Sammy the Seal

Published in 1959, Sammy the Seal was the third book Syd Hoff wrote for the “I Can Read” series.  The plot is much like Danny and the Dinosaur. Sammy the seal lives in the zoo, but he is sad because he wants to go see what it’s like outside. He has been a good seal,…

Theodore Boone: The Abduction

Theodore Boone: The Abduction is the second in John Grisham’s mystery series for kids. In my review of the first book, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, I said: “I appreciate Grisham’s handling of young teens and his respect for the family. The story has plenty of excitement without vulgarity or gore. It can be done!” I…

Danny and the Dinosaur

Syd Hoff was a well-known cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine before he began writing “I Can Read” books for children. Danny and the Dinosaur, Hoff’s first book for the series, was published in 1958, the year after Harper & Row (now HarperCollins) began the series. I discovered Syd Hoff in our school library when…

A Baby Sister for Frances

 A Baby Sister for Frances is the second Frances book written by Russell Hoban (1964), but the first illustrated by his wife, Lillian Hoban.  Frances is obviously struggling with the fact that she is no longer the center of her parents’ attention. Frances is well known for her little songs, but no one even comments…

Bedtime for Frances

Russell Hoban wrote nearly four dozen books for children over a span of more than fifty years. Though I haven’t conducted a scientific poll, I’m going to venture that the character he created for his very first is still the most popular and well known.  Bedtime for Frances was published in 1960, and Hoban featured…

The House of Sixty Fathers

As the setting is developed in the first couple of paragraphs, it might be any typical peaceful opening scene; just a boy sheltering from the rain on a boat with his pets. Except that the rain dripping on the boy’s sleeping pig is coming through a bullet hole in the roof. During China’s war with…

Green Grass of Wyoming

Green Grass of Wyoming is the third book in Mary O’Hara’s “Flicka” trilogy. It seems that often, when Sara and I find a book series we love, we regret that the author propels the main characters to maturity faster than our young readers can grow with them. Ken McLaughlin is ten years old at the…

Magic In the Margins

Magic In the Margins is the sixth book in our Medieval Manuscripts Children’s Book Resources list.  The author information on the dust jacket says, “Mr. Nikola-Lisa’s interest in medieval bookmaking began many years ago as a second grade teacher, when he ended each year with a unit on the Middle Ages.” In his preface, Nikola-Lisa…