We Recommend, Part 2!

When I first had the idea for this fabulous new feature, in which I (along with my collaborators here) try to help match up books and readers, I thought it was going to be nothing but nice, easy fun. People would write in, and magically I would think of just the right book, and we would all end the adventure happy and satisfied. What I didn't anticipate was that 1) (the harder side) I wouldn't be so exactly sure what the perfect book was, because I never quite know enough and 2) (the excellent side) I had no idea that readers would be so amazingly generous with their own super-powers of recommendation. It is all been quite pleasantly humbling.
Ahem.
At any rate, this week's subject wrote in with an intriguing situation:
an 8-year-old girl who is a very strong reader with a powerful desire to read books about animals, particularly guinea pigs (the mother opined that there were probably no guinea pig books she hadn't yet read). The child also vastly prefers books with pictures in them, and likes series. Oh, and in case you weren't feeling challenged (and were leaning toward Watership Down) she's having a lot of nightmares now and the book can't be scary.
Wow.
Here's what we came up with:

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Diana is all for this one, and it is (can you believe it?) part of a series. It doesn't have illustrations, though (drat!) but the cover might make up for that. But just in case, here are the others we though of (it's summer after all, time for long happy trips to the library with nothing you have to read):
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Chet Gecko by Bruce Hale (very silly detective series with animals and lots of illustrations)
I am sure that now everyone will have many more excellent possibilities. I am interested to see.

Oops, and an update: if for any reason you have missed them, absolutely read the animal books that started it all: the amazing E.B.White books: Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Charlotte's Web, all of which have glorious illustrations.

20 thoughts on “We Recommend, Part 2!

  1. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden?
    The Rescuers series by Margery Sharp (might be a little scary, but less scary than the Disney movie versions)?
    The common thread is the illustrator, Garth Williams, who also did the illustrations for the E.B. White books mentioned.

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  2. The Mouse and the Motorcycle and it’s sequels. I love Ralph! I also like the Brambly Hedge series, by Jill Barklem, which has beautifully detailed illustrations.

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  3. I don’t remember if it was actually scary (definitely nothing of the “Watership Down” caliber), but what about “Bunnicula” and “The Celery Stalks at Midnight”?

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  4. You rock! My dd has read Cricket in Times Square (twice)LOL. Good choice. I am putting all these on hold at our library. We will see what “sticks”. I may have to read I, Houdini myself. Thank you thank you!

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  5. I second Geronino Stilton (my double guinea pig owning 8 year old daughter loves that series). Also a fave: Fantastic Mr. Fox by R. Dahl. No GPs but lots of other furry creatures. Rainbow Magic Pet Fairies series includes a book about a guinea pig fairy.

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  6. A great series with illustrations is Just Grace. She’s a third grader, I think and a budding cartoonist so the books are filled with her drawings. No guinea pigs, though.

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  7. The strong readers in my second grade class *LOVED* the book “The World According to Humphrey.” I haven’t read it myself, but it is about a class hamster.

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  8. The World According to Humphrey series was a big hit when my oldest son was in third grade. The librarian read it to the class and they LOVED it!
    I love this site!! I just found it and am so so excited for the book recommendations!!

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  9. I just found this site through a recommendation from another blog that I read, and so far, I LOVE it!!! I used to work at a bookstore, and I miss it so much…I loved everything about it, but(since I don’t have kids) the kids section was one of my guilty pleasures!!
    I’m going to second Jenny’s suggestion…the first book is called I, Humphrey and it was part of the Battle of the Books in my area-very popular series, about a hamster, I believe…
    Looking forward to more recommendations!!

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  10. Sorry, wrong series…I still agree w/ Jenny’s recommendation, but the series I was referring to is the Golden Hamster Saga. First book is called I, FREDDY…oops…lol

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  11. Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien.
    Misty of Chincotegue or anything else by Marguerite Henry
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle
    I’m sure I could dig up a few more recommendations if I thought about it for a while-I was sort of obsessed with books about animals.

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  12. My daughter recently read Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell and enjoyed it. There’s also the Jack books by Patricia Finney, told from Jack the yellow lab’s pov. Really hysterical, but a bit coarse. And they’re much bigger than guinea pigs, but what about all the horse books out there? Misty, Black Stallion, etc?

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  13. Is the His Dark Materials Trilogy (the golden compass, the subtle knife, and the amber spyglass) too old for that age range. They are a touch on the intense side but possibly good reading material for the future.

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  14. When I was a kid, I was the same way. I remember insisting to my mother that I only wanted to read books about talking animals. I must have been 8 or 9 and reading well above grade level, so I’m sure it was a challenge to keep me in talking animal books! Looking back, I think my issue was that I didn’t want anything too realistic, especially emotionally. I had this idea that all books about human kids would be about them solving their real life problems surrounding things like divorce, foster parents, moving to a new city – you know the type. I positively hated those kind of books!
    So talking animal books it was! I remember liking the Catfish Bend series. Also A Cricket in Times Square and the sequels. For a more modern book, what about something like Despereux?

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  15. I’ve just found you site and I absolutely love it. Reading brought me great joy as a kid, and I still often prefer childrens books over adult novels. One great serious of animal stories is Animal Ark by Lucy Daniels.
    However I heard they are under a different author in America, so it may be neccessary to google them…

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