Children’s Books Reading Goal: Update 1

I forgot how short some juvenile books are. I checked out several from the library this week and already ran out of new reading material. I’ve checked out some as ebooks but many of the books listed in Reid’s Read-Alouds don’t appear to be available as ebooks, at least from the libraries I have access to. I’ve put a lot more on hold for next week so hopefully I can avoid running out next time. I’m also hoping I get more young adults. The juvenile chapter books are a bit more basic than I like reading for fun.

Goal Books I’ve Read


The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall (Juvenile Old-fashioned Summer Adventure)

The Penderwicks has a very old-fashioned feel to it. It’s the story of a family of girls and their father renting a cottage for the summer holiday. The girls are quirky and adventurous and they drag everyone they meet, including their landlords son, into their adventures. It won the 2005 National Book Award for young people’s literature. NPR did a short interview with Bridsall about the book.

This was a good book. It’s very much in the vein of older children’s book written a long time ago and reminded me of many books I read as a child.


The Poison Apples, by
Lily Archer (Young Adult Boarding School)

Three girls acquire stepmothers and get packed off to the same elite boarding school. All of them hate their evil stepmothers and want their fathers to get rid of the new stepmothers.

This was my favorite of the books I read this week. One reason is probably because it was written for an older audience than juvenile. However, it’s also a wonderful plot. Boarding school stories always seem to be fun. Parts of it reminded me of The School for Good and Evil.


I Was A Third Grade Spy, by Mary Jane Auch (Juvenile Talking Dog)

This was a very short chapter book that revolved around a dog learning how to speak English. However, he still has the brain and motivation of a dog so this doesn’t end out working well.

This was probably my least favorite. Not because the book was bad, it wasn’t, but because it’s so below the level I would normally choose to read. It’s very much a book for children that are just starting to read chapter books on their own.


Ereth’s Birthday, by Avi (Juvenile Anthropomorphic Porcupine)

A porcupine leaves his home in a huff because he thinks everyone has forgotten his birthday. Through multiple mischances, he ends up talking care of three young foxes whose mother has died.

This was a great book. The language is fantastic. The porcupine is constantly swearing but in a very creative manner. For instance,

“Why can’t young folks ever be still?” A deeply disappointed Ereth complained to himself. “Potted pockets of grizzly grunions, it would save so much trouble if children were born . . . old.”

According to the reviews, this book is rated for the same grade levels as I Was A Third Grade Spy but it felt a lot more complex to me. It’ll be several years before Calvin can read this book but it’s a prefect listening level for him now. The subject is interesting without being too mature and the sentences are beautiful.


Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go, by Annie Barrows (Juvenile Chapter Book)

Ivy and Bean are best (female) friends. They see a ghost in the elementary school restroom and pretty soon none of the students are willing to use it.

Another chapter book. It was fine but wasn’t inspiring for me. At least it was short.


Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One, by Judy Blume (Juvenile Sibling Fiction)

“The Pain”, a first grader, and “The Great One”, his 3rd grade sister snipe at each other like normal siblings. Sometimes they have good days and sometimes bad but in spite of it all they still look out for each other.

I remember listening to Judy Blume stories when I was in elementary school. I really enjoyed the ones I heard back then. Reading this one now, I thought it was fine. It’s probably good for the age group it was written for.

Reading Goal: 9 of 180

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