Summer Campfire Stories
By Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Best for: Ages 3-6
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… Everyone has heard that saying a time or two. Maybe Bob hasn’t. Bob, the octopus, films a live show from the ocean floor. During one day of filming, Shark appears onscreen and tries to eat a small orange fish. Was Shark caught in the act or did we just misunderstand his actions? Shark claims he was just trying to show the fish his new tooth. Shark claims all of his bad press is just a big misunderstanding.
Dyckman and Magoon bring the characters to life with vibrant color and laugh-out-loud humor. Add playful typography and this tale zips along, keeping young readers happy when reading alone or in a group setting.
What’s good: Filled with humor even young children can understand.
What’s bad: Little children may be upset by how Shark’s natural instinct affects the ending.
A Werewolf Named Oliver James
By Nicholas John Frith
Best for: Ages 4-8
Oliver James is a boy in a diverse community of friends. One night after band practice, he is waiting for the bus with his friends under the full moon. All of a sudden, nobody is around and the bus drives by without stopping. When Oliver looks at his refection he sees a werewolf. This turns out to be a fun adventure for Oliver James, as he runs through the community pulling pranks and chasing people. The vibrant and energetic illustrations add humor to the already enjoyable content. This is a fun campfire story for younger children.
What’s good: Stylish illustrations filled with humor.
What’s bad: Questionable choice in making the character that terrorizes his community have dark skin.
Evil Emperor Penguin Strikes Back
By Laura Ellen Anderson
Best for: Ages 7-10
The not-too-evil Emperor Penguin wants to take over the world. Number 8 is his bumbling and loveable henchman. Think Captain Underpants, crossed with Despicable Me, crossed with Penguins of Madagascar and you should have a good idea what this graphic novel is like. Cheerfully bright and energetic, Evil Emperor Penguin Strikes Back will have readers turning the pages and looking for more. The goofy humor, including occasional potty jokes, make this book a big hit with young readers. If they want more, go back and read the first book in this series, Evil Emperor Penguin.
What’s good: Fun, bright and energetic.
What’s bad: Tried and true formula might get a little boring for avid readers.