Book Review

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse by Mac Barnett

The Wolf, The Duck, & The Mouse book cover: illustration of a wolf behind a tree“Early one morning, a mouse met a wolf, and he was quickly gobbled up.”

You might think that’s the end of the story. But you would be wrong.

The quirky dead-pan duo, writer Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen, have paired up once again to tell a tale of what happens when a mouse gets eaten by a wolf. This picture book is recommended for young readers in lower elementary grades who enjoy the pair’s other books and their sense of humor.

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Victoria, Kids World

M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder

M.F.K. book cover: a desert scene with sand blowing a cloacked figure walks with a large bird-like riding animal behindI’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it because you PISSED ME OFF!

Jaime sees a strange figure roll in from the desert. A young girl, alone and injured. Taking her to his family’s home, they help her to slowly recover. Shrouded in mystery, Abbie carries a lot of secrets with her. Why is she alone, what’s in the jar she’s carrying, and why is her blood black? In this rough land with a people struggling to survive, a story of strange powers, people, and friendship begins. Welcome to Marigold. The sandiest town this side of the neck.

Grades 3-6 will enjoy this graphic novel adventure. A beautifully illustrated story in a dystopian desert world, filled with action and adventure, M.F.K. is sure to engage them. Characters come to life and are developed along the course of the adventure. This is an ongoing series, so the next volume will continue the story.

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Naomi, Kids World

My Very Own Space By Pippa Goodhart

My Very Own Space book cover: bunch of illustrated rabbits “SHUSH! I want to look at my book!”

Sometimes everyone needs a little space to themselves. Little Rabbit Jack just wants to read his book but all those around him keep interrupting him. His solution is to enclose himself in a crayon drawn circle so he can finish his book. Soon he gets lonely when he realized how much fun everyone else was having around him, while he was all alone. Little Rabbit Jack realizes the difference between being alone and lonely. Sometimes alone time is needed to accomplish a task but being alone all the time isn’t fun.

A good lap read for kids age 2 and up, the darling illustrations will keep your little reader engaged.

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Gilly, Kids World

Top Elf by Caleb Zane Huett

Top Elf book cover: red cover with a small elf holding up the title words"Could anyone be Santa? It seemed crazy. But Santa was saying it..."

Santa Matthew Claus is retiring and, breaking with tradition, he's not going to give the job over to his eldest son, Klaus. This time, this year, a competition shall be held to determine who will be the next Santa. Elves and Claus's kids are signing up in mass. When Ollie and Celia, two hardworking enthusiastic elves, join in the series of trials, they get a little more than they bargained for as it becomes clear that not every competitor has motivations as jolly.  It's not too long before the North Pole and Christmas itself is in danger of being ruined forever.

This North Pole chapter book balances funny antics with some serious drama, and is perfect for upper elementary readers who are looking for something festive this holiday season.

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Celeste, Kids World

Far Out Fables: The Ugly Dino Hatchling by Stephanie Peters

The Ugly Dino Hatchling book cover: a illustration of a purple T-Rex hatching out of an egg as four ducks look on"But just when she thought the egg was safe...It fell into a swirling portal to another demension in time!"

When a T-Rex egg lands in a duck's nest, the animals all agree that 'Rex' isn't much like any of the animals on the farm; but, what will happen when something dangerous comes?

Told in a comic format with brightly colored panels and easy to follow dialogue; it includes a synopsis of the original story of The Ugly Duckling, some visual questions to guide discussion and a glossary.  A quick read and a good choice for kids looking for fractured fairytales, stories about dinosaurs or want to try out a new format.

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Jennifer Palermo, Kids World

I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor

I want to be in a Scary Story book cover: simple illustration of a purple monster“Ok. We could start the story in a dark and scary forest.”

Little Monster wants to be part of a story, but not just any story. He wants be part of a scary story! But there might be a spooky house, maybe a creepy ghost, and wait, is that a monkey? This story filled with bold illustrations for young readers who love a good fright (and a laugh.)

This book is recommended for children in preschool through early elementary levels.

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Victoria, Kids World

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Iron Trial book cover: preteens with cloaked figure in mask above them"You must bind Callum's magic before the end of the year."

Callum Hunt is determined to not get selected to attend the Magisterium. His father says the school for mages was responsible for the death of his mother and if Callum goes he will end up just like her. Against all odds, the unthinkable happens and Cal is selected to become a mage apprentice. But school isn't what his father says...and Callum discovers a terrible secret about the mages old enemy. A secret he is determined to take to his grave.

For fans of Harry Potter and Rick Riordian the Iron Trial is a fast paced journey into an alternate world where magic, secrets and friendship make book one of The Magisterium series a keeper. Recommended for middle grade readers.

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Tiffany, Kids World

How to Make Friends With a Ghost by Rebecca Green

How to Make Friends with a Ghost book cover: illustration of a girl sitting on a swing set with a ghost floating over the swing seat next to her"If you've ever been frightened by a ghost, the thought of becoming friends with one might seem awfully scary."

Don’t be scared --- this how-to guide will help you understand “the dos and don’ts” when meeting and keeping your new pale pal. Green both authored and illustrated this cute and clever picture book, her first, which offers the reader visual or verbal surprises on every spread.

Beginning with how to find a ghost (you can’t, they find you), the book offers how-to sections as follows: “Ghost Basics” (don’t run, wave), “Ghost Care” (do not let your ghost help with the laundry), “Growing Together” (your ghost will follow you into your adult endeavors and beyond). Clever details include gross-out food suggestions (the “wacky snackies”), including a recipe for “floating spaghetti and mudballs” (ick!)
 
This title would best be enjoyed as a read-aloud with one or more trick-or-treaters ages 4 through 10. Both parents and little ones will enjoy the illustrations and how-to tips; grade-schoolers will see through and enjoy more of the wordplay and jokes.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

The Time Museum by Matthew Loux

Time Museum book cover: illustrated image of a girl with reddish brown hair looking at a glowing band on her wrist. In the background are figures appearing to be runningDelia Bean is just your average valedictorian- a nerd through and through and not popular in school at all. However, summer begins to look promising when her family visits her Uncle Lyndon’s home. There Delia discovers The Time Museum, a museum of Earth’s history (past and future), and wouldn’t you know it, her Uncle is the curator. Delia quickly joins the competition to win the coveted internship position. The competition pits Delia against kids from various eras in history, and the intensive study required is broken up by harrowing trials that send the competitors through time. But, soon Delia makes another important discovery, it is not just T-Rexes one was to watch out for, because not all time travelers are the good guys.

This graphic novel opens this new series with a bang, and will sure to be a hit with upper elementary school readers. Fans of the Amulet or Dreamjumpers series will find enough action and adventure to satisfy, and fans of Roller Girl and Smile will appreciate Delia’s struggle to build friendships.

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Celeste, Kids World

That's NOT How You Do It! By Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar

That's NOT How You Do It! book cover: an illustrated cat with arms crossed is frowning while wearing a berret"Everything was fine, until the day Toshi arrived."

Lucy knows how to do everything under the sun. Build a tower of blocks, eat with a fork, even how to paint an elephant. Lucy is so good in fact, that everyone else in the neighborhood comes to her for help. However all that changes when Toshi arrives. Toshi also knows how to do many things too, but he does them all wrong! Or, is that really the case?

Cultures lightly ‘clash’ in the book, ‘That’s not how you do it!’. When something is different, it’s easy to think it’s wrong. However this books shows even our youngest kids that there’s more than one correct way to do things, and in the end we can all learn from each other and make something beautiful.

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Naomi, Kids World

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