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    A WA parent, RickF, Mick Costigan, beGalileo, oliviaerin
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    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ooh, Pauli, I like the look of that Howard Pyle book! The lads do really like older books, I must say. We'll look that one out.

    kcab, I'd seen Cressida Cowell recommended on Amanda Craig's blog (she reviews children's literature for British newspapers, as well as writing novels herself); it's good to have a recommendation from someone I "know", too! They sound like fun books! (You're back home again now? If so, I hope you're feeling settled back in!)

    Irene, we went through a Graeme Base phase here, too--aren't the pictures great? Also, he is very nice about answering fan mail!

    I missed the Grey Lady thread the first time, Chris--that sounds lovely! As do several others on that thread--and isn't David Wiesner fun?

    peace
    minnie

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    Well, the lads and I had some beach time today, and it brought this one to mind: "Green Smoke," by Rosemary Manning (1957, repr. Jane Nissen 2008, ~150 pp), a perfect beach story! (Enjoy summer while you can...)

    A little girl named Susan is on a beach holiday in Cornwall; in a secret cove, she discovers a lovely creature, R. Dragon by name, who is 1500 years old. (In fact, he lived for a time at the court of King Arthur, a fact which interests Susan very much.) R. Dragon was tamed by St Petroc; he has no teeth, and has very nice manners, so he is not in the least frightening. He is vain, though, and rather greedy (he's very fond of Susan's biscuits and almond buns), but mainly he is full of interesting stories. He also takes Susan on some very exciting adventures, including tea with a mermaid. There are charming drawings by Constance Marshall. It's a book full of jokes and fun--just right for summer!

    peace
    minnie

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    We have just started reading this un-put-downable book
    The weirdstone Og Bisinganmen by Alan garner
    http://www.amazon.com/Weirdstone-Br...mp;s=books&qid=1249569348&sr=8-1

    may be a little scary 'for the wee ones' - for them best stick to Enid Blyton's Faraway tree - magical
    http://www.amazon.com/Faraway-Tree-Stories-Three-Books/dp/1405201711/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    Or if you just like looking at pictures
    Flotsam by david Weisner
    http://www.amazon.com/Flotsam-Calde...mp;s=books&qid=1249569548&sr=1-1

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    Flotsam is fantastic. This arrived in the school library when my daughter was in fourth and we both went crazy about it and the possibilities. For a picture only book, this is very deep and mind expanding.

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    Ooh! A new book thread! We're always in desperate need of new suggestions, so I'll be following this with interest.

    DS6 has just (today!) finished the HP series. I noticed that he slowed down a lot after book 3, and I think he dealt with some of the darker, scarier themes by reading more shallowly in the later books. He rereads a lot, so I'm sure he'll get new things from them in subsequent readings.

    The Mad Scientists' Club series by Bertrand Brinley was a big hit with DS. Mad Scientists' Club books It features a group of boys who use science as they get in (and out of) mischief. My library doesn't carry them, but Amazon has them, and they've been worth every penny. DS has reread them several times.

    The Alvin Fernald series by Clifford Hicks is another favorite here.
    Alvin's Secret Code and The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald are two of DS6's often-reread favorites in this series.

    Dragon Rider and Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke are two others that DS has really loved. I think Dragon Rider is his all-time favorite book. Dragon Rider features a young boy going off with a dragon as it tries to find a safe place for dragons to live. Lots of magical creatures, very sweet story.

    The Sisters Grimm - All of these books have been hits with DS.

    The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber was another recent favorite. It's on my shelf to read now that DS enjoyed it so much. I've heard many people say it's one of their all-time favorite children's books, so I think I'd better read it!

    Simon Bloom, Gravity Keeper and its sequel by Michael Reisman - As I understand it, the book combines magic with science (especially the laws of physics). That's always a winning combination for DS.

    I'd go into more detail, except I haven't read all of them yet. I've given up on previewing books as there's no way I can keep up and still have time to read any of my own books (or do much of anything else).

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    Hi, Nan! Welcome! Another book lover--hooray! This board has the most tremendous bunch of people--I'm sure you will like it here a lot (and hey, anybody who loves The Thirteen Clocks is clearly a person of discriminating taste!! Your son might enjoy Thurber's other children's books, too! Many Moons, The White Deer, The Wonderful O...)

    The Mad Scientists' Club books are on my wishlist at Chapters--I'm glad to hear they were a hit with your son! I've never heard of the Alvin books, we'll have to check those out.

    My oldest adored Dragon Rider, too!

    Glad you're here!

    peace
    minnie

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    yay - Mad Scientists Club - laugh out loud funny and loved by all of us here (even if they don't publish them in the Uk and the shipping costs are OTT)

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    The Mad Scientists Club is a hoot.

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    A couple more ideas:

    --"Fattypuffs and Thinifers" by Andre Maurois (originally Patapoufs et Filifers, pub. 1941, repr. Jane Nissen in 2001, w/illustrations by Fritz Wegner; 96 pp.). Two brothers, Edmund and Terry, find themselves in the Country Under the Earth, where the two nations of inhabitants, the Fattypuffs and the Thinifers, are at war, over differing philosophies of, shall we say, personal avoirdupois. The boys are forced to take sides in this silly conflict, which escalates into something rather serious, but they help the principals find a way towards mutual understanding and peace. Pointed satire, very funny.

    --"My Friend Mr. Leakey," by JBS Haldane, pictures by Quentin Blake (first publ. 1937, repr. by Jane Nissen 2004; 150 pp.). More a collection of short stories (though several of them are linked) than a novel, this book is highly inventive, and just the thing for precocious science-lovers (many of the characters are botanists or physicists or chemists, etc.--my favourite is the physicist Dobbs, who made thousands of pounds yearly from the British railways for carrying underweight luggage--he hooked up hydrogen jets inside his suitcases, which made his suitcases float; an attached electromagnet pulled up the metal plate on the scales, so great piles of weights had to be added to his baggage to get it up to zero. He successfully sued to be compensated for the weight he was not bringing on in his luggage, at the same rate people with overweight bags were charged.)

    Several of the stories feature the magician Mr. Leakey, and the utterly logical treatment of the many fantastical happenings gives the book a unique tone. Mr. Leakey has a magic carpet, a pet dragon who breathes fire to grill fish for his dinner, an octopus who waits at the table, and other interesting characters as servants or friends. At one point, he has a costume party at which he magically changes everyone into their costumes: people become an atom of caesium, a comet, a fire engine, an icosahedron, a yak, a tortoise, Shakespeare, etc. Original and fun!

    peace
    minnie

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    I read a great book this week (prereading to see if it were suitable for the lads, but not yet unfortunately.) Susan Cooper's "King of Shadows" (Margaret McElderry Books, 1999, 186 pp, no illustrations) is the story of a gifted child actor named Nat Field, who has been selected for a prestigious summer theatre programme, in which he'll be playing Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He and the rest of the company have gone to London to put on the play at the New Globe; Nat becomes ill, and finds himself transported back to 1599, where he is suddenly playing Puck in the original Globe, costarring with Richard Burbage and Shakespeare himself.

    My kids are keen Shakespeareans, and one of them is very enthusiastic about acting, so I had high hopes for this one, and indeed, in a couple years, this is definitely a book I'll look to again. It's too dark for my particular kids right now (Nat has had a difficult childhood, which encompasses the early death of his mother and the suicide of his father, compounded by his having been the person to discover his father's body); the level of detail about Elizabethan England is fascinating, but some of that would be a bit much for my guys too (the bear-baiting for instance). The story is very well-told, though, and there's lots of lovely Shakespeare throughout (especially Dream, of course, but quite a lot of Henry V, too, and some sonnets); another nice feature from our perspective is the extent to which the young people in the story are treated as professionals, always taken seriously and never patronized.

    The book says 10 and up, which seems about right to me.

    peace
    minnie

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