Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Excellent Junior titles

It is holiday time so today I bought home a small collection of beginning chapter books - I am always on the look out for easy books with a satisfying story and I think I have found some treasures.

Fancy Nancy Apples Galore! by Jane O'Connor
I will confess I am new to the Fancy Nancy series.  We have picture books, mid sized paperbacks and titles from the I can Read series which is where this one fits in but I have not really read one for myself. From the inside cover of this book I can see there are eighteen titles so we need to add a few more to our shopping list.

Fancy Nancy herself feels like a cross between Clementine and Keena Ford but for a younger audience.  In this installment Fancy Nancy is on a school excursion to an apple farm.  Her trip buddy is the class clown. Lionel is a joker but his jokes are wearing thin. Think of 'the boy who cried wolf'.  When Lionel does get into real trouble no one believes him but Nancy know she has some responsibilities as a buddy so she must find a way to rescue this naughty boy.

I enjoyed all the little vocabulary asides in this story and the mention of various apple varieties such as Jonathans, Honeycrisps and Gala.  On the last page there is a list of some of the fancy words used in this book and this might be a way to introduce the idea of a glossary.

Mouse and Mole A winter wonderland by Wong Herbert Yee
I adore these books.  Mouse and Mole have a truly special relationship. In this installment winter has arrived.  Mouse embraces this opportunity to explore the outside world.  "There is fresh-fallen snow!' exclaimed Mouse.  'The trees are trimmed with icicles.  The bushes are frosted like cupcakes.  It is a winter wonderland!' she sighed."  Mole on the other hand cannot see any sense to this.  He plans to spend this cold day tucked up in his bed.  Mouse sets off to have fun but she is lonely so she makes a snowman who looks a little like Mole.  Mole becomes bored with lying in his bed and when he looks out the window he sees Mouse has  new friend.  He is determined to investigate so he pulls on his boot and snow pants but oddly he cannot find his scarf or mittens.  Have you guessed who has borrowed them.  This perfect day ends with our two friends enjoying cookies and hot tea.

Kirkus describes this book as a 'splendid beginning reader' and I totally agree!

The High-Rise Private eyes - The case of the desperate duck by Cynthia Rylant
I have talked about this series before. The case of the desperate duck is book number 8.  In this installment Bunny and Jack venture out for high tea.  I am sure you will smile when you read Jack's response to this suggestion "Can't' said Jack. 'Afraid of heights."

When they arrive at Mabel's Tea Room they hear Mabel herself scream from the tea counter.  Someone has stolen her precious sugar cubes.  Bunny and Jack are now on the case.  Jack rightly concludes someone has taken the sugar because they needed cubes.  Our intrepid pair follow a couple of ferrets into the fabric shop next door and Jack asks an important question about Eskimos!  Louis Jr, the younger ferret, has a school assignment.  Can you solve the mystery of the missing sugar cubes?

I recommend reading a few books from this series so you get to know the personalities of Jack and Bunny. This will add to your enjoyment as you anticipate their, often silly,  reactions to every situation.

Watch my blog over the next few days as I talk about a new Anna Hibiscus title, the Julian books by Ann Cameron and The Invisible Dog by Dick King-Smith.

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