November 18, 2017

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No More Dead Dogs: Canine Characters that Live to Tell the Tale │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Dog books have always been popular, but there is the ever-present worry that the canines in question will die. How many boxes of tissue does it take to read Where the Red Fern Grows aloud? Old Yeller? Spoiler alert: Each Little Bird that Sings? Readers can relax about the life expectancy of the creatures in the following selections by Junior Library Guild editors, as these puppies live to tell the tale—but keep the tissues handy.

Finding SerendiptyBANKS, Angelica. Finding Serendipity. illus. by Stevie Lewis. 288p. Holt. April 2015. ISBN 9781627791540. JLG Category: A : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

Where do stories come from? How do you know if your writing is any good? Tuesday McGillycuddy is about to find out when she flies into an unknown world while searching for her mother who’s gone missing. In a land where stories come true, she and her dog Baxterr find that fiction is stranger than fact—and more dangerous.

Written by a pair of friends, Heather Rose and Danielle Wood, the new series has its own website. Tuesday McGillycuddy fans will be delighted to learn that they can follow the authors on Twitter and Facebook under their joint pen name, Angelica Banks. A teacher’s guide is available.

Missing Dog is SpottedKERRIN, Jessica Scott. The Missing Dog Is Spotted. 150p. Groundwood. ISBN 9781554987269. JLG Category: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2-6).

Trevor is short. Loyola is tall. Their unspoken agreement to keep their distance from each other is broken when they are paired for community service. While walking dogs for seniors, the unlikely duo works to uncover the mystery of the spotted dog. Mr. Fester’s dog is missing, but how can that be? Surely Buster couldn’t live for 25 years.

Perfect for a book group, Kerrin’s stand-alone prequel contains many topics for discussion: friendship, mystery, dogs, moving, community service, and self-confidence. If you’re looking for community service ideas for kids, visit Yes Kidz Can.

UnleashedKORMAN, Gordon. Unleashed. 208p. Scholastic. 2015. ISBN 9780545709354. JLG Category: HIM : High Interest Middle School (Grades 5–8).

Savannah can’t control Luthor. Every time the exterminator truck passes by, the former guard dog races down the street. The problem is solved when her friend Melissa invents the Hover Handler. A surefire winner for the Invent-a-Palooza, its high-pitched sound causes Luthor to stop in his tracks, keeping him from the dangers of traffic. But then it disappears. Who took it? Was it the boys? Was it the girls’ archenemy or the crazy old man who moved into their neighborhood? One thing is for sure, the gang is going to need another plan in the continuing series, “Swindle Mysteries.”

For book and biographical info, including “The Top Ten Things Kids Ask Gordon Korman,” see the author’s website where there’s a Reader’s Forum, but be on the lookout for spoilers! Connect with Korman on Facebook and Instagram. Want to know how Scholastic gave Korman his start, watch the Swindle video on YouTube.

Apocalypse Bow WowPROIMOS III, James. Apocalypse Bow Wow. illus. by James Proimos, Jr. 224p. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781619634428. JLG Category: HE : Humor Elementary (Grades 2-6).

The end of the world is here. When Apollo and Brownie realize their “people” aren’t coming back, they brave the unknown in search of food. Along the way, they befriend a police dog, a rat, and a not-so-feral dog. Their success looks fleeting until a Sun Tzu-quoting flea feeds them brilliant and timely fighting advice in their hilarious effort to combat the interlopers.

Perfect for fans of “Wimpy Kid” and graphic novels, this dystopian tale will have readers laughing at the characters’ hijinks. The first of at least two books, this father-and-son produced installment will be followed by Apocalypse Meow Meow in November 2015.

Case of the Missing EmeraldWEBB, Holly. The Case of the Vanishing Emerald. illus. by Marion Lindsay. 176p. Houghton Harcourt. 2015. ISBN 9780544339279. JLG Category: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2-6).

Maisie experiences life in the theater when Miss Lane, one of their boarders, asks for her help as a dresser for a colleague, Miss Lila. Sadly, it seems that the actress is the victim of an expensive necklace theft; she’s also the target of vicious attacks on her health and safely. With the assistance of her trusted dog, Eddie, the young detective goes undercover to find the emerald while smoking out the guilty party.

Set in Victorian London, the second adventure of “The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins” series gives young readers a taste of Victorian theater. A visit to Primary History Victorian Britain reveals information about children of the time period. On Webb’s website visitors can read an excerpt of the first volume. She can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter. The series has its own website, featuring activities and an author video interview.  What interesting new job is the illustrator doing? Kids can find out by reading her bio on her website. Fans who join Maisie in the acting bug may find the Wonderopolis wonder, “Can Anyone Be an Actor?” of interest.

HoneyWEEKS, Sarah. Honey. 160p. Scholastic. 2015. ISBN 9780545465571. JLG Category: A : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

Singing “You Are My Sunshine” is not the only sign that something is up with Melody’s father. One night she hears him call someone “honey” on the phone. Meanwhile, a dog named Mo is dreaming of a girl with golden hair—if he only knew who she was.

Fans can visit the author’s website to learn more about her picture books, chapter books, and novels. With kids, share Weeks talking about her moniker on TeachingBooks.net and use the media on her page if you have a subscription to the site.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in JLG Booktalks to Go: Spring 2015 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

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