Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Hippo at the End of the Hall

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Hippo at the End of the Hall (Candlewick Press, 2017) by Helen Cooper was a fun read full of magic. There’s often a different flavor in books written in the UK–and I’m not sure what it is exactly–but this one has it. Maybe it’s just the use of words that are not the same as American usage. Or maybe it’s something else that’s special.

Ben, who doesn’t normally like mail, received an invitation to the Gee Museum. Mom thinks it has probably been shut down, and doesn’t want him to go even if it is. It’s too close to the river, etc. But a handwritten note on the ticket says, “Come now or come never,” has him intrigued. When Ben goes without permission, he has no idea that his visit will end up changing his and his mother’s life.

A bonus in this book are all the illustrations.

Helen Cooper is an author and illustrator. She’s won the Library Association Kate Greenaway Medal – twice. Read more about her here. And you can see all of her books here.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I don’t even know how to tell you how much I loved The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (Random House Children’s Books, 2018) by Stacy McAnulty. It was soooo good. I’m not surprised it has been put on some best book lists.

Four years ago, 12-year-old Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. It turned her into a math savant and gave her some OCD characteristics. She’s been home-schooled ever since, but now Nana is making her to go to middle school. Lucy doesn’t think she can learn anything in seventh grade. But Nana makes her promise to “Give it 1 year…Make 1 friend.” Plus do 1 activity and read 1 nonmath book.

Day 1 doesn’t start out well when Lucy does her compulsive sit, stand, sit, stand, sit on the bus. And it doesn’t get better from there. Although she does like her math teacher.

Will Lucy be able to make good on her promise?

This is author Stacy McAnulty’s debut novel. However she’s written dozens of picture books and chapter books. Since then she’s had two more novels published (one is coming in September). I’m hoping my library has them.

One amazing fact about Stacy is she’s a 2 finger typer! Read more here.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in Award Winners, Easy Readers, So Many Good Books

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot! (Candlewick Press, 2019) written and illustrated by Cece Bell is a hilarious book. It’s also a 2020 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Brain is not as smart as he thinks he is. Chick is trying to teach manners. It’s not going well. Then Spot comes along and even more trouble ensues.

This book is divided into four chapters–Foot, Spot, Lunch, and Other Foot. Kids will really enjoy figuring out things before the characters do. So much better than Dick and Jane. (Read the back of the book to get this reference.)

A sequel Chick and Brain: Egg or Eyeball that came out in March looks funny too.

Cece Bell is the 2015 Newbery Honor winner of the graphic novel El Deafo. Read about her other books here. And you have to check out her studio here. You may also want to read her bio.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Dog Driven

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Dog Driven (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2019) by Terry Lynn Johnson is quite the scary adventure.

It’s risky enough for any teen to participate in the Canadian Great Superior Mail Run dog race, but for fourteen-year-old McKenna, who has hidden her deteriorating sight from her family, it could mean death for her and her dogs. But she is determined to win this race to encourage her younger sister Emma in her battle with Stargardt, an eye disease. Afterwards, she’ll tell her parents about her vision problems. And maybe she can help eight-year-old Emma gain some independence, too.

The author puts you right on the trail with McKenna and her dogs so you hear and feel what’s going on. As I said above, it’s scary to see what McKenna risks, but her determination is believable. Plus there are letters from the late 1800s about this mail run that increase the tension of the story.

Earlier I recommended her award winning book, Ice Dogs. I missed reading Falcon Wild, which I need to catch up with. Her newest book, is Rescue at Lake Wild–coming soon. Read about Terry Lynn Johnson here.

Note: Dog Driven is aimed at ages ten to sixteen according to the publisher.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

In a Jar

Perfect Picture Book Friday

In a Jar (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Deborah Marcero is a delightful book of magical remembrances and friendship. And it’s about collecting, which kids love to do. I love the feel of the illustrations, too.

Llewellyn collects things in jars. These jars remind him of “all the wonderful things” he has seen and done. One evening he collects “cherry light into his jars.” (I so want to be able to do this.) And gives one jar of light to Evelyn. The two become friends and collect together. Then she moves away. “With Evelyn gone, Llewellyn’s heart felt like an empty jar.” See how he solves this.

This book reminds me a lot of Button and Bundle by Gretchen McLellan. See an interview with the author here. The two books make good companion stories.

Author/illustrator Deborah Marcero has written and/or illustrated other books. Read about them here.

Please follow and like us: