The Bookbag, Books for Ages 4 to 8, May/June 2007

Summer is here, with plenty of time for laid-back, fun reading. It was quite a challenge to select just a “few” of the books we love for this bookbag. Since it’s summer, we tended to pull favorites that have a summer-time feel to them.

If you want to see more recent reviews, just type in “May 2007″ or “June 2007″ when you search the Reading Tub Website. Be sure to keep reading, the Just One More Book! Podcast is here, too.

Remember, the books are listed in alphabetical order by title. There is no ranking.

Dad’s Bald Head by Paul Many. Father’s Day may be over, but this one is a perfect read for any time. Pete loves his Dad, but Dad doesn’t like the “scraggly” hair on the side of his head. One morning Dad decides to shave it all off. Then Pete doesn’t know what to think: is this guy still his dad? This is a light-hearted look that offers kids a way to understand “big” changes. (Walker Publishing Company, 2007)

Dr. Duncan Dog on Duty by Lisa Dunn-Dern. Everybody in this family has a job…even the pets! Introduce your children to community service as they go with Dr. Duncan visit children at the hospital. (Visikid Books, 2007)

The First Well & Other Read-Along Stories by Bookbox. This collection of five fables is an e-Book on DVD. Each of the stories offers a magical journey and a lesson in life and wisdom. We love the fact that you can pick from among six languages for the stories. (www.bookbox.com, 2005)

Flying Solo by Kristi Stephas. This summer, Ellie (6) is flying from Chicago to California to spend a week with her aunt. She has never been on a plane by herself before, so this is a little unnerving. “This story gives you everything you want to prepare a child for an airplane trip.” (Toy Truck Publishing, 2005)

I Wish I had Freckles Like Abby and I Wish I had Glasses Like Rosa by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook. This pair of bilingual books is a charming look at friendship and how children view themselves in others’ eyes. (Raven Tree Press, LLC, 2007)

There’s a Season for All by Sammy Shu. Looking for a creative, folklore-sh way to explain the seasons? Then the fairies in this book will help. This highly imaginative story offers a “history” of how the seasons came to be, as well as lessons in sibling rivalry, friendship, and cooperation. (Raynestorme Books, 2005)

To Know the Sea by Frances Gilbert. Princess Isola is feeling, well, isolated. She lives in a mountain kingdom, but is intrigued by the sea. When the queen issues a proclamation (with a reward, of course) for the first person to bring the sea to the kingdom, the princess learns a valuable lesson. (Greene Bark Books, 2000)

Trosclair and the Alligator by Peter Huggins. Trosclair likes to explore the Louisanna Bayou on his pirogue (boat). He’s sure those storis about Gargantua, the alligator, were more than a little exaggerated. Then he met Gargantua face to face! This is a classic fable set in the bayou … with an interesting twist. (Star Bright Books, 2006)

Usborne Book of Lullabies by Fiona Watt, editor. This boardbook presents seven poems perfect for bedtime. It is also accompanied by a CD that plays the tunes of these and five other ready-for-dreamland pieces. (Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2005)

Vegetable Dreams (Huerto Sonado) by Dawn Jeffers. When Mr. Martinez learns that Erin wants to create her own garden (and her parents tell her it is too much work), he offers to help her. Together, they create a special bond as they plant and then enjoy the benefits of spending time in the garden. (Raven Tree Press, 2006)

What’s With This Room by Tom Lichtenheld. Messy rooms and kids just seem to go together. In this humorous look at what’s “really” going on, both parents and kids can get a new perspective on this age-old problem. (Little, Brown and Company, 2005)

Just One More Book! Click the title to listen to the Podcast.

Ages 0 to 4: Fun, Times Eleven: The Eensy-Weensy Spider by Mary Ann Hoberman. “When it comes to generously illustrated sing-along staples, more is more. Boasting eleven extra verses of the classic toddler tune and thirty-two pages of captivating illustrations, this book has always left our girls eager for its next reading.” (Little, Brown and Company, 2004)

Ages 4 to 8: Fur and Feathers: Saving Samantha – A True Story by Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen. Warm, realistic illustrations and generous, unimposing text vividly recreate the thrill of befriending an injured fox pup and the bittersweet satisfaction of her eventual return to the wild. I don’t think our two daughters could be more excited about this story if they had lived it themselves! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2004)

The Bookbag, Books for ages 8 to 12, May/June 2007

Readers in this target audience are pretty mercurial. But even the toughest critics found books they love! Here is the current list of recently-read favorites.

Blood on the Wind; The Memoirs of Flying Horse Mollie, a Yampa Ute by Lucile Bogue. This is an historical fiction account of the Meeker Massacre of 1879 on lands in Northwest Colorado. Flying Horse Mollie, a young teen and Yampa Ute tells the story. This is what our Be the Star You Are! Teen Reviewer wrote: “The reader can really get caught up in Mollie’s story and hope her Ute way of life does not disappear. Mollie, shows herself to be a heroine in the story as she perseveres and does not let her spirit get defeated.” (Western Reflections Publishing Company, 2001)

The Fairy Chronicles: Dragonfly and the Web of Dreams by J. H. Sweet. Jennifer Summerset and her friends (all with fairy powers) were going to meet at Jennifer’s house. Finally, their mentors were going to teach them some fairy magic. What they thought would be a time to “practice” quickly became a real-life adventure. Someone was causing everyone to have bad dreams, and only fairies could solve the problem. (Jabberwocky, 2007)

The Portly Princess of Thynneland by Kathleen Marie Marsh. In Thynneland, everyone, including the royal family, must maintain their weight and fitness levels. Failure to do so, results in expulsion from the Kingdom. When Princess Volumina is banished, she discovered that her personal situation was only one of the situations she would face. Here’s what our teen reviewer thought: “This book offers many wise life lessons for readers both young and old. The story presents common present-day dilemmas families face and reveals healthy solutions for the characters and their kingdom. At the end of this book, you get a good, warm, fuzzy feeling.” (Goblin Fern Press, 2004)

Red Thunder: Secrets, Scoundrels and Spies at Yorktown by John P Hunter. Nate Chandler, a 14-year-old boy, lived on the family farm near the York River. In May 1781 the British launched a major campaign at Yorktown to end the six-year War for Independence. In the attack, Nate and his parents were left for dead, their cattle taken, and the farm burned to the ground. When Nate volunteers to help, he is paired with James, a former slave. They become an espionage team that provided valuable intelligence to General George Washington. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2007)

Tyler and his Solve-a-Matic Machine by Jennifer Bouani. Tyler Sogno, an orphan, wants to be a sea captain. He loved the water, just as his Dad had. To become a sea captain, though, would require hard work … and means to get his independence. One evening, while he was daydreaming about a “better” way to do his homework, Tyler was presented with an opportunity to make his dreams come true. (Bouje Publishing, 2006)

Just One More Book! Click on the Title to listen to the podcast.

Blinking Blunking Great Laughs: Little Wolf’s Book of Badness
(series) by Ian Whybrow. Full of snappy wit and hilariously scrawled illustrations, these clever and sweetly cheeky adventures crack us up not only as we read them but again and again as we toss about their hilarious expressions in our daily life. (Carolrhoda Books, 2001)

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