Monday, April 01, 2013

Nonfiction Monday-- Pets

Cover image for Guide to Kittens / (Kitty Corner)Cover image for Guide to Puppies / (The Puppy ...Miles, Ellen. The Puppy Place: Guide to Puppies
Miles, Ellen. The Kitty Corner: Guide to Kittens
1 April 2013, Scholastic
E ARC from Netgalley. com

These are both absolutely adorable books that offer quite useful information on picking out and caring for a new pet. They are only 80 pages long, well illustrated and beautifully arranged. I looked at these at school and my library helpers who were looking over my shoulder immediately wanted copies to check out! I didn't realize that there are series to go along with these, but they are those insidiously long series with 50 books that children find so addictive. Hmmm. I appreciated that these offered good information about care and also addressed the issue of pets dying in a delicate way.  Must have for elementary and middle school libraries.

 It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week at Wendie's Wanderings.

Hide and SeekMessner, Kate. Hide and Seek
1 April 2013, Scholastic Press
E ARC from

Anna, Henry and Jose and their parents go to a reception at the White House to recognize them for saving the day in Capture the Flag. While there, they see an exhibit on Pre-Colombian god that includes an artifact from the Silver Jaguar Society-- a gold chalice used in ritual initiation that has been lost for 500 years. The only problem? It's a fake. The parents decide to take off for Costa Rica to investigate, and bring the kids with them. They stay at an eco lodge with another Jaguar Society person and meet the daughter, Sophie, as well as a teen raised by the society, Alejandro. The chalice was in Alejandro's possession when it was stolen, so while the parents are off in the city trying to solve the mystery, the children are working hard at the lodge. All of the tourists seem suspect, and Alejandro's slightly illegal tours make the children question his intentions as well. Gooshen of the Serpent Princes shows up, and things go from bad to worse. Can the kids keep the chalice safe?
Strengths: Messner is a great writer, and it's clear that she researched this very well. Lots of adventure, good gross middle school details like bat guano and bullet ants, and a range of interesting characters.
Weaknesses: I was coming down with a cold when I read this, and it made me super jealous of Messner(a former middle school teacher and now super successful writer!), so we will attribute all of my crankiness with this title to those things. Also, the two boy characters were slap worthy. Jose is agonizing over something he needs to tell his parents which turns out to be really inconsequential, and Henry needs to have the video game yanked out of his hands! Anna is okay, but I wish that more were done with her. Other than that, there is not concrete reason for me not to like this.

E Books do need to consider page decorations when formatting e books. A lot of times, these will slow down the page turns, and are really not worth it. In this case, there was just a line drawing of the chalice. There have been some e books where the page turns were slowed down all black pages, like Shadow on the Mountain. In that case, I couldn't even read the e book because the black pages crashed my Nook!


  1. Hide and Seek is on my summer reading list, although many of my students have read it already and love it.

  2. Anonymous7:19 AM EDT

    Both of these sound like great books! thanks for the reviews. I love the titles and the covers of the two pet books.

  3. I need to find copies of Puppy Place book and its sister kitten book. They would be a big hit at my library.

    Here's my It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  4. Both pet books look very good. It's so important for kids to know that pets will die and how to deal with that, I'm glad it's included.

  5. Hi there! I'm reading Capture the Flag out loud to my class right now. They are excited about there being a sequel so soon. As an adult reader I too find flaws in some of the characters/storyline, but my 3rd graders are having fun with this book. Probably because we have never read anything quite like it aloud, and some have never read anything like it alone!

  6. Hide and Seek looks great! Thanks for the heads up! Pinning it.

  7. The pet books look like a great resource for teaching nonfiction writing.

  8. Hide and Seek sounds great! Awesome cover. I still need to read Capture the Flag!

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Anonymous7:59 PM EDT

    I really liked Capture the Flag, I'll have to look for Hide and Seek. Thanks for the heads up!