As World War Z continues strong at the box office, a zombie apocalypse arrives in kid’s books this week, from Zombelina by Kristyn Crow and Molly Idle, (Macmillan/Walker) about a little green dancer to The Music of Zombies, the fifth in Vivian French’s Tales from the Five Kingdoms series (Candlewick) and Darren Shan’s Zom-B Angels, (Hachette/Little, Brown YR) the fourth in his new YA horror series.
My particular favorite is My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, by Mo O’Hara, (S&S/Feiwel & Friends), about a budding evil scientist. I am a sucker for what is now called “guys read ” fare, I’m not the only one. I just got a note from an 8-year-old that reads, “Thank you for the fart book it was reely (sic) funny.” So is this one. I’m looking forward to My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: The Sea-Quel arriving in January.
Below are other highlights of the week. All the titles noted here and many more, including movie tie-ins, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, Kids New Title Radar, Week of July 9.
Rocket’s Mighty Words, Tad Hills, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)
English is hard. Really hard. A lot of it doesn’t make sense to the beginning reader. Sight words are often the key to emergent literacy and fluency. We hear these words. We see these words. We hear these words again, repeating the cycle until we know these words. Then only and only then can we read them. Building our inventory of sight words can make or break of the first reading experiences. After following Rocket’s journey to literacy in How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story, it is lovely to have him as our guide as we learn to own these words. This is as larger size board book that can be used at story time.
What Floats in a Moat?, Lynne Berry, Matthew Cordell, (S&S Young Readers)
Archie the goat and Skinny the Hen try to find a way to cross a moat through trial and error. The common core educators will fall in love with this simple scientific experiment framed in a picture book format.
I am thrilled with this new series of early chapter books that are just scary enough for newly fluent third graders. Lots of dark scratchboard illustrations, and a flip animation spider that crawls down the margin, adds visual interest. A third title, arriving in October, brings on the zombies (Good Night, Zombie). At least three more titles are planned in the series.
Nikki and Deja: Substitute Trouble, Karen English, Laura Freeman, (HMH/Clarion)
This is the 6th in a series that is terrific for librarians looking for great stories that reflect the daily lives of kids. The early chapter book format is one that we can’t get enough of — think Johanna Hurwitz’s Riverside Kids series (Scholastic), and James Howe’s Pinky & Rex, (Scholastic).
45 Pounds (More or Less), Kelly Barson, (Penguin/Viking)
Jenny Brown of Shelf Awareness called this story of Ann, a teen aged girl trying to lose weight for her aunt’s wedding, a must-read. I think one of my students “borrowed” my galley so I’ll quote from Jenny’s review, “Teens who struggle with their weight will find a funny, smart companion in Barson’s charming heroine, and those who overlook or judge a classmate like Ann may find themselves taking a moment to get to know him or her. All readers will cheer for this winning character.” Kirkus is also on the bandwagon “‘While lessons are offered, they are deliciously coated in readable prose and a compelling plot.’ SLJ chimes in “Telling the story in Ann’s wry, realistic voice, this debut author effectively captures society’s preoccupation with size and the resulting alienation of an overweight teen.”