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Eva's Treetop Festival: A Branches Book…
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Eva's Treetop Festival: A Branches Book (Owl Diaries #1)

by Rebecca Elliott

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This is a new Branches series, which is supposed to be a "branch" from easy readers to chapters. It's one of the easier ones, aimed at kids just starting to transition from easy readers to chapters.

Eva loves her new diary, her school and being busy. She does not love being bored, mean Sue Clawson, or her brother's stinky socks. Also, she thinks being an owl is pretty cool. When Eva gets bored, she gets a great idea - to have a spring festival at school! But she soon finds herself overwhelmed. Will the festival ever happen or will it be a total disaster? Will she have to ask for help from mean Sue Clawson and her friends?

The backgrounds of lined paper emphasize the "diary" aspect of this although the heavily illustrated pages don't really seem to add to the brief text. There are copious owl puns, lots of owls in cute glasses and outfits, and organizational charts and notes as Eva tries to get the festival under control. The plot itself is predictable and the characters are very stereotypical.

Verdict: This is cute, but lacks substance. If you are really in need of transitional series and have readers who will like this type of fluff, go for it. Otherwise I'd stick with Branches' more substantive series.

ISBN: 9780545683630; Published January 2015 by Branches/Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2015
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jun 7, 2015 |
Kids will be attracted to this diary-style, illustrated series, because of its cute, clean, crisp look. The proliferation of bird wordplay (flaptastic, owlamentary school, etc.), however, will wear a little thin, and makes reading more difficult for emergent readers. ( )
  shelf-employed | Mar 18, 2015 |
OWL DIARIES #1: EVA’S TREETOP FESTIVAL by Rebecca Elliott is the first book in a new series featuring a lovable young owl named Eva.

In the first episode, Eva plans a festival to celebrate spring. The book uses a diary-approach to tell the story and explore topics including friendship, planning, and helpfulness.

Interesting visuals support the simple text. Rather than complete sentences and paragraphs, some pages contain words and phrases to label images drawn into the diary entry. While some teachers may not like this non-traditional approach, young readers are likely to enjoy the variety in story presentation.

The illustrator uses a digital collage technique to create the adorable characters and other visual elements. Each diary entry is presented on white, pink-lined paper using an easy-to-read font. The use of pink and other pastel colors along with the female protagonist is likely to attract more girl than boys readers.

Designed for ages 5-7, this short book lends itself to discussion and learning activities. For instance after Eva introduces herself in the first diary entry, children can write their own introductory diary entries. Eva’s “to-do” list provides the opportunity to practice making task lists. The story’s cupcake recipe can easily be connected to a lesson related to math and following recipes.

The Owl Diaries is part of a recently introduced Scholastic series designed for newly independent readers. The target audience has been successful with leveled readers, but may not be ready for traditional chapter books. These books bridge the gap by providing “easy-to-read text, simple plotlines, plenty of context clues, and purposeful illustrations that aid reading comprehension”. Other Branches series include Boris, Kung Pow Chicken, Missy’s Super Duper Royal Deluxe, Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe, Dragon Masters, Eerie Elementary, Looniverse, Lotus Lane, Monkey Me, and The Notebook of Doom. Each series features distinct storylines and visual elements that will appeal to different types of children. There’s something for everyone.

Young readers will be looking forward to the second book in this fun new series, Eva Sees a Ghost.

(ARC Edelweiss used for review) ( )
  eduscapes | Jan 7, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545683629, Paperback)

This adorable early chapter book series is perfect for young girls who love friendship stories starring animal characters!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she offers to organize a spring festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy's help, there is NO way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This book is written as Eva's diary -- with Rebecca Elliott's owl-dorable full-color illustrations throughout!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

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