Written by Susan L. Krueger
Illustrated by Nadia Komorova
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Horrifa’s Magic Makeover: “Witch” Way to the Ball is a laugh out loud story about a scaly, warty, young witch who dreams of becoming a pink-fleshed mortal wearing a lacey, sparkly dress to attend the prince’s ball. Although her mother, Dragunda is not crazy about her daughter, Horrifa’s wish to meet the prince, she helps her “downgrade” her look from a gorgeous, beautiful witch dressed in black to a dreadfully despicable and ugly “princess-like” mortal. Despite the chaos and pandemonium that ensue from her mother’s efforts and the disappointment Horrifa feels at not meeting the prince in this spin of a Cinderella tale, Horrifa learns to accept and love her scaly, warty self for who she is.
Susan Krueger’s language is rich and her descriptions are both funny and creative in a twisted kind of way that will make kids laugh. Nadia Komorova’s spooky illustrations complement the text and bridge the gap between those words that might prove challenging for some readers to understand. Aimed at both girl and boy readers between the third grade reading level through the fifth grade reading level, Horrifa’s Magic Makeover: “Witch” Way to the Ball is sure to entertain readers and send home a key message: accept yourself for who you are. Warts and all! Kids, even reluctant readers, will be hard pressed to put this book down and will certainly read Horrifa’s Magic Makeover in one sitting from start to finish!
Horrifa’s Magic Makeover: “Witch” Way to the Ball is Susan Krueger’s second book. To learn more about the author, please go to: http://www.fivestarpublications.com/book_detail.php?recordid=152&page=2&thistitle=About+Susan
- Title: Horrifa’s Magic Makeover: “Witch” Way to the Ball
- Author: Susan L. Krueger
- Illustrator: Nadia Komorova
- Editor: Jennifer Steele Christensen
- Publisher: Little Five Star
- Reviewer: Annemarie O’Brien
- Paperback: 89 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-58985-088-0
- Genre: fantasy, fairytale
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.
- TITLE: 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.
Written by Richard Peck
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
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With his signature gentle humor, Richard Peck hits another one out of the park. Or maybe out of the barn, to be more accurate. A mouse, small for his age and not quite grown, lives in the mews adjacent to Buckingham Palace. The time is September 1896, two days before the diamond jubilee for Queen Victoria’s sixty years on the throne. The mouse doesn’t know who he is or even what his name is. But he does know he was raised by his auntie Marigold after his mother died in childbirth. Mouse Minor, as he’s called by his classmates, has a distinctively shaped tail and a penchant for getting in scuffles with much larger mouse children. He learns that there is a mouse doing every job a human does, only the mouse does it better. Also, clothed mice must never be seen by humans. So, as a result of his latest scuffle with the larger boy mice, he sets off on adventure around the palace. He befriends and talks to a cat and a horse, rides in the horse’s ear, gets flicked out into a flower bed, and becomes a yeomouse of the guard. Eventually, he learns of his true identity and destiny.
Kelly’s illustrations are perfect additions to the tale, giving a real dimension to Mouse minor and his cohorts.
Third graders will get a big kick out of the many adventures of Mouse Minor. They will also love the plays on words and the little running gags. Mouse Minor’s stories about riding in the horse’s ear and swimming in a punch bowl are never quite believed. Everyone wants to know if he’s not quite grown or just small. And why is he pink with black flecks after a swim in the strawberry punch and ride in a pocket? Meanwhile, teachers can sneak in some reading activities related to the Victorian Era and the British monarchy.
- TITLE: The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail
- AUTHOR: Richard Peck
- ILLUSTRATOR: Kelly Murphy
- PUBLISHER: Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers Group, 2013
- REVIEWER: Sue Poduska
- FORMAT: Hardcover, 223 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-8037-3838-6
- GENRE: Fantasy, Humor, History
- LEXILE: NA
Written by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
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This biography of the first modern artist is designed for third grade readers and fourth grade readers and is a beautifully full-colored picture book illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. It tells the story of his life in a chronological manner. When he was in school, he worked faster and better than any of his classmates. He was very good at painting landscapes but became quickly bored and wanted to try something new.
He had a blue period and a rose colored period, but he always felt the need to move on and experiment with new subjects and techniques in the world of fine art.
This is the story of a true creative spirit. As soon as Picasso had mastered one technique, he moved on to something newer and more exciting. Some of his ideas came from visiting other museums, like the time he saw masks in an African display and went home to create a painting of various faces that looked like masks taken apart and rearranged in wild new ways.
Many of Picasso’s actual works are shown in this pictures of this book so students will be able to recognize them at other times and places.
Pablo studied and worked in both Spain and Paris. Sometimes the critics didn’t like his work or his new ideas. It hurt his feelings, but he went on painting true to his heart.
This book would be a great read aloud for any elementary or middle grade students. It should be included in any study of art comprehension. Literacy skills like sequencing, part to whole, picture clues and reading for details can be strengthened by using this book in a small or large group setting.
Children who need to have confidence in themselves and their ideas bolstered will find that kind of support in this story. Hopefully, it will help them keep their curiosity and creativity bursting through with unbounded energy.
Extras: This book contains pictures of Picasso’s work and in the back lists the names of the paintings, as well as in what Art Museums around the world they can be found.
- Title: Just Behave, Pablo Picasso!
- Author: Jonah Winter
- Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
- Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-0-545-13291-6
- Genre: biography, nonfiction
- Lexile: NA