“Click, Clack, Surprise!” by Doreen Cronin
Doreen Cronin is back in the barnyard in this early reader that has Little Duck getting ready for his birthday. In trying to get cleaned up, he imitates the other farm animals such as chickens taking a dust bath, pigs taking a mud bath and more. Kids will enjoy the transformation Little Duck goes through by the end and parents will have a great opportunity to talk about cleanliness. This is a cute addition to her works set on the farm. Ages 4 to 7, reading level (RL) K-2.
“Jaclyn Hyde” by Anabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White
An overachieving, perfectionist eighth grader named Jaclyn Hyde helps readers explore this funny retelling of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. She and a couple of her school friends, Fatima and Paige, search for her pet rabbit which has gotten loose. They end up in a local haunted house that belongs to a mad scientist. When Jaclyn stumbles upon his recipe for “Perfection Potion,” silliness ensues as she becomes an evil monster at school unleashing all sorts of craziness like spiders in a classroom and more that ultimately make Jaclyn look perfect. Everything is looking great until Jackie takes over and Jaclyn can’t control her any longer. Kids will like the wackiness of the book, and parents will like its message that perfection isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Ages 8 to 10, RL 3-5.
“Zenobia July” by Lisa Bunker
Zenobia July’s mother died when Zen was 5, and her father died of a “hunting accident” recently. As a result, Zen moves from Arizona to Maine to live with Aunts Phil and Lucy, who have some quirky friends. Zen starts school as a transgender girl, and she starts to meet new kids, some who are bullies and some who are genuinely nice. Then, someone starts to post hateful memes on her new school’s website. Zen has the skills to catch the culprit, but doing so will reveal her secret. Students are given a sensitive portrayal of a transgender person, and parents will also find that the book calls for tolerance in an intolerant age. Ages 10 to 13, RL 5-8.
John Koetzner is Children’s Services Librarian for the Cloverdale Regional Library. He has reviewed books over the years for publications such as San Francisco Chronicle, New Age Journal and The Healdsburg Tribune.