Funny Chapter Books

During my second week of summer break, I read some funny books. I like fractured fairy tales, the funny ones and the serious ones, so I was excited to read "Frogged" by Vivian Vande Velde, which is a very funny book about a princess that gets turned into a frog. This is not a new idea, one of my favorite princess series is the "Tales of the Frog Princess" books by E.D. Baker.  I love those books which are funny, lighthearted but full of creative ideas with magic. The princesses are never waiting around to be rescued, they are take-charge girls who solve their own problems. I recommend them to 3rd grade and above for princess and magic loving girls. "Frogged" is also lighthearted, and also has a princess that is trying to solve her own problems instead of relying on others to save her. I had never read anything from Vivian Vande Velde, so I thought I would try some more of her books. I read "Wizard at Work" next, which is a humorous book, but really is a bunch of short stories and I didn't feel a lot of empathy with the wizard. Then I read "Magic Can be Murder" which is not funny and definitely not for elementary school.  This book is about a witch in the middle ages, who is sexually harassed by an employer and then witnesses a murder. She is trying to escape detection as a witch at the same time she is trying to catch the murderer. Not funny, but suspenseful and good for middle school and above. Then I moved on to Neil Gaiman, who is a master at scary and suspenseful. I was already a fan of his and have read several of his wonderful books and I have enjoyed the Dr. Who episodes he wrote. "Fortunately, the Milk" is quite a different book from his scary books. It's a short book and would probably be a great read-aloud for younger students. Dad realizes there is no milk for breakfast and he runs out to get some. The kids are waiting impatiently for his return so they can eat their cereal. When he comes back the kids attack him with "What took you so … [Read more...]

Fantasy Books by Oliver, DiCamillo and Valente

The first books I read this summer are by author Lauren Oliver. Her book Liesel and Po has been nominated for the Nevada Young Reader Award and will be used in our district competition of the Battle of the Books, so I wanted to read it. Plus the summary of the book mentions a girl locked in an attic, a runaway alchemist apprentice and a ghost! Of course I wanted to read it! This book reminded me of Kate DiCamillo's books. It takes place in an unknown time period, there are trains but I didn't notice electricity or cars, so I was thinking the Victorian age. But there is magic and the sun has disappeared for several years and food is getting scarce. Our main characters are living miserable lives, Liesel's parents have died and she is locked in the attic by her stepmother who wants her fortune. Will is an apprentice to a cruel alchemist and is always cold, tired and hungry. And then Po, a ghost, shows up and he has a ghost pet! The four of them set out to bury Liesel's father's ashes next to his wife in the country and have a series of adventures and meet interesting characters along the way. The story is told in a narrative voice that reminded me of Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant, which is a  darker story about a boy who wants to find his long-lost sister and an elephant that just wants to go home. It's a quick read and I recommend it. I enjoyed Liesel and Po, so I looked for more books by Lauren Oliver and I found a trilogy of books for teens that look like they are very popular, but I decided to read The Spindlers next. I think kids would really like this book, which is a wildly creative journey story about a little girl who is trying to save her brother's soul. She travels "below" and finds all kinds of crazy things like talking rats, seeds of hope, giant spiders that eat people's souls, giant tree roots that are actually snakes and much more. She must travel to the where the souls are being kept captive, fighting every step of the way and … [Read more...]