Edmund is powering through Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Recently diagnosed with a learning disability in reading, Edmund needs books that can boost his confidence, yet not insult his very high intelligence. Ability and intelligence are two separate things, which we always knew but we were comforted to be told again. In library terms, these are called "hi-lo" books, high interest, lower reading level.
Stone Fox is a beautiful re-telling of the Wyoming folktale about an orphaned boy, who in an attempt to save his grandfather's farm, enters a dogsled race against the famous and undefeated Stone Fox.
Stone Fox brings to mind one of our family favorites, The Bravest Dog Ever, The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford. Sled dogs, races, life or death situations, both books are classics. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a story set in the snow read in the summertime?
My sister and I often would read Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter during the hottest weeks of the year. We would nibble saltines, or make "dough balls," which were tiny torn-off pieces of my mom's whole wheat bread rolled into tiny balls (Gross. Remember my toast story?). It's the closest we could get to grinding wheat in coffee grinder for food.
Balto, the movie is also a family favorite around here. Peter says it's still one of his favorite movies. He also commented that the bad guy(/dog?) looks way cooler than Balto. Peter has always had a tendency toward evil. Darth Vader was his favorite Star Wars guy at age three.
The Caudill nominee I read this week is The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. Elizabeth Rew gets hired to work as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository. The Repository is similar to a library, but patrons borrow objects instead of books, such as Lincoln's hat, or Marie Antoinette's wig.
In addition to items of historical significance, there are magical items, notably the items from the Grimm Collection: Hermes' flying sandals, a flying carpet, twelve pairs of worn-out dancing slippers, and other items from myth and legend.
Adventures abound, as Elizabeth befriends the other pages, and tries to uncover who has been stealing magical items from the Grimm Collection.
There is a fair bit of romance as well. Elizabeth and a co-worker ask a magic painting where a missing friend is and are shown said friend's make-out session with the star of the basketball team. Elizabeth gets some kissing action herself, but it's minor and not integral to her character or the story.
The book I really enjoyed this week is The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. Four orphans are taken/purchased by a nobleman, who hopes to train them to occupy the throne in the guise of Prince Jaron, rumored to have been killed by pirates four years ago. The orphans who are not chosen to play the part of a lifetime (literally) will likely be killed, as they are threats to the success of the plot.
I think girls as well as boys are going to love this one, and it's surprise ending. Lucy did. Oooh, and I just saw on Goodreads (you can friend me there as Housewifespice) that The False Prince is Part One of The Ascendance Trilogy and I heart trilogies.
The False Prince reminds me a little of the plot of Don Bluth's Anastasia and a lot of one of my mom's favorite movies, the Disney classic starring Jodie Foster, David Niven, and Helen Hayes: Candleshoe. I happen to own a copy on VHS, and yes, I still own a VHS player. It is available on dvd for as little as $8 according to Google. That's much cheaper than a Redbox rental for most of us. Or if you can find a copy on the interweb, on Netflix or even have the patience to do an inter-library loan, I highly recommend it. And so does my mom.