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Here are some fun books for summer reading

Here are some fun books for summer reading

“The Islands of Elsewhere” by Heather Fawcett will captivate readers and listeners from start to finish. (Courtesy of Rocky Pond Books/Penguin Random House)

Summer vacation provides ample opportunity for reading, both independently and aloud. With the pressure of academics on hold, reading for fun is a valuable way to ignite imaginations while keeping reading skills up to speed.

The books reviewed today along with those recommended by your local librarian represent just a fraction of those that can be enjoyed by many age levels. Ask your librarian and bookstore salesperson to point you in the direction of others. Anytime is the right time to read. Try it and see for yourself!

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Uncle Pirate” by Douglas Rees, illustrated by Tony Auth, McElderry, 102 pages

Read aloud: age 7 and older.

Read yourself: age 8 – 9 and older.

Wilson’s long-lost pirate uncle, Desperate Evil Wicked Bob, and his talking penguin, Captain Jack, have come to live with Wilson and his family in their small condo. This is not the sort of thing that happens every day, but Wilson couldn’t be more delighted. With no spare bedroom, Uncle Pirate slings his hammock above Wilson’s bed while Captain Jack takes the lowest shelf of the refrigerator.

Uncle Pirate has trouble adjusting to life on land and tries his hand at several different jobs with rather disastrous results. Meanwhile, Captain Jack insists on going to school with Wilson. Finally, Uncle Pirate decides he will accompany Wilson and Captain Jack to school the very next day . . .

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A laugh-aloud read that is loaded with very funny illustrations, this colorful story is first-rate.

Librarian’s choice

Library: Village Library, 207 N. Walnut St., Morgantown

Library director: Maria Long

Children’s librarian: Pam Mohl

Choices this week: “Waiting for Magic” by Patricia MacLachlan; “Ten in the Bed” by Penny Dale; “Indian Captive” by Lois Lenski

Books to buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“The Islands of Elsewhere” by Heather Fawcett, Rocky Pond Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, 220 pages, $17.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 8 – 12.

Read yourself: age 8 – 12.

Ten-year-old Bee and her two younger sisters have gone with their mother and baby brother to Granddaddy’s house for part of the summer. The family have come to be with Granddaddy to help him because his memory isn’t what it used to be.

Granddaddy lives in the small coastal town called Misty Cove, and his house is on a low bluff overlooking the ocean with breathtaking views and a beach that stretches on as far as the eye can see. Best of all, Granddaddy also owns the three nearby small Fairy Islands — Fairy, Little Fairy and Ghost. Exploring those islands will be beyond exciting, and the sisters can’t wait to get started.

The locals said the islands are full of magic and are “in-between places.” While the two younger sisters believe in magic, Bee does not. Upon learning that their great-great- grandmother had been a pirate, the girls are convinced there must be treasure hidden there, and they are determined to find it.

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If they do, the treasure might be valuable enough to allow them to stay with Granddaddy full time and take care of him. But where is the treasure, and will they be able to find it before their time in Misty Cove runs out?

A wonderful cast of colorful characters, and a story of family, love, friendship and adventure that’s sprinkled with magic, readers/listeners will be captivated by “The Islands of Elsewhere,” start to finish.

“Desert Jungle” written and illustrated by Jeannie Baker, encourages readers/listeners to become more aware and engaged with the environment.(Courtesy of Candlewick)

“Desert Jungle” written and illustrated by Jeannie Baker, Candlewick, 2023, 40 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 5 – 8.

Read yourself: age 6 – 8.

A boy lives in a tiny village in a desert valley. He hears coyotes howling in the night, and he never wanders far from his home because he thinks the coyotes will attack him.

The boy is invited to Grandpa’s ranch home, far away from any village. Grandpa wants to show him where he grew up and suggests the two of them go exploring. But the boy isn’t interested; he just wants to play on his tablet. Later, the boy tucks his tablet into his bag and leaves it outside. In the evening when the boy goes to get his tablet, his bag is gone, and the boy is miserable without it.

The next morning the boy goes looking for his lost bag. He wanders, not thinking about where he is going, until he is lost. Afraid and alone, he finally recognizes the mountain behind Grandpa’s house that shows him the way back. When he is reunited with Grandpa, the boy tells him that this place scares him and calls it a desert jungle. Grandpa decides to show the boy how beautiful the desert is, and they begin exploring. After that, the boy explores on his own and sees things in a very different way.

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Beautiful collage illustrations perfectly complement this delightful, profound story that encourages readers/listeners to become more aware and engaged with the environment.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at [email protected].

  • June 25, 2023