Elem. – Cat Dog

Fox, Mem and Mark Teague. Cat Dog. Beach Lane Books, 2021. 978-1-416-98688-1. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades PreK-1.

A dog is taking a nap on the couch. A cat is chasing a mouse. The cat wants the dog’s help, but he is asleep. The mouse gets away from the cat. The dog finally wakes up. The mouse comes out of his hole, and ….

THOUGHTS: The story ends there with the reader trying to figure out what happened between the cat, the dog, and the mouse. This is a beautifully illustrated story, simple in words and color that connects the reader directly to the story by asking questions. The interactive text makes the reader another character in the room with the dog, the cat, and the mouse.  This is a great story to teach story sequencing and predictions. It’s also a lot of fun for read aloud.

Picture Book        Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

Easy/Early Reader – The Great Pet Escape; Hot Rod Hamster; Minnie Hocus Bow-cus

Jamieson, Victoria. The Great Pet Escape (Pets on the Loose Series). New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 978-1-62779-105-2. 63 pp. $7.99. Gr. 2-5.

There has been a break out at Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary!  G.W. , the second grade pet hamster has finally succeeded in breaking out of his “prison” and is now in search of his long lost friends Biter and Barry who came into this school with him.  Together they were the Furry Fiends.  But when G.W. (short for George Washington) finds his friends, they’ve changed.  They are no longer rough and tough.  Biter has changed his name to Sunflower and has learned all about feelings and sharing in his Kindergarten room.  Barry is enjoying story time in first grade.   GW is sad to find his friends so changed, but together they must team up to defeat Harriet, the evil fourth grade pet mouse and her minions.  In this fun, graphic novel style book, kids will enjoy the adventure and fun of this trio who fight to defeat the bully of the school.  Written and illustrated by the author of the award winning Roller Girl, this book is sure to “escape” from the library shelves regularly!  THOUGHTS:  A perfect choice for the reluctant reader!  The colorful graphics will rope them in, but the great vocabulary and fun antics will keep them reading and growing as readers.  This may also be a good discussion starter about bullying, since the bully of the story plays a main part as they problem solve to defeat her.

Early Reader Graphic Novel      Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy


Lord, Cynthia. Hot Rod Hamster Meets His Match. New York: Scholastic, 2016. 978-0-545-82592-4. 32 pp. $16.99. Gr. K-2.

In this episode, Hot Rod Hamster meets an adventurous girl hamster named Holly.  They work together to try to win the race down the water slide and beat the mean dogs from the park.  This early reader series by the author of Rules is perfect for the beginning reader.  The word bubbles and colorful graphics will attract the reluctant reader.  The repetition and simple sight words will give them a sense of accomplishment as they read independently.  Along the way, the reader is given choices to make “Grape pop. Fudge pop. Punch pop. Crunch pop. Which would you choose?” This adds another layer of fun and repetition to the text.  THOUGHTS:  This new early reader series will give emerging readers success as they find sight words and lots of simple sentences to help them develop a love of reading.   This series is a great addition to an early reader basket of fiction books in a kindergarten through second grade class.

Early Reader     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy


Gold, Gina. Minnie Hocus Bow-cus. New York: Hyperion, 2016. 978-1-61479-363-2. 32pp. $10.99. Gr. K-1.

Minnie’s Bow-tique is having a sale.  To bring in customers, they decide to have a magic show starring the great Penguini! Millie and Melody Mouse are going to assist him.  But when Penguini disappears, Melody and Millie try to take over the show, and things begin to go wrong.  This illustrated early reader from Disney Hyperion is a colorful and attractive selection for the emerging reader in Pre-K to Grade 1. The familiar Minnie Mouse along with a cast of some new characters will appeal to the younger set.  The simple text and work repetition will provide early readers with success.  THOUGHTS:  This early reader is a great addition to any fiction reading basket.  Students will be drawn to the fun characters and simple text and hopefully discover the magic of reading for themselves!

Early Reader Fiction   Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

Elementary Fiction – Lucky Strike; Dragon Masters


Pyron, Bobbie. Lucky Strike. New York: Scholastic, 2015. 978-0-545-59217-8.  272p. $18.99. Gr. 4-7.

Nate Harlow is extremely unlucky.  He’s never won a prize and always gets picked last.  His best friend, Genesis Beam does not believe in luck, and instead puts all her trust in science and logic.  Nate gets struck by lightning on his birthday and by some miracle survives.  This lightning strike has changed Nate’s luck.  Nate is suddenly the most popular kid at school and the star baseball player.  But how long can his luck last? THOUGHTS: This is a very enjoyable, fast-paced story written in a style similar to Andrew Clements.  Students will enjoy the themes of friendship and loyalty found in this book.

Realistic Fantasy          Anastasia Hanneken, School Lane Charter School



West, Tracey. Dragon Masters: Secret of the Water Dragon. New York: Scholastic, 2015. 978-0-545-64623-9. 90p. $10.00. Gr 1-3.

This book is part of a series of five so far, from Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches. In this story, someone is trying to steal the dragon stone, and the dragon masters must protect it.  It is fast paced and of high interest for fantasy readers and includes illustrations on every page.  It is very for early readers and includes questions and activities at the end.  THOUGHTS: There is a king, wizard, magic stone, dragons, and dragon masters in training; what more could a fantasy lover want!

Fantasy     Caroline Romano Wallenpaupack Area School


New Picture Books – Dr. Seuss; Lillian; a Tea Party; Small Elephant


Seuss, Dr. The BIG Orange Book of Beginner Books. New York: Random House, 2015. 978-0-553-52425-3. 240p. $15.99. Gr Pre-K-2.

This book includes six individual titles by Dr. Seuss: Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!; The Shape of Me and Other Stuff; In a People House; Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him!; Ten Apples Up On Top! Because a Little Bug went Ka-CHOO!.  The large print and illustrations help emergent reader guess the words they may not know yet while developing reading skills through rhyme and classic, beloved Dr. Seuss characters.  THOUGHTS: Buy if you do not have enough individual copies.

Picture Book Collection      Caroline Romano Wallenpaupack Area School District




Winter, Jonah and Shane W. Evans. Lillian’s Right to Vote. New York: 2015.978-0-385-39028-6. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr 1 -4.

As hundred year old Lillian journeys to the top of a very steep hill to vote, she is reminded of what it took in order for all African Americans to get the vote: from slave ties to freedom; from an impossible test to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The colorful art and well crafted sentences create a read aloud that will spark a discussion on the hard won right to vote. THOUGHTS: This is an excellent text for extending a study of Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, or Election Day.  It is highly recommended.

Historical Picture Book      Caroline Romano, Wallenpaupack Area




Miyakoshi, Akiko. The Tea Party in the Woods. New York: Kids Can Press, 2015.  978-177138-107-9. Unpaged. $16.95. Gr. K-5.

One wintery, snowy day, a young girl named Kikko realizes her father has forgotten the pie he was supposed to take to Grandma’s house.  When she tries to catch him in the woods, she accidentally follows a bear instead.  She finds herself by a house she does not know but is too curious to leave.  As she looks through the window, a lamb wearing a coat and carrying a purse asks her, “Are you here for the tea party?”  Keikko joins the many animals for a splendid and magical tea party.  Akiko Miyakoshi has beautifully illustrated this tale.  The illustrations are mostly black and white with an occasional stroke of yellow and red.  The story ends with the animals disappearing back into the woods, and one must question whether the story is really happening or a figment of Kikko’s imagination.  Thoughts:  I would recommend this book for any children’s or elementary library.  This story promotes much discussion with students and is a great read aloud.

Picture Book                             Anastasia Hanneken, School Lane Charter School




Feeney, Tatyana. Small Elephant’s Bathtime. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.  978-0-553-49721-2. Unpaged. $16.99. Gr. PK-2.

Small Elephant likes water, but not being in it.  His mother tries to make bath time fun with toys and games, but Small Elephant does not want to get in the bath!  Small Elephant’s father thinks of a way to get Small Elephant in the bath, but will it work?  THOUGHTS:  This is a very cute book with enjoyable illustrations.  Young students will be able to relate to Small Elephant.  It’s a great addition to storytime!

Picture Book         Anastasia Hanneken, School Lane Charter School