Reading these reviews sent in by readers made me long for an extra few hours in my day to read these summer reading books! Series are a great way to encourage further reading for your kids who are thinking more about tv and leaving learning at school over the summer. They will get hooked and be begging for the next book. I also love Rachel’s suggestion below about using the audiobook as an incentive.
“Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist :Lunch Walks Among Us“ By Jim Benton
Don’t let the cover of this book scare you! I read this book to my 5-year-old daughter and we LOVED it! Franny K. Stein, mad scientist, just wants to fit in at school. After using her scientific powers of observation, she changes herself into a cute little girl in a frilly dress. But when a monster threatens her classmates and teacher, she must revert back to her mad scientist ways to create a likely opponent to save the day. You’ll never guess out of what! The story offers lots of laughs and lots of important lessons – like being true to yourself! It’s a refreshing change of pace to the usual choice of pink princess girly books out there. The action moves quickly. And with fun illustrations at every turn of the page, this is a great read-aloud chapter book for the PreK and Kindergarten set. With the exception of “The Fran That Time Forgot,” we have LOVED every book in this series.
Review by Jean-Marie
“Magic Tree House Series ” by Mary Pope Osborne
I have a remarkable 5-year-old who is just starting to read chapter books. He is currently in love with the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. When he starts losing interest in the book I entice him with a reward of listening to the audiobook on CD once he reads most of the book. The books are great for beginning chapter readers and they get the kids interested in the topic discussed in the book (i.e. tornadoes, dinosaurs, wild west, knights, etc.).
Review by Rachel
“Nate the Great ” by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
I hesitate to mention two characteristics of Nate the Great that I don’t particularly care for, however, I believe that if I am going to wholeheartedly recommend this book series, then I should let you know about two things. First of all, at times Nate the Great is prideful. When he is overwhelmingly prideful and my boys act completely astonished by his pridefulness, I take advantage of that time by discussing the differences between pride and humility. Secondly, Nate does not like girls. Each of the books we read so far clearly states or implies this as fact. I really do not like this part of the storyline. My boys have friends that are boys as well as friends that are girls, and I don’t want them to think it’s o.k. to decide to not like girls.
To see more great reviews for summer reading like this one check out Marietta’s blog The Bookworm’s Booklist !
We love the Nate the Great series too! I read them to my daughter about a year ago, and now she's reading them to me. She's 5.
The first book in the series says, "I went to Annie's house. Annie has brown hair and brown eyes. And she smiles a lot. I would like Annie if I liked girls." My daughter and I took Nate's feelings about girls more of an "eeewwww girls have cooties" kind of dislike than a contempt dislike. Nate does, however, mention how "strange" one female character, Rosamond, is throughout the series. I can't really say it's any worse that the harsh storylines or over characterizations written in your everyday fairy tale though.
That said, Marietta's comments made me think of another book in the children's mystery genre that we recently discovered in our library: "Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Santa Maria." It's a good, solid mystery, but more importantly I liked it for many of the concerns raised with the Nate the Greats series. The story features three-dimensional kids that set really good examples for the book's readers. I really liked that Alec took other people's thoughts and feeling into consideration even when he didn't always want to. And he showed gratitude and respect, especially to the girls in the story. And I loved that the two lead characters used their local library to research an important clue involving a missing Christopher Columbus exhibit (Yes, the story offers a bit of a history lesson as well). Definitely give it a try if your child is into mysteries. A second Alec Flint book, "The Ransom Note Blues: An Alec Flint Mystery" is due out in stores this month, so I believe it may be turning into a series.
Allie, I loved this school-aged kids reading review post. I look forward to reading more recommendations and reviews throughout the summer.
I am so glad you liked it Jean-Marie , I can't thank you enough for your input!
Our Family says
I love to promote reading. I have a list of books on my blog that we love. Feel free to check it out: 3funboys.blogspot.com