For children

Want older kids to sit and eagerly listen to you read aloud or pick up a book on their own? The only way is to provide books that are so good, older children can't help but get engaged.

Dud books are off-putting, but awesome books will turn kids on and have them scrambling to find more.

Take a look at the books reviewed below - each an excellent starting point for one exciting read after another.


The following book is available at many public libraries.

"Matilda" by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Puffin Books, 240 pages

Read aloud: Age 8 and older.

Read yourself: Age 10-11 and older.

Matilda is a genius, only her family doesn't recognize it. Her father is a loud, obnoxious shyster who rips-off the townspeople by selling crumby used cars. He thinks Matilda is an idiotic troublemaker. Her mother is a bingo-addict and doesn't give a hoot about Matilda or much of anything else.

Then there is Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress of Crunchem Hall, where Matilda has just begun school. Miss Trunchbull is an Olympic hammer thrower and a living nightmare. She is dreadfully cruel to the students and has singled-out Matilda as no-good. Matilda's teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, recognizes Matilda's incredible intelligence and innocence. When she takes Matilda under her wing, Miss Trunchbull goes into a tailspin. But it isn't long before Trunchbull is scrambling for cover.

One of his very best accomplishments, Dahl has done it again. Although "Matilda" has been made into a movie, by all means, read the book first. If your kids have seen the film, read the book anyway. Either way, this book is enormously entertaining, page after outrageous page!


Library: Bill Memorial Library, 240 Monument St., Groton

Library Director: Hali Keeler

Children's Services: Mary-Jane Carle

Choices this week: "The McElderry Book of Greek Myths" by Eric Kimmel; "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick; "The Life and Death of Crazy Horse" by Russell Freedman


The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"Fish" by Gregory Mone, Scholastic, 2010, 241 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: Age 8 and older.

Read yourself: Age 10-11 and older.

Eleven-year-old Fish has been sent to the city to work as a courier and send needed funds home to help his family survive. On one especially important job to deliver a purse filled with coins, he is told that he must not fail, Fish is attacked, the purse stolen, and Fish is compelled to follow his attacker to reclaim the stolen goods and return them to the right person. But in order to do so, Fish is forced to join the band of pirates that took the coins.

Fish works hard and learns a lot about the pirates he is now working with. He also learns a lot about the mysterious coins - coins that could be the key to priceless treasure. But deciphering a treasure maps from a bunch of coins isn't easy, especially when there are others who have plans of their own.

Brimming with suspense, humor, colorful characters, and a good old-fashioned pirate story on the high seas, this fast-paced novel is pure enjoyment.

"windblowne" by Stephen Messer, Random House, 2010, 289 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: Age 8 and older.

Read yourself: Age 10-11 and older.

In the town of Windblowne, kite-flying skills are crucial. Unfortunately for Oliver, he has never been able to fly any kite. Humiliated by his peers, Oliver seeks the help and advice of his kite-flying champion and master kite builder Great-uncle Gilbert.

Great-uncle Gilbert seems less than pleased to see Oliver and soon sends Oliver away. Oliver, however, is determined, and upon returning to his great-uncle's tree house, finds him in grave danger, fending off attack kites. Suddenly, great-uncle Gilbert is kidnapped and vanishes into thin air, and the only thing that remains is a simple-looking crimson kite.

When the kite approaches Oliver, his life is irreversibly changed as it carries Oliver off to another, parallel world, where Great-uncle Gilbert's evil twin lives, the self-named Lord Gilbert, who is concocting a dreadful plan to kill all of the oak trees in this and the countless other worlds, and become the ruthless ruler of it all. Oliver must learn to tap into his own special skills to find Great-uncle Gilbert, defeat Lord Gilbert, and save everyone, including his precious crimson kite.

At once magical, fantastical, and mysterious, "windblowne" is a non-stop adventure that readers won't be able to put down until the last page is read.



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