Gifted Bulletin Board

Welcome to the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

We invite you to share your experiences and to post information about advocacy, research and other gifted education issues on this free public discussion forum.
CLICK HERE to Log In. Click here for the Board Rules.


Learn about the Davidson Academy’s online campus for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the U.S.

The Davidson Institute is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted students through the following programs:

  • Fellows Scholarship
  • Young Scholars
  • Davidson Academy
  • THINK Summer Institute
  • DITD FaceBook   DITD Twitter   DITD YouTube
    The Davidson Institute is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

    How gifted-friendly is
    your state?

    Subscribe to the Davidson Institute's eNews-Update

    Who's Online
    1 registered (Eagle Mum), 0 Guests and 245 Spiders online.
    Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
    Newest Members
    sharpnessbalance, josephpayne, greenthumbs, Quézia, matthewtaylor39
    11379 Registered Users
    Su M Tu W Th F Sa
    1 2
    3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    10 11 12 13 14 15 16
    17 18 19 20 21 22 23
    24 25 26 27 28 29 30
    Page 1 of 22 1 2 3 ... 21 22 >
    Topic Options
    #50732 - 07/12/09 05:57 PM The Ultimate Book Thread?
    Val Offline

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Okay, I'm taking a shot at starting a new Ultimate thread here. This thread is about book recommendations --- I'm thinking, one or so at a time, with a nice review rather than a list of titles.

    I thought this thread could be a resource for books for kids who read way beyond age level and for whom it's hard to find suitable books. For example, my DD4 hasn't been to school but reads quite well. Many books for ages 6/7+ include themes about school or camp, etc, and she can't relate to them. So I'm always looking for books that meet her reading level and also have themes that she can relate to.

    If people like this idea, we could also make a few of these threads by age group (e.g., pre-school aged, elementary aged, middle school aged, high school aged). If people like this approach, I'll set up a bunch of threads labeled The Ultimate Book Thread: Pre-schoolers, and TUBT: Elementary, etc. etc.

    I'm going to start with a recommendation for pre-schoolers.

    I bought Fire Cat by Pippa Goodhart. It's a story about a boy living in London in 1666, during the great fire. He mistakenly believes that his chubby male cat has become lost and tries to find him when he goes out with family friend Samuel Pepys. Turns out that his male kitty was a female who was, ahem, with kitten. She was hiding at home giving birth the entire time.

    The AR Bookfinder rates it as a grade level 3.5, yet the boy has a very pre-schooler kind of face. I really liked that. DD4 learned vocabulary words and a little bit of history and geography from it.

    DS9 grabbed it as soon as saw it and was fascinated by it, too.

    The story might be a bit scary for very sensitive kids; DD4 didn't seem bothered by it, though.

    Fire Cat at

    Again, it you like this idea, let me know and I'll set up some Ultimate Book Threads by age group.


    #50734 - 07/12/09 07:20 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Val]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Thank you, Val, what a wonderful idea!

    I thought I'd start by mentioning one of my all-time favourites: "Wolf Story" by William McCleery (illustrations by Warren Chappell) c. 1947. It's a great read-aloud for ages probably 2 to 7 or 8 or so, and Harpo enjoyed reading it on his own when he was about 4 and 5.

    It's funny and sweet. In a series of installments that starts one night at bedtime, a father tells his smart and rather crafty five-year-old son Michael a story about a hen named Rainbow, Waldo the wolf, and a bright and brave young farm lad named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Michael and his six-year-old best friend Stefan suggest various plot twists as the story unfolds; each installment is accompanied by a certain amount of negotiation with Michael's inventive father.

    It's 82 pages, with charming black and white drawings; it has a nice amount of white space on the page, and a generous size of type and amount of leading for a young reader. I'd say it's a good early venture into chapter books.


    #50737 - 07/12/09 08:21 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    st pauli girl Offline

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    Wonderful idea Val! I'll talk about what we were reading tonight: Bunnicula, by Deborah and James Howe. I remember liking it when I was little too. This story, about a possible vampire bunny, is told by Harold the dog. My DS5 has been grinning ear to ear at the antics of Harold and his friend Chester, the cat. (He was laughing hysterically when the animals tried to pound a raw steak into the bunny's heart). The age range says 9-12, but definitely good for the younger gifted set (although it might be scary for the very sensitive ones). 98 pages, very quick read.

    Edited by st pauli girl (07/12/09 08:24 PM)

    #50738 - 07/12/09 08:21 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    Taminy Offline

    Registered: 05/16/09
    Posts: 282
    Oh Wow Val--This may be my dream thread smile

    We loved Fire Cat by the way...Let's see if I remember this correctly...

    "You aren't a good cat and you're not a bad cat. You're a mixed up cat" (or something like that...).

    I don't know where to start with a recommendation, we have so many favorites, but the age of your child made me remember (quite fondly) reading aloud the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.

    The series starts with Betsy-Tacy, which is actually my least favorite of the series. It has a slightly different style and Tacy's baby sister dies, which some children might find disturbing (although my usually very sensitive DD didn't seem bothered). In that book, Betsy and Tacy are 4-5 years old, so many young readers might enjoy that connection. The girls age a bit in each successive book, and in the 2nd or 3rd book, they are joined by the character of Tib. If you have concerns about the first book, it's very easy to start with the second book. You do need to read the books in order, however, where ever you decide to start.

    Here's why I love this series.

    1) It's set around the turn of the century (not our most recent turn smile )and has a small-town innocence throughout. The girls' adventures are rooted in a time when young children could wander their neighborhoods without constant supervision by adults.

    2) It's a wonderful model for girls. Having read them as a young girl myself, I was a bit worried about how I'd feel about them as an adult. I was pleasantly surprised by how progressive they were both for the time they were set and for the time in which they were written.

    3) Betsy, Tacy and Tib are wonderful characters. It's a treat to get to know them and to watch them grow up. There are wonderful life lessons in their experiences, great decisions (good and bad) to be talked about.

    4) Because of the age range covered by the series, it's a series that could be read slowly over a few years. Maybe every birthday or start of school year (many of the books begin with the start of school) could be the occasion to start a new book.

    I recommend this series as a read aloud for younger children and as an independent read or read aloud for older children. In retrospect, I wish that I had bought each book as we read them rather than checking them out of the library. I think that they would have been read and re-read if they'd been around the house.

    Edited by Taminy (07/13/09 10:50 AM)
    Edit Reason: name correction

    #50750 - 07/13/09 03:16 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Taminy]
    chris1234 Offline

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    Hi, great thread idea!

    I think the Fire Cat book Taminy lists is different than the one Val mentions. I know the one you mention Taminy, and it's great too - but no boy is in it. Here is a link.

    I am probably the only mom here who remembers a child who didn't read to themselves at 2,3 or 4...but who was interested in 2nd grade books when they were age 4 and 4th grade books at age 6...
    Ds9 was this way, and dd3, though a bit more of a reader than ds, is leaning this way too. Basically the inverse of Val's original idea.
    They love to be read to, even now at age 9 ds will still ask to have a few pages read to him from whatever tome he is reading.

    So, my recommendations are, even if it seems odd, if you child is interested in having things like books 1-5 of Harry Potter read to them at age 6, go for it (time permitting!)

    #50769 - 07/13/09 10:49 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: chris1234]
    Taminy Offline

    Registered: 05/16/09
    Posts: 282
    Oops. blush Chris is right! Different Fire Cat. Well, at least that clears up my confusion about the scariness of Fire Cat wink .

    I realized I didn't put a link in for the Betsy-Tacy books, so for anyone who's interested, here are two links (the second is background about the book/author):

    You aren't the only parent here who didn't have an avid, independent reader in pre-school. My DS7 wasn't into reading to himself much in pre-school either, although he would pore over picture-rich non-fiction of all levels. In fact, at 3 and 4, he preferred non-fiction read aloud (and boy was I glad when THAT passed....) At 5 he really enjoyed those abridged illustrated classics as first "long" read alouds. He and my husband read White Fang; 20,000 leagues under the sea; Treasure Island... I hope some day he'll go back and read the complete versions as well.

    #50795 - 07/13/09 09:01 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Taminy]
    sittin pretty Offline

    Registered: 06/06/09
    Posts: 182
    Loc: Sunny AZ
    LOVE THIS THREAD!! Thanks!!

    My DS4 has been really enjoying the Magic Tree House series (sort-of historical fiction). I've had trouble finding "chapter" books for him that are boy-ish and not filled with potty humor that isn't appropriate or is over his head.

    He loves non-fiction books and reads those most often. The books sold through Usborne are a particular favorite. They tend to be crammed with both tons of information and pictures. Perfect for his brain which is always on overdrive.

    I'd love any suggestions for a biography or non-fiction history series that is still fairly easy to read (i.e. 2nd-3rd grade level).
    Mom to DYS-DS6 & DS3

    #50796 - 07/13/09 10:50 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: sittin pretty]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Hi, sittin pretty!

    I'm with you about nice "boy" books not filled with potty humour and so on--hard-ish to find.

    These are not the nonfiction books for which you asked (I'll give that a think), but some fiction books at more or less the reading level I think you're seeking and which I've found very appealing to my boys (4, 6, & 8) are:

    1) Esther Averill's Cat Club series (the most boylike ones are The Hotel Cat, Captains of the City Streets, and Jenny Goes to Sea, I'd say, but they're all good): this is a lovely series of short-ish chapter books (about 120 pages, picturesquely illustrated, with nice big print) from the 1950s. Several cats have a club, with lots of meetings (all conducted in a very orderly fashion!) and subsequent adventures. There are some humans, but they are mostly around the fringes of the stories; the heroine cat is Jenny, but she has brothers and male friends, who generally get large chunks of the action, too. What Frenchie (my husband) and I love about these books, apart from the general air of fun, is the tone: the cats are all terribly polite to one another, and are greatly concerned both with decorum and with the effect of their actions on others. It seems strange to say this about talking animal books, but if I had to pick one adjective to describe the series, I'd say they were genteel. (published by the New York Review of Books)

    2) Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr has been a big hit here; a wolf wants to eat a little girl, who outsmarts him repeatedly. He has many fantastical schemes for getting her in his clutches (think Wile E. Coyote), but she is far too clever to let herself be caught. Despite the female protagonist, this is a particular favourite with my lads. (published by Jane Nissen Books)

    3) The Great Piratical Rumbustification and The Librarian and the Robbers, by Margaret Mahy, with pictures by Quentin Blake. Very short (I'd say more short story length than chapter book, although they are divided up into chapters), and very witty. In the first one, three children are left with a babysitter who turns out to be a pirate, who promptly throws a big party for other pirates at the children's house. Mayhem ensues, but all turns out for the best. Funny and a bit zany. In the second, a librarian is kidnapped by villains, who are converted to good guys by literature and a good woman--gotta love that! (published by David Godine)

    For a couple of excellent boy read-alouds for that age (I'd say they're about grade 5 or 6 reading level? I'm not good at estimating that sort of thing), try Philippa Pearce, especially Minnow on the Say (perfection!) and Tom's Midnight Garden. They're Puffins from the '50s, but are still in print. In Minnow on the Say, two boys (who seem to be elevenish or so) spend their summer in a canoe, seeking clues to an old family mystery involving hidden treasure, the finding of which will enable the older boy's family to stay in their ancestral home. Really wonderful--the zenith of boys' books! In Tom's Midnight Garden, the hero is sent away to stay with an aunt while the rest of his family is in quarantine (measles or some such); the aunt's house turns out to be magic, and he has time-travel adventures of a gentle and touching sort. Very good indeed.

    Hope some of those will appeal--


    #50797 - 07/14/09 01:39 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    BKD Offline

    Registered: 07/15/08
    Posts: 137
    Loc: Australia
    What a great idea for a thread - I'll definitely look up some of these.

    Our favourite series here is Enid Blyton's Famous Five - and if your children enjoy them there's plenty to keep them busy - I think there are over 20 in the series. And since they're 1940s-ish vintage definitely not a trace of toilet humour (told the boys only tonight that the police don't consider it murder if you strangle your children for continuous toilet jokes). Lots of villains, hidden dungeons, secret passages etc.

    #50802 - 07/14/09 04:03 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: BKD]
    chris1234 Offline

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    Nonfiction book, easy read, big ideas, great for boys??
    (and girls!)

    My DS loved loved loved this one:

    'Now and Ben
    The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin'

    A colorful picture book of the various inventions which Benjamin Franklin came up with or improved on. Brief but insightful discussion of why his inventions have been so long-staying in usefulness. This was perfect for our ds, as he is a bit of a global thinker/inventor type himself. It shows the side of Benjamin Franklin you don't often see in the history books: a playful boy, a lover of books and of course, wicked smart! smile
    Illustrations are detailed, with lots of little 'oh, look!' moments.

    Page 1 of 22 1 2 3 ... 21 22 >

    Moderator:  M-Moderator 
    Recent Posts
    Gifted Adults - applying genius to many endeavors
    by indigo
    Yesterday at 01:21 PM
    Patents and Trademarks and Rights, oh my...!
    by indigo
    11/30/23 01:40 AM
    Examining the value of published research, trends
    by indigo
    11/29/23 04:23 PM
    Quotations that resonate with gifted people
    by indigo
    11/29/23 02:45 PM
    Book: Different Kinds of Minds, Grandin, Nov 2023
    by indigo
    11/28/23 08:48 PM