Mighty Reader Makes the Grade

Holiday House. Nov. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823444991.
Gr 1-3–In the “Mighty Reader” series, made up of books that have the look of graphic novels, Hillenbrand explores a topic sure to induce dread: school tests. Lulu the dog has gone to bed in anticipation of the state test she’ll face the next day. While sleeping, Lulu has a nightmare that a tower of books is out to stop her from succeeding. Atop the tower of books is an evil green triangle with one eye that shouts, “HA, HA, HA, we got you now, my pretty. Give it to us…your brain!” Meanwhile, a fire-breathing book chases Lulu and the “test” says, “We smell blood.” These phrases terrify Lulu, and will frighten the intended audience, too. Mighty Reader, a canine superhero, arrives and shows Lulu how to defeat her fears. When Lulu awakes, it is the day of the test, and she knows what to do when she gets to school. This book does little to assuage readers’ fears, and with most of the action taking place in Lulu’s nightmare, doesn’t really provide tools for coping.
VERDICT Testing is no joke; this book offers a funny, well-executed tale, but use it for story hours, not for the self-help shelves for the young.

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