Ben Pratt was worried about Ms. Wilson, his homeroom teacher, busting him for being late. At least, that's what he was worried about until he found MrBen Pratt was worried about Ms. Wilson, his homeroom teacher, busting him for being late. At least, that's what he was worried about until he found Mr. Keane, the janitor, in distress. Before the ambulance arrived to take Mr. Keane to the ambulance, the janitor forced Ben to take a coin that had been protected by a long line of janitors at Oakes School. The back of the coin had this message: "First & always my school belongs to the children. Defend it. 1783." Mr. Keane also warned Ben that he had told Lyman, the new assistant janitor too much.
Oakes School was purchased by a company planning to turn the area into an amusement park. Unsure what to do about the coin, Ben asked his friend Jill for information about Duncan Oakes, the captain who started the school and who had a strange grave built for himself in the middle of what is now the school playground. Mr. Keane's sudden death made Ben all the more determined to figure out what was going on. Trying to keep ahead of the ever suspicious Lyman while searching for clues around the school with Jill became harder other distractions, such as his parents' separation and a boat race against bully Robert, get in the way.
This was a fun adventure story to read. Not much is resolved at the end of the book, which does make this a good stand-alone read. I'm curious to see what happens in the second book....more
Imagine living in fear of going outside because if you go out at the wrong time. This death wouldn't be at the hands of another person or the misfortuImagine living in fear of going outside because if you go out at the wrong time. This death wouldn't be at the hands of another person or the misfortune of an accident. You have to check the weather before you go out; it's essential to your survival. This has been proven in your family again, and again, and again. You don't live in Tornado Alley. You aren't in the path of a hurricane. A simple cloud can start your hair rising? What so governs your life? Lightning.
Welcome to Newton Starker's life. Several years earlier his mother was killed by a lightning strike. His uncle and his grandmother also died from the same cause. Going back centuries, all the blood relatives in the Starker line have died because of lightning. The only ones left are Newton and his cantankerous great grandmother.
Now Newton is starting his ninth grade year at a school he think will help him. One of the school's chief tenets is survival. Even though going to Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan means wearing a kilt for a uniform, Newton will take that chance. It's a chance to learn how to live no matter what the circumstance and get a very elite education.
Trouble as well as lightning has a way of finding Newton Starker. In this quick read, he struggles to break free of the isolation that has become his life and the stigma of his family's well known problem. A troubling incident had forced his mother into thinking that friends were something the family couldn't have, and he struggles to interpret the friendship people offer him. Netwon's periodic lists of survival rules as well as excerpts from the school guide add humor to this book....more
Have you ever tried to hide something you're not good at? Do you have a secret you don't even want your best friend to know? That's life for Stuey LewHave you ever tried to hide something you're not good at? Do you have a secret you don't even want your best friend to know? That's life for Stuey Lewis at the start of second grade. He's afraid of being found out and that fear messes with everything.
What's Stuey's secret? He can't read. When his best friend invites him fishing, Stuey is excited to go until he learns a trip to the bookstore is included. Not wanting to look dumb in front of his super reader friend, Stuey tries to back out of the trip. When he learns one of his school library books must be a good fit book, Stuey doesn't want to go if it means being seen with 'baby' books. Not if it means telling his teacher Ginger what he can't do.
Stuey's second grade year continues with a great Halloween scheme to get the most candy now that he's allowed to trick or treat with his older brother rather than with his mom. There's no way this plan could go wrong. That is until he runs into the annoying Lily Stanley at Ginger's door. Can his disguise hold up to both his nemesis and teacher?
The book wraps up with Stuey's struggles with soccer and an end of the year school project, both of which throw Stuey in Lily Stanley's way. I like how the stories from his life show people in different ways. For example, Stuey's brother calls him names throughout the books, but he also acknowledges when Stuey does well. It's good to see a dynamic that goes past calling Stuey stupid. I think this book would be a great class read-aloud in elementary school.
Stuey Lewis Against All Odds: Stories from the Third Grade will be coming out in spring 2012. I look forward to sharing Stuey's next set of adventures....more
This graphic novel tale of good versus evil in the form of middle school bullies and a vindictive school headmistress is Arthurian legend retwisted. AThis graphic novel tale of good versus evil in the form of middle school bullies and a vindictive school headmistress is Arthurian legend retwisted. Artie King is newly enrolled at Camelot Middle School and having the opposite of a good first day at school. Between a forgotten chore and a scornful older sister, Artie misses the bus. When a henchkid of the school bully tries to swipe the lunch of another kid, Artie offers up the lunch he knows his sister messed with that morning.
When the bully's mouth fills with bubbles, he goes to take this out on Artie. This draws the attention of Principal Dagger. When Artie tries to snag an escaped tarantula, he knocks over the principal while she is midlecture. This lands him in her office where she informs him he is not up to the standards of the school and then assigns him a locker no has been able to open in years. The locker, of course, is a stand in for the Sword in the Stone. When Artie manages to open it, the stage becomes set for a trial between Artie and the bullies--a dodgeball game. The Hoard (team bully) has been unstoppable and Artie's team doesn't even have the required four members.
With a cool science teacher named Mr. Merlyn, a girl named Gwen, a tunnel with a Beast and a tarantula on the loose, this is an interesting twist on an old story. One of Artie's friends is named Percival and the lunch ladies are very reminiscent of the Fates. It's trial by combat, school style....more
Worry could be Justin Krzeszewski's first name, skipping right past the middle name stage. He worries about the start of school, which is pretty commoWorry could be Justin Krzeszewski's first name, skipping right past the middle name stage. He worries about the start of school, which is pretty common. He worries about if he will have to sit behind his second best friend and then will not be able to see because his friend's hair is too big. He's also afraid his teacher will be a yeller and that she'll think boys shouldn't be friends with girls. Even with all his worries, he never imagines the thing that does end up happening the first day of school--his name was on the wrong class list. Instead of being in Ms. Burns' class with his two best friends, he is in strict Ms. Termini's class.
Told in diary entries spanning the length of third grade, Justin Case: School, Drool and Other Daily Disasters is a great school story filled with Justin's fears, humor and his day-to-day adventures. The title comes from what a boy teases Justin with, that he's always Just in Case. Justin's roped into the class election for student council by one of his class enemies. His dad tries to wake some sort of sports talent in Justin by having him participate in a succession of teams and games Justin is less than interested in. He loses his best friend to other girls in the class. On top of all that, he has to oversee nightly battles between his stufties. When his parents give in and get a dog at last, Justin finds there is yet another thing that makes him nervous. His dog knocks him over, drools on him, and drags him around.
This book made me smile while wincing over what all happens to Justin. I think this book would resonate well with older siblings. It could also make a great read aloud for a third grade class.
A fun book pair for this book might be Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and other Scary Things. Justin and Alvin share anxiety over many different things while also providing a humorous insight to life. The format may appeal to fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid....more
Sophie Miller wants to stand out, starting with her name. She doesn't want to be plain old Sophie, middle child and second Sophie in her class. She deSophie Miller wants to stand out, starting with her name. She doesn't want to be plain old Sophie, middle child and second Sophie in her class. She decides her new name is Sophie the Awesome. When her friend Kate says that Sophie needs something to be awesome at, Sophie starts trying to outdo other kids. Unfortunately, these attempts land in her trouble, such as when she tries to jump more stares than a former friend and loses hall privileges for her entire class. Trying to eat more french fries at a time than anyone else gets her a lecture from the principal. Trying to be more musical with rhythm instruments earns the class a silent time out.
This was a fast read for me and one that younger elementary girls could enjoy with Sophie's nature....more
This fun back to school story provides a twist on a common folktale that begs to be read-aloud. It's a great story to introduce some different placesThis fun back to school story provides a twist on a common folktale that begs to be read-aloud. It's a great story to introduce some different places and teachers young students will encounter....more
Abby is desperate for a pet. Her parents insist on living in a tiny and calm house. Most pets are definitely not tidy-dogs chew to many things, cats cAbby is desperate for a pet. Her parents insist on living in a tiny and calm house. Most pets are definitely not tidy-dogs chew to many things, cats claw too many things. Even goldfish are turned down because of how they stare when they swim (or so Abby's mother says). The only way Abby ever gets a pet is when it's temporary like last year when the class rabbit spent the night. The rabbit didn't like Abby's trampoline at all, but it was still better than no pet at all.
Mrs. Melvino, Abby's new teacher, has a class pet too. It's one Abby would love to take home. Max looks like a lot more fun than something that needs things to be nice and quiet. He roams around during class, sometimes tugging on a shoelace or sitting on the kids' feet. He looks like the perfect temporary pet even if he doesn't come when he is called. Max isn't a hamster, a rabbit or a guinea pig. He's not a dog or a cat either. Max is a duck.
When Abby's classmate asks if students can take Max home, Mrs. Melvino explains there won't be a class rotation. For Max to go home with a student that student has to meet the duck's demands. He can't go anywhere cats live or where there are ferrets. The yard must be secure and there has to be an aquatic environment for Max.
Abby and her classmates start planning. They offer plan after to plan to their teacher only to have them turned down. Swimming pools are definitely out. A bathtub won't work for overnight. Abby changes her plan again and again, trying to earn a chance to take Max home while her neighbor Noah is also fighting to get Max to his home.
This is a funny early chapter book with great comic relief provided by Max, the duck with the brown speckled feathers and smooth orange beak. Abby and Noah's antagonism as they compete to earn Max feels very real and I liked how they had to come to work together in this book. The sketches throughout the book are lighthearted. Duck for a Day would be an entertaining addition to any children's collection.
This book was originally published in Australia and will be released in the U.S. on Febraury 28, 2012. I read a copy of this book through NetGalley....more
Trevor Jones is staring middle school and he's been preparing for it for weeks. He's determined to get a good start to the year by following the instrTrevor Jones is staring middle school and he's been preparing for it for weeks. He's determined to get a good start to the year by following the instructions his best friend Libby emailed him about middle school. He's going to try not to doodle all over everything with his favorite pen. He's going to not hang out with the janitor. Those things are all in the plan, but Trevor's not prepared for Libby to show up for the first day in a skirt or for her to tell him they can't be best friends anymore. Libby's bailed Trevor out from embarrassing situations on the first day of school for years. Before Trevor can figure out how he'll handle rescuing himself, Libby issues him an ultimatum that he's even less prepared to handle--Trevor has to find a date to the fall dance before the end of the first day of school.
Missteps abound in Trevor's first weeks of middle school. He knows he's supposed to steer clear of the eighth graders, but it's impossible. When he isn't being the target of an overly cool boy's bullying, Trevor is asking an eighth grader at his bus stop for advice. When he tries to ask the new girl Molly to the dance by dropping a note into the trash, he ends up sneezing on the note instead. He's still determined to ask Molly even if she is as different from Trevor as can be--she wears clothes with tears, doesn't mind being late and likes getting detentions. Trevor also has to find a way to convince Libby that she's got the very worst date to the dance, but Libby thinks Trevor is making up lies.
Each chapter of the Classroom starts with an interview excerpts with students from Westside Middle School. Anxious Trevor, Libby, Molly, the bully and others take their turns spinning the events leading from the first day of school up through the fall dance. This is a funny read with depth that deals with friendship changes, bullying, teenage relationships, anxiety issues and more. Sketches and artifacts from the school add another dimension to this documentary-style book.
I reviewed an ARC of this book courtesy of Netgalley....more