Monday, February 20, 2012

Terrific Books by Kate Klise

Kate Klise has written several books with a feature I’ve always loved: the stories are written as a series of letters. Outstanding drawings by Kate’s sister, Sarah, make the books even better. Each of the illustrated books also includes newspaper articles, advertisements and other written materials.
Not all the books are illustrated. The last 2 on my list are standard chapter books and quite wonderful.
These books are not easy readers – the reading levels are 4th to 6th grade. But they are very fun.

Dying to Meet You
 Ignatius B. Grumply writes children’s books. He can’t seem to come up with ideas for his new book so he moves into an old house at 43 Old Cemetery Road. However, the house is already occupied by 11-year-old Seymour, his cat Shadow, and an irritable ghost named Olive. I simply love this book. When you read it, be sure to say the names of the characters aloud. They’re hilarious.
The next books in the series:
Over My Dead Body
Till Death Do Us Bark
The Phantom Of The Post Office (coming soon – yay!)

Regarding the Fountain
 The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so the principal writes to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc. to request a new fountain. Fountain designer Flo Waters responds that she’d be delighted to design a custom-made fountain. She asks the 5th grade class of Mr. Sam N. (the teacher we wish we’d all have) to draw pictures of their dream fountain and send them to her. Unfortunately, this is NOT the kind of fountain the principal had in mind! Never mind, the kids and Flo Waters just ignore his complaints.
The sequels:
Regarding the sink
Regarding the trees
Regarding the bathrooms
Regarding the bees

Letters from Camp
Imagine a summer camp just for siblings who don’t get along. Camp Happy Harmony is that kind of camp. But is it? After they've been there for a while, the 6 campers think maybe not. The camp is run by the Harmony family and they are not at all a family in harmony. In fact, they’re downright mean and rather dastardly. Read to find out how the 3 sets for brothers and sisters figure out how to outwit them.

Trial by Journal
Lily Watson is in sixth grade. She's on a jury for a murder trial – all because of a new law saying a child must serve on the jury when a trial concerns a child victim. She'll be out of school for a month, so her teacher insists that she keep a journal. This book gives an inside look at a jury trial and offers a murder mystery to solve.

The following books are also by Kate Klise, with no illustrations. They are excellent middle grade chapter books.

After her brother, sister, and father die in a plane crash, Daralynn Oakland receives 237 dolls from well-wishers, resulting in her nickname: Dolly. After such a start, you’d think this would be a grim book, but it isn’t. There are terrific characters and lots of quiet humor. There’s also a mystery which Dolly solves through her own bravery.

Deliver Us From Normal
Charles Harrisong loves his family but hates being part of it. Growing up in Normal, Illinois feels far from normal. His family is poor and a little odd. After an ugly incident at school, Charles and his family leave Normal to live on a houseboat. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. I hope you check it out.
The sequel: Far from Normal

Happy reading!

This week's free online story from Bob Brooks: Flags Fly Again

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