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More Sequels and Series

By Nancy Brashear and Carolyn Angus
 | Jul 02, 2018

This week’s column includes new books in episodic series that can be read in any order for younger readers and first books or much-anticipated sequels in lengthier and more complex series for older readers. All of these books should leave fans eager for the release of the next book or lead them to earlier books in the series to read—or reread.

Ages 4–8

Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. Judi Barrett. Ill. Ron Barrett. 2018. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.

Lots More AnimalsIn this follow-up to Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (1970), simple “because” statements are paired with clever portraits (rendered in pen and ink with digital color) of 14 more animals who have definitely erred in donning human apparel. The humorous illustrations match the playfulness of the language. For example, “Animals should definitely not wear clothing because it would hamper a horse” (a racehorse is shown being tripped up by the untied laces of the sneakers it is wearing) and “because a turtle has a turtleneck of its own” (a none-too-happy turtle looks uncomfortable sticking its neck out of a turtleneck sweater). The reasoning is sensible—in a silly way.

Mr. Monkey Bakes a Cake (Mr. Monkey #1). Jeff Mack. 2018. Simon & Shuster.

Mr. Monkey Bakes a CakeThe ingredients for Mr. Monkey’s cake include a gigantic sack of bananas. While the cake is in the oven, he devours all the extra bananas and ends up too full to eat it. An alternate plan to enter a cake show goes awry as a series of mishaps occur on the way there. He luckily arrives with the cake intact, but is too late to win a ribbon. What else can go wrong? A great deal. The limited vocabulary and repetitive narrative along with one-word interjections from characters in speech balloons and colorful cartoon illustrations make this first book in Mack’s new series perfect for emergent readers, who can immediately turn to simultaneously published Mr. Monkey Visits a School.

Roxie and the Hooligans at Buzzard’s Roost (Roxie and the Hooligans #2). Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Ill. Alexandra Boiger. 2018. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.

Roxie and the HooligansNine-year-old Roxie Warble’s excitement about a Hooligan-free seaside vacation with Uncle Dangerfoot and her best friend, Norman, gets dampened when she discovers that the Hooligans (Helvetia Hagus, Simon Surly, Freddy Filch, and Smoky Jo) have come along as stowaways. Uncle Dangerfoot chose remote Buzzard’s Roost as the perfect site to work secretly on a new invention, the Blasto-Sonic-Liftomatic, with Lord Thistlebottom, the famous author of Lord Thistlebottom’s Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them. When the arrival of nemesis Alfred Applejack (who wants to steal their invention and patent it as his own) inadvertently leads to the kidnapping of little Smoky Jo, Roxie and the Hooligans join together to rescue her and the project.

This Book Is a Classic (Cilla Lee-Jenkins #2). Susan Tan. Ill. Dana Wulfekotte. 2018. Roaring Brook.

This Book is a ClassicBiracial third-grader Cilla Lee-Jenkins wonders who she is, if she’s only half Chinese and can’t speak the language. As “best friend” problems heat up at school, things change at home as well. Chinese Auntie Eva is engaged to Korean Paul Kim, and wedding-planning tensions are increasing between the Chinese, Korean, and Caucasian families. At the wedding, Cilla stops a meltdown by her younger sister, Gwendolyn, and, with help from the three grandmothers, averts her flower-girl responsibilities from turning into a disaster. Accompanied by pencil sketches and ending with an epilogue and glossary, this humorous story blends cultures, new and classic traditions, and languages. Readers will look forward to Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story (due out in March 2019).

The Un-Friendship Bracelet (Craftily Ever After #1). Martha Maker. Ill. Xindi Yan. 2018. Little Simon/Simon & Schuster.

Craftily Ever AfterEight-year-old best friends Emily and Maddie always wear matching friendship bracelets. After Maddie befriends new student Bella, Emily feels left out and bonds with classmate Sam over birdhouses. When Emily loses her friendship bracelet at her soccer game and Maddie doesn’t notice, Emily decides it must have been an un-friendship bracelet. Things sort themselves out when Bella invites Emily, Maddie, and Sam to help her transform a shed in her backyard into a crafting clubhouse, and they celebrate by creating new bracelets for each other. This realistic story, accompanied by an abundance of black-and-white illustrations, includes step-by-step instructions for making a friendship bracelet. Crafty emerging readers will want to continue crafting with these friends by reading Making the Band, published simultaneously, and three more books in the series coming in 2018.

Ages 9–11

A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic #1). Anna Meriano. 2018. Walden Pond/HarperCollins.

Love Sugar MagicEleven-year-old Leonora Logroño longs to join her family at their popular bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, to prepare goodies for Día de los Muertos, but her mother tells her she is too young. When Leo sneaks into the bakery in the middle the day, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and five sisters are brujas, who sweeten their baking with magic. Finding the hidden Recipes of Love, Sugar, and Magic, Leo experiments on her own with results that go awry, and when she tries to help her best friend, Caroline, with a problem, her solution proves to be a hilarious recipe for disaster. Readers will beg to make baked goods from Leonora Logroño’s Lucky Recipe Book, I Love Sugar Magic, at the end of the story. This sweet series will continue with A Sprinkle of Spirits (due out in February 2019).

The Quest of the Cubs (Bears of the Ice #1). Kathryn Lasky. Ill. Angelo Rinaldi. 2018. Scholastic.

Bears of the IceIn this series opener, polar bears, rulers of the Northern Kingdoms, are threatened by Roguers, renegade bears who snatch cubs and kill resisting mothers. Svenna, mother to cubs First and Second, who makes a deal with Roguers to exchange her reading and writing skills for the lives of her babies, is delivered into bondage to the Timekeepers of the Ice Cap. Feeling deserted, First and Second search for their Da, discover unique survival gifts (ice gazing and riddling), and meet allies: Third, a runaway cub who joins them, and Skagen, a snow leopard who sends them on a quest, in the right direction, to find their legendary father. Readers will be eager to continue the adventure of the bears of the ice with The Den of Forever Frost (due out in September).

Ages 12–14.

Ash Princess (Ash Princess #1). Laura Sebastian. 2018. Delacorte/Random House.

Ash PrincessWhen she was 6 years old, Princess Theodosia witnessed the murder of her mother, the Fire Queen, during the Kalovaxian invasion of Astrea. Following mass killings, those Astreans kept alive were enslaved to mine the country’s magical gems and Theo became the captive of the Kaiser, the cruel Kalovaxian ruler. For 10 years she has been physically and psychological abused. She suffers frequent public whippings, is forced to give up all ties to her Astrean heritage, and must appear at court functions wearing a crown of ashes. When the Kaiser forces her to kill Ampelo, her father, who has been captured after escaping from the mines, Theo realizes that surviving is not enough and puts into motion a complex plan to save herself and her enslaved people, setting fantasy fans up for the sequel, Lady Smoke (due out in spring 2019). 

Sunny (Track #3). Jason Reynolds. 2018. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.

SunnyAlmost-13-year-old African-American Sunny Lancaster, one of the four newbies (Ghost, Patina, Lu, and Sunny) on the elite youth track team, the Defenders, is the fastest runner in the 1600 meter. He’s a “wih-winner,” but, as he confesses in his diary, for him it’s “buh-boring.” His father expects him to run and to keep running for his mother, who dreamed of being a marathon runner but died after giving birth to Sunny. What’s not boring to Sunny is dancing. He loves to practice dance routines with Aurelia, his home-school teacher. How can he remain a member of the track team and not run? Coach may have the answer, and Sunny begins to train at discus throwing, which for him is just like dancing with its rhythmic spin, step, spin-step, throw.

Ages 15+

The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1). Holly Black. 2018. Little, Brown.

The Cruel PrinceJude was 7 years old when Madoc murdered her human parents and stole her, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne (the half-fey daughter of Madoc) away to Elfhame in Faerieland. Now 17, mortal Jude knows she will never be a knight, something Madochas forbidden. Against Taryn’s advice, Jude angers cruel Prince Cardan, jeopardizing the girls’ lives amidst brutal political intrigue, civil unrest, and violence in the kingdom. Despising Madoc, Vivi tries to convince her sisters to escape to the mortal world to live with her girlfriend, Heather, who doesn’t know about her heritage. Against a background of sibling conflict and unlikely or unwelcome alliances, Jude knows that the future of Faerie, the kingdom she has grown to love, rests in her hands. To be continued in Folk of the Air (due in 2019).

Nexus (Zeroes #3). Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti. 2018. Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.

NexusIn this riveting conclusion to the Zeroes trilogy, the Zeroes (six teens born in 2000 in Cambria, California, with unique powers) have been labeled domestic terrorists following the imprisonment of their bellwether leader, Nate, for the murder of the Swarm leader. After orchestrating Nate’s escape, the Zeroes reunite and rebuild trust with each other before confronting an unknown bellwether, Piper, whose Machiavellian plans to channel human energy through the Nexus machine during New Orleans’ Mardi Gras would create a diabolical crowd-psychosis swarm that would lead to the collapse of society. The Cambrian Zeroes must combine their superhuman abilities and resources in time to stop Piper—and bring a new order of peace and clarity to the world.

Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English from Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, California. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.

These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily.

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