Posts Tagged ‘junior fiction’

The Lost Stone (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

February 20, 2015

The lost stoneThe Lost Stone (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

By: Jordan Quinn

The Lost Stone is book one in The Kingdom of Wrenly series. Eight-year-old Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could want – except for a friend. He is very lonely because his father, the king, doesn’t think it’s proper for him to be friends with the village children. His mother, the queen, convinces the King that their son should have friends. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, the prince goes on a quest with his new friend, Clara, to find the stone. Their adventure takes the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard’s island of Hobsgrove, and finally the Mermaid’s Cove.

Young, emerging readers now have their very own fantasy series and can embark on imaginary quests. The illustrations complement the text perfectly and set the fairy tale scene and they take up enough page space so new readers won’t feel overwhelmed by text. The Plano Library system already has six books in The Kingdom of Wrenly series for children to enjoy.

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Eva’s Treetop Festival

January 20, 2015

Eva's treetop festivalEva’s Treetop Festival

By: Rebecca Elliott


Eva Wingdale, an owl with lots of personality, is known for her big ideas. She offers to organize the first Treetop Owlementary Bloomtastic Festival with a bake-off, talent, fashion, and art shows. With the big event only seven days away, Eva is worried that she can’t get everything done in time. Her teacher, Mrs. Featherbottom, recommends that Eva ask her classmates for help. Eva decides that is the only way the festival will get planned in time.  She learns the power of delegation and her classmates willingly chip in to help her pull off a great festival.


This early chapter book is a nice step between early readers and chapter books. It is written in a diary format with speech bubbles and colorful illustrations. This book and other accessible early chapter books are published by the new Branches imprint of Scholastic Books. Both children and parents will love them. Other titles published by the Branches imprint include Boris on the Move, Kiki: My Stylish Life, and Monkey Me and the Pet Show.

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The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken

December 5, 2014

The case of the weird blue chicken : the next misadventureThe Case of the Weird Blue Chicken

Doreen Cronin

 The second adventure in The Chicken Squad series is just as much fun as the first. Chickens Dirt, Sugar, Poppy and Sweetie are back and they’re sillier than ever. In this story, a blue jay (or a weird blue chicken to the Chicken Squad) comes to the chickens for help. Someone has taken the blue jay’s house and the bird wants it back. Then the chickens realize that their brother Poppy is living in the jay’s house. Next a squirrel shows up and complains to the chicken squad about stolen acorns. The plot is now thickening and the chicken squad has two mysteries to solve. This is a hilarious chapter book, with adorable black and white illustrations. It is introduced and concluded by J. J. Tully, the retired search and rescue dog that lives in the same yard and keeps an eye on all of the chickens. This is a terrific new series by the author of many beloved picture books.

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Lulu’s Mysterious Mission

November 20, 2014

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst

If you are looking for a laugh, look no more!  This third book about Lulu had me laughing out loud.  I had not read any of the books about Lulu, so there is good news for those who haven’t read the other two titles; it really made no difference to start with the third!  On a side note, the third book is illustrated by Kevin Cornell, rather than Lane Smith, who illustrated the first two.

Lulu’s parents have gone on vacation, but Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky is no ordinary babysitter.  Lulu does her best to get rid of her, until Triple S reveals her secret code name, and promises to train Lulu as a spy.  Of course, Lulu hopes her parents will take many more vacations in the future.

I highly recommend Viorst’s chapter book.  It has lots of white space, great illustrations by Cornell, and humor which will motivate any reader.

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Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

October 23, 2014

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo

Leroy Ninker dreams of being a cowboy, but he needs a horse. He receives sage advice about choosing the right horse, by checking its teeth and hooves. I laughed out loud, and I think you will too, when you see the picture of Leroy meeting Maybelline for the first time. Each character in this story is larger than life and made me chuckle.  You’ll love the illustrations by Chris Van Dusen!

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is the first title in a new series for early chapter readers called Tales from Deckawoo Drive.  If you have read the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, you might remember Leroy Ninker.  Mercy Watson books are for beginning readers and the Leroy Ninker books are a step up from those.

This book is a new favorite!  I’m looking forward to sharing it with friends.

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Hook’s Revenge

October 16, 2014

Hook’s Revenge

By Heidi Schulz

Hook’s Revenge tells the tale of Jocelyn Hook, the only daughter of Captain Hook – yes, that Captain Hook, he of Peter Pan fame – who hopes to escape her horrible finishing school and become a feared pirate captain like her long-missing father.  When a letter from Captain Hook himself arrives, asking Jocelyn to avenge his death at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to ditch manners lessons for a great adventure.  But being a pirate is much harder that she ever thought. Can Jocelyn find the courage to beat the crocodile before time runs out?

Readers won’t be bored with this quirky but action-packed story, adventuring with Jocelyn as she deals with her pathetically untrained pirate crew, outwits cannibals, rescues her amnesiac best friend, and fends off that twerp Peter Pan, who keeps barging in uninvited.  Jocelyn is a fierce heroine who is easy to love: hilarious and fiery with a heart of gold.  Discovering the details of Neverland itself add to the fun, as well as the snarky side comments of the story’s cranky narrator.

Recommended for grades 4-7.

Reviewed by:   Alyssa (Davis Library)

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Judy Moody and Stink – The Big Bad Blackout

October 8, 2014

The big bad blackoutJudy Moody and Stink The Big Bad Blackout

 Megan McDonald

 In this third installment of the series featuring third grader, Judy and her little brother, Stink, the Moody family is cooped up in their house with no electricity as Hurricane Elmer comes ashore. The Moody’s make the best of the situation with the help of Grandma Lou and an assortment of animals she has taken in for friends. The kids are thrilled that school is cancelled for several days. Grandma Lou cooks food over a fire in the fireplace, teaches Judy and Stink how to play musical board games, and Stink enjoys pretending he is a pioneer like his hero, Abraham Lincoln. The best part about the adventure is when each member of the family shares stories with each other. There is plenty of laugh-out-loud humor in this edition of the series which grows out of the interaction between the family members. This is an enjoyable story for readers of all ages!

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The Fourteenth Goldfish

October 3, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish CoverThe Fourteenth Goldfish

by Jennifer L. Holm

How many of you have a close relationship with your grandfather?  Now….how would you feel about hanging out with your grandfather as a 13-year-old boy?  A grandfather who looks young but has the same intelligence, personality and attitude he had as a 76-year-old! 11-year-old Ellie finds herself in this exact situation as her scientist grandfather has, shockingly enough, found the means to reverse aging through a particular species of jellyfish and has experimented upon himself!

This may sound like a good thing for Grandpa Melvin but now that he is young again, this man who previously earned 2 PhD’s must now attend middle school for the 2nd time creating complications not only for himself but for Ellie!  Then there is the issue of Ellie’s mother having to take in her own father and raise him as a teenage boy in her household while Grandpa is still trying to tell her what she can and can’t wear to work!

However, there is a bright side to this crazy situation. Ellie’s relationship with her grandfather deepens as he teaches her a lot about famous scientists and their discoveries, stimulating an interest in science she never knew she had. As the story unfolds, both Grandpa and Ellie learn that sometimes scientific discoveries have unexpected consequences.

Holm has hit a home run once again with this smart, funny and touching middle grade novel about a family learning from one another about themselves and the world around them.

Recommended for grades 4 through 6.

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)



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All Four Stars

September 4, 2014

All Four Stars

By: Tara Dairman


I love cooking so I was excited to see this new junior novel about a young pre-teen foodie, Gladys Gatsby. In the opening scene Gladys has set the kitchen curtains on fire while using a blow torch to make her crème brulee. Her parents are understandably upset and ban Gladys from the kitchen. This poses a problem since they are terrible cooks themselves and Gladys must suffer through some horrible meals. Gladys writes an essay about cooking for a school competition and the essay winds up in the hands of an editor at a New York City newspaper. The editor hires Gladys to write a freelance food review of a new restaurant in the city. Gladys is too young to travel into the city by herself and must figure out a way to get into the city and sample all of the food without letting her parents know. She turns out to be surprisingly resourceful even if her solution does stretch believability. This is an entertaining story even if some of the plotting is a little bit convoluted.

Renee (Parr)



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Moldylocks and the Three Beards

August 12, 2014

moldylocks and the three beardsMoldylocks and the Three Beards (Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe #1)
by Noah Z. Jones

Princess Pink is not a princess, and she’s not pink. She doesn’t even like princesses or the color pink. She’s just a girl whose first name is Princess, and whose last name happens to be Pink. One night, Princess Pink wakes up hungry, but when she opens the refrigerator door to get a snack, she finds herself looking into a magical world. Leaning in to take a better look, Princess Pink tumbles into the refrigerator and begins to fall!

In the Land of Fake-Believe, things are very different from back home. Still feeling hungry, Princess Pink meets a girl named Moldylocks who takes her to the house of the Three Beards to find something to eat, but the two girls soon find there’s more than chili waiting for them at the Three Beards’ house…

princess pink and moldylocks

You may think you know where this story is going, but it’s different from any version of Goldilocks and the Thee Bears you’ve ever read before, and funnier too! With a collection of strange characters like Mother Moose and Tunacorn, kids will be laughing out loud at the antics of Princess Pink and Moldylocks.

Perfect for fans of humor, cartoon-like illustrations, and all around ridiculousness. This Princess does her own rescuing!

Early chapter book. Recommended for ages 5 to 7.

(Jocelyn, Davis Library)

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