I recently fell in love with two delightful first chapter books, the books an emerging reader first reads all by herself. Buddy and Earl Go Exploring, by Maureen Fergus, chronicles the adventures of two best friends, a dog and a hedgehog, who support each other through thick and thin.
The Battle of the Vegetables, by Matthieu Sylvander, is a hilariously odd trio of tales, featuring a cow who convinces a field of leeks that she is one of Santa’s reindeer, a crop of carrots on the lam, and a starcrossed romance between Romeo, a leek, and Julienne, a carrot. A lively precursor to the zaniness of Roald Dahl.
Spanning time and continents, this swiftly-paced novel is an amazing mash-up of science fiction, humor, and the darkness of humanity, with robots, madmen, mad scientists, explorers, and boys at summer camp. It's Kurt Vonnegut for teen readers. Amazing.
Set in contemporary Chicago, this is a novel about stereotypes, teens trying to do good in the world, outsider art, and the perfect heist. Mr. Klise is a teacher, and the school setting and students, teachers, and parents all ring incredibly true.