In April, I wanted to read as many middle grade books as possible. I also had some Early Chapter Books suitable for late primary/early junior readers that I also wanted to read and review. I read some of these with my grandchildren, but not all as my granddaughter is a bit young, and my grandson hasn’t been over as much. I hope to read them with her as she gets older. All of these books were provided to me by the publisher through either Netgalley or Edelweiss. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business by Bree Galbraith, Morgan Goble (Illustrator)
Expected publication: June 1st 2021 by Kids Can Press
This was a fun early chapter book, suitable for late primary/early junior readers (8 to 10). Wednesday Wilson and her brother Mister, live with Mom, an artist and Mum, who owns and operated a pizza truck. Wednesday wants to be an entrepreneur and with the help of her friend Charlie and her brother, she tries to come up with an idea for a business to make money. Unfortunately, Wednesday and Charlie are bullied by the Emmas and Ruby, who used to be their friend. They do come up with an idea that caused some issues, but I loved the way Bree Gailbraith had this problem solved. I really liked Wednesday. She tried to ignore the bullies and come up with ideas to stay out of their way, but that hasn’t worked so far. She is a great role model for girls as she wants to be an inventor or business person, and is willing to work hard and try things to get there. She is not afraid to fail, which is something people need to learn, you can learn from these things and move forward. There is some humor in this story that helps to keep it light. Wednesday’s parents are wonderful. They don’t let her get away with things, but they use natural consequences and spend time talking with her and explaining their reasoning, which is perfect. The illustrations by Morgan Goble are black and white drawings and add much to the story. They also provide great picture clues for early readers. I recommend this story and will look for me. I am looking forward to my granddaughter getting older so we can read this together.
Izzy in the Doghouse (Izzy #1) by Caroline Adderson, Kelly Collier (Illustrator)
Published October 6th 2020 by Kids Can Press
Izzy in the Doghouse is a cute, middle grade book by Caroline Anderson. This is the first book in what will become a series, so I am hoping the rest of the books get better. In this book we meet Izzy, her mom, her nanny Rosa and her best friend Zoe. Izzy and Zoe have a lot of energy and very odd senses of humor. They find they get each other into trouble with some of their antics. This is a very realistic book where the girls have a falling out, but get back together again. We learn that Izzy was adopted by a single mom and that is why Rosa lives with them as her mom works a lot and often goes out of town for her work. In this book, Izzy gets a dog and there are some fun situations. Overall, this was an okay story. Not much happened that would interest middle grade students, but as I said, this was an introduction to the series. The illustrations are cute, black and white drawings. with a great story and cute pictures that cam be used as picture cues for early readers. This is an relatively short chapter book that would appeal to girls, especially those who enjoy stories about BFFs.
My Pet Slime: Saving Cosmo (My Pet Slime #3) by Courtney Sheinmel & Colleen AF Venable, Renée Kurilla (Illustrator)
Published April 13th 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the third book in the My Pet Slime series. I read the first one to my grandson, but missed the second. We read this one together and he enjoyed Piper and Cosmo’s adventures. Cosmo is Piper’s pet made from slime and when it was accidentally sprinkled with space dust, it comes alive. In the last book, Piper’s grandma is kidnapped by an evil company MALA, but Piper and Cosmo help her escape. This book begins where the last one ends. Now they are on the run – Piper, cool scientist grandma, new bestfriend Clare and her pet slime of course. The adventures in this book included betrayal from Clare’s Uncle Ricky, escaping from jail cell using origami, sliding down the longest, most twisty slide ever, a motorcycle race, and a rocket launch to Jupiter. Piper and Cosmo are wonderful friends, but Cosmo is sick. His color is fading and Piper figures the only way to save him is to ship him to Jupiter. Fortunately, they figure out what is wrong, so Cosmo will be around for another adventure. Each chapter is fairly short, has large, colourful, cute illustrations and is engaging and entertaining. Beginning chapter book readers will enjoy these stories. They have humor, suspense…and, of course, a rather surprising pet. I love the end pages that include “more to explore” with information on the origami cup used in the story, Sally Ride, Space X, and more! He enjoyed the idea that slime could become a pet and once again, we got out the recipe from the first book and made some slime to play with. We took turns reading pages of this one and he enjoyed using the pictures to figure out some of the vocabulary that was a bit difficult for him. I recommend this one for children as young as 5 (if an adult is reading it to them) and for independent readers as young as 7 or 8.
Scouting for Clues (Bark Park #2) by Brandi Dougherty, Paige Pooler (Illustrator)
Published April 20th 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the second Bark Park book that has dogs solving a trio of 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 three mysteries in this one involve Missing Blueberries, Figuring out why the new dog wears a leash in the Dog Park and determining what Sprinkles is wearing and why? This is a simple chapter book for young readers, but the mysteries held the attention of my two oldest grandchildren. My grandson is able to read this book himself, although he still prefers me to read to him, so we take turns. 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 that are brought up in the book to encourage further discussion or research. This book would make a good addition to a family, classroom, school or public library.
Cecilia’s Fundraiser by Bryan Patrick Avery, Arief Putra (Illustrator)
Expected publication: August 1st 2021 by Picture Window Books
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I really enjoyed reading this book with my granddaughter. This story follows young Cecilia, a student in Mr. Grizley’s class, who has forgotten to bring her homemade tamales to a class fundraiser for the animal shelter. She is upset, but Mr. Grizley immediately gets the class brainstorming how they can help Cecila. They come up with lots of ideas and when Cecilia is happy with one, the class band together to help her prepare her items that she is going to sell. A great book about problem solving, working together, acknowledging feelings and helping others. The illustrations by Arief Putra are well done and complement this story beautifully. I love the diverse classroom representation, including a male, African American teacher. This is a short story divided into three chapters that would be appropriate for children between grades 1-3 to read independently or with assistance. The back pages have activities and discussion questions to use with children. My granddaughter wants to make emotion cards next week after seeing them used in this book. I hope there will be more books about Cecilia and Mr. Grizley’s classroom.