A Medal for Molly. O.

INFO:  Weeks, Jan.  A Medal for Molly.  O.  2001

DESC: Molly and her father are traveling home on a wet night when their car skids off the dirt road and crashes into a tree, trapping her father’s legs. Molly finds a torch and walks for help.

TAGS:  Highland Park, O, Courage, Fear, Bravery, level O, highland park-O, fiction, chapter, oscar

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Marvin Redpost: Alone in his Teacher’s House. M.

INFO: Sachar, Louis. Marvin Redpost: Alone in His Teacher’s House. M. 1994.

DESC: This installment of Sachar’s immensely likeable Marvin Redpost series starts off with a bang – one that every 2nd or 3rd grader would ogle over: our hero, Marvin Redpost, gets the chance to dog-sit for his teacher, Ms. North, while she goes out-of-town. Translation: Marvin Redpost, in his very own hand, holds the key. To his teacher’s house. The rest of the developments in this shockingly mature book come truly as surprises, and I won’t spoil them here. But, suffice it to say that this book winds up being a bit more serious, touching, and realistic than one would ever expect from a level-M early children’s book. It’s probably worth it to read, but be prepared to counsel your sad kids when it’s all said and done!

TAGS: responsibility, teachers, dogsitting, dogs, old animals, life, the circle of life, mortality, shocking surprises, guilt, fear, shame, catharsis, fiction, chapter, louis sachar, marvin redpost

Julian’s Glorious Summer. N.

INFO: Cameron, Ann. Julian’s Glorious Summer. N. 1987.

DESC: Ann Cameron’s Julian and Huey series is beyond description. Imagination, hilarious, gripping, believable and dynamic all at once, Cameron traces the life-and-times of Julian and Huey, two unforgettable, spunky and audacious brothers growing up in a middle-class African-American neighborhood. This story follows Julian, notorious fibber, as he faces his biggest fear – riding a bicycle (or maybe even bicycles, in general) with characteristic gusto, flair, and well-intentioned missteps. Julian’s (ig)noble attempts to get himself out of contact with bikes (since his best friend Gloria just got one of her own) end up getting him indentured to his father for the summer. Will Julian ever learn to tell the truth?! Cameron’s book delivers all the “big lessons” that one would expect from a children’s summertime classic – but with a believably, edgy, enduring and modern sense of creative flair. For fans of the unique voice and style of Amber Brown or Junie B. Jones – or for those young kiddos just plain bored with tame shenanigans – please welcome Julian and Huey to your pantheon!

TAGS: bicycles, summertime, julian and huey, adventure, lying, telling the truth, fear, fear of bicycles, impressing friends, trusting, understanding, parent-child relationships, humor, funny, funny parts, hilarious, N, fiction, chapter

Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind. J.

INFO: Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind. J. 1993.

DESC: This is the classic “springtime” Henry and Mudge! Henry and Mudge encouter everything from the gusty “wild wind” to terrifying thunderstorms – and, with a little bit of creativity, and some patience, they come through it all alright! As with other books in the Henry and Mudge series, the language is comfortable and familiar, without being sing-song-y, boring, or repetitive; and Rylant introduces choice “challenge words” and phrases (like Henry’s dad’s hilarious declaration about the “enemy couch”) that inspire students to think outside-of-the-box about what they already know!

TAGS: henry and mudge, cynthia rylant, easy reader, easy read, full-color illustrations, pictures, fiction, boy and dog stories, pets, travelling, storms, thunderstorms, fear, springtime, blackouts, power outages, rainbows, J, fiction

Scared at Night! H.

INFO: Charren, Deborah. Scared at Night! H. 2001.

DESC: One of the more amusing of the early levelled readers. This two-chapter book with live-action (looks like throw-away camera, c. 1991) stills chronciles the life of young Kai, who is terrified of the dark. Kai confronts his many monsters (with the help of his dad), and eventually finds a great solution for camping, regardless of the spooky noises! 2nd graders will identify with Kai’s fear and paranoia; and will appreciate the goofy and over-the-top photo accompaniments throughout!

INFO: fear, scary, spooky, scared of the dark, camping, friendship, family, monsters, monsters?