by Eleanor Estes
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
I was pretty sure I’d read this one as a kid but all I could remember about it was that the Moffats’ yellow house was in the middle of their bow-shaped street. It’s amazing how some descriptions stay with you! Anyway, this is another feel-good old-fashioned read by Estes, with loveable good kids getting into very minor scrapes. It would make a great read-aloud for kids who like tame stories since each chapter is a new adventure. They do things like accidentally hop on the express train out of town and learn to dance and try to save their home from being sold and teach the bully a lesson. Overall, good clean fun.
by Katie Davies
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
This book is absolutely hilarious. It has the charm of kooky little kid characters like Clementine, plus a more sophisticated plot, and some pretty entertaining adult characters. One of these adults is an older gentleman who was “in the war” and speaks in whole paragraphs of older British slang that don’t seem to make any sense to the reader or to the main character, Anna, but other adults in the story respond appropriately, which helps the reader understand what he was saying. There is a small plot line of the grandmother dying near the beginning but it’s far from the main point of the book; mostly Anna and her brother Tom try to get their mom to get them a hamster. Once they actually do get the hamsters, one of the hes turns out to be a she and gives birth and then they meet an unfortunate end. It’s a little bit graphic so good for readers with strong stomachs! Boys, especially, might like this series.
by Jane Yolen
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
This book actually kind of scared me. There is much description of a seven-year-old mostly-feral boy living in the woods, and the nighttime scenes especially made me uneasy. I was reading it to see if it would make a good recommendation or gift for my seven-year-old cousin who was raised on Renaissance Faires, The Hobbit and Harry Potter (he’s 7!). I actually think he would like it – even though The Deathly Hallows had to be read to him during daylight, he still has a very high threshold for suspense and scary stuff and I think he’d like it. For more delicate constitutions, this might not be the right choice. Being about Merlin, this is an easy chapter book (96 pages) that is sure to pique the interest of those into the Middle Ages.
by Janice L. Smith
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t usually get too excited about Easy Readers that aren’t written by Mo Willems or Cynthia Rylant, but this one came up in a specific search (for fantasy that a certain 7-year-old I know can read by himself) and it was pretty cute. The title is a joke and you have to read all four short chapters to get the joke at the very end, but it made the work of reading rewarding, which is good for when reading is still work.