Tag Archives: chapter books

My Voracious Reader

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Do you have a voracious reader in your home? Is he a boy around age 7/8yrs old? My Book Worm

My nearly 8yr old son is just devouring books lately! The problem is finding books that are high enough quality for him, on a topic that interests him. He does enjoy the Magic Tree House series, but seems to be tiring of the formulaic plots lately.

I discovered a darling and very well written series that was right up his alley: The Araminta Spookie series by Angie Sage. Both myself and my 12.5yr old daughter had to read all these as well, they were THAT good! Short reads for all of us, as they are found in the in-between section of the library, next to the Boxcar Children and Magic Tree House books…but remarkably different in their quality! Sadly, there’s only 5 books in the series so far. 🙁  Both my kids have already breezed through them.

Then I went looking in the regular children’s fiction section, along side all the longer books are occasionally shorter books. And the quality of the writing is higher quality sometimes, but not over his head in content (depending on the book, of course). That’s where I found the Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi.

I knew about the series because of the movie, but never had actually looked at the books. Short, and with some pictures, similar to the Araminta Spookie series, I thought he might enjoy them. Man did he! Devoured the first 2 in less than 2 days! And begged me to order more!

So now I need to read Spiderwick as well, of course. Because I can’t be missing out on any good reads!!

Do you know of any more good quality series in the in-between reading level phase? Something similar to what I mentioned above, but actually good literature? (Although, I do so love that he’s getting history in the Magic Tree House books…they are sadly low quality in the way they are written.)  Leave me a comment and let me know if you know of any other great series in this age/reading level! I want to know!

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BOOK REVIEW: Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters

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I read this one aloud to my daughter a few years back and I still remember how fabulous it was! An 11yr old girl is left in the care of her housekeeper most of the time as her mother travels (she’s a professional pianist). She gets a new neighbor (they live in a NYC apartment building), a fascinating and very spunky free spirited old lady that becomes Cornelia’s favorite person to spend time with…as she tells all kinds of wonderful and wild stories of her youth with her 3 sisters, traveling the world. The adventures are hilarious, the people are so likeable. This book is AWESOME!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Adventures of a Brownie

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This week I finished reading this book aloud for the second time. My kids LOVED it! Originally written in 1908, you would think that the language and plot would be too antiquated for young children. Not so.

This was my daughter’s second time hearing it and my son’s first. My daughter was around my son’s current age when she heard it the first time (he’s 5yrs old).  She was every bit as interested in the adventures of this fairy-like character (without wings) at 10yrs as she was around 5! In fact, I had only intended to read it aloud to my son, but she absolutely insisted that I include her in the reading as well. Too cute! At times she even gave up her turn to hear a chapter from her current Chrestomanci book! (Which she also LOVES!) Surprised the heck out of me! 🙂

This is a short book at the end of an old copy of “The Little Lame Prince” (which we still have yet to read) that I have had since MY childhood and oddly never read until I had children of my own. It tells the story of a mischievous little brown man (no, not as in African decent…literally all brown…brown clothes, brown hat, brown hair, brown eyes, brown skin.) He is a fun little guy who often plays with the 6 children of the house. He plays tricks on the grownups regularly and generally causes many different adventures (good and not-so-good) to happen to the family and servants in this story. He is able to do magic such as turn himself into different animals and make food appear out of thin air.

Incidentally, I got the impression that the children were homeschooled, as they seemed to say that the children’s lessons were done in their house…Though not a surprise if you think of the time period this story is from.

Just a heads up for those that might be sensitive to this sort of thing: There’s a few parts in this book that talk about a “whipping” or “beating”  or “boxing of ears” to an animal or child…but honestly I found that they were very down played. I’m VERY sensitive to violent content in children’s books, but these few instances of corporal punishment sprinkled into this delightful little book didn’t bother me enough to put the book down. It became, instead, an opportunity to briefly discuss with my children that some grownups, especially during the time this book was written, believe that its ok to hit children or animals. But that our family does not agree with this. If you have a sensitive child, or are bothered by these references, you could easily just skip over them and it won’t affect the story.

All in all, this book is really cute and a wonderful way to introduce your children to a different time period…We got to discuss what a coal cellar was!

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BOOK REVIEW: Chrestomanci series Pt. 3

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(continued from the last post)

I think “Witch Week” was the hardest to get through the beginning…The entire first half felt less intriguing than the other books we had read in the series up til then and I found myself a little disappointed, but persevering, knowing that it would get better. And WOW DID IT. That one had a hum-dinger conclusion and might even have been one of the most exciting conclusions…Well, maybe…”The Magicians of Caprona” did too…Come to think of it…ALL of these books end up truly exciting in the end and leave you wanting MORE. I seriously cannot pick my number one favorite!

The really interesting thing about this series is that each book is so very different. And the story doesn’t need to be read in a chronological order unless you choose to do so. I have been following the sequence from the order that I found on the author’s wikipedia page. I chose to follow the order that it states the author recommended. (Scroll down to the bibliography section and you’ll find it there.) But interestingly, there really doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot the order that you read them in. (They do list the internal chronological order, if that’s how you’d like to read them.)

I found it really intriguing that most of the books do not have many overlapping characters or plots. The only consistency in all (so far…We haven’t read the book of short stories yet) is the character Christopher Chant, who is in every one of the books, but at different points of his life. It was interesting to read “Charmed Life” first, as he is an adult in that one, but then after reading that to go to “The Lives of Christopher Chant” next, where it goes back in time and starts with his childhood. (That was another one that dragged initially…but again, hang in there. Its very worth it!) For the most part you could actually read the books in any order. It really doesn’t seem to matter going back and forth along Christopher’s timeline.

From an educational standpoint, this series’ language, plot development and characters are all very in-depth, well developed and engaging, as well as likeable.

So, my point is…check this series out! This is not a new series, as the first was written in 1977, but they are every bit as good as Harry Potter. Truly.

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Sadly, as with Harry Potter, there will be no more.

The author, Dianna Wynne Jones, passed away just this past March.

Sad smile

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BOOK REVIEW: Chrestomanci series Pt. 2

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I started talking about this series in April, when we first discovered it and started reading the first volume (which included 2 of the books: “Charmed Life” and “The Lives of Christopher Chant”). At that point I was intrigued and had just started enjoying this series…Now we have worked our way through 5 of this series and are halfway through a 6th.

At this point I can honestly say WOW! This is an AWESOME SERIES!!!

I am not planning on reviewing all of the books in this series individually, as I think its enough to say they are ALL GOOD! Right now we are working on “The Pinhoe Egg”, finally. (That was the first book that I found on the library shelf that introduced me to the entire series, and we have finally gotten to it.) This one jumps right into an interesting plot where some of the others took some time to get to the exciting parts…Some did drag at times in the beginning, but hang in there. Its truly worth sticking it out.

Stay tuned for more on this fantastic series in the coming week…

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