Monday, June 11, 2012

Wampus Third And Fourth Grade Book Talks

"Mason Dixon:  Pet Disasters" by Claudia Mills.  Soon-to-be fourth-grader Mason Dixon does not want a pet, but his parents think it will be good for him.  Goldfish dies soon after his arrival (from overfeeding).  Mason is relieved.  Hamster escapes.  Mason is relieved.  Cat has to go back because best friend Brody is too allergic to ever be at their house while Cat is there.  Mason is relieved.  But when Dog comes, it takes a little dose of jealousy for Mason to realize he does want a pet, all of his very own.  Claudia Mills introduces a new, hilarious character in Mason, and each of the three books about him will feature both boys as they cope with a new experience; pitch-perfect for 8- to 10- year-old newly independent readers, the books will maintain a consistent page count and feature black-and-while art throughout.

"Jeremy Bender Vs. The Cupcake Cadets" by Eric Luper.  When eleven-year-old Jeremy Bender does major damage to his father's prized boat, he figures he has one way to avoid being grounded for life: Fix it before Dad finds out.  But even if Jeremy and his best friend, Slater, combined their allowances for a year, they still wouldn't have enough money for the cost of repairs.  Inspiration strikes when the boys see an ad for the Windjammer Whirl.  Sponsored by the Cupcake Cadets, the model sailboat race pays five hundred dollars to the winner.  There's just one problem: you must be a Cadet—and a girl—to compete.  Confident that it will be the easiest money they've ever made, Jeremy convinces Slater they should dress up like girls and infiltrate the troop.  But as the boys proceed to botch everything from camping to field hockey, they realize that being a Cadet is no piece of cupcake.  Can Jeremy and Slater earn their badges and win the money?  Or will their Cupcake careers be over faster than you can say "vanilla frosting"?

"Animal Rescue Team:  Gator On The Loose" by Sue Stauffacher.  Meet the Carters: Mr. and Mrs. Carter, 10-year-old daughter Keisha, five-year-old Razi, baby Paolo, and Grandma Alice.  Together, they run Carters' Urban Rescue, the place you call when you've got an animal where it shouldn't be.  In their first adventure, there's a baby alligator at the city pool, which will seriously interfere with opening day, especially Keisha's cannonball practice. So it's up to the whole family to figure out what to do with the poor guy who has no business hanging around Michigan.  Luckily for all of them, and thanks to some serious ingenuity from Keisha, the answer is closer than they ever could have imagined.  Sue Stauffacher turns to her first series effort with Animal Rescue Team.  With compelling plots based on actual events in her community, Sue has created a lovable cast of characters of boys and girls, young and old, who feel like people you'd meet at your neighborhood block party.  Written in an accessible and engaging style meant to appeal to those independent readers looking to be excited and entertained, and with subplots about friendship, siblings, the environment, and animal conservation, along with plenty of humor, these will be a hit with teachers and librarians, and parents, as well as kids themselves. 

"Thumb And The Bad Guys" by Ken Roberts.  Inspired by a movie shown at the local gym (with the whole town in attendance), 11-year-old Leon (aka Thumb) wants to track down a bad guy.  After all, without bad guys, the Harry Potter books would just be stories about school.  And he wouldn't mind being known as the Jake Danger of New Auckland.  But with only 143 people in his remote British Columbia fishing village, surrounded by mountains and ocean, how could there even be any bad guys around?  And where would they hide?  But Thumb is determined, so he and his pal Susan conduct a stakeout.  Their suspicions soon focus on bald, toothless old Kirk McKenna, who has the revolting habit of spitting on the sidewalk.  Meanwhile, a new teacher, the odd Ms. Weatherby, has arrived in town wearing heavy makeup and a terrible wig.  Maybe she's the "bad guy" they're seeking.  Will the determined duo find their villain?

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