Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

The True Story of Zippy Chippy

Perfect Picture Book Friday

I didn’t expect The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t (North-South Books, 2020) by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Dave Szalay to make me laugh out loud, but it did. Who’d have thought a true story about a loser could be so fun? And touching?

Zippy Chippy was a racehorse descended from legend racehorses, who couldn’t win a race. He even lost a 40 yard race against a human baseball player! He retired after losing 100 races, yet somehow his popularity has grown.

Definitely read the back matter after the story. It’s so fascinating.

Read the author’s amusing bio here. And read about Artie’s other books here.

You can find the illustrator’s bio here where you’ll find out he’s also an author. There are lots of sample illustrations on his home page. I like many of his other illustrations here, too.

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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.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Double Vision

Secret Agents – Junior Style


Double Vision (Harper, 2012) by F.T. Bradley is the first book in a very fun series. On the first page, 12-year-old Linc tells us a field trip to a chicken farm ends up changing his life. Funny, right? And the rest of the book does NOT disappoint.
Here’s a brief intro:
Lincoln wanted to be good on the field trip, but when the farmer wouldn’t let them near the chickens, temptation was just too great–Linc pushed the big lever which let the chickens out of their cages. To get his family out of the resulting lawsuit, Linc agrees to go with two secret agents on a trip across the world.
I loved book one with it’s unexpected twists and humor.
doublevision711.pngThe next book Double Vision Code Name 711 just came out last month–I need to get it. There’s a website where you can keep up on the books:
You can also check out the author’s website here:

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books


drizzle.jpgContemporary Fantasy or Magical Realism

Whatever you call it, I loved Drizzle (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010) by Kathleen Van Cleve. It reminds me a bit of Ingrid Law’s books–Savvy and Scumble.
11-year-old Polly lives on a farm where it always rains precisely at 1 pm on Mondays and tourists come to ride the giant umbrella. And that’s not the only thing odd about the farm and her family. You can imagine how things go at school. To top it off, Polly’s best friend is a chocolate rhubarb plant.
But then . . .
The rain stops. Polly’s brother gets ill. And they might lose the farm!
Polly’s a great kid. I was with her worrying, rooting for her, and even wanting to defend her.
I hope Kathleen is busy writing more imaginative fun stories. Here’s her website.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Guinea Dog

guinea dogWhat do you do when you’ve always wanted a dog, but your mother gives you a guinea pig instead? In 5th grader Rufus’ case he decides to keep Fido since she annoys his clean freak dad (the reason he can’t have a dog). But then something strange happens. Fido starts acting like a dog.
Guinea Dog (Egmont, 2010) by Patrick Jennings is humorous and a bit bigger than life. Quite the enjoyable read. I know my 9-year-old grandson would love it. (This book is available both in hardback and paperback.)
Be sure and visit Patrick’s website and read his funny bio. There you can also read about his many other books.
P.S. Today, September 15th, Patrick wrote to me and said: “It was just announced today that the book won the Washington State Book Award. :)”

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