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Friday, June 28, 2013

Five of my Favorite Children's Novels

I was an elementary school teacher for thirty years.  I always made time to read novels to my classes.  These are five of the novels that I really enjoyed reading to my students.  Of course, adults can read them too!

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
By: Robert C. O'Brian

Mrs. Frisby is a mouse living in Mr. Fitzgibbon's garden.  She is a widow with several young children.  At the end of Winter, just before the the time for Spring plowing, her frailest child becomes ill and cannot be moved.  Mrs. Frisby must find a way to save him from from Mr. Fitzgibbon's plow.  Her search leads her to the rats where she learns the secret shared by the rats and her poor dead husband.

Running Out of Time
By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jessie and her family live in the small town of Clifton, Indiana in the year 1840.  As she has grown up, Jessie has noticed odd things about the town.  There are words they are not allowed to use, and places they are not allowed to go.  Although there is a doctor in Clifton, people often ask Jessie's mother for medical help.  When an epidemic threatens the lives of several young children, Jessie's mother decides to send Jessie for some modern help.  That's when she reveals the truth about Clifton.

The Seventh Princess
By: Nick Sullivan

On the bus to school, Jennifer is upset.  Her homework is not done.  She was supposed to write about her most fantastic dream, and she couldn't think of anything to write about.

Then there is a jolt, and Jennifer is in a horse drawn carriage.  The carriage delivers her to a castle where she meets Duke Rinaldo.  Soon, Jennifer is adopted by the king as the Princess Miranda.

It is an open secret that Jennifer is not really the Princess Miranda.  Then we learn that she is the seventh princess.  There is an evil witch who demands the tribute of a princess every year.  What has happened to the previous six princesses?

I love this book because it is so well written.  The description of the harpy attack is an excellent example of fantastic writing.

A Door in the Wall
By: Marguerite De Angeli

Robin is the son of a knight.  He hopes one day to fallow in his father's footsteps.  As the story begins, Robin's father is in the North fighting with the king.  His mother has left to serve as a lady in waiting for the queen.  After his mother leaves, Robin is taken ill and can no longer move his legs.  The man who is supposed to take Robin to his father never arrives.  Eventually, the entire house staff has either succumbed to the plague, or departed in fear.  Robin is left alone.

Kindly Brother Luke takes Robin to the hospice of St. Marks.  There Brother Luke takes care of Robin both body and soul.  Robin learns to adapt to his disability, and he learns to be a better person. 

The Green Book
By: Jill Paton Walsh

Pattie's family is leaving Earth.  There is something wrong with the sun.  Because they are among the last to leave, their spaceship is not very powerful.  So each person is allowed to bring only one personal item.  Pattie brings a green book.  The others make fun of Pattie when they discover that Pattie's book is just a blank journal.

The novel tells the story of Pattie and her family's trip aboard the ship, and their experiences on their new planet, Shine.

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