Review: Space Case (Moon Base Alpha #1)

Twelve-year-old Dash leaves his comfortable Hawaiian life behind so that his non-geeky, scientist parents can work on the space station, Moon Base Alpha. The humor and inconvenience of pooping in space soon becomes overshadowed by the death of Dr. Holtz, one of the base’s top scientists. With Dr. Holtz about to announce a breakthrough in his studies, Dash fails to believe that his death is an accident, as everyone else is led to believe. After a cryptic video message, Dash begins to investigate and risks his own life to uncover the truth in this suspenseful fourth to seventh grade read. Although I have seen this title recommended for third graders, the content, vocabulary, and plot are rather intense. Space Case is a juvenile version of The Martian, full of space and science terminology with the added bonus of a murder mystery. Frazier almost mimics the audio version of The Martian,…

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Review: Alvin Ho- Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Alvin is afraid of everything and everyone except for explosions and when he is at home disguised as Firecracker Man. Entering second grade, Alvin carries around his own Personal Disaster Kit (PDK) with instructions and gadgets to survive. He even refuses to speak at school, which is unfortunate since his two goals in life are to be a gentleman and to make new friends. Flea, a girl with one eye and a peg leg, has always been kind to Alvin and tries to help him navigate the social scene of second grade. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things is a hilarious story about gaining confidence and growing up. Appropriate for first to fourth graders, especially those just getting into chapter books, children can laugh along as Alvin and his classmates pay money to catch chicken pox from Jules (no chickens involved), squirm as Alvin breaks his dad’s favorite…

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Review: Who Was Anne Frank?

An illustrated, easy read with difficult content, Who Was Anne Frank is a juvenile biography about the short life of Holocaust victim, Anne Frank. Beginning with her death at age 15, Abramson places Anne’s tragic end at the forefront of the book, exemplifying this honest and non-sugar coated account. Once the reader is prepared for Anne’s death, Abramson moves chronologically from Anne’s birth and happy childhood to the rise of a powerful and terrible leader. As Hitler takes power, Anne’s previously patriotic and loyal family moves to Amsterdam where they later make the fatal decision not to relocate as Hitler and his troops begin invading the rest of Europe. The family hides in the annex of her father’s factory, Anne begins her diary, and the story ends with the family, with the exception of Otto, dying in concentration camps. Like a history textbook, the chapters have boxes with helpful and…

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Review: Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

Although comprised of five short stories, the overlying theme is that Narwhal wants to be a superhero and must determine his super ability. Paired with his loyal jellyfish sidekick, this waffle-loving Narwhal saves a shooting star from being grounded, combats bullying, and learns that sometimes superpowers are more than just magical tricks. The kind-hearted duo’s adventures are creative and wholesome. A great early reader graphic novel for first to fourth graders, Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt is the second in the series. Adorable and funny with upbeat blue, white, yellow, and gray-colored illustrations, the plot is laced with positive messages and witty, comical puns. This title is a super endearing and engaging read. I would like to thank NetGalley and Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (A Narwhal and Jelly Book…

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