Thursday, January 23, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - digging into the stacks! 1.23.2020

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers 
at the start of their independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Those books that have been sitting in piles around your house....
Or maybe it's those books that are rarely on your shelves at school because they are well read so you just haven't had a chance to read them...

Whatever the case may be, here are some books that I am just finally getting around to reading!

Harriet the Invincible (Hamster Princess, #1)
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible
by Ursula Vernon
Just when you think you've heard all of the retakes on fairy tales, you get one that is different.  We've got a hamster princess retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  There are rats as villains and a twist on the whole prick-your-finger thing that leaves us with a wild and crazy princess.  Well, until she is 12 and the whole invincibility thing is over.
A humorous retelling with some clever new twists!
Readers will enjoy the trim size of this book, but with well over 200 pages, still feel cool that it's a "big" book.  The story does not lean away with some longer vocabulary so readers who have a handle at reading and decoding multisyllabic words will find the most success.  I think the sweet spot for this series is with 2nd-4th graders, but certain readers in a grade below and above will also enjoy.

Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors
Wedgie and Gizmo
written by Suzanne Selfors 
illustrated by Barbara Fisinger
This one has been on my bookshelves for awhile and is frequently checked out.  My friend and colleague has read it as a third grade read aloud and said the kids appreciate the humor.
It is a funny book with many laugh out loud moments.  Gizmo the guinea pig and Wedgie the corgi are pets who come to live together under the same rough as part of a newly blended family.  Just as the humans are learning to live together, so are the pets.  Gizmo, the evil-minded-plotting one is always trying to make sure he has the upper hand over Wedgie, the quickly-distracted-loveable dog.
With chapters told in alternating animal view points, this first book in a series is one to hand off to readers!

The Most Annoying Robots in the Universe by Russ Bolts
BOTS: The Most Annoying Robots in the Universe
written by Russ Bolts
illustrated by Jay Cooper
I found this series from Clare Landrigan on a Monday #IMWAYR post.  She recommended it for readers who enjoy the Ricky Ricotta series.  It is just a small step up from those books so once a reader finishes the 9 book series, they may be ready for this one.  
Told in small and large graphic novel frames with most of the text coming through dialogue.  Earth has sent a spaceship with cameras inside to see what is out in space.  When it gets to the end of the universe, the spaceship lands on an alien planet named Mecha Base One.  Here we meet Joe Bot and Rob Ot.  When the cameras disperse onto the planet, they program the cameras to follow them around all day.  This is a new kind of reality tv for humans as they eagerly watch the robots do nothing really important.  There is a robot girl named Tinny who desperately wants to get her hands on a camera.
We're left with a cliffhanger at the end, guess we need to tune in to the rest of the series!  So far there are 6 books in the series with 2 more releasing later in 2020.

The Monster Squad by Joe  McGee
Junior Monster Scouts: the Monster Squad
written by Joe McGee
illustrated by Ethan Long
Monsters are scary, right?  No, those are just stories!  These monsters - which includes a vampire, wolf, and a Frankenstein monster - are in training for Junior Monster Scouts and are trying to earn their patches.  Of course one of those patches a Howling Merit Badge, but it's a special talent that can help others, as you'll see in the story!
Coming in at under 100 pages, it's a quick read but is more sophisticated than meets the eye.  Readers will find there are a few problems in this first book of the series - the Junior Monster Scouts are trying to help a new friend find a lost kitten, a grouchy character has solved his problem of noisy rats in his basement by sending them to a village in search of cheese, but then the villagers go into a panic when their homes are infested with rats.  Sounds like these Junior Monster Scouts can be super helpful while earning badges helping other people. 
This series (2 are currently published, next one is coming in April) is perfect for readers who enjoy the Desmond Cole series or Inspector Flytrap books.

Have you read any books that have long been on TBR lists or in piles?  It feels good to finally read them and be able to talk to young readers about these stories!

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