Tag Archives: children’s chapter book

To Dance by Siena Cherson Siegel

I happened to see this book at the library and picked it up. It’s subtitle is “A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel”, which sounded like something different from what we’ve seen in a graphic novel. So, I brought it home from the library.

Artist: Mark Siegel

Published: 2006

Genre: memoir graphic novel for children

Length: 64 pages

Setting: mostly New York City, late 1970s to the 1980s Continue reading

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The Gooney Bird Collection by Lois Lowry

A collection of the books Gooney Bird Greene, Gooney Bird and the Room Mother, Gooney the Fabulous, and Gooney Bird Is So Absurd

Published: 2009 as an audiobook compilation

Genre: children’s chapter book fiction

Length: all four book combine into 416 pages

Setting: Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class, no specific time period beyond something relatively current

Interest: I was looking for a seven-hour audiobook for a trip to another gymnastics meet. This was the perfect length and I’ve loved the other books by Lowry we’ve read (including The Giver and Number the Stars), so I figured this was a safe bet. Continue reading

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Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

I’m still working on A Dance with Dragons but I needed something quick to write about. This book fit the bill perfectly.

Published: 2015

Genre: young reader fairy-tale chapter book

Length: 247 pages

Setting: a distant land ruled by hamsters with medieval technology

Interest: I’ve followed Ursula Vernon via blog and twitter for a while, but never had a chance to read any of her books. From what I’ve seen posted they looked amusing, so when I saw this book (which starts a new series) I snagged it to bring home. Continue reading

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Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

Published: 1974

Genre: middle grade fantasy

Length: 131 pages

Setting: Trewissick, England, just after the events in The Dark is Rising.

Interest: It’s the third book in The Dark is Rising sequence I’m reading to Miss Adventure as her bedtime story.

Summary: The Grail has been stolen. Simon, Jane and Barney head back to Trewissick with Merriman to look for it. They are joined by Will, who isn’t really welcomed by the other kids. Jane is invited to the local ceremony where the Greenwitch is constructed by the women of the town. Simon and Barney find an agent of the Dark who uses Barney to see in the Grail. The Greenwitch finds the iron tube holding the manuscript to decode the writing on the Grail. The agent of the Dark tries to compel the Greenwitch to give him the manuscript, but the Greenwitch refuses. Instead, it chooses to give the manuscript to Jane.

Final thoughts: It was nice to have Will finally meet Simon, Jane, and Barney. I questioned Merriman’s decision not to provide any background on Will to the other kids. They had no idea Will was an Old One and had just as much stake in recovering the Grail as they did. It’s a short, succinct story, but move the plot to the series along nicely. The Light recovers the Grail and is finally able to interpret the writing on it. They are that much closer to defeating the Dark once and for all. It was interesting that the Greenwitch was created from Wild Magic, which is a different and neutral entity in the fight of the Light against the Dark. I also appreciated the return to Trewissick. The book works well as a read aloud. The chapters are just a bit on the long side, but doable in a single night, and Cooper doesn’t pad her writing with anything extra, so the story moves right along.

Title comes from: The Greenwitch is made every year by the women of Trewissick and sent into the sea. This time, it finds the manuscript for the Grail where it had been lost the previous year.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 8/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and a G in my Title Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

Published: 1942

Genre: children’s chapter book adventure

Length: 179 pages

Setting: Norway, start of WWII

Interest: It was recommended somewhere as a good read-aloud Continue reading

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The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Published: 1954

Genre: children’s historical fiction

Length: 54 pages

Setting: 1707, New Milford, Connecticut

Interest: My mother gave me the book to read to Miss Adventure. When we came back from vacation, we forgot to get our bedtime story from the library (Anne of Windy Poplars). I tried to get it for my Kindle, but it’s one of two Anne stories that aren’t available for the Kindle. So, I was searching our shelves for something short to read that night, before I went back to the library to get our current book.

Summary: Sarah Noble and her father are traveling through the wilderness from Westfield, Massachusetts to New  Milford, Connecticut. The rest of the family will join them in New Milford once a house is built, but the baby was too young to travel. Sarah, at eight years old, was selected to accompany her father and keep house for him while he built a house. While they are in New Milford, they make friends with the local Native American tribes. Sarah stays with one family while her father goes back to get the rest of her family.

Final thoughts: A quick, but interesting read. The author claims the story is true, and it certainly is quite realistic. To think of an eight year old girl traveling all that way to be in charge of making all the meals for herself and her father is fascinating. The part of the story that revolves around the Native Americans is a little troubling. The story uses some language that is now considered inappropriate, and since the Nobles couldn’t manage the long Native American names, they just gave their friends Western names. But, at least the Nobles were willing to be friends with the Native Americans.

Title comes from: Sarah’s mother had told her to keep up her courage on the journey, and it was a phrase she repeated often to herself.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was essentially a short story.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood

Published: 2011

Genre: children’s historical fiction

Length: 320 pages

Setting: London, England, late 1800s

Interest: It’s the second book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. We’d already listened to the first book in the series and needed something to listen to on our drive to Avon.

Summary: Ashton Place is being repaired after the disastrous Christmas party, and Lady Ashton is not happy. Miss Lumley is invited to London to visit Miss Mortimer, her old teacher, and Lady Ashton decides to move the whole household to London until the house is finished. Miss Lumley has more of a social life than Lady Ashton, including a very posh luncheon at the Fern Court with Miss Mortimer where Penelope is warned to protect the children. While they’re in London they have a serious of adventures culminating in a chase through London by a troupe of actors intent on taking the children. They are saved by taking a hidden entrance into the London Art Gallery, where they find a picture that matches the one in the hidden staircase in Ashton Place.

Final thoughts: A better book than the first one. I was more invested in the characters and there was much more action. I still love the voice of the narrator (and she still talks to the audience regularly). There’s also the deepening mystery – Penelope has the same color hair as Cassiopeia, and Miss Mortimer has been hiding that fact for years. Miss Mortimer knows more than she’s letting on, and Lord Ashton seems awfully concerned about when the full moon is.

Title comes from: The hidden gallery at the London Art Gallery they’re sent to using Miss Lumley’s guide-book to London sent by Miss Mortimer.

Reading challenges fulfilled: none, since this was an audiobook

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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