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    #51489 - 07/29/09 04:45 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    Belle Offline

    Registered: 03/15/08
    Posts: 435
    DS6 loves the Rosco Riley series and has now found Captain Underpants and he loves can you not love attacking toilets with teeth :-) He also loves any of the Roald Dahl books...his favorite movie when he was 4 was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I am thinking about starting him on some of my favorite series (Lion, Witch, Wardrobe...Prince Caspian) and these are way out of his league but was one of my favorite series of books...Madeleine L'Engle's books - A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time....I LOVED her books.

    #51490 - 07/29/09 05:18 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Belle]
    Mia Offline

    Registered: 11/18/07
    Posts: 533
    Loc: Chicago, Illinois
    My ds-now-7 read a *lot* of great picture books when he was learning to read -- he taught himself to sight read with picture books. We never did early readers, but he pored over picture books every night!

    Some of our favorites:

    "Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney:

    "The Three Questions" and "Stone Soup" by Jon J. Muth -- these are fabulous picture books and I can't recommend them highly enough:

    "Imagine a Night" by Rob Gonsalves:

    Shel Siverstein writes wonderful poetry for kids that makes my ds laugh out loud:

    "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka:

    "Dear Mrs. LaRue" by Mark Teague:

    "Scaredy Squirrel" by Melanie Watt (one of ds7's all-time favorites):

    A combo of Captain Underpants and Beverly Cleary's Henry Huggins books finally pushed my little guy over the edge, from picture books to chapter books. He also really enjoys (and has re-read many times) the American Girl books -- they're at all not "girly," they just happen to be about girls! smile

    He will read chapter books now (very quickly!), but prefers non-fiction almost any day of the week. Have you tried much non-fiction for your ds?

    #51491 - 07/29/09 05:27 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Mia]
    BKD Offline

    Registered: 07/15/08
    Posts: 137
    Loc: Australia
    We've just discovered the Zac Power books - not sure if these are available in stores in the States though (am in Australia). My boys (5 and nearly 7) are desperate for them. Zac is a 12 year old spy who races through 24 hour missions in between schoolwork and chores. His older brother Leon invents the gadgets for GIB (Government Investigation Bureau). The books have a reasonable number of diagrams of the gadgets (lava skis, robot octopus/submarine, personal hologram projector etc) and take about 45 minutes to read out loud. I find them rather too much like read-aloud cartoons, but this seems to be a positive thing in the minds of small boys.

    #51492 - 07/29/09 05:37 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: BKD]
    Mia Offline

    Registered: 11/18/07
    Posts: 533
    Loc: Chicago, Illinois
    Ooh, or what about Graeme Base? I loved "The Sign of the Seahorse" as a 5th grader -- I have to get that one for ds7!

    #51493 - 07/29/09 07:04 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Mia]
    momx2 Offline

    Registered: 07/25/08
    Posts: 153
    A few that DS liked that haven't been mentioned -
    Frank Asch's Cardboard Genius series comprised of the following 3 titles:
    Star Jumper, Gravity Buster, Time Twister

    One he could not put down recently:
    Science Fair by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    This book deals with a conspiracy at a gifted school regarding science fair projects and the lengths crazy parents go to ensure that their children succeed.

    Edited by momx2 (07/29/09 07:04 PM)
    Edit Reason: grammar typo

    #51633 - 07/31/09 03:45 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: momx2]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    We've had a big reading week here, as it has been so HOT (well, y'all in Texas or somewhere would laugh at what I call hot, but it has been very very hot for here, anyway, so we've cut back on some of our normal outdoor stuff and read more inside):

    Pierre Berton, "The Secret World of Og" (1961; repr. 2002 Doubleday Canada, 160 pp., profusely illustrated in a nice childlike fashion by the author's daughter). Silly, but fun, this is a book written for the author's children, using their names and the names of their pets (Yukon King and Earless Osdick, too funny). Four older children follow their cat and baby brother down a trapdoor into a tunnel under their playhouse, and discover a world of little green men, whose only native word is "Og"; some of the creatures have learned English, though, from picking up comic books and so on left on the lawn or in the playhouse, so they have a limited and comic understanding of humanity. Grade 4ish-5ish reading level, I think.

    Beverley Nichols, "The Tree that Sat Down" (first of a trilogy that also includes "The Stream that Stood Still" and "The Mountain of Magic," 1945, currently out of print, but lots of paperbacks from the '70s still available out there, I think). Fairy Tale in the classic mode, with the good people very very good, and the bad 'uns extremely wicked. Miss Judy and her Grannie run a lovely little shop and clinic for animals in the wood on Magic Mountain; bad Sam and bad Old Sam start up a rival shop in an old Ford, where they cheat the animals and try to destroy the competition by recruiting an evil witch named Miss Smith and her three poisonous toads. All turns out well in the end (though even when I was a child, I thought the ending was a bit over the top in a hackneyed sort of a way). The well-drawn characters are probably the strongest feature of the book. For an audience of maybe 6 to 9, say?

    Allan Ahlberg, "The Boyhood of Burglar Bill," (Puffin 2008, 180 pp.), the second volume of Ahlberg's memoirs. This is a terrific read, very vividly written--the story of one year (1953) in Ahlberg's childhood, and the scratch team he and his classmates got together to enter in the Coronation Cup football tournament. It's wonderfully funny, with also many poignant moments, and such great writing. (There's a sort of afterword "Part Two" in the last twenty pages or so, that I skipped when reading it aloud to them--a rather cruel prank winds up having tragic consequences for one of Ahlberg's friends, and I didn't think my lads were quite up to that yet.)

    David Almond, "My Dad's a Birdman," illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Candlewick, 2008, 120 pages, lots and lots of pictures). For younger readers than Almond's other books (the jacket says 4 to 8, but I think you could go either side of that a year or two). A father, grieving the loss of his wife, decides to enter the Great Human Bird Competition (organised by Mr Poop); he collects feathers, sews wings, makes a nest, eats bugs, and practises "flying". His daughter Lizzie tries to snap him out of it, but in the end, decides that entering the competition together would be kindest. Lizzie's Aunt Doreen and her headmaster, Mr Mortimer Mint, are the other characters, who also undergo changes as the story goes along. Like all of Almond's books, this one is about finding joy in darkness, the power of love, and the importance of imagination. Lovely.

    And the best for last, David Almond, "Skellig," (Hodder Children's Books, 1998, Delacorte 1999, 182 pp, jacket says ages 8-12). Michael moves into a new house, but his baby sister is very ill, his parents are upset, and he feels powerless to help. He finds someone living in their ramshackle garage; the only person in whom he can confide about the stranger is his neighbour Mina. I don't want to say too much about this one--it is magical, and you should discover it for yourself--but we found this book to be a treasure. Mina shares her love of William Blake with Michael, and the story reminds one of Blake, I must say, with its hovering air of the spiritual and the very great beauty present throughout. Special.


    #51867 - 08/04/09 09:27 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    We read a fun one yesterday: "The Seventh Expert: An Interactive Medieval Adventure," by Mark Oakley and John Mantha (2008, Annick Press, 96 pp.). We've not read this kind of a book before, but it was quite entertaining.

    It's 1368, and your village has been swept away in a storm; with six other community leaders, you relocate the survivors to a new village site, and for seven years, you try to ensure the survival of the community. You expend "effort" points on supplies and infrastructure (there's a catalogue at the end of the book), and respond to various random events, determined by rolling a die. Lots of bad things can happen: weather, bandits, plague, taxes (!), battle...The kids found it a challenge to accumulate enough food and so on to get through a winter in the face of all these trials and tribulations!

    The book is well-researched; beside the main story, there are informative sidebars about various aspects of 14th-century life, as well as a brief but useful bibliography. Quite a fun way to learn some history!

    The authors field-tested the book on grade 7 and 8 students, but it's eminently usable with younger ones, too.


    PS The game sheets are available at the publisher's website: . The Seventh Expert has its own microsite there, where the scoresheet can be found.

    Edited by minniemarx (08/04/09 09:28 AM)
    Edit Reason: added postscript

    #51869 - 08/04/09 09:38 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    st pauli girl Offline

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    minnimarx - you find the best books! We'll have to check out the medieval adventure one.

    We've been reading "The Wonder Clock, OR four and twenty marvellous Tales, being one for each hour of the day" by Howard Pyle (written in 1887!). Our library has a great copy. The narrator finds the wonder clock in Father Time's garret. It tells a story for each hour of the day (and in the book each hour is a chapter), and the tales are mixed-up fairy tales and myths. There are fun little poems to start off each hour of the day, by Katherine Pyle. I am surprised by the publication date just because the book is so wonderfully readable. Not the best for sensitive children, as their are some times when a hero gets his eyes put out (so far everyone's gotten his sight back!) Fun little morality tales, but true to many fairy tales, the female characters aren't the strongest.

    And when I was double-checking on the date, I found the whole thing here: (Still more fun for me to have a real book in my hands, though.)

    Edited by st pauli girl (08/04/09 09:40 AM)
    Edit Reason: added subtitle

    #51897 - 08/04/09 12:57 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: st pauli girl]
    kcab Offline

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    This is nowhere near as high-quality as many of the books listed, but right now DS7 is greatly enjoying Cressida Cowell's series that starts with "How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III". The series is about a young Viking hero (Viking and hero used very loosely), Hiccup, and his various adventures/misadventures. It's got a good dose of body humor, though not overwhelming to the same extent as Captain Underpants (which DS refuses to read for reasons unknown to me). Hiccup, his dragon, and his best friend are far from the accepted norms for his tribe, but they do manage to succeed at things, eventually, in their own way.

    Anyway, DS is enjoying it and I like that - it's a little longer and more complex than the books he's been subsisting on for fiction. I like that it's published in hardcover and the typeface is easily read - that keeps it from setting off the "It's too hard for me to read" alarms in his head. Not sure of the reading level - maybe 3rd/4th grade? DD12 likes the series too and sneaks the books off to read as well.

    #51911 - 08/04/09 03:00 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    renie1 Offline

    Registered: 05/04/09
    Posts: 229
    thanks to everyone who gave me help with advanced picture books! So far I've found some great Graehme Base that my DD7 seems to really love (though they were out of Sign of the Seahorse). I am trying to find a way to print the thread so i have it as a reference , is there a way that anyone knows of?

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