Chapter Books


Appelt, Kathi. BUBBA AND BEAU, BEST FRIENDS. Illus. by Arthur Howard.  New York:
    Harcourt, 2002.  unp.   0-15-202060-8; hb., $16.00    2001-001987   PreS-Gr. 2      E

    Done in a beginning chapter book format, Appelt quickly initiates the young reader into two loving families; the Bubbaville family and the bloodhound Beau family. Big Bubba anounces baby Bubba's arrival by cranking up Earl, his trusty pickup truck, and honking the horn for the world to hear, while Maurice Bloodhound conveyed his message by throwing back his head and executing his best bay.  Done in short chapters, these two buddies live together, romp together, chew together and grow, Calamity strikes when Mother Pearl gets in a cleaning mood and decides to give the two irresistibles a bath and throw the stinky  "blankie"  in the wash.  As expected, Bubba and Beau are reunited with the "blankie,”  but not before Appelt throws in the flavor of Texas.....Mama Pearl in her scuffed cowboy boots, and housedress, Bubba in a ranch shirt.  Neck scarves on the hounds and a Texas state flag on the antenna of Earl's truck.  If the illustrations look vaguely familiar it is because Howard is best known as illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series.  His watercolors have a soft radiance that conveys a warm attachment between the twosome.  It feels like it could be another series in the making.  Time will tell.
    Patricia Fittante Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
    30 years of experience as a school and public librarian

Brown, Marc. ARTHUR'S UNDERWEAR.  Illus. by author. Boston: Little,
    1999. unp. 0-316-11012-4 hb.  $15.95     99-25702    PreSc-Gr. 3    E

     Another underwear book.  The kids will love this one which is adapted from a PBS teleplay.  When Binky rips his pants to reveal his red polka-dot underwear, Arthur thinks this is hilarious until he begins to dream about being caught in his own white jockeys.  Matters get worse when Buster blares to the other kids about Arthur's fearful apprehension..  Because Arthur is embarrassed that his secret has been revealed he rushes to escape the teasing by running into the cafeteria where he rips his own jeans. What he thought to be a disaster actually turns out to be a remedy. Arthur devotees will enjoy the humor, the bright cartoon- like illustrations and the eye-catching title.  A few kids might even relate to the story with giggled memories as they read or listen to this works of a favorite children's author.
    Patricia Fittante, Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
    24 years of experience as a teacher and librarian
 
Brown, Marc. ARTHUR AND THE DOUBLE DARE.  Boston:  Little, Brown & Co. 
    2002.  56 pgs. pb. ISBN 0-316-12087-1  $4.25   Gr.2-5   Juv.
 
    ARTHUR AND THE DOUBLE DARE is a chapter book for beginning readers,  part of the Arthur Adventures book series.  Children who are beginning to read on their own are often familiar with the PBS TV series, "Arthur", and are thrilled to find the books about the popular characters.
    Arthur, Fracine, Buster and the Brain are complaining about having so much homework that they will miss an exciting TV program.  They end up daring each other to skip school the following day.  After a restless night of strange dreams, Arthur calls off the dare, much to the relief of his friends.  This dilemma, which all young students can relate to, has a solution that teaches a lesson about friendship, loyalty, and facing the consequences of one's actions.
Carolyn Anderson, L'Anse, MI - retired teacher, public library advisory board

Champion, Joyce.  EMILY AND ALICE BABY-SIT BURTON.  Illus. by Joan Parazette.
    New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2001.  unpg. 0-15-202184-1; hb.,  $14.00     Gr.  1-4     E

    This easy chapter book has pizzazz!  Third in the series about best friends, Emily and Ann, they hope to start a baby-sitting business.  The girls canvass the neighborhood for potential customers. Little do they realize when they sign up for their first job it would be a disgruntled bulldog who is upset by a new baby in the family. Not what they expected!   It doesn't take long for the two young entrepreneurs to realize that all this canine really wants is some TLC.  Be assured---Burton gets it. The bright cartoon-like watercolor/pen-and-ink illustrations extend the text which in itself is expressive and witty.  Fresh readers will enjoy the wit and enthusiasm of the girls as they face the challenges that only a four-legged charge could provide.  For Emily and Ann, business has really gone to the dogs!
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Christopher, Matt. HEADS UP.  Illus by Daniel Vasconcellos.  Boston: Little, 2002.  54p.
    0-316-13504-6; hb., $13.95  00-041229   Gr 1-2    E

    Short and sweet...in chapter and content.  Whose afraid of a ball?  Nobody, right?  Right!  That is, not until Amanda Caler takes a hit in the face and is momentarily knocked out.  Mother is called to the scene, but like mother, like daughter.  Upon seeing Amanda's blood-soaked shirt, she too becomes faint and crumples to the ground.  In the meantime it appears that one of Amanda's teammates is scheming to steal her halfback spot.  Chaos leads to comedy and comedy leads to solution. Vasconcellos' line drawings cartoonize the characters of this addition to the Soccer Cats series supporting the
humor of the text.  Beginning readers will feel they are a part of the team as they score with this title.
    Patricia Fittante Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Christopher, Matt.  RUN FOR IT.  Boston:  Little, Brown & Co.  2002.  121pgs.
    paperback ISBN 0-316-34914-3  $4.50  Gr. 4-7   Juv.
 
    The Matt Christopher books claim to be the number one sports series.  The 64 volumes in the series (so far) include stories by various authors featuring baseball, basketball, football, soccer, ice hockey, biking, in-line skating, skateboarding, snowboarding, tennis, volleyball and running.  They provide fast-paced and action-packed reading, usually about a modest young hero who overcomes fear and/or long odds.
    In "Run For It," Theo is a 13 year old whose idea of fun is playing video games and watching TV.  He is unhappy about his lack of ability in sports, but has no motivation to change until his favorite aunt, Mary, is diagnosed with cancer.  Feeling helpless, he agrees to join his friend, Paul, in an upcoming 5-kilometer road race to raise money for cancer research.  The problem is that he can run only a very short distance.  Will he be able to face his challenge as bravely as Aunt Mary is facing hers?
    The Matt Christopher books are predictable but entertaining, exciting and motivational.  Those who especially enjoy the series are invited to join the Matt Christopher Fan Club.
    Carolyn Anderson, L'Anse - retired elementary teacher, public library advisory board

Cox, Judy.  THAT CRAZY EDDIE AND THE SCIENCE PROJECT OF DOOM.  
    Illus. by Blanche Sims.  2005.  ISBN: 0823419312   hb. Gr. 3-5   FIC 

     The story starts with children pairing for the upcoming science fair.  Eddie and Matt, who are best friends, decide to partner up. Trouble arises when the top prize is a lot of money and the partners have very different ideas about how they should spend it.  If they win the science fair, their partnership may not survive. The story has a surprising ending.  I wonder what other adventures Eddie and Matt could get into? 
    The illustrations were very simple, yet captured the mood and look of the characters. The text was very suitable for children in Grade 3 and up.  I loved how the author included the volcano recipe for children to do with their parents, after they read the book. 
    Jan St.Germain, Director, Richmond Township Library 

Dadey, Debbie.  KING OF THE KOOTIES!!  Illus. by Kevin O'Malley.  New York, NY:
    Walker & Company, 1999.  84p.  0-8027-8709-6; hb; $15.95   Gr. 3-5    J

    Donald is the new kid in school, and when Louisa the fourth grade bully dubs him "Donald, King of the Kooties." He doesn't know he's been insulted because he doesn't even know what kooties are.  Donald and friend Nate decide to retaliate with kindness and make t-shirts for everyone, including Louisa, whose shirt proclaims her "Kootie Princess."   This book deals with the ever constant problem of bullies at school by using humor and a simple plan.  It is a funny book about a situation many fourth grader face.
    Linda Cooley, Director, L'Anse School/Public Library

Draper, Sharon.  STARS AND SPARKS ON STAGE.  Illus. Jesse Joshua Watson. 
        Clubhouse Mysteries/6.  New York:  Aladden/Simon & Schuster, 2012.  138 p. 
        ISBN 978-1-4424-5459-0 hc. $15.99    Gr. 2-4  J Fic

        Classmates and friends Ziggy, Jerome, Rashawn and Rico are excited about the school talent show. The winnerís prize is two-hundred dollars; the boys are sure that they will win the top prize with their singing, dancing and costumes. Their clubhouse needs fixing up and boys have a list all ready for spending the prize money. When a new girl with a powerful voice enters the contest the boys realize that they arenít a shoo-in after all. Although the mystery is slight, the book has much to recommend it. It introduces early American songs that todayís children most likely havenít been introduced to, the cast of characters is multi-racial, the plight of homeless families and the importance of music in our schools. Itís all done with a light hand, woven into the book without preaching. This is a successful entry in the series.
        Barbara Ward, Dickinson County Library, Childrenís Librarian, Retired

Gates,Susan.  ERIC'S TALKING EARS. Illus. by Martin Remphry. Minneapolis, MN:  Picture
    Window Books, 2002.  48p.  ISBN: 13: 978-1-4048-3120-9 hb. $15.95.  Gr. 2-5    Juv FIC

            Eric is the son of a zookeeper in this beginner level chapter book.  His discovery of a box of fabric animal ears and an old notebook of animal "ear language" in a closet at the zoo start him on a great adventure.  This book is easy to read and it's interesting.  The plot develops quickly.   I highly recommend this fun, imaginative book for young readers or as a read aloud.  The illustrations are expressive and complement the text perfectly.
            Heidi Bretall, Board Member, Bessemer Public Library

Greene, Stephanie.  OWEN FOOTE, FRONTIERSMAN.  Illus. by Martha Weston.  
    New York:  Clarion Books, 1999. 88p.  0-395-61578-X hb., $14.00  Gr. 2-5   J

    Second graders Owen and Joseph have a tree fort in Mrs. Hold's woods.  In this fort they keep comic books, cards, paper and pencil, and a broken TV to make it homey.  The boys love hiking in the woods looking for animal tracks and playing in their fort.  All is well until Mrs. Gold's older nephews arrive and, in typical bully form, announce that they will enjoy destroying the tree fort.  A well-placed snake eventually solves the problem and the nephews return to the city.  This is a fun read that is concerned with the ever present problem of the older bully.  Owen and Joseph aptly solve their problem.
    Linda Cooley, Director, L'Anse School/Public Library

Greene, Stephanie. OWEN FOOTE, MONEY MAN.  Illus. by Martha Weston. New York:
    Clarion, 2000. 88p. 0-618-02369-0; hb., $14.00 00—027716    Gr.2-4    FIC

    First one Foote.....now the other! The other being the newest Owen Foote Transitional reader.  A perfect read-aloud, its young audience will be entertained with Owen's hopes to earn money so that he can buy a whoopee cushion and some plastic vomit.  Only one catch.  Owen wants to earn the money without working for it.  Being the little schemer that he is, Owen tries to convince his parents to give him an allowance, but he soon learns, "no work, no pay."  Owen and his best buddy, Joseph, try to create a fishing video for kids as well as a pet walking service.  They don't fly.  Finally Owen's neighbor elicits the lad's help to build a goldfish pond in the back yard.  Bingo! Greene's humorous style is insightful, yet fresh and refreshing.  Weston's black and white illustrations are a nice balance to the tedium of chapters for the early reader and kids will buy this title, be it by the inch or by the Foote!
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
    25 years of experience as a school and public librarian

Griffith, Helen V.  GRANDADDY AND JANETTA TOGETHER:  THE THREE
    STORIES IN ONE BOOK.  New York: Greenwillow, 2001.  80p.  0-06-029148-6;
    hb., $15.95  0-06-029238-5; lib.bdg., $15.89  99-098197   Gr. 1-3     E

    This title is the compilation of three of Griffith’s picture books, GRANDADDY’S PLACE  (Greenwillow, 1987), GRANDADDY AND JANETTA (Greenwillow 1993), and GRANDADDY’S STARS (Greenwillow, 1995) to make one chapter book. The best of the four, GEORGIA MUSIC (Greenwillow, 1986), is not included.  The text for the stories is the same except for the placement of the words on the page.  The one exception is changing dinner to supper on pages 48 and 49 of the new book.  If this is truly a farm book as the subject indicates, then dinner was at noon and supper was at night so the change is logical.  The size of the book is different, more in keeping with a chapter book.  However, the chapters in the picture book were numbered but have titles in the new book.  This is the opposite of what one might expect.  The whimsical watercolor illustrations of James Stevenson have been reduced in number to one full page black and white illustrations per story with a few scattered drawings throughout the stories.  Some of the illustrations have been reduced to a quarter of the original size, making them dark and uninviting; the full page illustrations are darker and even more uninviting.  The color illustrations were part of the charm of the original picture books and providing a few of them in black and white is worse than not having any at all, a sacrilege.  If you already own the picture books, pass on this one.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Hazen, Lynn E.  MERMAID MARY MARGARET.  New York: Bloomsbury USA
    Children’s Books, 2004.  87p.  ISBN 1-58234-869-3 hb. $14.95   Gr. 3-6   Juv.

    This book is 11-year-old Mary Margaret’s journal of a “seniors only” cruise to the Greek Isles with her grandma after her beloved grandpa’s death. This is a very honest, moving, and exciting story.  The theme or main idea of this tale is how powerful family relationships are and the sacrifices family members, no matter what their age, make for each other out of love.  Mary Margaret has always dreamed of becoming a mermaid, and because of her willingness to “be a brave girl for grandma” on their cruise, she surprisingly gets the chance!  Because it is written in diary entry format, it makes for fun and realistic reading.  Additionally, interesting tidbits about the Greek Isles and latitude and longitude are included throughout the book.
    Jana Aho, Media Assistant, Middle School, Gladstone School and Public Library

Jennings, Patrick. THE TORNADO WATCHES.  Illus. by Anna Alter. New York: 
    Holiday House, 2002. 64p. 0-8234-1672-0; hb., $15.95    Gr. 1-3    E

    Good things come in little packages.  Although this beginning chapter book is small in format, it is a huge find for a novice reader.  Ike lives in tornado country, so one night when a tornado warning is issued, the family takes shelter in the basement.  When the warning is lifted, Ike is concerned that if he goes to sleep, they fill miss any further alerts.  So he secretly sneaks the TV into his room and plans to watch it all night.
    Needless to say, he falls asleep in school the next day...and the following day.  Alas, his teacher and parents are led to believe Ike is sick.  Much to Ike's alarm, one night he wakes up to discover that he is in the basement.  Being in a state of exhausted sleep, Ike did not wake up when the alarm sounded, so his parents carried him down to the basement shelter.  Tragedy strikes the neighbors who have the roof of their house blown off, which results in Ike learning about emergency first-hand.  The plot is simple, the pace just right, and the text complex enough without being beyond youthful comprehension.  Alter's pencil illustrations provide just the right breaks and bring comfort to a young worrier.  This is a great little find that will help any youngster familiar with natural catastrophes, wait out the storm.
    Patricia Fittante Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. SUDDENLY SUPERNATURAL: UNHAPPY MEDIUM. Illus.
        Sarah Kearney & Tuesday Mourning. New York: Little Brown Young Readers, 2009.
       
320p.  ISBN: 978-0-316-06687-7 hb. $10.99.   Gr. 3-5   J FIC

        Kat is a young medium--she can communicate with and see spirits. Kat and her best friend Jac go to a musician conference at the pristine Whispering Pines Mountain House. Needless to say, there are some restless spirits wandering about the old hotel. Some much kinder than others. This is a very enjoyable read about the importance of friendship and a girl learning the depth and acceptance of her own power along with the interesting history of the Spiritualist movement of the late 1880s. 
       
Ariana Anthony, Student, Munising Public Library

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie.  A DOCTOR LIKE PAPA.  Illus by James Bernardin.
    New  York:  HarperCollins, 2002.  73P.  0-06-029319-5; hb., $14.95  0-06-029320-9;
    lib.bdg.,  $14.89    2001-039817    Gr. 2-5     FIC

    Eleven-year-old Margaret finally gets permission from her mother to accompany her father on his doctoring rounds.  The year is 1918 when women were not doctors, when Margaret’s young uncle comes home from World War a changed man, and during an influenza epidemic.  Margaret’s experiences are realistic and intriguing but gruesome.  The setting is Vermont apple country.   This chapter book moves at a fast pace and provides a view of those times.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie.  LUMBER CAMP LIBRARY.  Illus by James Bernardin.
    New York: HarperCollins, 2002.  87p.  0-06-029321-7; hb., $14.995
    2001-039684    Gr. 2-5      FIC

    Eight-year-old Ruby loves her father, a lumberman, and when he dies she is devastated.  They sell their piano and move to town where she continues going to school until she has to give it up to help her family.  When she tries to trade raspberry pies for books, she gets a delightful surprise.  Her goal of becoming a teacher also has unexpected results.  Although this book is set in Vermont in 1912, it could have been set during lumbering days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in Wisconsin, Minnesota,  Washington, or Oregon.  The story is fast paced, the characters are well drawn, and the vocabulary is easy to read but not simplistic.  This historical fiction story, in the tradition of the Little House books, is an excellent chapter book for primary school readers or  intermediate remedial readers.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Krensky, Stephen.  ARTHUR AND THE COOTIE CATCHER.  Illus by Marc Brown.
    Boston:  Little, 1999.   64p.  A Chapter Book series, # 15. 0-316-11993-8; hb., $13.95
    0-316-12085-5; pb., $5.95  0-316-12266-1; pb., $5.95    Gr. 2-3   FIC

     In this fifteenth Marc Brown Arthur book, Stephen Krensky delivers a sure winner with young chapter book fans.  As the story unfolds, Prunella, while celebrating her "half-birthday," reveals a mysterious many-sided folded paper figure called a cootie catcher.  While Arthur and the gang stare in amazement, Purnella declares that the cootie catcher has the power to tell fortunes.  As Prunella continues to work the magic paper, it does indeed seem able to predict the future.  Soon Arthur and his friends are afraid to do anyting without first consulting it.  The cootie catcher is controlling their lives!  Are they destined to become its slaves forever or will common sense prevail and who can break the "spell?"  Young readers may have some experience with this type of game that makes it all the more fun.  This story is delightful and written with loads of laughs and can be read-aloud or enjoyed alone.  The black and white muted illustrations by Marc Brown are just enough to keep the reader's imagination vivid.  As an added bonus, readers will be encouraged to make their own cootie catchers using directions provided in the book.  Public and school libraries should have this one in their collections.
    Nancy Anderson, Retired Librarian; Gwinn Area Community Schools, Gwinn, MI

Krensky, Stephen.  ARTHUR AND THE RACE TO READ.   Illus by Marc Brown.
    Arthur Good Sports Chapter Book series, No.1.  Boston:  Little, 2001.  64p.
    0-2316-12024-3; pb., $3.95   Gr. K-4

    Lakewood Elementary is sponsoring a literacy drive and Mr. Ratburn's class is participating.   Arthur and his friends get sponsors to pledge money in support of their running.  The purpose is to raise money while making people realize the importance of reading.  There is no contest to see who can raise the most money but there will be a winner at each grade level for the race.  Even though the race will only be a five-kilometer event, Mr. Ratburn explain to the class how the name Marathon came to be used for the modern race.  Arthur and his friends are concerned that Fern, who loves reading, is not taking the race seriously.  They are all practicing and thinking up strategies.  Have a copy of the "Tortoise and the Hare" available for readers after they finish this book.  The winner is a surprise to all.  Arthur fans who enjoy this book will also be winners.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Krensky, Stephen.  ARTHUR ROCKS WITH BINKY.   Illus. by Marc Brown.  Based on
    the teleplay by Peter K. Hirsch.   A Marc Brown Arthur Chapter Book Series, # 11.  
    Boston:  Little, Brown, 1998.  68p.  0-316-11542-8 hb. $12.95,   0-316-11543-6 pb. 
    $3.95   98-66440   Gr. 1-4     FIC

    Arthur mania not only has captured the visual and technical realms, but now this favorite aardvark is cornering the beginning chapter-book market as well---this time in the eleventh book in the the series, Arthur Rocks with Binky.  Because D. W. cannot make up her mind as to which pair of shoes to buy, Arthur ends up with a concert ticket in row ZZZ while his three best friends land seats up front with the hopes of being chosen as the lucky kid who gets to meet Binky  at the concert (not to be confused with Binky Barnes.)  But one chance in 7,025??? The monochromatic illustrations reveal the overflowing talent of creator Marc Brown and help make this title a great springboard for children who are ready to read on their own.  This amusing tale is sure to be a hit with all Arthur fans.
    Patricia Fittante, Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Krensky, Stephen.  ARTHUR ROCKS WITH BINKY.   Illus. by Marc Brown.  Based on
    the teleplay by Peter K. Hirsch.   A Marc Brown Arthur Chapter Book series, # 11. 
    Boston:  Little, Brown, 1998.  64p.  0-316-11993-8 hb. $13.95,  0-316-12085-5 pb. 
    $3.95,    0-316-12266-1 pb. $3.95,   98-66440   Gr. 2-3   FIC

    In this eleventh Arthur chapter book, Arthur and his friends are all anticipating seeing the popular rock band, BINKY, perform at the local auditorium.  But, thanks to D. W.'s antics while shopping for shoes, Arthur has to settle for a seat way back in row ZZZ.  How can he even see from back there?  His friends are all so much closer!  As this rockin’ story rolls along, the whole Arthur gang is dreaming up ways to meet BINKY up close and personal backstage after the concert.  When Arthur's Dad comes to the rescue with a plan, Arthur hesitates to accept.  His conscience goes into overdrive.  Should everyone be included?  Finally Arthur learns that it's best to be true to your word.  Young readers will enjoy the play on words, excitement, intrigue and timely technology involved in this story.  The black and white drawings add just enough interest to this well-told tale.  A word to Arthur Fans: Don't be fooled by BINKY and Binky. There is still only one Binky Barnes!
    Nancy Anderson, Retired Librarian; Gwinn Area Community Schools, Gwinn, MI

Krensky, Stephen.  BUSTER MAKES THE GRADE.   Illus by Marc Brown. Boston:
    Little, 1999.  64p.   A Chapter Book series, # 16.  0-316-11960-1; hb., $13.95
    0-316-12262-9; pb., $3.95    0-316-12277-7; pb., $3.95    Gr. 2-3    FIC

    Once again there's a problem in Mr. Ratburn's third grade classroom, but this time it's Buster's problem, not Arthur's.  It seems Buster's study habits have taken a nosedive and he finds himself in the principal's office.  There he learns that unless he shapes up, he won't be joining his friends in fourth grade next year.  Serious business!  Naturally Arthur and the gang rally around Buster trying to find ways to help but their efforts are all in vaiin as Buster proves that he'd rather play ball and have fun than study.  After picturing himself as possibly the oldest third grader in history, Buster does some soul searching and makes the right decision.  But will it be too late?  Young chapter book readers can certainly identify with all the well-developed characters in this story.  Krensky is right on target with the ending as are the delightful black and white drawings by the ever-talented Marc Brown.  This sixteenth chapter book in the Arthur series, based on a teleplay, will be a sure winner with the Arthur crowd.  Read it alone, or with a friend.
    Nancy Anderson, Retired Librarian; Gwinn Area Community Schools, Gwinn, MI

Krensky, Stephen. FRANCINE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.  Illus by Marc Brown. Boston:
    Little, 1999. 64p.  A Chapter Book series, #14.  0-316-12011-1; hb., $13.95
    0-316-10463-9; pb., $3.95  0-316-12258-0; pb., $3.95     Gr. 2-3    FIC

    Well, it is hard to believe!!!  Francine is actually being nice and everyone is trying to find out why in this fourteenth Arthur chapter book.  Who is this new and kind Francine?  It seems only Muffy knows the answer.  After a street hockey game in which Francine plays like she's the entire team, Muffy decides it's time to reach Francine a lesson.  Muffy puts Francine to the test by issuing a challenge that Francine can't be nice for a whole week.  To sweeten the deal, Muffy puts her prized Princess Peach watch up as collateral.  Day after day Francine is tested.  As the week progresses, Arthur and his friends declare that this new and improved Francine is just too "weird" and comes up with a plan to make her explode.  On the last day with victory for Francine so close, Binky Barnes causes a chain of events that leave the gang wondering if they can get the real Francine back.  This simple story will help young readers understand that there are times when it's just best to be yourself.  Krensky's text and Brown's drawings are perfect for the chapter book format.  Whether she is being naughty or nice, this title is definitely classic Francine.
    Nancy Anderson, Retired Librarian; Gwinn Area Community Schools, Gwinn, MI

Krensky, Stephen.  KING ARTHUR.   Illus by Marc Brown. Boston:  Little, 1999.  64p.
    A Chapter Book series, #13  0-316-12178-9; hb., $13.95  0-316-10667-4; pb., $3.95
    0-316-12241-6; pb., $3.95    Gr. 2-3    FIC

    No, this isn't another story of the legendary King Arthur and his knights but Arthur is the king nonetheless in this delightful Marc Brown Arthur chapter book.  In this adventure, Arthur's teacher, Mr. Ratburn, takes his class on a field trip to the Middle Ages Fair.  There they must compete in games that will put their knowledge of history to the test.  From the beginning, it's obvious that their stiffest opponent is Glenbrook Academy, taught by Mr. Ratburn's old teacher, Mr. Pryce-Jones. Mr. Ratburn clearly sees his chances of winning the coveted Golden Gryphon evaporating as he realizes his class is ill prepared for the task.  In games like Merlin's Labyrinth, tug-of-war and archery, Arthur and his classmates do NOT shine.  Even the Brain misses his question!  As things go from bad to worse, Arthur comes up with a plan that proves he knows what real heroism is all about.  Children will enjoy the interplay between the teachers as well as the understated but highly effective black and white drawings by Marc Brown.  This thirteenth book in the series is a fun story of competition.  Note:  Keep the dictionaries handy!   Krensky's wonderful text offers opportunities to look up "Middle Ages" words.
    Nancy Anderson, Retired Librarian; Gwinn Area Community Schools, Gwinn, MI

 Krensky, Stephen.  WHO'S IN LOVE WITH ARTHUR?  Illus. by Marc Brown.
    Based on the teleplay by Peter K. Hirsch.   A Marc Brown Arthur Chapter Book
    Series # 10.  Boston:  Little, Brown, 1998.  68p.    0-316-11539-8; hb.,
    $12.95 0-316-11540-1; pb., $3.95     98-66009    Gr. 2-4    FIC

     In a chapter book for beginning readers, beloved Arthur teams up with Francine as a square dance team in gym class.  Complainer Muffy is not happy with her clumsy partner, Binky Barnes, and she tries to switch partners. Francine refuses----the class get involved and before long rumor has it that Francine and Arthur are in love!  A plot driven story line keeps the adventure from becoming too involved and Francine and Arthur come out friends.  Black and white shaded illustrations based on the works created by Marc Brown add a whimsical flavor thus making this easy reader a smooth transition from easy picture books to chapter format.  It can be enjoyed equally whether it be silent reading or read-aloud.
    Patricia Fittante, Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Krensky, Stephen.  WHO'S IN LOVE WITH ARTHUR?   Illus by Marc Brown.
    Boston:  Little, 1999.  64p.  A Chapter Book series, #10   0-316-11539-8; hb., $12.95
    0-316-10671-2; pb., $3.95  0-316-11540-1; pb., $4.25     Gr. 2-3   FIC

     Is someone really in love with Arthur?  That's the topic that has everyone buzzing in this delightful chapter book starring the dynamic duo, Arthur and Francine.  While square dancing in gym class one day Francine refuses to give up her partner (Arthur) to Muffy who is being tossed around the dance floor by none other than Binky Barnes.  Apparently Binky doesn't know his own strength!  Muffy decides she wants a new partner (Arthur) and complains to Binky that Francine is acting like she "owns" Arthur.  That's all it takes to get the rumors going--Arthur and Francine must be in love!  Everyone in the gang is soon turning the situation topsy-turvy, and it requires some thoughtful maneuvering by the "in love" couple to set everything straight.  This tale of misconceptions and miscommunication is one that young readers can easily identify with. Simple black and white muted illustrations enhance the story, and the characters are true to classic Marc Brown style.  Fans will have fun reading or listening to this tenth chapter book in the Arthur series.
    Nancy Anderson, Retired Librarian; Gwinn Area Community Schools, Gwinn, MI

Labatt, Mary A.  A WEEKEND AT THE GRAND HOTEL.  Tonawanda, NY:
    Kids Can  Press, 2001.  104p.  1-555074-883-1; hb., $12.95   Gr. 2-5     FIC

    Although Samantha, a sheepdog, looks like a walking mop, she has the aspirations of being the best dog detective this side of the Mason Dixon Line.  The only thing holding the cantankerous canine back is her unsatisfying menu of dog food.  As the reader soon discovers, Sam much prefers apple pie with shrimp, whipped cream on a bacon burger, or a butter tart topped with sardines.  Sniffing is her game so when her dog-sitter/next door neighbor, Jennie cons her parents into taking Sam along on a vacation to the Grand Hotel the fun begins.  The suitcases were not even unpacked yet when Sam begins her snooping which in turn plants the protagonist right in the middle of an exciting mystery.  Sam is able to communicate with Jennie by putting thoughts into her head, so mystery buffs who have always wanted to talk to the animals will love the craziness of Sam as well as the surprise ending.  Arf. Woof. Yip!  (In dog language that means “You must read it to find out!”
    Pat Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Lowry, Lois.  GOONEY BIRD ON THE MAP.  Illus. Middy Thomas.  New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 
    Harcourt Pub. Co., 2011.  125p.    ISBN 978-0-547-55662-2 hb. $15.99     Gr. 2-4    JUV FIC

            Most of the second graders in Mrs. Pidgeonís class, including Gooney Bird are glum at the prospect of spending their school break at home. Three of their classmates are setting off on dream vacations to Hawaii and Florida, daily boasting about their plans to exotic destinations at every opportunity. Gooney Bird saves the day with a great idea that has the class  excited and looking forward to staying home. Gooney is as engaging, lovable and funny as Junie B. Jones. Lowryís new series, enhanced by pencil drawings, will be enjoyed by beginning chapter book readers. It will be successful, laugh inducing read-aloud.
           
Barbara Ward, Retired Childrenís Librarian, Dickinson County Library,

Maddox, Jake. RELAY RACE BREAKDOWN. Illus.Eduardo Garcia. Capstone: Stone Arch Books, 
    Mankato, MN, 2012 65p. ISBN 978-1-4342-3289-2 lib.bdg. $17.99.    Gr 2-3     Juv.FIC  

            Faced with an ultimatum from his gym teacher, Nick has a choice to make. He can join the relay team or fail gym class. Since Nick hates running but doesnít want to fail, he resentfully agrees to join the team. His journey, which slowly leads him to take pride in himself and being a part of the team, is realistic as are his feelings and attitude. The story will resonate with young readers. Information about Olympic running, the author & illustrator and a glossary complete this excellent entry in the series
            Barbara Ward, Retired Childrenís Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Rivers, Phoebe. SPIRITS OF THE SEASON. Series: Saranormal/3.  New York:  Simon Spotlight,
        2012.  150p.    ISBN 978-1-4424-5379-1 hc.  $15.99  Gr. 3-6  Juv.FIC

       
Classmates and friends Ziggy, Jerome, Rashawn and Rico are excited about the school talent show. The winnerís prize is two-hundred dollars; the boys are sure that they will win the top prize with their singing, dancing and costumes. Their clubhouse needs fixing up and boys have a list all ready for spending the prize money. When a new girl with a powerful voice enters the contest the boys realize that they arenít a shoo-in after all. Although the mystery is slight, the book has much to recommend it. It introduces early American songs that todayís children most likely havenít been introduced to, the cast of characters is multi-racial, the plight of homeless families and the importance of music in our schools. Itís all done with a light hand, woven into the book without preaching. This is a successful entry in the series.

   
     Barbara Ward, Dickinson County Library, Childrenís Librarian, Retired

Rosales, Melodye Bensen.  MINNIE SAVES THE DAY. Ill. by author.  New York:
     Little, 2001.  84p.  0-316-75605-9; hb., $12.95    99-19896    Gr. 2-5     FIC

    What a delightful transitional chapter book. With the text set on a cream-colored background, the story takes place in Bronzeville, a section of Chicago during the Depression. Rosales incorporates historical facts with fiction in just the right proportions and she includes a chapter at the end of the book featuring snapshots of Chicago's African American History.  The real frosting on the cake (literally) is the recipe for Mama's butter pound cake. However, leading up to all this good stuff is a story about Hester Merriweather who receives a brown rag doll from her Grandmamma.  Hester senses that this doll is really special.  In fact, she is magical.  The doll's outfit is made from clothes worn by Hester's father and her brown skin was made from a dress worn by Hester's great-great-grandmother.  Neither the doll nor her owner realize what is in store for them.  Minnie comes alive when Hester is asleep and shares a secret life with other dolls which leads to adventure, excitement, and a bit of humor.  Rosale's illustrations incorporate fashions from the '30's, attitudes of the day, and popular pastimes of the era.  It's a delicious read and one that is going to keep the reader asking for "seconds please!"
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Saunders, Susan.  THE CHILLING TALE OF CRESCENT POND.   Illus. Jane Manning.  Black
    Cat Club series. New York:  Harper Trophy, 1998. 81p.  0-06-442072-8 pb. $3.95. Gr. 1-5   FIC

    In this series, a group of friends have formed the Black Cat Club to find the ghosts that seem to be plentiful in their town.  Similar to the popular Goosebumps series, pre-teens should find these stories readable and exciting.
In this chapter book a mysterious force is haunting Crescent Pond which has recently been opened for skating 100 years after Alice Foster fell through the ice and subsequently died from pneumonia.  Alice's ghost, pesky but helpful, takes several of the club members back in time to discover who is haunting the pond and why.  Will they be able to prevent a looming disaster in the present?
    Carolyn Anderson, retired teacher; Member of the L’Anse (MI) Public Library Advisory Board

Stanley, Diane. JOINING THE BOSTON TEA PARTY. Illus. Holly Berry. New York:
    HarperCollins, 2001.  48p. 0-06-027067-5; hb., $15.95     Gr. 2-5    FIC

    It's time for another time-travel trip with twins Liz and Lenny.  Again, high-spirited Grandma tags along, taking along her magic hat.  The time: 1773.  The occasion: The Boston Tea Party. The adventuresome trio chose to dress like Mohawks, and are transported back to colonial Boston to visit some of their ancestors.  Liz and Lenny in their powdered wigs and petticoats experience the taste of Indian pudding and the inconvenience of chamber pots, but the most fun of all is joining the Mohawks as they dump tea into the Boston Harbor and initiate the start of the American Revolution.  Stanley's historic details offer older readers humor and painless gain of historical information, while  speech balloons throughout the book couple with the colorful illustrations to make this a trip worth taking through the pages of history.
    Patricia Fittante; Childrenís Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Wilson, Laura.  HOW I SURVIVED THE IRISH FAMINE:  THE JOURNAL OF
    MAY O’FLYNN.  Time Travelers series.  Illus with photos.  New York: HarperCollins, 
    2001.  36p.   0-06-029534-1; lib.bdg., $14.89    Gr. 2-7+   FIC

    Anyone desiring an “up close and personal” view of the potato famine will find it in this oversize picture book.  The two-page introduction provides background information for readers.  The book is a fictional first person account of an Irish girl who provides interesting details of life in Ireland and her trip to America.  Bold colorful photos are artistically part of each page design as are the muted photos in the background.  Although illustrations overlap pages, no images are lost in the gutters.  A map and population statistics appear in an afterword, dated 1884, completing Mary’s Journal that began in 1845 when she was twelve.  The glossary, index, places to visit, and bibliography on the last page are useful.  The book is similar in format to HOW I SURVIVED THE OREGON TRAIL (Morrow/Avon, 1999).
    This is a prime example of a fiction book that imparts lots of information to youth in an interesting manner.  But the book can also be used as an inspiration to youth and adults for writing a family history.  Purchase this book for school and public libraries.  Display it prominently in March and share it with genealogy groups as well as anyone who has a drop of Irish blood.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

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