Books for Interacting
Cavern of Clues and Museum of Mysteries, part of the Math Quest series by David Glover come highly recommended by an ALC nine year old. “This series engages readers with a fun story using math puzzles. To finish the book, you have to solve many math problems and have an adventure as the plot unfolds. You’ll want to read this again and again.” It’s true: our home has had these from the library more than once.
In The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base the reader must determine the identity of the birthday feast thief from clues hidden in the rhyming text and lush illustrations. Code-breaking and puzzle-solving come together in this interactive book. Best of all, the answers (assuming you buy a brand-new copy of the book) are sealed in the final pages until you slice open the sticker to reveal the pages. You must be quite sure of your intention to see the answer before sneaking a peek.
Books for Snuggling
If you, too, long for the good old days, The Little… Series by Judy Dunn is for you. Each book features a child who adopts a pet (The Little Puppy, The Little Lamb, The Little Rabbit, etc) and learns the challenges and joys of animal care. Each story is told through photographs, an illustration tactic that is works perfectly here even though it can sometimes feel artificial. I grew up with these books so they are extra nostalgic for me, but even if they are new to you, I expect you’ll find them charming.
The wistfulness for the bygone era of the 1830s is palpable in Rachel Field’s sweet novel, Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, about Hitty, the mountain-ash wood doll. As Hitty adventures – at the hands of her various owners – across the globe and over a century of history, she watches the world change around her. Hitty witnesses life aboard a whaling ship, missionaries in the Far East, a Quaker household, the effects of the Civil War (on Northerners and Southerners), poverty and wealth, family life and old maids, the evolving methods of transportation, and a change in her own monetary value as she slowly becomes “an antique.” A darling story from 1929 for any girl who has loved a doll.
A Book for Savoring
They just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Or write ‘em, if we’re talking about books. I don’t trust much new literature these days, but The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill is a stellar exception. This book is packed full: full of good characters, good lessons, good imagery, and great insights. From questions of virtue and vice to the power of simple things to the creative playfulness of time itself, this book plants themes like seeds, letting them take their sweet time to bud and flower. The parallels to Biblical truth are strong, and more keep rising to the surface the more I think about it. Highly recommended as a read-aloud for the whole family, or for independent reading for any middle school or even high school reader. (Bonus: it’s already been vetted by our 7th and 8th grade book club!)
A Game for Inhabiting
Board game players: lend your ears! Everdell has become a fast favorite in our home. Though our five-year old is still too young to play, the rest of us have played well over a dozen times since we received the game at Christmastime. Each player collects resources in order to build a personalized “village” of woodland critters and constructions, vying for the best elements to add from the “meadow” and deciding how to build a city that will yield the most end-of-game points. We’ve spent many a weekend afternoon in the realm of Everdell and I suspect other game-lovers will feel at home in Everdell too. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try one of the expansion packages!
curated by Brittany Mountz
English major and unsuspecting English educator at ALC