The Boxcar Children: The Animal Shelter Mystery. O.

Chandler Warner, Gertrude. The Boxcar Children: The Animal Shelter Mystery. O. 1991.

This book is #22 in a series. When a stray calico cat appears, the children look for the founder of the town’s other animal shelter.

TAGS: Boxcar children, mystery, stray animals, caring, pets, John F. Kennedy, O, Level O, Oscar

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Howliday Inn. Q/R.

INFO: Howe, James. Howliday Inn. Q/R. 1982.

DESC: In Howe’s solo return (R.I.P., Deborah!) to the characters and plotlines that haunted the perennially-beloved Bunnicula, we again see Howard, humble narrator, pitching a finished manuscript to his bemused human editor. This time, Howard shares the tale of the time the Monroe family left on vacation, and made the fateful decision to board our favorite cat and dog at the deceptively fancy-sounding Chateau Bow-Wow. Harold and Chester quickly realize that their kennel is far from ordinary! The real gem in Howliday Inn, as with Bunnicula, is Harold and Chester’s complicated relationship, and Howe’s genius portrayal of their very different – and very compelling – personalities. Also noteworthy is the amount of awesome vocabulary that Howe’s Bunnicula books deliver – you might want to have your kiddos have their notebooks ready, because they’ll be in for a treat (and, thanks to erudite Chester and Harold, a whole new lease on the English language!)

TAGS: animals, mysteries, detective stories, animal mysteries, spooky stories, scary, haunted houses, bunnicula, really smart household pets, problem-solving, clues, classics, Q/R, fiction, chapter, popular

Bear’s Diet. L.

INFO: Smith, Annette. Bear’s Diet. L. 1999

DESC: Matthew can’t figure out why his dog, Bear, won’t lose any weight after he puts Bear on a diet. Finally, Matthew decides to follow Bear around to get to the bottom of the problem

TAGS: dogs, pets, surprise ending, L, Richard Avenue, mystery, animals, fiction, Level L, Lima

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

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

Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps. J.

INFO: Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps. J. 1991.

DESC: Another adorable and charming number in Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge repertoire. “Bedtime Thumps” is a great read for anyone just emerging from leveled readers – its short, funny, and narratively linked chapters and lush (especially in this installment!) watercolor illustrations make for a striking, wondrous reading experience. Not to mention that both Henry and Mudge are as loveable and believable as they are funny! In this book, Henry’s family goes to visit Henry’s grandmother waaaay out in the country. Her house is tiny – and cluttered. Poor, gigantic Mudge knocks over everything in sight – until he finally gets sentenced to staying outside. What will Henry do without his best companion? How will Henry protect Mudge, if Mudge gets scared? And just what might happen if it’s Henry who’s needing Mudge for company and comfort in this strange new rural environment?

TAGS: easy reader, easy read, full-color illustrations, pictures, fiction, henry and mudge, cynthia rylant, boy and dog stories, dogs, pets, travelling, visiting relatives, strange new places, grandparents, trouble, scared at night