Millicent Min’s summer is off to a rough start. As the only eleven-year-old finishing her Junior year of high school, Millicent doesn’t have much of a social life. She plans to spend her time taking her first college class, hanging out with her progressive grandma Maddie, and reading everything she can find. However, her parents have other plans. Her mom is forcing her to take a volleyball class and tutor middle school basketball star, Stanford Wong. Also, Maddie announces she is moving to England.
Millicent is miserable, but at volleyball another girl talks to her. Emily even invites her to sleep over and treats her like a normal eleven year old girl. In an attempt to hold onto her friendship with Emily, Millie pretends she is not a genius. The lie gets more complicated when Emily runs into Millie while she is tutoring Stanford. To save his reputation, Stanford pretends he is the tutor. This is a funny and endearing book about the joys and heartbreaks of friendship during preteen years.
Lisa Yee actually has two corresponding books told from the viewpoint of Emily and Stanford. She teaches important lessons about perspective and perception. These are good stories for kids entering those insecure, but fun-filled years.
Recommended for ages 10-12.
The wizard is on summer holiday from running his wizard boarding school, but no one is willing to let him relax. He keeps getting called on rescue missions that begin like traditional fairy tales, but end with an unexpected twist. He goes to rescue a princess who refuses to be rescued from her dragon. One town has a problem with teenage unicorns getting drunk on fermented fruit. In the midst of all these adventures, all the wizard wants to do is save his summer garden from rabbits.
Wizard at Work is full of entertaining and funny stories for all young children, with extra subtle humor to please their parents. This is a good read-aloud with younger children, but also a great book for middle readers. There is something to appeal to all ages and genders.
Recommended for ages 5-10.
All the Elephant and Piggie books are subtly hilarious. With just a few words on each page, they still manage to tell a story fun for children and adults.
Olivia Kidney is a great character for 8-10 year old readers. She is clever, creative, and she talks to ghosts. With just a hint of fantasy, Olivia Kidney faces real life problems while encountering zany people. Through a series of encounters with people in her new apartment building, Olivia learns the connectedness of life as well as the power of friendship and family.
In classic fairy tale style, M.M. Kaye presents the story of a princess blessed by her fairy godmother to be ordinary. When Princess Amy fails to fit the storybook mold, her life becomes filled with ordinary and wonderful adventure. Written in the style of a fairy tale, but with a unique twist, The Ordinary Princess is a perfect mother/daughter book. Make sure to look for an edition with illustrations by the author.
During the California gold rush, Lucy and her family move to a mining town. Lucy, a spunky young girl, is very unhappy with the dirt and lack of civilization she finds Out West. She works desperately to earn money to go back and live with her grandparents. In the midst of her efforts, she makes friends and begins to see some positive sides to her new home. Filled with wonderful characters and narrated by an unforgettable heroine, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is an excellent view of the California gold rush and the mining experience.
Set in medieval England, Crispin: The Cross of Lead shows the brutality of feudal England. However, it also shows the power of humanity and love. After his mother dies and he is left an orphan, Crispin is framed for a crime and run out of his village. In his journey through the countryside, he finds friends, enemies, and insight into himself. A good one for older readers (10-12 years).
Younger brother to Judy Moody, Stink is a perfect character for boys new to chapter books. He is witty and fun like his sister, and has his own adventures. The illustrations are fun and my boys especially love Stink’s comic strips at the end of each chapter.
Judy Moody is a spunky and witty young girl who finds adventure in everyday life. Kids relate to her adventures and the writing is clear and accompanied by great illustrations. It is perfect for readers just getting in to reading chapter books.
Although very different from the movie with the same name, this series is entertaining for young readers. It has enough illustrations to keep it approachable and caters to young boy humor (without being too annoying). We’ve enjoyed reading them aloud.