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The Nora Notebooks, Book 1: The Trouble with Ants
     

The Nora Notebooks, Book 1: The Trouble with Ants

by Claudia Mills, Katie Kath (Illustrator)
 

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Science-obsessed fourth grader Nora has ants all figured out—now she just has to try to understand her fellow humans!
 
The trouble with ants is . . .
. . . people think they’re boring.
. . . they are not cuddly.
. . . who would ever want them for a pet?
 
Nora Alpers is using her new notebook to

Overview

Science-obsessed fourth grader Nora has ants all figured out—now she just has to try to understand her fellow humans!
 
The trouble with ants is . . .
. . . people think they’re boring.
. . . they are not cuddly.
. . . who would ever want them for a pet?
 
Nora Alpers is using her new notebook to record the behavior of ants. Why? Because they are fascinating! Unfortunately, no one agrees with her. Her mom is not happy about them being in the house, and when Nora brings her ant farm to school for show and tell, her classmates are not very impressed. They are more interested in cat videos, basketball practice, or trying to set a Guinness World Record (although Nora wouldn’t mind that).
 
Mostly they are distracted by the assignment their teacher Coach Joe has given them—to write a persuasive speech and change people’s minds about something. Will Nora convince her friends that ants are as interesting as she thinks they are? Or will everyone still think of ants as nothing but trouble?
 
With real science facts, a classroom backdrop, an emphasis on friendship, and appealing black-and-white interior illustrations from artist Katie Kath, The Nora Notebooks is perfect for newly independent readers—especially budding scientists like Nora!—and adults who want to encourage awareness of STEM subjects in young readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 06/01/2015
Fourth-grader Nora Alpers is determined to defy the odds in this entertaining tale, first in the Nora Notebooks series. The youngest child of scientist parents, Nora wants to follow the path where experimentation and data govern decisions. Utterly devoted to her colony of pet ants—“She was probably already the leading 10-year-old expert on myrmecology”—she records ant facts and experiments in her notebook, attempting to capture the world record for youngest published author in a science journal. When Nora brings her ants to class, she is shocked by the hostile reactions of her classmates, who will spar over their love for cats and dogs but have no use for ants. In drily funny writing and b&w illustrations, Mills (the Franklin School Friends series) and Kath capture Nora’s delightful enterprising and willingness to push the boundaries—sometimes (she knows the limit when it comes to sitting with the boys at lunch). Nora’s genuine love for ants will resonate with children who have a passion for something out of the ordinary. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“In drily funny writing and b&w illustrations, Mills (the Franklin School Friends series) and Kath capture Nora’s delightful enterprising and willingness to push the boundaries—sometimes (she knows the limit when it comes to sitting with the boys at lunch). Nora’s genuine love for ants will resonate with children who have a passion for something out of the ordinary.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
 
“Readers will be drawn into the story by the sincere and realistic characters Mills has created, as well as the pleasing and appealing illustrations found in every chapter.” —School Library Journal
 
“The bright and charming Nora . . . displays independent thought, vision, and passion, while letting the reader know . . . that science is unassailably cool.” —Booklist
 
“Middle-grade readers will hope for more Nora Notebooks, soon.” —Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
07/01/2015
Gr 3–6—Nora Alpers is not your typical fourth grader. While her classmates enjoy talking about cute, cuddly cats, she is obsessed with facts, especially interesting facts about ants. Nora keeps a notebook in which she writes down all sorts of information about the everyday happenings of ants. Her parents are both scientists and this inspires Nora to study ants in an ant farm in order to write an article about them. She hopes to submit it to a major scientific journal. Unfortunately, none of girls in Nora's class are interested in her aspirations, though her basketball coach, Coach Joe, is a source of encouragement, as well as her friends Mason and Brody. Will Nora find success as a published writer and break the world record for youngest published author of a professional journal? Readers will be drawn into the story by the sincere and realistic characters Mills has created, as well as the pleasing and appealing illustrations found in every chapter. Patrons will be anxiously waiting to find out what the subject of Nora's next notebook will be. VERDICT A solid additional purchase where younger middle grade fiction is needed.—Martha Rico, El Paso ISD, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2015-06-10
A science-minded fourth-grader observes her classmates and the ants in her ant farm with equal care. Mills' new series stars 10-year-old Nora Alpers but also features classmates at Plainfield Elementary School from her Mason Dixon series. In their first two weeks after winter break, Nora, Mason, and Brody Baxter deal with a skunked dog, play basketball, and write persuasive essays. Nora dresses up for a fancy high tea with cat-loving Emma Averill and takes no side in the best-pet war that divides her classmates. Nora is already a scientist, a myrmecologist; she watches and wonders about ants. She has a scientist's mind, endless questions, and the habit of careful attention. She fills her newest notebook with interesting facts about ants she's learned from library books (from the grown-up section) and her own observations. Each chapter in this engaging third-person narrative ends with an ant fact and includes a grayscale illustration. As always in this author's school stories, the idiosyncratic characters are believable and the school life, realistic. Inspired by an entry in a Guinness World Record book, Nora hopes to become the youngest person ever to get an article published in a peer-reviewed science magazine. She doesn't achieve that lofty goal, but what she does accomplish is quite satisfying. Middle-grade readers will hope for more Nora Notebooks, soon. (Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385391610
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/22/2015
Series:
Nora Notebooks Series , #1
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
677,681
Product dimensions:
6.87(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.62(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Claudia Mills is the author of over fifty books for young readers. She does not personally keep an ant farm, but she does have a cat, Snickers, with whom she curls up on her couch at home in Boulder, Colorado, drinking hot chocolate and writing.

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