July 2010

Stephen Cosgrove's Serendipity Books

Today I stumbled across a hilarious blog post on a dad blog about the Serendipity Book series.  Apparently these things are still in print, and blogger Holmes' sons constantly insist that he read them at night.

Holmes' disdain for the remarkably long-lived works of author Stephen Cosgrove and illustrator Robin James is perfectly understandable.  I mean, the thing is, kids have no taste.  Certainly no discretion in the way of literature.  It's only as we grow old that we learn to avoid things which have the moral printed right there on the cover.

That's literal, in the case of the Serendipity books.  On every cover is a helpful call-out box titled "The moral of this story is:" For example, the moral of The Wheedle on the Needle is, "Cooperation can solve almost any problem."

"I'M NOT CUTE!"

I’m Not Cute by Jonathan Allen is a sweet little story about a baby owl. As with most little ones, baby owl wants to be a big owl. He’s tired of everyone telling him how cute and little he is. He is NOT cute! While playing in the woods he thinks that no one will bother him there. That is until he runs into Rabbit. Rabbit loves Baby Owl and tells him how cute he is and how small. Rabbit picks up Baby Owl to give him a big hug. Baby Owl cries out in protest. He is NOT cute and he is NOT small.

“I am a huge and scary hunting machine with great big soft and silent wings.”

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: The Halloween Hoax

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: The Halloween Hoax by Carolyn Keene is a fun chapter book for kids 6 to 9 years old. In this story the girls have decided to make their own costumes and are getting in the Halloween spirit. Every year they get together and watch their Halloween TV special together and this year, as an added bonus, they get the chance to visit the studio where their special is filmed. They couldn’t be more excited. Once they get to the studio, they aren’t so sure that they really want to be there. Lots of spooky, ghostly things seem to be happening all around them.

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: Lights, Camera...Cats!

Nancy’s dad is a very busy attorney and he’s got a new job that is requiring him to go to none other than Hollywood, California. Instead of leaving his daughter behind, he decides to make it a family vacation and brings Nancy and her friends along on the trip. The girls are so excited because the client Nancy’s dad is working for is a movie director. In Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: Lights, Camera…Cats! By Carolyn Keene, the girls get to see an actual movie set, meet the stars and see how the movies are made. It’s a trip they will never forget.

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: Case of the Sneaky Snowman

Some people claim that they can read palms; others claim that they can read tea leaves and tell your fortune and future, but Madam Chocolata can read the marshmallows in your hot chocolate to tell your fortune. At least that is what she and Toby claim while running their hot chocolate tent. In Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: Case of the Sneaky Snowman by Carolyn Keene, Nancy, Bess and George find themselves on a very strange case involving a fortune teller, a snowman who comes to life and fortunes that mysteriously keep coming true.

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: The Cinderella Ballet Mystery

The Clue Crew show a whole new set of talents in Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: The Cinderella Ballet Mystery by Carolyn Keene. Nancy, Bess and George have been practicing hard for a ballet recital that is quickly approaching. The girls and their friends have been working hard to perform Cinderella on stage and each girl is very proud of the roles they get to play. The part of Cinderella was carefully chosen as well as her understudy. Just days before their last dress rehearsal, Cinderella sprains her ankle and her understudy is more than happy to fill her shoes.

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: Sleepover Sleuths

In Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew: Sleepover Sleuths by Carolyn Keene, we meet Nancy Drew, George (Georgia) Fayne and Bess Marvin for the first time. The three best friends get invited to a sleepover birthday party at their friend Deirdre’s house but it’s not just any regular sleepover party, it’s a City Girls Doll themed party. Deirdre is very spoiled and gets almost everything she wants so the girls know that this party is going to be awesome. There is even supposed to be a pajama fashion show. The girls pack up their favorite City Girls Doll and cutes pajamas and make their way over to Deirdre’s.

The Bailey School Kids: Pirates Don't Wear Pink Sunglasses

In The Adventures of The Bailey School Kids: Pirates Don’t Wear Pink Sunglasses, the kids are going on a week-long nature trip. Every year the nature camp ends with a rowing competition with the kids from a nearby Sheldon City. The Bailey Kids have never won a competition against the others but this year may be different. The camp they go to is falling apart and losing money so who knows how much longer the camp will be running but the regular grounds keeper has a new volunteer, Teach, to help out and he seems to be just as strange, if not stranger, than the grounds keeper, Mr. Jenkins, himself.

The Adventures of The Bailey School Kids: Unicorns Don't Give Sleigh Rides

In The Adventures of The Bailey School Kids: Unicorns Don’t Give Sleigh Rides by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones, magic has found its way to the Bailey City Stables. But not just any kind of magic, it’s the kind of magic that can only be found where there is a unicorn hanging around. Liza gets regular riding lessons at the local stables. Due to the snow and icy conditions, she takes a fall and there is no one around to help her. Out of nowhere she hears sleigh bells and a unicorn, pulling a sleigh, shows up to save the day and takes her back to safety.

Pony Pals: Keep Out Pony!

The weather has been horrible for almost a week in the small town of Wiggins. The Pony Pals are relieved when the rain finally lets up enough for them to meet up on Pony Pal Trail for a much needed and missed trail ride. Pam Crandal leaves her house with her pony, Lightning to meet up with her friends but is stopped dead with a new fence and sheep blocking her path. In Pony Pals: Keep Out, Pony! By Jeanne Betancourt, the girls fear that they have lost their Pony Pal Trail for good and their trail rides are over.

The Bailey School Kids: Genies Don't Ride Bicycles

What would you think if you found an old bottle hidden in a tree? This is a tree that you and your friends hang around all the time and you have no idea how the bottle got there. What if you opened the cork on it and rubbed the side to read what it said and then strange things started happening such as when you made a wish like wishing there was no school or that your teacher was nicer? In The Bailey School Kids: Genies Don’t Ride Bicycles by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones, that is exactly what is starting to happen.

The Bailey School Kids: Angels Don't Know Karate

The Bailey School Kids: Angels Don’t Know Karate by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones takes the kids on another wacky investigation of sorts. As if the people of Bailey City and Bailey Elementary aren’t weird enough as is, there’s another addition, Angela Michaels. She always seems to be there when ever someone is in trouble. Not only does she end up saving the day every time it needs to be saved, like appearing out of nowhere to catch Eddie falling out of a tree, but has a way of neutralizing the entire situation, like an angel, a guardian angel. Melody even swears that she has seen her wings and a halo.

Pony Pals: Circus Pony

Pony Pals: Circus Pony by Jeanne Betancourt is just one out of many books from the Pony Pals series. My daughter loves these short chapter books. In Circus Pony, the Yellow Tent Circus has come to the town of Wiggins. Lulu, Pam and most of all, Anna is very excited about the circus and thinks it’s the perfect way to end their summer break. With the Yellow Tent Circus camping on a good friend’s property, they get permission to visit during off hours and get a good look at what circus life is all about.