The moment I saw this book, I knew my youngest son, Mighty Mite, would love it. Magic, animals, a cat on the cover ... it just doesn't get better than...moreThe moment I saw this book, I knew my youngest son, Mighty Mite, would love it. Magic, animals, a cat on the cover ... it just doesn't get better than that in 7 year old land. The Familiars, by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, is an adorable story about three animal familiars and their loyals, the young wizards they must rescue from the evil queen of Vastia. How can you not love a premise like that?
RL: 6.3 CSM: n/a Rating: G Content: Mild peril, lots of magical fun
Aldwyn, the alley cat that's passing as a familiar even though he possesses no magical abilities, is a charming character. One mis-adventure after another leads this street-wise kitty into troubles he never asked for, with friends he never imagined (a frog and a bird?), and a love for his loyal that he never thought he would feel for another human or beast. Aldwyn is endearing and young readers will immediately be swept up in his search to save his loyal, a boy named Jack. Along the way are wonderful lessons about honesty, loyalty, and believing in yourself.
I couldn't be more delighted with the messages and characters in this book. I love the high reading level as well, and yet it is aimed at fairly young readers. This makes it a perfect read for advanced readers as young as 5. Yay for books with Big Words! (less)
This debut middle grade novel is about a girl who dreams of racing her dogs in the frozen north. It's fast-paced, stuffed full of doggy goodness and r...moreThis debut middle grade novel is about a girl who dreams of racing her dogs in the frozen north. It's fast-paced, stuffed full of doggy goodness and racing lingo, and charmed the anorak off me from the very first page. Johnson has created a story that will appeal equally to 7-year-old boys who love puppies and 12-year-old girls who dream of being on American Idol. That is quite a feat, and mark me impressed.
Rebecca lives with her dad and step-mom, raising their Alaskan Huskies. She dreams of being a champion musher and doesn't shy away from the hard, cold work of caring for the dogs she loves. But will her dad ever let her run her own team? Or even race? One doggy adventure after another pulls Rebecca and her team toward the fame she imagines in her hilarious daydreams of success. And throughout, Rebecca's love for her dogs shines as bright as the northern snow.
I wish I knew the reading level of this book, but it doesn't shy away from Big Words, with beautiful descriptions of the dogs and their snowy world. There's even a glossary in the back with all the dog mushing terms, and a teacher's guide on Johnson's website. But I'm sure this would be a challenging read for young advanced readers, and a simply delightful story for the older ones. Except for the occasional porcupine quill encounters, there's no violence to speak of in this lovely book. I highly recommend Dogsled Dreams for advanced readers as young as five.(less)