The Scoop - The Blog For Kids World

Pumpkin Day! by Candice Ransom

Pumpkin Day! book cover: African American boy is sitting on a stack of pumpkins on a farm"Through the gate to the pumpkin patch!"

Read along as a family each choose their pumpkins, carve them with silly faces, and use the remains for the traditional pumpkin pie.

This easy reader breaks no new ground, but its large print and simple phrases allows kids who have just begun reading the excitement of a Halloween story right up their alley. Only minimal adult assistance will be needed to enjoy this level 1 reader.

Find Pumpkin Day! in the Library

Celeste, Kids World

Shadow House: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki

Shadow House book cover: a girl appears to hold a frame either picture or mirror over face and within the frame a ghostly face peers back"Could you tell me more about your invitation to Larkspur?" "I'm pretty sure it's the same one you got." "I'm pretty sure it's not."

Five kids, each promised their dream- their very different dreams- if only they come to Larkspur. What is Larkspur? The home of a long lost aunt? A movie production company?  A school? The Larkspur House proves to be none of those things. Dreams may come true there, but it is not the happily ever after kind. No, the house might come straight from a nightmare. "little balls continued to roll out, each one stopping with the letter toward him... LETSPLAY...LETS PLAY."

This haunted house story's creepy level will place it solidly in upper elementary school range. Ghosts wearing bizarre masks, moving objects, look-alike dolls with ashes inside them, spontaneous fires- this house has all the elements of a perfect Halloween read. And of course, doors that do not open, windows that will not break. The five kids are trapped with no escape.

For those looking for a happily wrapped up ending, you may wish to read elsewhere. This is only book one in a series.

Find Shadow House in the Library

Celeste, Kids World

The Curse of the Were-Hyena by Bruce Hale

"In a rushThe Curse of the Were-Hyena book cover: two boys hanging from the limbs of a tree with a hyena on the ground snarling, the were-hyena launched itself at the tree trunk, scrabbling with claws like hooked daggers...'That's not fair!...In all the wolfman movies we've watched, have you ever seen a werewolf climb a tree?'"

Mr. Chu is the most popular teacher at Monterrosa Elementary. Benny and Carlos have been lucky enough to have been in his class for the Frankenstein electricity experiment and the awful movie sequel lesson on probability. Then one day, Mr. Chu has a bandage covering a "bite from a strange-looking dog," and things begin to turn a little weird. Mr. Chu starts manically giggling at a high-pitch and hair begins to grow on his bald head. After the teacher gains super speed and strength, Mr. Chu begins to get, well, cruel.

With the help of the friendly neighborhood comic bookstore owner, Benny and Carlos must find a way to save Mr. Chu. Unfortunately, a secret cult and their attempts at sacrificing people make the "average task" of trapping a were-hyena even more difficult.

In time for Halloween thrills, comes the first in the new Monstertown Mystery series. This chapter book could be right up the alley for middle elementary readers looking for a mix of humor with their spooky.

Find The Curse of the Were-Hyena in the Library

Celeste, Kids World

My Baby Crocodile by Gaetan Doremus

My Baby Crocodile book cover: line coloring illustrations of a reddish crocodile holding a knight whose head armor makes him resemble the crocodile"He may be a bit different, but I’ll protect him. He’s my baby after all."

Stumbling across a ‘baby crocodile’ in the swamp, a farsighted but well-meaning crocodile decides to take care of it. This is no simple task since the ‘baby’ is actually a tiny knight wearing armor. Unable to understand why the baby can’t swim, hunt, and even starts to rust after a while, Crocodile tries ever harder to take care of him. But what happens when Crocodile realizes his mistake?

This picture book has a wonderful message of acceptance no matter what you are, or where you’re from. Riddled with mistaken well-meaning, amusing misunderstandings. The Baby Crocodile even addresses the conflict of those who struggle to understand and learn about others they might be confused by. We all may be different, and that’s okay. What matters is what we decide to make of it. Great read-out-loud for pre-school and early elementary families to share.

Find My Baby Crocodile in the Library

Naomi, Kids World

School's First Day of School by Adam Rex

School's First Day of School book cover: illustrations of a school building with houses around it and children in front of it“It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially... the school.”

Have you ever considered how the school feels about the first day of school? This school, newly built, has no idea what to think about "children" coming but it soon finds out and learns a lot in one day.

I recommend this book for kids ages 3 - 10 who are just starting school or switching to a "new" school. Readers of all ages will enjoy the humor of the familiar back-to-school tale voiced from the school building's point of view.  

Find School's First Day in the Library

Mary Jo, Kids World

My Old Pal, Oscar by Amy Hest

My Old Pal Oscar book cover shows an illustration of a bacl and white dog at the beach and a childin a raincoat with a yellow umbrella playing in the surf"Hello, you."
"No tags."
"No name."

While building a sandcastle on the beach an unlikely visitor joins a young boy. A small puppy, with no collar, hops up on to the boy's castle and just watches, the pup appears to be a stray.  This doesn't faze the boy as he simply walks away. The young boy had already once had a dog, the best dog he could possibly have, his name was Oscar. Oscar had  already won the boy's heart and still had it even tho he had passed. The boy thought that no one else could ever take his old pal', Oscar's, place. The small puppy with "big black eyes," is relentless and keeps finding his way back to the boy.

My Old Pal Oscar is a touching story about a boy learning how to open his heart up once again, after the loss of his first dog. Through the story the reader can see how much love an owner may have for their pet; and one may never replace the original, but someone can come along and patch up their heart. This read is recommended for a family read-a-loud with younger elementary school kids who loves dogs, or for anyone that has lost a pet.

Find My Old Pal Oscar in the Library

Gilly, Kids World

Child Soldier by Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanie

Child Soldier book cover: Image of trees with the silhouettes of children walking among them carrying various backpacks and cargo"The story you are about to read is true. It is my story, and it is just one of thousands like it."

This autobiographic graphic novel tells a haunting tale, albeit one that has a happier ending than most of its kind. The majority of the story takes place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Michel was kidnapped from the schoolyard at age 5, and "trained" to be a child soldier. The story does not gloss over what child soldiers are forced to do and the psychological trauma the children are exposed to during training. Michel is able to escape, and the experience inspires Michel's father into becoming an activist. "This is what defines you: The legacy that you leave, not just for your family but for the whole world." Michel and his family become refugees, though only Michel, his mother and two sisters eventually settle in safety of Canada.

For its sobering but edifying content, this book is recommended to third grade readers all the way to adult. The book makes clear that, "these events did not occur out of the blue and won't suddenly happen to you." However, mid-elementary readers might benefit from an adult reading buddy to answer any questions that might arise. For older readers, this book provides great insight to the political unrest in Africa and the effect it has on children and families. This book might serve as an introduction to not only child soldiers but also the international refugee plight.

Find Child Soldier in the Library.

Celeste, Kids World

Wolf Camp by Andrea Zuill

Wolf Camp book cover: image showing a pet dog looking a wolf with a wooden sign for "Wolf Camp" between them“My name is Homer. I am a dog... but sometimes I am very wolfish.
Often I've wondered what it would be like to live as a real wolf.”

Homer believes that all dogs have a bit of wolf in them, so when he finds a flier for Wolf Camp "Where every dog can live as a wolf for an entire week!" he jumps (and howls!) at the opportunity. He follows his people around until they relent and let him go to Wolf Camp. Guided by his wolf instructors, Fang and Grrr, Homer and the other domestic dogs are ready to to howl, hunt, and sleep like real wolves! As with most wish-fulfillment tales, things aren't all sunshine and rainbows as our leading pup imagined, and returning to domestic life might hold more reward than his initial call to the wild. Or will it?

Wolf Camp is a fun picture book read that would entertain children of all ages who have pets, especially dogs, at home.

Find Wolf Camp in the Library

Brittany, Kids World

Maker Lab by the Smithsonian Institution

Maker Lab book cover: depicts planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn made out of rubberbands"We young scientists have to start somewhere...you can start by asking "why?" And by making messes, making mistakes, and making connections." -Jack Andraka in the "Foreword."

Maker Lab makes science look awesome. The 28 activities range from the simple such as making invisible ink or monster marshmallows to more complex like the construction of a breathing machine and sound speakers. Scientists ranging from grade 3 and older will find something to spark their imagination. (Younger scientists definitely will, too, though an older mind will be needed to assist.)

Each activity has background information followed by a photo list of items needed for the experiment. Step-by-step instructions are simple and their accompanying photograph makes it easy to find success. An "How It Works" section concludes each experiment lending an effective cohesion between the initial background information and what occurred during the experiment process. Parents may also be pleased to note that each entry also contains a difficulty rating and an estimated amount of time needed to complete the experiment.

While it will certainly be useful come science fair time, this book is recommended for anyone looking for time to fill.

Find Maker Lab in the Library.

Celeste, Kids World

Big Friends by Linda Sarah & Benji Davies

Big Friends book cover: image of three friends in a soapbox derby car going down a hill“Two cardboard boxes,
big enough to sit in, hide inside.”

Birt and Etho know that all you need to have fun is this: a friend and a big cardboard box. The friends spend their days on Sudden Hill imagining grand adventures with the help of their boxes. Their "two-by-two rhythm" is unparalleled. That is, until Shu shows up on Sudden Hill one day, toting his very own cardboard box. The dynamic duo becomes a troubled trio when Birt, feeling alienated, smashes his box to pieces and stops going to the hill. Will Etho and Shu go on adventures without Birt, or will Birt come to see that friends and adventures are even better when shared?

The whimsy of childhood play is captured spectacularly in charming painted illustrations, and a "the more the merrier" messages shines. Recommended for all readers in preschool through approximately third grade, especially those who may be having a difficult time sharing a best friend.

Find Big Friends in the Library.

Brittany, Kids World

Pages