Elem. – Captain Cat Goes to Mars

Virjan, Emma J. Captain Cat Goes to Mars. Simon Spotlight, 2022. 978-5-344-9574-6. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades PreK-1. 

Captain Cat (last seen in Captain Cat and the Pirate Lunch) is back for a new adventure. This time he is working with Pilot Matt (a dog) to build a spaceship with the goal of traveling to Mars. When their ship is built, they put on their spacesuits and blast off, heading straight for the Red Planet. After landing, they encounter Zoof, Zeff, and Zatt, three green aliens who reside on the planet. Together, they explore the planet, make angels in the dust of Mars, and explore craters and more. When a storm moves in, the spaceship is damaged when it is blown over. Will Cat and Matt become permanently stranded? Perhaps with some help from their new friends, they will be able to find a way home.

THOUGHTS: Part of the Ready to Read series, this volume is designed for beginning readers. The text features simple words in rhyming couplets written in large font. The title is sure to hold appeal for early readers, especially those who enjoy humor, animals, and/or aliens. Recommended for libraries serving primary age students.

Picture Book          Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

Elem. – I Hop

Cepeda, Joe. I Hop. Holiday House, 2021. 978-0-823-44825-8. 32 p. $15.99. Grades K-1.

An easy reader that guides the character all through town on his pogo stick. The main character hops through town gathering supplies and ends with a picnic with his grandmother. There are lots of repetitive, short sentences and clear pictures to provide clues to new readers. The book is level C, for middle of kindergarten students. A website is listed for additional resources to use in conjunction with the book such as flashcards and other activities. 

THOUGHTS: This book is sure to instill confidence in new readers! If you’re looking for more leveled books to add to your elementary collection, this is an easy pick!

Picture Book         Samantha Hull, Ephrata Area SD

Elem. – The Chicken House

In this early reader adventure, The Chicken Squad is back for another adventure. Sugar, Dirt, Sweetie, and Poppy live in the triangle chicken house with their mother. Dirt likes to read by the window, Sweetie likes to draw on the walls, Poppy likes to rest in a big shoe, and mother Moosh likes when everyone is home. Home is a bit crowded though. J.J. lives in a doghouse that has a bathtub; a big, soft bed; and a table for massages. Sugar invites her siblings to the more spacious dog house, and each enjoys having a little elbow room. But Moosh misses her chicks, and J.J. notices his dog house isn’t like it used to be. Will everyone find a way to be comfortable and feel at home? This text has longer sentences with simple chapters and high-interest vocabulary words. 

THOUGHTS: A fun twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this chicken adventure will garner laughs of emerging readers.

Early Reader          Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD

Beginner Readers…Anna & Elsa: Sisterhood is the Strongest Magic


David, Erica. A Warm Welcome ( Anna & Elsa: Sisterhood is the Strongest Magic series , Book 3). New York: Random House, 2015. 978-0-7364-3289-4. 122 p. $9.99. Gr. 1-3.

Princess Anna and Queen Elsa have set out to help a neighboring queen who they believe is in trouble. They travel to Summer Land, also known as Eldora, to see if the queen needs help controlling her powers of heat and fire, since the rumors state that the land is stuck in eternal summer. Along the way, Olaf keeps everyone cool with his hugs, but Elsa’s magic doesn’t seem to work in this hot, dry land. After crossing a treacherous desert, the friends reach the capital city and find out that all is not as it seems.

This is the third book in the Anna and Elsa: Sisterhood is the Strongest Magic series for beginner readers. These books are popular with the first and second grade crowd. The larger font and colorful illustrations will appeal to a reluctant reader. Frozen books are always popular, but these well written adventures encourage readers to jump from smaller books to a chapter book format. They also have uplifting themes of friendship and caring that make them worthwhile for any beginning reader.

Fantasy      Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy


David, Erica. The Great Ice Engine ( Anna & Elsa; Sisterhood is the Strongest Magic series, Book 4). New York: Random House, 2015. 978-0-7364-3431-7. 123p. $9.99. Gr. 1-3.

There is commotion in the center of town, and Anna and Elsa go to see what is happening. They see Oaken, the large happy store owner we met in the Frozen movie. Oaken has used lots of spare parts to invent an ice cutting machine. When Kristoff sees how fast it is, he challenges Oaken to a contest, man vs. machine. Anna helps Kristoff “train” for the contest. When they finally compete, Oaken and the ice machine are the winners. The next day all of the ice harvesters disappear. Anna ,Elsa and Olaf search for them fearing that they have been kidnapped. Will the snow storms erase their tracks? Will they find them in time?

In this fourth installment of the Anna and Elsa: Sisterhood is the Strongest Magic series, inventive ideas are at the center of the story. Oaken’s Rube Goldberg-like invention is run by his pet mouse, Lars, and put together with a lot of spare parts. When Kristoff loses to the machine, Oaken suggests that they work together to harvest even more ice. This is a good compromise between man and machine. Working together, they ultimately problem solve to save poor Lars the mouse who is exhausted. Frozen meets the Maker movement!

Fantasy     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy