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Review

26

Aug
2015

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Summer Reading Round Up Part 3

On 26, Aug 2015 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

This week I have chapter books. I will actually have a much larger chapter book post next month, but these were the ones I read to preview for adding to the collection and for fun.

Bad ButterflyBillie B. Brown: The Bad Butterfly by Sally Rippin

Lexile: 500L

There was a lot to love about this book. My one complaint, I’m not wild about the illustrations. The kids look like Bratz dolls or something from Monster High which I can’t stand. Otherwise, this is a fantastic beginning chapter book.

The format (size, printing, etc.) make it feel like a more grown up book, but it would certainly be on a first grade/beginning second grade level. The print is large which spreads it out over more. Billie wants to take ballet and be a beautiful, floating, graceful butterfly. She and her best friend (a boy!!) sign up and it turns out Billie is neither floating or graceful. Her best is and he makes a terrible stomping troll. Billie spends the week upset that she isn’t particularly good at her role until they solve the problem by switching roles in ballet class. Billie appears to be diverse and certainly you get a boy doing ballet and liking it. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but if they compare to this they are worth having in the library or classroom.

EJ12EJ12: Hot and Cold by Susannah MacFarlane

Lexile: 820L

A girl who likes math and puzzles. That seems like a rarity. Emma Jacks may be having mean girl trouble at school, but as a secret agent EJ12 she figures out how to handle people like that.

This was a really fun adventure as EJ goes off to the Arctic to stop an villain from melting the polar ice cap to sell for water. There’s some friendship difficulties too that Emma figures out how to manage and does so beautifully at the end of the book. Lots of action, fun gadgets, a secret identity and puzzles. Emma has to solve a bunch of puzzles in her mission and they’re included in the story so the reader can try their hand at them too. Perfect for third and fourth grade.

Update 9/23/2015: I book talked this at the beginning of the year with my third graders and I can’t keep it on the shelf. The boys were originally turned off by the “girly” covers, but I’ve had them asking to check it out too.

Half a Moon InnThe Half-A-Moon Inn by Paul Fleischman

Lexile: 1010L

This one is really pushing the reading level of chapter books, but it was nice and short and is high interest enough that I think a fourth grader could tackle it.

Aaron is deaf and has never left his house or the surrounding area before. But when his mother doesn’t return from market one day he sets out to find her. He ends up far from home and unable to communicate because, while he is literate and writes notes to his mother, most people are not. After a few naive mistakes Aaron finds him self trapped in the Half-A-Moon inn working for a horrible woman who is also a thief. Aaron has to use his wits to get out of the situation and get back home. This would be perfect for around Halloween. It’s creepy and also a quick read which makes it a good pick for more reluctant readers.

Jelly BeanPet Shelter Squad: Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord

Lexile: 560L

Suzannah desperately wants a pet, but she can’t have one because the land lord doesn’t allow pets. To help her feel better her mom signs Suzannah up to volunteer once a week at the local pet shelter. At first Suzannah is nervous, but she finds she loves working with the animals and makes some new friends too. When a little girl brings in her guinea pig Suzannah makes it her mission to find the perfect home for Jelly Bean. This would be a great series for third and fourth graders, especially those kids who like animals. It wasn’t action packed by any means, but it was suspenseful as Suzannah tries to find a home for the guinea pig.

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