The Birthday Castle

S. & S./Aladdin. (Fort Builders Inc. Bk. 1). May 2020. 96p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781534452381.
K-Gr 3–Eight-year-old Caleb is saving for the latest book in his favorite series. How can a kid earn some fast cash? He and his friends decide to put their best talents to use and open a fort-building business. Each team member brings their own unique skills and Fort Builders, Inc. is born. The first customer proves tricky, and pesky siblings combined with foul weather threaten to shut down the new enterprise, but old-fashioned teamwork, ingenuity, and perseverance get the job done. This first installment in a new “Quix” series offers a transitional chapter book with STEM appeal, promoting community, creativity, and collaboration. The diverse team of creators invites kids to get off the couch and find some like-minded neighborhood friends. A list of characters at the beginning of the book will help developing readers keep everyone straight, and a word list at the end offers the correct pronunciation and meanings of some of the more advanced vocabulary. Coming in at under 100 pages with large print, wide margins and a dialogue-heavy linear story, this book will grant emerging readers reading confidence. Black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations are large and generously sprinkled throughout the text. Plans for creating a working drawbridge round out the volume. Running around with pals, starting a business, and creating cool projects—what a terrific way to spend summer vacation!
VERDICT A great choice for future engineers, entrepreneurs, and readers who enjoy a fun story that will spark the imagination.

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