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Books categorized as 'Animals'

A Handful of Stars

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

“It’s scary to try something different when you don’t know how it’ll work out, but that’s when the best things can happen. The things that surprise you and change you. Those things can make *you* different.” p. 153

A Handful of Stars is the sweet story of 12-year Lily and her new friend, Salma Santiago, who has temporarily moved to Maine for the blueberry picking season. The book is set in a small town with an abundant blueberry industry, where Lily’s grandparents run the only general store in town. Salma’s family is from Florida but they move around the country to work on seasonal harvests. The two girls happen upon each other one day, instantly click, and start working together toward their unique goals. This book addresses different dimensions of change – evolving friendships, communities in transition, and the passing of seasons. It especially emphasizes the process of growing out of old friendships and into new ones. I appreciate that the main character, Lily, is sensitive to others feelings throughout this change.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Brown

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Rain Reign

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

Rain Reign is about Rose Howard, a young girl living with Asperger’s who loves her dog, Rain. A hurricane plows through her upstate New York town and causes lots of changes in Rose’s life. The story is told from Rose’s point of view, so it’s a great way to understand a bit of what it’s like to live with Asperger’s. This is also a great book for kids who love dogs and/or grammar and word patterns, both topics Rose talks a lot about. The fast-paced chapters kept my interest up throughout. While Rose’s relationship with her dad is a difficult conflict in the book, it finishes with a heart-warming and happy ending.

Reviewed by Mrs. Brown

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The Truth of Me

the truth of me coverThe Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
Recommended for: Grades 3 – 5

Robbie’s parents spend more time on their music than with him. Robbie is closer to his eccentric grandmother Maddy and loves summers spent with her while his parents tour with their Allegro Quartet.  This year Robbie also brings his dog Ellie and hopes she can get along with Maddy’s unique animal friends which include raccoons, deer and bears.  Robbie likes that Maddy makes his parents nervous with her unusual stories and animals.  Maddy’s love and guidance help Robbie learn a lot of “little truths” – about his mother, his grandmother and himself.  It is a summer of growth and acceptance and having the courage to make changes.

Reviewed by Mrs. McIntire

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The Bolds

The Bolds The Bolds by Julian Clary
Recommended for: Grades 3-6

An English couple are careless and get eaten by a crocodile while visiting Africa! Two clever hyenas dress in their discarded clothing, take their passports and return to the London suburbs to carry on living as “humans.” A spying, grouchy next door neighbor and an old hyena who needs to be rescued from a safari park lead to hilarious adventures. This book is full of jokes and antics that will leave you belly laughing and completely surprised at the end. A sequel is due out April 1, 2017….April Fools? No really. This is a great book for those who like the highly illustrated format of The Wimpy Kid, Judy Moody, Bad Kitty, Galactic Hot Dogs, and others.

Reviewed by Mrs. Baumgartner

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The Wild Robot

wild robot coverThe Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Recommended for: Grades 3-6

A robot named Roz washes ashore on an island when her shipping container gets tossed overboard in a storm at sea.  She studies her environment and learns from the animals how to communicate and survive in the wilderness.  She adopts a baby goose and eventually makes friends with the other animals of the island.  But one day, other robots come looking for her, and it is up to Roz and her island friends to decide her fate.  Can technology ever truly mesh with nature?  This story was exciting, interesting, unique, and touching.  It features some illustrations by the author, as well.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ

The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ: A laboratory dog’s search for love by Martha Ritter
Recommended for: Grades 3 & up

PZ is a laboratory dog and has spent her entire life in the lab cage. When she outgrows her usefulness at the lab, PZ is taken to an animal shelter. On her way there, PZ meets her first friend, a ladybug! Before long she is taken home by a young girl and her mother and given a real name. PZ is afraid of everything, and her new owner doubts that she can train her new dog and come to love her.
Many people, and animals, help these two learn to trust each other. This story is at times touching and hilarious, and also gives insight into dog training from both a dog’s and a human’s point of view. If you love animals, you’ll love this book.

Reviewed by : Mrs. McIntire

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Murphy, Gold Rush Dog

Murphy, Gold Rush Dog by Alison Hart
Grades 3 – 6

Murphy escapes from his cruel owner, and the harsh conditions of being a sled dog pulling supplies to Nome, Alaska.  Murphy encounters Sally and her Mama, also new to Nome, and stays with them.
The Gold Rush is drawing all sorts to Nome, and daily life is very dangerous and hard.  Sally’s Mama soon feels they should return to San Francisco, but Sally, who has saved some money of her own, sets out with Murphy to stake her own claim to mine for gold so that they can stay in Alaska.  Sally and Murphy encounter harsh weather and many dangers while on their own, including an encounter with Murphy’s previous owner.  Will they even be able to make it back to Nome? I loved  this exciting adventure of a determined young girl and her loyal dog.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The Secret Chicken Society

secret chicken society cover imageThe Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox
Recommended for: Grades 1 – 3

So far Daniel has collected a rat, a tank full of guppies, a gerbil and a parakeet.  It’s all good practice for his future career as a veterinarian.  When the teacher announces that they will be hatching eggs in the classroom he sets his sights on a chicken as well.  Find out what happens when you mix “Eco-Dad”, four kids, five chickens and an unlikely set of neighbors in this fast-paced story.  You just might learn a little something about chickens while you’re at it.

Reviewed by: Mrs. White

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Number of comments: 1


Happy Birthday Bad Kitty

Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Buel
Recommended for: Grades 2 to 4

Happy Birthday Bad KittyAuthor Nick Bruel introduced Bad Kitty in a funny, alphabet picture book by the same name. He then expanded Kitty’s adventures in hilarious companion chapter books. In this book, hard-to-please Kitty is woken up by the never-seen narrator with the joyous news that  “Today is your birthday!!!” Despite the fabulous array of foods (listed in alphabetical order) and the zany assortment of presents from Kitty’s pals, all does not go well. Minimal text complimented by  large and lively graphic art empower young readers, who will surely want to explore other books about Bad Kitty.

Reviewed by: Ms. Wettergreen

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The Trouble With Chickens

the trouble with chickensThe Trouble With Chickens by Doreen Cronin
Recommended for: Grades 2 – 4

Retired search and rescue dog J.J. Tully is called to action when the barnyard’s Chicken Mom reports 2 of her little chicks MISSING! Offered a cheeseburger as reward, he accepts the job. Sprinkled with unusual names (Vince the Funnel), fancy vocabulary (rendezvous), fabulous illustrations  by Kevin Cornell, and changing narrators, this playful mystery provides suspense and fun for young readers.

Reviewed by: Ms. Wettergreen

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