In The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan (Lexile: 510; Interest Level: Grades 1-5), we meet our main characters outside during a blizzard. Teddy finds Nickel and Flora outside looking for shelter, so he takes them home to his cabin. It is not at all strange to him (or them) that they can hear him talk. Sylvan explained to him once that only children and poets could hear dogs talk.
Through the dialog of this sweet story of two children and a dog surviving a winter storm, we learn about Teddy, his relationship with Sylvan, and about the children as well. But what will happen after the storm? Read this gem of a book to find out! (96 p.)
I love books where people have a chance to rise from rags to riches and stories about non-royal people becoming royalty, but most of those books seem to involve girls as the main characters. So, when a student told me about The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Lexile: 710; Interest Level: Grades 4-9), I was excited! Yes, this is a book about a boy who is chosen to compete in a plan to become the new king of the land.
Sage is escaping from a butcher from whom he has just stolen a whole roast when we first meet him. When he arrives at the orphanage with a kindly gentleman who bought the roast for him, he discovers that the man has purchased him. Of course, he doesn't want to belong to anyone, so he is bound and carried off. After awhile, he finds out that he and three other orphaned boys have been chosen because they look so much like the prince who is believed to have been killed by pirates four years before. The man who gathered the boys, Conner, has a plan to have one of the boys pose as the prince and take the throne. Now Sage has 2 weeks to learn everything he needs to know about being the lost prince, and to convince Conner he is the orphan for the job.
If, like me, you enjoy a good underdog story with lots of action, swords, humor, and danger, you will enjoy this story. It is the first book in the Ascendance Trilogy. (352 p.)
Who would have thought that the key to adventure would lie within an antique music box? Leo certainly didn't, although he did think that the strict rules on using it were a bit odd: you could only turn the knob 3 turns, you must never close it before it finishes it's song, and you should certainly never move it while the music plays.
However, when his cousin Mimi, whom Leo cannot stand, comes to stay with them, the two encounter the first hints that they may not know the whole story of the music box. Mimi turns the knob 4 times, and releases a magical hold on a vibrant other world. Leo and Mimi are then sucked into the world of Rondo, a place where Mimi seems to belong and Leo wishes he weren't. The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda (Lexile: 710; Interest Level: Grades 3-7) is an adventure as the reader follows Leo and Mimi through a town filled with Dots, a forest with Flitters, and faces a mean Duck who hunts them, a pig who wants to help them, and various other characters whom you may recognize from beloved children's stories. (352 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.