When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A bookworm's breakfast -- 11

The boys have been having a summer full of adventures, with family vacations, trips to visit relatives, summer camp programs, days in the pool, hanging out with friends, and various projects of their own devising that are keeping them busy and happy. When they're ready for some down time, both of them seem to really enjoy finding a quiet nook somewhere and settling in for awhile to discover the adventures of characters in good books. I can't really think of a much nicer place to read than outside, in the shade of a green tree while swinging in a hammock. Can you?

In this (long overdue) July edition of A bookworm's breakfast, I hope you'll find a title that will appeal to your own children, wherever their favourite summertime reading spot might be!

3-5 year olds: I Love You, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark

This gentle story is wonderfully appealing to any child who has a special affection for a favourite stuffed toy. Lily dearly loves her Blue Kangaroo, but when she receives a whole zoo of other animal friends as gifts, Blue Kangaroo begins to worry that there is no longer a place for him in Lily's bed, or in her heart. When Lily must make a decision about which of her beloved animals to share with her little brother, young readers will both cheer for and be reassured by her decision. This is a lovely book that is perfect for winding down with your small children on summer evenings.

6-9 year olds: Stop Bugging Me! (But that's what friends are for.) by Daniel Cleary

Smudge, a grumpy dog on a mysterious mission, does not want anyone following him, least of all a guinea pig, a couple of worms, or any of the other creatures who line up behind him to see what he's up to. His friends don't seem to be put off by his crusty comments, though. In the book's laugh-out-loud conclusion, Smudge grudgingly comes to realize that friends stay with you always, even in the most embarrassing of times. Cleary's delightful book relays a meaningful message through simple artwork and text that is genuinely appealing to newly independent readers.

9-12 year olds: The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey

This book review was written by my soon-to-be-ten-year-old son, Noah, who is developing some serious arm muscles as a result of lugging home ridiculously heavy bags of books from the library this summer.

Tenant David Rain thinks he's renting a normal house with a nice lady and her daughter until he starts to notice strange things. Liz (his landlady) is sometimes up in a mysterious room, and when David tries to open the door, the knob is locked and burning to the touch. Then David becomes aware of odd flurries of movement out of the corner of his eye. It turns out Liz and her daughter Lucy believe in dragons. If you're a fan of the Harry Potter series, you will absolutely love this book. When I read it, there always seemed to be some sort of hidden detail that made me wonder what exactly was going on. Chris D'Lacey has made up an interesting array of characters with quirky traits such as a smiling squirrel named Snigger and Henry Bacon, the grouchy do-it-yourself fix-it neighbour. This book was one of my favourite fantasy books ever because it was so intriguing. I just had to keep reading. (Thanks, Noah.)

As the adventure-filled weeks of summer fly by, I hope that families everywhere are finding time for encouraging a love of reading together. As always, I'd love to hear about what books your children are enjoying -- feel free to share in the comments section below!

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