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Recommended Page-Turners: Primary Fiction and Nonfiction

broach_james to the rescueBroach, Elise  James to the Rescue!
104 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano     2015     ISBN 978-1-62779-316-2
Ebook ISBN 978-1-62779-317-9

Illustrated by Kelly Murphy. Masterpiece Adventures series. Beetle Marvin is going collecting in the Pompadays’ apartment, where the beetles live behind a kitchen cupboard. When Uncle Albert is accidentally cut by a pair of nail scissors, Marvin enlists the help of his best friend, human James. Broach, aided by Murphy’s frequent black-and-white illustrations, has created another story that beginning chapter-book readers can read and also want to read.
Subjects: Friendship; Animals—Beetles; Family—Uncles; Collectors and collecting; Chapter books; Human-animal communication; Rescue work

cronin_case of the weird blue chickenCronin, Doreen  The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure
103 pp.     Atheneum     2014     ISBN 978-1-4424-9679-8
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4424-9681-1

Illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Chicken Squad series. When chicks Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie (The Chicken Squad) post a flyer advertising their services — finding lost things, fixing broken things, getting clients out of trouble, or bringing trouble to them — a number of mysteries collide. Full-page black-and-white illustrations and spot art escalate the characters’ personalities. This early-chapter-book mystery allows new readers the satisfaction of being savvier than its featherbrained characters.
Subjects: Mystery and detective stories; Humorous stories; Lost and found possessions; Animals—Chickens; Chapter books

dicamillo_francine poulet meets the ghost raccoonDiCamillo, Kate  Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon
103 pp.     Candlewick     2015     ISBN 978-0-7636-6886-0

Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Tales from Deckawoo Drive series. Animal-control officer Francine receives a call about an unusual raccoon on a roof. Unfortunately, she loses her confidence, then her balance; a three-story fall ensures that neither will be easy to regain. The wacky plot comes smartly together with humorous insights and lively illustrations. The Mercy Watson spinoff series’ second volume continues to explore the neighborhood and expand on its comical characters.
Subjects: Chapter books; Animals—Raccoons; Humorous stories; Neighborhoods

hatke_little robotHatke, Ben  Little Robot
138 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second     2015     ISBN 978-1-62672-080-0

A box falls out of a truck; a young girl wriggles out of the window of her trailer home and into the woods, where she finds a mysterious box. Inside is an adorably uncoordinated robot, just the right height and temperament for a companion. The lively, mostly wordless graphic novel’s engaging story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship builds to a satisfying, sweet conclusion.
Subjects: Graphic novels; Cartoons and comics; Robots; Friendship

himmelman_tales of bunjitsu bunnyHimmelman, John  Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny
128 pp.     Holt     2014     ISBN 978-0-8050-9970-6
Ebook ISBN 978-0-8050-9972-0

Thirteen short, generously illustrated chapters relate the adventures of rabbit Isabel, known as Bunjitsu Bunny for her proficiency in martial arts class. Each droll tale contains a lesson — about avoiding fights, outsmarting bullies, dealing with nightmares, and more. Cleverly wrapped in an entertaining package, the zen-type morals are edifying but not preachy. Brush-like strokes give the drawings the clean look of block prints.
Subjects: Sports—Martial arts; Animals—Rabbits; Animals; Chapter books

mccarthy_wildest race everMcCarthy, Meghan  The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon [nonfiction]
48 pp.     Simon/Wiseman     2016     ISBN 978-1-4814-0639-0
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-0640-6

McCarthy mixes the zany events of the first Olympic marathon on American soil (cheating runners, contaminated water, pilfered peaches, strychnine poisoning) into another appealing informational picture book. The colorful cast of characters is rendered in McCarthy’s recognizable cartoonlike acrylic illustrations, which follow myriad subplots, including one athlete being chased off course “by an angry dog” and another stopping to pig out at an apple orchard.
Subjects: Olympics; Sports—Running

mckay_lulu and the hamster in the nightMcKay, Hilary  Lulu and the Hamster in the Night
97 pp.     Whitman     2015     ISBN 978-0-8075-4842-0

Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. In her sixth outing, Lulu takes in another animal in need, this time an underappreciated pet hamster named Ratty. Nervous to leave Ratty behind, Lulu and best friend/cousin Mellie smuggle him along on an overnight visit to their grandmother’s house — despite knowing a rodent won’t be welcome. “Oh, no” foreshadowing, humorous details, and frequent spot art keep the action moving at a spirited pace.
Subjects: Family—Grandmothers; Family—Cousins; Pets; Animals—Hamsters; African Americans; Chapter books

look_alvin ho great wallLook, Lenore  Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions
163 pp.     Random/Schwartz & Wade     2014     ISBN 978-0-385-36972-5
Library binding ISBN 978-0-385-36973-2
Ebook ISBN 978-0-449-81986-9

Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Alvin Ho faces previously unknown fears when his family travels to China to introduce his baby sister to relatives; the hilarity (for readers) begins at airport security. This series entry’s heartwarming moment involves Alvin’s idea to grant Christmas wishes to orphans, including someone’s wish for a friend. Pham’s many illustrations capture the fun being had in Look’s action-packed story.
Subjects: Chapter books; Voyages and travels; China; Family—Siblings; Babies; Emotions—Fear; Chinese Americans; Emotions—Worry; Family

mass_archie takes flightMass, Wendy and Brawner, Michael  Archie Takes Flight
101 pp.     Little     2014     ISBN 978-0-316-24319-3
Paperback ISBN 978-0-316-24320-9
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-24321-6

Illustrated by Elise Gravel. Space Taxi series. Archie discovers that his plain old dad is in fact an interstellar taxi driver — and Archie is his new space taxi copilot, able to read the special map that guides the cab through wormholes and galaxies. The plot moves right along, helping the newly independent reader stay engaged. Occasional black-and-white cartoon illustrations add to the fun and keep the pages turning.
Subjects: Adventure and adventurers; Voyages and travels; Space; Vehicles—Taxicabs; Family—Father and son; Chapter books; Extraterrestrial beings; Space—Space flight

viorst_lulu's mysterious missionViorst, Judith  Lulu’s Mysterious Mission
185 pp.     Atheneum     2014     ISBN 978-1-4424-9746-7
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4424-9748-1

Illustrated by Kevin Cornell. When her parents go on vacation without her, Lulu’s efforts to oust her babysitter are vigorous. But she meets her match in Sonia Sofia Solinsky, who reveals she’s a spy and spy trainer. Farce, slapstick, tall tale; punctuated with authorial asides and leavened with scads of white space and the many energetic sweeps of Cornell’s comic illustrations — this book will tickle emerging readers.
Subjects: Chapter books; Baby-sitting; Behavior; Spies; Humorous stories

From the July 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?: “What Makes a Good Page-Turner?”

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