Book review: The Storm Dragon, by Paula Harrison, illustrated by Sophy Williams

Harrison, Paula. The Storm Dragon. Illustrated by Sophy Williams. (The Secret Rescuers series, book 1) Aladdin, 2017. $5.99. ISBN 9781481476072. 128 pages. Ages 7-10. P7 Q7

The Storm Dragon is a chapter book in the series The Secret Rescuers. It is a story about a girl named Sophy who discovers a young dragon named Cloudy. The queen and the captain of the guard do not like magical creatures, so Sophy tries to rescue Cloudy. The cover has a cute picture of a baby dragon on it, which entices the reader to open the book and read it. Pencil drawings enhance the story. The story lends to a sequel.

Verdict: This is an easy read with pictures to go along with the story. It is a sweet book that combines the love of adventure and the love of animals. I recommend this book for individual reading, public library, classroom library and elementary school libraries.

April 2017 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Mouse Scouts Camp Out, by Sarah Dillard

Dillard, Sarah.  Mouse Scouts Camp Out.  (Mouse Scouts series.) Random House Children’s Books, 2016.  $6.99.  ISBN 978-0-385-75608-2. 144 Pages.  Ages 5-8.  Q8P7

This is the third book in the Mouse Scouts series and focuses on teamwork and friendship through an overnight camping trip.  I liked the Mouse Scout Handbook which gives helpful tips to being a successful camper throughout the book.  The tips, while from a mouse’s perspective, are valid tips for a successful camping experience, such as how to make a compass and various wilderness dangers from poisonous plants to bugs and snakes.  The outdoors is not a comfortable place for everyone and this book shares tips to make outdoor life bearable for those who don’t come by it naturally.

Verdict:  A simple story of friendship and perseverance through teamwork with lots of tips and tricks for happily experiencing the outdoors.

June 2017 review by Terri Lippert.

Book review: Mr. Putter & Tabby Hit the Slope, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard

Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Hit the Slope. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. (Mr. Putter and Tabby series, #25) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Unpaged. $14.99. ISBN 9780152064273. Ages 5-7. P7Q8

On a slow, snowy day, Mr. Putter remembers the long ago fun of sledding down hills. The adventurous neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, has sleds in her garage. Mr. Putter, Tabby, Mrs. Teaberry and her dog, Zeke, head out for an adventure, riding sleds down hills in this twenty-fifth book in the series.  Much of the charm of the long-running series comes from the simple watercolor and goache paintings that show the varied emotions of the characters—Mr. Putter’s sadness in being left without a sled, Tabby’s worried terror  as Zeke pilots the two of them down the hill, the contentment on both Mr. Putter’s and Tabby’s faces as they have muffins afterward.

Verdict: Highly recommended for preschool, elementary, and public libraries.

January 2017 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel, by Charise Mericle Harper, illustrated by Ashley Spires

Harper, Charise Mericle. Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel. Illustrated by Ashley Spires. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-544-63063-5. 120 pages. Ages 6-10. P6Q7

June loves to play with her dog Sam, particularly because the two are able to communicate unbeknownst to others. When her grandmother sends her a big chalkboard on a wheel,  June is thrilled.  She and Sam are entertained with completing the suggested tasks. It’s even more fun when a new girl moves in next door and ends up in the same class. Mae seems really nice, but classmate April is bound and determined that Mae will be friends with her and not June. The girls have to learn to get along, and eventually become fast friends.

Verdict: This is a very positive, fun story for beginning readers. The illustrations add to comprehending the story. Other nice touches are June’s grumpy teenage sister, the fact that Mae is a character of color, and the adventure of the wonder wheel.

May 2017 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: Bad Kitty Takes the Test, by Nick Bruel

Bruel, Nick.  Bad Kitty Takes the Test. (Bad Kitty series) Roaring Brook Press, 2017. $13.99. ISBN 978-1-62672-589-8. 144 pages. Ages 7-12. P7Q8

Bad Kitty is sent to take a test to prove that he has what it takes to be called a cat. What follows is calamity and hilarity as Bad Kitty, Chatty Kitty and Uncle Murray, a human who stumbles in by accident while looking to renew his driver’s license, learn what it is to be a cat. When they complete their lessons from Strange Kitty, they learn they must take a test. The test is to be administered by a representative from TestPro, who isn’t exactly an honest test monitor, and he might just have a secret agenda. TestPro is repeatedly reversed by the narrator to ProTest. This is a funny tale that will help any youngster through testing season. I appreciated the fun illustrations and the funny puns and innuendos.

Verdict: this is an engaging chapter book for independent readers.

May 2017 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: We Love You, Rosie!, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Linda Davick

Rylant, Cynthia. Illustrated by Linda Davick We Love You, Rosie! Beach Lane Books, 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9781442465114. Unp. Ages 2-6. P8 Q8

Rosie, a family’s pet dog, helps us understand opposites in We Love You, Rosie! Sometimes Rosie is good, sometimes she is bad. She comes in the house, then goes out. Her toy is lost, then found. Each pair of opposites is colorfully represented through Rosie’s interaction with the children in her family. Cynthia Rylant uses repetition and capitalization to make important vocabulary words stand out. Bold illustrations and bright colors will appeal to young readers. The choice to depict an underrepresented minority family enjoying a pet, makes this book exceedingly approachable to a variety of young readers.

Verdict: The story is relatable and repetitious enough to aid new readers.

April 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: The Sea Lion, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Preston McDaniels

Rylant, Cynthia. The Sea Lion. [Lighthouse Family series]. Illus. by Preston McDaniels. Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, 2017. 44p. ISBN 978-1-4814-6025-5. Ages 6-9. P9Q9

The seventh slim tale about the family of creatures in the series centers around the discovery of a baby sea lion asleep in the kitchen who explains that his mother had left him there to await her return. The cat Pandora and the dog Seabold are quite pleased to care for the little one, and mouse children Lila, Whistler, and Lila are thrilled with their new friend. Readers might want to start with the first in the series, The Storm, that brings together the five main characters.

Verdict: The gentle text of this chapter book from a Newbery Medalist and Oregon author combines with lovely graphite  illustrations, many of them full page, for a mildly exciting book showing the beauty of family and life on the edge of the continent.

April 2017 review by Nel Ward.