Dodsworth in Tokyo

Written by Tim Egan

Buy on Amazon

Dodsworth in Tokyo is the newest installment in Tim Egan’s series about two characters, Dodsworth and a duck, traveling around the globe. Egan introduced readers to Dodsworth in The Pink Refrigerator, and though many fans consider the character of Dodsworth to be a mouse, the author himself is unsure. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly that can be found online, Tim Egan said, “I think he’s a mouse. I’ll never declare it.”

Whatever animal Dodsworth happens to be, he’s a delight in each of his books as he travels with his companion, a misbehaving duck. Prior to traveling to Tokyo, Dodsworth and the duck visited New York, Paris, London, and Rome in other books of similar names.

In the adventure in Tokyo, late first grade or second grade readers will delight and giggle as the duck bumps into a rickshaw while busily looking at the signs along the crowded street, and falls into a koi pond. The duck has to be rescued by Dodsworth. Who knew a duck couldn’t swim? This in turn, causes a lady to send a tray of wagashi (Japanese desserts) flying through the air. But the duck redeems himself by returning a little girl’s favorite toy, a kendama.

Author Tim Egan succeeds effortlessly in teaching readers about Japanese culture and introducing Japanese words, like, arigato, rickshaw, bonsai trees, karate, kendama, wagashi, sumi-e paintings, Zen temple, Taiko drummers, and sushi.

Because some of the words do not follow phonetic rules, this book would be best for skilled first or second grade readers if the children are reading the book alone. Even skilled readers may need pronunciation help with many of the words. However, this book would make an excellent addition to a geography lesson about Japan, as a read aloud by the teacher. A class might enjoy reading the Dodsworth books in order of completion, with a world map displayed on a board. Place flags on the map of the various places Dodsworth visits and encourage the kids to learn to recognize the cities and countries Dodsworth and his misbehaving duck visit.

  • Dodsworth in TokyoTITLE: Dodsworth in Tokyo
  • AUTHOR: Tim Egan
  • PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • REVIEWER: Julie Lavender
  • FORMAT: Hard Cover, 48 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-87745-7
  • GENRE: Humor
  • LEXILE: 400

On the Slant

Written by Jane Yolen

Buy on Amazon

Jane Yolen, who has written over 300 books and won numerous awards including a Caldecott for Owl Moon, Golden Kite, two Nebula and Christopher awards, etc…gives readers an insight into how she made her passion into her career. Every one of her works can be read aloud and loved by preschoolers to second graders and up to adults.

On the Slant belongs on any reading lists for young authors to learn how to take criticism and make it into a published work or create a work space that enhances the creative juices to overflow. Jane also shares her life story from her fascinating childhood where she generated an apartment building newspaper using carbon paper with her first pink manual typewriter. The story continues as the reader learns the secret to her success starts with writing everyday whether it be ideas, stories, or poems, regardless if they ever get published.

Photographs from her past and present provide another layer of her life showing baby pictures to more current photographs taken by her son, Jason Stemple. These photos even show how she lives part of the time in Massachusetts while the rest of the year in Scotland. The most important part of her life includes her family.

On the Slant takes every age reader to a place where imagination and hard work meet. The organized format and straight forward voice keep readers turning each page to learn more about Jane. Be sure to check out her website at www.janeyolen.com to email her with your questions.

  • Title: On the Slant
  • Author: Jane Yolen
  • Photographer: Jason Stemple
  • Publisher: Richard C. Owens Publishers, Inc, 2009
  • Reviewer: Julia Beiker
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-57274-978-8
  • ISBN 10: 1-57274-978-4
  • Genre: Nonfiction biography
  • Lexile: 1090

 

Cookie, the Walker

Written and Illustrated by Chris Monroe

Buy on Amazon

I admit it. I’m a sucker for subtle, dry humor, and I’m a big fan of Chris Monroe. In the tradition of Sneaky Sheep, the new book will have second graders as well as grown-ups giggling and wanting more.

Cookie is an ordinary dog, except she walks on two legs. The advantages are many. She can look out the window without getting on the furniture. She can turn on the television. She can reach the icemaker. Her talent draws more attention than Cookie and her buddy, Kevin, can handle. She is hired first by Beatrix Havior of B. Havior’s Behavior Barn to star in a dog show. Cookie performs many tricks and even walks on a flaming board across a kiddie pool filled with snapping turtles. She works for snacks. Next, Pierre La Toot of Cirque De La Toot shoves Kevin aside to hire Cookie for circus peanuts (snacks). Television producer Stu Spoon comes next with a fanny pack, mini fridge, and more snacks. Among other things, she dances with penguins and interviews ghosts. Cookie mostly ends up overworked and over-snacked. So she starts walking like a regular dog again, unless there’s no one around and she sees bacon or an extra-fluffy towel.

The silliness of both the text and illustrations make this a winner, drawing in many readers. But the themes of using your talents and the value of individuality provide many opportunities for reading activities. Parents and teachers may want to use this as a read aloud for younger children, so they can discuss those themes.

  • cookie the walkerTitle: Cookie, The Walker
  • Author/Illustrator: Chris Monroe
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publisher Group, 2013
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-7613-5617-2
  • Genre: Picture book, humor
  • Lexile: 320L

My Crocodile Does Not Bite

Written and Illustrated by Joe Kukla

Buy on Amazon

My Crocodile Does Not Bite is a fun picture book for children ages 5-9 and second grade readers should be able to master reading the story independently with some practice on the difficult words like “obviously” and “disagreement”. Although not all the words are on the list for second grade readers, the text is easy to sound out and second grade readers will be successful because the plot will keep them engaged.

The book offers many types of discussions when read in the classroom setting. The conflict resulting in bringing a crocodile to school is funny yet can be compared to other activities where students experience conflict and emotions offering many subjects to discuss.

The story also allows teachers and parents who homeschool the second grade reader a great opportunity to discuss fiction versus nonfiction, make believe and truths, and what is silly and what is dangerous. Putting your head in the mouth of a real crocodile for instance is dangerous but in the story it is part of the truth that the pet doesn’t bite; the crocodile swallows Cindy Lou whole instead.  And the story can encourage second graders to dream big when writing their own story, another activity that can enhance reading a book like this.

The illustrations are wonderful and give the second grade reader information on the page to encourage reading the text. They also add additional comprehension for the second grade reader who may get caught up in the words and forget the rest of what was just recently read.  My Crocodile Does Not Bite is a fun book to add to any second grade classroom library or elementary school library shelf. It will keep kids reading.

Overall the book is entertaining for the second grade reader and will help to encourage them to use imagination and comprehension skills when talking about the story.

  • my crocodileTitle: My Crocodile Does Not Bite
  • Author/Illustrator: Joe Kulka
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books 2013
  • Reviewer: Terri Forehand
  • Genre: Juvenile fiction ages 5-9/Picture Book
  • ISBN: 978-0-7613-8937-8
  • Lexile: 360

 

 

 

King of the Zoo

Written by Erica S. Perl

Illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

Buy on Amazon

Everyone wants to be king of the zoo, but no one more that Carlos the chameleon. The funny cartoon animals are visited by a young girl and her grandmother following the map at the front of the zoo. Many of the animals claim to be king, making Carlos get more and more upset.

It never says so in words, but diligent observers will see their friend changing colors on page after page. They will feel sorry for him and then cheer for him. Carlos has wonderful facial expressions that children will be anxious to copy.  The beautiful watercolors are stunning as well as entertaining.

The animals might not be able to agree on exactly who is King of the Zoo but the zoo guest and her grandmother know by the end of the story. This story is on a second grade reading level. Picture clues will add to their comprehension of what is going on and what special gift makes Carlos a very special animal.

Literacy skills of dialogue and narration can be identified in the text as well as sequencing in discussing which animals were visited first, next and last. Preschoolers as well as first and second grades will enjoy having this story read aloud.

Extras: visit the author at www.ericaperl.com and meet the illustrator at www.jackieurbanovic.com

  • king of the zooTITLE: King of the Zoo
  • AUTHOR: Erica S. Perl
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Jackie Urbanovic
  • PUBLISHER: Orchard Books, Scholastic, 2013.
  • REVIEWER: Elizabeth Swartz
  • FORMAT:  Hardcover/32p.
  • ISBN:  978-0-545-46182-5
  • GENRE: Fiction, Zoo Animals, Chameleons
  • LEXILE: NA

 

Chickens on the Family Farm

Written by: Chana Stiefel

Buy on Amazon

In this virtual field trip to a family farm, readers will learn how farmers keep and care for chickens. Part of the “Animals on the Family Farm” series, this book is a great introduction to farm living and animal science.

On a family farm, everybody wakes up early to pitch in. The chickens need to be fed. The coop looks like a large tent on wheels. It has to be big enough to house the birds, but easily moveable so they can graze different parts of the field every day. The coop also protects chickens from predators like foxes or hawks, although a rooster will sound the alarm if he senses danger. Children will enjoy the fun facts sprinkled throughout the book. Did you know that some chickens lay blue or green eggs? Did you know that certain breeds are used for eggs while others are used for meat? A farmer can collect 150 eggs in a day. And, of course, a book about chickens isn’t complete without pictures of adorable baby chicks.

With eye-popping colors and oversized headers, each page layout is a digestible “chapter,” a few sentences long, perfect for second grade readers. Crisp, full-page photographs help to illustrate the text and keep the reader engaged. The “Words to Know” section, table of contents, and index will also assist with their comprehension.

Other books in this series (which feature cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and turkeys) can be found on the publisher’s website: www.enslow.com. Additional reading resources and reputable websites are also listed.

  • chickens on the farmTITLE: Chickens on the Family Farm
  • AUTHOR: Chana Stiefel
  • PUBLISHER: Enslow Elementary / Enslow Publishers, Inc.
  • REVIEWER: Lauren Abbey Greenberg
  • FORMAT: Paperback: 24 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4644-0351-4
  • GENRE: Non-Fiction / Science
  • LEXILE SCORE: 470

Slugger

Written by Susan Pearson

Buy on Amazon

Slugger is a fun book for second grade level readers. It appeals to both girls and boys and tells a great story about baseball. The twist is the characters are bugs and slugs making it even more fun for the second grade reader.

The benefit for the second grade reader is that the story also tells about teamwork in a fun way. This makes Slugger a great addition to the second grade classroom library. The book makes an extra fun way to add team work into the curriculum when talking about character education.

Teamwork is one of the goals of Slugger but the book also shows the characters are not perfect and some of them want to quit. The story does a great job of showing how practice helps the bugs to improve at baseball and that quitting is not an option, another great way to open discussion with readers about character development.

Slugger is an excellent book to include in the classroom or school library. The language is written to be mastered by the second grade reader but it is also written to be read aloud to younger readers. The illustrations are so fun and the bugs and slugs are shown in all kinds of interesting baseball situations that the reader can’t help but laugh and enjoy reading the book over again.

Any book that challenges the reader while also entertaining is a plus for second grade readers. Even reluctant readers will love the story, illustrations, and the characters from Coach Roach to Locust Lou. Second grade level readers will benefit from this book in the classroom.

  • SluggerTITLE: Slugger
  • AUTHOR: Susan Pearson
  • ILLUSTRATOR: David Slonim
  • PUBLISHER: Amazon Publishing
  • ISBN: 978147816417
  • REVIEWER: Terri Forehand
  • GENRE: Juvenile/Picture Book
  • LEXILE: 290

July Titles

Pdf file: July Titles 2nd Grade

The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty Business by Greg Trine, ISBN 978-0-547-80796-6

Go Jo Schmo! Second and third graders will root for this intrepid fourth grader who fights crime in her bathroom breaks. …

 

All Kinds of Friends by Norma Simon, ISBN 978-0-8075-0283-9

It’s a picture book extravaganza about friends. Staying just this side of too sweet, author Norma Simon and illustrator Cherie Zamazing explore a child’s world of friends. …

 

Burton the Kind Scarecrow by V.A. Boeholt, ISBN 978-1-58985-202-0

Burton the scarecrow wants to help everyone.  His job is to protect the crops in Farmer Green’s garden. …

 

Celebrating Texas: 50 States to Celebrate by Marion Dane Bauer, ISBN 978-0-547-89786-8

Readers at the second grade reading level don’t need to get on a bus or a train to see the great state of Texas. They can read this latest in the 50 States to Celebrate Series, Celebrating Texas.

 

Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger, ISBN 978-0-547-81854-2

Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony.  Why?  Well, read the book and find out!

 

The Dyno-Mite Dog Show by Louise Bonett Rampersaud, ISBN 978-0767462132

In the tradition of Amber Brown, Clementine, and Junie B. Jones, we now have Agnes. She’s a good-hearted, run-amuck third grader who runs The Secret Knock Club with an iron fist, certain that she knows what the club should do and how they should do it. …

 

Martha Speaks: Summer Fun by Susan Meddaugh, ISBN 978-0-547-97025-7

What’s more fun than a talking dog? Martha, the talking dog, certainly has an amusing view of the world. …

 

Queenie: One Elephant’s Story by Corinne Fenton, ISBN 978-0-7636-6375-9

Many zoos have an animal that has caught the hearts of its community. Queenie is that animal at the Melbourne Zoo. …

 

Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon, ISBN 978-0761461807

Ever had writer’s block? Did you ever feel like what you had to write about just wasn’t very exciting? Well, that is exactly how Ralph feels in this charming metafiction tale. …

 

Snowzilla by Janet Lawler, ISBN 978-0761461883

… Snowzilla — a simply told tale-in-verse that pre-schoolers to second graders would enjoy. Cami Lou bundles up her brother against the cold and they step out to “build a huge snowman, unlike any other!” …

 

When We Go Walking by Cari Best, ISBN 9781477816486

With integration being such an important concept in education today, this book is a must have.  What better way to interest your second grade children in taking a walk around the neighborhood or school than to follow Wendy and her family on their walk? …

Martha Speaks: Summer Fun

Written by Susan Meddaugh

Buy on Amazon

What’s more fun than a talking dog? Martha, the talking dog, certainly has an amusing view of the world. She also has a sneaky way of teaching a lot, given that she doesn’t quite understand the human world. Based on the PBS series, this is a collection of three stories, each by a different author. First, one of Martha’s human friends mistakenly uses a self-tanning lotion instead of her usual sunscreen. When she uses it to excess, her skin turns embarrassingly orange. To make her feel better, Martha talks all the other kids into adopting the same orange glow. And the friend feels better. Next, Martha learns of her lupine heritage and decides to become a pack animal. Her canine friends opt out when they find that comfort comes first: food, bed, and television. Martha returns to her pack, the other members of which are human. Last, Martha does her best to be endearing to her human grandmother, only to take several missteps. Martha can’t quite figure out an appropriate birthday gift. But Grandma recognizes her efforts and rewards her. Not only are the stories fun and informative, the illustrations are winners too. The reader can feel like part of the action.

Not surprisingly, Martha Speaks books have tons of added value for second grade readers. In addition to the popular television show, Martha Speaks, the show has an excellent website, www.pbskids.org/martha, which is loaded with information for parents and teachers and reading activities. Martha also has her own website, www.marthathetalkingdog.com; and the publisher’s website (www.hmhbooks.com) is useful to help increase reading skills and comprehension.

  • Martha SpeaksTITLE: Martha Speaks: Summer Fun 
  • AUTHORS: Susan Meddaugh
  • PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • REVIEWER: Sue Poduska
  • EDITION: 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-97025-7
  • GENRE: Paperback, Animals, Humor
  • LEXILE: 480

The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty Business

Written by Greg Trine

Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer

Buy on Amazon

Go Jo Schmo! Second and third graders will root for this intrepid fourth grader who fights crime in her bathroom breaks. Who wouldn’t to take time off from class to perform super heroic deeds?

The first book in the series explains how Jo got her superpowers. However, each book is a stand alone story — all that the reader needs is to believe that Jo and her trusty sidekick, Raymond, have superpowers, and use it to fight crime.

The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty Business is about shifty business indeed. The ‘shifty business’ refers mainly to Jo Schmo’s shape shifting. Grandpa Joe asks her what superpower she would acquire next. Jo ponders a bit, then says that shape shifting would be useful to a superhero. But Numb Skull and his pals are also up to ‘shifty’ (evasive or deceitful) business. This could be an interesting reading activity in classrooms. Teachers could help students make lists of all the puns in the story.

A great part of the fun of the books is the clever word play the author indulges in. We have all heard of crime waves. In Jo Schmo’s world there is the crime ripple, which is what you get before you get a crime wave. Ripple, wave, tsunami — that’s the way it works in the crime world.   Even a second grader could see that that is a perfectly logical progression of crime!

Shape-shifting Jo goes head-to-head with shifty Numb Skull in a race to save her town from the biggest crime-tsunami ever. Sharks and whales and a drooling dog with a swishing tale spice up the story. Who wins? Read to the end to find out.

  • Shifty BusinessTitle: The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty Business
  • Author: Greg Trine
  • Illustrator: Frank W. Dormer
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Hardback:  106 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-80796-6
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Lexile Score: 600
« Older Entries Recent Entries »