Early Chapter Books: Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo, The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, and Sparky and Tidbit by Kathryn O. Galbraith


francine poulet

Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
Published August 25th, 2015 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: Deckawoo Drive’s intrepid Animal Control Officer meets her match—or does she? A funny, heartfelt, and fast-paced romp from the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Francine Poulet is the greatest Animal Control Officer in Gizzford County. She hails from a long line of Animal Control Officers. She’s battled snakes, outwitted squirrels, and stared down a bear. “The genuine article,” Francine’s dad always called her. She is never scared—until, that is, she’s faced with a screaming raccoon that may or may not be a ghost. Maybe Francine isn’t cut out to be an Animal Control Officer after all! But the raccoon is still on the loose, and the folks on Deckawoo Drive need Francine back. Can she face her fears, round up the raccoon, and return to the ranks of Animal Control? Join a cast of familiar characters—Frank, Stella, Mrs. Watson, and Mercy the porcine wonder—for some riotous raccoon wrangling on Deckawoo Drive

My Review: Kate DiCamillo has a special way of writing stories. Her characterization is amazing which leads to truly full characters. Her vocabulary always pushes the reader yet never leaves the reader out of the story either. Her voice rings throughout the pages to where you can hear the narrator in your head. In this book, Francine Poulet is a character that all readers will love. She is determined, good at her job, and loves what she is doing. But then she faces her adversary. What happens after is what truly shows what type of person Francine Poulet can be.

Discussion Questions: Do you think Francine does her job because she loves it or because she felt pressured to do it because of her father and grandfather?; What vocabulary words do Kate DiCamillo use throughout the book to add more descriptive language and imagery to the book?; How would you describe Francine? Frank? The raccoon?

We Flagged: “Francine put the net on the ground. She took the binoculars. She held them up and looked through them. She saw the raccoon sitting on the roof, staring at her.

The moon was bright, and it was shining on the raccoon’s fur. The raccoon shimmered.”

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princess in black 2

The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party
Authors: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
Expected Publication October 13th, 2015 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: Inconvenient monster alarms, a sparkly array of princess guests, and spot-on slapstick pacing make for a party readers will celebrate.

Today is Princess Magnolia’s birthday party, and she wants everything to be perfect. But just as her guests are arriving . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! Princess Magnolia runs to the broom closet, ditches her frilly clothes, and becomes the Princess in Black! She rushes to the goat pasture, defeats the monster, and returns to the castle before her guests discover her secret. But every time Princess Magnolia is about to open her presents, the monster alarm rings again. And every time she rushes back—an inside-out dress here, a missing shoe there—it gets harder to keep the other princesses from being suspicious. Don’t those monsters understand that now is not a good time for an attack?

My Review: Princess Magnolia has some major close calls in this one! Because of that, I was so worried for Princess Magnolia throughout the book which kept me on the edge of my seat. Like the first one, I rooted for her the entire book and love that she can be both a dainty, frilly princess and a kick-butt, monster-fighting princess. I think she is such a wonderful role model for girls and a great role model OF girls for all readers. I also adore the illustrations. They are so colorful and animated. Everyone is going to enjoy the newest Princess in Black. 

Discussion Questions: What do you think would happen if everyone found out Princess Magnolia is the Princess in Black?; What could be some other ways to help keep monsters from coming from Monster Land?; Do you think Princess Sneezewort believed Princess Magnolia? How can you tell?

We Flagged: 

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Recommended For: 

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Check out my review for the first Princess in Black and Tales from Deckawoo Drive books here.

sparky and tidbit

Sparky and Tidbit
Author: Kathryn O. Galbraith
Illustrator: Gerald Kelley
Published February 3rd, 2015 by Simon Spotlight

Goodreads Summary: An intrepid do-gooder dog named Sparky and an eager young pup named Tidbit star in this charming Level 3 Ready-to-Read that’s all about helping others, gaining confidence—and learning to read!

Brave and bold Sparky receives a K-9 badge for his birthday and cannot wait to start doing heroic things. But he’s having a hard time finding ways to help. Then he hears Tidbit, the neighborhood pup, yipping and howling away because he is the worst in his class at reading. Sparky sighs. He can’t possibly help with that…or can he?

Join the adorable team of Sparky and Tidbit in a story that will teach young readers that with a lot of patience and a little help from a friend, reading will become as easy as it is fun!

My Review: Sparky wants to be a hero, and he becomes one–just not the way he expected.

Sparky and Tidbit is the sweet story of a young pup who is struggling with reading and an older pup who helps him. I love the message that this book sends, and I think that kids just learning to read are going to really enjoy watching Tidbit excel. The tribute to Sparky at the end is “Awww!” worthy as well.

Discussion Questions: What kind of hero did Sparky want to be? What did he become?; How did Sparky help change Tidbit’s life?

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**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media and Raquel from Candlewick Press for providing copies for review!!**

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