Whatcha Reading, Jr? May 2022

By: OwlCrate Jr Photo By: @beachesandreads

May was such a busy month, but we were still able to fit in reading some truly great reads! 

For a little bit of added excitement we've decided to do a giveaway this month! Comment below letting us know what you read in the month of May for a chance to win a $25 OwlCrate shop gift card! *Winner will be randomly selected on Friday, June 10th*

Take a peek below at some of the books the OwlCrate Jr team read over the past month. 

Want even more great recs? Check out OwlCrate's monthly wrap up as well! (and they may also be hosting a giveaway👀)

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
by Lemony Snicket
Book cover for The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. A tall, imposing adult wearing a suit jacket with tails and pin stripe pants stands in a doorway looking down upon three children of various ages. The eldest child wears a purple coat with a matching purple ribbon in their hair and holds a baby swaddled in a white cloth with a pacifier in their mouth. Next to these two is a shorter child with short brown hair and round glasses wears a dark collared suit.

It has been over 20 years since I first read this book and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it! Snicket’s first wickedly tongue-in-cheek tale of the unfortunate Baudelaire siblings is entertainingly reminiscent of the Roald Dahl books I devoured as a kid, but grown up me was thoroughly put off by the plot point of (SPOILERS!) 14-year-old Violet being forced to marry the conniving Count Olaf. I get it, it was so he could take over their fortune, but . . . ick!

That being said, I read it at warp speed and was rooting for the Baudelaire’s the whole way through. I will likely read part two the next time I’m with my childhood library.

— Sally

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Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Vol. 1
by Daniel José Older, illustrated by Harvey Tolibao
Book cover for Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Vol. 1 by Daniel José Older. A Black Jedi with long dark brown wears brown robes and hangs off a red speeder wielding a lit blue lightsaber. Two other beings are also on the speeder. Scene takes place in a desert landscape.

The Star Wars universe is vast. I thought it would be fun to explore the galaxy with characters I’m not familiar with in a time before the events we all know and love. At its core, this is the story of Lula and her other padawan friends being called up to help protect Trymant IV and its people after an attack by the piratical Nihil. During the fray, Lula meets Zeem, who has spent her whole life suppressing her connection to the Force. Zeem’s long time friend, Krix, sees her use of the Force as a betrayal to their people, and their friendship, and flees with the Nihil. While the good fight the bad, a friendship is tested. Zeem has found a place with the Jedi and Krix has been taken under the wing of the Nihil leader. Where will we go from here?

This first volume has all the elements of a classic Star Wars tale with that wholesome middle grade humour and charm. I am invested enough to pick up Volume 2.

— Crystal

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The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
Book cover for The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller. Behind the red title font is a broken egg, the yolk centered in between both pieces. Image is on a teal background.

This past summer has seen a massive shift in Natalie's life, due mainly to the fact that her mother has refused to get out of bed for months. Natalie's confused over why her mother took such a turn, angry she doesn't seem to care about anything any more, and upset that her father just seems to stand by. When her overeager science teacher lets her know about a competition with a monetary prize, Natalie comes up with a plan that she thinks will "fix" everything. 

This is a stark, sympathetic look at how depression can manifest, but also how it can affect everyone around you. Not only that, I'm impressed with how subtly yet attentively Keller shows how each character, no matter how small, holds their own individual complexities. I will definitely be looking more into Keller's backlist with great eagerness. 


A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch (Worst Witch #3) by Jill Murphy
Book cover for A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. A young white child with their hair in long braid and wearing a black and white striped dressing gown, rides a broom as they dump a bucket of water. The background color is a bright orangish red.

I've decided to make my way through the Worst Witch series, a landmark British fantasy that was first published in 1974 and that's seen several film, television, and even a stage adaptation since. The series follows the blundering escapades of Mildred Hubble, a young witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, and this third book is my favourite so far. After running a-foul with her school rival, Mildred is turned into a frog. As she desperately tries to alert her friends to her misfortune, Mildred meets a fellow cursed magician and must figure out a way to save them both.

It's easy to see how many of the fantasy series written today have largely been inspired by the likes of the Worst Witch, and it's been such fun to go through these classic stories for the first time. I'd highly recommend these books to early independent readers who are looking for a lively and quick-paced story they can fully dive into. 

Check out the other books in the Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy

— Shanleigh

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