Thursday, August 19, 2021

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer series - Time for School - 8.19.21

While it may feel like summer out there, some of us have started back to school!  So this week I have chapter books that take place in school!

Twins vs. Triplets #1 by Jennifer Torres
Twins vs. Triplets: Back-To-School Blitz
written by Jennifer Torres
illustrated by Vanessa Flores
This is the first series from the Harper Chapters series I am featuring this week.  I really like the series, they are similar in length and complexity to series like Horrible Harry or The Magic Tree House, but feature a more diverse cast of characters.  At the end of each chapter there is a list of chapter numbers and after completion of the chapter, the number is colored in.  Just one way kids can celebrate the amount of reading they are doing.  At the end of each book, it celebrates reading in numbers - how many chapters, pages, and words the child read.  Finally, there are some ideas to continue the fun in the story.
This first book in the series introduces us to our narrator, David.  He is getting ready to start the third grade and he is super excited to join the Globetrotters, a geography club at school.  He's even found a way to make sure that he won't be in the same classroom as his archrivals that live on his street, twins Ash and Iris.  But little does anyone know, the twins are about to meet their match because triplets - Bird, Bennie, and Beckett - have moved in to a house on their street and things are about to get interesting!  Unfortunately they are in David's class and they do bother him, but what bothers the triplets the most is the territory the twins have covered at recess... the slide!
One thing I did not like is David's friend Edith is Asian and there are two illustrations drawn with her eyes being slanted in a line.  I was surprised with the illustrator's bio saying she is a strong advocate for representation, yet it lacks integrity with Asian representation.
for read aloud: grades 1-2
for independent reading: grades 1-4

The Great Escape by Alan Katz     The Zoo Switcheroo (S.O.S.: Society of Substitutes, #2)
S.O.S. Society of Substitutes series
written by Alan Katz
illustrated by Alex Lopez
The next series in the Harper Chapters line is written by an author I enjoy because of his great sense of humor!  In this series, Noah the part time classroom pet, part time evil pet mastermind is going to get quite a few laughs!  
Meet Milton Worthy, second grade student who is more focused on what he is forgetting to do than what is really going on.  And he misses some big things with Noah the ferret.  But never fear, Mrs. Worthy, Milton's mom, is here to be the substitute teacher.  Milton learns that Mrs. Worthy is actually part of the Society of Substitutes and they know about about Noah and his evil ways.  Whether they are chasing him around the school or a zoo, S.O.S. has it under control!
for read aloud: grades 2-3
for independent reading: grades 2-4

Geeger the Robot Goes to School by Jarrett Lerner     Lost and Found: Geeger the Robot
Geeger the Robot series
Geeger the Robot Goes to School and Lost and Found
by Jarrett Lerner
This is part of Simon and Schuster's Quix lineup, which I have reviewed other series from this line as part of Chapter Book Summer.  This series has a couple of more chapters than the other books, but still includes larger font, a decent amount of white space, and lots of illustrations.  It also has a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, a glossary and discussion questions at the end of the book.  The series keeps the same, familiar characters and has a plot line that is easy for young readers to follow.
The first book in the series has Geeger going to school for the first time.  Because he is a robot that needs to eat a lot of food (which we learn in the first book is old, moldy food that he is able to recycle for energy for the town), the first lesson he has to learn is you don't eat everything!  This translates to needing to stop and think about your actions before doing them!
The second book is a reintroduction to Geeger.  The nice thing is if this is the first Geeger book a reader picks up, they'll be fine to read it out of order.  In fact, there are not numbers on the spines, so those of us who have issues with reading books in order even when you don't have to, won't get as caught up in that problem :)  The new problem in this book is the class pet has gone missing.  We see Geeger continuing to grow some (human) social emotional skills because he saves some moldy bananas to feed to the class hamster, however, the hamster disappears right after Geeger feeds him.  Could Geeger have eaten Fudge the Hamster???
Lucky for us we have even more Geeger coming our way!  At least two more books are publishing this fall and late winter!
for read aloud: grades 1-2
for independent reading: grades 1-3

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School by Emily Jenkins
Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School
written by Emily Jenkins
illustrated by Pete Oswald
I thought this was a picture book so I was really surprised when I picked it up from the library and it was a sizable chapter book!  It's larger in size (wider) and longer, coming in at 226 pages.  It's full of colored illustrations, on almost every page.
The story is written in diary format, yet it's also broken up in to chapters.  The plot takes us through the first 100 days of school.  Experiences will be very familiar to school-age readers.  There are some positive things - talking about why we call it Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day, they have a Storybook Costume parade instead of dressing up for Halloween to be cognizant of classmates who don't take part in the holiday.  The discussion of families and how they are different and they don't all look the same happens at the beginning of the school year.  Common fears and problems that occur in school are explored.  
There was one thing that bothered me.  One character keeps snapping the waistband of the main character and threatening to pull his pants down.  Eventually the main character uses his voice and tells him to stop.  I was bothered that an adult was not aware that this was taking place over and over.  While I am sure this is also a realistic situation, since it happened over and over, I wish an adult had found out.  This would be a part of the story that I would discuss with readers and make sure they understand the importance of telling an adult when that happens.
for read aloud: grades 2-3
for independent reading: grades 1-3

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!

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