James to the Rescue – written by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy

    James to the Rescue (The Masterpiece Adventures, #2) – written by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy, Square Fish / Christy Ottaviano Books, (9781250103789), 2017.

Format: Paperback Early Chapter Book

Rating: 1-5:  (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Genre: Fantasy

What did you like about the book? This is the second book in an engaging early chapter book series by Elise Broach called The Masterpiece Adventures in which Marvin, a little beetle, has a best friend, James, a human. In this episode, Marvin and his family are scavenging for items they can use in their home. Marvin is a little jealous when his cousin Daisy finds something great – a dime that they can use for a silver platter. Suddenly, Marvin’s uncle falls on a pair of scissors and is seriously hurt. Marvin races to ask his friend James to help them get his uncle home. Not easy when you’re the size of a beetle. Though it is short (five chapters of about twenty pages each), Broach cleverly conveys personalities for each character, tells a dramatic story, and provides a reassuring conclusion. The friendship between Marvin and James is at the heart of each adventure. Loads of line drawings, taking up about half of each page, help readers visualize the events in the story and fill in the meaning of words they might not recognize.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  The scene where Marvin’s uncle gets hurt might be scary for sensitive young readers. To be honest, I was a little worried myself.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This series makes a great early chapter book choice for emerging readers, especially for children who enjoy stories about kids with non-human best friends, like Henry and Mudge or children who have a sense of wonder about the possibility of befriending small sentient beings but are not quite ready for The Borrowers.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school classrooms and libraries, public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with Early Chapter Books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes. If you serve patrons in the elementary grades, it would be good to read at least one of the books in the series to become familiar with it.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  5/26/17

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