The great thing about working with children is reading their books. Not many writers can go from different age groups and do it well. Lauren Child goes from picture books to chapter books seamlessly. Some are short and sweet and others intense or funny. Here is her website if you would like to learn more about this wonderful author and illustrator http://www.milkmonitor.com/home/ .
Charlie and Lola
Recommended Ages 3-7
The series is about Charlie and his little sister Lola. Child makes the little details of their every day life funny and appealing. She illustrates these books in her self-described collage style. She uses drawings of the characters, along with patterns in the background and real objects like fruit and vegetables in the book I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato. Lola is a picky eater and Charlie tries to get her to try new things by calling them special silly names. Another story is about Lola’s favorite library book called But excuse Me That is My book, someone else has it and she is not happy. She finds out that maybe there are more wonderful books to explore. These characters have their own television show and the DVD’s are very popular at our library.
Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now
Recommended Ages 7-10
Clarice is having a hard time lately. Her best friend Betty moves away, the new girl Clem seems mean, her parents are fighting and may get divorced. She keeps a worry journal and follows the Ruby Redfort Survival Handbook for tips on how to get through all the bumps that continue to pop up in her life. She really loves her acting class and even gets a small part in a Ruby Redfort film. The premier is soon. The film company has sent her special tickets! This not as exciting as before since Betty is gone.
The book is written in journal form with different fonts and doodles here and there. This is an excellent example of what preteens think and worry about in life. Clarice is honest and droll. She and Betty write each other emails. Betty seems so happy that Clarice doesn’t want to tell her the truth about life at home. Surprising events occur and Clarice must be brave even though she is not a super smart spy like Ruby Redfort. She tries to do the right thing and change may not be so bad after all.
Ruby Redfort : Look Into My Eyes
Recommended Ages 10 to 14
Clarice Bean’s favorite spy has her own book. When Ruby Redfort was seven she won a code cracking contest. She was offered a scholarship at Harvard, but declined. Now at thirteen she still doesn’t want to be a freak geek. Her friend Clancy Crew seems to be the only person who accepts this fact.
When her parents arrive back from a trip, life is turned upside down quickly. Her home is robbed and her beloved housekeeper Mrs. Digby is missing. When Hitch arrives to keep things organized for her parents, Ruby figures out he is more than a butler. His toaster not only makes toast, but accepts secret messages!
Hitch’s boss knows all about Ruby. She decides Ruby is up to the challenge of cracking a secret code left unsolved by a fallen agent. Ruby is excited to find the answers for the ultra secret government agency Spectrum. When she is wrongly fired from the job. She continues to work the case on her own. The code must be broken before the big event at the town museum. Weird accidents keep happening to her mother and something very bad is brewing. Ruby is close to finding out the truth, but the enemy and the agency are making her efforts more difficult at every turn.
This book is set in the 1970’s and was a great trip back in time. Ruby is a likable character who girls will love to read about because she is interesting and adventurous. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery and cool gadgets galore. Ruby knows she is different from most people and doesn’t think her age should hold her back. She takes the reader on a non-stop ride. I carried this book everywhere with me and couldn’t wait for the next twist. I recommended it to a ten year-old patron and she loved it too!