Thursday, July 15, 2021

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer Series - Just a Girl and Her Pet - 7.15.21


As I was gathering books for these posts, I found all of these stories about girls who had pets.  Now, the stories aren't necessarily about the girl and her pet, but it was interesting that they always had one.  Really these stories are about the girl and the awesome things she does.  Maybe she has a goal...  Maybe she's looking for friends... Maybe she's trying to catch the uncatchable........  But she always has a pet by her side!

Of course, I can't help but point out these are all about girl main characters.  It is much harder to find a chapter book that features a boy main character, much less a boy main character who is not white.  I have written some posts with boy POC characters, but they are few and far between.  Would really like to see more.  Everyone deserves to see themselves in a book.

Onto the roundup now!

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly
Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
by Erin Entrada Kelly
The first in a series that is loosely based off her own life, Kelly gives us a wonderful character in Marisol.  Marisol is imaginative, is a great friend, and is super creative.  She gives everything names and treats everyone and everything with kindness.  Marisol's faithful cat, Beans is often by her side.  Her best friend, Jada, and her have wildly creative adventures in her backyard.  Marisol may have a little bit of an arch-nemesis in Evie Smythe... even if Evie's older brother and Marisol's older brother are BFFs and they see each other more often than they would like.  And Marisol would really really like to climb Peppina, the magnolia tree in her backyard.  With the help of Jada, will Marisol overcome her fear and be brave enough to try?  
I loved meeting Marisol.  She had a perfect amount of spunk to make her likable and believable.  No doubt young readers will want to be her friend.
With illustrations by the author sprinkled throughout the text, readers will have nice breaks in the text with visual supports.  The book comes in at 145 pages and with its trim size, is a perfectly sized chapter book.  
I noticed that Kelly never mentions Marisol's age or grade.  I suspect that will change in future books in the series, but with the age ambiguity, Marisol will appeal to older readers who are looking for a shorter text and visual supports in their reading.
for read aloud: grades 1-3
for independent reading: grades 2-5

Twig and Turtle 1 by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Twig and Turtle series
written by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
illustrated by Paula Franco
I've only read this first book in the series, but it has me looking for the others!  There are four books in the series published and two more coming.  I think readers are going to love meeting sisters, Twig and Turtle.  
In the first book the girls have just moved (for the third time that school year) to their new home... and guess what?  It's a tiny home!  Already I can't wait to read more just to hear about their adventures in a tiny home!  Such a fun and unique setting!  There are the usual space problems but things get really difficult when Twig wants to bring a family dog into the house.  Did I mention it's a Great Dane?  Meanwhile, Turtle seems to be fitting right into her new school and making new friends.  Twig, on the other hand, needs some help.  How will Twig meet new friends and solve her Great Dane problem?  I'll give you a hint - it all comes together at the end!
The books come in at around 100 pages and there are fantastic illustrations sprinkled throughout the story.  I'm looking forward to finding the other books!
for read aloud:  grades 2-3
for independent reading:  grades 2-4

Jo Jo Makoons by Dawn Quigley
JoJo Makoons: The Used-To-Be Best Friend
written by Dawn Quigley
illustrated by Tara Audibert
I know so many primary and elementary teachers love sharing Junie B. Jones books with readers.  Here is a new and soon-to-be-series that I would recommend!  Jojo is a citizen of the Ojibwe Nation and lives on the fictional Pembina Ojibwe Reservation.  Jojo lives with her mom and kokum (grandmother) and her home best friend, Mimi the cat.  Jojo is very concerned with having friends and is nervous that her school best friend, Fern, is leaving her for other friends.  
Much of this story takes place at school and readers will empathize with Jojo as she navigates reading difficulties and friendship woes.  Readers will also notice when Jojo doesn't notice some body language clues that someone is trying to be her friend, or miss social clues when she says something that is not necessarily going to get her a friend!  Living out the dream of many school age children, Jojo even sneaks Mimi the cat to school in case she needs a snuggle from her home best friend! 
Full of Ojibwe words (a glossary is included in the back) and other Native rich traditions and characters, this story is perfect to have in all libraries!  I'm excited that it will be a series.  Written by Dawn Quigley, a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, North Dakota; she clearly knows her young audience and has given them a story that will make readers laugh and sympathize with!  A quick read, this one is 62 pages, and full of illustrations by Tara Audibert (of Wolastoqey/French heritage).
for read aloud: grades 1-3
for independent reading:  grades 1-4

Starla Jean by Elana K. Arnold
Starla Jean - Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?
written by Elana K. Arnold
illustrated by A.N. Kang
Starla Jean knows a lot about chickens.  But some of the things she knows is going to change... after she catches one!  Starla Jean and her father are at the park when she spots a chicken.  Her father agrees, if she can catch it, she can keep it.  Starla Jean is someone who makes a goal and keeps it, because before her dad can take back what he said, Starla Jean has herself a chicken!
This is more of an early chapter book - it has lots of white space and an illustration on every layout.  It's perfect for readers who are ready for something a bit longer than Henry and Mudge or Frog and Toad.  Look for book 2, coming in September!
for read aloud: grades kg-1
for independent reading:  grades kg-2

Knight of the Cape (Definitely Dominguita Book 1)     Captain Dom's Treasure
Definitely Dominguita series
Knight of the Cape
Captain Dom's Treasure
written by Terry Catasus Jennings
illustrated by Fátima Anaya
Meet Dominguita - a Cuban American who is taking down gender stereotypes one character at a time!
In the first book of the series we meet Dominguita, who would rather be reading a good book like Don Quixote than playing with kids.  In fact, she doesn't have too many friends.  And she is really missing Abuela, who has moved far away to live with her sister because her memories are not as strong as what they used to be.  She is also missing her big brother, who seems to be too busy for her now that he's a teenager!  Dom comes up with the idea of writing a book of stories, since that is something she would always do with Abuela - read stories!  And the book of stories would feature her being a knight errant (a lá Don Quixote style) and doing really good deeds.  Dom quickly finds way to attire herself in the style of a knight and sets off to accomplish these amazing deeds.  But the class bully quickly laughs at Dom and tells her a girl can't be a knight.  Now she has even more to prove!  Dom decides the best way to show everyone that a girl can be a knight is to do lots of really BIG, good deeds, take a selfie of doing the deeds, and her brother will write the stories up and add the pictures to create a book.  Then Dom will read them to Abuela!  But Dom quickly finds out that not all deeds can be big deeds.  It takes her awhile to realize that all of her small deeds can add up to being something pretty amazing.  Along the way, she gains some assistants that end up becoming friends.  And a steed to help them along their way (a dog they name Rocco).  Dom also realizes that putting a bully in their place can be tricky business!
Each subsequent story has Dom taking on a gender bending role.  In the second book, she takes on the role of pirate.  In the third book (publishing next month), Dom and friends take on their role of the Three Musketeers!
The books in the series are all just over 100 pages.  There are some illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.  I love the realistic style Fátima Anaya has brought to the illustrations.
for read aloud:  grades 2-3
for independent reading:  grades 2-4

Like what you see here?  Be sure to stop by every Thursday for more chapter book suggestions!  If you want to see all of the posts in the series, click on "Chapter Book Summer Series 2021 under the "Labels" section, located on the right side of the blog.  See you again next week!


  1. What an awesome set of chapter books—it's impressive how many of these series you've tracked down for these posts the last few weeks (and maybe longer—I guess it's just the last few weeks that I've been stopping by for them!). I've heard tons of praise for Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey (and really for every single Erin Entrada Kelly book in existence), and the Definitely Dominguita series sounds fun as well! It is unfortunate that it's hard to find chapter book series with boy protagonists or boy POC protagonists. Thanks so much for the great post!

  2. I have the Jo Jo Makoons book in a pile here and a hold on Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey. Thanks for sharing these. I am looking forward to introducing my 4 year old granddaughter to Mindy Kim.