Ghost School. M.

Clifford, Eth. Ghost School. M. 1999.

Twin sisters Elizabeth and Carol and their friend Jeff love spooky stuff and decide to sneak into a haunted school.  There they meet ghost teachers and ghost students, and have to help find a new building for the school, as it is slated to be torn down. Despite this promisingly exciting premise, there’s very few ghosts for the first 20 or 25 pages as the book builds up the relationship between the main characters. Chapters are 8-9 pages long.

TAGS: Fiction, fantasy, ghosts, twins, adventure, school, masks, puns, m

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James & the Giant Peach. Q.

INFO: Dahl, Roald. James & the Giant Peach. Q. 1961.

DESC: James, orphaned by an enormous angry rhino, has to live with his terrible aunts Spiker and Sponge—until he accidentally drops magical glowing seeds at the roots of an old, dead peach tree.  When the magic causes the tree to grow one giant peach, James escapes his old life with the motley crew of giant bugs who live inside. Lots of kiddos have seen the movie; current school edition has tied-in illustrations. Chapters are 2-3 pages long.

TAGS: movie, adventure, chapter, bugs, magic, fantasy, weird names, weird bugs, Q, fiction, finland elementary, classics

James & the Giant Peach. Q.

INFO: Dahl, Roald. James & the Giant Peach. Q. 1961.

DESC: James, orphaned by an enormous angry rhino, has to live with his terrible aunts Spiker and Sponge—until he accidentally drops magical glowing seeds at the roots of an old, dead peach tree.  When the magic causes the tree to grow one giant peach, James escapes his old life with the motley crew of giant bugs who live inside. Lots of kiddos have seen the movie; current school edition has tied-in illustrations. Chapters are 2-3 pages long.

TAGS: movie, adventure, chapter, bugs, magic, fantasy, weird names, weird bugs, Q, fiction, finland elementary, classics

Fudge-A-Mania. Q.

INFO: Blume, Judy. Fudge-A-Mania. Q. 1990.

DESC: Fudge-a-Mania continues the annoying-yet-loveable (or loveable-yet-annoying, depending on who you are) dynamo of Fudge, Peter, and Sheila Tubman, but with a few dramatic twists: Fudge is marrying Sheila. And, oh yeah: the whole lot is carting up to Maine for summer vacation, and living in a duplex together. Let me spell that out once more: t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. With a delightful supporting cast of Hatcher and Tubman relatives (like Peter’s grandma, and the delightfully off-beat Buzzy Senior … who just might have a thing going themselves!) and the ever-indefatigable Uncle Feather, adventure – and an airtight reading experience – is certainly in store.

TAGS: judy blume, classics, fudge, sheila tubman, summer vacation, maine, kids getting married, shenanigans, adventure, sibling rivalry, younger brothers, TOTAL CHAOS, hilarious, or annoying, Q, fiction, chapter, summer books

The Time Warp Trio: 2095! P.

INFO: Scieszka, Jon. The Time Warp Trio: 2095! P. 1995.

DESC: For all of its Stinky Cheese Man-era illustration, the Time Warp Trio series seems to have held up well. In this edition, our heroes find themselves transported from their class trip to New York’s Museum of Natural History to … the exact same place, 100 years in the future! Except that travelling into the future isn’t as easy as travelling into the past – after all, deadly Time Police robots get on your trail! In this funny adventure with a good touch of “detective” work and mystery, our heroes manage to find their way “back from the future” … with a little help from some unexpected kin. Noteworthy – and especially interesting to our readers – is Scieszka’s offbeat, and fairly convincing, rendering of the technologies (read: giant 3-D advertisements for toilet-paper, shaped like a talking roll of gargantuan toilet-paper, floating in mid-air) and fashions of the future!

TAGS: fantasy, science fiction, sf, future, the future, time travel, adventure, suspense, mystery, museums, TIME POLICE ROBOTS, humor, chapter, fiction, P

The Animal Band. K?

INFO: Smith, Annette. The Animal Band. K?. 1998.

DESC: Another of the classic animal fables retold in simple leveled language, with a play at the end! Children may be quite familiar with the “Brementown Singers” tale, which makes this easy-to-read leveled story a great and wordier transition from the earlier reading levels. The repetitive plotline (each animal leaves its home because it has become too old to do its appointed job) and interesting “lesson” helps carry readers along – and it leaves lots of room for good discussion. Although the characters aren’t too well developed and seem interchangeable (typical fable), The Animal Band is a fantastic introduction to setting, plot, and theme – and especially setting, since the world in which the story is set (rural; largely reliant on animal labor, &c.) is so different from our own.

TAGS: fables, Aesop’s fables, animal band, animals, farm, farming, rural, singing, adventure, play, K, fiction