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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Reading Level 2, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 59
1. The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny by James Kochalka, 128pp, RL 2


The Glorkian Warrior has delivered himself a pizza, had his brains sucked almost dry by a baby alien and discovered the head of a Space Snake that spits out pie. Now, in the third and final book in this series, he and his pals face his biggest challenge ever - a possibly prophetic dream about a giant, flying mustache in The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny!




A post-dream, pre-Glork patrol cup of invigorating coffee that, naturally, GW thinks can talk when it's really Super Backpack, sets the story rolling. Along with a boisterous bunch of mini-Glorks that Gonk has invited in, GW and Super Backpack head out and inevitably end up in a giant hole. But, this giant hole leads to the Temple of Quackaboodle! 



And, in a rare appearance, the Glorkian Supergrandma arrives, beaming down a special light from her spaceship that turns Gonk's little pals into full grown, adult Glorkians! After some minor drama, Gonk gets beamed into adulthood also, now sporting a stunning stache. Kochalka brings everything home by bringing the baby alien, now mustachioed as well, back for a final appearance. The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny begins at chapter zero and ends with an epilogue. But, the book doesn't end there. As the final book in the trilogy, Kochalka shares a hilarious bonus comic and the very first Glorkian Warrior comic from 2007!

Source: Review Copy

Books 1 & 2 of the Glorkian Warrior




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2. The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie by James Kockala, 128pp, RL 2


James Kochalka's Glorkian Warrior and his best buddy Super Backpack debuted in The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza. In this epic space adventure, the Glorkian Warrior successfully delivered a pizza to himself. In the second book in the series, The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie, the Glorkian Warrior is once again his own worst enemy, but this time he has an actual foe - fellow warrior, Buster Glark.

After Buster Glark takes out the the pie factory destroying space snake that he was trying to put an end to, the Glorkain Warrior and Super Backpack find their way home where they are greeted by Gonk, a mini-me version of the Glorkian Warrior and a lime green baby alien who affixes himself firmly to GW's head and makes a sucking sound.



Some serious absurdity ensues, including rearranging the furniture by flipping it upside down, a poke in the eye for Gonk, a consultation with Mr. Elbow and backpack for Gonk made from the house phone. The gang head out for Glork Patrol but, of course, things don't go as planned. GW falls over, from extreme hunger or from the baby alien sucking all his brains out, leaving Gonk and Super Backpack to save the day.



Not an easy task by any means, things get even more complicated when Buster Glark returns and uses a freeze ray on the baby alien. Ships are crashed, holes are made, elbows are thrown and, incredibly, the baby alien attacks the Space Snake resulting in the head crashing down right in front of the gang and spitting out pieces of pie!

Kochalka's sense of humor (and plotting) is completely bonkers and perfectly paired with the Easter egg colors of his illustrations. There are fart jokes, a few butt jokes and all sorts of ludicrous antics that kids love. The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie might not be everyone's sense of humor, but for those who dig it, it's a stellar treat!

Source: Purchased


Books 1 & 3 in the Glorkian Warrior Series!






Coming in March!


The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny

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3. Witten and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers, 64pp, RL 2

Written and Drawn by Henrietta by the Argentine cartoonist Liniers is a treat to read, bringing back the excitement I feel when I see a brand new box of colored pencils and a crisp, white page as well as the occasional, immobilizing dread that comes with creating. Liniers treats us to his view of Henrietta as she writes and illustrates a story as well as Henrietta's story itself, as

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4. The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, 89 pp, RL 2




Last year I reviewed and loved Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale and superbly illustrated by LeUeyn Pham and I am so excited to be reviewing the second book in the series a year later, The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess PartyThe way I see it, with Princess Magnolia, the Hales and Pham have created a character and series that hits all my literary sweet spots: a high interest chapter book that is a perfect bridge between leveled readers and chapter books, a character who is all things - a princess with her own unicorn and a secret double life fighting monsters. Magnolia can go from wearing a pouffy pink gown and tiara while having tea with the Duchess Wigtower to a black booted, masked and caped crusader with a scepter that turns into a staff for battle and Pham brings her to life with vivid, action filled panache. Best of all, the Princess in Black books are sweet and playful and not the least bit saccharine. 


In The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party, Magnolia is preparing for her birthday party and the eleven princesses (and their steeds) who will be attending the party. Just as they begin to arrive, Magnolia's "glitter-stone ring rang." Monsters are leaving Monster Land, Duff the goat boy's flock is in danger and the Princess in Black needs to perform her signature moves, like the Tiara Trip and the Tentacle Tangle, on them to make everything right with the world again.
Just when Magnolia thinks she can get back to her guests, the party games, the cake and the presents, her glitter-stone ring goes off again. And again. Magnolia juggles her responsibilities admirably. Until she doesn't. My favorite part of The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party are the princesses themselves. Pham's illustrations of Princess Sneezewort, Princess Zinnia, Princess Honeysuckle, Princess Hyacinth, Princess Apple Blossom, Princess Bluebell, Princess Euphoria, Princess Tulip, Princess Crocus, Princess Snapdragon, and Princess Jasmine bring to mind an updated rendering of the singing dolls from the It's a Small World ride at Disneyland, in the best way possible, without the singing. I couldn't stop poring over the pages, taking in all the details. Now, I need to get this books onto the shelves of my library because students have been asking for it for weeks!
Coming February 2016!!!



Source: Review Copy


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5. Little Robot by Ben Hatke, 144 pp, RL: 2



Friendship, connection, danger, adventure, robots or creatures. These are things you can count on in a Ben Hatke book, and these are the elements that I look forward to experiencing through his particular perspective (and paintbrush) with each and every book. In his newest graphic novel, Little Robot, Hatke tells the almost wordless story of a little girl who finds and fights to keep her new friend.



A box falls out of a truck and off a bridge, making its way to a junkyard downstream. A little girl slips out of the window of her trailer home and heads off into the wilds/junkyard, shoeless, where she unearths her tool satchel. There she discovers the box and the robot within.


After getting the bot going, she helps it to master the art of walking. Together the two explore as she gently teaches the robot about the world around them. In a factory far away we see an alarm going off - a robot is missing. A massive, one eyed, multi-legged, yellow behemoth is seen trundling out of a hangar and into the distance. A capture, a rescue and a dramatic ending leave the little heroine with more bots and friends than before along with a very satisfying ending. 

Being mostly wordless, Little Robot is so much about feelings and the sometimes wordless connection of friendship. Little Robot is a "meditation on friendship more than a lesson," as Hatke said of his book in an interview with EW. Hatke goes on to say that his heroine is, "a hero for the introverts and the makers." And, while this is a graphic novel about robots, junkyards and machines, the natural world is very much a vivid part of Little Robot. Hatke says that this scenery is "partially inspired by and informed by the landscape around my home in Virginia. The rural area in the Shenandoah valley."  Amidst the green fields are forests are cats, birds, frogs, ducks, turtles and newly blooming flowers. There is a six-panel page where the girl and the bot come across a dead squirrel. "XoNX," the bot exclaims (the bot has a fantastic phonetic language, "Jonk," being its most frequent verbalization) and the little girl, completely at home in the natural world, reassures him, "It's just dead is all." 

For a book with so few words, there is so much going on in Little Robot. But this is always the case with Hatke's books. His illustration style, color palette, characters and plots are good. That seems like a tired, less than celebratory adjective but I mean it in the best, truest sense of the word possible. If you have ever read Hatke's blog or had the immense pleasure of viewing his wife's Instagram feed, you will experience the well of goodness, from good living to good parenting and educating to good stewardship of and connection to the natural world, that Hatke's creations arise from and/or are fueled by. This is a good world that I want to live in and one that I want the young readers I teach to live in, even if we can only get to it from the pages of his books.






A new picture book coming from Hatke this year!






And a new graphic novel coming next year, maybe...










Source: Purchased


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6. The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, 86pp, RL 2


Priness Magnolia, Frimplepants, the Princess in Black and Blacky are back! And all my favorite things are in one place again - princesses, unicorns, masked avengers, and sumptuous feasts! In book three, we find Princess Magnolia and Frimplepants headed to brunch in the village with Princess Sneezewort. In anticipation of the soft rolls, cheesy omelets and "heaping platters of sugar-dusted doughnuts," the two have skipped breakfast. Just when the village is in sight, Princess Magnolia's glitter-stone ring rang - the monster alarm!


The Princess and her pony zip into a secret cave to become their super selves, the Princess in Black and her steed, Blacky, ready to fight monsters. And what monsters have emerged from the monster hole this time? A horde of hungry bunnies! Pham does an excellent job making these little purple puffballs cute and potentially menacing at the same time. These bunnies have grown tired of Monster Land, having nibbled all the monster fur, toe-nail clippings and lizard scales in sight. They have discovered the fresh green grass of the goat pastures and are not looking back!

At first, the Princess in Black is charmed by the hungry horde of bunnies, but when they eat up all the grass, a nearby tree and then begin nibbling on Blacky's tail, she knows she must pull out her best Princess in Black moves to take them on. 


It's touch and go for a while, but the Princess in Black always prevails! Sadly, she and Blacky arrive at the café just a hair too late for brunch - but not too late for brunch with Princess Sneezewort!


Don't miss the first two books
 in this fantastic series!





Source: Review Copy



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7. Stink Moody in Master of Disaster by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid, 64 pp, RL 2

It is rare that I review more than one book in a series, but sometimes I love a series so much that I want to review a book again, just in case anyone missed it the first time around. Last year I reviewed Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble, the first book in this new sibling (in more ways than one) series featuring the characters from Megan McDonald's Judy Moody series, which spawned the  Stink

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8. The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke, 38 pp, RL 2

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke is a fantastic new book from Creston Books, a homegrown publisher of books printed in America that launched in Fall of 2013. Of course I love a good story, but I also love a beautifully made book and all of Creston's books fit this bill, as you can glimpse in the photo below, and by taking a look inside The

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9. Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! by Philippe Coudray

Hopefully by the publication of Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!, you know Philippe Coudray's creatively thinking bear and his forest full of friends. Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, came out in 2011 and is now in paperback and Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! in 2013. If you have never had the pleasure of meeting Benjamin Bear on the page, quotes from these reviews create a perfect picture.

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10. Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman & Sergio García Sánchez, RL: 2

Something that I adore and deeply appreciate about TOON Books is the attention to detail that goes into each book. Of course the writing and illustrations are exemplary. The packaging is superb, from the trim size to the recognizable TOON wallpaper pattern that appears on the spine to the way that the books look so wonderful lined up on the shelf. TOON Books are so visually appealing and

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11. Piper Green and the Fairy Tree AND Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: TOO MUCH GOOD LUCK by Ellen Potter, 95 pp, RL 2

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree marks the sixth book I have reviewed by the wonderful Ellen Potter and I absolutely ADORE it! I reviewed the first book in Potter's Olivia Kidney series, which would make the PERFECT step up for readers after finishing the Piper Green and the Fairy Tree series, back in 2008! It has been such a treat to continue reading her books over the last seven years and

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12. Flop to the Top by Eleanor Davis & Drew Weing, 36pp, RL 2

Eleanor Davis has created two of my all-time favorite graphic novels, the multiple award winning Stinky, one of the first TOON Books published in 2008, and Secret Science Alliance, which came out in 2009. After creating art and a graphic novel for adults, Davis and fellow graphic novelist and husband Drew Weing  have teamed up with each other and TOON Books to bring us Flop to the Top.

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13. Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Racoon by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, 112 pp, RL 2

It's taken me a while to warm up to Kate DiCamillo, and I still haven't read her most popular books, Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux. But I do like her weird sense of humor and the curious characters she created in books like the Mercy Watson series, which I reviewed here in 2010. The Bink & Gollie trilogy, which she created with Alison McGhee and Tony Fucile, as an absolute

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14. The Yeti Files: Monsters on the Run by Kevin Sherry, 124 pp, RL 2.0

Last year I gleefully reviewed The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry. I am so thrilled to be reviewing Monsters on the Run, the second book in what I hope is a long running series about all kinds of cryptids! Besides the fact that The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet taught me the word "cryptid," which I work into conversations whenever I can now, I adore this book for its humor,

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15. The Kingdom of Wrenly, Book 1 - The Lost Stone, by Jordan Quinn, illustrated by Robert McPhillips, 128 pp, RL 2

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - THE KINGDOM OF WRENLY BOOK 1 THE LOST STONE -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> The Kingdom of Wrenly by Jordan Quinn, illustrated by Robert Mc Phillips, is a new series that is a great addition to the new field

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16. Greetings from Somewhere : The Mystery of the Gold Coin AND Greetings from Somewhere: The Mystery of the Mosaic, by Harper Paris and illustrated by Marcos Calo, 166 pp, RL 2

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - GREETINGS FROM SOMEWHERE THE MYSTERY OF THE GOLD COIN -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} First, The Kingdom of Wrenly, a fantastic new Bridge Chapter Book series with the rare (for this reading level) traditional fantasy setting and

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17. Greetings from Somewhere: The Mystery of the Stolen Painting by Harper Paris, illustrated by Marcos Calo, 115 pp, RL: 2

In April of this year, I reviewed Books 1 & 2 of the new Greetings from Somwhere series of early chapter books (and part of my new Bridge Chapter Books Label) of books by Harper Paris, illustrated by Marcos Calo and fell in love with them. Book 3, The Mystery of the Stolen Painting, takes traveling twins Ella and Ethan to Paris and is a great summer story! While I love the fact that,

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18. Comics Squad: Recess! edited by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm and Jarret J. Krosoczka, 136 pp, RL 3

Comics Squad: Recess! is a very promising sign of the times. Graphic novels for kids are finally a strong enough presence with their creators and characters on the verge of being household names that a book like Comics Squad: Recess! can be conceived and created. And it's sure to be a huge seller, especially at the very reasonable price of $7.99! As you may have guessed, the theme of each

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19. Digby O'Day: In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes & Clara Vuillamy, 96 pp, RL 2

Shirley Hughes is a Grande Dame of British children's literature, her 1977 picture book, Dogger, which she wrote and illustrated won the Kate Greenaway Award (the British Caldecott) that year and, in 2007 it won the public vote of best Greenaway every. Hughes has teamed up with her daughter, Clara Vuillamy, a fantastic picture book illustrator and author in her own right, to create a

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20. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Leroy Ninker Saddles up is the first in a new series of chapter books from the dynamic duo who brought us stories about a buttered-toast-loving-pet-pig. Fans of Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen's Mercy Watson series of beginning reader chapter books (you can read my review from 2010 here) might remember Leroy Ninker from Book 3, Mercy Watson Fights Crime, in which he was first seen

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21. Bramble and Maggie: Spooky Season by Jessi Haas, illustrated by Alison Friend, 52 pp, RL 2

Bramble and Maggie: Spooky Season is the second book in this series for horse lovers by Jessi Haas and illustrated by Alison Friend. Haas, who has written several other children's books featuring horses and, while this is a lower level book, Haas does not talk down to readers when writing about horses and riding. In the first book in the series, Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl, we learn

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22. Eerie Elementary Book 1: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert, illustrations by Sam RIcks, 90 pp, RL: 2

Eerie Elementary by Jack Chabert is yet another fantastic series that's part of Scholastic's much needed Branches line. These books are "specifically designed for newly independent readers who are ready to make the exciting leap from leveled readers, but not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book." In the school where I am a librarian and the majority of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders

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23. Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, 89 pp, RL: 2

I did not want to like The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. I am tired of princesses and equally tired of princess backlash. I am weary from trying to excavate and explain the potential of a princess in a plot (see my review of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett) and I am wary of mash-ups that have the air of a Disney enterprise. However, I

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24. The Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith, illustrated by Iain McIntosh, 90 pp, RL 2

The Mystery of the Missing Lion is the third book in Alexander McCall Smith's, brilliant chapter book series featuring the childhood incarnation of his adult novel heroine and owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe. The books are marvelously illustrated by Iain McIntosh and are unique when it comes to chapter books for so many reasons - girl detective, set in

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25. The Complete Adventures of Johnny Mutton stories & pictures by James Proimos, 150 pp, RL 2

Publishing all three volumes of James Proimos's graphic novels in one volume titled The Complete Adventures of Johnny Mutton (with bonus material) is one of the best things I've seen all year. Proimos has a smart, absurdist sense of humor that fans of Captain Underpants series will gobble up with glee. And Proimos and his ovine hero first hit the shelves way back in 2001! Johnny's

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