The Witch With The Glitch by Adam Maxwell

The third book in the Lost Bookshop series, The Witch With The Glitch finds Ivy, Nina and Oswald in a fairy tale. Their adventure includes a witch in a candy house whose spells are going awry, an angry mob carrying pillows and feather dusters, and a less than competent Van Helsing. An errant spell turns our young adventurers into a ghost, vampire and werewolf. Can they find the kidnapped Izzy and bring her to the witch before midnight so they can be returned to their true selves?

The Lost Bookshop series is written for early independent readers. The main characters have more agency than is common in books at this level, making it a good choice for older kids who are slow readers. Serious issues are presented in a lighthearted way which may concern some adult readers who want books to present lessons the kids can use in their lives, but this is unlikely to be a concern for the kids who are the target market. The main lesson in The Witch with the Glitch is imaginative play is fun.

The Witch with the Glitch is loads of fun and keeps the reader wanting more. The fast-paced, short chapters make it an excellent choice for reading aloud at bedtime. The mini cliffhangers at the end of each chapter will encourage children to finish the book under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

You might also enjoy the rest of the Lost Bookshop series:

All books can be purchased through Amazon by clicking on their images.

Lost Tomorrow by Donovan Scherer

Before she knew about Darksmith Manor and the tradition of monster making to which she was born, Sunshine Saliente was a girl with a Bunny. In this Alice in Wonderland-esque tale Sunshine and Bunny, her stuffed rabbit, find themselves in the post-apocalyptic World of Tomorrow. The city has a 1950s futurist aesthetic that seems alien to Sunshine, who grew up in a house built into a tree and has never heard of movies. With the people long gone, the robots, programmed to serve the residents, are desperate to bring happiness to the only person to stumble into their city in years.

Lost Tomorrow is written for nine to twelve year-olds but may be enjoyed by younger kids whether they are advanced readers or as a read aloud. The book has more potential danger than most books for this age group with just a touch of gross, making it exciting without being scary. While the Deus ex machina solution to Sunshine’s escape may seem a bit clunky to older readers, it suits its target audience. Sunshine’s cheerful cross between flower child and mad scientist is sure to delight readers of all ages.

Lost Tomorrow uses high level vocabulary and complex sentence structure making it a perfect book for advanced readers looking for challenging books written for their age group. Filled with whimsical pen and ink drawings by the author, it is not so dense in appearance as to be inaccessible to reluctant readers. A strong copy editor would have made a few passages more readable and brought the book to the next level of professionalism but it is otherwise a well told and engaging story. I wish the Fear and Sunshine books existed when my own daughter was still in elementary school and I heartily recommend them all for families looking for something they can enjoy together.

You may also enjoy these other books in the Fear and Sunshine series:

All books can be purchased through Amazon by clicking on their images.

Independently Published Middle Grades Books: Coming soon to a blog near you

It’s been a long time since I blogged a book. Heck, it’s been a long time since I read new kid lit. I miss it. So when my friend Donovan told me there is a shortage of bloggers focusing on self-published middle grades fiction, I almost jumped at the chance to fill that void. We were in public; jumping would have drawn questioning looks.

While I promise you honesty, you’re not going to see any negative reviews on this blog. My mission is to introduce you to books that should be a part of your collection, whether that is a bookshelf in your home or you oversee the children’s section of a public library. None of us benefit when I highlight a new author trying to make a name for themselves just to tarnish that name. If I can’t recommend a book, I’ll feature something else.

I can generally tell when what is good and what I like don’t perfectly overlap and will do my best to account for different personal tastes. That being said, I avoid books that are best when read in a high pitched sing-songy voice where the parents save the day and there’s a nice little moral at the end. I’m not against parents. I am a parent. I totally respect Sally Jackson and Fancy Nancy’s parents. They know that we adults exist to give our kiddos the tools they need to make their own way in the world. Books that inspire our kids to explore their passions and expand their horizons are an important part of that toolbox.

I’m super excited about this journey and hope you’ll follow along. If you like what I’m doing and know any children’s librarians, please point them toward this blog. If you are a librarian, leave a comment and let me know. I’ll turn pink with joy.