Life After Potter -- and More Great Summer Reading
ANIMAL COMPANIONS AND BIG-CITY ADVENTURES
"Ratatouille" might appeal to kids on two levels -- both for its boy-befriends-rodent tale and its setting in gorgeous Paris. Crack open these books for glimpses into the secret lives of animals or a glorious quest through the City of Light.
A Dog Called Grk, by Joshua Doder; Delacourte Press
Chapter Book, 240 pages; Ages 9-12 (Read aloud to child, 4 and up)
When a dog follows you home, you figure it's hungry. But when a dog called Grk follows Tim home, he soon learns Grk needs much more than a bone. The pup's owners have been kidnapped and taken to an Eastern European prison! Tim and Grk have to embark on a rollicking international adventure to save Grk's family in Stanislavia.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick; Scholastic Press
Chapter Book/Graphic Novel, 544 pages; Ages 9-12 (Read aloud to child, 6 and up)
Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in the walls of a Paris train station, scavenging for what he needs to survive and repairing clocks. He also delves into a job begun by his late clockmaker father: trying to fix a broken and complexly built robot. To do so, Hugo steals toys from a train station vendor. Author Selznick doesn't just tell the tale -- he shows -- through vivid drawings that, if studied carefully, lend clues to the toymaker's true identity. The book spins narrative with graphic novel sensibilities and cinematic story-telling, yielding something unlike any other book on the market.
The Secret Life of Walter Kitty, by Barbara Jean Hicks; Knopf Books
Picture Books; Ages 5-8 (Read aloud to child, 2 and up)
No ordinary housecat, Walter Kitty protects the high seas, saves the day, has adventures most people can only see in the movies. But his "people," Mr. and Mrs. Biddle are clueless as to his true identity as Fang. This hilarious tale will make kids wonder what alter egos their pets possess.
Book Club Activity Ideas:
- Cardboard Box Buildings -- Have kids create a cardboard model of the city they read about.
- Paper Pet Store -- Half the fun of this activity is imagining the lives of the animals inside.
- Puppy Chow -- Kids can't keep their paws off this lovable treat.
- Chocolate Mice -- Here's a mouse you'll want in your house, and your belly.