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Series for the elementary set

Discover some new favorite characters or keep up with old ones. These series installments can stand on their own or perhaps start a new series obsession.

beauvais_sleuth on skatesSleuth on Skates, first in the Sesame Seade Mystery series by Clémentine Beauvais, introduces a type-A, roller-skating kid detective from Cambridge, England with a large vocabulary and a highly developed sense of entitlement. Sophie Margaret Catriona Seade (a.k.a. “Sesame”) solves a kidnapping and exposes some corporate funding skullduggery; along the way, she breaks into the Fitzwilliam Museum, steals a canoe, and escapes from the bad guys. A generous smattering of spot illustrations by Sarah Horne, featuring bug-eyed characters and grotesqueries of various sorts, support the jittery, high-caffeine humor. (Holiday, 7–10 years)

sternberg_friendship overCelie receives a diary for her tenth birthday in Friendship Over by Julie Sternberg. Through handwritten entries (illustrated by Johanna Wright), Celie navigates her troubles — with a suddenly-too-busy best friend; a growing-up older sister; and a forgetful-acting grandmother — in a manner both satisfying and believable. Readers can look forward to more of Celie’s heartfelt, funny, and engaging diaries in future Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine series installments. (Boyds Mills, 7–10 years)

scieszka_frank einstein and the antimatter motorAfter a freak electrical storm, budding scientist Frank Einstein wakes up to find robots Klink and Klank animate in his lab. He hopes that they will help him win the Midville Science Prize and save his grandfather’s repair shop from the villainous T. Edison. Jon Scieszka’s Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor features kid-friendly humor in spades and an impressive amount of scientific know-how. Brian Biggs’s cartoonish illustrations complement the text perfectly. (Abrams/Amulet, 7–10 years)

english_skateboard partyRichard, the star of Karen English’s Skateboard Party (and best friend of Gavin from the previous Carver Chronicles installment, Dog Days), spends so much time mastering skateboard moves that other things, like homework, fall by the wayside. However, Richard is a good-natured guy, and readers will cheer when he finally tackles his report on howler monkeys. Lots of kids will recognize themselves in this book (including in the occasional black-and-white illustrations by Laura Freeman), and teachers and librarians will be happy to have a series to recommend that stars a realistic, likable boy of color. (Clarion, 7–10 years)

From the January 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. She is a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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