Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kid's Summer Reading List: Part 2/4

Well. with summer coming quickly upon us, here is the second part of my four part summer reading post.  This week I am focusing on:

Granola Mom List

This list is for moms who see the summers as a series of tie dyed shirts and daisy chains.  Reading is for lounging on the grass (not smoking it) and the high of a good laugh!

For this list I have selected books that fall under the Wimpy Kid banner.  They are in diary format and/or integrated with graphics throughout the book.  But fear not! While they appear to be simple, the stories are clever, the characters are developed and the humor is sophisticated.  There are some wonderful books and series in this category that can hook in a reluctant reader and keep them reading.

So get out there and read a book.  And make it a graphic novel because don't you want your kids to have some fun over the summer.  Oh come on, it's summer!

Title:          Planet Tad
Author:      Tim Carvell
Target:       Grades 4-6
Series:        No
What this book is about:
Tad is in seventh grade, and when he gets a computer for Christmas he decides to start a daily blog about his life.  Tad is a good kid, but just about everything that can go wrong for a seventh grader does for Tad.  The girls make a list ranking the cutest boys in the class and he’s not on it because they forgot him.  He looses his sister’s pet hamster and buys another which he sneaks into her room, only to get caught when the sister’s original hamster turns up dead in his mom’s box of Cheerios!  There is also the class picture fiasco and a secret admirer, but you will just have to read the book to find out more!
Why I love this book:
Well my son sat on the coach and was laughing out loud while reading this book.  Then when he was done, he went back a reread all the funny parts, which was basically the whole book.  How can a mom not be thrilled with that?
The author of this book, Tim Carvell, is the head writer for the Daily Show so the book is filled with witty observations about daily life.  He also writes a monthly piece called Planet Tad for MAD magazine so this character is quite developed, although surprisingly quite innocent given the venue.  Lots of funny reflections on being twelve but nothing gross or inappropriate.
Who this book is for:
Reluctant readers will warm to the diary/blog format, but really any kid will enjoy the humor.
Final thoughts:
”This book will make you laugh.  If you’re not into that sort of thing, consider yourself warned.” - Stephen Colbert.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Planet Tad  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.

Title:          Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel
Author:      Ruth McNally Barshaw
Target:       Grades 3-5
Series:        Yes
What this book is about: Ellie McDougal is called Ellie McDoodle by the kids at school because she loves to draw.  When Ellie’s parents must fly to a funeral, Ellie is left with her aunt, uncle and three annoying cousins.   To make matters worse, she is joining them on their camping trip!  Her journal chronicles her frustrations, the pranks they all pull on each other, and eventually the friendships they share.
Why I love this book:
Ellie feels all the things you do when you are away from home and don’t want to be.  But she is also a nice kid and in the end it all works out the way it is supposed to.  The journal/sketches are very well done and are a great way to tell the story.  I loved how her cousin Eric, for example, is portrayed as a type of swamp monster at the beginning of the story, but as they start to get along, his real self takes shape.  
I also thought the description for games such as Spoons, Fing Fang Fooey and Blob Tag, that Ellie loves, were a great addition.  I imagine any kid reading this book will want to try them out themselves.  This is really a lovely book with a real main character, with whom readers will be able to identify.
Who this book is for:
Targeted primarily for girls, but I think both boys or girls could enjoy it.  Just might be a harder sell for boys.
Final thoughts:
Great section in the back of the book to inspire kids to draw and teach them how to make some of the characters in the book.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:          Dragonbreath
Author:      Ursula Vernon
Target:       Grades 2-5
Series:        Yes
What this book is about: Dragonbreath can’t breath fire like the rest of his family.  The school bully is in the habit of stealing his lunch.  He just got an F on a report about the ocean he wrote on the school bus.  It is not easy to be the only mythological creature in school, with a best friend who is a smarty pants lizard.  However in an attempt to rewrite his report, he and his best friend catch a ride with Uncle Sea Serpent and learn about the depths of the ocean.  Oh, and a potato salad that fights back takes care of that school bully!
Why I love this book:
This book is in the Wimpy Kid genre - text and pictures used to tell the story.  I loved both Dragonbreath and his best buddy Wendell.  The two characters play off each other in a funny and clever way.  The humor is silly and intelligent but not gross, and I actually learned a few things about the ocean without even realizing I was being taught!
Who this book is for:
Anyone who likes the Big Nate/Wimpy Kid series should feel right at home with Dragonbreath.  Reluctant reader will like the shorter pages and abundant graphics.  The smarter humor also makes this a good choice for kids who usually read up.
Final thoughts:
This is one your kids will love, and you can feel good about it too!

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Dragonbreath  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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