OK, so first of all, a great big (and
awestruck) thank you to everyone who has made this such an excellent
part of writing this blog. Your thoughtful wide-ranging recommendations
have been great for me to read, so one has only to imagine how much
they are appreciated by the people they are actually for!
A few other random points:
isn't the name "We Recommend" lame? It seemed slightly ironic and funny
at first, but now I feel like I'm a pharmacist being surveyed or
something. I will try to think of something better, stay tuned.
2) my sister was hoping something like this existed for grownups, as
she is looking for a vacation book: anyone know of anything?
to all of you who have been so generous and engaged as to write in for
this feature (and more are always welcome, just email me at email@example.com),
thank you! And thank you for your patience! I intend to write everyone
back, but there's that whole niggling problem of life, you know…. You
will all get your turn to reap the wealth in due time.
And so, to this week's We Recommend….
parent writes in that her 4-year-old daughter loves to have chapter
books read to her at night. She is a fairly hard-core
pink/princess/fairy sort of girl with a twist: she likes troublemakers.
She has enjoyed Clementine, but they've run through the books, she
loves Junie B., but it's making her mother go insane (and in spite of
all my solemn and earnest vows not to judge I couldn't agree more, all
that cutesy bad grammar and disingenuous spelling seems so false,
ugh!). This strong-minded reader has calmly pronounced those honored
dead, Little Women, The Three Musketeers, and Little House on the
This mother needs our help!
Fortunately, it comes in a powerful form.
Perhaps this is too obvious; maybe this mother has already read her daughter all the Pippi Longstocking books. BUT. If she hasn't, all I can say is that when my husband read her the first one, she was electrified. Pippi is powerful; you want bad? Pippi is the strongest girl in the world! She beats up grown men! She disrupts an entire school! She's the daughter of pirates! She can lift her own horse.
These books (there are three original, I believe) are excellent. They are fun. They will, we hope do the trick. And then there's this:
the risk of recommending something so blatantly obvious, I have to put
a word in here for good old Ramona. She is everything that Junie B.
wishes she could be, but without that cringe-inducing fake bad grammar.
Ramona is so funny and straightforward and entirely who she is, it's a
complete pleasure to read, and then there's the excellent bonus that
they go on and on and on, so if your read-ee is a lover of "more!"—as
who is not?—you've always got something to satisfy.
But of course, with any new recommendation, the
real thrill is seeing what you guys say: what do you think?
22 thoughts on “We Recommend, Part Three”
I loved both Pippi and Ramona.
The Great Brain series is terrific.
The Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books are fun.
I loved the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood when I was a kid
I love being able to contribute since you guys were so awesome with my DD’s suggestions.
I also loved the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood. And The Great Brain rocks! There is so much trouble going on there. But I have to throw out Ivy & Bean. It’s fast, and fun. I found myself picking one up and reading it. Or how about Franny K. Stein?
Try Ruby Lu Brave and True by Lenore Look. She is spunky like Junie B but without the bad grammar.
Also love Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry.
I love Ivy and Bean too. Another great read.
Loved Betsy. Loved her!
Also adored Ramona and all other Cleary books.
What about Harriet the Spy? Might do the job.
Pippi and Ramona were two of my favourites. If she likes Pippi, there’s also Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, by the same author.
How about The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye? That has both princess and spunky. (I keep wanting to recommend Dealing With Dragons, too, for the same reason. Maybe in a few years.)
I know I’m forgetting lots of favourites (I liked strong girl characters too), so I can’t wait to see what else is suggested.
I would also recommend Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee.
I think you guys rock!!!!!
I am so happy to have this long list of things to look for at the library. I hadn’t tried Ramona because I wasn’t sure if it was too old and I totally forgot about Pipi. And most of these others, I haven’t even heard of. I can’t wait to terrorize the librarian with this list this weekend.
All great suggestions. I read and re-read the entire Ramona series.
I spent my entire 12th year of life spying on neighbors and writing everything down in a notebook because of Harriet the Spy.
From a slightly different angle, but in the same genre, I would try the Mary Poppins series. Jane and Michael have strong personalities, but each chapter is also its own fantasy scene complete with return to reality. Great for bedtimes (avoids the one more chapter syndrome). Might be a good stepping stone to a new genre.
How about the Oz books? They,too, are numerous, and tremendous fun. I cannot WAIT ’til my daughter is old enough for Ramona. She is my hero.
My 4-year-old son is enjoying a series of chapter books about a pig named Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo — Mercy isn’t a princess, but she is a “porcine wonder” who gets herself into a bit of trouble and really likes to eat hot buttered toast. They’re funny books and have great illustrations.
If she doesn’t mind reading about a boy, I strongly recommend another Astrid Lindgren character, namely Emil of Lönneberget.
What fantastic recommendations! I loved all those books as a kid. I immediately thought of Pippi; she was sort of like the Borrowers, in that she suggested that there could be this completely fantastical world, with root beer trees and horses that live in the house, right in our world. Some of the same appeal with the Oz books; the first is good, but I thought they just kept getting better. And Ramona and Harriet were so wonderfully identifiable to me.
I wish I had some more modern suggestions, but now I have lots to go look up!
For your sister looking for a good beach read:
Full disclosure! I am recommending my husband’s book which comes out on July 14th…I realize this makes me a biased source BUT it is fantastic! This is his debut novel. He also just sold his second book which will probably hit the shelves next summer or fall. Anyway, the book is called SOMETHING MISSING. It is about a guy named Martin who has OCD and lives by a very strict set of rules that allow him to be very successful in his career as a thief. He steals from the same families over and over and thinks of them as his clients. He only steals items that will not be noticed as missing. Because he lives on the periphery of the lives of the people he’s robbing, he comes to realize that he is also in the unique position of being able to help them almost like a guardian angel. The book is funny and so creative. I don’t mean to be solicitous but I am just so proud of my husband and so excited about the book. He and I are both teachers and share a great love of reading (hence my frequent visits to this site). I really think that this is a great book and would be a perfect beach read. Not heavy but thoughtful and not trashy…
Here is a link to the book on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767930886/ref=s9_simx_gw_s3_p14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1QFA5VDRZMKVZYN423C4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846
All very good recommendations. It reminds me that I need to find Pippi Longstocking for my 9 year old to read before she’s too old.
Romona isn’t too old for a 4 year old. In the first book she’s entering Kindergarten and experiences lovely mix ups that are sweet and silly. You might try Ralph S. Mouse as well.
The Magic Treehouse books are also a favorite with young readers. There’s a boy and girl pair that solve mysteries.
As for adult reading recommendations: http://www.charlotteswebofbooks.blogspot.com/
She writes great reviews that tend to be heavy on books that intrest women readers. lots are fluff, but there’s a good portion of serious reads as well.
I second Franny K Stein. My daughter, who also cheers for the “naughty guys”, liked the Cat Kid books by Brian James although you might just find her (Catkid) as irritating as Junie…
Me again… just discovered that there is a princess in the “Mercy Watson” series. It’s “Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise” — here’s a link to the book on CD from my favorite store, but I’m sure you can find the book at other places: http://quailridgebooks.booksense.com/NASApp/store/Product?s=showproduct&isbn=9780739336304.
“My Naughty little sister” series by Dorothy Edwards is wonderful. If you can get the ones illustrated by Shirley Hughes, even better. So very British and funny. The “Fairy Realm” series by Emily Rodda are also lovely (not in the least sugary-sweet, and very well-written).
Roald Dahl’s _Matilda_ and Betty Brock’s _No Flying in the House_ both appealed to my daughter, who, although a bit older than the 4 year old, seems to have similar taste.
Your sister-in-law could try “The Shifting Fog” or “The House at Riverton” by Kate Morton.
Fantastic read; easy; set in the 20s/30s.
From Amazon: “In her cinematic debut novel, Kate Morton immerses readers in the dramas of the Ashbury family at their crumbling English country estate in the years surrounding World War I, an age when Edwardian civility, shaken by war, unravels into the roaring Twenties. Grace came to serve in the house as a girl. She left as a young woman, after the presumed suicide of a famous young poet at the property’s lake. Though she has dutifully kept the family’s secrets for decades, memories flood back in the twilight of her life when a young filmmaker comes calling with questions about how the poet really died–and why the Ashbury sisters never again spoke to each other afterward. With beautifully crafted prose, Morton methodically reveals how passion and fate transpired that night at the lake, with truly shocking results. Her final revelation at the story’s close packs a satisfying (and not overly sentimental) emotional punch.”
I am not sure you really want this recommendation, but my girls have been CRAZY for the Rainbow Fairies series by Daisy Meadows. Every book is exactly the same. And I mean exactly. But my preschoolers LOVE them. LOVE. Really. Once my oldest hit about seven and a half years old then she kind of out grew them. She finally thought they were as boring as I did. And they go on FOREVER. Rainbow fairies, Weather Fairies, Jewel Fairies, Pet Fairies…….forever. I apologize in advance if your daughter likes (LOVES) them.
Has your sister read The Poisonwood Bible? Not exactly a “beachy” read or new, but it’s big, it’s terrific and it’s in paperback.
If this is a total strikeout, I’m going to check out Kendra’s husband’s book my own self so maybe she’ll do same.
There is a new Pippi illustrated by Lauren Child that is absolutely lovely! My girls loved the illustrations. Also, we own the book on CD and my six year old listens to it religiously!