chapter books can be overwhelming.  This is a critical time to get kids excited about books - so in comes the early chapter book to the rescue!

When done well, these books can just knock my socks off, and this week I have gone barefoot!  Hope you enjoy this weeks selections and happy reading!  Don't forget to like one great book on Facebook or follow us on twitter.

Title:          Lulu Walks the Dogs

Author:      Judith Viorst

Target:       Kindergarten - Grade 2

Series:       Yes

What this book is about:
A sequel to one of my favorite books, Lulu and the Brontosaurus, this book leaves us with the new and improved Lulu, who now needs money for something she is “ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want!”  As the title would suggest, dog walking becomes the way to earn that cash.  However, (and isn’t there always a however) walking three dogs isn’t as easy as it first appears!  Will Lulu be able to accept help from Fleischman, the goody-goody, perfect boy from down the street or will the girl who always gets what she wants have to give up on her big dream?

Why I love this book:
Lulu is such a delightfully willfull and entitled character that her over the top antics simply add fun and humor to the story!  

I really enjoy the way that the author pulls herself out of the story to talk to the reader and make sure they are getting her comic turns.  She does it just enough to keep the reader on their toes and laughing.  The author also inserts several variations of the money song throughout the book, which are quite silly, and my daughter had to run out and sing each one to me!

The illustrations by Lane Smith are fabulous, especially how he has captured the personality of each dog that Lulu has to walk, or in some cases who walk her!  And of course, how can I forget a book that has a time out and overtime section, just to make the reader feel that they earned a little more of the story.

Who this book is for:
Perfect for kids just starting chapter books.  Lots of illustrations and shorter chapters.

Final thoughts:
As my daughter would say, “when is the next Lulu book?”  When, oh when, Judith Viorst?

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Lulu Walks the Dogs  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:        Bink and Gollie: Two for One

Author:    Kate Dicamillo and Alison McGhee

Target:     Kindergarten - Grade 2

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Bink is short, Gollie is tall.  Bink is messy, Gollie is neat.  Bink is spunky, Gollie is reserved.  Bink and Gollie are best friends.  Welcome to the odd couple of early  chapter books.  In this book, Bink and Gollie go to the state fair and share three adventures which include the Wack a Duck booth, a talent show and a fortune teller.  What they find is affirmation of their friendship.

Why I love this book:
I must confess that I wasn’t a huge fan of their first book, however the second one is just delightful and the details in Tom Fucile’s illustrations are perfect.  There is humor in every situation, sometimes slapstick and sometimes fairly sophisticated, and Bink and Gollie are there for each other - no matter what.

Who this book is for:
Kids who want a chapter book but are not yet ready for them.  There are pictures on every page and only one or two sentences per page, but the book is divided into three stories so it feels more substantial.

Final thoughts:
Bink and Gollie are two friends you should get to know!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Bink and Gollie, Two for One  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:          Marty Mcguire

Author:      Kate Messner

Target:       Grades 1-3

Series:        Yes

What this book is about:
Marty likes catching frogs, digging for bugs and pretending she is Jane Goodall, saving the chimpanzees.  When her third grade teacher informs the class they will be putting on the play The Frog Prince, the last part Marty wants is that of the princess.  But, of course, that is were she is cast!  Can she overcome her aversion to glitter and make the play a success and can she make the part her own?

Why I love this book:
Just a wonderful beginning to a delightful new early reader series.  At one point when the class is learning about improvisation, they use an exercise called the Sculpture Garden.  Suffice it to say, by the end of the chapter I was laughing out loud!

I also like it when girls aren’t typecast as princesses.  Marty is her own person, and at times that is a struggle for her.  That struggle makes her character more believable and I think children will better relate to her because of it.  

Who this book is for:
Kids who are reading early chapter books with illustrations throughout but not on each page.  This book doesn’t really lend it itself to one gender so I think boys and girls can enjoy it!

Final thoughts:
Wonderful debut!  I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Marty McGuire  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blob.

Title:          Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

Author:      Julie Sternberg

Target: Kindergarten - Grade 2

Series:        No

What this book is about: 
The story is about a young girl whose babysitter, Bibi, is moving away.  She has to deal with the loss of someone close to her, and realize that she can miss Bibi but still adapt to change.

Why I love this book: 
I love that the subject matter in this book is dealt with in a way that second graders can relate to it.  The ideas are simple and well executed so it feels that a young child would be able to understand the emotions that the main character, Eleanor is going through.

Who this book is for:
This book is wonderful for children just moving to chapter books.  The layout of pages are not overwhelming and the text is very manageable for a new reader, with pictures on every page.  

Final thoughts:
A complex topic written in a simple way.   This is really a lovely book with some depth for the younger set!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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