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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Giving Capstone early chapter books

Among the books I’m sorting for River Valley Elementary are these titles from Capstone Publishing. 

Norton Saves the Day (Pony Tales) by Bernadette Kelly. Illustrated by Liz Alger. Picture Window Books. ©2010 ISBN 9781404855052 $14.99 

Second graders will enjoy this Pony Tales series. Those of you who have visited my library know I inherited about 7 sets of horse and pony books for girls that never seem to have been checked out. My middle schoolers living in the multi-cultural suburbs of Nashville are not exactly dreaming of owning a pony. Therefore, it takes a unique title to catch my interest and enable me to send it on to elementary schools. Here’s the publishers description:

Norton is a naughty pony. Everyone thinks so. Well, everyone except his owner, Molly. She thinks Norton is the most perfect pony in the whole world, no matter what kind of trouble he causes!

In Norton Saves the Day Molly takes her mother’s advice to enroll Norton in riding school. I love the illustrations in this title as they tell an essential part of the story. Readers can gasp at the audacious naughtiness of this horse throughout and the blind love Molly has for Norton. I also appreciate the illustrator drawing a very real woman for Molly’s mother rather than the model types that often appear. Readers will be able to identify that the author and the illustrator both wanted horses when they were growing up, but I’m sure no one wants a horse like Norton.

Norton Saves the Day was first published in Australia by Black Dog Books in 2008. Other titles in this series include Naughty Norton, Norton’s First Show, and Who Stole Norton.

 Monster and Me, a graphic novel by Robert Marsh and illustrated by Tom Percival, is part of the new Monster and Me series from Stone Arch books Graphic Sparks. Another title in the series is Monster in the Outfield. ©2010 ISBN 9781434215895 $16.99 

I like this crazy Monster Dwight who tries to eat everyone whenever Gabby’s head is turned. There are many lines and illustrations in this that older readers (grades 2-5) will appreciate. A quick read that is fun. I especially enjoyed the author and the illustrator’s bios in the back. Here’s the author’s (you’ll have to get the book to read the illustrator’s): 

Robert Marsh grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, but longed to live somewhere else. He pretended not to live in Omaha by reading lots of books. Every week, Marsha checked out twenty books from the library. Since he didn’t have time to read all of those books, he would read the first chapter of each and make up the rest of the story. Marsh now makes up stories for a living and doesn’t live in Omaha. Dreams do come true.

Sugar Hero in the Princess Candy series.  A graphic novel by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Jeff Crowther. A fast reading silly tale to appeal to girls. With names like Doozy Hiss, Halo Nightly, and Mr. Slink, you know this is a comedic take on superheroes. 

I did wonder if Mr. Nussbaum, the man riding in Mary Jane (the cab), was named after Greg Nussbaum and his educational website. Michael?  Also in this series is The Marshmallow Mermaid. I wonder what powers Princess Candy will use in that title.

For elementary collections needing beginning adventure science fiction here’s the series Captain Cal. I reviewed Captain Cal and the Garbage Planet by Jan Dallimore and illustrated by Richard Morden. I noticed this was originally published in Australia by Black Dog Books with the title Captain Cal and the Grotts. I’m still trying to figure out what a grott is. Does it have anything to do with the black metal band from Finland that developed the concept of the Troll Syndicate where trolls wipe out and control humanity? 

In Captain Cal and the Garbage Planet Cal and his friends help the Grotts or inhabitants of another planet learn how to recycle, reuse and reduce their trash. Science purists will roll their eyes over some aspects, but 2-3rd graders will enjoy Captain Cal’s adventures. Additonal Captain Cal titles include:

Captain Cal and the Robot Army
Captain Cal and the Giant Straw
Captain Cal and the Great Space Race