Friday, December 2, 2022

205. The Giant Panda Plan

The Giant Panda Plan (Teeny Houdini #3). Katrina Moore. Illustrated by Zoe Si. 2022. [June] 144 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "Roar! Roar!" I call to the lions. I stand on my tippy-toes to get as close as I can to them. "Why won't they roar back, Mom?" I ask.

Premise/plot: Bessie Lee and her classmates--both her close friends, friends, and frenemies--take it upon themselves [to single-handedly] save pandas. This comes about as a result of a zoo field trip. The students brainstorm "a way" to "save" pandas. This involves the students working together as groups and doing presentations. A bit of an elevated show-and-tell of sorts. But the show that was going to SAVE the pandas goes all wrong with egos get in the way.

My thoughts: I didn't like this one. Not really. I thought it was odd. Perhaps it was just too much to sit down and read books two and three back to back. Perhaps the plot of the third book is just weaker. I don't mind the let's-all-be-activist perspective in small doses. But I don't know how a bunch of first graders are going to do anything on a big enough scale to "save" the pandas. True, in this book, the first graders are miraculously able to raise a thousand dollars. But I don't think that's realistic. [Or perhaps Bessie Lee is just in a really high-class, super-wealthy school district].

It also seemed a little odd--though I could be wrong--that Bessie Lee (and presumably) others are getting to hold/handle an actual baby panda from the zoo.  

This book is more about sabotaging other students' work than anything else. [This is my opinion].

© 2022 Becky Laney of Young Readers

204. Teeny Houdini: The Super-Secret Valentine

Teeny Houdini: The Super-Secret Valentine. (Teeny Houdini #1) Katrina Moore. Illustrated by Zoe Si. 2022. [January] 112 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Squirt! I squeeze a big glob of glue onto my Valentine's Day box. Then I pour a million gazillion rainbow sparkles on the glue glob.

Premise/plot: Bessie Lee (aka our lovable teeny Houdini) is looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day with her classmates, well, most of them. And this year the class will have a secret valentine. Every student will give/receive an extra valentine. Bessie will be making a super-secret valentine for the new student, Jae, but he doesn't talk much...if at all...and she wants it to be extra-extra special. But her idea of extra-extra special, well, to be honest might be the stuff of nightmares. Can Bessie redeem a horrible Valentine's day???

My thoughts: I like the narration. I do. I don't love this one quite as much as book one. But it is good fun. I liked getting to spend more time with Bessie at home and school.


© 2022 Becky Laney of Young Readers

203. PAWS: Gabby Gets It Together

PAWS #1: Gabby Gets It Together. Nathan Fairbairn. Illustrated by Michele Assarasakorn. 2022. [March] 176 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Ah, Jeez...this is not good. Whoa! Come on, you guys! Quit pulling! Take it easy!!

Premise/plot: Gabby Jordan, Priya Gupta, and Mindy Kim are close friends who start a dog-walking business together. But can their friendship withstand the hardships of working together?

All three--Gabby, Priya, and Mindy--love animals. But none have pets of their own. They desperately want to have actual relationships with actual animals instead of just watching videos on the internet. But three kids walking five dogs five (or more) days a week...can they handle it???

My thoughts: My first thought was that this was just like BABYSITTER'S CLUB except with dogs. That isn't a fair summary. It isn't. They are walking dogs, not babysitting them. And almost all days have them working together as a duo or trio--not solo jobs. But essentially, it is a book where kids start a business together and learn the ups and downs of it. I thought the book did a great job in showing some of the possible consequences! 

Relationships can be hard even without the added strain of working a business together.


© 2022 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, November 28, 2022

202. Waffles and Pancake: Flight or Fright

Waffles and Pancake #2: Flight or Fright. Drew Brockington. 2022. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Waffles, you need to see this!

Premise/plot: Waffles and Pancake are going on an airplane for the very first time [accompanied by Mom-Cat]. They are going to be visiting Gramps and Grammers. They are super-excited about seeing them, but, flying on the plane is causing some anxiety. How does an airplane fly?

My thoughts: This graphic novel explores some of the mechanics of flight while continuing the story of Waffles and Pancake. This is the second book in this prequel series. I have not read the other series--where Waffles is a CAT (not a kitten).


© 2022 Becky Laney of Young Readers

201. If You Believe In Me

If You Believe In Me. Rosemary Wells. 2022. 28 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I am just a little bear
Sitting in a great big tree,
Dreaming of Somehow-Someday Things
That might just happen to me.

Premise/plot: If You Believe In Me is a picture book written in verse. It is a life-affirming, "inspirational," picture book packed with a straight-forward message. Little Bear can do just about anything BECAUSE the parents believe.

My thoughts: I liked the illustrations. I'm not quite as sold on the syrup-y sweet text. Some lines--upon consideration--just don't make all that much sense. It is a sentimental text that may appeal to adults. Or some adults.


© 2022 Becky Laney of Young Readers