Written by Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Evil bunnies from outer space attack Earth … again! That pretty well sums it up. Of course, the bunnies can’t just run rampant, so there must be humans who try to stop them. But how?
As usual, Dan Santat captures the action of the Foofs (Fluffy, Obnoxious, Odoriferous Furballs) and of twins Kevin and Joules as they protect the world from the fluffies. This book is part graphic novel and part charts of the characteristics of Birds and Others (birds being anything – at all – that flies). With the help of the Lunch Lady, will the twins prevail?
The main themes of this tale are stink and goo, so fourth graders, especially boys, will love it from page one. It will hold their interest and further their literacy skills. Very silly and highly recommended.
Buy on Amazon
- Title: Fluffy Bunnies 2: The Schnoz of Doom
- Author: Andrea Beaty
- Illustrator: Dan Santat
- Publisher: Amulet Books/Abrams, 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
- Grade Level: 3 to 6
- Genre: Fiction, humor, fluffy bunnies
- ISBN: 978-1-4197-1051-3
Written by Andreas Schroeder
Illustrated by Remy Simard
Buy on Amazon
Readers on the 4th grade reading level and up who like adventure and action will enjoy the drama and intrigue in Robbers! True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves! Presented in chapters this 166-page text provides stories of famous historical robberies. Each chapter presents one robber, an in-depth look at one of their heists, and briefer descriptions of their other crimes. From a team of thieves who stole the Mona Lisa to an individual who hijacked a plane and parachuted as an escape, Robbers! illustrates the creative approaches criminals have taken.
But Robbers! doesn’t only highlight illegal successes. Through stories of criminal mistakes, such as a pair of thieves who didn’t know how to fly their get-away plane to a team who forgot to run the dishwasher (and thus left numerous fingerprints for police to use), this book shows how crooks get caught. Robbers! details criminal techniques such as how to case a bank, how to run pearls over your teeth to determine if they are genuine or fake, and how to act your way through a situation to bluff authority figures. This is information some adults may not want in the hands of young readers so this book might not end up on third grade reading lists; on the other hand, the stories do teach the values of attention to detail, careful work and determination and the book might intrigue risk-seeking students who need practice with their reading skills. A book that highlights criminal action could glorify the thieves or show them as villains. Robbers!, however, presents these histories with a non-judgemental tone. The book concludes with a robber-turned-good – the story of Willie Sutton, a bank-robbing addict who eventually turned his energies to helping banks improve their security.
Each story is accompanied by brief cartoon-style illustrations placed in-line with the text. This presentation style requires the cartoon caption to be read as a part of the main text and may confuse some readers, but the illustrations themselves help lighten the book. Every spread includes at least one illustration and some pages include a call out note with additional information. Backmatter includes a chapter-by-chapter bibliography, an index and further reading. Unfortunately all of the books listed in the further reading are at least twenty years old, so may be out-dated and hard for young readers to access.
- TITLE: Robbers! True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves
- AUTHOR: Andreas Schroeder
- ILLUSTRATOR: Remy Simard
- PUBLISHER: Annick Press
- REVIEWER: Heather L. Montgomery
- EDITION: Paperback: 166 p.
- ISBN: 978-1554514403
- GENRE: Nonfiction, History
- LEXILE: 1230GN
Written by Gwen de Bonneval
Illustrated by Matthieu Bonhomme
Buy on Amazon
Welcome to medieval France, land of chivalry, monsters, and unexplained events. Translated from the French, this beautifully drawn graphic novel gives fourth graders a glimpse into that world, represented by realistic characters. William has recently lost his father, but the father’s spirit continues to call to William. His sister, Helise, also disappears, so he sets off in search of clues. Brigands run rampant in the area, making it difficult to know who to trust. Monsters William encounters include those with no head and a face below their arms, anthropomorphic dolphins, talking plants, and dog-headed men. He crosses the ocean and the desert and catches a glimpse of his father’s hand. He gets help from a variety of characters, including his aunt, a knight, a troubadour, one of the monsters, and a young girl. The girl is required to call herself the only son of a king, just one of the “truths” of that kingdom. On his return, William faces his mother and possible future stepfather who are suspicious at best. His sister turns into a goat. Mom is sometimes a cat.
As with most graphic novels, the illustrations are very important, and these do not disappoint. Faces and animals are true-to-life and even the monsters are believable. The battle scenes may be overly realistic.
The extensive section about roles in the medieval world, mythological creatures, and gender roles provides added value and should aid students in comprehension. There is also a very good discussion section. The publisher provides materials and information on reading activities through their website: www.lernerbooks.com.
- Title: William and the Lost Spirit
- Authors: Gwen de Bonneval and Matthieu Bonhomme
- Publisher: Graphic Universe/Lerner Publishing Group
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Paperback, 152 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-4677-0807-4
- Genre: Middle grade, Chivalry, Myth.
- Lexile Score: 610GN
Written by Tony Preciado
Illustrated by Rhode Montijo
Buy on Amazon
“A little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down….” The authors of Super Grammar know that grammar is a difficult pill to swallow, but it is an essential medicine nonetheless if we are to communicate effectively. What will make grammar easier? They ponder. Aha! Heroes and villains (super heroes and super villains, really) who fight the good fight for grammatically correct, concise, and structured writing. What a fantastic concept. » Read more