ages 6 – 9


5M4B disclosure

space saverSpace Saver: Ben has, as usual, come to Mission Control after school. Both his parents work there, and it’s usually a great place to hang out. But today, something is wrong. Everyone is shouting and upset, and there aren’t even any biscuits for his tea.  That morning, a wheel fell off the Moon Buggy with the new spy camera mounted on it, and the astronauts weren’t able to work with the tiny screws to fix it. They have flown away and left the buggy with the spy camera just lying there on the moon, where anyone could get at them.  Even the Prime Minister calls to yell about it, and Ben answers the phone. “I expect you to sort this problem out straight away,” shouts the PM. Ben takes his words to heart, and sets about to solve things in his own inimitable way.

Space Saver is a delightful book that will spark children’s imaginations. Most kids I know dream of floating about in space, and everyone loves to picture themselves handily fixing a problem that is stumping the grown-ups.



alfieAlfie’s Great Escape: In Alfie’s Great Escape we meet Alfie, a baboon who lives in a safari park. He knows lots about humans, he thinks, because he sees them every day, driving through his home. They seem to always be happy, chatting and eating ice cream and enjoying each other’s company. So Alfie decides to steal bits of people’s cars until he could make a car of his very own, which allows him to drive off in search of human companionship.

He ends up at a birthday party. Unsurprisingly, he really doesn’t know how humans behave, and makes rather a (sorry!) monkey of himself. But he learns important lessons about contentment and friendship, and the party ends up being a success in spite of his rather unexpected present for the birthday girl.

Space Saver and Alfie’s Great Escape both feature speech bubbles to enhance the story, and both are fun, well-told tales. Both titles are rated as “blue bananas.” Egmont Press uses a simple color-coding scheme to let kids and parents know if the book is appropriate for their reading level. Blue is the middle level, for kids who are getting more comfortable with reading on their own yet who still like pictures on each page.


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Geronimo Stilton: The Hunt for the Golden Book

My children are still obsessed with Geronimo Stilton. They have read nearly every book in the series, as well as the spinoffs. The Hunt for the Golden Book is the 57th book in the original series, and it celebrates Geronimo’s 10th anniversary as an author. As always Geronimo and his family are engaged in a madcap adventure where he is pushed around by everyone who cares about him.
The illustrations make the book a delight to look at, and between the pictures and the fun fonts used for words on every page make this book a great one for reluctant readers. It is a fun read, and simple enough in terms of plot that younger readers can easily engage in it while there is enough hilarity

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Monkey Me and the Pet Show

Last month I reviewed Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey, the first book in a new series in the Branches line from Scholastic.  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.”  The Monkey Me books are perfect for my advanced first grader — he loves the content, the format, and the illustrations, and I love his excitement when he reads the books.
In Monkey Me and the Pet Show, Clyde’s inability to contain his excitement for class pictures has some unfortunate consequences. You see, every year, someone makes a funny face that ruins the class picture, and Clyde can’t wait

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Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake #Giveaway

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I was also compensated for writing this post, but all opinions remain my own.
Julie Sternberg has another book out featuring the lovable Eleanor, who we’ve seen deal with a few childhood challenges– the relocation of a beloved babysitter in Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and the mixed emotions involved in going to sleepaway camp in Like Bug Juice on a Burger. This time around, Eleanor must deal with some friendship ups and downs, along with making amends after hurting her best friend and a new classmate in Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake. As always, Eleanor is a refreshingly honest and believable protagonist, and Sternberg’s writing continues to be accessible and entertaining for

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5 Series to Read Aloud with Your Kids {Friday’s Five}

There’s no particular season that’s better for reading aloud with your kids. In winter time, curling up in one of my kids’ beds, we can journey together through a couple chapters of a book each night, and spring days start to get a little longer, allowing even more reading time before dark. In the summer, reading aloud by the fire on a camping trip is heavenly, while fall brings with it a seasonal spookiness that encourages hushed reading time together. See, whatever time of year, reading aloud rocks!
My two younger children are 6 and 7 (almost 8, she’d have me tell you!), and we’re big fans of chapter book reading right now. I enjoy sharing beloved books with them, in a sort of “round

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Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons

Back in elementary school, I first learned about haiku, those three lined poems that followed the 5-7-5 syllable pattern that suddenly made poetry accessible to me as a young child. I recall writing many of my own poems in that familiar haiku pattern for school assignments and as entries in my diary as well. All these years later, I’m happy to be reminded of my introduction to this form of poetry through a new picture book that I’ve enjoyed sharing with my own kids. From its play-on-words title to the always beautiful watercolors by Jon J. Muth, Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons makes for a delightful way to learn about haiku any time of the year.
Thanks to the Author’s Note in the opening

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Hilda and the Troll

Take a look at the little blue-haired girl on the cover of this book. That is the face of a determined adventurer, a young girl with an inquisitive nature and the heart of an explorer. Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson is the original in the Hildafolk comic series, and it has recently been reprinted in a new hardcover book format. Though I was never much of a comic book reader as a child myself, I have three children who all enjoy the format, and this book has been a hit with them all, from the 6 year old to the 13 year old!
Add my fandom to the mix, too, for I was pleasantly surprised by not only the presentation but also by

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Clara and Davie by Patricia Polacco

My second grader is going through a stage of extreme interest in figures from the past. She has been drawn lately to women who have made a difference in the history of our country, such as Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton, and our trips to the library have included stops in the nonfiction section to learn more about them. Patricia Polacco’s new book Clara and Davie takes a different route to Barton’s story, for while we’ve read many books about her actions founding the American Red Cross and providing medical care to Civil War Soldiers, with this touching picture book, my daughter and I both learned more about her childhood experiences that shaped the woman she was to become.
Born the fifth child in the

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Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey

My first grader is reading well above his grade-level — a challenge I’m sure many of you can relate to.  It’s tough finding age-appropriate books that are on his reading level that also engage and challenge him.  

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Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, a 5-Star Read

In Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Patricia Hruby Powell has created a picture book unique in the vast genre for its poetic grace in bringing an historical figure to brilliant life on the page. Christian Robinson deserves much acclaim for his vibrant illustrations, which pop with color and magically convey a feeling of music and movement. Pick up this book and prepare to be transported in time through Baker’s life.
As soon as you pick up this book, it’s obvious that it isn’t a typical picture book from its heft alone. Coming in at 104 pages, it includes pages with and without illustrations, and the text is laid out in verse form. The occasional word is written in all caps, emphasizing important events,

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LEGO City Need for Speed!

With LEGO® bricks all the rage these days it’s no surprise Scholastic has LEGO® books, and my first grader is a big fan of them.  Scholastic sent me one of their new graphic novels, and it was no surprise either that he immediately dove right in.
Based on the LEGO® City sets, Need for Speed! features a race that anyone with wheels can join – cars, trucks, even a circus bear on a bicycle. But all is not on the up and up, as twins Tyler and Taylor are cheaters who have left traps and misdirecting signs all over the course.  And as we all know cheaters never win, but the actual winner — and what he does with the trophy — are a funny ending to

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Under the Same Sun

A visit from relatives sets the stage for many family-themed children’s books, but in Under the Same Sun by Sharon Robinson and illustrated by A.G. Ford, this visit from Auntie Sharon and Grandmother Bibi is remarkable for the great distance traveled and the deep connections shared. All in all, this is a beautiful picture book filled with love and adventure.
Auntie Sharon and Grandmother Bibi have traveled from the United States all the way to Tanzania to see the seven children and their parents, a trip in honor of Bibi’s upcoming eighty-fifth birthday. The family has a special surprise in store for her- a safari in the Serengeti National Park.
Not only does the safari provide them with incredible, up-close experiences with wild animals like

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