In order to enjoy this series, the reader should be a fan of the Justice League stories. There are seven Super characters in the Justice League, and they work together to protect the Universe! Many books and movies feature the Justice League.
The You Choose Stories—Justice League series engages the reader by requiring them to make decisions. The reader will notice as they start reading the book that…there, on the lower right corner of the right side page…in red…are choices to make:
If Batman goes after Black Manta, turn to page 23.
If Batman stays to help save the island, turn to page 29.
Throughout the book, the reader will make choices to continue the story.
Although this sounds complicated – and it will be too complicated for some readers – for those children who enjoy the "game" with the story – this will be an enjoyable book. Choose from Cosmic Conquest, The League of Laughs, The Portal of Doom, and The Ultimate Weapon.
Each book has 105 pages, and there are several full-page color, cartoon-style illustrations throughout the book. At the end, there is a glossary with pronunciations and definitions. There are four titles in the series – so far. The Lexile is 640-710.
The cat, Peachy, and the dog, Keen, are best friends. The series, Peachy and Keen, feature the two friends in stories of their school adventures at Happy Trails School.
In the first book, A School Tail (2018), Peachy wants to work on the school newspaper but discovers there is no longer a print newspaper. Peachy has the idea to replace the newspaper with an online magazine. With Keen's help, Peachy finds four classmates to work on the PURRFECT9: Rue, the high fashion kitty, Connie the octopus, Nanner the monkey, and Gertie the unicorn. Of course, they need a faculty sponsor and recruit Rocco the llama, who is the janitor. Principal Trunx, an elephant, is not helpful to Peachy but in the end… the PURRFECT9 staff wins him over.
These books by Jason Tharp are full of puns. To enjoy the stories, a reader will need to understand (and enjoy) puns. Even the title – Peachy Keen – is a pun.
Each book is 96 pages. There are full color, cartoon-style illustrations on each page and these add to the story and are fun in themselves. There is a significant amount of text, which makes the books look harder than they are. The Lexile is 590-770.
In this story, we follow a free spirit who can't help but want to tame all of the beautiful colors she sees. We join her wild and wonderful world and hunt for colors along with her. Swatch soon encounters an ethical challenge and we see how our heroine resolves her dilemma.
As picture books go, I think Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color is a perfect example of the power of illustrations and how beautifully and creatively they help tell a lovely story. Additionally, the overall layout and design of the book is great and helps capture the energy of it all.
This is the first book both written and illustrated by Julia Denos. She also wrote and illustrated Windows.
I first read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in fifth grade, so when my son, now a fifth-grader himself, said he needed a Newbery Prize winner for his book report, I was quick to suggest it to him. The adventures of Claudia and her younger brother Jamie are what childhood dreams are made of. After running away from home, the siblings live on their own in a strange and wonderful new city. They uncover a mystery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that they're determined to solve. Their clever sleuthing leads them to discover much more than clues however — it leads them back home.
I enjoyed reading this classic children's book by E. L. Konigsburg just as much as an adult as I had as a child. The audiobook would be great to listen to on a family road trip as well. Check out this article from Smithsonian Magazine for a glimpse behind the story and its author.
Four friends – Amy, Ellie, Marion, Liz – have created a club to help "critters" such as pigs, puppies, mice, chickens, and cats. Amy's mother, a veterinarian, is instrumental in helping the girls with their adventures at the Animal Rescue Center in Santa Vista.
Each book features one of the four friends but all four girls are in each book. The Critter Club has problems to solve and they always find a good solution. In Amy on Park Patrol, the girls work to keep the town park for animals—not more stores. The girls help find a home for Plum the Pig in Ellie and the Good-Luck Pig. The girls start a pet sitting service – Critter Sitters – in Liz Learns a Lesson.
This is a great series for a reader who loves helping animals! Each book in the series of 18 books (so far!) is about 120 pages with black and white illustrations on most pages (book 1 is Amy and the Missing Puppy). Sparkles on some of the paperback covers add to the charm of the stories. The Lexile scores range from 460-630.
This 2018 movie adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's 1963 Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time was highly anticipated by many book fans. I was not one of those book fans. I distinctly remember reading the first chapter of the book during a thunderstorm and getting too frightened to read any further. I was probably in third grade.
When the movie was announced, I was excited to finally go back to the story that I had paused on so long ago. The movie met every one of my expectations: a little bit strange, a lot of CGI, and a huge heart -- driven mostly by actress Storm Reid. I would recommend this to families who want a gentler fantasy adaptation for younger children. As for fans of the books, I have heard that the movie was less than perfect, but isn't that always the case with movie adaptations? (Don't get me started on Remus never telling Harry who the Marauders were in Prisoner of Azkaban...) Check out A Wrinkle in Time and decide for yourself.
Ada has two turtles: Oxygen and Hydrogen. For children who know why Ada used those names…this is the series for them! Author Emily Calandrelli is a graduate of MIT and works with Bill Nye, The Science Guy. She knows children, science, and technology.
Ada, a third grader, uses science to solve mysteries. She keeps a field guide noting what is happening all around her. The field guides are an important tool for Ada. Maybe the reader of these books will start a field guide?
The first book in the series (Ada Lace, On the Case) finds Ada watching Mr. Pebbles' apartment and she wonders…is there a dog in the apartment? Another adventure (Ada Lace Sees Red) finds that Ada has programmed a robot – George – and he does what she asks (think Alexa)…but not without problems. In Ada Lace, Take Me to Your Leader, Ada's neighbor gives her a ham radio. Ada is trying to connect with someone/something. Her friend Nina thinks aliens are answering but are they really?
At the end of each book, a "Behind the Science" section explains several of the issues and concepts in the book. There are five books in the series so far. Each book is about 118 pages with black and white illustrations on most pages. Lexile scores range from 570-610.
And…could there be a connection between Ada Lace and Ada Lovelace? This is a good opportunity to practice research skills!
The three children (William, Jacob, and Jeanne) absolutely won me over and I cheered for them and their friendship. I found myself looking forward to the twists and turns of the story, especially when different travelers took over as the narrator.
I think this would make a fantastic family read, although there are small bits of violence (a village is burned, a dog is killed -- but comes back, and capture) to be aware of.
I can't imagine how Adam Gidwitz could possibly write a sequel, but I would love to follow another adventure in this same style!
The series should interest children who are ready for more complex, longer stories that relate to their lives. Fans of the Adventures of Sophie Mouse series are going to know exactly what books in the series they have read, what book they want to read, and probably will read many books in the series until they move on…to another series.
Do talk with readers about Sophie’s adventures. Sometimes things happen in Pine Needles Grove that probably a child living in the real world should not do – such as going into the home of a stranger to get help.
A New Friend is the first book in the series by Poppy Green. Each series title has 117 pages, 10 chapters, and black/white illustrations on most pages. Lexile varies between 430 and 600.
I can't believe that I missed Wreck-It Ralph when it first premiered in 2012. I am so glad that the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet came out to remind me to find the original. This is a fantastic comedic adventure that will engage the whole family. Kids will root for Princess Vanellope, who they will likely relate to as she's constantly told "no" and left out of the race. Ralph will make them laugh and gain their support by the end of the movie -- a "bad" guy that everyone loves. Adults will enjoy moments like the bad guy support group meetings and the Diet Coke/mentos mountain -- a chemical reaction that yields some fantastic YouTube videos.
Definitely give this a re-watch before the sequel comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray in February.
I loved this sweet movie for the message it shared, but be warned, it will leave you and your children in tears. Keep a box of tissues nearby! If you love A Dog’s Purpose as much as I did, you’ll find more movies featuring our furry, four-legged friends here.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful music that sets Moana soaring. While I love Auliʻi Cravalho's voice (the voice of Moana) and "How Far I'll Go," my favorite songs are the ones that are sung in Tokelauan. Lastly, I would encourage you to seek out reviews from Pacific Islander reviewers to speak to the culture represented in the movie. This Buzzfeed article is a great round-up of dialogue, and so is this review from Strange Horizons.
All in all, I think Moana is a genuine, worthwhile story and a great Disney film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Check out Ugly and other titles on this year's 2019 Bluestem nominee list targeted for grades 3-5.