RECOMMENDED CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Title: Little Brown Bear Won’t Go to School
Author: Jane Dyer
Range: Ages 3 – 7
Synopsis: What’s the point of attending school? Little Brown Bear decides to forego an education and go to work like his Mama and Papa, but none of his jobs pan out. No one at the diner can read the orders he takes, his construction work doesn’t hold together, he gets tangled in a scarf he tries to knit, and the buzz cut he gives a lion makes the beast roar his displeasure! Now he knows why he needs to go to school – he’s got a lot to learn! Dyer’s sunny water colours are filled with lush detail and subtle humour. Kids will love exploring every illustration.
Title: Niagara Falls, or Does it?
Author: Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver
Range: Ages 8 -12
Synopsis: Hank Zipzer’s journals, “The Mostly True Confessions of the World’s Best Underachiever,” chronicle how a smart, well-intentioned, wise-cracking fourth grader survives his worst enemy – himself. Everything is a challenge for Hank, from punctuality to punctuation. In this first book of the series, Hank missteps on the very first day of school. The first-person perspective brings Hank sharply into focus. He’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of kid. The text reflects his cheeky approach to life and the dialogue rings true. Hank’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but his honesty and self-deprecating attitude will garner him hero status and lots of fans that identify with him.
Title: The Cheat
Author: Amy Goldman Koss
Range: Ages 10 – 14
Synopsis: A cheating scandal embroils an eighth-grade class after the class geek tries to impress the beauty queen by giving her the answers to a geography exam before the test. When the popular clique shares the inside information, the test results play havoc with the lives of everyone involved. Dramatically revealed in alternating first-person accounts, this inside look at middle-grade mores packs a powerful punch because the six students divulge all the conscience-wracking details. Told with irreverence and humour, it is an adolescent exposé that explores the values of trust and honour and the repercussions of deceit. Integrity may be deemed a cliché by some teens, but it is obvious from the fallout of this experience that cheating is not worth the self-destruction it inevitably causes.
Source: Reading Today’s “Children’s Book Review” by Lynne T. Burke