Review: Max at Night

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Max at Night
by Ed Vere

My Rating:
★★★★★

Note: Max at Night will be released on September 3rd by Sourcebooks. A link to preorder is included at the bottom of this review.

 

Last September, Ed Vere’s Max the Brave hit bookstores and became a favorite of many kids (and reviewers!). Having absolutely loved the first book, I was so excited to read Vere’s sequel, Max at Night. Those of us that fell in love with Max in his debut will love the sequel!

While Max the Brave reminded readers of Are You My Mother?Max at Night is reminiscent of Goodnight, Moon in that the little black kitten is literally trying to say goodnight to the moon. We follow on his journey as he seeks to find the moon in the sky. A super sweet, playful tale is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. With this book, Vere has definitely established Max as a beloved picture book character. This book is a great fit for Pre-K to 2 classrooms, or children’s bedroom bookshelves.

Book Information
Title: Max at Night
Author and Illustrator: Ed Vere
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: September 2016
Price: US $16.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Sourcebooks.com

Note: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for reading!

Review: The Great Shelby Holmes

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The Great Shelby Holmes
by Elizabeth Eulberg

My Rating:
★★★★☆

Note: The Great Shelby Homes will be released on September 6th by Bloomsbury Children’s. A link to pre-order is included at the bottom of this review.

 

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved mystery books. I loved finding the clues along with the detectives and making my own predictions about how the book would end. As a teacher, I see that so many of my students love mysteries, but tend to lean towards other genres after they grow out of Cam Jansen and A-Z Mysteries. I was so excited to find The Great Shelby Holmes, because it fills a gap for middle grade mystery readers. With fantastic character development and lots of humor, I know Shelby Holmes will be a perfect next read for the mystery lovers in my class.

The Great Shelby Holmes tells the story of a spunky, awkward, and brilliant kid detective. The story is narrated by Shelby’s new neighbor, Watson, a former army brat who finds himself reluctantly tagging along on Shelby’s adventures.  Shelby and Watson work to solve the mystery of a missing pet, and they meet many neighborhood characters along the way.

There are many things I loved about this book, one of them being that it explicitly addresses race through the text and illustrations. Given the diverse cast of characters, many of my students will be able to find someone who looks like them in the book, which is such an important thing to many readers.

With witty dialogue, a fast-paced plot, and strong narration, The Great Shelby Holmes establishes a well-deserved place for itself on middle grade mystery shelves. Fans of the book will be thrilled to know that this isn’t Shelby’s last adventure; according to the author’s website, The Great Shelby Holmes is the first in a three-part series. I can’t wait to read more!

Book Information
Title: The Great Shelby Holmes
Author: Elizabeth Eulburg
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 2016
Price: US $16.99
Source: Twitter Contest

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon
ElizabethEulberg.com

Review: Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony

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Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony
by Ellen Potter

My Rating:
★★★★★

Note: Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony will be released on Tuesday, August 16th, 2016.

Last year, I totally fell in love with Ellen Potter’s Piper Green series. A spunky heroine, a charming New England setting, and laugh-out-loud humor? I just knew that these books would become a favorite for my third grade kiddos.

After we read the first book in the series as a read-aloud, my students were begging to read book two. The boys and girls in my class couldn’t wait to read more about Piper’s adventures! I absolutely love when kids find books they can’t put down, and Piper Green has that type of draw.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony, the third book in the series, has the same charm as the first two books. Piper’s spunky personality shines, as does her empathy and willingness for hard work. Her mistake-making helps students to learn valuable lessons within the fun and light-hearted story line. Potter includes many humorous lines that will have students laughing during read-alouds. I can’t wait for Book 4 in 2017!

Classroom Connections

  • When it comes to chapter endings, Ellen Potter is an expert at the cliffhanger. This is a great mentor text for students as they learn about cliffhanger endings, especially since the story is told as a personal narrative. The Piper Green books can be great mentor texts for students who are ready to add cliffhangers in their storytelling.
  • Having read Piper Green as a read aloud in my third grade class this year, I can say that the books include many opportunities for making connections, asking questions, and visualizing for reading comprehension. Reading this book aloud is a great way to practice those skills as a class.

Book Information
Title: Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony
Author: Ellen Potter
Illustrator: Qin Leng
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Release Date: August 16th, 2016
Price: US $5.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Random House

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from Random House Children’s in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thanks for reading!

Review: Judy Moody and the Bucket List

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Judy Moody and the Bucket List
by Megan McDonald
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

My Rating:
★★★½

 

Happy book birthday to Megan McDonald! Judy Moody and the Bucket List comes out today, August 2nd. I just know that the Judy Moody fans in my classroom will be begging for this book as soon as school starts.

Surprisingly, this book was my first Judy Moody read. Even though I have multiple bins of Megan McDonald books in my classroom, I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of them. I was so excited to check out Judy Moody and the Bucket List to see why my students adore McDonald’s work. It’s very clear that her books captivate young readers!

One of the things that struck me in Judy Moody and the Bucket List was McDonald’s great use of humor. The book was so funny, and used many different types of humor to make the reader laugh. While the book addresses some serious topics such as friendship, family and even death, McDonald’s humorous style keeps the book light-hearted.

Another strength of this book is how relatable the main characters are. Kids can truly empathize with Judy Moody and Stink. When we make connections in my third grade class, many readers share Megan McDonald books when talking about books they related to. Judy Moody and the Bucket List will be a connection book for many students.

Fans of Judy Moody and Stink will love this latest Megan McDonald read. I can’t wait to chat with my third-grade readers about it!

Classroom Connections

 

McDonald makes great use of euphemisms and idioms in this book. When these linguistic elements are being taught in class, this can be a great book for a “phrase hunt” in which students try to spot idioms in the text.

McDonald also uses many contractions in this book, as Judy and Stink are learning about contractions in class. They sing an adorable song in the book that I can’t wait to use in class!

Above all, the Judy Moody books are awesome for engaged independent reading. Suggesting this book to a reluctant reader may be the most powerful way you use it in your classroom!

Book Information
Title: Judy Moody and the Bucket List
Author: Megan McDonald
Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 2016
Price: US $15.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Candlewick in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!