cover image MAX AND JAX IN SECOND GRADE

MAX AND JAX IN SECOND GRADE

Jerdine Nolen, Author, Karen Schmidt, Illustrator , illus. by Karen Lee Schmidt. Harcourt/Silver Whistle $14 (44p) ISBN 978-0-15-201668-5

Nolen's (Raising Dragons) catchy debut installment of a beginning reader series introduces Max and Jax, alligator twins who are obviously very devoted to each other. As second grade draws to a close, the siblings each look forward to a big event: for Jax, a sleepover party with her classmates and, for Max, a fishing trip with his father. Though he is historically a far less successful angler than his sister, Max hopes he will catch a big fish this time, since he has just sent away for a new lure, "guaranteed to work." But the "lucky fishing bait" that Jax has thoughtfully made for him using her special recipe (printed on the back cover) is what finally reels in a whopper, which he proudly—and gratefully—presents to Jax when he returns home. Though Max is in the spotlight here, Jax (who happily hugs her rainbow trout while her friends squeal at the sight of it) emerges as the more distinctive and multi-dimensional character. Some chapters feature very brief chunks of text while others ramble on, but Schmidt's (What Do You Love?) boldly hued, animated cartoon art will serve as bait to lure beginning readers back for more. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)