**Please note that this is Cristina’s last review with us. She was only temporarily with us, and we have enjoyed having her! She brought more children’s /middle grades books to our attention! Many thanks for sharing your reviews with Jessica’s Reading Room Cristina!**
Series: Fun Jungle #6
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Published: April 7, 2020
Reviewed By: Cristina
In the latest novel in New York Times bestselling author Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series, Teddy Fitzroy returns as FunJungle’s resident sleuth to solve his most improbable mystery yet—with a victim that’s 65 million years old.
Teddy was all set for a campout at his friend Sage’s family ranch—but then Sage gets terrible news: The skull of a rare dinosaur that was being excavated on his property has mysteriously vanished overnight in the middle of a rainstorm, even though it weighed 500 pounds. Not a single footprint has been left behind. Since the dinosaur was top secret, the police don’t believe anyone outside the dig could have stolen it.
A T-rex skull can sell for millions of dollars, and everyone is a suspect—including J.J. McCracken, the owner of FunJungle.
Meanwhile, Teddy’s old foes, the Barksdale twins, have gotten into trouble with an illegally purchased anaconda, and Teddy’s girlfriend Summer wants to find out who’s behind the local trade in black market reptiles. The two cases will drag Teddy into more danger and chaos than ever before, in this mystery that’s stranger than fiction.
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Stuart Gibbs is the 6th book in the Funjungle novel series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Teddy Fitzroy is a pretty average 12 year old guy–except for the fact that he lives in a Zoo/Amusement Park that his parents work at, and he solves mysteries that pop up around the park. The latest problem? A T-Rex skull on his buddy Sage’s ranch has disappeared, and his girlfriend’s father (and owner of Funjungle) is a suspect. Oh, and the local bullies have managed to buy an illegal anaconda. And alligator. Where are these black market reptiles coming from? It’s up to Teddy to figure out what really happened to the T-Rex skull and catch an illegal animal dealer in the act. What could possibly go wrong?
Stuart Gibbs has found an ingenious way to teach readers about serious topics like the illegal animal trade and the ethics involved in dino-digs in this book. His entire Funjungle series deals with being environmentally aware, but it doesn’t feel like a lecture. The humor and mystery elements are well done and keep the informational pieces . My only hard thing to swallow is that Teddy and his friends feel older than 12 in their interactions–but that’s a minor thing. I recommend this book for readers especially between 5th-8th grade, but if you have an advanced 3rd grade reader, it’s appropriate for them too, as long as they can handle some hand holding and a kiss on the cheek. Enjoy reading this one. I was laughing out loud at the anaconda in the truck scene. I think you will too.
The Fire Cat
Series: The Cat Club
Author: Esther Averill
Illustrator: Esther Averill
First Published: 1960
Reviewed By: Cristina
Pickles the fire cat to the rescue! Pickles is a young cat with big paws who wishes to do big things with them! When he’s adopted by the local firehouse, Pickles works hard to be a good fire cat. He learns to jump on a fire truck. He learns to help put out a fire, and he even helps out in a rescue. Beginning readers will cheer as Pickles gets his wish and finds something big to do with his paws. With sweet illustrations from author-illustrator Esther Averill, this Level One I Can Read book is perfect for children learning to sound out words and sentences. Whether shared at home or in a classroom, the short sentences, familiar words, and simple concepts of Level One books support success for children eager to start reading on their own.
Pickles is a stray cat who has big paws and no idea what to do with them. His favorite pastime is bullying kittens smaller than himself. But when he finds himself stuck up a tree in a storm, a new friend helps him find a better way to live. Will Pickles do great things with those big paws like his friend hopes he will?
The Fire Cat is a classic beginning reader book. As in, it was Ms. Cristina’s favorite book in first grade! This is a nice book for chapter introduction as well. There is an illustration on each page to encourage readers. Pickles learning to use a fireman’s pole is one of the best! While the story is about a cat becoming a fire cat and working with the fire department, it is also a story with some great Social Emotional Learning opportunities. Homelessness, bullying, kindness and giving someone a chance to prove themselves, self-esteem, community–it’s all there for discussion if you want to use the book in that manner. Otherwise, it’s just a great story for first-third graders. Who am I kidding? I’m an adult and the story still makes me smile![Top]
The Wild Robot
Series: The Wild Robot #1
Author: Peter Brown
Published: April 5, 2016
Reviewed By: Cristina
Can a robot survive in the wilderness?
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.
As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home–until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.
From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.
What would happen if a robot with AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities was washed up on an island with no humans? It would become a WILD robot, naturally! ROZZUM unit 7134–Roz for short–finds herself in a world unlike the one she’s been programmed for. Roz must learn how to communicate with all the animals on the island in order to survive. She eventually becomes part of the island family, but Roz knows something her animal friends don’t. She knows that the factory that made her will eventually figure out she’s missing. And they will send something to find her. How will Roz protect her new family and keep her freedom? Read The Wild Robot to find out!
I really enjoyed this story. Peter Brown did a great job of exploring two really thoughtful topics: community and self-awareness. Roz is originally viewed as a monster by the animals on the island, but as she helps the various animals in different ways, they slowly change their opinions. There are some moments of humor, like when Roz first meets Pinktail the opossum. There are some incredibly tender moments, like when Roz explains to her adopted goose son what happened to the rest of his family. And throughout it all, there is a sense of wonder and discovery as Roz learns and grows.[Top]