Tag Archive for comprehension

Jesper Jinx

Written and illustrated by Marko Kitti

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Jesper may not be a jinx, but he sure has a difficult time making things come out the way he envisions them. The first several pages of the book provide an introduction to eleven-year-old Jesper and all his quirks. The author tells the readers they are sworn to secrecy about the fact that this book even exists. Jesper wouldn’t want his antic shared so widely. Then the reader hears two short stories about the workings of Jesper’s world. In the first story, Jesper and his snow white cat tangle over a water glass containing the leavings from a water color brush. A load of red laundry and yellow towel are also involved. (The cat wins the battle. Jesper is no longer bored.) Then the reader gets to hear from the cat. In the second story, Jesper and his friend plan and carry out tricks on their teacher. Turns out they are sharing their secrets with the wrong person. Reminding the reader things are not always as they seem.

The author does a lot of asides, speaking directly to the reader and thus drawing them into the conspiracy that is Jesper. This is a great device, especially for third graders, who are still getting comfortable with the chapter book concept. The silly and hilarious adventures are enough to keep kids engaged and will remind them to be kind and think about their actions before carrying them out. The familiar themes and quick pace should help with literacy skills and comprehension.

Find out more at www.jesperjinx.co.uk.


  • Jesper JinxTitle: Jesper Jinx
  • Author/Illustrator: Marko Kitti
  • Publisher: CreativeSpace Publishing, 2014
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 150 pages
  • Genre: Chapter book, humor
  • ISBN: 978-1-4974-5822-2



Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero

Written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

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Winkler and Oliver have an incredible feel for the underdog and an even more incredible feel for the humor in any situation. Third graders should be able to grasp most of the language and all of the action. And they should identify with the not-so-perfect-but-lovable characters. The story will hold their attention long enough to increase comprehension and learn a thing or two.

Billy Broccoli is just learning to deal with his new family. Mom has remarried and his new sister is no help. They all move to a new house so they can be together. This means a new school for Billy. Besides, there’s a ghost residing in his new closet. A ghost no one else can see. His family and friends think he’s talking to himself. Billy considers himself cool, but Hoover Porterhouse III, the ghost, is there to tell him otherwise. Billy doesn’t quite understand why sixth graders don’t appreciate his “Varsity Farting Team” T-shirt or the fact that he’s saved his tonsils in a jar. Of course, Hoove has problems of his own. After 99 years as a ghost, he’s still failing at helping people. So the two of them set out to make Billy really cool and to battle the next-door bully/eavesdropper. Turns out even the neighbor has secrets. With Hoove’s help, Billy is able to defeat him. Now, if he can just get his stepfather to stop talking about dental floss, his mother (also the principal) to stop babying him at school.

This first-in-the-series volume sets the stage for some wonderful hijinks in future installments. What else does Hoove have up his … er … sleeve?

Publisher Scholastic provides a free teacher’s guide at Scholastic Teacher’s Guide.

  • Zero to HeroTITLE: Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero
  • AUTHOR: Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
  • PUBLISHER: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2012
  • REVIEWER: Sue Poduska
  • FORMAT: Paperback, 176 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0545298827
  • GENRE: Fantasy, Humor



Click here for Zero to Hero book trailer.

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