Posts Tagged ‘junior fiction’

Barry (Dog Diaries)

March 17, 2015

BarryDog Diaries – Barry

By: Kate Klimo

This is the third book in the Dog Diaries series. Each book in the series features a dog from history and the stories are told from the dog’s point of view. This one tells the story of Barry, a rescue dog from the St. Bernard Hospice in the Swiss Alps. The story is filled with adventure as Barry recues travelers that are buried in snow from avalanches. Barry is even injured by one of the people that he tries to rescue. This is a very touching story about a dog that is a gentle giant.

There is an appendix at the end of the book that contains the history of St. Bernard, information about owning a St. Bernard, and photos of the St. Bernard Hospice. There are six titles in the Dog Diaries series (Ginger, Buddy, Barry, Togo, Dash, and Sweetie) and the Plano Library System carries all of them.

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Hissy Fitz

March 11, 2015

Hissy Fitz CoverHissy Fitz

By Patrick Jennings

Illustrated by Michael Allen Austin

If ever there was a cat to rival Grumpy Cat, it’s Hissy Fitz.  Hissy is aptly named as his first reaction to almost anyone and anything is an angry HSSSSSSSSSS! – usually because he’s being disturbed from a much loved nap. Hissy’s name is also a particularly clever play on the term “hissy fit” which is a slang term for a temper tantrum. (Fitz is the last name of his family).

Hissy feels justified in his bad temper as he’s living with a very noisy and boisterous family and has become sleep deprived.  His girl human is eight-year-old Georgie who loves to pet him (which he loves) but also likes to talk, talk, talk while he’s trying to go to sleep (which he doesn’t love).  Then there’s the father who is a carpenter and pounds loudly in his workshop all day.  Finally, there are the 3-year-old twins, Zeb – “the untamed one”- who loves to constantly chase and torment Hissy, and Abe, the kind-hearted one, who actually seems to understand Hissy’s need for peace and quiet but still earns a HSSSSSSSSSS! every once in a while.

Whether indoors or outdoors, Hissy is continually denied his opportunities for a nap until he finally comes to the conclusion that “Humans are the noisiest creatures alive. I’m not sure that there is any escape.”

Beginning chapter book readers will giggle as they appreciate life from Hissy’s point of view complete with his cranky but clever commentary.  Short chapters and snappy dialogue with amusing pencil illustrations that bring the story to life complement the plot and make this a perfect beginning chapter book for anyone –  cat lover (or not)!

Recommended for Grades 2 – 3.

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)



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Rain Reign

March 6, 2015

rain reign Rain Reign by Ann Martin

This was such a satisfying chapter book!

Rose needs predictability in her life (she’s on the Autism spectrum), but living with her dad is difficult. He’s distant and gruff. Her saving grace is her uncle who seems to understand Rose so well. She loves homonyms and these appear all through the text.  Rose collects them. Besides her uncle, a dog–a gift from her dad–are her anchors.

I so rooted for this little girl. There’s a bittersweet ending but one that seemed just right. As a reader, I practically ached to make things right for her.  I hope you enjoy this one!

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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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