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Book reviews - Raintree Books (page 2)

The range of books published by Raintree Publishers just has to be seen to be believed. Below are reviews for just some of the books published from 2011 to 2016 - generally, one example from a series is reviewed. To see the full range, please visit the Raintree site. The books are ideal for schools and for libraries, or for children who are particularly interested in a specific topic. They are all fully illustrated and contain fact boxes clearly laid out to make reading a pleasure. Every non-fiction book includes a contents page, glossary and index thereby helping pupils develop good study skills. This page also includes a small selection of Raintree fiction books ideal for classroom use. Some more Raintree fiction, including their imprint Curious Fox, can be found on our fiction pages. Most of the Raintree books I have reviewed are on this page, but please see our Olympics/sport page for more reviews.

Raintree Books - Early Learning and Picture Books

The Kids' Colouring Book: No Adults Allowed! by Aruna Rangarajan

This colouring book is especially designed to appeal to children - hopefully, your adults won't want to steal this one! There are 90+ attractive designs, ranging from lighthouses, flowers and cakes, to video games, hornets and skulls. And throughout the book, adults are warned to keep clear, so there's no excuse for 'accidentally' picking the book up! It's a great selection of pictures and will appeal to teens as well as younger ones - a good stress-buster.

Henry Helps Make Cookies by Beth Bracken

What better for a rainy day than cooking up a tasty batch of cookies? Mum and Henry have fun together weighing, measuring, mixing, cooking... and eating. A fun way to explore the value of adults having fun times with their children.

Tattletale by Christianne C Jones

Miles McHale is a tattletale - nobody can do anything without Miles telling the whole world about it. And it's a BIG problem at school. But Miles isn;t the only one who needs help, so Mrs Snitcher decides it's time to start the Tattle Battle. She carefully explains just when it is OK to tell but still Miles can't get it right... until finally the time comes when it IS right to tell. A perceptive story that will be perfect for sharing in the classroom, to make this important principle easy to understand. Delightfully illustrated by Elina Ellis.

Dalmatian in a Digger by Rebecca Elliott

"Dugger Dugger Digger What's that noise?" introduces a wonderful take that cleverly combines some lovely animals with some impressively big and noisy machines. Meet a duck in a dump truck, a bear in a bulldozer and a camel in a crane, all the while accompanied by an enthusiastic dalmatian. Lively illustrations combine with the alliterative text to give a fun picture book.

A Pirate Alphabet: The ABCs of Piracy! by Anna Butzer

Take young pirate fans on an alphabet adventure and let them learn the pirate lingo. From adventure to zephyr, every letter is given a suitably piratical word, and illustrated in full colour, with plenty of details to pore over and enjoy. There are gangways and quartermasters, plunder and knots and lots more to extend vocabulary while learning the letters of the alphabet.


Raintree Books - Key stage 1 (KS1)

The Truth about Hamsters: What Hamsters Do When You're Not Looking (Pets Undercover!) by Mary Colson

Despite their huge popularity as pets, hamsters are nocturnal creatures and get up to most of their adventures when the rest of the household is not watching. So, if you've ever wondered what your hamster does when you're not around, Bonnie is here to tell you. as she has been left to wander the house and she's in the mood for fun. From burrowing to escaping, gnawing to stockpiling, you can find out just what wild things hamsters are up to when your family are all out. It's a great read for young ones who have - or dream of having - a hamster, with superb photos to show just what Bonnie enjoys.

How Coding Works (Our Digital Planet) by Ben Hubbard

This simple introduction helps KS1 children understand how computers work, and understand how we write programs to make computers do what we want. The book uses simple language and explanations throughout and makes good use of photographs and diagrams to explain the concepts. Children are introduced to computing terminology which is explained in the picture glossary.

I Stay Active (Little Pebble: Healthy Me) by Martha E. H. Rustad

Learning to stay active is really important and children are never too young to start learning about being healthy. Carefully levelled text, with short sentences and simple vocabulary, allows the youngest readers to read independently and learn all about staying active. With colourful photos to expand on the text, this is a good first non-fiction title.

Simple Bike Maintenance: Time for a Tune-Up! (Spokes) by Lisa J Amstutz

All bikes need maintenance from time to time to keep them in tip-top condition. From adjusting the seat to cleaning the chain, children will learn how to keep their bikes ready to go. Very simple text is accompanied by colourful photos illustrating the actions to take. Spokes is a great series for children who enjoy cycling, as it covers all aspects in an informative and approachable way, with a high ratio of illustrations. Introducing children to the proper care of their bicycles from a young age will establish good habits for a lifetime.

My First Guide to Fast Vehicles (My First Guides) by Nikki Potts

Young children are fascinated by fast vehicles, so it's good to encourage them to enjoy books with this look at a variety of vehicles including high speed trains, hydroplanes and dragsters, readers will learn about the fastest vehicles in the world. Fact boxes and full-color images of vehicles in action will entice fast vehicle enthusiasts. Learning is enhanced by the inclusion of a glossary and comprehension questions.

Diwali (Little Pebble: Festivals in Different Cultures) by Lisa J. Amstutz

Little Pebbles is an attractive series for the youngest readers. The text is simple, with short sentences and appropriate vocabulary, explained in the glossary where necessary. Bright colour photos show people preparing for and celebrating Diwali, giving children a good start to understanding other beliefs.

School in Many Cultures (Life Around the World) by Heather Adamson

The Life Around the World series gives children an introduction to the way other children live around the world. The large format landscape presentation means the accompanying photos are well sized, with plenty of detail to spot and discuss. The text is very simple, and carefully chosen. I like the fact that each two-page spread includes a map so children can locate the continent and country being discussed - this is an excellent feature. This book gives a fascinating insight into how children around the world learn.


Raintree Books - Key Stage 2 (KS2)


Tunnelling to Freedom: The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III (Graphic Non Fiction: Great Escapes of World War II) by Nel Yomtov

This dramatic book helps readers to experience the incredible story of the brave men who tunnelled to escape a German prisoner-of-war camp. It's told with vivid comic-strop style narration and reads like the most exciting fiction although it is factual; as such it will appeal to reluctant readers and those who prefer non-fiction. Readers will learn about the exciting planners, task leaders and key players of the escape from Stalag Luft I

Birds (A+ Books: Animal Kingdom) by Pamela Dell

Take to the skies with songbirds and raptors and waddle with some flightless birds, too! The book takes a scientific approach, arranging information into topics such as anatomy, migration and life cycle; this approach fits the science curriculum to perfection. The exceptional full-colour photos and concise, factual text are just right for young readers. The layout is clear and appealing and there is a good mix of familiar and less familiar birds to capture children's attention.

Origami Crafting (First Facts: Origami Crafting) by Harbo Christopher

The somewhat lengthy sub-title of the book is 'Fun Folds with Augmented Reality for Amazing Greetings Cards, Ornaments, Decorations and More!' but that does sum it up well. What I really like about this book is the way it makes use of the created origami with a range of projects which include turnung origami animals, flowers and more into locker magnets, table decorations, greeting cards and hanging baubles. With excellent photo-illustrated instructions which take you through step-by-step with accompanying text, as well as augmented reality access to video tutorials, you'll never get stuck on a step. Just grab some paper and start crafting!

Totally Amazing Facts About Outrageous Inventions (Mind Benders) by Cari Meister

If you have an inquisitive child who is always asking "Why? - or even a whole classful of them - then this is the book you need. With over 100 facts about anything and everything from toothbrushes, aeroplanes, windmills, satellites, flush toilets Check out how little water they use now compared with years ago!) to animation, ice cream, crayons and even a dimple maker are served up in photo-packed design that are sure to engage reluctant readers. The highly visual approach is excellent and the book will have kids engrossed.

Incredible Robots in Space by Louise Spilsbury

Children will marvel at the wonder of space probes and other kinds of robots used in space. Space probes have explored the planet Mars, flown to the asteroid belt and even travelled to the outer planets of our solar system, sending pictures and information back to Earth, furthering our knowledge to an unbelievable extent. With the help of colour photographs and real examples, readers will learn about space technology, robot astronauts, and how important robots have become to space exploration. Lavishly illustrated and packed with information, children will really be helped to understand how these fantastic machines enhance man's knowledge.

Forces (Flowchart Science) by Mary Colson

Forces affect everything around us, and so they make a fascinating study for children as the effects are easily seen. This book explores the science of forces such as friction and gravity in a fascinating and fun way that ensures children really understand how forces work, to tie in with KS2 science. The high educational value content includes innovative flowcharts, colourful photographs and fact boxes that bring the concepts to life in a clear way. Readers will find out how the moon affects tides on Earth, how magnetic forces act on matter throughout the universe and many more amazing facts about forces in this informative book. With its practical index and glossary, this is a good reference book for KS2.

Behind-The-Scenes Music Careers (Savvy: Behind the Glamour) by Mary Boone

Young people may well think a music career is all glamour, but this practical and down-to-earth book takes a good look at the reality of the situation. As the book show, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes. Behind every superstar are hundreds of people working to keep an industry running. In this book, readers can now learn about unique and exciting careers that they may never have considered - behind the glamour. It's an excellent way to redress the balance and encourage young people to make up a career in music, albeit may not be the one they have envisaged.

Hoping for Peace in Afghanistan (Peace Pen Pals) by Nick Hunter

Imagine how effective it would be if two children from both sides of a conflict could write to each other. Well, now we can imagine that situation in this hard-hitting but heart-warming book which tells of war and conflict in Afghanistan over the past ten years through the eyes of two fictional children who are corresponding by letter, as penpals. One child, Kelly, is living in the United States; Fatimah is living in war-torn Afghanistan. You can discover the lives of ordinary people in a war-torn country and how conflict affects their daily lives. It is really effective and helps us all to gain a real insight into the way everyday lives are affected by war. The letters are perceptive and revealing and accompanied by plenty of visual material and factual information to give an excellent perspective.

What is a Parliamentary Government? (Understanding Political Systems) by Karen Kenney

Today's children must grow up understanding various types of government, if they are to play an informed role in society. It can seem a dry subject, but this book tackles toe topic very well as it looks at different aspects of Parliamentary Governments, explaining what they are, how they have come about and giving examples of such political systems in the world today. Children are encouraged to make their own decisions based on the information given in this thought-provoking book.

The Super-Intelligent, High-tech Robot Book from The Science Museum

This book is specially written to accompany the new blockbuster Science Museum Robots exhibition which opened in February 2017. Being authored by the Science Museum means it is written in a child-friendly way without compromising on any of the scientific value. The exhibition explores the 500-year story of humanoid robots and the book looks at the history of animatronics, computing and robots from their beginnings to the present day, and contains quizzes and instructions for experiments to do at home - these are excellent to increase children's understanding. It is illustrated with plenty of black-and-white photos and line art to help children visualise the robots. It's bound to make children want to visit!.

Understanding Our Skeleton (Brains, Body, Bones!) by Lucy Beevor

Bones are the framework of our bodies, but they are much more than that. Perfect to support the KS2 science curriculum, this book looks at the functions of bones: what they are made of, how they connect to muscles, and how joints work. Excellent diagrams with good clear labels really do explain the topic well, and the 'See for yourself' sections suggest very simple activities that will help children gain a better understanding of the skeleton and its functions

Busting Boredom in the Great Outdoors (Edge Books: Boredom Busters) by Tyler Omoth

Full of inspiring and unusual ideas for making the most of outdoor space, this book is ideal to support the ever-increasing outdoor activity enjoyed in schools. The ideas are wide-ranging, with something for every environment. They include how to make pavement chalk paint, go on a photo safari, build giant garden games, make bird snacks and much more. With clear instructions and helpful photos, Busting Boredom in the Great Outdoors has never been more fun. A great way to inspire outdoor activities.

The Dog Encyclopaedia for Kids by Tammy Gagne

This book covers a wide variety of dogs (over 150), including some quite unusual ones - have you heard of an Eurasier, a Schipperke or a Komondor? It's a great book for adults as well as children watching Crufts. It is comprehensive and well illustrated, with fun facts and famous dogs for an added level of interest. There's plenty of detail on each breed, including appearance, personality and training - ideal to give an overview if you are choosing a breed.

Secrets of World War II (Edge Books: Top Secret Files) by Sean McCollum

Edge Books take a reader-friendly approach which will encourage even reluctant readers into reading. During World War II, millions upon millions of people died, including huge numbers of innocent civilians. Both sides pursued secret plans, tactics, and weapons to destroy each other resulting in horrors on a scale never before seen. This informative book reveals little-known stories of the people, weapons, and battles that have had a long-lasting effect on the whole world. The book introduces many unfamiliar words - these are highlighted and explained on the relevant page as well as in the glossary - this is a good approach as it encourages children to learn new words without breaking the flow of reading. Set out in three chapters rather than the ubiquitous two-page spreads, this highly illustrated book provides a fascinating look at lesser-known aspects of the War.

The Anglo-Saxon Times (Raintree Perspectives: Newspapers from History) by Andrew Langley

I like this approach to presenting history - it captures children's attention and provides interesting ideas for the development of topic work. Just like any newspaper, this is packed with news and features, including headline news, religious news, farming news, food and drink, fashion highlights, arts and entertainment, property, handy hints and even items for sale. Children will find plenty to interest them and the excellent presentation is bound to grab their attention. A very informative book that gives an excellent picture of daily life in Anglo-Saxon England.

Stone Circles (Raintree Perspectives: Prehistoric Britain) by Dawn Finch

Now the curriculum includes Prehistoric Britain, teachers will be pleased to be able to build up their collection of books on the topics, and this will be an excellent addition, as well as being of more general interest as well. This book answers many of the intriguing questions about these mysterious places - who built these stone circles and why are they there? How did ancient people build these circles using such giant stone blocks? The clear and simple text is easy to understand, and highlights the most famous stone circles in the United Kingdom, such as Stonehenge, the Ring of Brodgar, Calanais and Avebury. Good use of photos enhances the magic, majesty and mystery of these constructions, encouraging a real interest in the subject.

Dazzling Dragonflies (Bugs Are Beautiful!) by Catherine Ipcizade

Many of us will have marvelled at the beauty of dragonflies as we have watched them swoop over water - but we may not realise just how many different ones there are. Young readers will learn about 12 different species of dragonflies, each with unusual and unexpected colors and patterns. Learn about their life cycles, habitats, and body parts with maps and photographs, many of them close-ups which show these beautiful creatures in detail. The glossary and comprehension questions are useful additions to the book.

Show Me: Dogs by Megan Cooley Peterson

From whiskers and withers to muzzles and puggles, there is much to learn about our favourite pets. Children will enjoy this fact-filled book - more than 100 facts and definitions are included. How dogs evolved, some popular breeds (including designer dogs), how dogs grow, how to care for them, dog senses and much more are included in this colourful book, which has lots of photos of dogs for readers to enjoy. It's attractively laid out, with good use of a range of fonts and varied fact and photo boxes.

Take Your Pick of Disgusting Foods by G G Lake

Caution - not for the squeamish! If you have a fussy eater in your family, showing them some of the quite revolting foods in this book may well make them tuck into their own meals with gusto! Think of some of the grossest foods ever - bird's nest soup or goose blood soup, a witchetty grub or a mopane worm, cow's blood or Kopi Luwak coffee - and decide between the two. Plenty of fun facts and some very gruesome illustrations will grab children's attention.

Recreational Drones by Matt Chandler

Helicopters and airplanes aren' t the only aircraft in the skies any more - thousands of recreational drones are launched every day and the chances are you and your children have spotted some - and seen the photos they take. Whether owners make their own drones or buy them, recreational drone use shows no signs of slowing down. Young readers will learn all about these UAVs and the rules those flying them need to follow. It's a fascinating look at a hobby that is becoming increasingly popular.

Building Bridges (Young Explorer: Young Engineers) by Tammy Enz

This book uses engaging non-fiction text and hands-on projects to help young readers explore real-life bridge engineering projects. The practical ideas clearly demonstrate the varied ways in which bridges are built and show children what makes each type strong. The book explains the science behind how these structures and includes lots of colour photos of the various types of bridges.

Investigating Floods (Edge Books: Investigating Natural Disasters) by Elizabeth Elkins

Flooding is becoming increasingly common so it's important that children understand the causes. They can result in hazardous sinkholes, major mudslides and uprooted trees, as well as devastation to property and danger to lives. The heavy rains during a flood can cause a devastating amount of damage in a short time. Get an up-close look at how these disasters form and learn about some of history's worst floods. The book is packed with information and includes a glossary, sources of further information, comprehension questions and an index.

Bring on the Bling!: Bracelets, Anklets, and Rings for All Occasions (Savvy: Accessorize Yourself!) by Debbie Kachidurian

This is a super book for all creative girls who take an interest in fashion and who like to make their own fashion statements. This how-to book is jammed with DIY accessories to brighten your closet! Wave goodbye to dull fashion with the best-looking bracelets, rings, and anklets as you accessorize yourself. They are all illustrated in full colour and there are some super ideas there - girls will be proud to wear them and friends will love them as gifts.

Suzanne Collins: Author of the Hunger Games Trilogy (Snap Books: Famous Female Authors) by Melissa Ferguson

Inspire children as they read about a popular author. Readers will learn about the life and works of Suzanne Collins. Her life leading up to her success as the best-selling author of the Hunger Games trilogy is discussed. Readers will also learn about the author's writing process and what inspires her to write, as well as learning more about what goes into publishing a book. What's next for this author and other interesting details are also included. Enjoyable and informative, with plenty of photos to add to the information value.

Foxhounds, Greyhounds and Other Hound Dogs (Edge Books: Dog Files) by Tammy Gagne

Readers will learn unusual and quirky facts about all sorts of hounds. Beagles have a special sound, they make it when hunting. Dachshunds love to dig and be outside. Packed with superb photographs and fun facts, this book provides an in-depth look at the world of hounds. Children will have their own favourite breeds, so schools will do well to get the whole series to ensure everyone is happy!

No Peanuts, No Problem!: Easy and Delicious Nut-Free Recipes for Kids With Allergies (Allergy Aware Cookbooks) by Katrina Jorgensen

An allergy to peanuts can be one of the most worrying, as the effects of eating peanuts on an allergic person are so sudden and life-threatening. For that reason, many schools ask that no peanut-based products are taken into schools, so that makes this book especially useful for everyone. The book has a range of recipes, savoury and sweet and they include tips for those who have other allergies. Look out for the rest in the series - Beat the Wheat, Enjoy without Soy, No Egg on Your Face and This is not Cheesy. Great titles!

High-Tech Highways and Super Skyways: The Next 100 Years of Transportation (Graphic Library: Our World: The Next 100 Years) by Nikole Brooks Bethea

We are all used to graphic novels and retellings of classic stories and myths, but it is a much less common format for non-fiction. So it's great to see this series, which offers those who enjoy non-fiction the appeal of a graphic novel. From self-driving cars to magnetic trains, the future of transportation is full of exciting possibilities. Hit the fast lane to see what the next 100 years of transportation may have in store for the human race. It's an intriguing look into the future.

Fight for Survival: The Story of the Holocaust (Tangled History) by Jessica Freeburg

This immersive, exciting narrative nonfiction format book follows a selection of people, including children, who experienced the events of the Holocaust. The personal accounts really bring the horror home to us - it's absolutely vital that, harrowing though it may be, today's younger generation understand the horrors and can work toward a world free from atrocities. Useful background material includes a timeline, glossary, comprehension questions, further reading and a bibliography.


Raintree Books - Key Stage 3 (KS3)


Draw Your Own Animal Zendoodles (Savvy) by Abby Huff

The therapeutic qualities of colouring are now well-known, and this book will be ideal for KS3/4 pupils who want a break from the tensions and stresses of school work - just a short break and they will return to work refreshed! Go wild with zendoodling! Following easy step-by-step instructions, learn how to take simple lines and shapes and transform them into intricate cuddly cats, feisty foxes, darling dolphins and more. The great thing about this book lies in the additional material - extra tips, tricks and craft ideas which will really inspire creativity. The book is well produced too, with plenty of colour and good quality shiny paper.

Cyber Spies and Secret Agents of Modern Times by Allison Lassieur

Take an exciting and informative journey into the lives and daring deeds of spies of modern day using photos, original sources, maps, timelines, and little known facts. Full of fascinating details, this is a great way to encourage reading - especially for James Bond fans!


Raintree Books - Fiction



Edinburgh Castle: A Chilling Interactive Adventure (You Choose: Haunted Places) by Matt Doeden

See Edinburgh Castle in a whole new light as you choose the way the story goes. It's up to you to choose your path you take through this haunted castle - but will you be brave enough? Choose your own stories are an excellent way to encourage young people to engage with reading - try the book as a class reader then encourage pupils to discuss their different outcomes.

How to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly

ACT 1: The Juicebox Theatre is about ready for the recycling bin. ACT 2: Sidney and Folly consider a crime. [You have to read it to see if we commit a crime - that's called suspense]. ACT 3: Sidney and Folly save the Juicebox Children's Theatre! [It's not giving anything away to tell you that. We just don't want you to worry]. Sidney Camazzola plans to be the director of the Juicebox Theater when he grows up. But the theater is in danger of closing, and he and his friends know they need a plan to save it - and fast. Hilarious and heartwarming, the mission to save a failing community theater unites a riotous cast of characters in this offbeat middle-grade novel.


Killer Croc of Doom (DC Super Heroes: The Dark Knight) by Laurie S Sutton

Batman, aka the Dark Knight, won't be scared by Killer Croc. But when he finds hundreds of mutated half-human, half-crocodile zombies, the Dark Knight must act quickly - he has 24 hours to find a cure, or he will become one of Killer Croc's reptilian zombies. Excellent colour illustrations enhance the appeal of the book, which is perfect for encouraging reluctant readers, especially boys.

The Man of Gold (DC Super Heroes: The Man of Steel) by Paul Weissburg

Again and again, Booster Gold conveniently beats Superman to the punch in stopping the villains and saving the day, making the Man of Steel wonder if this new hero is all glitter and no gold ... Colour illustrations and a glossary add to the interest of the story.

Football Surprise (Sport Stories) by Emma Carlson Berne

Alex and her family have recently moved, which means she has to start a new school and join a new football team. When Alex learns that she must play a new position on the team, she is frustrated. But Alex needs to learn to accept change and welcome it. The book includes some very useful material at the end including a glossary, fun facts, comprehension questions and writing prompts; these all make it ideal for classroom use.

Zombies and Meatballs (Monster Heroes) by Blake Hoena

Zombies aren't known for their brain power but Brian is different. He is a smart, book-loving zombie. When a zombie horde gathers, Brian knows nobody is safe. Can Brian stop the dangerous zombie horde? Better yet, can he stop them by using meatballs? As you can tell, this book is far from ordinary and young readers, just starting to read chapter books, will enjoy it. The book includes thought-provoking questions at the end, ideal for classroom use.

Hansel and Gretel Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales (Multicultural Fairy Tales) by Cari Meister

If you think there's just one fairy tale with two children sent into the woods?, you will be surprised - and pleased - by this book which shows that cultures all around the world have their own Hansel and Gretel stories. Visit Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, and find out who follows a line of ashes instead of breadcrumbs, and who escapes the witch using a handkerchief that turns into a river. It's a great way to learn about different variants of the same tale. Discussion questions and writing prompts are included.

Maggie's Magic Chocolate Moon (The Dessert Diaries) by Laura Dower

Sixth-grader Maggie's parents died in a car accident last year, and she and her younger sister aren't getting along. The sisters live with their grandmother and starting a new school. Nothing is going right for Maggie until she meets a local baker with a magical touch who helps bring back Maggie's smile. It's a positive and enjoyable story - perfect for baking fans!

An Extra-Ordinary Girl (Ellie Ultra) by Gina Bellisario

Ellie is super excited for first day at Winkopolis Elementary School. After spending her whole life being homeschooled by super genius inventor parents, she can't wait to hang out with normal kids and learn normal things. But Ellie soon learns that her super powers make her stand out in a not so super way. Can she save the world and fit in with her new friends? Or is blending in the one thing this superhero isn't so super at doing? An attractive book for young readers with lovely full page colour illustrations - a fun, lively story.

Sleeping Beauty, Magic Master: A Graphic Novel (Far out Fairy Tales) by Stephanie True Peters

This graphic novel gives the favourite fairy tale a very unusual spin, which will appeal to today's readers. In a faraway land, a princess named Aurora lives in a castle ...honing her enchantments amid a slumbering kingdom! When the princess was just a baby, a wicked fairy cursed the realm with unending sleep. But a kind fairy had her own spell to cast - she saved the newborn and granted the girl the gift of magic! Now, Aurora is the only one who can awaken her subjects by concocting a potion made up of the world's rarest ingredients. Faced with strange places and fantastical creatures, can Aurora succeed in her epic quest, or will the kingdom - and she - be doomed to doze forever? Visual questions at the end are an excellent springboard for discussion and will help to see whether readers have really followed the plot.

Thor and Loki (Norse Myths: Norse Myths: A Viking Graphic Novel) by Carl Bowen

Loki, the god of mischief, is Thor's troublesome adopted brother. Their father Odin (ruler of the Viking gods), orders the quarrelsome siblings to tame the violent Giants once and for all, thus teaching them to work together. This doesn't have the desired outcome, as Loki and Thor find themselves in conflict with each other as well as with the giants. And in the land of Utgard, a mysterious place made from magic and illusion, Thor must trust his magic-wielding and misbehaving brother in order to get out alive. Likewise, Loki must count on his brother's unmatched strength if he, too, hopes to survive their encounters with the Giants. Can they trust each other? Dramatic illustrations accompany a story largely told through speech, but with explanatory text too. It's a good way to encourage reluctant readers.

The Wind in the Willows by Stephanie True Peters

The story needs no introduction! These full-color graphic novels include discussion and writing prompts developed by a Common Core expert, an expanded introduction, and bolded glossary words. They're sure to hook even the most reluctant of readers. Book Band Level Blue.

Brain Invaders (Igor's Lab of Fear) by Michael Dahl

Diego and Martin decide to skip school in favour of a day on the beach for sun, fun and fishing. When clouds begin to dot the sky, the two boys worry they won't be able to work on their tans... but then things start to get weird. When purple lightning strikes, they worry about getting rained on. And when tendrils emerge from a weird boater's mouth, they worry about their lives... A short but exciting novel, perfect for reluctant readers with its high interest level and ample illustrations.

Dino-Mike and the Lunar Showdown by Franco Aureliani

Having been defeated in Australia and Antarctica, Mr. Bones hides out somewhere he's sure he won't be found. Surely he will be safe on the moon? Not even there is he safe,, as Mike and Shannon take to space to face off against their arch-nemesis in a lunar showdown of dino-sized proportions! But when they finally track him down, they realize Mr. Bones isn't at all what he seems to be... Short chapters, well spaced text and cream pages make this ideal for newly confident readers, who will enjoy the lively story which includes plenty of illustrations to keep interest high.

The Not-So-Evil Wizard (Thud and Blunder) by Sean Tulien

With exciting books like this on offer, there's no excuse for children to say they find reading boring! The people of Village Town are turning into sheep! Their pigs are flying through the air! Their cows are singing - badly! And a talking rooster with a toothy grin insists that an Evil Wizard is behind the magical madness! Can Thud and Blunder trust the toothy rooster, or will he lead the two young knights to their cock-a-doodle-doom? Nothing is what it seems in this fantasy adventure series of early chapter books. Colour illustrations are a feature of this book - so often, books just have black-and-while illustrations. The discussion questions, writing prompts and glossaries, help to engage readers' critical thinking skills, and make the books an excellent classroom resource.

The Tower of London: A Chilling Interactive Adventure (You Choose) by Blake Hoena

I am a big fan of this style of books, which allows the reader to make choices throughout the book, letting them make the story their own. It's a great way to encourage reading and to develop the imagination - and means the book can be read over and over again, with a different outcome each time. This chilling interactive adventure has 39 choices and 10 different endings. The narrative non-fiction style will appeal to those who prefer to read factual books, but who crave excitement and tension.

Cool Crosby (Adventures at Hound Hotel) by Shelley Swanson Sateren

Alfie Wolfe finds his twin sister Alfreeda really annoying, and he just can't stand it any more! It's time for Crosby, a very cool, laid-back German shepherd (with his own pesky puppy in tow) to check into the Hound Hotel and teach Alfie a lesson in patience. Will Alfie learn to keep his cool? An enjoyable story for any dog lovers.

Anxious Adam Braves the Test (Worry Warriors) by Marne Ventura

Adam is dyslexic, so academic tests are difficult for him. He calls on his three best friends - the Worry Warriors - to help him calm his fears while giving him tools to prepare to pass the test. We are familiar for books for young children which address first experiences and worrying situations, but they are less common for older children. Yet they too, face issues and problems to it's great to see this reassuring series.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing: An Interactive Space Exploration Adventure (You Choose: Space) by Thomas K Adamson

Another excellent non-fiction narrative account which involves children closely with the narrative, giving them the opportunity to put their own slant on the story - with 48 choices and 9 endings, there is plenty of choice. Just imagine - you are an American in the 1960s. The United States and Soviet Union have been in a space race since the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957. Since then, the two superpowers have been fighting over which country will control the universe. President Kennedy begins a new space program, with a goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. You want to be a part of it. Can you help beat the Russians and help the United States land a man on the moon? A great way to engage children with books.


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