- Caroline Parr
With summer almost here, it’s time for kids to find a cozy seat, a tall glass of lemonade and a good book, and read till the fireflies come out. This kind of leisurely, just-for-fun reading is at the heart of the summer reading club at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, “Be Creative @ Your Library!”
We know families are busy, so library staff has designed the summer reading club to be fun and flexible. Kids can read what they want, when they want. There are no meetings to attend, but lots of fun, free programs that promote books and reading at all our library branches. Sign up online at LibraryPoint.org or in person, now through August 31, to get a reading log, bookmark and Free Lance-Star sheet filled with writing and art activities for kids to do. Older folks can join, too, with special programs designed just for teens and for adults.
Among our most enthusiastic readers are six- to eight-year-olds, who traditionally make up a high percentage of the 9,000-plus kids who sign up each year.
Johanna Hurwitz’s books about Aldo, Russell and Nora are perennial favorites of these readers, and her latest character is another winner. “Mostly Monty” is the first book about a boy named Montgomery Gerald Morris, which “sounds like the name of a mighty and important person.” But he’s really a quiet first grader known as Monty.
Monty struggles with his asthma, which makes it hard for him to play sports and makes a family dog or cat out of the question, but he manages to have fun regardless. Stories about his pet caterpillar, his new hobby (kangaroos), and his fleeting fame as Mr. Lost and Found at school mix humor into real-life situations young readers will appreciate. “Mighty Monty” continues his saga as he plays the part of a tree in the school play and starts karate lessons.
Polly feels like a baby when she discovers she’s the only student in her class who still has all her baby teeth. Jenny Meyerhoff’s “Third Grade Baby” captures Polly’s viewpoint perfectly, as she’s teased by the new kid in school, finally loses a tooth but then worries that third graders are too old for the tooth fairy. Then she impulsively boasts to the new kid that she has an actual picture of the tooth fairy, and has to find her way out of her self-created problem. At just over 100 pages and sprinkled with illustrations, this will strike a chord with second- and third-grade readers.
Slightly older kids who have graduated from Lenore Look’s stories about Ruby Lu will love her latest, “Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things.”
Second grader Alvin may be afraid of trains, bridges, elevators, tunnels, scary movies, wasabi and kimchee, but he’s prepared with his PDK – Personal Disaster Kit. His PDK includes a whistle, a scary mask (“for keeping girls away”) and garlic (“For fending off vampires and teachers”). But even armed with his PDK he’s unable to say a word at school.
Alvin’s first-person story, despite its very real depiction of a boy with selective mutism, is filled with humor and memorable characters. Fans are looking forward to the sequel, “Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters,” to be published later this month.