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 Doc McDuke's Books for Kids!

Miraculous Middle Grade Readers

 

 


This book joins the entirely true with the crazily fictional. It's two months in the life of a kid named Jack. He gets "grounded for life" and his mom loans him out to a neighbor to help type up obituaries about the dead people who founded his wonderful little town. He is launched on a weird adventure about melted wax, Girl Scout cookies, a man riding a trike, the Hell's Angels... I know, I know--this is a strange concoction for a story, but it's funny and confusing, and a whole lot of fun.



Caddie is a tomboy running wild in the forests of Wisconsin. Her dignified mother doesn't much like it, but Caddie and her brothers love the adventurous outdoors. She has to warn her Indian friends, face a prairie fire roaring across the landscape, and deal with a letter that arrives from England. These are actual experiences author, Carol Brink's, grandmother experienced while growing up many decades ago, which makes the story even more interesting.

The Herdman kids are undoubtedly the worst kids in the entire history of the world. But when they get roped into taking roles in the annual church Christmas pageant, something begins happening in their crime-hardened hearts. A wonderful story with a perfect touch of realism.

 

Unable to sleep, Tom hikes down to a stream one night, begins floating on a piece of foam, and ends up in an underwater cavern. And that's just the beginning of an adventure you will never forget. He finds a man who's been trapped in the cavern for a few years. While searchers fruitlessly comb the area for Tom, his widowed mom will not let them give up. There are added twists and turns to this novel that makes it one you cannot miss. 

Willy is determined to win the annual dog sled race to save his grandfather's farm. True, not the most unique plot in the world. But this is told in a fresh way as Willy goes up against the famous Stone Fox, a Native American who has never lost the race. A cool twist at the end.

This book has lots of great nonsense words, but kids like them, sometimes just for the fun of rolling them off their tongues. Sophie gets kidnapped and things look a bit dicy until she discovers he's a BFG (Big, Friendly Giant). They team up with the Queen of England to capture nine evil giants. Roald Dahl does it again.

For any baseball fan or lover of memorabilia, this book is a must-have, even though the price is a touch high. The illustrations are priceless and marvellously done. This competes for the finest book rendition of the well loved poem, "Casey at the Bat." You've got to see this.

Babe, a piglet, is befriended by Farmer Hoggett's sheep dog. A grateful, mild-mannered creature, Babe only wants to help and decides to assist the sheep dog by becoming a sheep herding pig. The sheep learn to listen to the soft spoken instructions of the unassuming pig and he handily gets them out of more than one jam. Calling someone a pig would be an effusive compliment if you are referring to Babe.

 

 

This book is like a hilarious episode of the Twilight Zone. William has a rig that picks up radio signals from all over---even eventually from Outer Space. He is abducted by Fat Men aliens who are addicted to junk food. Their goal is to consume all junk food and then force humans to create nothing but junk food forever. Does this tragic space invasion work? Do aliens scarf all human junk food? Find out.

After the life she's lived with her hard luck mother, it's a tough little turtle who ends up staying with relatives in Key West. This is a great story of family relationships as well as an exciting dose of adventure. Prize-winning book.

Marjie's parents are in Mexico but she convinces the other kids she is 100% American. Then Lupe comes for a visit, and Marjie's story falls apart. Lupe has problems of her own. Her dad is working in the U.S. but Lupe doesn't know when she will see him again. Together, the two girls form a strong bond of a "shared dance" and learn what home really means.


 

When the Cahill matriarch dies, she leaves a series of clues to all the Cahill relatives. The family members who figure out the clues will win the spectaculer fortune. Orphans, Amy and Dan, join up to figure out the clues. Better get ready for a long search. Several clues are discovered in each book in this suspenseful series! The kids will love it. (Parents, one perk of the series is that your kids will absorb lots of interesting historical facts in each book)




In a society with no poverty, no crime, no sickness, and no unemployment, each family seems content. Young Jonas is selected as the community's Receiver of Memories. As the elders and a mysterious old man called the Giver begin to share past memories with Jonas,  he must decide if he will continue supporting the very controlled society or give in to the possibility of a life with freedom.

I'm going to take a little chance and introduce an award winning book about a kid's poet named William Carlos Williams. The illustrations are strikingly beautiful, the bits of William's poetry are simple and meaningful, and this book will be enjoyed by any child who likes words, who loves to read, who maybe writes a little poetry. A top book.

This is the true story of Dave, a black slave who was a potter in South Carolina. The illustrations are excellent, the descriptions so vivid kids will want to go make a pot of their own. Dave took pride in making pots, whether huge or small, and scratched bits of made up poetry on his pots. This is a story of a man who didn't moan and groan about his lot in life; he just did what he was gifted by God to do.

Gentle Annie is about a girl named Anna Etheridge who served as a nurse during the Civil War. This may be considered historical fiction because it is a bit sketchy, being based primarily on comments made about her in journals and diaries of others. However, it is a powerful and moving stuff as we are taken into those horrible tents where nurses did their very best and young soldiers died every day who could have lived had they received modern care.




Jack Zimp has lost his mom and his dad stays super busy as a scientist. Jack spends a lot of his time sitting under an orange tree called the Treasure Tree feeling very lonely. An orange named Olivia wants to be his friend, but how? Then the oranges are picked and Olivia's doom seems sure. But in a scientific experiment by Jack's dad, Olivia is turned into a live "Orple," and becomes Jack's best friend. Now they must figure out a way to put the oranges back on the Treasure Tree. A story about loneliness and true friendship. 


Kids have been looping string around their fingers to make all sorts of cool patterns since before I was a kid. Even though this book has sold several million copies, most kids have never learned how to loop the Cat's Cradle, Jacob's Ladder, the Cup and Saucer, and lots of other patterns. Rainbow colored string comes with the book, so you'll even have the string. You gotta learn how to do this.


This is one of those rare picture books actually written more for middle graders or even young teens. It tells the true story of  a boy who grew up in a Communist country. Kids hardly know about the Iron Curtain anymore, but this book will acquaint them with it unforgettably. They will never forget the life they could have lived in an environment of oppression and coldness.

This is another of those timeless tales that have built a huge audience. Four children find a coin and discover that it's actually half magic. This adds a very interesting twist. The children must be very careful what they create through the coin's power because, if they don't, things end up only half done or half solved. Put yourself under the fun spell of this book.

Even the reviews acknowledge that this is an excellent rendition of Daniel Boone's exploits, even the rescue of his daughter from kidnappers. This is a great book for middle grade readers, but is also an exciting read-aloud for kids a little younger.

Anna's mother died the day Anna's brother was born. They live with their dad out on the prairie. Papa finally places a newspaper ad for a wife. Sarah Wheaton, from Maine, answers the ad and letters go back and forth. Finally she agrees to come for a month visit and see if it will work. Will she stay with the family or give in to her homesickness and go back to Maine?



Roy and his friends are in Coconut Creek, Florida just minding their own business. But then there's an assault by a bully, which leads to something else, which leads to...well, suddenly Roy and his friends have discovered some of the last burrowing owls around and a pancake restaurant is about to wipe out them and their habitat. What can a few young kids do when threatened by tough business types? Extremely popular book.

 

Hugo, an orphan, scrounges what he needs from his little shelter in a train station, living among clocks his father left behind. His father had worked in a museum where there was a robot. He'd been obsessed with getting the robot to work and handed over his mechanical knowledge of it to Hugo when he died. This is an enchanting story told by illustrations in a very unique style.

In the first book, Joey and Mary Alice spend a week each summer with their crazy, outrageous Grandmother in Chicago. In this book, Grandma has moved to rural Illinois and Mary Alice is forced to go and live there for a year. At first she hates it, but then she begins actually enjoying helping her grandmother in her various plans for running the town, getting revenge, and doing kindnesses. Award-winning author!

Lonely Mary ends up living in her uncle's mansion but is quite miserable at first. Her sickly, spoiled cousin, Colin, doesn't help. Then Mary discovers the secret garden and meets a nice boy named Dickon. Together, the unlikely trio bring the garden back to vibrant life. A beloved story with illustrations alone worth more than the book costs.

All Nick Allen started out to do was distract teachers from the day's lesson. But then he invents a new word and controversy begins heating up. Soon there is a nasty war of words going on. Word spreads and is picked up by the local, then national news. Nick's new word is threatening to be added to the dictionary. A terrific book to be read alone or for teachers to read aloud to their classes! Could be a word discussion starter.

Homer Price is serious young boy from Centerburg in the good old Midwest, U.S.A. However, he manages to get himself into some very funny situations without even trying. Presents an amusing picture of small town America when people were deciding about whether to embrace the newfangled American life or cling to the old. This is a real classic.

It's amazing how many claim this was their favorite book when young and also claim they've gone back to read it again. Few books are cherished enough to be read over and over. This is a magical story of orphan, Maria Merryweather, who arrives at Moonacre Manor to live with an elderly cousin. She proceeds to change the lives of many as she delves into the unexplained. A fine book.

The first in a fantasy series by renowned author, Lloyd Alexander. It's the story of Taran, assistant pig keeper, and his slow and challenging rise to great hero. One trademark of Alexander is the enjoyable use of humor, a somewhat rare element in fantasy novels.

Meggie's father, Mo, has a wonderful and terrible gift. He is able to read story characters into real life. In fact, the last time he read a book, he read several unsavory characters into real life and also read Meggie's mother into the storybook. Thus, Mo refuses to read stories to Meggie. Meanwhile, a nasty brute named Capricorn is searching for Mo because he wants to be allowed out of a book and into life on earth. Meggie and her dad encounter some high adventure as they try to navigate such crazy, tricky waters.

The original story of Pinocchio is not the cute sterilized version we get from Disney. It is gritty and more realistic and it will certainly draw in any middle grade reader as well as those who are older. Buy it and find out how Carlo Collodi really wrote it.

Bonnie Green will be left alone with her orphan cousin, Sylvia, as her parents go on a sea voyage to improve her mother's health. They hire a Miss Slighcarp to supervise the girls. The girls are worried about a glut of vicious wolves which have infested the area, but should they be just as wary of the humans around them? Miss Slighcarp is starting to wear Bonnie's mother's clothing. Mr. Grimshaw rescues Sylvia from a wolf that crashes through a train window, but then he seems to take a liking to Miss Slighcarp. Who is trustworthy and who is rotten? Just in case you guys think this is a girls' book, there is a Huckleberry Finn-type boy who joins the girls. This is a scary Gothic labyrinth.

 

Peter, the older brother, must put up with Fudgie's disgusting cuteness, constant meddling, and other stuff too irritating to mention. How will he put up with his sibling without committing cold-blooded murder? 

The cover makes you think this story of a family of Florida crackers is going to be a cutesy frolic but it is a gritty, realistic look at Floridians who lived off the land some decades ago. Be prepared for some southern slang which might not be totally clear to some children. This can be a middle grade book, or even an adult read-aloud for younger kids. An award winner.

The Peterkin Papers was written long ago about a typical family, yet their lives seem anything but ordinary when described by a terrific writer named Lucretia Hale. Great writing.

 

Claudia is the oldest child and she thinks she's always treated unfairly. She decides to run away with her younger brother just long enough to be appreciated. They end up hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They sleep in historic beds and blend into school groups during the day. Then Claudia comes across an amazing statue and even the experts have no idea where it comes from. Her quest to find out brings her to the former owner, the mighty Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Based on a true story which took place in 1756 in the New York colony, young Edward must protect his mother and young sister from harm when his father is called on to defend settlers in another place. If there is trouble, will Edward even be able to handle the matchlock Spanish rifle that is heavy as lead and twice as tall as he is?  You've got to read and find out.

Afraid the advancing Nazis would steal their town's gold bullion, Norwegians decide to use their unsuspected children to smuggle their gold out of Norway to safety in America. This is a suspenseful tale that may well be based on a true story. A Norwegian sea captain landed on our coasts during World War II with gold for safekeeping. Reportedly he said children were involved in the operation. A nail-biting tale.

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James Trotter loses his parents and must live with his horrible aunts, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. After three terrible years, James is about to die of loneliness, when a wizened old man gives him some magic crystals. When he accidentally spills them on a peach tree, the tree begins growing a giant peach. James climbs inside and begins a journey you will never forget.

 

Prince Brat does whatever he wants because he's never punished. The whipping boy is punished in his place because Brat is a prince. But then the prince wants to run away and takes the whipping boy with him. Hold-your-nose Billy and his sidekick Cutwater kidnap the boys because they think they'll get a hefty ransom for the prince. Will the boys get away or will they destroy themselves fighting the two villains? 

 

Though boys may like this book, it usually seems to be girls who dream most of owning a pony. This book shows kids what it's really like to own your own pony. If you wonder about that, then you'll like this book.

Yep, we're back with Barbara Robinson and those dastardly lovable Herdman kids. This time we get to explore a whole school year with these nasty young criminals. But are they hilarious or what!  Click the image above, then easily find new copies of the book for sale.


This is a classic story about a lonely young boy and the most unlikely relationship that develops between him and a wild Alaskan bear. The community bristles with fear and hatred toward the bear, but the boy does not want to lose him. This is a story both young and old love.

Esperanza is a Hispanic girl who expects her 13th birthday to be as lavish as all others, that is, until her father is murdered by bandits. The father's stepbrothers then try to force her mother to marry one of them. Instead, Esperanza, her mother, and a few others flee to America. They end up working in the hardscrabble California migrant plantations. This is a very well written story about a tough, gradual rise in the "land of opportunity."

Tommy Stubbins and Dr. Doolittle head to the high seas and eventually land on a zany spot called Spider Monkey Island. There the good Doctor converses very freely with a motley array of animals, all with unique personalities and couched in humorous circumstances. A real classic.

Younger children should not have to wait until adulthood to read the amazingly exciting and suspenseful story of Shackleford and his men, trapped in Antarctica. Finally, Shackleton leaves his ship and most of the crew, promising to bring help. Struggling across 800 miles of rough seas and then hiking through mountainous wilderness, Shackleton doesn't let his stranded crewmen freeze to death. You've got to read this true story.

A Chinese girl leaves China for America and changes her name to Shirley Temple Wong in an effort to be accepted. Life is tough at first as she struggles to figure out strange American ways and customs. Jackie Robinson is proving that blacks can play baseball as superbly as anyone, so, as a fellow outcast, Shirley begins to love stickball. She also stands up to the toughest girl in her class. A great and moving book that can be enjoyed on many levels.

 

The Hatford boys are hoping boys will move into the house across the river, but, instead, a family with three girls moves in. The boys decide they'll make the girls so miserable, they'll move back to Ohio. But they don't bargain for the fact that the girls will fight back. Who's going to win the war?

 

The dolls in this home can walk and talk and live their lives as long as humans don't ever see them. Annabelle Doll is intent on solving the mystery of how her Auntie Sarah disappeared more than 45 years before. Her Uncle Doll tries to help her solve the mystery. The author manages to make the life of these dolls living in a human house very realistic.

 

The author is so excited about the stars that he makes the reader interested in finding various stars and constellations. This is a hands on book with cartoon characters and it's simple enough for any children interested in astronomy, space travel, or science to read and understand.

It's nice when you find adults who obviously enjoy a subject enough to excite children about it. This is fiction about children camping on an island but it has just the right touch of adventure, excitement and danger for any kid to enjoy.

 

Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives him an old medicine cabinet he found. It seems worthless, but then Omri leaves a plastic Indian figure in the cabinet and it comes to life. This story is almost as interesting for older folks as it is for kids. It contains a timeless plot and tries to answer important questions.

A poor Japanese-American family must move from Iowa to Georgia, where the only sorry jobs they can find are in a chicken processing plant. The first word older sister, Lynn, teaches her worshipful younger sister, Katie, is kira-kira which means "glittering" in their native language. Then Lynn is struck down by illness and Katy will do anything at all to try to keep her alive, though almost no medical care is available. Kira-kira fades for Lynn as her illness worsens. This is a powerful, enlightening story that could appeal to anyone, including boys and adults.

 

Harriet wants to be a writer so she begins spying on the people in her life. She faces the ultimate humiliation when her classmates uncover her journal and read aloud things she's written about them. Now she's an outcast. Will she ever be able to get over it?

One of the top con artists is a ten-year-old boy. He is justly known as the Great Brain and most of the time he comes out on top when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Read the first book in the series and you'll be hooked.

 

When the Nazis take over Denmark, Annemarie and her family must smuggle a Jewish friend named Ellen Rosen out of the country with them. This author makes you feel like you were with them on the terrifying journey out of Denmark.

 

This book looks at some of the deliciously disgusting foods people have considered favorite gourmet foods through the ages. Kids love anything gross, and they love this book about unusual foods we might consider inedible.

Jack and his aunt's faithful butler, Praiseworthy, decide to head out to the California gold rush. They hope to strike it rich so they can solve the aunt's awful financial dilemma. Well, along with a great history lesson, readers meet many strange and unique characters throughout this trek of a lifetime. It will be hard to set this book down until you've read it all.

This story of a Hungarian tomboy apparently has quite an impact on many readers. Though written decades ago, children's librarians still highly recommend this book to readers. Great writing.

Tucker the mouse hears a sound totally foreign to New York City and finds out it's a country cricket who's ended up in the bustling city by mistake. The cricket's name is Chester and the cat's name is Harry and they end up becoming friends--facing together the great challenges of city life. This may sound like it's too simple for middle readers but it's not. In fact, it's an ageless book that adults will genuinely enjoy reading to younger ones.

 

Leigh reads a book with his class and likes it so he decides to write the author and tell him. As he keeps writing to Mr. Henshaw, finally the author replies and suggests the boy begin writing a journal. Eventually Leigh enters a writing contest and wins an honorable mention. He decides he likes writing enough to try being a writer. The reader follows Leigh as he writes about struggles in his life. It is a fascinating story about some tough things kids face while at the same time, it reflects the birth of a writer.

 

Greg is a wimpy kid who has to face growing up without his best friend, Rowley. New changes are happening to his body, gross things happen in his life, and poor Greg is just trying to live through his childhood "expiration date" and hoping he can survive this crazy weird thing parents call puberty.


Wayside School was built all wrong. Instead of thirty rooms on one story, it's thirty stories of one room each. Every short chapter is a quirky story that doesn't always make sense except to middle grade students. Some stories are silly, some clever or weird, and others have a little lesson attached.

Sometimes great animal stories told by the animal in the first person simply don't work. But in Black Beauty it works for everybody, and few stories are more well loved. We come to care deeply about this mythical horse and that's one sign of excellent fiction.

William doesn't have the attention of his parents so, when his nanny, Ms. Phillips, must leave him, he devises a bit of magic that makes her a miniature inhabitant of a play castle he owns. Then he realizes that to get her back, he must also reduce himself to a miniature form. There he helps to fight Alastor, an evil magician, and he regains the company of his nanny. This is just the right flavor of fantasy for this age group, and will be very much enjoyed.

 

Amy is lonely and unpopular at school. Then she meets a dog named Sherlock who can talk as a result of a science experiment at a local college. Sherlock tries to act like a regular dog in front of others but talks to Amy and her friend, Sean, when they're along. Then a research assistant from the college spies Sherlock and Amy eludes the college staff until she and Sherlock are cornered. Will Amy get to keep her new best friend, or will he get dissected in a science lab?

 

Joel and Tony are going for a bike ride. When they stop on a bridge, Tony proposes they swim in the rushing river. At first Joel tries to talk him out of it, but then, to teach him a lesson, he suggests they race to the sandbar in the middle of the river. When they race, Tony gets swept under the water and Joel can't find him. Terrified, he goes home and pretends that everything's okay. Should he tell what happened? Will he be blamed for killing his friend? Is what happened his fault? You've got to read and find out.

 

Each chapter in this book tells a separate story. However, the stories all feature conflicts faced by grade-schoolers. And each story illustrates how a kid solves his or her problem using objects in the school. This is a great book for teachers to read to third or fourth graders.

 

Gilly Hopkins is a tough, smart 11-year-old who has been in and out of foster homes for most of her life. She thinks she'll eventually be returned to her mother who writes to her occasionally. She ends up being placed with Maime Trotter, a huge woman, a shy 7-year-old boy, and a next door neighbor who is blind. She can't stand these people and writes her mother to come rescue her. Will anyone show up who loves Gilly? Will the people Gilly's living with drive her nuts?  What will happen to the girl no one seems to like?

 

Milo receives a mysterious package with the parts to a tollbooth. He builds and enters it only to enter a weird new land that has places with strange features that make him think about what words can do in setting our imaginations free. A challenging book that kids have to concentrate on to uncover the meaning. Fun.

Young Ana Rose is a poet and writer in the Dominican Republic. She records everything, even dark shadows like the government official who comes to the villagers, stating that the government has sold their land. Rose's brother, Guario, becomes the village spokesman and may not realize what he's getting into. An achingly lyrical story that will move your heart.

Tom's brother catches a really bad case of the measles so Tom must stay in a relative's boring apartment for a while. He hates it, but then the clock strikes thirteen and Tom suddenly enters a dimension he never knew existed. He meets a person named Hattie, things turn crazy and fascinating and Tom never wants to go home again.

 

Instead of another dry list of bills the U.S. presidents pushed through Congress, this book is full of interesting things about the presidents such as what they liked to eat, who threw the best parties, which had the most embarrassing habits, and all sorts of stuff like that. This is a refreshing down to earth look at the leaders of our great nation.

 

Anastasia lives with a professor for a father and an artist for a mother. Meanwhile, Anastasia is trying her hardest to figure out who she is and whether she really belongs in this family. Is she in love, why can't her grandma remember her name, and why doesn't her teacher like her poetry? It doesn't help that in the middle of this difficult period, a baby brother is supposed to be born. Don't you want Anastasia to figure everything out?

This book has been a favorite since the 1960s. It's the story of a Labrador, a bull terrier, and a Siamese cat who, together, brave a passage through the Canadian wilderness. A very unique sort of survival story.

 

A trumpeter swan has to use a trumpet taken from a music store, and a boy named Sam has to teach this swan how to read and write. Then the swan happens to fall in love with a beautiful swan named Serena. This is an unusual story from the great E.B. White.

 

When their parents go to Paris, Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee are sent to stay at their Aunt Sally's. Aunt Sally builds Pee Wee a tree house, doesn't make them eat green beans, and tells the best stories the kids have ever heard. One particular story is about how she tried to give her own little brother over to the nasty trolls. The kids begin to understand that they shouldn't repeat the mistakes of their past relatives.

 

When Ms. Schwartz doesn't return from spring break, Susan's class is stuck with a substitute named Mr. Smith. Susan follows him home once and discovers something very strange about Mr. Smith. He is really an alien and Ms. Schwartz is trapped in his attic! Why is Mr. Smith keeping Ms. Schwartz? What is his mission on earth? Can Susan and her friend, Peter, find out without destroying themselves?

 

Laura Ingalls, a famous children's author, tells about her own growing up on the American frontier. Here she tells about how they prepared their home for a bitter winter.

 

Sylvester is an awful baseball player, that is, until a man shows up at the practice field and begins pitching to Sylvester. Suddenly, the boy can hit every ball! The mysterious man begins showing up at his games, and Sylvester turns into a terrific player who hits home runs and plays great in the field. However, what is going to happen when the man disappears from Sylvester's games?  Will the boy still be the star of the team or will he again be the player everyone boos?

 

This is a classic about a man named Mr. Popper. He reads every evening about the Antarctica and loves to pretend he's a famous explorer. But then he receives a mysterious package that contains a couple of penguins. Then the penguins begin multiplying and he doesn't know what to do. What do you do when your house is full of penguins and you can't get rid of them?


Willy Wonka, a candy maker, announces that he'll open his magical factory to the five lucky children who find golden tickets in his chocolate bars. A starving boy named Charlie is the last one who gets a ticket. What will happen to the five winners: Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Charlie? Will the other four get rid of Charlie or will they end up getting rid of themselves?

 

Winnie Foster runs away from home and finds herself mixed up in a jailbreak and a murder. Meanwhile, she is about to cross paths with the kind and lonely family named the Tucks. They once drank from a magical stream that gave them eternal life so that they never grow older or change. Can Winnie protect the Tucks from becoming like a circus sideshow? Can they keep away the hordes of people who begin flocking to the magical stream? Very few books allow children to wrestle with important issues like eternal life.

This book has a rather awkward title but don't let that put you off. It is a favorite book of lots of people. It's based on the true story of Martitia, an orphan who is taken home by a Quaker doctor. She joins a family of boys in 19th century North Carolina. The boys are full of fun and mischief and she finds it impossible to join in their fun at all. She also doesn't like what farm chores does to her pretty hands. However, as time goes on, she gradually overcomes her loss and begins to enjoy living with this very unlikely family. Will she stay with them or return to the idle life of her affluent relatives?

 

Imagine how you would feel if a mouse was born into your human family. Well, that's exactly what happens in the Little family. Then they've got to learn how to raise a mouse instead of a boy. You guessed it. It makes for adventures that keep kids wanting to find out quickily what comes next.

 

 Dinnie has never lived more than a year in the same place because her dad always moves his family from state to state in search of new "opportunities." Then things start going wrong in Dinnie's family and one night Dinnie's Aunt Sandy arrives, and the next morning Dinnie is "kidnapped" and taken to an American school in Switzerland where her Uncle Max has just taken a job as headmaster. The girl is homesick and very upset. Can she make friends with students from all over the world or will this be another temporary disaster?


 Emily must go to live with her wealthy Aunt and Uncle Twice at Sugar Hill Hall, a grand mansion.  But when pale, terrified Aunt Twice picks up Emily, the girl immediately knows something is terribly wrong. Can she solve the mystery of Sugar Hill Hall, even though dangerous eyes and ears lurk behind every shadowy corner?  Suspense to the end.

Harold the dog and Chester the cat are just fine until the Monroe family bring home a stray rabbit from a theater. Gradually, Chester begins to suspect that the rabbit, whom they name Bunnicula is actually a vampire. When he tries to warn the Monroes, they totally misunderstand the warning. Is Bunnicula a vampire and can the Monroe family be warned in time?

 

Jeffrey Magee lived in unhappiness with an aunt and uncle until he could not stand it any longer, so he ran out into the night. He could outrun almost anything. Then he crossed from the racially white East End of town into the black West End, smacking into racism head-on. But, in the process, he found a home and learned an important lesson.

 

Joey and his sister lived in Chicago during the days of the old time gangsters. Only one week a year they'd visit their rural Grandma. She didn't seem loving and she even told a white lie now and then. But Joey and Mary Alice gradually realized that their crusty Grandma actually cared about people. They come to appreciate the eccentric old woman in a special way.

 

Salamanca's mother leaves home on a spiritual quest, vowing to return. However, when she doesn't, Sal goes on a quest with her grandparents to find her. Meanwhile she meets a girl named Phoebe who has also lost her mother. Sal tells stories about Phoebe's mother while trying desperately to come to terms with her own mother's disappearance.

This boxed set includes the first three books in the wildly popular A Series of Unfortunate Events series. The titles are The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and the Wide Window. Read of the increasingly unfortunate adventures of the Baudelaire orphans.

This book has to be good. Nine Caldecott winners combined to display their talents in this book. It's a collection of favorite poems for kids. Fine, fun collection.

 

Arthur Rasby spends most of his time writing about real stuff in his notebook. When he goes to spend the summer at his uncle's and aunt's he meets a girl named Moira. She gently pushes him to start exploring life and actually doing things, instead of only writing about them. He decides to follow her advice and it changes his life.

 

In the deep South of the 1930s, Cassie grows up in a black family in which for a time she is sheltered from the ugliness of racism. But then it cannot be hidden any longer and she must grow up quickly as she realizes how truly destructive hatred can be. She becomes tougher, attempting at the same time not to become hateful.

 

The earth is being invaded and five children come upon a downed spaceship with a dying pilot. They are given the ability to turn into any animal they touch, and they are called animorphs. They must use this ability to stop the alien invasion on a planet in which even those they know well may be a threat.

 

This is a story about how three children survive living in the boxcar of a mighty train. Seems like a simple, and perhaps shallow plot, right?  Well, it is anything but and many individuals claim it was the first book that they could not put down and that ignited in them a love for reading.

 

This is a scary story that actually requires readers to get involved and be the main character in the book. There are various twists and turns the reader can take in the book and the readers can even decide which ending they prefer. Very popular Goosebump series.

 

Lily is excited about heading out of sweltering New York City for the summer to her family's beach house. However, her father joins the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help in World War 2. Lily is furious that her summer is ruined. Then an orphaned Hungarian refugee named Albert comes to stay with relatives down the street, and Lily realizes the horror of war. Then things get worse when a lie Lily tells may cost Albert his life. What will happen to Albert, Lily, and her family?

 

Lucy's home life is not very happy and, when a substitute introduces the class to poetry, Lucy begins to write her own and asks the teacher to help her. They develop a friendship and she asks that he keep her poetic journal entries a secret. Then wild ducks begin inhabiting the apartment swimming pool, and Lucy tries to protect them from a violent man. The man happens to be the stepfather of a boy Lucy hates, but they join forces to protect the ducks. Introduces kids to the treasure of poetry while at the same time, building an interesting plot.

 

Jennie Solano is a school outcast. In school gym class she gets placed in a relay race team with some other outcasts and they name themselves the Snob Squad. The only thing they have in common is a mutual hate for the stuck-up relay team made up of the most popular girls and led by the principal's daughter. Though the Snob Squad's efforts to get back at the mean kids backfires, in the process Jenny learns how to take control of her life and be herself.


This is an unusual book in which the author fantasizes various new worlds out of his imagination. With magnificent illustrations, the worlds seem to come alive. The book isn't like a fast-moving suspense story, so the kids who appreciate it may be those who are a bit more mature, enjoy a touch of science fiction, and enjoy moving slowly through a book to savor it.

 

Teddy and his younger brother, Bobby, live in Chinatown. Teddy just puts up with his pestering brother until Bobby is threatened by a large classmate named Arnie. Teddy finds out that Arnie is afraid of cockroaches so he begins carrying his pet cockroach around to scare off Arnie. It works until the cockroach gets loose and is  squished by Bobby's dad. Will Arnie now crush Bobby like the cockroach was squashed? Good question.

A nameless girl is discovered by Jane, a midwife in the Middle Ages, sleeping on a manure heap. She names the girl Beetle, after the dung Beetle. The unloving midwife allows Beetle to hang around and help out, and the girl eventually changes her name to Alyce. She enjoys a little success as a midwife helper, but then she fails badly and quits, even though she feels drawn to delivering infants. Will she ever try midwifery again, or will she settle for some other miserable way to earn a pittance. A great and interesting story.