THE CREEPS, Book 1: THE NIGHT OF THE FRANKENFROGS by Chris Schweizer
These totally smart misfit friends start off in the middle of yet another explosion of epic proportions. Of course, they have been blamed for it, but they were simply trying to save the school from total destruction. Now they have to spend the next few weeks cleaning up the school to make up for all of the chaos they caused. While cleaning they come across another plot to take over the school. What else can they do but save the school, yet again? With a touch of Scooby Doo and Agents of Shield, these individually intelligent kids put their brains together to solve the mystery of the Frankenfrogs. I look forward to reading more books in this series and recommending them to my students.
THE WORST WITCH AND THE WISHING STAR by Jill Murphy
When I chose to read this book, I was oblivious to the previous six titles in the series. Obviously, as I read the book I discovered the world of Miss Cackle's Academy for witches, and I got to know the lovable, blundering, well-meaning young witch, Mildred Hubble. Mildred is once again in the middle of a muddle of problems. Now in her fourth year at the Academy, she is chosen to be responsible for lighting the lamps for one third of the school every day and putting them out every morning. This seems easy enough, but Mildred, ever the animal-lover, finds a stray puppy and immediately decides to take it in as her own. You will have to read to find out how Mildred gets out of this mess. I was surprised to find a copy of the THE WORST WITCH in my library, and of course, I read that also. I have enjoyed getting to know Mildred, and hope to recommend these books to my younger Harry Potter fans, who are not quite ready for the darkness of that series.
SYDNEY & SIMON GO GREEN! by Paul A. Reynolds and Peter H. Reynolds
I have long loved the books by Peter H. Reynolds, THE DOT, ISH, etc., so I was excited to see that he had worked on an early elementary novel. This is the story of twins, Sydney and Simon, who meet a young sea turtle, Greenie, that was injured by garbage in the ocean. The kids decide to take a look at how their family and school are affecting the environment in how much trash they create. They use math, science and observational skills to determine that the trash they create is more than they could or should be creating. With the help of a teacher and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Lab, they come up with a plan, and even a song, to help create awareness about the ways to reduce waste in their community. I loved the message for kids and teachers in this book. We can all make a difference in big and small ways.
One of my favorite projects created by the Reynolds team at Fablevision is The Testing Camera, a powerful video telling the story of one young student dealing with the dreaded testing day. The message is for students, parents and teachers, and it is simple - students are more than a snapshot of data.
You can find these books soon at your local library or at your local independent booksellers.