Summer is just about here. As the kids wind down their last few days of school, and are thinking about all of the fun they’re going to have over the summer, you can start them off with a summer reading program. To prevent summer learning loss, kids should read every day, if possible. They can read at home, while on vacation, at Grandma’s house, just about anywhere. Here are few books to help get that summer reading program started. Over the next few weeks we will continue to offer more suggestions so stay tuned.
The BFG By Roald Dahl is for kids in grades 2 and up. “Evidently not even Roald Dahl could resist the acronym craze of the early eighties. BFG? Bellowing ferret-faced golfer? Backstabbing fairy godmother? Oh, oh … Big Friendly Giant! This BFG doesn’t seem all that F at first as he creeps down a London street, snatches little Sophie out of her bed, and bounds away with her to giant land. And he’s not really all that B when compared with his evil, carnivorous brethren, who bully him for being such an oddball runt. After all, he eats only disgusting snozzcumbers, and while the other Gs are snacking on little boys and girls, he’s blowing happy dreams in through their windows. What kind of way is that for a G to behave?
The BFG is one of Dahl’s most lovable character creations. Whether galloping off with Sophie nestled into the soft skin of his ear to capture dreams as though they were exotic butterflies; speaking his delightful, jumbled, squib-fangled patois; or whizzpopping for the Queen, he leaves an indelible impression of bigheartedness.” Review from Amazon.
A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck is for kids in grades 3 and up. “A rollicking celebration of an eccentric grandmother and childhood memories. Set in the 1930s, the book follows Joe and Mary Alice Dowdel as they make their annual August trek to visit their grandmother who lives in a sleepy Illinois town somewhere between Chicago and St. Louis. A woman with plenty of moxie, she keeps to herself, a difficult task in this small community. However, Grandma Dowdel uses her wit and ability to tell whoppers to get the best of manipulative people or those who put on airs. She takes matters into her own hands to intimidate a father who won’t control his unruly sons, and forces the bank to rescind a foreclosure on an elderly woman’s house. Whether it’s scaring a pretentious newspaper man back to the city or stealing the sheriff’s boat and sailing right past him as he drunkenly dances with his buddies at the Rod & Gun Club, she never ceases to amaze her grandchildren with her gall and cunning behavior. Each chapter resembles a concise short story. Peck’s conversational style has a true storyteller’s wit, humor, and rhythm. Joe, the narrator, is an adult looking back on his childhood memories; in the prologue, readers are reminded that while these tales may seem unbelievable, “all memories are true.” Perfect for reading aloud, A Long Way from Chicago is a great choice for family sharing. Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc” Review from Amazon.
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant is for kids in grades K through 3. “The title of Rylant’s exuberant tale is an understatement, for when “those relatives” came, they came en masse and they came for an extended stay. Their anticipation at seeing kin during their long, long drive and finally hugging them “against their wrinkled Virginia clothes” set the tone for this welcome family reunion, a visit that never wears thin. The relatives are depicted as a support system to help a fatherless family with all the things that need to be done in and around their house. In down-to-earth language that harbors strong emotion, Rylant recounts the festive celebration of the relatives’ stayand the ensuing sadness when they depart. The relatives in question are a large rural brood, depicted, in Gammell’s joyous color pencil drawings, as running the gamut from porcine to scrawny, old to young and rowdy to silent. In pictures of this group hugging, eating and sleeping, the unspoken closeness of the unnamed relatives can be felt. These softly colored pictures, which capture the spirit of the brief text, are large enough for sharing in groupsa use of this warm book that seems particularly appropriate. David Gale, “School Library Journal” Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.” Review from Amazon.