Reading Ahead – Books for ages 5 to 8 (Mar/Apr 2008)

Champion Sleeper! by Tim Young. The book cover is a Bassett hound sleeping on a pillow next to a trophy. Thumbing through it, the illustrations just made me smile. (Murphy’s Bone Publishing, 2008)

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French. The woman on the cover (and her discription on the back) will remind you of Cruella de Ville. I am intrigued that this is a chapter book for 7- to 9-year-olds. We don’t see many of those. (Candlewick Press, 2008)

Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express by Megan McDonald. Picture this: a VW bus with a banner on the front that says “Squeals on Wheels.” The art may not be final, but the picture made me laugh out loud. This is an illustrated chapter book with big print! (Candlewick Press, 2008)

The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica by Debbie Glade. This is a little thicker than your average picture book (61 pages) but plenty of “white space” on the pages. The bugs look really cute, and I like the idea of learning about a new place. There is also a CD with a narration of the story and music, too. (Smart Poodle Publishing, 2008)

The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleishman. This is an illustrated biography (every 3 pages there is a full-page picture) that looks like it will be a gret way to introduce longer stories (and a biography at that) to kids who aren’t quite reading chapter books themselves. (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008)