#Road2Reading Challenge: Classroom Pets & Imaginary Friends

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Each week, Michele Knott and I post about new early readers and chapter books.  This week, we are both looking at Transitional Chapter Books. 

Super Turbo Saves the Day
by Lee Kirby; Illustrated by George O'Connor
Little Simon (December 20, 2016)
Fiction * Classroom Pets * Super Heroes
Audience: 1st to 3rd grade
Indiebound | WorldCat

Description from GoodReads
He’s not just the class pet hamster, he’s SUPER TURBO! In this brand-new series that’s packed with adventure, Captain Awesome’s loyal sidekick is the star of the show!

You know Turbo as the crime-fighting hamster from the Captain Awesome books. But ever wonder what actually goes on when the last school bell rings and Turbo is left to his own devices? After all, what do you think your class pets do all day? You think they sleep, eat, and wait for you to play with them? Well, think again, because Turbo isn’t just any hamster. He’s SUPER TURBO and he’s here to fight evil in and out of the classroom! Along with his superpet companions, Turbo battles everyday evils at Sunnyview Elementary, such as flying ninja squirrels, a gang of evil rats, giant Eraser Dude, and more!

In this first book, Turbo realizes that he’s not the only superpet in town (or in school). As he meets fellow superpets, such as Angelina the guinea pig (a.k.a. Wonder Pig) and Frank the rabbit (a.k.a. Boss Bunny), he also encounters a super VILLAIN: a rat who goes by the name of Whiskerface. Can Turbo and the Superpet Superhero League save the school from Whiskerface and his rat pack?

With easy-to-read language, illustrations, and comic panels on almost every page, the Super Turbo chapter books are perfect for emerging readers!

Quick thoughts on the book:
There is something about school after hours, especially at night. As a child, I imagined my teachers having secret apartments where they slept and ate. Why not the possibility that classroom pets have their own adventures at night? 

Lee Kirby has created a new series for young readers ready for a chapter book format. The story of Sunnyview Elementary School's classroom pets and their alter egos in super hero format is told over ten chapters with primarily a large font and and a many illustrations. Illustrator, George O'Connor moves between typical line drawings found in transitional chapter books with comic book style blocks. labels, and dialogue bubbles. 

Readers will enjoy how Turbo (a classroom hamster) meets up with the other classroom pets and takes on Whiskerface and his team of "rats" in order to protect the school. Though the book is a simplistic on plot development, and characters experience little if any change in development from the beginning to the end, which makes it a good starting place for children beginning to understand how a story unfolds. However, the length of the book and style of text may provide some challenge for readers as they move from more simplistic early readers to transitional chapter books. 

If you like this book, check out the next book in the series

Super Turbo Vs. the Flying Ninja Squirrels by Lee Kirby; Illustrated by George O'Connor 

Daisy Dreamer and the Totally True Imaginary Friend
by Holly Anna; Illustrated by Genevieve Santos
Little Simon (April 4, 2017)
Audience: 1st to 3rd grade
Fiction * Friendship * Imaginary Friends
Indiebound | WorldCat

Description from GoodReads
Hi! I’m Daisy Dreamer and this story is all about how I met Posey, my totally true imaginary friend.

Hi, I’m Daisy Dreamer. People call me the girl with her head in the clouds because I daydream some of the time…or maybe most the time. But isn’t that what makes life so…well, dreamy? Together with my best friends, Lily and Jasmine, we love to write stories, draw, and invent games. Then one day, I drew a doodle in my special journal and you know what? That picture moved! All. On. Its. Own. And that is how I met Posey, my totally true imaginary friend. Now he’s got a story to tell. And guess who’s going to tell it. Yep, that’s right. Me, Daisy Dreamer, the girl with her head in the clouds.

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Daisy Dreamer chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Quick Thoughts on the book
In Holly Anna's new Daisy Dreamer series, readers meet Daisy and her family and friends. Her two closest friends are Jasmine and Lily. Daisy shares her new journal with her friends and also shares the prompts that her grandmother has included in the book. 

Daisy struggles with the typical challenges and joys of a 2nd grader. `Readers will relate to Daisy's daily routines in getting ready for school, transitioning through school activities, or with the challenges of dealing with classmates who can be mean, and by playing with an imaginary friend.

Daisy Dreamer is stylistically more like a typical transitional chapter book than Super Turbo. There are ten chapters with illustrations, medium font size, and just over 100 pages.  Also similar to Super Turbo, there is a simplistic plot and characters remain fairly consistent in personality and responses to what happens in the story. As with Super Turbo, the length of the book may require some stamina building. Additionally, the one element that I am least fond of is the cliffhanger at the end of the book. Since not all children will have access to every title in the series, this may be a source of frustration for children not having the next book or for others who start with one of the later titles in the series. 

If you like this book, check out the other books as they release this year:

Look for these books at your local indie bookstore or community library

Don't forget to link up your reviews of Early Readers or Transitional Chapter Books: