Dragon’s Halloween. I.

Pilkey, Dav. Dragon’s Halloween. I. 1993

More misadventures with the lovable blue Dragon.  Dragon wants to make a big jack-o’-lantern, but can only find six small pumpkins.  Though some bullies come along to try and ruin his fun, Dragon perseveres and scares them off.  Dragon also gets invited to a costume party and gets scared by his own grumbling stomach in the woods.

TAGS: Dragon, Halloween, funny, humor, pumpkin, jack-o’-lantern, costume, party, silly, scary, bullying, fiction, I, North Franklin

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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

Amber Brown Goes Fourth. N.

INFO: Danzinger, Paula. Amber Brown Goes Fourth. N. 1995.

DESC: A hilarious and riveting addition to the Amber Brown series. Paula Danzinger has created a believable, high-spirited and immensely unforgettable character in Amber Brown, who lost her father to divorce, her mother to an annoying new boyfriend, and her best friend to a sudden move to Alabama in the series’ seminal Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon. Here, we see Amber struggling to get ready to enter fourth grade – in the midst of all of these hectic life-changes! How will Amber navigate the fourth grade without her best friend, Justin Daniels? And how will she navigate the trials of back-to-school with her beloved father far away in France? Amber, true-blue, handles all of this with characteristic honesty, spunk, and humor – and, although your kiddos will cheer her on as she “goes fourth,” neither of you will want this one to end!

TAGS: humor, back-to-school, growing up, divorces, family issues, mother-daughter relationships, mothers and daughters, best friends, friends moving away, popularity, friendship between girls, changes, new starts, school, classrooms, 4th grade, summer vacation, fiction, chapter, N

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

Tornado. O.

INFO: Byars, Betsy. Tornado. O. 1996.

DESC: Classic later-period Betsy Byars! This charming tale is a must for any who are fans of the “boy-and-dog” genre. Interestingly, like Bunnicula, it also features a fairly complex frame narrative structure which keeps readers on their toes, and can be the source of many good orienting conversations about which story we are “inside” of at each moment. The story begins with a boy and his family gathered into their storm cellar with Pete, their farmhand, as a twister descends on their farmstead. Our narrator’s father, “Link” Lincoln, is trapped outside in his fields as the tornado hits. To calm everyone’s nerves, Pete begins to tell a series of interwoven stories about his time on his own farm down tornado alley – and the time he found a dog, doghouse and all, plopped down in his yard by a twister! The saga of Pete and “Tornado” that ensues is by turns funny, witty, original, and heartbreaking. This is an unforgettable and highly engaging story full of both enduring human themes and strong regional flair – and it will have even stronger resonance as students turn their eyes to the aftermath of the tragedies in Oklahoma this year.

TAGS: tornados, storms, farmlands, rural, pets, dogs, boy and dog stories, historical fiction, folktales, tall tales, storytelling, complex narrative, frame narrative, families, farming, farms, Oklahoma, O, fiction, chapter, humor

The Best School Year Ever. P.

INFO: Robinson, Barbara. The Best (Worst) School Year Ever. P. 1994.

DESC: One of the popular mid-range (N, O, P) “3rd grade drama” stories that chronicles (think “Wayside School”) the seemingly never-ending shenanigans of life in 3rd grade. In this tale, Woodrow Wilson Elementary School learns to live with the Herdmans – a notorious ‘outlaw’ family that do everything from stealing (and tatooing) neighborhood babies to staging a fiasco involving the whole school staff and the District Supervisor. What will our narrator do, stuck in a class with Imogene Herdman – especially since the yearlong class project is to stand up and compliment everyone in class about their good points?

TAGS: humor, school, acceptance, “weird kids,” compassion, trouble, shenanigans, 3rd grade drama, family, school

Marvin Redpost: Is He a Girl? M.

INFO: Sachar, Louis. Marvin Redpost: Is He a Girl? M. 1993.

DESC: Another in the popular Marvin Redpost series! In this one, “weird” Casey Happleton tries to convince Martin that he might turn into a girl if he can kiss his elbow. When a bizarre freak accident occurs, Marvin starts to be worried that Casey … was right! This is a wildly popular book, and a great “bigger chapter book”/complex character transition series for developing readers. Great for 2nd graders who have just headed into chapters!

TAGS: marvin redpost, marvin, girls, boys, gender, anxiety, 3rd grade, funny, humor, metamorphosis, transformation, fiction, chapter, M