Benton, Jim. Dumbness is a Dish Best Served Cold (Dear Dumb Diary, Deluxe)
June 28th 2016 by Scholastic Press
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central
Jamie Kelly is back (in this full color edition) and ready to help her friend Isabella, who is worried about her family finances because her father has lost his job. Jamie is sure that working with Isabella and Angeline the group can come up with a fabulous, food-related money maker, and eventually decide that colored paper plates with divisions for how much of each food group one should eat would be a great idea. Jamie underestimates how much hope Isabella is putting in the plate idea, and eventually lies to her that they have someone who wants to put the plates into production. This causes quite a rift, but Angeline manages to come up with a soda based salad dressing that saves the day.
While Jamie never really outgrows her snarky, frenzied demeanor, she does have the best interests of Angeline in mind, and tries very hard to help her friend. The appeal of these books rests in the frenetic pace and sheer goofiness of the situations-- Jamie lets out loud burps, has a friend named Dicky Flartsnutt, and illustrates her fantasies about principal training that includes coffee balloon fights.
Readers who have outgrown Park's Junie B. Jones and her antics or Danziger's Amber Brown will love Jamie sometimes misplaced exuberance and will be thrilled with the full color art. Along with Marissa Moss' Amelia books, Barstow's Ellie McDoodle and Ignatow's The Popularity Papers, the Dear Dumb Diary series is an easy choice for readers who like goofy notebook novels.
My personal objection to this is the repeated use of the word "dumb" which was anathema in my household when the girls were young. These books have more appeal to elementary students-- I have a few books in my library that reluctant readers occasionally pick up, but they are not particularly easy books to read. These strike me as more of a book fair purchase than a school library one, although this title has a hardcover edition.
Andrus, Aubre. Five Minute True Stories: Animal BFFs
July 26th 2016 by Scholastic Nonfiction
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central
This collection of simple tales of animal friendship is filled with adorable pictures of a number of animal pairs from around the world. A monkey and pig, horse and cat, and even an elephant and dog are showcased. While the stories aren't that remarkable, the pictures are endlessly fascinating, especially ones of a very small rat and a very large dog!
The text is set off in beige boxes that help separate the words from the pictures for easier reading, and the use of additional colorful backgrounds make the design of this book one that would be very appealing if used as a read aloud.
This is a larger book than Scholastic's usual nonfiction offering, but includes the same quality photographs and writing geared to elementary school students. If this shows up on a classroom wish list at a Scholastic book fair, definitely donate a copy to your child's classroom... but make sure you and your child get a chance to look at the wonderful photographs first!