Boris Gets a Lizard

978-0-545-48446-6. ea vol: Scholastic/Branches. Bk. 2. 2013. RTE $15.99; pap. $4.99; ebook $4.99.
Gr 1–3—Of these books, Boris and Class Pets competently fill the gap between easy readers and early chapter books, while Meltdown Madness and Coco are a bit more challenging. Boris really wants a komodo dragon. He writes to the zoo to see if their komodo dragons ever take vacations. Turns out, they don't, and Boris's plans are ruined. He puts his skink in the komodo cage and tries to pass it off as a baby dragon. After it escapes, Boris reopens his letter from the zoo, finds tickets for free admission, and his whole family has an outing. Missy wants to take home the class pets for the weekend but her plans are derailed when a new girl is determined to have what she wants. In the end, Missy bests the bully. Boris's and Missy's stories are told through traditional text, many speech bubbles, and comic-book panels. Both books incorporate full-color artwork throughout. Meltodown Madness looks the most like a traditional early chapter book, with many black-and-white sketches accompanying the text. The young narrator has a magic coin that translates his words into reality (sayings like "money doesn't grow on trees" spawn a dollar bill under the tree). The boy's powers often cause more trouble than good, but in the end he is able to reason his way into a solution. Coco is in the form of a diary and includes black-and-white lists and doodles. The little girl uses her love of baking cupcakes to help save snails from becoming extinct. Words like "extinct" and "fund-raiser" are defined in doodled bubbles. All four books should be popular.—Amy Commers, South St. Paul Public Library, MN

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