With magical animals, science, mystery, and adventure -- the brand new series Zoey and Sassafras has something for everyone! Easy-to-read language and illustrations on nearly every page make this series perfect for a wide range of ages.
In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! When a sick baby dragon appears, it's up to Zoey and Sassafras to figure out what's wrong. Will they be able to help little Marshmallow before it's too late? Each story in the Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. There isn't a set formula for each book; Zoey sometimes needs to run experiments, while other times she needs to investigate a mystery, and yet other times she needs to do research. Zoey models how to keep a science journal through her handwritten entries in each story. Each story is complete with a glossary of the kid-friendly definitions for scientific terms used.
Gr 1-3—Zoey and her cat, Sassafras, love to explore, play pretend, and learn. They make an excellent team. Unfortunately, Zoey is feeling blue because her mom is leaving for a work conference. While her mom finishes packing, Zoey makes a big discovery: a photograph that glows purple, hidden amongst her mom's papers. Zoey learns that magical animals come to the family's barn when they need assistance. With her mom away, it is up to Zoey and Sassafras to aid a sick baby dragon. Zoey puts her Thinking Goggles to work as she researches how to help the dragon. The book relies heavily on STEM themes (Zoey creates an experiment, considers a hypothesis, and gathers evidence), but the story line does not suffer. Concepts are explained concisely and clearly, and a short glossary provides valuable vocabulary building. The slightly larger font makes the text inviting for emerging readers, and the illustrations blend perfectly into the story. Sassafras and the dragon prove to be able sidekicks in the vein of Disney characters, which will appeal to readers. An African American family takes center stage, something not often seen in early chapter books. VERDICT This book is a natural fit for STEM collections and deserves a place in all libraries serving young readers.—Sarah Wethern, Douglas County Library, Alexandria, MNCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
In this whimsical first book in the Zoey and Sassafras series, Zoey--a resourceful budding scientist with brown skin, springy curls, and a cat sidekick--learns that her mother has been secretly rehabilitating magical animals in their backyard. Naturally, Zoey wants to help, but when a sick baby dragon appears while her mother is away, she must use the tools available to her to help the dragon survive. Citro plays Zoey's anxieties against her can-do attitude, demonstrating how research, past experience, and the scientific method can come in handy (investigating what dragons like to eat, Zoey learns that they enjoy marshmallows but fish is a better choice). Dense blocks of text don't make for a terribly inviting reading experience, but Lindsay's cheery spot illustrations help, and Citro gracefully balances her story's scientific and fantasy elements. Simultaneously available: Monsters and Mold and Merhorses and Bubbles. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
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