Sunday, February 19, 2017

Things to look for! Middle grade fiction

I've had a little time this weekend to dip back into Netgalley.  Boy, it feels like it's been a long time since I read something on a device!  The good news is, my devices still work and Netgalley has some great things to read!  This first one is SOOO much fun.  It's called "The Amazing Crafty Cat" by Charise Mericle Harper.  It's about a girl named Birdie who is exuberant and cheerful and loves to craft.  In fact, she loves to craft so much, that she has created an alternate ego, a super hero, named Crafty Cat, who can swoop in and save the day.  It's Birdie's birthday and Birdie (and Crafty Cat) have come together to create the greatest birthday break ever.  They've created panda cupcakes that are delicious and adorable and everyone, even the evil villain, Anya, will think it's the greatest birthday break in the history of the world.  Except that there is an accident on the way to school and series of mishaps that might get even the most cheerful person down.  Thank goodness for Crafty Cat who comes in and saves the day with amazing panda crafts.  This book is so much fun.  The line drawings are very simple (similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid) but very evocative.  The kids are really going to be able to identify with Birdie and her disastrous birthday.   They are also going to love the directions for the crafts at the end of the book.  This one is definitely coming to live in my library.

The second one is also a graphic novel.  This one is kind of a sequel, but it stands alone just fine.  It's called "Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt" by Ben Clanton.  In the first book, "Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea" we are introduced to Narhwal and Jelly who become friends.  In the second book, Narwhal decides he should be a super hero with super powers.  He also needs a sidekick, who also needs super powers.  There is some problem solving on choosing which power is the right one for a narwhal and jellyfish (this would be great as mentor text for opinion or persuasive writing) and the powers they settle on are so awesome that kids are going to be lining up to try to emulate them.  Narwhal is funny to the littler kids (like kindergarten and first grade) but the bigger kids at my school thought he was awesome too.  This one doesn't come out until May and I'm still waiting for my order of "Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea" but I know the kids are going to love this one, maybe even more than the first one.  For even more fun, click here to see Ben's website about Narwhal and Jelly.  

This last one is the second in a series and I completely missed the first one, but this one is so good, I think I need to go back and read it!  The series is called the Secrets of the Seven and this title is called "The Eagle's Quill".  It's written by Sarah L. Thomson.  It's about three kids, Sam, Marty, and Theo.  They are all good at solving puzzles, which is good, because they are on a quest to find seven artifacts, all left in secret locations, by the Founding Fathers.  In this book, they are looking for the quill that Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence with.  They have an adult friend, Evangeline, who helps out with logistics (like plane tickets and food) and is a member of a group called The Founders, who are meant to protect the artifacts.  However, there is an evil villain afoot and Gideon Arnold (a distant relative of Benedict Arnold) is determined to get all the artifacts in his possession.  I really liked the historical references but what's also fun is that each of the clues are set in national parks, so there is an element of science and nature too.  The characters are fun, if a little flat but there's a lot of exciting action that should make this series very compelling for a lot of kids.  

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