Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: Three New Junior Readers

We have three new Junior Reader books hitting our library shelves this week:
Charlie the Ranch Dog: Charlie's New Friend
We love Charlie at our house - both the real Charlie, found here, and the fictional character. My kids especially like finding the chipmunk on each page, so it will be interesting to see their reactions when I bring this home - while the chipmunk is present, he's not on every single spread, and I'm not sure what their reaction will be! What really gave me pause, though, was the author line: "Based on the..." Based on? Based on? As in, not actually written by?
The MARC record only lists Drummond and DeGroat, but they named Amanda Glickman and Rick Whipple are thanked for their "editorial and artistic contributions". Are we turning the series over to ghost writers? Or are these interns? Google searching leads my imagination in both directions...curiouser and curiouser...

At any rate, I didn't notice any differences (other than the missing chipmunk). Charlie tries to keep a carrot-stealing rabbit out of Mama's garden, and ends with a compromise. Bacon is mentioned, so S. will approve.

Pete the Cat: Too Cool for School

Not as bad as the previous junior readers - in fact, I kind of like this one, if I don't compare it to Eric Litwin's picture books of Pete the Cat. When Pete tries to take everyone else's advice on what to wear, he ends up looking rather silly. It might be fun to read this, then let everyone in the house pick out a piece of an outfit for everyone else - and wear the results for the day! Not to Walmart, though. Nobody would notice if you looked strange. (P.S. - Hey, HarperCollins - the title makes NO sense whatsoever.)

Fancy Nancy: Just My Luck!

With a second grader at home, we are in the throes of believing everything we hear from our friends. (Moms, as we all know, don't know anything.) In this well-timed (for probably more than me) edition from Fancy Nancy, a classmate tells nancy all the things that are bad luck, and she works herself into a tizzy trying to avoid them all. Or, is Ms. Glass right when she says there is no such thing? (She is a grown-up, after all, so probably not all that bright!)

It's a Fancy Nancy, so it will be popular regardless, but a good early reader all on its own. After reading it together, see how many good and bad luck items/actions your class/family can think of. Maybe research what other cultures think of as lucky.

Thanks to HarperCollins for the review copies!


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