Reading Ahead: Books for Ages 9 to 12 (March/April 2008)

These are the new books we’ll be reviewing in a few months that caught our eye.

Champion Sleeper! by Tim Young. The book cover is a Bassett hound sleeping on a pillow next to a trophy. Thumbing through it, the illustrations just made me smile. This is a text-heavy picture book that looks to have potential for reluctant and remedial readers. (Murphy’s Bone Publishing, 2008)

Coraline (Graphic Novel Adaptation) by Neil Gaiman (adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell). I am not usually a fan of graphic novels, but the “verbatim adaptation” of this classic intrigues me. (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008)

Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall by Wendy Lichtman. I admit I am allergic to math, but I don’t want my daughter to be. I love the idea of a math-loving eighth grade girl as our heroine! (Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2008)

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy (Book 1: The Hero Revealed) by William Boniface. This has the feel of a great summer paperback. It’s a chapter book, but there are some great comic-like illustrations, too. Looks like it might be a fun read for a reluctant reader. (HarperTrophy, 2006)

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper. I loved Shakespeare … not sophomore English in high school, I mean college. William Shakespeare was one of those writers who made the pursuit of a degree in English seem relevant. It will be interesting to see if this fictional tale will draw a younger generation to the Bard’s great works. (Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2008)

My Dog May Be a Genius by Jack Prelutsky. April is National Poetry Month, so it only seems fitting to include one book. Kids need to learn about and appreciate poetry, and this illustrated book looks like it could be just the right hook. (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008)

MySpace/Our Planet by the MySpace Community with Jeca Taudte. This is a how-to guide for teens about going “green.” It is jam-packed with informatin and suggestions. I’ll be curious to see what the teens think! (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008)

No Sisters Sisters Club by Linda Salisbury. This is the second title in the Bailey Fish Adventure series. Its very topical: how would you react if your long-lost dad knocked on the door … and brought siblings you didn’t even know you had? (Tabby House, 2006)

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French. The woman on the cover (and her discription on the back) will remind you of Cruella de Ville. This is a chapter book for 7- to 9-year-olds, but is VERY lightly illustrated. I am looking at it for its potential as a title for reluctant or remedial readers. (Candlewick Press, 2008)

The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald. The story looks interesting (four very different sisters), but what really catches my eye is the setup. There is traditional narrative AND play dialogue. I like the idea of giving “parts” to the kids to read. I’ll be curious to see how it plays out (no pun intented)! That offers real potential for reluctant and remedial readers alike. (Candlewick Press, 2008)

The Sky Village (Kaimira, Book 1) by Monk Ashland and Nigel Ashland. I am intrigued by the idea of a story with its base set in Asia. The cover image is captivating and mysterious. The back cover says 13-year-old Rom is trying to survive in the “ruins of Las Vegas.” That, alone, is a pretty interesting visual! (Candlewick Press, 2008)

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