The Princess Candy series by Michael Dahl

My oldest daughter is almost seven years old, and she is in the first grade. She was an early reader, but up until recently, she preferred graphic novels to chapter books. We are very fortunate that our town library has a large selection of graphic novels for children. If there is anything that they do not have, we can have it sent to us via the library network.

My daughter discovered the first Princess Candy book at our town library, and she has since read several books in the series. Princess Candy combines several of the things that my daughter likes: princesses, candy, and superheroes. Princess Candy is a collaboration between Michael Dahl, the author and Jeff Crowther, the illustrator. Read more

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constatine

I am a big fan of Young Adult fiction. I’m definitely in denial about the fact that I am no longer a Young Adult. I’m not going to be maudlin and declare myself old, but I graduated from high school before the turn of the century. Calling it the turn of the century might actually be a legitimate thing now, given that it was fourteen years ago. Kids definitely have more technology now that what was available when I was a kid, but there are some high school experiences that are universal.

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The Octonauts Books by Meomi

Before I had children, I knew everything there was about raising children. Seven years into the game, I’m realizing that I know nothing, John Snow about children. In the midst of my child rearing expert period, I declared that my children were not going to read television books. I thought they were a lower form of literature, and such books would never darken my doorway.

Like many of the things that I did not plan to do regarding children, the book snobbery went right out the window. We have many books featuring beloved television characters. Are they the most well written books? No, many of them don’t even have an author listed, which leads me to believe that they were either ghost written or authored by a robot. Or maybe ghostwritten by a robot.

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Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

I found Sense and Sensibility on the new release shelf at the library. I am familiar with Joanna Trollope’s name, but I don’t think I have read any of her other books. The title intrigued me: Sense and Sensibility is another of Jane Austen’s great novels. I didn’t mean to go on an Austen fanfiction bender; it just sort of happened.

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Longbourn by Jo Baker

I am a big fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, so I was excited when I found out about Longbourn, written by Jo Baker. Pride and Prejudice fanfiction, for lack of a better term, is nothing new. There are a few novels that I have enjoyed, and some that I did not enjoy.

Fans of Pride and Prejudice will recognize Longbourn as the Bennet family home. The novel takes place below stairs of that fine home, as the small household staff works to meet the needs of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters. As the events of the novel unfold, the members of the staff are right there. Mrs. Hill the housekeeper strives to make Mr. Collins’ visit a pleasant one, and everyone is concerned about what will happen when he does not make a match with one of the five Bennet daughters. In a poignant moment, Mary is devastated when Mr. Collins chooses Charlotte Lucas, and locks herself in her room, playing melancholy songs on the pianoforte. Read more

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el

My oldest daughter is almost seven years old, and she is in the first grade. She has a sweet little best friend, and I have struck up a friendship with the girl’s mother. We have a lot in common: our oldest daughters are only a month apart and were born in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor. Her son and my twins are also the same age, and will start kindergarten together in a few months.

My friend and I both love the Scholastic book club flier that our girls get each month, and she was the one who told me about Not Your Typical Dragon, and how her children just loved it. I hadn’t ordered it when it appeared in the flier, so when I saw it amongst the picture books at the Book Fair, I definitely did a little happy dance.

Not Your Typical Dragon is a picture book written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Tim Bowers. This is the story of Crispin, a dragon who is about to turn seven years old. In dragon culture, this is the age at which dragons are endowed with the ability to breathe fire. Disaster strikes when Crispin is poised to light the candles on his cake with fire breath: whipped cream comes out of Crispin’s mouth instead of fire! Read more

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

My oldest daughter is almost seven years old, and she loves graphic novels. She is a strong reader, but she was not always interested in chapter books. Her kindergarten teacher introduced her to the Babymouse series, and she fell in love with the genre. We are very lucky that our town library has a large selection of graphic novels, and we have also ventured out to neighboring towns to check out their graphic novels as well.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword is a graphic novel by Barry Deutsch. It is subtitled, “Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl”. Mirka lives with her father, stepmother, and assorted siblings in an Orthodox enclave. Mirka is so sheltered that she does not recognize a pig when she encounters one in the woods. Read more

This House Is Haunted by John Boyne

I just finished reading This House Is Haunted by John Boyne. I found it on Amazon when I was browsing for books, and then requested it through the library network. I did not recognize the author at first, but then I later realized that he also wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. He has written several other books for both children and adults.

I am not always a fan of ghost stories. I will admit to being a scaredy cat. But, I love 19th century England, so I gave this book a chance, and I’m glad I did. Read more

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

I just brought home Mr. Tiger Goes Wild from the library. This is our second time checking out this book. My girls love when I read it to them, and I have a particular love for it as well. I do think that when this book is released in paperback, we will be picking up our own copy.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a picture book written and illustrated by Peter Brown. The titular Mr. Tiger lives in a drab city that would make Charles Dickens depressed. Everything in the city is grey, and all of the anthropomorphic animals are very proper. In one picture, we even see a horse scolding little animals by telling them not to act like wild animals! Read more

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

I found Keeping the Castle at the library.  This Patrice Kindl novel was the featured YA book group pick of the month, and it looked interesting, so I grabbed a copy.  I have a fondness for the Regency period: from Jane Austen to Julia Quinn, there’s just something enchanting about early 19th century England.

Althea is seventeen years old, and has a heavy load to bear.  Her great grandfather spent the family fortune building a precarious castle on a cliff, and the family has been scraping by ever since.  The house has fallen into disrepair over the years, and if Althea does not marry well, there is no telling what will happen.  Read more