I have enjoy reading with and to my grandson. Now that he is able to read some things on his own, early chapter books give us the opportunity to read together, taking turns, even though he prefers me to read to him. These three books are all part of the Epic Originals published by Andrew McMeel Publishing. All were provided through Netgalley at my request. The ratings and opinions shared are mine and my grandchildren’s.

The Puzzling Paintings (Undersea Mystery Club #3) by Courtney Carbone, Melanie Demmer (Illustrations)

Published October 6th 2020 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a great series for primary students (age 8 or 9) in an early chapter book series. Violet the mermaid and Wally the narwhal make up the Undersea Mystery Club and they get together to solve a crime or situation. It is a fun way to introduce mysteries to young children by brainstorming and hypothesizing, evaluating each hypothesis, and finally observation. In this story, someone is painting graffiti all over Aquamarina. The police see it as a crime, Violet and Wally want to find out who is doing it and why. Talking it out and remembering what they had seen earlier in the day, they figured out what happened. There is also a new character in this story, an octopus named Ollie, who just wants to make friends and be welcomed to town. This is a cute early reader mystery with delightful illustrations and a fun story. The characters are interesting with human characteristics. There is friendship, curiosity, intelligence and fun. This was a simple mystery that was solved. I like that there is both a female character (mermaid) and a male (narwhal) so it will appeal to both boys and girls. The back of the book includes some general information about things from the story, in this case graffiti, murals and artists to encourage further investigation. I recommend this series for schools and classroom libraries or even family libraries.


The Wall of Doom (Creature Campers #3) by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo (Illustrations)

Published September 15th 2020 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Wall of Doom is the 3rd volume in the Creature Campers Series, and once again, it was a winner for my grandson and I to read together! Norm, Oliver, Hazel and Wisp have a new activity to complete, an obstacle course. If their time is within a certain limit, they will get their names on “THE WALL”. Of course with them all having different strengths, they will need to work together to complete the task. It was great to see the friends not only work together, but to cheer and support each other. There is also a new creature in this story. We always enjoy the illustrations with their large, vivid characters showing expression and adding to the text. My grandson was able to take a turn reading some of the story and he enjoyed that aspect. This is a great series for anyone that enjoys adventure, camping, meeting challenges and creatures/monsters. The story flows well and is easy to follow, with the illustrations adding interest to the story. This story and all the others in the series will interest both boys and girls with the quirky and fun characters. This is a great series to have in primary classrooms, home libraries and schools where children are beginning to read early chapter books


Bark Park (Bark Park Book 1)Bark Park (Bark Park Book 1) by Brandi Dougherty, Paige Pooler (Illustrations)

Published May 12th 2020 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Andrew McMeel Publishing is putting out several early chapter books dealing with solving mysteries by working together and this is another series through Epic Originals. Bark Park deals with dogs solving several mysteries in their dog park. The main sleuth is Scout, a cute puppy who has a gang to help support him and solve the mysteries. Each dog is a different breed and has their own personality. The book has three simple mysteries that are all sorted out, but hold the interest of the reader. This is the easiest and simplest of the various series from Epic that I have read with my grandchildren, so my grandson was able to read this book himself, although he still prefers me to read to him. The illustrations are very cute and my granddaughter loved the various dogs. The stories are cute and engaging, and will be enjoyable for anyone who loves dogs, as it’s told from their point of view. There are also a few short nonfiction sections in the back pages that give more information on topics such as grooming and dog cones, to encourage further discussion or research. This book would make a good addition to a family, classroom, school or public library.