Thanks to Scholastic, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the first two books in the “Monkey Me” Branches series by Timothy Roland – Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey and Monkey Me and the Pet Show.  Branches is “a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers who are ready to make the exciting leap from leveled readers, but not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book.”  My now second grader is reading on a third grade level, so he’s beyond the target audience, yet he still loves these books about a hyper boy who transforms into a monkey when he gets excited.  Since I somehow misplaced the third book when I received it a few months ago, and the final book comes out September 30, I’m writing up both books in one post.

In Monkey Me and the New Neighbor, Clyde finally comes up with the perfect thing for Show-and-Tell — a prized baseball card — but bully Roz throws it into the bushes.  To add insult to injury, Clyde and Claudia’s new neighbor is Principal Murphy!  Imagine Clyde’s surprise when she is not only nice, but also collects baseball cards. Clyde once again saves the day in his monkey way when thieves steal her box of cards.

Monkey Me and the School Ghost comes out just in time for Halloween, and it’s Halloween for Clyde and Claudia too. When Roz the bully is blamed for Principal Murphy’s purse being stolen, Clyde has to find out who the real culprit is, even if it means Roz won’t be out of his life. The twins also find out it’s possible Clyde won’t change back into a human after being a monkey.

I don’t know if this series will stop at 4 books but I really hope it doesn’t. My sixth grader steals the books from his brother, and I have to admit I enjoy reading them as well. Clyde and Claudia are resonant of real siblings, fighting one minute but friends the next. Claudia’s frustration with her hyper brother is understandable, but he also helps her loosen up a bit.

I highly recommend these books to both boys and girls in the 6-8 age range (and their older siblings who want to borrow them).

Email Author    |    Website About Nancy

Nancy enjoys reading, cross stitch and carting her kids to sports practices and games. She chronicles life with her boys and books at Life With My Boys and Book

View all articles by


This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you support this site. Thank you!
See our Disclosure Policy for details.

The Scavengers by Michael Perry #Giveaway

Read the full article →



Short stories carry a large task- to quickly grab a reader’s attention, as well as to develop an engaging story and flesh out characters in significantly fewer pages than a novel has to do so. In Flings, Justin Taylor creates a series of tales that are simply snippets of the lives of a wide array of characters, all of whom are trying to figure out just how they fit in the world around them. The beginning of each story jumps right into painting a vivid picture of protagonist and setting, with diverse places serving as backgrounds- New York City, Florida, Hong Kong, and others. Somehow, even with so few pages, each conflict builds up gradually, though oftentimes, very little resolution follows. The endings of the stories aren’t
Read the full article →


When We Fall

Allison Parker has just moved back home to the suburbs of New York City with her 10 year old son in tow.  On Logan’s first day of school, she runs into Charlie Crane, an old friend from her childhood who knew her husband, who was killed on a ski trip 10 years earlier. Charlie’s wife, Charlotte, invites Allison to a wine and whine with some other friends, women who personify the term Queen Bees and aren’t particularly welcoming to Allison. Charlie and Charlotte’s marriage is shaky – they’ve grown apart and neither one knows how to fix it. Charlie uses work as an excuse to not come home and it’s easy to understand why since Charlotte gripes at him when he his home. Allison finds herself torn between the two of them, caught in
Read the full article →


5 Ways My Mom Helped Me Become a Writer {Friday’s Five}

Find out more about Guest Contributor author Mike Perry at his website Sneezing Cow. Stay tuned for Jennifer’s review and giveaway on Monday. If you turn to the very last printed page of my latest book, The Scavengers, you will find the following one-line acknowledgment: Mom, for teaching me to read and filling my world with books. Now then: Of course we thank our moms. I would thank Mom even if she had raised me on gas station beef sticks and poker. There are a million ways to be a good mom. But in my case, Mom’s attention to books and reading altered the course of my life to the very moment of my typing these words. I grew up baling hay and cleaning calf
Read the full article →


Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food & Love #Giveaway

“I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes,” said the grandmother of author Kathleen Flinn, and that philosophy sums up much of this tribute to the author’s family, a hardy collection of no-nonsense hard-working people who express their love through food as often as not. There’s her maternal grandfather, who cooked a large pot of chili for all the neighbourhood kids every Saturday, seasoned with chilies and made with beans that he grew himself every summer and carefully dried for the long winter months, and her maternal grandmother, who spent a week cooking nonstop for the family at a lake cabin, making cinnamon rolls and vats of coleslaw and baked beans and pulled pork, and then told her daughter it
Read the full article →


The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

My 10-year-old son and I read The Fourteenth Goldfish aloud together. We often read books aloud, but it can be a slow-going process. The more we like them, the faster we finish, because one or both of us will say “Let’s read one more chapter” in spite of other interests and reading our own books. Sometimes it was him suggesting another chapter, other times it was me. We both equally enjoyed this book. Why? Sciencey stuff, in this case facts about scientists and researches (This won’t surprise fans of her Squish graphic novels) heartfelt family issues (which won’t surprise fans of her works such as Turtle in Paradise) such as adult parent/child relationships and a “broken” family (specifically I loved that in the divorced family
Read the full article →


The Swap

Ellie is a 7th grade girl. Her “best friend” won’t stop badmouthing her. She’s not sure how she’s going to get through this year. When she overhears Sassy’s hurtful words when they’re changing for gym, she runs out and ends up in the nurse’s office. Jack is an 8th grade boy, also known as The Prince. He’s polite, super cute, and a good athlete. But that day, he can’t take a kid’s mouthing off, and he hits him. Before going to the principal, he ends up in the nurse’s office. Somehow before they get up to leave, they’ve swapped bodies! Maybe that new nurse has something to do with it. They’ve just got to get through the weekend, then they’ll make her switch them back.
Read the full article →


What’s on Your Nightstand, August 26

I can’t really believe that it’s August, not to mention the last few days of August! It’s been a whirlwind summer here for me, but I’ve gotten in some good reading, and I think that having a normal schedule will actually help me read more. Maybe I’ll be so relieved that I’ll flop down on the sofa and not read anything. I do have to say that keeping track of my books in Goodreads has really helped me out as far as planning my reading and reviewing. It was a reading goal I made for 2014 and it’s stuck nicely! Now I’d like to hear from you. Please tell me what you are reading now or this next month, or tell me about those books
Read the full article →


Feast for Thieves, #Giveaway

Read the full article →


Left Turn at Paradise: A Rare Book Mystery

Michael Bevan, proprietor of Riverrun Bookshop selling rare and antique books in a leafy suburb of Kansas City, finds himself just scraping by, as he faces the stiff competition from internet sellers that has closed down many physical bookshops. He decides to visit the California International Book Fair, both for inspiration and to hopefully add to his inventory. But, unsurprisingly, he’s in for more than he bargained for. While searching for a briefcase to carry his books in, he unearths an old box and finds within an old diary, its salt-stained pages written by a sailor in 1768 on the first of Captain Cook’s three infamous South Sea voyages. He realizes immediately that this is going to bring in a much-needed infusion of cash, but
Read the full article →


We Are Called to Rise, a 5-Star Read

I loved We are Called to Rise! It is great contemporary fiction looking at so many issues: The affects of the Iraq war on a soldier Parenting adult children Transitions in marriage Middle age ennui Social work, helping kids in particular The challenges of an immigrant family living in Las Vegas The setting of Las Vegas gave this novel an interesting twist. Sin City wasn’t a vehicle to showcase the dark underbelly, but rather just a regular town where people raised their families during a time of explosive growth. Granted, those kids who grew up there learned early on to avert their eyes from the naked ladies on the billboards (it’s only the newcomers who notice). I listened on audiobook and it was good, making
Read the full article →