My Pet Goldfish

In My Pet Goldfish, prolific children’s author Catherine Rayner recounts her first experience owning a goldfish. Rayner was only four years old when she got her goldfish named Richard. Although Richard was no bigger than her hand, Rayner quickly realized that caring for a goldfish is not as simple as it may seem. Rayner had to learn about the proper tank size and food type for goldfish to provide her pet with a suitable environment. Regardless of these challenges, Rayner grew attached to Richard. With the help of her friend, Sandy, Rayner learned how to properly take care of a pet fish. 

My Pet Goldfish is a straightforward story that provides new owners with instructions on how to care for a goldfish. Along with the advice given by Sandy, the book features small captions with additional information in the corners of each page. For example, one caption reads: “Goldfish need plenty of space to grow properly, so you need a BIG tank to keep them in.” Along with these tips, each page features a piece of trivia about goldfish, such as, “scientists believe goldfish can remember things for up to five months.” 

Along with Rayner’s story, the book includes a list of tips for caring for a goldfish. These tips include how to change the water in a tank and the proper tank size for goldfish. Rayner also provides a list of additional resources for curious readers, including a website all about goldfish and a recommendation to read How to Look After Your Goldfish, an instructional novel by David Alderton about tending to pet goldfish. Although this is an informative book, Rayner’s passionate narration invites the reader to look at this straightforward story with the same curiosity and wonder she felt as a child. For example, Reyner writes: “[Richard] would swim over when he saw me, wiggling his tail. If I gently touched the glass, he would follow my finger.”  

By telling the story through a child’s point of view, Rayner turns the common experience of owning a pet goldfish into an exciting adventure. Rayner’s beautiful, watercolor illustrations also create a sense of wonder. Rayner’s fish tank is painted in soft blues and greens. Fish of many species swim about with their own unique color scheme. The book is a relatively easy read, with one to five short sentences per page. My Pet Goldfish is a short, informative book written with a clear passion for its subject and is perfect for readers considering getting their first goldfish. 

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The Story of Neil Armstrong: A Biography Book for New Readers

Neil Armstrong is one of the most famous astronauts in history. He became the first person to walk on the moon because of his hard work, admirable fortitude, and determined attitude. His experience with NASA changed the course of space exploration forever and he cemented a legacy that continues to be recognized and praised to this day. However, Armstrong’s journey to this life-changing moment wasn’t easy, and his life was full of ups and downs.  

Born on August 5th, 1930, Armstrong grew up in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, during the Great Depression. Despite the challenging economic times, Armstrong loved airplanes, and his dedication to studying and flying them led to his eventual enrollment in college and the Navy. Armstrong’s life took a turn when he applied to become an astronaut for NASA. He was dedicated to NASA’s big mission: to land a man on the moon. But NASA’s training proved difficult for Armstrong, and he struggled to balance his economic issues, familial matters, and astronaut training. How did Armstrong handle the pressure to become the first person to reach the moon? 

The Story of Neil Armstrong is a biographical story about Neil Armstrong’s journey as an astronaut. Told from the perspective of an outside narrator, the book follows Armstrong’s life, starting with his early childhood and ending with his retirement from NASA. While other characters appear throughout the story, such as Armstrong’s wife, Janet, the story mainly focuses on Armstrong. As such, Armstrong is portrayed as an aspiring leader whose dedication to succeed will inspire and motivate readers. Although readers won’t be able to relate to Armstrong’s experience as an astronaut, they can relate to the ups and downs that accompanied him during his life. In fact, it is because of his successes and failures that his life comes across as very realistic and genuine.  

The biography displays a positive outlook on the themes of exploration, fortitude, and perseverance. Although Armstrong encountered difficult situations, his calming attitude and unbreakable courage highlight the book’s message about pursuing one’s dream and never giving up. The Story of Neil Armstrong challenges readers to chase after their passions and not shy away from trying new things. After all, Neil Armstrong is known “as the man who led the way.” 

The Story of Neil Armstrong is part of a series called Story Of: A Biography for New Readers. As such, the book is educationally oriented and includes additional supplementary material like fun facts, discussion questions, a reading quiz, and a glossary. Hand-drawn illustrations are sprinkled in every one to three pages, and the back of the book contains real-life photographs that highlight the important aspects of Armstrong’s life. While some of the text may be challenging for younger readers, The Story of Neil Armstrong presents an exciting tale about one of history’s most famous astronauts. It’s an engaging story that will hook readers, young and old, from page one and challenge them to shoot for the stars. 

To learn more about space exploration and Neil Armstrong, read Apollo 13 by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and The Race to Space Countdown to Liftoff by Erik Slader & Ben Thompson. 

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Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer

At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but soon she was adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and she quickly decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true. She has been dancing ever since and is now a principal dancer in New York City. She has also been featured in the ballet documentary First Position, as well as Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America, and Oprah magazine. 

Ballerina Dreams is told from Michaela’s point of view. The story uses a friendly tone that makes the reader feel as if they know Michaela personally. While in the orphanage, Michaela’s teacher said, “You can become a ballerina, too, if you take lessons for many years, if you work hard, and if you practice every day.” While Michaela’s story has a happy ending, she acknowledges her fears and explains how she overcame them. Her motivational story shows the importance of hard work and perseverance.  

As part of the Ready To Read Level 4 Series, Ballerina Dreams is intended for children who can read independently. The story is told using short chapters. The paragraphs are short and use simple sentences. Most pages have full-color illustrations or photographs of Michaela to break up the text. However, some pages do not have pictures.  

Ballerina Dreams is an inspiring story that encourages readers to aspire to great heights. The informative book explains how Michaela was able to make her dreams come true. Michaela encourages readers by saying, “It doesn’t matter if you dream of being a doctor, a teacher, a writer, or a ballerina. Every dream begins with one step. After that, you must work hard and practice every day. If you never give up, your dream will come true.” For another inspirational biography, pair Ballerina Dreams with A Girl Named Misty by Kelly Starling Lyons. Readers who love ballet should also read the picture books Tallulah’s Tutu by Marilyn Singer and Parker Shines On by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry. 

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  • Michaela was born in Sierra Leone and her parents “died there in the ongoing war.” 

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One Tiny Turtle

Unlike their notoriously slow counterparts on land, sea turtles travel thousands of miles each year. This makes them very difficult to research, and much is still unknown about their mysterious lives. In One Tiny Turtle, zoologist and author Nicola Davies describes the known life cycle of the loggerhead turtle, one of seven species of sea turtles. Readers will follow the turtle from her time as an infant living beneath a patch of seaweed to her adulthood when she lays her own eggs on a beach before disappearing back into her mysterious life beneath the sea. 

One Tiny Turtle is an informative book that grabs readers’ attention through Davies’ beautiful prose and illustrator Jane Chapman’s vibrant, realistic art. Like all books in the Read and Wonder series, One Tiny Turtle includes a fun fact about its subject on every page. For example, in a page describing the loggerheads’ swimming process, a small caption informs readers that sea turtles can spend hours underwater while asleep and only come up for air every four or five minutes while awake.   

One Tiny Turtle is an accessible book for younger readers, with one to eight short sentences per page. A prolific children’s author, Davies captures young readers’ imagination through her rich and descriptive writing. For example, she describes a baby turtle as “not much bigger than a bottle top, she hides in the green shadows.”  The colorful and detailed illustrations help readers understand the turtle’s life and habitat. Chapman’s photorealistic sea creatures blend beautifully with the greens and blues of the sea.  

Although it is a nonfiction book, One Tiny Turtle is sure to engage readers’ curiosity and leave them wondering about a species whose mysteries are still being uncovered. As part of the Read and Wonder Series, One Tiny Turtle is meant for younger readers. It is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The book is fascinating and educational and will help readers understand the mysteries of turtles.  

Introduce your young readers to more lovable sea creatures by reading Otters Love to Play by Jonathan London. Sea-loving readers can also learn life lessons by reading the Pout-Pout Fish Adventure picture book series by Deborah Diesen.  

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PAW Patrol: The Clean, Green Rescue!

The PAW Patrol is helping fix up Main Street Park for the We Love the Earth Fun Fair! The pups are extra excited for Luke Star’s concert. But that night, a big storm hits Adventure Bay. Lightning strikes a big oak tree and Farmer Al can’t make it to the fair. But don’t worry, the PAW patrol is on the roll!  

Before the day is over, another call comes in from Cap’n Turbot. Litter is covering the beach! If the litter isn’t cleaned up fast, turtles and seals might think the floating bags are food. Cap’n Turbot and the pups get right to work. Zuma even uses his hovercraft to collect litter from the ocean. This section shows the importance of picking up and recycling trash.  

But the PAW Patrol’s work isn’t finished. Luke Star is stuck in a mudslide! He’ll never make it in time without the PAW Patrol’s help. Everyone must work together to make sure the We Love the Earth Fun Fair is fun for everyone! At the end of the day, Luke Star calls Ryder and the pups on the stage and dedicates a song to them! With teamwork, the PAW Patrol saves the day! 

The Clean, Green Rescue! is an environmentally focused book that shows the importance of teamwork and conservation. Each new conflict shows how people can do small things to help save the planet. For example, when a tree falls into the road, Farmer Al says, “[The tree] was two hundred years old. Squirrels, deer, and other animals ate the acorns that fell from its branches. Birds, bugs, and animals lived inside the tree, too. It helped clean our air, and it gave us shade.” When Farmer Al uses the wood to make a picnic table, he enforces the importance of reusing items instead of wasting them.  

When Luke Star gets stuck in the mud, readers learn about the effects of global warming. Ryder explains, “The weather is warmer this year. The snow melted quickly and loosened the dirt that held the rocks. The storm washed everything down the hill.” While the book doesn’t explore the topic in more detail, readers are reminded to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  

The Clean, Green Rescue! is the perfect book for an adult to read to their child. Each page has one to seven sentences, but beginning readers will need help with the advanced sentence structure and some of the more difficult vocabulary. Full-page illustrations use bright colors that will help readers imagine the events in the story. 

The Clean, Green Rescue! uses familiar PAW Patrol characters to highlight the need to be environmentally conscious. While the pups work hard to save the day, when the work is over everyone enjoys the concert. The Clean, Green Rescue! is an engaging story that reminds readers of the importance of taking care of the environment. Because facts are incorporated into the story, the lessons never feel like a lecture. To reinforce the environmental lessons in The Clean, Green Rescue!, readers should also read Rocket Says Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon. 

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Dinosaurs: The Fastest, The Fiercest, The Most Amazing

Which dinosaur could run as fast as a modern-day racehorse? Which dinosaur used its razor-sharp claws to rip apart its prey? Which dinosaur laid eggs as big as watermelons?  

You’ll find the answers to these questions—and more!—inside Dinosaurs: The Fastest, The Fiercest, The Most Amazing. Readers will meet 21 of the most amazing dinosaurs ever to roam the earth. Spectacular illustrations bring all of the excitement and drama of the prehistoric era to life. Plus, there’s a combination timeline and comparative size chart that will help readers imagine how they would feel standing next to a Seismosaurus (which was half as long as a football field) or a Compsognathus (which was as small as a pigeon). 

Dinosaurs is similar to a picture book because each page has a full-page illustration with a short paragraph about the dinosaur that appears on the page. The realistic dinosaur illustrations make readers feel as if they have stepped into the dinosaurs’ world. The illustrations also allow readers to see each dinosaur’s habitat. Several pages include fighting dinosaurs, but only one illustration shows blood.  

Any readers who are interested in learning more about the dinosaurs who roamed the earth millions of years ago should read Dinosaurs. The book includes interesting facts about each dinosaur. Many of the passages explain details in easy-to-understand language. For example, the Gallimimus could race “as fast as any racehorse” and the Pterosaur was “as big as a small airplane.” The book is organized in a way that helps readers make comparisons. For instance, the fastest dinosaur and slowest dinosaur appear on the same two-page spread. Because the book’s format focuses on the illustrations, the book is a quick read that doesn’t go into extensive detail about each dinosaur; this makes the book perfect for young readers as well as reluctant readers.  

Dinosaurs will take readers on a walk from the Triassic Era to the Quaternary Era. The wonderful illustrations will give readers a sense of being in the scene, and the facts are interesting and educational. Each dinosaur is only given a paragraph of facts, but readers can learn more by reading 

Finding the First T. Rex by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and Ancient Animals: Plesiosaur by Sarah L. Thomson. However, if you want some fabulous dinosaur fiction instead, take a bite out of Don’t Disturb the Dinosaurs by Ada Hopper or The Dino Files Series by Stacy McAnulty.  

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  • Dinosaurs’ eating habits are discussed. For example, “Tyrannosaurus attacked other dinosaurs by running into them with its jaws wide open. Then it used its tiny but strong front arms to hold on to its dinner.” The illustration shows the Tyrannosaurus stepping on a dead dinosaur.  
  • The Deinonychus “held on its dinner with its strong fingers and used the big claw on each of its back feet to rip apart its prey.”  
  • The Triceratops had “the biggest skull of a land animal ever found. Some skulls have been found with holes in them, which tells scientist that Triceratops also used their horns when fighting each other.” 

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Gilbert, the Surfer Dude

Gilbert is excited for a perfect day at the beach, but Lola is scared of the water and Gilbert forgets his bathing suit! Even after buying a cool new suit that says “Surfer Dude” on it, will Gilbert end up in deep water? 

Gilbert, the Surfer Dude shows Gilbert and his family spending time at the beach. When Gilbert tries to surf, a big wave knocks him down, water gets in his eyes, sand gets in his suit, and his boogie board goes surging without him. Gilbert thinks of quitting, but with the help of his dad, Gilbert rides the waves!  

Readers will enjoy the large, full-color illustrations that bring the story to life. Gilbert’s family is shown in a positive light. Gilbert and his family treat each other kindly and enjoy spending time together. Readers will relate to Gilbert’s frustration when he has trouble surfing and they will also be able to empathize with Lola, who is afraid of the water. Even though Gilbert’s sister Lola is afraid to go into the water, no one makes fun of her. Instead, they encourage her to have fun playing in the sand. Finally, everyone finds a perfect way to have fun at the beach.  

With its relatable conflict and high-interest topic, Gilbert, the Surfer Dude will captivate young readers and make them want to read the book again and again. Almost every page has a large, brightly colored illustration to help younger readers visualize the story’s actions. Each page has two to four longer sentences and has some challenging words that readers may need help with. The book has a super fun conclusion that will leave readers smiling. Gilbert, the Surfer Dude is a highly entertaining book that uses humor to teach the value of trying new things.  

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Attack of the Underwear Dragon

Cole’s wish comes true when he becomes assistant knight to Sir Percival, his favorite Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. Cole learns how to ride a horse, swing a sword, cheer for Sir Percival when he goes to battle, and bandage his boo-boos when the battle is over. Cole loves practicing every skill a Knight-in-Training must master, and he is determined to be granted knighthood.

Sir Percival is a great knight in every way, except for one thing: He is terrified that an Underwear Dragon will come and destroy the kingdom. But when the unthinkable happens and Cole is the only knight left standing (and just an assistant knight at that!), Cole must use his newly acquired skills to battle the fearsome dragon and avoid catastrophe. Luckily, an unfortunate underwear mishap changes everything, and Cole triumphs. 

Readers of all ages will love the hilarious story, which shows that even knights “cry at sad plays and bad plays, when they step on something sharp or run into a hard wall.” When Cole goes to work as an assistant knight, he has a lot to learn including, “How to ride a horse, and swing a sword. How to paint Sir Percival doing awesome knight poses.” When Cole finally faces the dragon, “he was scared,” but that doesn’t stop him from fighting the Underwear Dragon. In the end, Cole earns his place at Arthur’s Round Table, which will leave readers cheering. 

Attack of the Underwear Dragon has a fun storyline with many interesting events. The story is perfect to read out loud because many of the words rhyme. For example, “Underwear Dragons can’t read letters . . . jesters’ sweaters. . . billboards. . . signs for Gil’s Swords. . . party invitations. . . poems about crustaceans. . . royal decrees. . . bath oil recipes. . .” Each page has one to four sentences, making the story a quick read. Not only is the text laugh-worthy, but the pictures give the story an extra dose of silliness. For example, when Cole learns to ride a horse, he slides to the horse’s underside and is clearly confused about how to get back in the saddle.  

Readers will fall in love with Cole’s bravery. Despite the difficulties he faces, Cole never complains and keeps getting up even when he’s “knocked down by a knight, knocked over by a princess, and knocked out by a catapult.” Even though the Underwear Dragon is the villain, readers will feel slightly sorry for him and will be eager to see what new trouble the dragon gets into in the next installment of the adventure: Return of the Underwear Dragon. Introduce readers to the joy of reading by pairing the Attack of the Underwear Dragon with Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson.  

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  • While training, Cole gets “knocked down by a knight, knocked over by a princess, and knocked out by a catapult.” He is not injured.  
  • When Sir Percival jousts with another knight, he is injured. The illustration shows the knight in a full body cast with a band-aid on his head. 
  • The Underwear Dragon “destroyed the kingdom.” The dragon sits on top of the castle and the kingdom is shown with broken towers and smoke coming out of them.  
  • Cole fights the dragon, who breathes fire at him. During the battle, Cole jousts, wrestles, and catapults the dragon. The battle is illustrated over five pages. No one is injured. 

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The Story of Stan Lee: An Inspiring Biography for Young Readers

Stan Lee is one of the most famous comic book icons in history. His life revitalized the graphic novel industry and showed people that comic books could encourage kids to read and write more. He completely changed how people reacted and received comic books, and his legacy continues to be seen today in society’s biggest media stars, like Spiderman and Iron Man. However, Lee’s journey to stardom didn’t happen in a day, and his rise to fame required hard work and perseverance.  

Born on December 28, 1922, Lee grew up in Manhattan, New York, during the Great Depression. As a kid, Lee was an avid reader, and his love for reading soon inspired him “to create marvelous tales of his own.” Before long, Lee began working at a publishing company called Timely Comics, where he quickly became a renowned and respected writer. However, when Lee becomes the new publisher for the recently renamed Marvel Comics, he discovers that his future success would depend on the strength of his stories.  

The Story of Stan Lee tells the biographical story about Stan Lee’s journey as a renowned graphic novel writer. Told from the perspective of an outside narrator, the book follows Lee’s life, beginning with his childhood love for reading and ending with his lasting impact on the world of comic books, television, and movies. While other people briefly appear in the story, the story primarily focuses on Lee. As a result, Lee is portrayed as an inspirational figure whose dedication to his love for storytelling can be admirable and influential for readers. Many readers can relate to Lee’s love for his hobbies and his desire to change the world through his work. Even though Lee’s rise to stardom was messy, his story comes across as authentic and genuine for readers. 

The biography displays a positive outlook on the themes of hard work and dedication. Although Lee experienced difficulties at Marvel Comics, his passion for delivering exciting stories highlights the book’s message about using one’s skills to better the world. It challenges readers to identify their own ambitions and how they can change the world through their talents. After all, Lee’s life exemplifies this message and has “inspired generations of writers, artists, and others with his amazing adventures.” 

The Story of Stan Lee is part of the Story Of: A Biography for New Readers Series. As a result, the book is educationally oriented and includes additional supplementary material, like fun facts, discussion questions, a reading quiz, and a glossary. Simple, hand-drawn illustrations are found every one to three pages, and the back of the book contains a small section for reflection, where the author asks questions for readers to dwell on, like “How can you embrace diversity?” or “What can you do to inspire others?” While some of the text can be challenging for younger readers, The Story of Stan Lee delivers an engaging tale about one of history’s most influential comic book creators.  

The Story of Stan Lee’s short chapters will engage independent readers and encourage critical thinking skills as they learn new words. The captivating story will interest readers who love the Marvel Universe, comic books, and television.  

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Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants!

Gilbert has trouble coming up with ideas. He couldn’t think of a springtime poem, and now he needs an idea for an Earth Day project! Everyone else in Mrs. Byrd’s class is busy working on posters about recycling, saving water, and electricity—but Gilbert wants to do something original. When a distressing class picnic becomes a source of inspiration, Gilbert finally comes up with an Earth Day project that even Mrs. Byrd thinks is the best idea yet!  

Gilbert is a loveable and relatable protagonist who has difficulty concentrating in class. Gilbert “wiggled, and jiggled and squirmed in his seat.” Throughout the day, he tries to come up with an Earth Day project, but he doesn’t have any good ideas. But then, Gilbert sits down and gives himself time to think, and he finds the perfect solution. Readers will be eager to see Gilbert’s Earth Day project, but it’s not revealed until the end of the story. This keeps readers in suspense as they learn about the other students’ projects. 

Readers will learn how simple actions can make a big impact in caring for the earth. From recycling to riding bikes, and turning off lights. All of the ideas presented are easy enough to be implemented by young readers. Gilbert’s project—planting a tree—shows that while the tree is small, “someday it will be big enough to shade this hill and make it a perfect place for a picnic.” Even though Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! teaches the importance of caring for the planet, the lesson is never preachy. Instead, each character gives an example of how they can make the world better. 

Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! is intended for readers five and older. Beginning readers will need help because of the book’s complex sentences and unfamiliar words. While the book is engaging, it will not make a good bedtime story due to the text-heavy pages, which have up to five long sentences. Each page has a full-page illustration that uses bright colors. The illustrations will help readers understand the plot as well as visualize the many animal characters.  

Learn about Earth Day and conservation by reading Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! Much of the story’s action takes place at Gilbert’s school, but his two-parent family is also portrayed positively. When Gilbert is unable to come up with an Earth Day project, his family gives him suggestions, but Gilbert doesn’t use any of them. Instead, he uses quiet time to come up with his own idea. Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! is an excellent book to read with a child. If you’d like to encourage readers to care for the earth, add Rocket Says Clean Up by Nathan Bryon to your reading list. If you’d like to introduce readers to more educational subjects, Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series by Margaret McNamara would be a good series to check out. 

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Gigi and Ojiji

Gigi can’t wait for her Ojiji—Japanese grandpa—to move in. Gigi plans lots of things to do with him, like playing tag, reading books, and teaching Roscoe, the family dog, new tricks. 

But Gigi plans don’t work out quite the way she’d hoped. And her grandpa doesn’t seem to even like Roscoe. Will Gigi find a way to connect with her Ojiji? 

Readers will relate to Gigi, who struggles to connect with her grandfather because of their cultural differences. Gigi is a biracial six-year-old girl who learns about her Japanese culture from her grandfather. Several times, Gigi cries because she doesn’t think Ojiji likes her. However, Gigi’s mother calmly explains how Ojiji’s culture is different. For example, when Gigi gives her grandfather a gift, he doesn’t open it and Gigi thinks he doesn’t like the present. However, her mother says, “Most people his age think it’s rude to open a present in front of the person who gave it to them.” Gigi’s mother doesn’t scold Gigi for her tears, instead, she helps Gigi understand Ojiji’s behavior. Gigi’s mother’s patient explanations help Gigi see that although Ojiji can’t play tag or read with her, they can still have fun together. 

As part of the I Can Read Level 3 Series, Gigi and Ojiji is intended for independent readers who are ready for more complex plots and challenging vocabulary. Each page has three to six sentences and large illustrations. The illustrations capture Gigi’s emotions and have cute details, such as showing Gigi’s artwork hanging on Ojiji’s wall. The back of the book also includes a Japanese vocabulary wordlist. 

Gigi and Ojiji is an adorable story that shows readers how cultural differences do not have to keep people apart. Gigi’s family is portrayed positively, and they demonstrate the importance of communication. Adults who want to help readers learn social-emotional skills should read Gigi and Ojiji with them. Young readers will easily connect with Gigi and gladly read about her adventures.  

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Her Right Foot

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty.  

 Have you seen her? She’s in New York. She’s holding a torch. And she’s in mid-stride, moving forward. But why?

In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction for kids, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot, is a powerful message of acceptance that is essential to an entire country’s creation. 

Her Right Foot is filled with facts about the Statue of Liberty, beginning with why she was made, who made her, what supplies were used, and how she was constructed. As the building process is explained, illustrations show the statue’s scope and scale by including humans in the pictures. For example, one picture shows two exhausted workers sleeping on the statue’s crown. The story educates readers about everything—how many rivets were used, why the statue is green, what every part of the statue represents, etc.  

Although Her Right Foot is written in picture book format, the concepts and vocabulary are suited to older readers who have some type of understanding of the Statue of Liberty. Each page has zero to four complex sentences with advanced vocabulary. The illustrations use bold primary colors and blocky illustrations. The book includes illustrations of diverse people, which reinforces the idea that Americans come from all over the world. While most of the book focuses on the statue, one illustration shows a refugee camp where people are suffering from “oppression.”  

While all of the facts are interesting, the focus on the statue’s right foot gives the story heart. Eggers points out that the Statue of Liberty is “going somewhere! She is on the move.” Her foot is mid-stride because “Liberty and freedom from oppression are not things you get or grant by standing around like some kind of statue. No! These are things that require action. Courage. An unwillingness to rest.”  

When it comes to immigrants, the statue reminds readers about the importance of being like her. “This statue has welcomed millions of visitors and immigrants to the USA. After all, the Statue of Liberty is an immigrant, too. And this is why she’s moving. This is why she’s striding. In welcoming the poor, the tired, the struggling to breathe free. She is not content to wait.” Her Right Foot leaves no doubt about American’s duty to welcome immigrants from all over the world. 

Her Right Foot will appeal to older readers interested in learning more about the Statue of Liberty. However, if you’re looking for a picture book that will appeal more to young children as well as teach about the importance of inclusion, All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold would be a better choice. Readers looking to reinforce concepts found in Her Right Foot, including the difficulties that immigrants face, should also add A Thousand White Butterflies by Jessica Betancourt-Perez & Karen Lynn Williams and Mango Moon by Diane De Anda & Sue Cornelison to their reading list.  

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The Story of Babe Ruth: A Biography Book for New Reader

Babe Ruth is one of the greatest players in the game of baseball. Known as the “Colossus of Swat” and the “King of Crash,” Ruth cemented his legacy as the game’s most prolific homerun hitter, amassing over 714 home runs throughout his career. His talent and character on and off the field inspired millions of rising big leaguers, and his career forever changed the sport. However, Ruth wasn’t always a baseball legend.  

Born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Babe Ruth grew up as a mischievous little boy who is constantly picking fights and getting into trouble. But when his parents send him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, everything changes: Ruth falls in love with the game of baseball. For the next ten years, Ruth’s dedication to baseball helped him climb the ranks of teams, and he eventually earned a roster spot in the major leagues. Under the big spotlights of New York, Ruth knows that this is his big chance to experience his dream. But can he handle the pressure as a major league player? Or will the challenge prove too difficult? 

The Story of Babe Ruth tells a biographical story about Babe Ruth’s journey as a baseball player. Told from the perspective of an outside narrator, the book follows Ruth’s life, starting with his early childhood years and ending with his retirement from baseball. While other characters appear throughout the story—like Ruth’s wife, Helen—the story mainly focuses on Ruth.  

Ruth is portrayed primarily as an exemplary figure whose perseverance through hardships and commitment to baseball can be admirable and inspirational for readers. Although many readers can’t relate to Ruth’s experience as a major league baseball player, they can find similarities in his messy journey to stardom, where his successes and failures feel realistic and genuine.  

The biography displays a positive outlook on sports, difficulties, and dedication. Although Ruth encountered many obstacles as a rising baseball star, he showed “everyone that it was possible to come from nothing and make it all the way to the top.” Ruth’s fortitude in the moments of adversity will be very encouraging to readers, as it teaches about the power of perseverance. The Story of Babe Ruth challenges its audience not to fear the difficulties in their own lives. 

 Of course, Babe Ruth’s life wasn’t perfect. While the book mainly portrays Ruth in a good light, it also acknowledges that his life was messy and imperfect. There are multiple instances of his struggling marriage or his habit of partying after baseball games. While younger readers may not understand the depth of these actions, these details are minimal, and the biography’s joyful and heartwarming nature is still readily apparent throughout the book. 

The Story of Babe Ruth is part of a series called Story Of: A Biography for New Readers. Thus, the book is educationally oriented and includes supplementary material like fun facts, discussion questions, a reading quiz, and a glossary with real photos from Ruth’s time as a baseball player. Several illustrations are sprinkled throughout the eight short chapters of the book. They typically appear every one to two pages and enhance the plot and message. Although the text can be a little challenging for younger readers, and the inclusion of the darker aspects of Ruth’s life can be heavy, The Story of Babe Ruth is a wonderfully simplified tale about one of baseball’s greatest players. Its engaging story will keep readers, young and old, hooked from page one. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • Babe Ruth’s teammates didn’t like that he participated in batting practice because he was a pitcher. As a result, “Babe came to the park to find all his bats had been sawed in half.” 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

Pets to the Rescue: Dolores and the Big Fire

Dolores is a very timid cat. Her owner, Kyle, keeps a light on all night so she won’t be scared. One night Dolores pokes at Kyle’s face while he is sleeping. The house is on fire! Can Dolores wake Kyle up in time? 

Readers will be in suspense as Dolores leads Kyle through the smoke of the burning house. When Kyle gets to the door, the doorknob comes off and he falls to the floor. But again, “Dolores scratched Kyle. And again, Kyle slowly woke up.” Thanks to Dolores, Kyle makes it safely out of the house.  

Unfortunately, Dolores isn’t so lucky. “She had been burned, but she was still alive.” Kyle takes care of Dolores and after she heals, “Dolores was not so fearful. She even liked to sit on Kyle’s lap and let him pet her.” After the fire, Kyle is glad that he didn’t “lose the most important things—my own life and the life of my cat, Dolores.”  

As part of the Ready-To-Read Level 2 Series, Dolores and the Big Fire is intended for children who can read independently. The story is told using short chapters. Each page has two to four sentences of various lengths; however, most sentences are short. The story has a simple plot that follows Dolores and Kyle’s relationship. Each page has a full-colored illustration that will help readers visualize the story’s events. While Dolores is shown after the fire, her wounds are not illustrated. However, her fur is matted, and she is curled up. 

Animal-loving readers will enjoy the true story of how Dolores saves Kyle’s life. The happy ending shows Dolores getting an award for saving Kyle’s life. However, the most heartwarming part of the conclusion is that Dolores no longer fears Kyle. For another story about a heroic animal, read Pigeon Hero by Shirley Raye Redmond, which tells the story of how a pigeon saved a town during World War II. Readers who are ready for more advanced books can read more true stories about heroic animals by reading Dog Heroes by Mary Pope Osborne & Natalie Pope Boyce. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

My Football Family

Football runs in this family’s blood. Whether it’s the baby’s first steps, bicycle rides, recreational football games, or marriage, football plays a significant role in this family’s identity and journey through life. But as the family grows and changes, will football continue to be a presence in their life? Or will their love for football slowly fade away? 

My Football Family tells a story about a family’s exciting love for football. The sport encompasses all aspects of their life, and their excitement for the game strengthens their love for each other. Told from the perspective of an outside narrator, the book follows a family’s life as their son grows up in a household where football is a vital part of their family’s love, fun, and memories. Although the story doesn’t identify any specific main characters, its plot centers around the family’s child as he grows up and readers will find its depictions of the different seasons of life relatable and genuine.  

From the start, the book displays a positive outlook toward sports, family, and memory. The activities and stages of life are very authentic and relatable. Plus, the story’s main lesson encourages readers to love and support one’s family. Although the plot and character development are thin, the story excels in connecting with its audience, and it recognizes that “while seasons have their ups and downs . . . we’ll forever love our superstar, our favorite player—YOU.” This genuine and heartfelt message will challenge readers to reflect on what love looks like in their own families. 

My Football Family highlights the family’s progression through life with colorful, full-page illustrations that enhance the plot and deepen its message about loving and supporting one’s family. Each page features one to two sentences accompanied by bright pictures and the text is straightforward—perfect for beginner readers. Although the story’s plot is weak and might leave older readers bored, its message on family remains its focal point. Overall, My Football Family is an enjoyable, heartfelt tale about family and football that will leave readers smiling with joy. 

 Sexual Content 

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Violence 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

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Supernatural 

  • None

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

Hello, Horse

While paying his friend Catherine a visit, a boy encounters something unexpected: Catherine’s horse. The boy isn’t sure if he likes horses, but Catherine shows him that he has nothing to worry about with her horse, Shannon. “Shannon likes people,” she assures him. “And you’ll like Shannon.” 

Catherine takes the boy to the fenced-in field behind her house. There, the boy meets Shannon. Although apprehensive, the boy listens to Catherine as she teaches him how to feed Shannon, how to lead her, how to groom her, and finally how to ride her. The boy might have been scared of horses at the start of the day, but as he rides Shannon across the field, he knows he has made a new friend.  

Hello, Horse teaches readers the dos and don’ts of cooperating with a horse through a short, pleasant story and beautiful, hand-painted art. Readers will follow Catherine’s lessons as she explains them to the boy. At the bottom of each page, an additional fact about horses elaborates on Catherine’s lesson. For example, as the boy feeds Shannon a carrot, a small caption informs the reader that all horses are herbivores. The book is easy to read, with one to five short sentences printed in large font on each page.  

The book is brought to life by Catherine Rayner’s stunning artwork. The characters are outlined in pencil and colored in soft strokes of watercolor, resulting in a clean and vivid art style that matches the book’s sweet and simple narrative. Rayner’s greatest achievement in the book are her backgrounds, which enliven the flourishing field behind Catherine’s house with a beautiful mix of spring colors. 

If you are looking for a book that provides young readers with a thorough lesson about how to interact with horses, Hello, Horse is right for you. All readers will enjoy its warm and heartfelt story about a boy’s budding friendship with a horse. Horse-loving readers will also enjoy reading the picture book My Pony by Susan Jeffers and The Sneaky Pony Series by Hadley Higginson. However, if you’re looking for another book in the Read to Wonder Series, check out Otters Love to Play by Jonathan London. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • None

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

Wild, Wild Wolves

Learn about one of nature’s most enduring and misunderstood creatures—the wolf. The book begins by explaining the difference between dogs and wolves and then delves into wolves’ habits, including how they must hunt to stay alive. Readers will learn about wolf packs and how wolves communicate with each other. The book also explains how pups are raised.  

While most of the book focuses on wolves’ lives, readers will also learn how wolves are portrayed in fairy tales and horror movies. The book ends with a story about a Sioux Indian who was saved by wolves. Since wolves are wild animals, people should not try to tame them like dogs. Instead, the book encourages readers to “live in tune with nature, as wolves do. [People] want to save some of the wild places left on earth. If that happens, there will be wild, wild wolves howling in the forest for years to come.” 

Wild, Wild Wolves is part of the Step into Reading Level Three Series, which targets readers in first grade through third grade. With three short chapters, Step Three books are both longer and slightly more difficult than Step Two books. Each page has three to seven sentences and a large illustration. This level includes some more challenging vocabulary and concepts, though the meaning is made clear through context and illustrations.  

Readers who are curious about nature will enjoy learning interesting facts about wolves. Wolf-pack behavior, body language, and the meaning of howls are all demystified in this natural history book.  There are several pages dedicated to wolves’ need to hunt other animals, which might upset sensitive readers. However, the overall message of the book is that wolves are not to be feared, but respected.  

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • The eating habits of wolves are described. “The wolves chase many moose. Most of them run away. But one big moose stands and fights. It kicks out with its powerful hooves. An angry moose can kill a wolf. Soon the pack leaves it alone.” 
  • The wolves surround an “old, sick moose. It is too weak to run or fight. . . One wolf charges. It bites the moose’s nose and hangs on tight. In minutes the fight is over. The hungry wolves can eat.” The illustration shows the wolf biting the moose’s nose; there is no blood.  
  • People used to think wolves “were their enemies. For a long time hunters shot every wolf they could find. They even shot wolves from airplanes.” The illustration shows a man holding a gun out of an airplane’s window. A wolf is lying in the snow under the plane. 
  • Because wolves “learn that a lamb or a calf makes a good dinner. . . Some [ranchers] kill wolves with poison, traps, or guns.” A wolf is shown near a trap. 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

Construction Site: Taking Flight!

When an airport needs an expansion, the Construction Site crew is on the job! With help from fun new vehicles from the airport, they’ll build new roads and runways, prep planes for their trips, and clean up after a surprise snowstorm.

The airport is a busy place—Belt Loader, Tractor, Snowplow, and many other vehicles pull the planes, pump the fuel, move the luggage, maintain the runways, and much more. Working together, the team will get all the planes in the air in time for a sweet and sleepy goodnight. 

Anyone who loves trucks will want to read Construction Site: Taking Flight. The picture book shows how each truck uses its special talent to complete specific parts of the job. For example, Excavator “digs and scoops to make a hole—a huge foundation, wide and deep.” Once Excavator completes his part of the job, Loader and Dump Truck work together to “haul the dirt away.” Even though expanding the airport is a huge job, by working together, the trucks finish the task. This reinforces the value of teamwork and the joy of a job well done.  

Some readers may be overwhelmed with all of the activity taking place at the airport because the story doesn’t only focus on the construction project. The book also includes trucks that help keep the airport running smoothly, such as trucks that carry luggage, trucks that pull “a plane away to tech,” cargo planes, a rubber removal machine, and others. There is also a snow removal team that works hard to clear the runway. The airport is a busy place, which is reflected in the story.  

Even though Construction Site: Taking Flight is a picture book, it is intended to be read aloud to children instead of having them read it independently. The story uses rhyming and onomatopoeia, which make the story fun to read. The illustrations use primary colors and show each vehicle with a smile on its face. Each page has one to four sentences that keep the story flowing at a fast pace. 

In the conclusion of Construction Site: Taking Flight, the trucks “roll into bed, drift off to sleep, and dream of flight.” The book’s conclusion makes it the perfect bedtime story. After playing hard all day, little readers will want to snuggle up and drift off to sleep, just like the trucks. And after reading Construction Site: Taking Flight, readers will dream of all the places they could go.

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

Ty’s Travels: Beach Day

Ty turns an ordinary day in the sandbox into a fun beach day. He wiggles his toes in the sand, finds seashells, builds a castle, and splashes in the ocean. Splish, splash! When his neighbor’s beach ball flies into his backyard, Ty learns that a beach day is even better with a friend. 

As Ty plays in his sandbox he imagines being at the beach. While Ty is using his imagination, the illustrations look like coloring book pages, which makes it easy to distinguish what is real and what is imaginary. The book encourages kids to use their imagination by asking, “What will they see next?”  

Ty’s Travels is part of the My First I Can Read Series, which uses basic language, word repetition, and illustrations that are ideal for shared reading. Each page has one to three simple sentences with large, brightly colored illustrations. Plus, the cute illustrations will help young readers understand the plot. 

Ty’s Travels: Beach Day is perfect for young readers who love playing outside. The story shows readers how they can have fun playing outside by walking like a crab, eating a popsicle, hitting a ball, etc. Throughout the book, Ty’s father appears and plays along with Ty, reinforcing the idea that a parent can be part of the fun. Explore more imaginative books by reading Juniper Kai: Super Spy by Laura Gehl and Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

How to Code a Rollercoaster

Pearl and her trusty robot, Pascal, are in for a treat: a day at the amusement park! They’re excited to play games, eat ice cream, and, of course, ride all the rollercoasters. There’s just one problem: The Python Coaster, the biggest and best ride in the park, also has the longest line. Can Pearl and Pascal use CODE to help them get a seat on the giant coaster? By mastering the use of variables, sequences, loops, and more, this duo just might get the ride of their dreams—while having the time of their lives.  

Young readers will have fun exploring the carnival with Pearl and Pascal. Along the way, readers will become familiar with basic code vocabulary. The book uses simple definitions such as “in code, a variable is like a box or container. But instead of holding toys or snacks, it holds information.” While the concepts are relatively easy, readers may need additional help understanding how Pearl uses code to plan her day. One of the story’s main conflicts is the long line to get on the Python roller coaster; readers will understand Pearl’s dilemma especially when she runs out of tokens before she gets on the ride. 

How to Code a Rollercoaster uses bright illustrations with fun elements to show the amusement park. The text uses easy vocabulary, short sentences, and different style components to make it easy to understand. For example, when Pearl talks, the text appears in white quote boxes, while blue boxes show how many tokens Pearl has left. In addition, words that refer to code are in bold, colored text. Trying to understand code may frustrate some readers, but other readers will discover ways to incorporate code into their day. 

This book strives to introduce coding to girls. Reshma Saujni, founder of Girls Who Code, writes, “By introducing core concepts of coding to children now, we’re helping prepare them for a future of changing the world through code.” How to Code a Rollercoaster uses a cheerful protagonist and funny robot to show how code can be used in everyday life. To introduce more STEM concepts to young readers, also check out the following picture books: Questioneers Collection by Andrea Beaty, Cece Loves Science by Kimberly Derting & Shelli R. Johannes, and Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished by Camille Andros. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

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Supernatural 

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Spiritual Content 

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The Miniature World of Marvin & James

The Miniature World of Marvin & James is a heartwarming and enchanting story that depicts the extraordinary bond between Marvin the beetle and James Pompaday, a human. In this delightful and touching book, readers follow Marvin as he faces the challenge of his dear friend James embarking on a fun-filled beach trip, while he remains at home.  

As Marvin grapples with a mix of emotions, including longing and the fear of being forgotten, Marvin finds solace and comfort in the loving presence of his cousin, Elaine. Together, they embark on a thrilling and unforgettable adventure that takes them on a journey of self-discovery and growth. Along the way, Marvin and Elaine encounter various obstacles that test their bravery, including a daring encounter with a pencil sharpener. Through these experiences, they learn important lessons about resilience, the true meaning of friendship, and the limitless power of imagination.  

Marvin, an adorable little beetle, will warm readers’ hearts with his unwavering love and longing for his friend James. Throughout the novel, Marvin’s endearing personality shines through as he teaches the invaluable lesson that true friendship knows no distance or bounds.  

This captivating and heartwarming tale serves as a reminder that even in the face of challenges, love and friendship can triumph, and that the smallest creatures can have the biggest impact. The Miniature World of Marvin & James is especially perfect for younger readers, as it beautifully illustrates the power and beauty of friendship, inspiring readers to cherish and nurture their own relationships, no matter the circumstances. 

In the book, the relationship between Marvin and James is vividly brought to life and intricately woven throughout the pages. This is not merely achieved through the power of words, but also with the addition of simplistic, yet captivating black-and-white illustrations. The illustrations add depth to the narrative, providing a visual representation that allows readers to better understand and relate to the characters and their world. The quaint charm of these illustrations plays a pivotal role in helping readers immerse themselves in the intricately tiny world of Marvin. 

The delightful escapades of Marvin, James, and Elaine will captivate readers and leave them yearning for further exploration in this enchanting and heartwarming world. With every turn of the page, readers will be drawn deeper into the delightful moments that await them in this incredibly adorable and captivating universe. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • Marvin and Elaine attempt to leave the pencil sharpener they stumbled into, but James’ father sticks a pencil into the hole, causing Elaine to panic. Elaine is fearful of being trapped in the pencil sharpener because they could either be hurt by the sharpening piece or suffocated by the clippings. “That hole is the only way out. Oh, Marvin! We’re going to DIE!”  
  • As Marvin looks for a solution, Elaine continues to panic. “We are going to die here, all alone.” Both of them escape unharmed.  

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural  

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

Sisters Save the Day!

In this Step into Reading leveled reader, Wonder Woman™ and Nubia unite for an epic Amazon adventure!

When Queen Hippolyta sends her daughters, Wonder Woman, and Nubia, to Atlantis to represent the Amazons, they must team up to save the underwater kingdom from a dangerous foe. DC superhero fans ages four to six will enjoy this Step into Reading Step 2 leveled reader, which stars Wonder Woman and Nubia, her Amazon sister.

Anyone who has a sister will relate to the conflict of Siren and Mera, two sisters who “do not get along.” However, with Wonder Woman and Nubia’s help, the sisters learn that they have to work together. In the end, the four sisters “use their powers to put everything back together! Sisters save the day!” 

Sisters Save the Day! is part of the Step into Reading Level Two series, which targets readers in preschool through first grade. Each page features one to three short sentences in large font, making it an easy read. It is a fun story for the superhero fans and emergent readers in your life. Step Two Readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to create simple stories for children who can recognize familiar words and sound out new words with help. The text is also paired with picture clues to help children decode the story.  

Young readers will love going on an underwater adventure with Wonder Woman and Nubia. Atlantis is illustrated with bright colors and the Merpeople have different skin tones—brown, tan, and even green. Plus, various sea creatures add a magical element to Atlantis. When an octopus first arrives at Atlantis, he chases people away and looks mean and scary. But by the end of the story, the octopus is smiling as he helps fix what was destroyed. Readers will cheer when the sisters and the octopus work together to save the day! 

Sexual Content 

  • None

Violence 

  • During a game, an octopus “suddenly appears! It grabs one of [the contestants].” 
  • Wonder Woman and Nubia see Siren “riding on the octopus. She is angry.” The illustration shows people running away from the octopus.  
  • Wonder Woman and Nubia “take the children to safety.” Then, they “swim around and around the octopus, forming a whirlpool. They stop the octopus.” The illustration shows the confused octopus in a whirlpool.  

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

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Supernatural 

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Spiritual Content 

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Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle was a biologist and botanist long before she knew what those words meant. As a child, she spent hours observing plant and animal life on her family’s farm. But it was when they moved to Florida and Sylvia discovered the Gulf of Mexico, that she lost her heart to the ocean. Her early investigations inspired her along the path to becoming a prominent and compelling advocate for the ocean.  

Sylvia dives deep and reveals the wonders of an underwater world of whales, angelfish, coral reefs, and tiny creatures that glow in the darkest depths of the sea. Whether she’s designing submersibles for exploration, living underwater for two weeks, or taking deepwater walks, Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning about – and urgently calling on all of us to protect – what she calls “the blue heart of the planet.”  

The illustrations are one of the best aspects of Life in the Ocean. Many of the pictures are brimming with life. For example, in one picture Sylvia is sitting by a pond with a host of different plants, bugs, and animals. Readers will have fun trying to find all the animals and insects. Several pictures show Sylvia swimming with humpback whales, which allows readers to understand the size and majesty of whales. Both the text and the illustrations highlight Sylvia’s love of the ocean. 

The book ends with a two-page “Author’s Note” bordered by fish that are labeled by name. The “Author’s Note” explains the ocean’s importance and includes information about how humans are harming the plants and animals in the ocean.  

Even though Life in the Ocean is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. While young readers will love exploring the book’s rich illustrations, they may have a difficult time sitting through an entire reading of the book, as each page has six or more complex sentences and some advanced vocabulary. However, any child who loves the ocean can gain insight from Sylvia’s story. 

Adults who want to introduce readers to the splendor of the ocean should read Life in the Ocean to their children. This picture book will inspire readers to learn more about the ocean and hopefully, cause them to do more to protect the ocean. If you’d like to introduce a reader to more scientists, pick up Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

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Language 

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Supernatural 

  • None 

Spiritual Content 

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All Tide Up

The unsinkable detectives Mango and Brash are back in InvestiGators: All Tide Up, a high seas adventure that takes the hit series by John Patrick Green into uncharted waters!

When a delirious cruise captain is found drifting at sea, the search begins for his missing passengers and ship. Did it sink? Was it boat-napped? Are supernatural forces at play? And can the InvestiGators unravel this maritime mystery before a second cruise befalls a similarly unfathomable fate? Seas the day and find out in this new nautical adventure! 

When a cruise ship mysteriously disappears, Brash and Mango come face to face with a brand-new villain: the “dread pirate ghost, Willy Nilly.” In addition to Willy Nilly, the InvestiGators also meet new friends along the way. These new characters give the book an interesting twist and keep the reader guessing as to their motives. When a group of pirates board the ship, it allows for new puns as well as some funny suspense. 

Unlike the previous installments of InvestiGators, All Tide Up can be read as a singleton because the book neatly wraps up the mystery of Willy Nilly by the end. Similar to previous installments of the series, a combination of human and animal characters blend together to make a ridiculous story with humorous wordplay. Readers will enjoy the puns and the pirate talk, as well as the mystery of the ghost of Willy Nilly. 

This imaginative story comes alive in brightly colored artwork that shows the characters’ wide range of emotions. The illustrations and unique storyline with Brash and Mango will appeal to even the most reluctant readers. Each page has three to eleven sentences per page. The sentences range from one word to more complex sentences. The varied sentence lengths add to the humor while keeping the story accessible to all readers. 

Readers familiar with the InvestiGators Series will have a splashing good time with All Tide Up. While the majority of the story can be understood if you haven’t read the other books, there are some small references to previous books that may confuse new readers. While All Tied Up is full of humor, it also reminds readers that friendship is more important than money. In the end, “The real treasure is the friends that you’ve made along the way.” 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • When Sven, an octopus, was a child, an eel stole his toy. Sven’s cousin, a squid, “could’ve let Sven fight his own battle. But I stepped in, and things got out of hand. . . literally!” Sven loses a tentacle, and it never grows back. 
  • Pirates tie Mango and Brash up, then discuss the InvestiGators’ fate. One pirate says, “I say we stomp ‘em! Then we keelhaul ‘em!” The InvestiGators are forced to walk the plank, but they manage to create a raft out of balloons and eventually, they are rescued. 
  • The owner of a cruise ship tries to escape, but a man stops him by waving a sword at him. Then, Mango and Brash tie him up.  
  • Sword-wielding pirates surround the InvestiGators. A squid jumps to their aid and hits the pirates with his eight legs. In the process, one of the squid’s tentacles is chopped off.  
  • A man delivers a cruise ship to a deserted island so the ghost of Willy Nilly can throw the passengers into a fiery pit. Later, the reader discovers that all of the people are alive and well.  
  • Mango and Brash confront the ghost of Willy Nilly and throw him into the fiery pit.  

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • Name-calling is used infrequently. It includes fool, scum, slimy sea slug, lily-livered scallywag, and bilge rat. 
  • Mango calls a ghost a “spectral scuttlebutt.” 
  • When Pirates take over a cruise ship, they call the captives names such as lily-livered landlubbers. 
  • Dang, darn, and drat are used infrequently.  

Supernatural 

  • The pirate Willy Nilly was cursed, and his ghost comes back 300 years later; this is the time period the book is set in.  
  • According to legend, “Nilly was cursed to pay back the debt by delivering a thousand souls to the island before the three hundred years pass. If he failed, his stolen fortune would disappear forever!” 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 

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