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Pick of the Decade 1998-2008 The Best Books for Children Grades k-8

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Chapter Books

Ahlberg, Allan. The Children Who Smelled a Rat, 2005.

All the Gaskitts have a bad day when the baby rolls away in a shopping cart, the twins' teacher acts peculiar, and a lost bird tries to hypnotize the cat. (Previous titles: The Man Who Wore All His Clothes; The Woman Who Won Things; and The Cat Who Got Carried Away.)
Applegate, Katherine. Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs, 2008.

When the first-graders' bee antennae would not stay on their heads and the drummers would not stay in their seats for the open house play, Roscoe decides to help by using the "don't-you-dare" glue. (Sequels in the Rosco Riley Rules series: Never Swipe a Bully’s Bear, Don’t Swap Your Sweater for a Dog, Never Swim in Applesauce, Don’t Tap-Dance on Your Teacher, and Never Walk in Shoes That Talk.)

Barrows, Annie. Ivy + Bean, 2006.

When seven-year-old Bean plays a mean trick on her sister, she finds unexpected support for her antics from Ivy, the new neighbor, who is less boring than Bean first suspected. (Sequels: The Ghost That Had to Go, Break the Fossil Record, Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter, and Ivy and Bean Bound to Be Bad.)

Bauer, Marion Dane. The Blue Ghost, 2005.

At her grandmother's log cabin, nine-year-old Liz is led to make contact with children she believes may be her ancestors. (Companion novels: The Red Ghost and The Green Ghost.)

Birney, Betty. World According to Humphrey, 2004.

Humphrey, pet hamster at Longfellow School, learns that he has an important role to play in helping his classmates and teacher. (Sequels: Friendship According to Humphrey, Trouble According to Humphrey, and Surprises According to Humphrey.)

Blume, Judy. Going, Going, Gone with the Pain and the Great One, 2008.

Further adventures of first-grader Jake "the Pain" and his sister, third-grader Abigail "the Great One," include a trip to the beach with Grandma, to a county fair with Aunt Diana, and to a mall with Dad. (Previous titles: The Pain and the Great One, Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One, Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One, and Going, Going, Gone with the Pain and the Great One. Forthcoming title: Friend or Fiend with the Pain and the Great One.)

Byars, Betsy. Boo’s Dinosaur, 2006.

When young Boo is followed home by a dinosaur that only she can see, it causes a bit of trouble for her older brother, Sammy.

Cameron, Ann. Gloria Rising, 2002.

Gloria, an African-American girl, is headed for fourth grade with some trepidation for her new teacher is known as, “the Dragon of Doom.” When Gloria finds herself struggling in her class, she remembers advice from the astronaut she met over the summer and strives to be the best she can be. (Newest in a series that begins with, The Stories Julian Tells.)

Carbone, Elisa, Night Running: How James Escaped with the Help of His Faithful Dog, 2008.

Inspired by the true story of a young runaway slave in the early 1800s, James leaves his master's farm and his beloved dog to make a run to freedom in the dark of night, but when he is captured along the way, James is grateful when his loyal dog comes out of the shadows to rescue him.

Danziger, Paula. Amber Brown Is Green with Envy, 2003.

Fourth-grader Amber Brown must make some important decisions when her mother and Max move their wedding date up and prepare to buy a house together, while her father makes some bad choices of his own. (Newest in a series which begins with , Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon.)

DiCamillo, Kate. Mercy Watson to the Rescue, 2005.

After Mercy the pig snuggles to sleep with the Watsons, all three awaken with the bed teetering on the edge of a big hole in the floor. (Sequels: Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, Mercy Watson Fights Crime, Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise, and Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig.)

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Phineas L. MacGuire…Erupts! 2006

Fourth-grade science whiz Phineas MacGuire is forced to team up with the new boy in class on a science fair project, but the boy's quirky personality causes Phineas to wonder if they have any chance of winning. (Sequels: Phineas L. MacGuire…Gets Slimed, and Phineas L. MacGuire Blasts Off!)

Doyle, Roddy. The Giggler Treatment, 2000. (SP)

Adults who mistreat children, beware, the Gigglers, furry little creatures of justice, will punish you. Their favorite method of punishment? Placing dog poo in your path. (Sequel: Rover Saves Christmas and The Meanwhile Adventures.)

Fine, Anne. The Jamie and Angus Stories, 2002.

Jamie sees Angus in the toy-shop window and knows right away that he and the bull must be together. From the moment he receives him as a Christmas present, the two are inseparable and have a variety of adventures. (Sequel: Jamie and Angus Together.)

Fine, Anne. The Diary of a Killer Cat, 2006.

After witnessing her beloved cat, Tuffy, carrying a dead bird into the house to show her family her catch of the day, Ellie is saddened by his deed and tries to reprimand her lovable pet, but when the lecture doesn't work and Tuffy does it again and again, Ellie has a difficult time trying to figure out how to handle this horrific problem. (Sequel: The Return of the Killer Cat.)

Fleischman, Sid. The White Elephant, 2006.

In old Siam, young elephant trainer Run-Run and his old charge, Walking Mountain, must deal with the curse of a sacred white elephant.

Greene, Stephanie. Moose’s Big Idea, 2005.

Moose, who is good at drawing and making doughnuts, is upset when he loses his antlers, but his encounters with a hunter help them both gain self-respect. (Sequels: Moose Crossing, Pig Pickin’, and The Show-Off.)

Grindley, Sally. Dear Max, 2006. (SP)

As Max--who is almost ten--and his favorite author, D.J. Lucas, exchange letters, the two writers help each other with their new books and develop a special friendship. (Sequel: Bravo Max.)

Harper, Charise. Just Grace, 2007.

Seven-year-old Grace prides herself on being empathetic, but when she tries to help a neighbor feel better, her good intentions backfire, and it may take the help of a boy she doesn't like to make things right again. (Sequels: Still Just Grace and Just Grace Walks the Dog; forthcoming: Just Grace Goes Green.)

Hesse, Karen. Just Juice, 1998.

Talented, nine-year-old, Juice, is good at working with her hands, but she has difficulty reading and working with numbers. School is so hard that she would rather just stay home, but when she learns that her family is in danger of losing their home, she decides to take action to save them.

Howe, James. Houndsley and Catina, 2006.

Houndsley and Catina run into trouble when they decide to prove that they are the best at cooking and writing, respectively. (Sequels: Houndsley and Catina and the Birthday Surprise and Houndsley and Catina Plink and Plunk.)

Jacobson, Jennifer. Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle, 2005.

Andy Shane hates school, mainly because of a tattletale know-it-all named Dolores Starbuckle, but Granny Webb, who has taken care of him all his life, joins him in class one day and helps him solve the problem. (Sequels: Andy Shane and the Pumpkin Trick, Andy Shane and the Queen of Egypt, and Andy Shane Is Not in Love.)

Jenkins, Emily. Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic, 2006.

In the backpack, where it is very dark -- The serious problem of Plastic-ness -- The terrifying bigness of the washing machine -- The possible shark -- How Lumphy got on the big high bed, and lost something rather good looking -- It is difficult to find the right birthday present. (Sequel: Toy Dance Party: Being the Further Adventures of a Bossyboots Stingray, a Courageous Buffalo, and a Hopeful Round Someone Called Plastic.)

Kelly, Katy. Lucy Rose: Here’s the Thing About Me, 2004.

Eight-year-old Lucy Rose keeps a diary of her first year in Washington, D.C., her home since her parents separation, where she spends time with her grandparents, makes new friends, and longs to convince her teacher to let her take care of the class pet during a holiday. (Sequels: Lucy Rose: Big on Plans; Lucy Rose: Busy Like You Can’t Believe; Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Bits and Pieces; and Lucy Rose: Here’s the Thing about Me.)

Kerrin, Jessica Scott. Martin Bridge: Ready for Take Off!, 2005.

In three short stories, Martin develops a crush on his new bus driver, takes care of his friend's hamster with tragic results, and participates in a rocket exhibition that threatens a friendship. (Sequels: Martin Bridge: On the Look Out!; Martin Bridge: Blazing Ahead!; Martin Bridge: Sound the Alarm!; Martin Bridge: Out of Orbit!; Martin Bridge: In High Gear; and Martin Bridge: The Sky’s the Limit.)

King-Smith, Dick. The Twin Giants, 2008.

Brothers Lottavim and Normus do everything together, so when they reach the age of twenty and the height of twelve feet they both decide it is time to find wives.

King-Smith, Dick. Dinosaur Trouble, 2008.

Young dinosaurs Nosy, a pterodactyl, and Banty, an apatosaurus, become friends, despite their parents' prejudices and even manage to take on the biggest predator on the Great Plain.

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. Lumber Camp Library, 2002.

Ruby was raised in a logging camp. She loved the woods and adored her father, but when a tragic accident takes his life, she, her mother and ten siblings must move to town and find a way to make it on their own.

Le Guin, Ursula. Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, 1999.

Jane, the youngest of five cats with wings, leaves the safety of the farm and embarks on an adventure to explore the world, heedless of the danger of humans, who would want to imprison a cat that can fly. (Newest in the series that begins with, Catwings.)

Levine, Gail Carson. The Princess Test, 1999.

In the magical kingdom of Biddle, Prince Nicholas is searching for a bride, and the lovely Lorelei shows up at the castle gates. His parents are very particular, though, and have devised a series of tests for the prospective princesses. (See also: The Fairy’s Mistake; Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep; Cinderellis and the Glass Hill; For Biddle’s Sake; and The Fairy’s Return.)

Look, Lenore. Ruby Lu, Brave and True, 2004.

"Almost-eight-year-old" Ruby Lu spends time with her baby brother, goes to Chinese school, performs magic tricks and learns to drive, and has adventures with both old and new friends. (Sequel: Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything.)

Look, Lenore. Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, 2008.

Frightened by everything out in the world and so completely quiet at school, Asian-American second-grader Alvin Ho becomes a force to be reckoned with at home when he transforms himself into the loud, talented, and fearless Firecracker Man!

Lubar, David. Punished, 2006.

Logan and his friend Benedict are playing tag in the library when a mysterious man punished him by making him speak only in puns.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Grandfather’s Dance, 2006.

As her family gathers for the wedding of her sister Anna,  fourth-grader Cassie Whiting sees the many changes brought about by everyday life and finds comfort in the love of those around her, especially her grandfather. (Previous titles: Sarah, Plain and Tall; Skylark; More Perfect Than the Moon; and Caleb’s Story.)

McDonald, Megan. Hinky-Pink: An Old Tale, 2008.

Summoned to the Great Castle of Firenze to create a special dress for Princess Isabella Caramella Gorgonzola, Anabel, a talented seamstress, is at first delighted but then increasingly despairing as time passes and her efforts are continually subverted by an unseen sprite.

Marsden, Carolyn. The Gold-Threaded Dress, 2001.

Oy, a Thai girl, wants desperately to fit in with her classmates. When Lilandra, the leader of the clique that has been excluding her, demands the she let her wear the beautiful, traditional dress that was a gift from her grandmother, as the price she must pay to join the club, Oy acquiesces with disastrous results. (See also: Silk Umbrellas and Moon Runner.)

McGhee, Alison. Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing, 2008.

Known by all as a know-it-all, ten-year-old Julia prides herself on being able to answer all questions about nearly anything, but when she realizes that she doesn't know the ending to the book she is reading, Julia discovers that learning something new can be quite fun as well.

Mills, Claudia. Gus and Grandpa and the Piano Lesson, 2004.

After Gus, who would rather play outside than practice music, does not do too well at his piano recital, his grandfather shows him how music can be fun. (Newest in the series that begins with, Gus and Grandpa.)

Morris, Gerald. The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great, 2008.

Relates tales of Sir Lancelot, the bravest knight in King Arthur's court. (Sequel: The Adventures of Givret the Short.)

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Roxie and the Hooligans. 2006.

Roxie Warbler, the niece of a famous explorer, follows Uncle Dangerfoot's advice on how to survive any crisis when she becomes stranded on an island with a gang of school bullies and a pair of murderous bank robbers.

Pennypacker, Sara. Clementine, 2006.

While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles while also helping her father in his efforts to banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building. (Sequels: The Talented Clementine and Clementine’s Letter.)

Pitchford, Dean. The Big One-Oh,. 2007.

Determined not to be weird all his life like his neighbor, Charley Maplewood decides to throw himself a tenth birthday party, complete with a "house of horrors" theme, but first he will have to make some friends to invite.

Pilkey, Dav. Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space, 2008.

Only Captain Underpants can stop the three evil space aliens who have invaded Jerome Horwitz Elementary School and turned everyone into lunchroom zombie nerds. (Newest in the series which begins with The Adventures of Captian Underpants.)

Sage, Angie. Araminta Spookie: My Haunted House, 2006.

Araminta enlists the help of several ghosts in an attempt to stop her Aunt Tabby from selling Spook House. (Sequels: The Sword in the Grotto, Frognapped, Vampire Brat, and Ghostsitters.)

Scieszka, Jon. The High and the Flighty, 2007.

Freddi, Jodie, and Samantha travel back in time to the 1930's as they try to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart's final flight. (Newest in the Time Warp Trio Series which begins with The Knights of the Kitchen Table.)

Smith, Alexander Mccall. Akimbo and the Elephants 2005.

On the African game preserve where his father works, Akimbo devises a dangerous plan to capture a ring of elephant poachers. (Sequels: Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo and the Crocodile Man, Akimbo and the Snakes, and Akimbo and the Baboons.)

Speck, Katie. Maybelle in the Soup, 2007.

When Mr. and Mrs. Peabody invite a guest to dinner, Maybelle the cockroach, who lives under their refrigerator, ignores the warnings of Henry the flea to be sensible and ends up "splashing" into a big adventure. (Sequel: Maybelle Goes to Tea.)

Trine, Greg. Melvin Beederman, Superhero: The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich, 2006.

After graduating from the superhero academy, Melvin Beederman heads for Los Angeles, where he unexpectedly teams up with Candace Brinkwater, school play actress, to nab the evil McNasty Brothers. (Sequels: The Revenge of the McNasty Brothers, The Grateful Fred, Terror in Tights, and The Fake Cape Caper, and Attack of the Valley Girls. Forthcoming: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Underpants.)

Fiction for Fourth Grade
Amato, Mary. Snarf Attack, Underfoodle and the Secret of Life: The Riot Brothers

Tell All, 2004.

Prankster siblings Orville and Wilbur Riot, plot to catch a crook, search for treasure and design a catapult capable of defeating a bully, with hilarious results. (Sequel: Drooling and Dangerous: The Riot Brothers Return!)

Alexander, Lloyd. Dream of Jade, 2005.

Follows the adventures of a Chinese cat who became the emperor's good friend and advisor.

Ardagh, Philip. A House Called Awful End, 2002. (SP)

With tongue firmly in cheek, Ardagh tells the tale of Eddie Dickins, who is shipped off to live with Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud and ends up in St. Horrid's Horrible Home for orphans. (Sequels: Dreadful Acts and Terrible Times.)

Babbitt, Natalie. Jack Plank Tells Tales, 2007.

Jack Plank decides that he is not cut out to be a pirate and searches the town of Saltwash for another profession, but he finds something wrong with every suggested job.

Barrows, Annie. The Magic Half, 2007.

Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.

Bauer, Marion Dane. Runt, 2002.

Runt, the smallest wolf cub of the litter, struggles mightily to prove his worth to his father and his pack.

Blume, Judy. Double Fudge, 2002.

The mischievous, five-year-old Fudge, drives his brother crazy with his antics as the family takes a trip to Washington, D. C. and unexpectedly meets up with their cousins from Hawaii. (Previous titles: Fudge and Superfudge; see also: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.)

Bond, Michael. Paddington Here and Now, 2008.

With trouble apparently following him everywhere he roams, lovable Paddington Bear must use his charm and wit to straighten out his most recent dilemmas involving a grouchy neighbor and a strange mishap that lands him center stage at a concert! (Newest in a series which begins with A Bear Called Paddington.)

Bowe, Julie. My Last Best Friend, 2007.

After her best friend moves away, fourth-grader Ida May is determined not to make another best friend, despite the efforts of a new girl in her class. (Sequel: My New Best Friend.)

Bruchac, Joseph. Skeleton Man, 2001.

When Molly’s parents disappear and Social Services turns her over to a great-uncle she’s never met, Molly relies on visions of a Mohawk legend to unravel the mystery in order to save her parents’ lives and her own. (Sequel: The Return of Skeleton Man. See also: Whispers in the Dark.)

Buckley, Michael. The Fairy-Tale Detectives, 2005.

When their parents disappear Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. (First in The Sisters Grimm series. Sequels: The Unusual Suspects, The Problem Child, Once Upon a Crime, Magic and Other Misdomeaners, and Tales from the Hood. Forthdcoming: The Ever After War.)

Butler, Dori. Trading Places with Tank Talbot, 2003.

Jason, who would rather work on his horror movie screenplay than learn to swim, finds an unlikely ally in Tank, the class bully, who is being forced to take ballroom dance lessons. (Sequel: Tank Talbot’s Guide to Girls.)

Byars, Betsy. Keeper of the Doves, 2002.

In late 1800s Kentucky, Amie, the youngest of six daughters, lives with her family on a farm. Amie is afraid of and fascinated by the strange Mr. Tominski who cares for their doves. When her sisters’ cruelty has dire consequences, Amie, the family writer, commemorates his life with a poem. (See also: Me Tarzan, Tornado and The Seven Treasure Hunts.)

Cabot, Meg. Moving Day, 2008.

Forced to move into an ancient Victorian home a good distance away from her friends and the modern life she once lived and loved, nine-year-old Allie Finkle must learn to deal with the unhappy transition, the creepiness of her new room, and the reality that she is now "the new girl" at school.

Carbone, Elisa. Starting School with an Enemy, 1998.

Ten-year-old Sarah has just moved from Maine to Maryland. All she wants to do is make new friends, but accidentally, she makes an enemy of Eric, her next door neighbor, and things go down hill from there. (Sequel: Sarah and the Naked Truth.)

Clements, Andrew. The Last Holiday Concert, 2004.

Life is usually easy for popular fifth grader Hart Evans, but when his music teacher puts him in charge of the holiday concert, Hart must use all of his leadership skills to unite the other students. (See also: Frindle, The Landrey News, School Story, The Report Card, and Lunch Money.)

Clements, Andrew. No Talking, 2007.

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest.

Clements, Andrew. Lost and Found, 2008.

Twelve-year-old identical twins Jay and Ray have long resented that everyone treats them as one person, and so they hatch a plot to take advantage of a clerical error at their new school and pretend they are just one.

Colfer, Eoin. Captain Crow’s Teeth, 2005.

Will and Marty Woodman travel with their family to a small seaside town famous for its resident ghost, pirate Captain Augustine Crow, who haunts the seashore. (See also: The Legend of Spud Murphy and The Worst Boy in the World.)

Coman, Carolyn. The Big House, 2004.

When Ivy and Ray's parents are sent to jail, and left in the custody of their parent's accusers, they decide to look for evidence that will "spring" their parents. (Sequel: Sneaking Suspicions.)

Cowell, Cressida. How to Train Your Dragon, 2004.

Young Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III must go forth and capture a dragon to train like the rest of the lads in his Viking tribe. He brings home the scrawniest of the lot, named Toothless, but with training, he and his sidekick save the day. (Sequels: How to Be a Pirate, How to Speak Dragonese, How to Create a Dragon’s Curse, and How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale.)

Cowley, Joy. Chicken Feathers, 2008.

With his mom in the hospital about to give birth to his sister, Josh is left to tend the farm with his father, but when his talking chicken, Semolina, tells him about the fox trying to sneak into the hen house at night, Josh knows it will be difficult to convince his busy father that his chicken really does know how to speak.

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, 2005.

The Flint Future Detectives series begins with Steven and his friends must solve the mystery presented when he comes into possession of a quadrillion dollar bill sporting a picture of James Brown. (Sequel: Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission.)

Daley, Michael. Space Station Rat, 2005.

When a literate rat stows away on a space station in order to flee more experiments, a lonely boy befriends her and helps her get the food she needs to stay alive, but when she is discovered by the others, the boy must take a stand to help save his friend from her certain demise. (Sequel: Rat Trap.)

DeFelice, Cynthia. The Ghost of Fossil Glen, 1998.

When the ghost of Lucy Stiles saves Allie from falling off a cliff in Fossil Glen, Allie becomes determined to solve the mystery of her murder. (Sequels: The Ghost and Mrs. Hobbs,The Ghost of Cutler Creek, and The Ghost of Poplar Point.)

DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie, 2000. (SP)

Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni finds friends in her new home of Naomi, Florida, when she adopts the endearing dog who knows how to smile that she met in a grocery store.

DiCamillo, Kate. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, 2006.

Edward Tulane, a cold-hearted and proud toy rabbit, loves only himself until he is separated from the little girl who adores him and travels across the country, acquiring new owners and listening to their hopes, dreams, and histories.

DiTerlizzi, Tony and Holly Black. The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1), 2003.

The Grace siblings, Mallory, Jared and Simon, move with their mother into their Aunt Lucinda’s old house and discover a host of hidden magical creatures. (Sequels: The Seeing Stone; Lucinda’s Secret; The Ironwood Tree and The Wrath of Mulgarath.)

DiTerlizzi, Tony and Holly Black. Beyond Spiderwick: The Nixie’s Song, 2007.

When his father remarries and moves his new wife and daughter into the soon-to-be completed Mangrove Hollow, eleven-year-old Nicholas Vargas finds an ally in his new stepsister when a little nixie with a huge problem comes to him for help. (Sequel: A Giant Problem.)

Doder, Joshua. Grk and the Hot Dog Trail, 2008.

When the billion dollar statue goes missing while on their visit to New York City, the Malts, Raffifis, and Grks have to put their sightseeing of the Empire State Building and ride on the Staten Island Ferry on hold while Max and Tim go in search of the culprit with the use of the clues left behind.

Easton, Patricia. Davey’s Blue-Eyed Frog, 2003.

Davey finds a talking frog that claims to be a princess and plans to take her to school to show off, until he begins to consider the consequences of his actions.

Frazier, Sundee. Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, 2008.

Brendan Buckley, a biracial ten-year-old, applies his scientific problem-solving ability and newfound interest in rocks and minerals to connect with his white grandfather, the president of Puyallup Rock Club, and to learn why he and Brendan's mother are estranged.

Gifford, Peggy. Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little, 2007.

Dragging the book around with her all summer long, Moxy had every intention of completing her reading assignment, yet with only one day to go before fourth grade starts, she is now forced to start reading it and, to her surprise, discovers just how much she loves the book after all! (Sequel: Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes.)

Greene, Stephanie. Queen Sophie Hartley, 2005.

A suggestion from her mother leads Sophie to befriend the new girl at school and a grouchy elderly woman, and helps her overcome the feeling that she is not good at anything. (Sequel: Sophie Hartley on Strike.)

Gorman, Carol. Dork in Disguise, 1999.

Jerry Flack is smart enough to know that when he starts school in a new town he can escape the label of “Dork,” by acting cool, but he soon finds he would rather hang out with the kids on the science team. (Sequels: Dork on the Run and A Midsummer’s Night Dork.)

Gutman, Dan. The Million Putt. 2006.

Edward Bogard may be blind, but he can learn just about anything he sets his mind to, so when he finds that he has a natural golfer's swing, he turns to Birdie, the kooky girl next door to help him learn about more than just golf. (Newest in the Million Dollar series.)

Henkes, Kevin. Bird Lake Moon,. 2008.

Twelve-year-old Mitch and his mother are spending the summer with his grandparents at Bird Lake after his parents separate, and ten-year-old Spencer and his family have returned to the lake where Spencer's little brother drowned long ago, and as the boys become friends and spend time together, each of them begins to heal.

Hobbs, Valerie. Sheep, 2006.

After a fire destroys the farm where he was born, a young border collie acquires a series of owners and learns about life as he seeks a home and longs to fulfill his life's purpose of shepherding sheep.

Hoffman, Mary. Starring Grace, 2000.

Grace and her friends have all sorts of adventures during their summer vacation--going to the circus, taking an imaginary safari, making friends with an elderly neighbor, pretending to be astronauts, and calling the paramedics when her grandmother has an accident. (Sequels: Encore, Grace! and Bravo, Grace!)

Holt, Kimberly Willis. Mister and Me, 1998.

In a small Louisiana mill town in 1940, Jolene does not want her Momma to marry the logger who is courting her, but it seems that even her most defiantly bad behavior cannot make him go away.

Howe, James. Bunnicula Strikes Again, 1999.

When Bunnicula the rabbit starts acting strangely, the Monroe dogs and cat renew their suspicions that he is a vampire. (Previous titles: Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery; Howliday Inn, Celery Stalks at Midnight; Nighty-Nightmare and Return to Howliday Inn.)

Hurwitz, Johanna. Fourth Grade Fuss, 2004.

Julio and his best friend Lucas are having a blast in fourth grade until they must prepare for the end of the year tests. (Previous titles: Class Clown, Teacher’s Pet, School’s Out, and Starting School.)

Kinney, Jeff. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, 2007.

Greg records his sixth-grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship. (Sequels: Roderick Rules and The Last Straw.)

Korman, Gordon. Swindle, 2008.

When his precious baseball card is stolen by a mean dealer named Swindle, Griffin Bing gathers up a group of courageous misfits and devises a plan to break into the compound to get it back.

Lee, Milly. Landed, 2006.

After leaving his village in southeastern China, twelve-year-old Sun is held at Angel Island, San Francisco, before being released to join his father, a merchant living in the area.

Lester, Julius. The Old African. 2005

An elderly slave uses the power of his mind to ease the suffering of his fellow slaves and eventually lead them back to Africa. Based on an actual incident from black history.

Lin, Grace. The Year of the Dog, 2006.

Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life. (Sequel: The Year of the Rat.)

Lombard, Jenny. Drita, My Homegirl, 2006.

When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond.

Lowry, Lois. Zooman Sam, 1999.

Four-year-old Sam’s appearance as a zookeeper at his nursery school’s Future Job Day leads him to a number of exciting activities and discoveries, including reading. (Previous titles: All about Sam; Attaboy, Sam; and See You Around, Sam.)

Lowry, Lois. The Willoughbys, 2008.

After being abandoned by their parents to the care of an odious nanny, the four Barnaby children, attempting to fulfill their roles as good old-fashioned children, long for their own happy ending, in a funny parody that pays tribute to classic works of children's literature. 100,000 first printing.

Maguire, Gregory. One Final Firecracker, 2005.

A giant spider and several other odd creatures from the earlier books in the Hamlet Chronicles return as the small Vermont town celebrates a grammar school graduation, Miss Earth's wedding, and the Fourth of July. (Newest in a series which begins with Seven Spiders Spinning.)

Mead, Alice. Junebug in Trouble, 2002.

Despite having moved out of the rough housing project where he grew up, ten-year-old Junebug continues to encounter crime, gangs, and violence. (Previous titles: Junebug and Junebug and the Reverend.)

Napoli, Donna Jo. Ugly, 2006.

When the rest of the ducks turn on her little duckling, Ugly, because he isn't like them, Mother Duck sadly leaves him behind in order to protect her other children. With the help of some new friends, Ugly makes his way alone, but he doesn't know where he's going or what he's looking for.

Napoli, Donaa Jo. Mogo the Warthog, 2008.

Forced to move out of the burrow in order to make room for the new litter, the runt Mogo sadly heads off into the dangerous savanna to start his frightening and lonely new life until he meets a kind-hearted, young baboon who helps heal his broken heart.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Starting with Alice, 2002.

The first in a trilogy of prequels about Alice (the main character in the series that begins with The Agony of Alice), Alice moves with her brother and father from Chicago to Maryland and has trouble finding friends in her new school. (Sequels: Alice in Blunderland and Lovingly Alice.)

Pullman, Philip. I Was a Rat! 2000.

A little boy turns life in London upside down when he appears at the house of a lonely old couple and insists that he was a rat.

Riddell, Chris. Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, 2008.

Sleuth Ottoline Brown, with the help of her hairy best friend, Mr. Munroe the cat, eagerly takes on her latest case, to catch the jewel thief and dog-napping bandit who has been terrorizing the high-society residents of Big City.

Rogan, Sally. The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush, 2007.

When Penhaligon Brush the fox is summoned by his step-brother to the seaside town of Porthleven, he finds immediately upon arrival that his brother is incarcerated in the dungeon at Ferball Manor.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Riding Freedom, 1998.

A fictionalized account of the life of Charley (Charlotte) Parkurst who ran away from an orphanage in the 1860s, disguised herself as a boy, moved to California and fooled everyone by her appearance.

Shalant, Phyllis. The Great Cape Rescue, 2007.

Upon entering fourth grade, Fin and his friends think they must stop playing superheroes, until they discover that their game might become real through a magical cape, and the "Society of Super Secret Heroes" is born.

Singh, Vandana. Younguncle Comes to Town, 2006.

In a small town in northern India, three siblings await their father's youngest brother, Younguncle, who is said to be somewhat eccentric.

Snicket, Lemony. The Bad Beginning, 1999.

After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune. (First in the Series of Unfortunate Events which includes: The Reptile Room; The Wide Window; The Miserable Mill; The Austere Academy; The Ersatz Elevator; The Vile Village; The Hostile Hospital; The Carnivorous Carnival, The Slippery Slope, The Grim Grotto, The Penultimate Peril, and The End.)

Stewart, Paul. Fergus Crane, 2006.

Nine-year-old Fergus Crane's life is filled with classes on the school ship Betty Jeanne, interesting neighbors, and helping with his mother's work until a mysterious box flies into his window and leads him toward adventure. (Sequel: Corby Flood and Hugo Pepper.)

Van Draanen, Wendelin. Shredderman: Secret Identity, 2004.

Fifth-grader Nolan Byrd, tired of being called names by the class bully, has a secret identity—Shredderman! (Sequels: Attack of the Tagger, Meet the Gecko, and Enemy Spy.)

Vande Velde, Vivian. Smart Dog, 1998.

Fifth grader Amy finds her life growing complicated when she meets and tries to hide an intelligent, talking dog that has escaped from a university lab.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Three Good Deeds, 2005.

Caught stealing some goose eggs from a witch, Howard is cursed for his heartlessness and turned into a goose himself, and he can only become human again by performing three good deeds.

Weeks, Sarah. Regular Guy, 1999.

Because he is so different from his eccentric parents, Guy is convinced he has been switched at birth wit a classmate whose parents seem more normal. (Sequels: Guy Time, My Guy, and Regular Guy.)

Williams, Vera. Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart, 2001.

A series of narrative poems tells how two sisters help each other deal with life while their mother is working and their father has been sent to jail.

Winkler, Henry. A Tale of Two Tales, 2008.

Fourth-graders Hank, Ashley and Frankie are excitedly preparing for a magic show when Hank’s creative alternative to an English essay lands him in detention and he is grounded the week of the show. (Newes in the Hank Zipzer series which begins with Niagra Falls or Does It?)

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