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Thread: Kids Book Reviews and Suggestions

  1. #11
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    I enjoyed a lot of the international folk stories and legends, more for the illustrations that inspired my imagination than for the stories. I recall Abiyoyo, Ananasi, The Miracle of the Potato Latkes, Seven Chinese Brothers, Thunder Cakes. I picked this up at a book fair when I was 12 and I still treasure it. Highly, highly recommended for the illustrations. I remember Christopher Paul Curtis being a major author when I was like 6, although I didn't much care for American history at that age, still don't.

    +1 for Holes and all Roald Dahl.
    I can't say I remember much of what I chose to read independently before the age of 7. Perhaps Amelia Bedelia. At age 7, I was reading Peggy Parish's mystery novels and a lot of Junie B. Jones.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Ditto on Frog and Toad. Great books for early readers.

    Of all the kids books I ever read to my young kids, I'd say the original Winnie the Pooh's were the best. Fucking life in a nutshell so a six year old can understand it.

    You might look for a better edition - the one I had had all four books in one binding.

  3. #13
    tableau vivant MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    I was a huge fan of the Boxcar Children. Encyclopedia Brown was also huge for me. There was a series of books called "My Teacher is an Alien" by Bruce Coville that I read over and over again but it may have only fed my contempt for school. Also there was a trilogy of YA sci-fi called the Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher that I gobbled up.

    I have additional seemingly unanimous Roald Dahl recommendations for people on the precipice of being a tween.

    I had all these books and my smarter and better read INTJ brother had no use for any of them. I think you just keep the household bookish and the kid will pick up the habit.

    Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

  4. #14
    Member Penguinhunter's Avatar
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    Thanks for starting this thread! Some great suggestions here. Taking notes. . . My daughter has just started getting into chapter books / short story collections (as long as there are at least some interesting pictures). She's not 4 yet so her patience is very short and if she's not into it we have to stop pretty quickly. Here are a couple that kept her interest though:

    Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls - Lots of good pictures to go along with 10-20min short stories that are relatively easy to follow and don't rely too heavily on traditional fairy tale tropes, at least in terms of gender roles and etc.

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories - A relative gave her a huge illustrated tome ages ago and my wife just started reading it with her last night. Apparently she was really into the first chapter, asking lots of questions, and wanted to keep reading.

    The Little Prince - I really like this one. Kid wasn't super into it but did tolerate it, which is actually a pretty high bar to hit. The story is a maybe a bit too complicated / outside of her spheres of reference. . .Probably better for older kids but she was still curious enough about the little prince to keep listening.

    One that I really liked as a kid (maybe when I was 6 or 7) and hasn't been suggested yet:

    The Secret World of Og - Great "hidden world" story, nicely illustrated etc.

  5. #15
    Member Penguinhunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post

    Lugalbanda is an early chapter book - beautifully written and lavishly illustrated - that I've actually been reading to him since he was a baby. We love this book so much.

    Frog and Toad. ALL THE LOVE. Love love love.
    Just wanted to say that I got these two recently and they both went down great, so they get another upvote in this thread from us. Thanks for the suggestions!

  6. #16
    Senior Member roki's Avatar
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    Where the Red Ferns Grows if not mentioned already
    god's gift

  7. #17
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roki View Post
    Where the Red Ferns Grows if not mentioned already
    It's either perfect plagueworld reading for a kid, or the worst idea ever, but I'm not sure which. I guess it depends on your kid's propensity toward major depression.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle

    This SEP field is glorious!

  8. #18
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Yeah I tried to read him The Secret Garden and we couldn't get past the first chapter because of the cholera. :/
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  9. #19
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    In other news, right now we're reading Bayou Suzette by Lois Lenski. I'm confident that my Cajun accent is better than that of someone who was not actually exposed to it, but still kind of cringy. Thankfully the kiddo knows no better.

    This was not one of my favorite books when I was a kid. It's fairly dry and a little uncomfortable. But I'm actually enjoying reading it to the kiddo now. It is pretty dry and matter of fact, but the kiddo's cool with that. And the handling of racism/classism - toward Houma Indians specifically - I think is actually handled very well, in a matter of fact way that shows how dumb it is. The *barefoot*, *bayou-dwelling* Cajuns are like, "ew, get that dirty Injun out of here." Like, hello, pot: kettle.

    Also I do remember the plot point about how the daddy is laid up because his ex-best friend shot him in the back, but it turns out to have been an accident and then they're cool.

    Well down, Lois Lenski. Accuracy.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  10. #20
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    OK, we finished Bayou Suzette. Overall it was very good, and I am kind of keen to read some of her other works.

    She aimed for a sort of social realism that promoted acceptance, and I am 100 percent on board with that philosophy when it comes to children's literature. Nothing is sanitized, but the main plot line itself does tend to resolve in a positive light.

    Bayou Suzette in particular demonstrated some subtle racism.... Which is accurate. Accurate that the characters of the time would be racist. On the one hand, I'm glad there was no Noble Savage trope. On the other hand, I wish there were another book from the native perspective that would complement the depiction in this book.

    In Suzette the picture you get - in glimpses - is of a traditional community that has been devastated by disease and is now socially dysfunctional. Marteel, the native girl, obviously had reason to run away. And I kind of love that, even though she latches on to Suzette and wants to be her sister, she never seems particularly concerned with adopting aspects of Euro-American culture that seem senseless to her. Like, why do the women spend all their time cleaning? That's dumb. And even her final assertion that she's no longer a native girl but a white girl, fully Suzette's sister in the end... It makes sense for her as a character.

    But I do have the suspicion that the author looks approvingly at such an assertion. And I wonder whether she researched Houma Indian culture as meticulously as she researched Cajun culture.

    It's a little problematic for my own kid, who grapples with his own identity....

    But anyway I'll definitely look for more of her books in the library. I really like her philosophy, and the rather dry, documentary style of writing seems to suit my kid just fine.

    I don't think we necessarily need to own more of her books, but it will be cool to explore. I remember Strawberry Girl being pretty good. And her Mr Small and Roundabout America series look fun.

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