Everything Is Better with Friends
Maggi and Milo Make New Friends
By Juli Brenning
Illustrated by Priscilla Burris Best for: Ages 3-5
Though not as big as Clifford, Milo is a very big dog. He happens also to be Maggi’s best friend. She is happy to play with Milo in their backyard, which is why Maggi is not sure what to think about her mom’s taking her to the park to meet new friends. At the park Maggi, begins to play with three new friends and has a lot fun. But she misses Milo and thinks he might be bored. So Maggi wants to take him for a walk—and so do her new friends. Before they can walk the “Hercules of dogs,” a price must be paid: roly-polies, dandelion puffs, acorns and more. At the end of the day everyone has had fun, and Maggi has new friends. But she promises that Milo will always be her best friend.
What’s good: The playful kid’s voice makes this a good story time book for young readers.
What’s bad: An omniscient voice scattered throughout the text is a little confusing.
The Oodlethunks: Oona Finds an Egg
By Adele Griffin
Illustrated by Mike Wu
Best for: Ages 7-10
If you were to reimagine the Flintstones today, you might come out with the Oodlethunks. In this first book of the series, we meet Oona and her family. Oona has always wanted a pet, and when she discovers an abandoned egg, she is sure she finally will have one. With the help of her parents she egg-sits and dreams that it will be something cute. When the egg finally hatches, it’s a stegosaurus. Oona and the bully of the story go head to head over ownership of the baby dinosaur. Filled with cartoony illustrations and funny anachronisms, this new series promises kids plenty of laughter. Set aside historical facts—that’s not what this series is about. Kids today will relate to the characters and their issues while having fun reading the story.
What’s good: Fun illustrations and clever plot twists.
What’s bad: A lot of anachronisms, but they add humor to the story.
The Key to Extraordinary
By Natalie Lloyd
Best for: Ages 8-12
If you liked Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic, you’ll like this new tale set in Blackbird Hollow, a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. This story follows Emma, a young girl whose mother recently passed away and who now lives with her older brother and Granny Blue at the Boneyard Café. The Key to Extraordinary is filled with ghosts, magic, destiny and treasure. It’s all woven into a mystery that incorporates friendship, love and a bad guy we all can dislike. Lloyd does an excellent job building characters around intriguing dialogue and eccentric locations.
What’s good: Intriguing characters and an engaging plot make it difficult to put down.
What’s bad: The ending is a little too easily wrapped up.