Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Magic Storm/Predator vs. Prey/ Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race

Simpson, Dana. The Magic Storm (Phoebe and Her Unicorn #6) 
October 17th 2017 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

 In the first graphic novel in this series (the other books are compilations of comic strips), Phoebe and Marigold are concerned about the approaching ice storm. While it's nice to be let out of school early, Marigold suspects that the storm is also effecting the magic in the area and must have its origin in some magical elements. With the help of Max, who loves weather, and the increasingly less evil Dakota and her gremlins, the two try to find out what is going on. Using Marigold's translation of goblin legends as a start, they hunt down the dragon Voltina and find a way to repair the magic in their area, and also find a magical side kick for Max.
Strengths: With it's simple, bright pictures, large font, and amusing story, The Magic Storm will be one of those graphic novels that is never on the shelf! I appreciate that this is a fantasy book that readers of Smile, Roller Girl and Sunny Side Up will enjoy. I don't have a problem with my students reading comics, but when it's the ONLY thing they will read, I do have some concerns, since many times the comics they pick are of the strip variety. Readers at this age do need to occasionally read something with plot, character development, and other facets of literature, so this is perfect. The "frenenemy" relationship between Phoebe and Dakota is a bit over the top, but middle school students will understand it.
Weaknesses: The paperback will last six months, tops. I put a Follett Bound copy on my order for January.
What I really think: This was delightful to read on a challenging day.  Like Voltina, I'm all for comfort reading in middle school (instead of eating!), and this will be a literary bowl of mac and cheese to some of my students!

McMann, Lisa. Predator vs. Prey (Going Wild #2) 
October 3rd 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

 After getting involved with Project Chimera in Going Wild, Charlie and her mother and brother Andy are struggling with the kidnapping of her father. Maria and Mac are both having problem controlling when they change into animals, and Maria frequently sprouts a tale. When Charlie finds in formation her father left ten years ago, she and her mother contact Dr. Quinn Sharma and get more information, especially about the evil Dr. Gray who wants the Mark bracelets that let the children turn into different animals. Kelly, who also had a bracelet, claims to have thrown hers away, but is later interviewed by the news for performing an amazing rescue. She blabs the secret of the bracelet, endangering everyone. Charlie and her friends try to find Dr. Gray and take care of him, but are up against the soldiers he is creating. Kelly goes missing, but when she returns decides to join Gray's side. The story definitely is wide open for a sequel.
Strengths: I did really appreciate that Charlie's mother remained with them and helped them through the whole process. That's unusual in middle grade literature, since preteen children must save the world without adult intervention, but this seems more realistic, and is a nice change. There's lots of action, an evil villain, and the ability to acquire super skills from animals. My students adore this author and will be thrilled to see this.
Weaknesses: Not my favorite, although not sure why. A lot of people get injured, but then use their starfish qualities to heal themselves, which made me realize I'm not a fan of reading about injuries. Just slows down the story (think The False Prince series.)
What I really think: I will purchase, just don't understand the appeal.

31226744Grabenstein, Chris. Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race (#3)
October 10th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

This book was a perfect storm of things I have trouble remembering: puzzles, literary references, a fantasy feel (although not technically fantasy), and lots and lots of character names, some of which belong to real people, so I felt a need to look them all up, which made it harder to remember the plot.

This is a tremendously popular series with my students, and there is already a waiting list for this title. But it's also been cross country season, and I just am not going to write a competent review even though it is an essential purchase for all middle school and most elementary school libraries.

From Goodreads.com:

If Kyle can make it through the first round, he and the other lucky finalists will go on a great race--by bicycle, bookmobile, and even Mr. Lemoncello's corporate banana jet!--to find fascinating facts about famous Americans. The first to bring their facts back to the library will win spectacular prizes! But when a few surprising "facts" surface about Mr. Lemoncello, it might be GO TO JAIL and LOSE A TURN all at once! Could Kyle's hero be a fraud? It's winner take all, so Kyle and the other kids will have to dig deep to find out the truth before the GAME is OVER for Mr. Lemoncello and his entire fantastic empire!

Filled with brand-new puzzles and games (including a hidden bonus puzzle!), this fast-paced read will have gamers and readers alike racing to the finish line because, like Mr. Lemoncello's commercials say, IS IT FUN? . . . HELLO! IT'S A LEMONCELLO!

No comments:

Post a Comment