Maegan’s Summer Reading Log #4

The Rescue Princesses #s 3, 5, 6: The Snow Jewel, The Moonlight Mystery, The Magic Rings

The Rescue Princesses are Emily, Clarabelle, Lulu and Jaminta. They are from a faraway land and each lives in a different castle. They are all friends. They met for the first time at a ball hosted by Emily’s parents.

These girls save animals from danger and in the third book, The Moonlit Mystery, they are saving tigers: five baby cubs and a mother. In the fifth book, they are saving a kitten from a tree. At the end of the fifth book, the friends leave for a special school for princesses.

In the sixth book, we meet a new group of girls, including Princess Lottie, who is Princess Emily’s little sister. The other princesses in the new group are Isabella, Amina, and Rosalind. They save horses from an evil servant.

I love the Rescue Princesses because I love animals and I love how these girls act toward the animals. The princesses do not have special powers, but they do have magic rings that help them communicate with one another. I would love it if my friends had those special rings!

I haven’t read #4, The Stolen Crystals because I lost it. But then I found it so now I can read it.

Thea Stilton graphic novel: Revenge of the Lizard Club

This is the second Thea Stilton graphic novel. A graphic novel is a book that has comics but it is longer than a comic book. Also, not all graphic novels feature super heroes. My brother writes about some graphic novels here and here.

Revenge of the Lizard Club is about two clubs: the gecko club for the boys and the lizard club for the girls. There are competitions such as a footrace around an island, a brainpower competition, and another one where you have to find your way around with a map and compass. The competitions decide who is the president of each club. Part of this story is about saving seals who are in danger. They are saved by the end of the story by some of the characters.

You can read more about Thea Stilton and Geronimo Stilton by clicking here.

Loveabye Dragon by Barbara Joose

Loveabye Dragon is about a little girl who is lonely for a dragon friend and a dragon who is lonely for a little girl friend. In the end they find each other as friends. It’s a very cute story.

We are always on the lookout for new books featuring dragons for all ages. See Robin & Maegan’s review of The Library Dragon by clicking here. There is also a list of our favorite dragon books in this post.

In this post, Robin asked questions, Maegan talked, and Robin typed.

Maegan’s Summer Reading Log #3

Right now I am going to a camp called College Gate. When my Mom drops me off in the morning I have some time before the day starts. I was very glad when the camp director told me I could bring a book with me!

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald and Peter Reynolds

This is one of my choice books for Mrs. Kelly’s second grade. Judy Moody is a series. This book is not the first but it is my first Judy Moody. This book is special because the illustrator (the person who draws the pictures and makes the cover design) is Peter Reynolds, who is one of the owners of our favorite bookstore, Blue Bunny Books & Toys in Dedham Square.

I liked this book because it was funny. Judy is going into fourth grade and she is determined to have an awesome summer. Her plans are smooshed because her friend Amy is going away to a country called Borneo and her friend Rocky is going to circus camp. Frank, who is staying nearby, does things like go on a roller coaster with her, but then he pukes! On top of everything else, Judy’s parents have to go to California to help Judy’s grandparents and Judy and her brother Stink must stay home with their Aunt Opal/Awful. Judy expected Aunt Opal to be Awful, but in the end, Opal was Wonderful.

Judy makes a plan for her and her friends to earn thrill points and she makes a chart. Riding a roller coaster that goes upside down and sideways would earn a lot of thrill points. It has to be something weird or scary. It’s a contest between her and her friends to see who has the most thrill points by the end of the summer. By the end of the summer, Judy does have a good summer even if she doesn’t have the most thrill points.

I liked it when Stink’s friend, Zeke, ran around like he was Bigfoot. That was really funny. I didn’t like it when Judy had to go on the poop picnic…there was poop on her sandwich! I also didn’t like it when Judy and Frank were at the Creature Double Feature movies about zombies. I kind of had to skip that part because it was too scary for me.

I want to read more Judy Moody books because I like Judy and I want to support Peter Reynolds and the Blue Bunny store. I’d also like to see the movie. My Mom is getting it from the library for me.

In this post, Robin asked questions, Maegan talked, and Robin typed.

Ryan’s Summer Reading Log #4

Last week I finished two books. I read the first book in a new “Warriors” series called “Dawn of the Clans” by Erin Hunter. The book itself is called The Sun Trail. The other book I finished was Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier and I’ll tell you about that one first because I have a lot to say!

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is one of my “choice” books for summer reading for 6th grade.

Peter Nimble is a ten year old blind orphan who has learned to be a thief. He is a very good thief and he steals everything: food, jewelry, money, art work. One day he steals a mysterious locked box from a carriage. This is the first lock he has ever come across that he cannot open. It takes him a long time but he eventually opens the box and inside he finds three pairs of eyes. When he tries on the first pair, or the golden pair, he is transported to the last place the golden eyes had been, which happens to be an island on top of the world. There he meets Sir Tode, who is part man, part horse, part cat. Peter Nimble and Sir Tode are sent on a quest by Professor Cake, who owns the island.

All the messages people send out in bottles end up at this island. The most recent message in a bottle came from the Vanished Kingdom on the island itself. Together Peter and Sir Tode must find the mysterious Vanished Kingdom because someone inside the Vanished Kingdom is in serious trouble.

One exciting thing that happens on the quest for the Vanished Kingdom is when Peter finds out he is a prince! He is actually the prince of the Vanished Kingdom. This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Spaceballs, in which the character Lonestar finds out he is an “honest-to-God prince.”

Peter and Sir Tode become good friends, and they make other friends along their journey. They meet up with Peter’s long-lost sister, Princess Peg. Actually, Peter is kind of the long-lost brother. They also make friends with good old Frederick, the giant dogfish. Unfortunately, they also make some enemies: King Incarnadine, who is Peter and Peg’s uncle, and LongClaw, who is the captain of the King’s Royal Night Patrol.

In about the middle of the story, Peter tries a second pair of eyes, the amethyst eyes, which are purple. The amethyst eyes turn the wearer into the last animal they’ve seen. While wearing the amethyst eyes, Peter turned into a beetle, a sparrow and a sea serpent. This helped him out of several unpleasant situations.

Spoiler alert! By the end of the story, Peter and Peg eventually kill the King and become King and Queen themselves. When Peter puts on the third pair of eyes, the emerald pair, they eventually become his own, normal eyes.

I loved this book. I mean, I didn’t kiss it or anything, but the idea of seeing things with different eyes was really cool.

You can read my overview of Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” series by clicking here.

“Dawn of the Clans” is a prequel series to the other “Warriors” series. In The Sun Trail, the tribe of Rushing Water, who live in the mountains, is starving. Two brother cats named Clear Sky and Gray Wing lead most of the tribe in search of a new land. They are kind of like pioneers. They arrive at a forest where there is a lot of prey available. Some of the cats want to live on a moor nearby instead because those cats are better at hunting in that area. Gray Wing leads the cats that want to live in the moor and they set up their own separate camp. The two groups are separated for so long that they start to become hostile toward one another. Gray Wing and Clear Sky become enemies. Their conflict does not resolve by the end of this story and because I have read the series that come later, I don’t think it ever will. I love the “Warriors” books so I am glad to have another series to read.

In this post, Robin asked questions, Ryan talked, and Robin typed.

The Mother-Daughter Book Club

In this post, Robin shares her thoughts on some books first. Each selection has a “Maegan says” note at the end.

Maegan’s teacher compiled an excellent list of “choice” books for summer reading; she only needs to read one of these but of course she wants to tackle them all. I hope she always keeps this “can do” spirit. Thanks to the fabulous folks at The Blue Bunny Book & Toy Store for ordering us everything on the list. According to the Scholastic Book Wizard, some of these choices are far above her grade level; she wants to read them independently, so I feel compelled to read them when she is finished. Then I can ask her questions and check her comprehension and ability to connect to the story. First up is The Magical Ms. Plum by Bonnie Becker.

I fell in love with Ms. Plum right away. As she anticipated her new class, she thought: “They will be wonderful. Hopers and schemers, helpers and dreamers, jokers and heroes. I can’t wait to meet each and every one.” It would be an amazing gift to children if every classroom teacher considered his or her students in this way.

Tales of magical grown ups just never get old. Ms. Plum probably hangs with Mary Poppins and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. In addition to her unorthodox lessons, over the course of the school year, Ms. Plum chooses different students to get something from her magical supply closet. It doesn’t take long for the students to realize that with the requested item (paper, push pins, etc.) out will also come a small magical animal. Each animal that emerges comes out for a specific reason for that particular child and helps him or her grow or change in some positive way.

Maegan says: My favorite animal that comes out of Ms. Plum’s closet is the little donkey who takes everyone’s notes across the room in little baskets. I liked how the children figured out that their grumpy ideas were making everyone, including the donkey, feel more sad. So they stopped.

I also liked when the monkeys came out and gave everyone candy. Each candy tasted just right to each person. I can’t decide what my perfect candy would taste like. I love candy. I want to go to Ms. Plum’s class! I think you’ll have a lot of fun reading this book. Pig snout! Pig snout!

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

This one’s not on the summer reading list, but recently I had the pleasure of reading Ramona the Brave to Maegan. I devoured the Ramona books as a child; I felt like she was a friend I knew personally. Although the books trace Ramona as a preschooler all the way up through the middle grades, Ramona the Brave is set in the first grade. Being a passionate, spunky six year old is frustrating when you feel everyone is rushing you to just grow up.

There are so many memorable scenes in this story, but my favorite part is the infamous “owl scene,” in which Ramona’s classroom neighbor copies her art project detail for detail. The teacher doesn’t notice or take the time to understand what really happened, and heartbreaking drama follows suit. Although Ramona reacts to life’s injustices with a bit too much passion, she really is just misunderstood. Beverly Cleary gets the emotions so right.

Details of the story are dated but still charming. If your child enjoys Ramona, she will also probably enjoy Junie B. Jones.

Maegan says: Ramona Quimby reminds me of the song “Naughty” from Matilda: the Musical, which we saw in New York City over April Vacation. Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.

My favorite part of this story was when Ramona had a babysitter on Parents Night at school. She really wanted to talk to her Mom when she got home, so she left her a note on the hall table. The note said “Come here, Mama. Come here to me.” She didn’t even sign her name, but her Mom knew it was from Ramona!

I would like my Mom to read me another Ramona book because I find her so different from me. I also just like my Mom to read to me.

The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy

How would you feel if your school library was guarded by a grouchy dragon? This sweet tale teaches us not to judge one another based on prejudices. Maybe dragons aren’t all bad once you get past the scales, and perhaps small children can look at a book without smudging the pages or ripping the covers. Loaded with puns and groaners, you will laugh out loud if that sort of humor tickles your funny bone. Clever, modern illustrations complete this story about Miss Lotty’s transformation from Miss Lotta Scales to Miss Lotty, Library Goddess.

Maegan says: There is a librarian, but she’s a dragon! She will not even let the children touch the books. Her name is Miss Lotta Scales. A girl named Molly lost her glasses and couldn’t see a thing; she found herself in the library by accident. A book dropped on her head and she put it in her lap. She found her glasses and started to read the book “Snuff the Magic Dragon” out loud. When Miss Lotta Scales heard Molly reading to the children, she decided to take over reading to the children. Her scales fell off and she turned into Miss Lotty! What’s a librarian that’s not at least a little bit or a little part dragon? Who would guard the books?

We love books about dragons. If you do, too, try these picture books:

How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet

There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Puff The Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow (with music cd)

Dragonology by Dugald A. Steer

Ryan’s Picks for Chapter Books Featuring Dragons:

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Beast Quest #1: Ferno the Fire Dragon by Adam Blade

The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey

For more mature readers, grade 5 & up:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

 

Ryan’s Summer Reading Log #3: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl #4: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

The Artemis Fowl series is set in Ireland, and it is about a very rich boy who has a big, tall bodyguard named Butler. One day Artemis and Butler meet Captain Holly Short, who is a fairy. Together with Butler and Holly, Artemis Fowl has many adventures in saving the fairy world and human world from different evil enemies that threaten it.

In book four, The Opal Deception, an evil pixie named Opal wakes up from a self-induced coma after a whole year. Opal wants the human world to find out about the fairy world, but that could be dangerous to the fairies. She wants to make this happen to get revenge on the Fairy Police because they stopped a rebellion she started right before she went into the coma.

Holly comes back together with Artemis and Butler after being separated from them for the same year that Opal is asleep in the coma. Holly is a fugitive from the law as she is suspected of murdering someone even though Opal is the real killer. Together they stop Opal from making her evil plan happen and Holly eventually clears her name.

I recommend this series to readers who like science fiction and fantasy. Recently I heard Eoin Colfer speak at the Mega Awesome Adventures event and I thought he was very funny. Hearing him speak made me want to read more of his books. I think he should be a comedian, too!

In this post, Robin asked questions, Ryan talked, and Robin typed.

“And Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce.” – William Shakespeare

My friends will tell you I am a Pinterest lover. I find it useful and inspirational for cooking, decorating, parenting, and travel. It’s great for Type A planners like me. Recently I have stared following the pinboards of several library groups. This helps me stay on top of new books for the kids and me. Recently it led me to a website called A Mighty Girl, which catalogs “the world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident and courageous young girls.” My favorite page on this site is The Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess, where I discovered the two books I want to review today.

Last week I picked Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure and Dangerously Ever After from the library.

Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure by Robert D. Souci and Sally Wern Comport is a classic folktale with a strong female lead. Margaret seeks adventure and finds love and courage in this beautiful book. The illustrations gorgeous and the pacing of the story makes for a great read-aloud. Halfway through reading this to Maegan I had to flip back and check the date of publication; the story is obviously meant to sound archaic but the language is almost forced. Still, my six year old listened with wide eyes and delighted squeals while I read this exciting story. Seafaring adventure, an old hag, dragons and giants – Brave Margaret has it all!

Meanwhile, back in another kingdom, we read Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater and Valeria Docampo, which is the adorable story of Princess Amanita and all the unpleasant things she loves. Amanita is not made of sugar and spice at all, but much fiercer stuff. Amanita’s garden is filled with “prickles and stickles,” plants that sting and plants that stink.

The delightful story of Araminta and her new friend Prince Florian shows that although not all people are necessarily drawn to mainstream interests, we can usually find a common connection if we try. It also highlights some of the dangers of wandering off on your own; having a friend by your side might be the better way to go. Even if you love the scent of a good compost pile, who could not help but be drawn to a place that smells like “sleeping in the sun, staying up late, secrets and summer?” Nice alliterations, and charming illustrations, too. You will hear many giggles from your mighty princes and princesses when they read or hear this story.

This review was written by Robin.

Ryan’s Summer Reading Log #2: Ranger’s Apprentice

Ranger’s Apprentice Book Four: The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan

This is the fourth book in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series. This story is set in medieval times. It is about a boy named Will, an orphan who wants to be a warrior. When he asks Sir Rodney, the principal of Battle School, if he can be an apprentice in Battle School, he is told he is too small. He ends up becoming an apprentice of a Ranger; this is perfect for Will because he is quick and quiet. The kingdom is split into 50 fiefs; each fief has a Ranger to protect it. The Rangers Corps is a group of people who are expert archers who can blend in with their surroundings.

In book four, The Battle of Skandia, Will and Evanlyn, who is secretly a princess, have just escaped from slavery in the kingdom of Skandia. They are found by friends, but quickly discover that an army from a kingdom to the east is trying to conquer the entire western hemisphere. The four adventurers eventually team up with the people who captured Will and Evanlyn in the first place to defeat this army.

This series is cool because it is set in a different time period, there are a lot of interesting creatures in this world, and there is a lot of action. It is also a tale of friendship between Will and Horace, who are unlikely friends because they are so different.

Another series by John Flanagan is The Brotherband Chronicles, which is also really good, but I recommend starting with the Ranger’s Apprentice series first. I also recently downloaded a Ranger’s Apprentice app for my iPod; it’s a cool archery training game.

In this post, Robin asked questions, Ryan talked, and Robin typed.

Maegan’s Summer Reading Log #3: the Araminta Spookie series

Araminta Spookie #’s 1 & 2, My Haunted House and The Sword in the Grotto by Angie Sage

Hope you had a great holiday! It rained all day on the 4th but we celebrated on the 5th.

Araminta Spookie is a little girl who lives with her Aunt Tabby and her Uncle Drac in a haunted house. The house is haunted by two ghosts: Sir Horace and his page, Edmund.

In the first book, My Haunted House, you learn about the family living together in a haunted castle. Araminta finds Sir Horace’s secret room. It has a balcony! There is another family, The Wizards, who want to buy their house, but Araminta plans an awful ambush to try to stop this from happening. In the middle of the awful ambush, Aunt Tabby catches Araminta and stops her. Intead, Aunt Tabby agrees with Mrs. Wizard to share the house. Wanda Wizard can turn drinks blue and make them fizz!

In the second book, The Sword in the Grotto, it is about to be Sir Horace’s 500th birthday, and Araminta wants to get him a present. Wanda Wizard, who has become Araminta’s friend, helps Araminta to find Sir Horace’s sword in the grotto. A grotto is a cave and this one is located near the castle.

There is a really exciting part in this story. When Araminta and Wanda are in the grotto, they get trapped inside! The sea comes up and is about to fill to the top of the grotto. Edmund comes in and saves them by showing them another way out through a gap in a rock. Sir Horace’s birthday party turns out great and he loves his present because his father gave the sword to him a long time ago and he had lost it.

This series is not spooky or scary. It is adventurous and sometimes funny. Now I am reading the third book in the series, called Frognapped. I’ll report back in about it when I’m done but in the meantime I recommend Araminta Spookie to anyone who likes a little adventure.

Mom’s note: for older readers who also like a little adventure, fun characters, spells and charms, Ryan and Mr. Horrigan recommend Angie Sage’s middle grade series about a character called Septimus Heap. In this post, I asked questions, Maegan talked, and I typed.

 

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

Over the past few years my family has become involved with a wonderful nonprofit group called Catching Joy, which provides age-appropriate community service activities for children and families. One organization we support that is near and dear to my heart is Reach Out and Read, which has an amazing partnership with primary care providers to make reading materials available to children from all types of backgrounds. Their mission is meaningful to Ryan and Maegan as well, as they simply cannot imagine a life that is not filled with books.

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Earlier this year I assisted the Canton Girl Scout Service Unit in a day of service. We made Valentines to be delivered to February Meals on Wheels clients, centerpieces to cheer up the dining room of the local nursing home, dog toys for the animal shelter, joke cards to cheer up children in hospitals, and upcycled book marks to accompany the donations of new books, which were the price of admission to participate in the activities. During the winter the rest of the materials were delivered to their receiving organizations, but it suffices to say that it took me a while to get organized on a major delivery to Charlestown.

poster group bookmarks

Today Jim helped me deliver the four cartons of books and bookmarks to the Reach Out and Read headquarters, where we were very warmly received. Flat Stanley made his first trip into Boston to visit the wonderful staff.

stanley

 

This post was written by Robin.