Detective Gordon is getting on in years but he's still the best detective around. When he discovers a young mouse who steals a single nut out of hunger, he decides that instead of arresting her, he should take her on as an apprentice and give her food and shelter. They work together to solve cases around town. It's a funny book with a lot of heart and it would make a great read aloud. My favorite part is how particular he is with his stamp. It reminds me of when I let kids stamp their library books.
Squirrel Girl has the proportional strength and speed of a squirrel as well as the ability to talk to them. She even has a squirrel tail, but her mother insists that she hide it or the other kids would get jealous. More than that she has relentless optimism, and an irreverent take on all the other Marvel Superheroes. When she moves to a new town she tries to blend in with everyone else, but when a new super villain starts attacking the town, she knows she has use all her squirrel skills to save the day!
I love this younger, novel-length take on the Squirrel Girl story. I also enjoy the new character of her best friend who is Deaf and creates a name sign for Squirrel Girl. Fans as well as those new to the character will enjoy this romp through the marvel universe.
Avani doesn't fit in with the flower scouts as they talk about boys and make -up tips. But an accidental alien abduction leads to her true scout calling: star scouts. This inter-galactic troupe of kids may not be the most skilled or organized, but they love being together and embrace their quirkiness. Where can I sign up?
Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence
Erica's Picks 3rd - 5th Tags: adventure, comics, humor, people of color, science fiction
Malu's parents are divorced, and she wonders how they were ever together. Her dad owns a record store that hosts punk rock concerts while her mother is always telling her to act like a proper 'senorita.' When Malu's mother drags her away from her home and her father to move halfway across the country to Chicago, it's Malu's worst nightmare. She hates her new school and the popular girls who make fun of her punk style. But when she sees a flyer for the school's talent show she knows one sure-fire way to make it all better: form her own band!
Malu's love of punk is infectious and her zines interspersed throughout the book made my fingers twitch for scissors and and glue sticks.
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
Erica's Picks 3rd - 6th Tags: character driven, contemporary fiction, family life, humor, people of color, school stories
When Chase wakes up in a hospital room, he doesn't even recognize his own mother. As the weeks pass, his body recovers, but his past is still a complete blank. His dad tells Chase that he was the star of the football and lacrosse teams and his mom points out his best friends to him. But when school starts, he notices that kids shrink away from him in the hallways and his 'best friends' are jerks. He has a lot of questions about his past, but people are reluctant to answer him. As his memories come back and he learns who he was, the main question on everyone's mind is who will he be? Will the old Chase return, or is this a fresh start?
I loved this book! There's sports, humor, viral YouTube videos, and a lot more to enjoy. I particularly like that it shifts perspective so I got a sense of how the other students responded to Chase and how he affected their lives.
Everyone hates Jacques Papier. No, really. Jacques is never called on, picked for kickball or even noticed. His parents need to be reminded to set a place for him at dinner. His twin sister Fleur is his best friend and constant supporter. But the truth will out and it is that Jacques is Fleur’s imaginary friend. Did you see that coming? Convincing Fleur to set him free, he goes on a journey to discover himself in the hope of someday becoming real. He joins “Imaginaries Anonymous” and their humorous help gets him through some tough times. Through the "The Office of Reassignment," he is reassigned to new children and has a touching impact on their lives. How will Jacques find out where he belongs and who he truly is? This would make a delightful read-aloud for the whole family. Remember, “you’re only as invisible as you feel, imaginary or not.”
Tessa' Picks, Grades 2-4, Character driven, Friendship, Humor
If a unicorn granted you one wish, what would you ask for? Phoebe wishes for infinity wishes, then infinity dollars, then super powers. When the unicorn refuses to grant her any of those, she aims for something more realistic: for the unicorn to become her best friend. But becoming friends with a unicorn is more than Phoebe bargained for. The unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, is incredibly vain and clearly not used to close contact with humans. But on the other hand, she's a freakin' unicorn! Having a magical creature as your best friend can't be all bad...
This comic reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes, and I don't make that comparison lightly. The "Shield of Boringness" means that most of Phoebe's classmates can't see her unicorn. That doesn't stop them from having hilarious adventures on their own though. The sweeping imagination and spot-on humor mixed with the daily trials and tribulations of childhood make this comic a delight for all ages.
“I hate seeing fat girls on TV or in movies, because the only way the world seems to be okay with putting a fat person on camera is if they’re miserable with themselves or if they’re the jolly best friend. Well, I’m neither of those things.” Willowdean goes by Will to her friends and Dumplin' to her ex-beauty queen mother. She is unafraid to wear her swimsuit and if people stare, then that's their issue, not hers. But when she enters a beauty pageant with some other unlikely contenders, her mother is horrified. First kisses, broken friendships, Dolly Parton, drag queens, beauty pageants, and self-discovery. This is one year Dumplin' will never forget.
I cannot get enough of Will's bold and sassy voice and her defiant attitude. She is a character worth rooting for, even when she makes mistakes along the way. It was refreshing to read about body image issues that are prevalent in society but rarely discussed--especially in such a nuanced and honest way. Those aren't the only issues that receive such a frank treatment either. Evolving friendships, romantic relationships, grief, and mother-daughter relationships all get the same funny and insightful treatment. Plus there's Dolly Parton. What more could I ask for?
Erica's Picks 8th Grade Tags: character driven, contemporary fiction, family life, friendship, humor, romance
You may think you know the stories of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel but don't believe everything a bard tells you. And what about those nameless Princes Charming? Read this book to get the low-down: the pampered, sheltered life was not enough for Cinderella. Rapunzel saved herself and her prince never lived it down. Sleeping Beauty is a spoiled brat. Snow White's prince can't be left unsupervised. Somehow this unlikely band finds themselves thrown together on a quest to save each other, defeat an evil witch, and show the world that they're more than their stories.
This book is a hilarious take on classic fairy tales. Having the various Princes Charming meet and lament over their plight at being looked over for their princesses adds a fun twist. Each have very distinct personalities and watching them interact and learn to get along is both entertaining and touching. It contains a lot of great lessons ranging from how to be a good friend to how to be true to your self. I particularly appreciate that there's male characters who are hopeless with swords and fierce female fighters and vice versa. The illustrations throughout only add to the already ample humor.
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy Erica's Picks Tags: Adventure, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Friendship, Humor, People of Color, Retellings
4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, character driven, contemporary fiction, friend Raymie’s dad has run off with a dental hygienist and she has a plan to bring him back, a plan that involves winning the competition for the title of "Little Miss Central Florida Tire." This involves learning to twirl the baton. And she has some competition from Louisiana Elefante (who has a show business background) and Beverly Tapinski (who wants to sabotage the competition). They all meet up at baton class with with instructor Ida Nee. Unexpectedly they become friends, helping each other resolve a sorrow that each carries with her. There is sadness, droll humor, connectedness and that incredibly real sense of humanity that this author is so capable of revealing.