Friday, August 30, 2013

Brief Thief for Picture Book Friday

I have a good one this week!  I know, I say that every week .... but can you blame me?  The first half of the year was a little dry in the picture book department, but I think those publishers were saving all the good stuff for now.  After reading this book, my son said, "Mom you pick out the best books."  which makes me sure I have a winner.  Ok, I didn't have much doubt with this one, but it's always nice to hear.

Don't forget to like One Great Book on Facebook or follow us on twitter.  That way you won't miss all the funny, can't put down books I have to share.  But maybe your child doesn't like to laugh .... well then turn away .... no more to read here!

Title:       Brief Thief

Author:   Michael Escoffier

Target:    Preschool - Grade 2

What this book is about:
Leon, the lizard has had a busy morning and now he must go poo.  Much to his chagrin, he is out of paper, but an old forgotten pair of underpants full of holes, hanging from a tree, should do the trick.  However when his conscience (a voice from above) begins to speak to him he realizes that maybe he should not have used other peoples things without asking and scrubs them clean.  As it turns out “his conscience” is the owner of the underpants, but is that what they really are?

Why I love this book:
Oh let me count the ways.  First off, I love a good underwear book just about as much as the next kid, but once it crosses the line into gross humor, I’m done.  This book stays well on the clean side with such a clever use of conscience and site gags that you can’t help but laugh out loud.

I mean it, this book is funny in a very smart way.  Perhaps because it was originally written in french, it feels a little more sophisticated.  The illustrations by Kris Di Giacomo are perfect and the page where bunny is using his underpants “correctly” is priceless.  It needs no words and delivers the punchline beautifully.

I also like the little bit of learning kids get about making things right and listening to their inner voice.

Who this book is for:
I can’t imagine a kid not having a great time with this story!

Final thoughts:
I will be brief - go get this book!

To order this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Brief Thief  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Books Similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid

As Diary of a Wimpy Kid remains popular as ever, I like to give parents other choices in the diary/graphic novel genre to keep their kids excited about reading.

This week I have a new series from the creator of Over the Hedge, which showcases some deadpan humor and is extremely clever.  This one may be a new favorite of mine.  I am also featuring one of my favorite girl books, Ellie McDoodle, whose stories include wonderful activities and games for kids to engage in.  Lastly, I want to remind parents of Big Nate, a terrific series to read if your kids liked the Wimpy Kid books.

Don't forget to like One Great Book on Facebook or follow us on twitter.  It is a great way to keep up with all the book selections and get information on kid's literature.

Title:       The Odd Squad: Bully Bait

Author:   Michael Fry

Target:    Grades 3 - 6

Series:     This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
Nick thinks he is the smallest kid in school, which is probably a result of his being shoved in lockers on a regular basis.  When his guidance counselor brings together the three misfits of his class and forces them to join the Safety Patrol so that they can fit in, things really start to get fun.  With a plan to stop the biggest bully in school, Nick, tall Molly and clueless Karl end up in more trouble than they bargained for.  But doing the right thing, even if it means being nice to a bully, is always for the best, right?

Why I love this book:
This book is so darn funny, in a smart and deadpan way.  Nick is so matter of fact in his humor that I couldn’t stop laughing.  If there was one character that just about put me over the top it was Nick’s grandmother, Memaw, who was the perfect caricature of the clueless old lady who is anything but.  

The subject matter is certainly not a walk in the park, but Fry deals with kid’s quirks in a surprisingly real, if not funny way.  Each character is an extreme, but they are perfect in their depiction.

Who this book is for:
The humor in this book reminded me a lot of Timmy Failure, so if your kids liked that book, this book will deliver for them.  Kids who like the format of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, should also gravitate to this story.

Final thoughts:
Michael Fry is the creator of the comic Over the Hedge, so if you are a fan of his work, this book will not disappoint.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Odd Squad: Bully Bait (Odd Squad Book, An)  A portion of each purchase goes back to this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Ellie McDoodle: Most Valuable Player

Author:   Ruth McNally Barshaw

Target:    Grades 3-6

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
In this installment, Ellie is recruited on to the soccer team when her father becomes the coach.  She is far from the best player on the team and struggles to keep up.  Soccer is not the only group she finds herself in.  She is also in teams for science class and her Journey of the Minds squad and she realizes that she has to find a way to work with people who may not be quite like her, in order to succeed.  On and off the field, she figures out how to be a team player.

Why I love this book:
I am a big fan of the Ellie McDoodle books.  Not only do I like Ellie as she struggles through her latest set of challenges but I believe the author does a wonderful job engaging the reader to get involved in drawing, mind puzzles, games and arts & crafts.  

In this book alone, kids learn how to make a ninja star, solve several challenging puzzles (believe me, I was stumped,) make computer faces, play sponge ball and build a Rube Goldberg contraption.  How cool is that?

Who this book is for:
Format is similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid so kids who like the mix of text and drawings will really like this book.  This book should appeal to girls.  While Ellie is playing soccer in this book, your child does not have to be a fan of the game to enjoy it.

Final thoughts:
These books are just lovely and fun and I so appreciate how the author motivates kids to try things that are inspired by the story.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Ellie McDoodle Diaries: Most Valuable Player  A portion of each purchase goes back to this blog at no cost to you.

Title:          Big Nate in a Class by Himself
Author:     Lincoln Peirce
Target:      Grades 3-6
What this book is about:
Nate is a sixth grader, and everything seems to be going wrong for him.  When he opens a fortune cookie that tells him he will “surpass all others,” it leads to an interesting day.  His fortune does come true, but in the most unexpected and funny way!

Why I love this book:
This book is actually laugh out loud funny (yes you caught me...gym shorts, a drill sergeant PE teacher and a surprised sixth grader...enough said)  It had me in stitches.  The author has actually been writing a long standing weekly comic strip about Nate for years, so he is a fully developed character
Who this book is for:
For any child who loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate will certainly delight.  The good news is that Big Nate is quite a bit more age appropriate for the younger  grades.   While Nate is a sixth grader, his anecdotes are pretty tame as he navigates through a day at school, where he seems to get detention at every turn.  However, there are a few times where characters say “shut up” or “butthead” so if this is something that bothers you then you should probably wait until your kids are older to buy the book.  Additionally, there are a few grammatical errors, but they are not rampant.  
Final thoughts:
This is an easy fun read, similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  With a haiku to the Cheez Doodle what is not to love!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Big Nate In a Class by Himself

Friday, August 23, 2013

Will The Matchbox Diary Win the Caldecott?

Well my pitter patter towards the Caldecott continues this week, with the next book I think is in contention for this prestigous honor.  Of course, a room full of carefully selected and highly intelligent librarians actually select the book to receive the shiny bronze sticker  (and a few honor books - if said librarians are feeling generous.)  But I always thought it was interesting to know what criteria they use to determine a winner.

First the award is given annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book (if the author and artist are not one in the same, the poor guy/gal who wrote the words get bupkiss!)   Key here is that the artist must be a US citizen.  So if you ever wondered why some of those fabulous European books never get the sticker, wonder no more, they have their own awards!

Now what does distinguished mean exactly?  Well this is of course dependant on the make up of the judges and their sensibilities, which changes annually, but in general you can count on a few things.  In laymens terms (sort of):

Unique Illustrations that move the story forward without detracting from the main message.

Illustrations that represent the story's "plot, theme, characters setting, mood."

Illustrations that are well suited for the book's intended readers.  And it is worth noting that readers can go up the age of fourteen.

What I always found surprising in the criteria is what you won't find.  The book does not have to be popular with kids or even engage a broader audience.

The Caldecott is about finding the best of the best it terms of pictures that completely and creatively tell a story.  It is not meant to get your kids exctited about picture books, but if that happens in unison, well then bravo.  I do believe that it happened last year with Jon Klassen's win for This Is Not My Hat.

Just something to think about as you select books for your kids.  While it is wonderful to expose them to distinguished books, remember that the award criteria is not a book your child is guaranteed to like, it is simply a book that was done well.

So on to my next book in the running!  To see the other Caldecott contender I have profiled click here: Building Our House.

Title:       The Matchbox Diary

Author:   Paul Fleischman

Target:    Kindergarten - Grade 3

What this book is about:
This book tells the story of a kindergarten girl who has gone to visit her grandfather.  He is an immigrant from Italy and when she finds a cigar box full of little matchboxes in his store, he shares with her the story of the treasures that reside in each of the boxes.  One box has an olive pit that he used to suck on when he was hungry and the family didn’t have enough food.  Another box has sunflower seeds which he used to count the days he was on the ship taking him to America.  Each box has a something to signify his long journey from poor Italian farmer to a shop owner in the U.S.

Why I love this book:
The construction of this book is just delightful.  The idea of a story behind each treasure which is revealed in the matchbox is quite enchanting and poignant.  But what makes this book extra special is how it brings history into the mix for kids.  In a very easy to understand way, Fleischman has presented the story of American immigrants.  Kids will be captivated by each item and the one paragraph story behind it which conveys so much.

I also want to commend the illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline.  His sepia toned drawings revealing the memory of each object are quite captivating and bring the story alive.  I think that kids will be truly surprised at how different life was for these immigrants than their own lives are now.

Who this book is for:
I have targeted the book beginning at Kindergarten because I think kids need to be a little older to truly appreciate some of the history.  My third grade daughter was captivated by the book.

Final thoughts:
I really wish the cover was a better reflection of the beauty of this story

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Matchbox Diary  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Early Chapter Books to the Rescue

Well vacation is now over so the serious work of book recommendations resumes!  Welcome to Monday Book Picks.  This week I am taking on the early chapter book.

Early chapter books represent a significant transition for your child.  They can now follow longer story lines and they are faster at decoding words.

These books are a step up in their reading experience as they learn how to predict what will happen next in a story and follow the logic of the story line when more details and descriptors are presented in the narrative.

A great early chapter book can give them a glimpse of what is to come, and inspire their love of books. So get cracking and get some good stories in front of them.  I promise you won't regret it!

Don't forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook or twitter.  You don't want to miss the next post, I have some sweet stuff coming (see my little homage to Arnie the Doughnut which is a sweet read, by the way!)

Title:       The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit

Author:    Laurie Keller

Target:     Grades 1-3

Series:      This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
One of my favorite picture book characters has returned for an early reader adventure.  After not getting eaten by Mr. Bing and becoming his doughnut dog, Arnie finds himself accompanying Mr. Bing on all his activities, including bowling.  At the big bowling tournament, Arnie knows something is up when Mr. Bing throws an unheard of gutter ball.  Is there foul play involved?

Why I love this book:
Keller has kept so many of the elements that made her picture book, Arnie the Doughnut, so charming - the funny asides and the knee slapping humor.  As Arnie says on the cover, “I beat out two muffins and an onion bagel for the starring role in this chapter book!”

This is the type of book that gets read more than once as kids discover new jokes, funny comments and interesting details in the illustrations.  There is so much to find and appreciate that parents won’t even mind reading it with their kids, and I don’t say that often about an early chapter book!

Who this book is for:
There are plenty of illustrations on every page of this book and usually one or two paragraphs per page.  The bigger issue is vocabulary and humor.  The word choices are a little more difficult and some of the jokes are more sophisticated.

Final thoughts:
I love the invention of the seventh-frame stretch for bowling, replete with song!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Bowling Alley Bandit (Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters

Author:    Lenore Look

Target:     Grades 1-4

Series:      Yes

What this book is about:
No matter how petrified you many be about life, you will never match the worry level of Alvin Ho!  In this installment of the Alvin Ho series,  Alvin ends up having to go on a camping trip, but since he is one to plan for every possible outcome, he has brought along: night vision goggles, a backup generator, a heavy duty flashlight and water purification tablets.  As he worries and frets his way through this trip, he comes out of it with a new appreciation for nature, and his family.

Why I love this book:
Alvin is just wonderfully funny and I have to admit there is a scene were the ever patient dad gets caught in a dangling trap that had me laughing out loud.  What makes Alvin such a great character for kids is that his fears go to the extreme, so no matter what your child may be concerned about, they are never as nervous as Alvin.  I think this provides a great amount of comfort and allows kids to take a humorous look at their own phobias.

The characters around Alvin are also so well done.  His sister Anibelly is the perfect foil for Alvin, as she bravely and naively marches into any situation.  His father is understanding and helpful as he pushes Alvin ever so gently out of his comfort zone.

But in the end, these books will simply make kids laugh.

Who this book is for:
Kids have to feel comfortable with chapter books, but there are illustrations liberally scattered on just about every other page.

Final thoughts:
Nice that the main character is Asian American to provide some diversity for kids.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Daisy’s Perfect Word

Author:   Sandra Feder

Target:    Grades 1-3

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Daisy’s favorite thing to do is collect words.  When her teacher, Miss Goldner announces she will be getting married and leaving the school, Daisy wants to get her the perfect going away present.  But what will it be?  Daisy decides on a very original gift, but can she find it in time?

Why I love this book:
This book is absolutely charming, and with just the right amount of suspense, kids will be hanging on to the very end.  Daisy must find the perfect word as her present, and my daughter and I were so curious to find out what it was.

This book is also a lovely way to introduce the power of words to kids, without feeling preachy or like you are delivering a lesson.  I love the way the author evaluates the words that Daisy might pick, encouraging kids to think about what their word choices will convey.  A book that might make your child a better writer - not too shabby for an early chapter book.

Who this book is for:
My daughter loved it, and she is very finicky so I think it will be a hit with most kids.  The illustrations might feel a little girly, so boys may be less inclined to pick it up, but the story certainly will engage both boys and girls.  Readers must feel confident with chapters that have a scattering of illustrations.

Final thoughts:
Can you put the book down, or will you be so curious about the perfect word for Miss Goldner that you read the book in one sitting?  But don’t peak at the ending ... come on that’s cheating!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Daisy's Perfect Word  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Friday, August 16, 2013

When Royals Wore Ruffles for Picture Book Friday

Happy Friday!  I have just returned from several weeks on vacation, and as I compile all the reading I have done, I have so many wonderful finds to share with you over the upcoming weeks.  I have read some great stuff that I think your kids will just devour!

But back to the task at hand, Picture Book Friday!  This picture book I had tucked away for when Kate Middleton gave birth to her royal princess .... oops!  Oh, well, all your little princesses (and fashionistas) can enjoy it as well, mine certainly loves looking through it over and over again.

Title:       When Royals Wore Ruffles

Author:    Chesley McLaren and Pamela Jaber

Target:     Grades 1-4

What this book is about:
While billed as an alphabet book, this book is more of a lesson on the history of fashion.  Who doesn’t love G is for Go-Go Boots, S is of course for Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes and Z for the Zany World of Fashion.

Why I love this book:
The illustrations are gorgeous, full of color, humor and fun.  I loved all the fashion history and tidbits.  My third grade daughter loves simply looking at the pictures and sharing fun facts.  

Who this book is for:
This book is for kids who love fashion.  It is not a traditional alphabet book, so it is really for an older audience.

Final thoughts:
”It’s not the size of your bow ... It’s the spring in your step!”

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: When Royals Wore Ruffles: A Funny and Fashionable Alphabet!  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hope you enjoy this blog from last year that took on the Grimm fairy tales for kids.  These books are extremely entertaining, and represent some talented writing that brings so much to the original tales.

As Einstein said "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."  While I think the quote speaks primarily to the power of imagination, the Grimm fairytales certainly stretch that imagination.  The stories were collected by the Grimm brothers in the early 1800's and they represented life at that time, sometimes cruel and often difficult.  However, in trying to preserve German folklore, the brothers stumbled upon tales that entranced young readers and defined central themes in literature.

Editors began fixing these tales to make them more palatable, softer and sweeter, but still they never managed to completely take the edge off and they remain, as a result, intriguing stories that are revisited time and time again. 

This week I have selected books based on the Grimm brothers' collection.  Some stay true to the stories' origins, some provide an intriguing backstory to the characters and some bring humor and levity to the tales, but all embrace the rich history and storytelling recorded by these famous brothers.

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Title:          A Tale Dark & Grimm
Author:     Adam Gidwitz
Target:      Grades 4-7

Series:        No
What this book is about:
This book is the story of Hansel and Gretel, pre-birth (their parents meeting and marriage) through their childhood. The story is told in the fashion of a true Grimm fairy tale, violent and bloody - really.  A faithful servant turned to stone, a father who cuts his children’s heads off, a baker who is really a cannibal, and a boy who morphs into a beast, are just a few of the stories in this book.
Why I love this book:
No, I am not crazy, nor blood hungry, nor a lover of the gruesome.  In fact I am fairly squeamish!  What makes this story an absolute pleasure, and downright funny, is an ever present narrator who consistently lightens the mood and casts the stories in whole new light.  As the narrator says “if such things bother you, we should probably stop right now.”  But don’t.  This story is too good.  
Ultimately, the story is about family and forgiveness and our cheeky narrator gets us there, but not without some bloodshed.
Who this book is for:
I would keep this book away from the most sensitive of children, but other than that it is entertaining ride.  Children have been drawn to the Grimm fairy tales for a century.  “Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.” our author would say.  The narrator certainly provides the levity to make this story truly enjoyable.
Final thoughts:
Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: A Tale Dark and Grimm

Title:          The Sisters Grimm
Author:     Michael Buckley
Target:      Grade 3-5
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Imagine your parents disappearing and you are taken to live with a grandmother you had been told was dead.  It turns out your family watches over fairytale characters you had assumed were just in books.  When your grandmother goes missing you must engage the services of Mayor Charming, Jack the Giant Killer and the sheriff and his deputies (can you say the three pigs!) to try and get her back.
Why I love this book:
These books have been around a few years, but in rereading the first one the other day, I remembered how well done they are!  They are also laugh out loud funny.  There is one scene where the girls and Puck (yes the King of the Sprites plays a wonderful mischievous role in this book) prepare to do battle with the mysterious figure in the locked room.  Wearing a spaghetti strainer as a mighty battle helmet and a pressure cooker lid on her behind Daphne and her sister prepare for the confrontation.  I do it no justice, but suffice to say I dare you not to laugh.
Who this book is for:
Don’t think because this series is called the Sisters Grimm that it is a series for girls.  In fact, while the two main characters are female, the story is suspenseful and action packed and will fully engage boys as well!  
Final thoughts:
This series is clever without going overboard and it revisits all the fairytales in a new way.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) (Bk. 1)

Title:          The Goose Girl
Author:     Shannon Hale
Target:      Grades 6-9
Series:       No
What this book is about:
This is a retelling of the Grimm fairytale by the same name.  On the way to meet her future unseen husband, the crown princess Ani is betrayed by her lady-in-waiting. In a bloody mutiny her lady-in-waiting takes the place of the princess.  In an attempt to stay alive, Ani, disguises herself as a goose girl in the new kingdom, as she finds the strength and the ability to reclaim her rightful place.
Why I love this book:
This story is really about a girl finding her voice.  Ani is such a realistic character - flawed and all.  Throughout the story she struggles with self confidence, but I like the fact that she forces herself to not let it hold her back, despite the fact it is part of her nature.
I also got thoroughly caught up in the story.  There are some action packed sequences! I read the book until 1am just to find out what happened!
Who this book is for:
Girls looking for a satisfying read and who like the retelling of fairytales.  There are few bloody scenes, but they don’t detract from the story.
Final thoughts:
A wonderful story about girls discovering who they can be.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sports Books For Picture Book Friday

Happy Friday.  This week I thought I would share some picture books that focus on the history of some of our most popular sports, basketball and baseball.

Bet you never thought about how the game of basketball got started?  Well one of the picture books I am profiling today lets you in on the origins of the game.  The other book shares how the women's baseball league was formed in the 1940's.  The league inspired things that are still around today, like our favorite seventh inning stretch song, Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Picture books provide a wonderful way to introduce elements of history and nonfiction that might otherwise be lost on kids.  So take advantage of these great books to get a little learning into them, while they think they are just listening to a great story.  You (and they) will all be the wiser for it.

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Title:       Hoop Genius

Author:   John Coy

Target:    Kindergarten and up

What this book is about:
This book is about how basketball was invented, and I bet it will surprise you!  It all started when James Naismith took over a rowdy gym class and he couldn’t get the boys to settle down.  He invented a new game that would keep them active without tackling or hitting and that could be played indoors during the long winter months.  Who knew a game invented for restless teenagers would became an international sport?

Why I love this book:
I always think kids have fun learning about how their favorite pastimes came to be, and this book does it in a visually engaging way.  Joe Morse’s illustrations are actually quite striking and I think kids will notice them, even if just for how unusual some of them can be.  

I like that John Coy even got in how women wanted to learn the game of basketball.  But most of all I think it is so interesting how simply the game began.  Who knows what game your child could invent that could become an international phenomenon?

Who this book is for:
Kids who enjoy basketball or just sports in general will like knowing the origins of the game.

Final thoughts:
I was surprised at the short length of the book.  It was actually quite a quick read.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball (Carolrhoda Picture Books)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Players in Pigtails

Author:   Shana Corey

Target:    Kindergarten - Grade 4

What this book is about:
It is the 1940’s and America is at war.  The baseball fields are empty, until the All American Girls Professional Baseball League is established!  This is the story of Katie Casey who loves baseball more than knitting and dancing and baking and gets to fulfill her dream playing for the Kenosha Comets!

Why I love this book:
I learned some amazing facts.  Did you know the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame was written about Katie Casey?  I always love a book that moves beyond stereotypical girl things and lets girls love whatever they want.  Rebecca Gibbon’s illustrations are spot on with sophisticated charm and whimsy.

Who this book is for:
I have targeted it a little older because the topic of a girls baseball league is a fun piece of history, but kids have to be older to understand the significance.  Additionally, the author has included notes in the back that give kids a real understanding of the formation of the league.

Final thoughts:
A fun look at sports history.  While the story itself is limited, the author’s notes fill in the details.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Players In Pigtails  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Great Graphic Novels For Kids

This week I am bringing out an old post from the archives.  These are wonderful graphic novels and I would like to give them a chance to shine again!  The Lunch Lady Series has now completed it's run but remains a wonderful early reader for kids.  Enjoy!
There is a great quote by B. F. Skinner that says, "We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading."  I think graphic novels are a way to do that.   Visual learners may often times have a better experience with graphic novels than traditional books.  Also, most are just fun reads that kids enjoy and when they are done well, a parent can feel good about giving their child another type of reading experience.

Are they comics or novels or perhaps simply a hybrid of both?  I think, depending on the quality, they can be all three.  There are a few graphic novels that I would consider exceptional - Smile reviewed below being one of them, but mostly they are a unique and fun reading experience that should be enjoyed along with many types of books.

So I hope you enjoy this weeks graphic novel selection. Don't forget to like one great book on Facebook or follow one great book on twitter!

Title:          The Secret Science Alliance and the Copy Cat Crook
Author:     Eleanor Davis
Target:      Grade 3-6
Series:       No, but it should be!
What this book is about:
Julian is an ultra nerd, and with the opportunity to attend a new school, he sees his chance to fit in.  He meets Ben and Greta, two secret scientist, who share his passion for inventing.  They create the Secret Science Alliance and develop blueprints for fabulous inventions.  When their notebook gets stolen and an evil scientist starts taking credit for their inventions they start making plans to get it back.  Will they succeed?
Why I love it:
Where do I start.  This book is a celebration of the science genius, and how often do you see that in a graphic novel?  It even challenges the stereotypes of nerds and jocks.  The detailed drawings in this book are overwhelming, I think you could read it several times and every time come up with something new.  On top of wonderful artwork, it is just a great story, with friendship, villains, dastardly deeds and creativity!
Who this book is for:
Kids who like the graphic novel format will enjoy this book as well as those who like inventing things!  It may even spur a few inventions in your own home.  
Final thoughts:
Strap on your welding goggles for a great high tech adventure!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

Title:          Fangbone!
Author:     Michael Rex
Target:      Grades 2-4
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Fangbone is an eight year old barbarian who has been sent forward in time to protect the Big Toe of Drool from falling into evil hands.  He ends up at Eastwood Elementary School where he enlists the help of his special class to save the world from destruction!
Why I love this book:
This is just plain silly fun.  Fangbone is deadpan serious in his quest, despite all the funny goings on in third grade.  He finds the value in a bunch of misfits, conquers dodgeball, lets us in on why the sun really comes up each day and finds the value in hot wings.  And he does all this while wearing furry underwear!
Who this book is for:
While the natural appeal will be to boys, girls can really enjoy it just as much.  Great for reluctant readers .
Final thoughts:
Fangbone is truly the perfect third grade barbarian!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian

Title:          Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Author:      Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Target:       Grade 1-3
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
In this graphic novel, the lunch lady proves to be the undercover hero.  When she finds a plot by the science teacher to become Teacher of the Year, by replacing popular teachers with cyborgs, she goes into action with her Spatu-copter, lunch tray laptop and fish stick nunchucks.  Wouldn’t you know it would be the hair net that saves the day.
Why I love this book:
First who wouldn’t love a hero who swears in vegetables:  “Cauliflower!” and Sweet Potatoes!”  There is fun and clever humor throughout. The two color comics(use of only two colors in printing) have been gaining in popularity with the introduction of Baby Mouse, and it works well for the Lunch Lady as well.  The clever observations  and tongue and cheek humor of the lunch lady is what makes this book a winner!
Who this book is for:
Kids who enjoy graphic novels.  Not a long book but a fun romp.
Final thoughts:
The Lunch Lady - serving justice and serving lunch!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute: Lunch Lady #1

Title:          Smile
Author:     Raina Telgemeier
Target:      Grade 4-8
Series:       There is a sequel, Drama
What this book is about:
Raina is a typical 6th grader, who trips and ends up losing her two front teeth.  The book highlights the next three years of dental surgeries, braces, headgear and false teeth.  It also shows the social hurdles she is dealing with at this age, including crushes, dealing with friendships and finding herself.
Why I love it:
I was amazed how much the author captured the angst and difficulties of the main character in a graphic novel.  The format was also very successful for this particular story, because the reader could get a visual on how Raina’s teeth changed throughout all of her procedures.  I also liked that this was a true story, and it gives kids a perspective that they can come through difficult times, just like the author did.
Who this book is for:
I think it is a wonderful girl story for middle schoolers and those getting ready to enter middle school.  Raina is a very real character and most girls will relate to her story on some level, even without orthodontic issues!
Final thoughts:
Brace yourself for a wonderful story.  While there are certainly some heartbreaking moments, the message that life is full of challenges that we can overcome is inspiring.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Smile