Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

I think I tried to read this book in 2nd Grade. Truthfully, I understood maybe half of what I read, and I stopped in the middle. A year later, I tried again. I got through the whole thing. Hurrah! And I remember it to be a pretty good book, not a particular favorite, but still something that was a pleasure to read. Rebecca Rowena Randall is the little girl who has come to live with her aunts, because her mother didn’t want Rebecca’s sister to go. Aunt Miranda and Aunt Jane are very disciplined, very proper women, and not at all used to Rebecca’s type. Throughout the book, you follow the heroine’s antics and achievements, pain and happy days. The story has good plot, lovable characters, and is told by Kate Douglas Wiggin with eloquence. Girls to grown women would enjoy it. Check at your library, the local bookstore, or with your friends. You may find it’s worth it.

The Dragonfly Pool

Ever heard of Eva Ibbotson? Which Witch? The Island of the Aunts? Well, even if you haven’t, you sure are going to now. The Dragonfly Pool shows you the world of Tally, the girl with a loving father and many friends. But things change when Tally’s dad decides she has to be sent away to Delderton, a boarding school in the English countryside. Just to keep her safe until all the trouble with Hitler is over. Tally doesn’t want to go, but she goes. And Delderton turns out to be a perfectly amazing place, full  of opportunities. Soon Tally and her friends travel to Bergania, where the real excitement starts. A king’s assassination, a prince in danger, and a war all combine to make this a thrilling and great thing to read. So go get it!

Clara and the Bookwagon

This book, written by Nancy Levinson, was the frst chapter book I read as a little girl. Therefore, I read it many times over. Meaning, at least thirty. It’s a good read for any starting reader. Especially if they already enjoy books a lot. Clara spends her time on her family’s farm in Maryland doing chores and looking after her little siblings. No time for reading. Papa says that farm people don’t read. Clara doesn’t agree, especially when opportunity comes knocking in the form of Miss Mary and her bookwagon, which is specifically for farm people. Clara’s enraptured! Books, books, and more books! What could be better? Clara’s exactly like me. I feel a sort of hunger when I see tons of books all in one place. If your child is having trouble growing enthused with literature, believe me, this could be a colossal help. So look it up on Powell’s, or something. Seriously.

Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance

Definitely a good read. Just so you know. The author of Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance is Eleanora E. Tate, and at the center of her story is Celeste Lassiter Massey. Celeste lives a fairly happy life in Raleigh, North Carolina, if you subtract her Aunt Society from the mix. Aunt Society has a tongue like a sword, and finds fault with everything Celeste says or does. But things get really bad when Celeste’s father starts coughing. A lot. Everyone says it’s consumption. Finally, her dad agrees to go see a doctor. And is told he has to be sent to a sanitarium. Aunt Society doesn’t want to take care of Celeste any more than Celeste wants her to, and Aunt Society’s idea is to send her niece to work for a pair of sisters out past Roxboro. Not a chance! So, as a desperate hope, Celeste writes to her Aunt Valentina up in Harlem, New York, begging her to come down and take care of her. Instead, she’s shipped up to Harlem itself! And though things may not be as glamorous as Celeste first expected, she doesn’t have quite a bad time. But an unexpected event sends more change wheeling her way, and bringing with it new decisions. The writing was awesome, and I loved the plot and characters. Which there are scores of. So, please, check this out!

The Clockwork Three

Amazing. An amazing book. The Clockwork Three is supposedly Matthew J. Kirby’s debut novel, but it’s hard to believe this is so. I loved it. The author wrote with wonderful use of language and gave a very satisfying plot and characters. At times, I admit I did think the characters were a bit unbelievingly emotional, but everything else makes up for it. Giuseppe, an Italian busker with a cruel padrone, wants nothing more than to return home to his brother and sister. Frederick, an orphaned apprentice clockmaker, wants nothing more than to make journeyman. And Hannah, a young girl working in a very fine hotel, wants nothing more than for her father to recover from his illness and for everything to be right with the world again. But cruel fate plays games with the children, giving something good (like a green violin) and then snatching it back again. Eventually, the two boys and girl become acquainted with one another, and find they cannot fulfill any of their dreams unless they join forces. This was an excellent novel, and I really reccomend you pick it up. Now.

Countdown

Deborah Wiles, well-known author of Love, Ruby Lavender, has sent out another deep, stirring novel for young readers. Countdown, a tale set during the Cold War in 1962, tells about poor Franny Chapman, who is undergoing some big changes and confusing situations at present. (Or past, whichever one.) Her best friend doesn’t seem like her best friend, she might as well be invisible for all her parents and teachers seem to know, and, of course, there’s all that trouble down in Cuba. And that’s not all: something is up with her sister, and Prince Charming has moved in across the street again. Hmmmm, trouble much? I loved this book and couldn’t put it down, so I finished it in two days. The writing and plot were magnetic, the characters were so real that I could either hate them with all my might or love them to bits. It’s just the right book for the kid that likes reading emotional stories, and the girl that needs to realize all she has. It really is. And, once you’re finished with Countdown, look at the library or bookstore and check out Deborah Wiles’ other novels. You can also read more at her website.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Picture this: You’re the only girl in a family with seven kids total. You live in Texas, and it’s a boiling hot summer. And you’re doomed to become part of domestic society, knowing nothing beyond darning and cookery. Well, what do you think? Bleagh. Unfortunately, this is the life of poor Miss Calpurnia Virginia Tate, an eleven-year-old girl that doesn’t necessarily have the adventurous life she longs for. But that all changes when she ends up getting to know her grandfather and is swept into the magnificent world of Science. I loved this book (written by Jacqueline Kelly)  for Calpurnia’s hilarious antics, her candid narrative, and the good writing. I’m nearly positive you’ll enjoy reading about Calpurnia’s piano recital, the time her big brother gets a girlfriend, and the whole Lula Gates fiasco. So I’d go check for it at the library if I were you.

The Royal Diaries: Cleopatra VII

I’m a big fan of most of the books in The Royal Diaries series, fictional diaries written by authors pretending to be historical princesses from all over the world. In this case, Kristiana Gregory. But this is one of the diaries I will never forget, due to the fact that a) I loved it, and b) It’s the first one I ever read. Cleopatra VII’s life is wrought with danger, for the common Egyptians are not fond of her father, the Pharaoh. And Cleopatra, being his favorite daughter, is just another target for assassins. She and her father travel to Rome, hoping to find help in controlling the public. I admire Cleopatra greatly, she was a young woman who had the best interests of her people at heart, and valued brains above beauty. She spoke with many great men, including the Romans Julius Caesar and Cicero. One of the most intriguing things about her is that we aren’t certain if she was a good or bad person. Girls will enjoy reading about this amazing woman, though I do recommend that they be accustomed to violence in books. Please don’t read this book to your three-year-old. She or he will have nightmares.

The Three Musketeers

First things first: this is most definitely a summer or vacation read. You do not want to carry a full-length copy of The Three Musketeers (by Alexandre Dumas) in your backpack to school or work. Sooner or later, you’ll break your back. This book is about a young Gascon youth named d’Artagnan, intent on finding a place with the noble and courageous King’s Musketeers. But after an incident along the way, he loses the letter to M. de Treville, but still finds himself being admitted…into the guards of M. de Essarts. But even without being a Musketeer, d’Artagnan manages to make friends with a few. So, it is along with Athos, Aramis, and Porthos that our hero is swept up into a world of conspiracies and danger, up against the villainous Cardinal Richelieu and Countess de Winter. This book was a little too long for me; you could say that Alexandre Dumas was rather too fond of writing. Nevertheless, this book has all the elements it needs to be considered an okay read. If you ever have a lot of time on your hands and find yourself without something to read, you might consider this.