Friday, March 19, 2021

Girls Can Too be knights!

I love sharing books written by friends. I met Terry around a decade ago at the Highlights children’s writers workshop in Chautauqua. We sat in on many of the same workshops, and talked STEM writing during lunches. So when she told me she was working on a chapter book series, I couldn’t wait to read it!

Definitely Dominguita: Knight of the Cape 
by Terry Catasus Jennings; illus. by Fatima Anaya
144 pages; ages 6-9
Aladdin, 2021

Dominguita Melendez is definitely a girl after my own heart. She loves to read, especially tales of adventure and chivalry in her grandmother’s books. So rather than playing, she spends her recess period reading Don Quijote.

So when the bully sneers that girls can’t be knights, Dominguita sets out to prove him wrong. After all, Joan of Arc was a knight. Right? 

With a helmet and cape and sense of justice, Dom sets off to seek adventure, even if that means helping people carry groceries along the way. She acquires a squire, aptly named Pancho Sanchez, and a trusty steed (of sorts), scrounges some armor and manages to convince a neighbor to knight her with his trusty sword.  Then she is definitely 100% ready for heroic adventures…

… which turn out a bit differently than expected. I don’t want to spoil the story, but let me just say lots of cookies are involved, Dom gains a crew of stout-hearted friends, and there is a real brave and true rescue.

This is a fun book that kicks off a new series about Dom and her friends. The stories are based on classic tales: Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers… I’m sure there will be more, as abuela had many tales to share.

Want a taste of the story? Visit Terry’s website and check out the trailer. She’s also got some book-related classroom activities. Then, head over to the GROG Blog for an interview with Terry.

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.

I'll be back with more books next month!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Sit. Read. Another Dog-gone Mystery

King & Kayla and the Case of the Gold Ring 
by Dori Hillestad Butler; illus. by Nancy Meyers 
48 pages; ages 7-9
Peachtree Publishing, 2021

The first page of this book – like the first page of all the others in the series – makes me smile. How can you not, when it begins:
My name is King. I’m a dog. This is Kayla. She is my human.

It’s the sort of opening that makes you want to grab a mug of cocoa and snuggle into the couch pillows. 

The other thing that makes me smile? It’s how no matter what King and Kayla are doing, it’s the most fun thing in the world to do. And no matter what treats he’s offered, they are King’s favorites!

This book opens with a snowball fight, wet mittens, and snack time (marshmallows! King’s favorite!). Suddenly Asia realizes her gold ring is missing – a ring with a special link to her grandma. The game is afoot, and the friends retrace their steps. 

Kayla grabs a notebook and pencil. She jots down things they know. She scribbles a list of things they don’t know. While Kayla and her friends use detective logic, King has his own list of clues about where the shiny ring might have gone. (Crows like shiny things, he thinks.)

This is a fun book to read with a dog or by yourself. Check out my reviews of previous books in the series here and here. Review copy provided by the publisher.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Books for Newly Independent Readers

Today I’m sharing a couple early chapter books that managed to sneak to the bottom of my book basket and hide out for the past year.

Charlie & Mouse Even Better
by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes 
40 pages; ages 6-9
Chronicle Books, 2019

I introduced Charlie and Mouse back in September (when they were off on a camping trip). This time they are “helping” around the house. They help with breakfast by suggesting shapes for pancakes. They help shop for a birthday present. And they definitely help when dad burns the cake!

This is #3 in the series. Like the others, it’s got four chapters that, if read by themselves, could be independent stories. Together they create a perfect book for children who are ready to move from beginning readers to a book with chapters. Young kids will relate to the things that happen, because who hasn’t had to tag along on a shopping trip or wished for dragon pancakes? 

You can check out another book in the Charlie & Mouse series here

Fox & Chick: The Party: and Other Stories 
by Sergio Ruzzier 
56 pages; ages 5-8
Chronicle Books, 2018

Ah, this book is so cute and fun to read… and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it until now! Fox and Chick are friends, much in the way Frog and Toad are friends, or Elephant and Piggie, or… Well, you get the idea.

This book is a collection of three independent stories that are perfect for newly independent readers. They are filled with humor – such as when Chick knocks on Fox’s door and asks to use the bathroom. But Chick’s idea of what “borrowing a bathroom” entails is a bit different that what Fox thinks. Still, the two remain friends because, after all, there are two more stories. Even on the last page, Fox reminds Chick that it’s only The End for now, inviting kids to imagine more adventures … or dive into the next book in the series.

Review copies provided by the publishers.