Elementary – King & Kayla; Last Firehawk; Mama Lion; Avengers

Butler, Dori Hillestad. King and Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse. Peachtree, 2017. 978-1-56145-879-0. $14.95. 48 p. Gr. 1-3.

King is a dog, and Kayla is his human. King is the narrator of this entry level mystery series. King loves to play fetch with his ball, but one day King ends up with a ball that looks like his, but definitely is not his ball. Determined to find his ball, King starts investigating. A stray cat tells King Mouse took the ball. King tries to imagine just exactly how a mouse could take his ball. Kayla is also trying to solve the mystery, but King can’t wait for her. He escapes, gets into the yard next door, and follows his nose right through the doggie door, where he meets a large dog named Mouse. Luckily, both dogs agree playing together is great! THOUGHTS:  Each page is liberally illustrated, including may full page illustrations. With spunky King as narrator, this book is sure to delight many a new reader who wants a “chapter book”.   

Mystery      Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor School District


Charman, Katrina. The Last Firehawk.  Scholastic, 2017. $4.99 ea. 90pp. Gr. 1-3.

The Ember Stone. 978-1-338-12213-8.

The Crystal Caverns. 978-1-338-12251-0.

Small owl Tag yearns to be an Owl of Valor and prove his braveness. While he is too small to face battle, he unexpectedly gets an opportunity to show his mettle. When Tag and his squirrel friend Skyla accidentally stray far from home, they find an unusual egg that hatches into a firehawk, a mystical bird thought to be extinct. With the land under attack from Thorn, an evil vulture, the three friends are sent on a quest to recover the scattered pieces of the magical Ember Stone, which, when reassembled, will hopefully be strong enough to defeat Thorn. THOUGHTS:  These liberally illustrated books have enough text to provide a satisfying plot for young readers not yet ready for Erin Hunter’s Warriors series.  

Fantasy      Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor School District


Muth, Jon J. Mama Lion Wins the Race. Scholastic Press, 2017. 978-0-545-85282-1. Unpaged. $17.99. PreK-Gr. 2.

It is race day, and Tigey and Mama Lion are vying for the big trophy.  In order to win, they must beat other characters like the Flying Pandinis, the Knitted Monkey crew, and Bun Bun.  However, as they fly through the countryside in their vintage cars, Tigey will soon learn that winning may not be everything.  The beauty of the world, the significance of kindness, and the value of friendship can be appreciated regardless of whether they win or lose.  Gorgeous illustrations, complete with cameos by well-known characters like Clifford the Big Red Dog and Mo Willems’ Pigeon, complement this sweet story with an important message for young children.  THOUGHTS: Teaching children to be kind and compassionate towards others is a lesson that will never become obsolete.  This book, full of lovable characters, will serve as a great discussion starter for such a lesson. After reading the story, students could brainstorm acts of kindness that would be possible for them to do for others.  This pleasant story would make a great addition for any library that serves young readers.

Picture Book       Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area SD


Glass, Calliope. Avengers: Ms. Marvel’s Fists of Fury. Marvel Press, 2017. 9781484781463. $17.95. 128 pp. Gr. 3-5.

Ms. Marvel has to fight bird creatures in this graphic chapter book. Kamala Khan is your average young, female Muslim girl from New Jersey. When she walked through an unusual mist she developed superpowers, like the ability to stretch her legs and super strength, that she now uses to protect the citizens of Jersey City while trying to do well in school. Ms. Marvel has a big biology test she needs to study for so, thankfully, Thor turns up to help her solve the avian crime spree led by the half-bird Super Villain, The Inventor. In the story, Kamala must deal with real-life relationship issues with her good friend, Nakia since she doesn’t know her friend is a superhero. Hijab-wearing, Nakia, doesn’t understand why Kamala blows off her texts and their Biology test study date and Kamala isn’t free to tell her the truth. Thor helps her to accept her faults and to learn to accept her friends’ help.  THOUGHTS: Ms. Marvel’s foray into chapter books for younger readers is a good way to introduce younger readers to the Marvel universe of characters and especially to the young, female, Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel, who saves the people in Jersey City, NJ. A male Avenger superhero, Thor, shows up in this story to keep certain young male readers interested.

Juvenile Comic/Graphic Novel              Bridget Fox, Central Bucks SD


YA Graphic Novels – Black Panther; Goldie Vance

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet. New York: Marvel, 2016. 978-1-302-90053-3. $16.99. Gr. 7-12.

Fresh from winning the National Book Award for Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the story of Marvel’s Black Panther. People are restless in the African nation of Wakanda. They are unhappy and angry with their long standing leader, T’Challa, Black Panther, and are rising up in revolt. He is determined to stop the ones responsible for this revolt, Zenzi and Tetu, and bring peace back to his nation. With the help of flashbacks, readers are shown the bloody history of Wakanda and the hard times Black Panther has faced as leader. Brian Stelfreeze’s incredibly vivid artwork shines as Wakanda’s history unfolds. But perhaps the best part of this graphic novel are a few other hidden gems, including variant images of Black Panther by different artists throughout the story; a detailed Black Panther chronology, and a behind the scenes glimpse into the graphic novel creation; and a recreation of the first appearance of the Black Panther from a 1966 issue of the Fantastic Four. THOUGHTS:  If graphic novels are even the least bit popular in your library, buy this. With a Marvel Black Panther movie in the works for 2018, and his recent appearance in the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie, this will fly off your shelves.

Graphic Novel     Vicki Schwoebel, Friends’ Central School


Larson, Hope. Goldie Vance: Volume One. Boom! Box, 2016. 978-1-60886-898-8. $9.99. 112p. Gr. 6-12.

Goldie Vance splits time between her divorced parents; her mother is a mermaid at a downtown club, and her father is the manager of a first class resort hotel in Florida, The Crossed Palms. In addition to valeting cars, sixteen year old Goldie also assists the in-house Detective, Mr. Tooey. Detective work is her passion, and she hopes one day to become the head detective. When a hotel resident goes missing, Goldie must track down elusive clues and hot leads to solve the case and prove to Mr. Tooey that she can be a valuable assistant. But her love for curiosity soon gets her into trouble, and gets both she and her father fired from The Crossed Palms. Together with her best friend Cheryl, Goldie’s crush Diane, and a handful of other friends, Goldie’s sets out to solve a seemingly unsolvable mystery. THOUGHTS: An excellent addition to any middle grade or teen graphic novel collection. Goldie Vance provides a refreshing array of diverse characters in a retro style, while also offering a fun story line and engaging drawings.

Graphic Novel       Vicki Schwoebel, Friends’ Central School