Tag Archives: Cammuso (author)

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 4: Dinosaur Dilemma

misadventures_of_salem_hyde_4The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 4: Dinosaur Dilemma by Frank Cammuso

Harry N. Abrams, 2015. 978-1419715358

Synopsis: Salem has a science project to finish…that was due two days ago. But she has a plan: she’s going to go to the museum to explore their Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit to get some inspiration. Except that the dinosaurs in Dinosaurs Alive! aren’t alive…until Salem uses her magic to bring them to life. And when she gets a pet Velociraptor to use for her science project, Salem thinks she’s got it made in the shade.

Why I picked it up: I like to read something light hearted and funny to balance out my more serious reading selections.

Why I finished it: Salem’s antics continue as we venture into this fourth book, and we are just as much in love with her as we were at the beginning. I have to admire the way that she looks at things and wants to make things a little bit more interesting. She’s definitely not a girl who is going to settle for the ordinary, even if it sometimes gets her into some trouble. So even though she’s left her science project until the last minute – as most anyone could do – she has big ideas about how to make it the best ever. Readers with pets will particularly enjoy this book; watching Salem and Whammy try to wrangle Nipper the Velociraptor proves to be a little bit too much. On the one hand, Salem has a lot of good material for her project; on the other, the baby Velociraptor is growing bigger and bigger every day. As with the previous books, Salem will need Whammy and a little bit of luck in order to fix her dinosaur dilemma. Also, I just noticed this, but the book titles (Trouble, Catastrophe, Dilemma) play into the ‘Misadventures’  portion of the series title. It’s a clever touch. I also liked the bit of yellow that is infused into the drawings in this volume. It gives it that same fun, lighthearted feel as its predecessors. It’s a cute story and a great addition to your shelf that is sure to engage readers of all ages.

Other related materials: The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 1: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso; The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 2: Big Birthday Bash, The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 3: Cookie Catastrophe by Frank Cammuso; The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 5: Frozen Fiasco by Frank Cammuso; The Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Babymouse books by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy books by D.J. Steinberg; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; Secrets of a Lab Rat books by Trudi Trueit, illustrated by Jim Palliot; Frankie Pickle books by Eric Wight; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi

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The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 3: Cookie Catastrophe Review

misadventures_of_salem_hyde_3The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 3: Cookie Catastrophe by Frank Cammuso

Harry N. Abrams, 2014. 978-1419711992

Synopsis: Salem can’t seem to stick to anything; she’s more apt to give up than she is to finish. So when she joins the Squirrel Scouts, Whammy doesn’t have high hopes. But maybe mean girl Shelly and a cookie competition will give Salem the motivation she needs to see her commitment through. When she wins a camping trip for her troop, she’s not met with a lot of enthusiasm. Will magic be able to make the camping memorable, or will things end in disaster?

Why I picked it up: This series is so gosh darn cute and I love reading about Salem’s creativity in solving her magical mishaps.

Why I finished it: I think one of the reasons I like this series so much is that we were all like Salem. We all get a little tired when we are starting something out and not seeing the results we want, but just like Salem, we learn that if we stick with things, amazing things happen. I remember being in Girl Scouts and having to sell cookies, the difficulty of going door to door never knowing if you were going to make a sale. We feel for Salem when she wants to give up, but Whammy and her desire to stick it to Shelly eventually win out. Even when she gets herself into a sticky situation on the trip to Camp Mystuk, Salem manages to figure out a solution that makes sure everyone – well, almost everyone – comes away happy. The black and white drawings are accented with orange in this book, adding to the quirky quality of the story. Plus, it gives it a unique look next to the other books in the series – creating a sort of mini-rainbow on the shelf. Cammuso’s humor and ability to understand the minds of younger readers really come across on the pages. It’s a comic that celebrates what we can do if we persevere and the joys of finishing a task.

Other related materials: The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 1: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso; The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 2: Big Birthday Bash, The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 4: Dinosaur Dilemma by Frank Cammuso; The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 5: Frozen Fiasco by Frank Cammuso; The Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Babymouse books by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy books by D.J. Steinberg; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; Secrets of a Lab Rat books by Trudi Trueit, illustrated by Jim Palliot; Frankie Pickle books by Eric Wight; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi

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The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 2: Big Birthday Bash

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 2: Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso

Amulet Books, 2014. 978-1419710261.

Synopsis: Salem has been invited to her friend Edgar’s birthday party and she’s intent on finding the perfect gift. Turns out, classmate Shelly took her gift idea and wants to use it as her own. Desperate to give Edgar the perfect gift, Salem resorts to using her magic to give Edgar the best party ever, resulting in a jam that only Whammy can help her out of and a lesson in being able to give from the heart.

Why I picked it up: I loved the first one and I was so excited to see the second one when I was at the American Library Association Annual Conference, where I also got a chance to meet Cammuso!

Why I finished it: There are so many things I loved about this book it’s hard to know where to start. Salem is still up to her same tricks and Whammy is still as disgruntled as ever, but they are just as dynamic a duo. We are also introduced to two of Salem’s classmates – Edgar and Shelly – which adds another layer to Salem’s school life. I like that Cammuso has utilized the same Bill Watterson-esque drawings while adding a bit of whimsy with a splash of pink that really brings the hunt for a present and the big birthday bash to life. Cammuso also has a keen sense of comedic timing as with the previous book that keeps the reader engaged and laughing along with his characters. Plus, the graphic novel format helps to draw us into the story and experience all of the action. It’s a quick read that is sure to delight readers of all ages that have a taste for adventure and a flair for the fantastic.

Other related materials: The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 1: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso; The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 3: Cookie Catastrophe by Frank Cammuso; The Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Babymouse books by Jennifer L. Holm; Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy books by D.J. Steinberg; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; Secrets of a Lab Rat books by Trudi Trueit, illustrated by Jim Palliot; Frankie Pickle books by Eric Wight; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi

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The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 1: Spelling Trouble

misadventures-of-salem-hydeThe Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 1: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso

Amulet Books, 2013. 978-1419708046

Synopsis: Salem Hyde is a witch that likes making friends, unicorns, and casting spells, and she dislikes being told what to do. To help keep her out of trouble, her parents get her an animal companion, a cat named Percival J. Whamsford III. Salem isn’t too happy about ‘Whammy’ tagging along with her, but if she wants to win the school spelling bee and be the best speller, she is going to need the cat’s help to keep things from going seriously sideways.

Why I picked it up: I’m always on the hunt for great Tween reads, and when I saw an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy)  at the vendor’s booth at a conference, I scooped it up.

Why I finished it: This is a cute book about a young witch learning the ropes of spell casting and her friendship with an overanxious cat that is trying to keep her on track. Like most kids, Salem is stubborn, silly, and doesn’t particularly like being told what to do. But when given the opportunity to enter the school spelling bee, she’ll do anything to win over snobby Shelly. Whammy is a cat that hates flying (and for good reason – cats don’t fly), but is dedicated to his job of helping young witches reach their full potential. I loved the little nods to some literature classics and found Salem and Whammy’s adventures oddly reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes. Cammuso’s art has a fun and lively feel that draws us in and fuels a lot of the humor of the story. It’s a great transition book for readers looking to start reading something on their own and it still has the pictures to break up the text.

Other related materials: Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Magic Bone books by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Sebastien Braun; Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales told by Extraordinary Cartoonists edited by Chris Duffy; The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson, illustrated by Fiona Robinson; Let Sleeping Sea-Monsters Lie and Other Cautionary Tales by Eva Ibbotson; Mr. and Mrs. Bunny–Detectives Extraordinare! by Polly Horvath; Three-Ring Rascals books by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise; Candy Fairies by Helen Perelman, illustrated by Erica-Jane Waters; N.E.R.D.S books by Michael Buckley; Origami Yoda books by Tom Angleberger; Lulu in La La Land by Elisabeth Wolf; The Misadventures of the Magician’s Dog by Frances Sackett

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