Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Nook - many, many books for kids

It's been a while since I posted about children's books in this space, so long in fact, that you may be thinking that we just haven't been reading.  Au contraire, we've been reading a ton, but lazy Mama just hasn't blogged about any of the great books we've enjoyed lately.  It's about time to do so!  Here are a few that we've read and enjoyed, in no particular order:

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - this was one of my absolute favorite books as a child, and I was happy to see that it is still pure magic from an adult perspective.  I could not imagine any reader wanting to put it down after the first few chapters.  C.S. Lewis has created a tale so spellbinding, alluring and intriguing....and the Bachsters thought the same.  There is a rather intense scene in the latter part of the book - let's just say that Mama skipped some parts as we read it (just because our little ones are still little).  Such a great book! 

Again! by Emily Gravett - Little Dude and I loved this picture book.  Even from the first page with all the publishing info (which is duplicated - going with the theme again).  We laughed our way through it and enjoyed it over and over.  Just like little dragon in the story, you'll want to read it again and again.

The Music of Dolphins  by Karen Hesse - thanks, chickadee, for recommending this book - we loved it!  I always know when our oldest is taken in by a book because she takes it back to her room to read ahead after we finish reading for the night....and she did so with this one.  Mila has been raised by dolphins, and we learn through her journal of her challenges to become human in a human world.  There is a chapter in the middle of the book that recollects her life with the dolphins - if only every one could read that chapter, I think we'd do a lot more to clean up  and protect our oceans and environment.  I loved the author's creative use of font size!

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke - it's not every day that your 7-year-old is actually brought to tears because you returned a book to the library.  Yet such was the day I returned A Little Book of Sloth.  I thought she had already had her fill of baby sloths in a bucket and baby sloths cuddling with  stuffed animals.  For weeks I heard all about baby Matteo, baby Cosmo and Buttercup.  She would giggle and coo every time she opened the book.  So, yeah, I felt a little bad when it was due at the library - I ended up buying her the book so that she can get her fix of baby sloth cuteness anytime she pleases.

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke - this book has everything the Bachsters enjoy in a good book: magic and fantasy, a strong protagonist, humor and a good storyline with a quick pace.  I loved the book because there is nothing bad in it at all (which is getting harder to find, even in children's books).  The only thing that might be construed as violence would be a joust (in which no one gets hurt).  I loved that Igraine wants to be a knight, and this ambition is perfectly normal in this book (as opposed to the hundreds of "princessy" books out there).  We all really enjoyed this one.

Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Amazon by Hena Khan - this is a very different book for us, but I knew our 9-year-old would enjoy it.  It's one of those books where the reader chooses the outcome and turns to a specific page based on the choices they make.  This book is neat because you learn a little bit about survival in the wild - what to do if you accidentally disturb a bee nest, what to do if you need to set up camp in the rainforest, what to do if you are being chased by a wild boar.  We read this as a read-aloud, but it was too difficult - we could never come to an agreement on which path to take.  There's a series of these books, and our oldest DD enjoyed them all.

Holes by Louis Sachar - you know how people joke that schools teach to the lowest common denominator?  Well, it's sort of the opposite at our house - I get books for our oldest, and expect (or hope) that the younger two can keep up.  That was the case with Holes - I saw it sitting on our bookshelf, we were in need of a read-aloud, I had already read it and knew it to be a great story....why not?  It's not geared to a 5-year-old per se, but that doesn't mean that he can't be exposed to good kid-lit at an early age.  The Bachsters were fascinated by the story.  There are a few scenes that were a little harsh for little listeners (one character hits one of the counselors) but we talked about it openly & I didn't think it was too much for them.  This book is well deserving of the Newbery Medal.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall - we just love the Penderwicks series, and the third book was just as much fun as the first two.  Some of the main characters have small roles in this book, such as Rosalind and Daddy.  The focus is on Skye, Jane and Batty's adventures in Maine with Jeffrey.  Young love blossoms, family secrets are uncovered, golf balls are collected, moose are spotted, all while Skye does her best to ensure that Batty doesn't perish on her watch.  We're anxiously awaiting Book 4!

The Spiderwick Chronicles - The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black - this is a real page turner and for once, I was the one who wanted to stay up late and read just one more chapter.  Twins Simon and Jared and their older sister Mallory move into a dilapidated old house with their mother after their parents' divorce.  Strange things start to happen, and Jared is determined to find out the house's secrets.  There's a series of these books, and even though they loved this book, the Bachsters didn't want to read the second book; perhaps I will.  Side note: because of this book, DD wants to take up fencing. 

The Kingdom of Fantasy by Geronimo Stilton - this book gets an honorable mention, simply because the Bachsters enjoyed it so much.  Mama didn't think too much of it (sorry, Geronimo), but they loved it.  There's a lot of action in the story, and every single page has colorful illustrations.  There are 4 books in the series, and the Bachsters are begging me to read Book 2.  So, even though it's not my ideal book, it gets my kids reading and excited about books - on that alone, it's perfect.

Have you & your kids read any good books lately?


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