July 6, 2012

Fiction Friday: Chapter 4

We're back for the fourth installment of Fiction Friday.I have to admit, I'm very pleased with myself for keeping up with all my reading.  I started Fiction Friday to stay motivated and read as many books as possible this summer and apparently having a deadline has really helped.  Plus, I've learned about so many great books, so thanks for linking up!  

Now, before I start my next reading adventure, I need to tell you about a few more books.  This week I read...

The 100-Year-Old Secret
by Tracy Barrett

The 100-Year-Old Secret is the first book in The Sherlock Files mystery series.  Xander and Xena have a knack for figuring things out.  When they move to London with their family they discover they are direct descendents of Sherlock Holmes and are handed a book with all his unsolved cases.  Following their intuition and the clues left from Sherlock himself, the two begin solving a case that has been open for 100 years. Who stole the painting, Girl in a Purple Hat?

As mysteries for young readers go, I found this book exceptionally well-done.  The clues were logical and everything connected and flowed really well.  The characters were intelligent and believable as mini-detectives. The book started out strong and hooked me from the beginning.  Chapters left off with good cliffhangers and there were enough clues for kids to really figure out the mystery as they read.  This would be a great read aloud for 4th and 5th graders.  Overall, a really good read and I will be looking for more in the series.

Then, I switched gears from mystery to realistic fiction and picked up...

Captain Nobody
by Dean Pitchford

Now, I wasn't sure I was going to get to a second book this week with the move, but I'm really glad I did.  Captain  Nobody is worth a little less sleep and little more coffee. I've read a lot of great books this summer, but this is my favorite so far.

The story follows Newt Newman, a fourth grader, with a big brother who is a big time football star. His brother is so famous in fact that nobody every notices Newt.  People are always saying, "I didn't know Chris Newman had a younger brother." Dis!

When Chris Newman gets buried in a huge tackle and goes into a coma, Newt's best friends help keep his mind off his brother's accident by helping him create a Halloween costume.  And, Captain Nobody was born.  Suddenly, dressed in his brothers old clothes and wearing a mask, Newt doesn't feel so invisible anymore.  In fact, he feels like he could do just about anything.  He's braver and stronger, so he just keeps on wearing the costume...everywhere.  Without meaning to, Newt assumes the role of a hero even thwarting a robbery, saving a plane load of passengers, and more.  The one question is, will he be able to save his brother?

I LOVED Newt Newman as a character! He was such a cool kid! I wanted to be part of his world and the author does a great job of pulling you in.  I cruised through this book in just a few hours because I simply couldn't put it down.  The writing is fast paced, witty, and fun.  There is a lot of dialogue, but it would be easy to ready aloud because Dean Pitchford does such a great job giving each character a unique voice. I plan on adding this book to my read aloud list for the year. It would be an excellent read aloud for grades 3-5.  It is also a good independent read for 4th and 5th graders.

Kirkus Reviews said, "This novel will speak to those kids who feel left out...The humor and compassion are sure to appeal to reluctant readers." I couldn't agree more.  Go add this one to your Amazon wish list if you haven't read it.  You don't want to miss this novel.  Apparently (after doing some research online), the audio book is supposed to be incredible.  Dean Pitchford narrates and it was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children. I just might have to check that out.

Now, let's link up and share some more great children's literature. 
Remember, you can link up anytime during the week and we LOVE to hear about new books, old books, or books that are old and new to you.  Pretty much, we just like hearing about good books.  

Please grab my Fiction Friday button and link back to this page, so that others can easily join the fun.

Happy Reading!!


  1. I was thinking mysteries, too!
    The Idea Backpack

  2. Both of the books you read this week were on last year's SSYRA list so I also have had the pleasure of reading them. I LOVED Captain Nobody it was one of my favorite books from last year's list, perhaps because I have a little bit of Newt in me :) My students also loved the book-so anyone wondering if it is appropriate for 3rd graders, YES!!! As for the 100 Year Old Secret this too was a good one. My favorite part was that my 3rd graders were able to follow and even solve the mystery before it was officially stated by Xander and Xena. As for my link up this week, it will be a little late. My hubby has been on vacation this week and I wasn't able to finish the book I started, but I hope to link up Monday (when he goes back to work).

  3. Oh, I forgot to mention if you are looking for a good book I HIGHLY recommend Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff!!! It was tied with Captain Nobody for my favorite of the 2011-2012 SSYRA books. It is completely different from Captain Nobody but excellent all the same. I found that it was an awesome read aloud because of the message and lesson that Annie learns. It has been added to my must reads list of read aloud books!!! You definitely don't want to miss this book!

  4. These sound great! I'm going to put them on my Amazon list for sure!

  5. I was looking for a good mystery for my mystery unit. This sounds great. Thanks.:)
    iTeach 1:1

  6. I have been looking forward to Fiction Friday all week!


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