The Treasury of Read-Alouds
SHORT NOVELS page 2 of 3
These books represent a brief
portion of the hundreds
cited in the The-Read-Aloud Handbook.
Lawn Boy, unlike most of Paulson’s other books, is very funny, and is probably the only children’s novel that can explain the fragile nature of the U.S. economy. Talk about being ahead of the curve: Paulsen wrote this a full two years before the world economy collapsed.
In a nutshell, this is a 96-page, first-person novella about a preteen who’s been given his late grandfather’s old riding lawnmower. The boy comes from a loving family but his folks are busy, like many parents today. His neighbors are just as busy with their lives, and need help with their yard work. Before he knows it, he’s got more lawn jobs than he can handle—working mornings, afternoons, and evenings. That’s when he gets even luckier. There’s a down-on-his-luck e-trader who wants to trade his skills with the stock market for the kid’s skill with the mower: You do the lawn and, instead of paying you, I’ll invest some money for you. And it works—big time. And that is just the beginning. Sequel: Lawn Boy Returns.
A Lion to Guard Us
In a simple prose style that is rich
in character and drama, one of America’s best historical writers
for children offers a poignant tale of the founding fathers of the
Jamestown colony and the families they left behind in England. Here
we meet a plucky heroine named Amanda who is determined to hold fast
to her brother and sister despite the grim agonies of their mother’s
death, poverty and shipwreck. All the while she clings to the dream
that someday she will find the father who left them all behind. Also
by the author: The Chalk Box Kid; Ghost Town Treasure; Pirate’s
Promise; The Poppy Seeds; and Shoeshine
This is the author’s latest creation in a career of gentle family stories. Monty is an asthmatic who is overly protected by his family, leaving him with few social contacts, not even pets (allergies). All of this is going to change in first grade, where he discovers not only his own talents (reading first in his class) but his first friends. Along the way, his little adventures with the school’s Lost and Found section are giving him the confidence to start a hobby and a neighborhood club. Sequels: Mighty Monty; and Amazing Monty. Also by the author, Rip-Roaring Russell series.
My Father’s Dragon (series)
This is the little
fantasy novel that has stood the test of time—surviving in print
for a half century. So it must be good! The three-volume
series is bursting with hair-raising escapes and evil
creatures. The tone is dramatic enough to be exciting
for even mature preschoolers but not enough to frighten
them. The narrator relates the tales as adventures that happened to
his father when he was a boy. This is an excellent transition series
for introducing children to longer stories with fewer pictures. The
rest of the series, in order: Elmer
and the Dragon and The
Dragons of Blueland. All three tales are combined in a single volume
Dragon: 50th Anniversary Edition. Related dragon books for young
Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle; The
Book of Beasts by E. Nesbit,
abridged by Inga Moore; The Serpent Came to Gloucester by M.
T. Anderson; and The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame.
This short biography
of a weapon, from its artistic birth on the eve of the
Revolutionary War to the present time, offers a moving
portrait of the many people whose paths intersect with
the rifle during its 230-year history. Although the weapon
is always at the center of this tale, American history
shares much of the stage as the rifle’s
role changes with the social structures of the times.
Also by the author: see Hatchet . Related book: Gunstories:
Life-changing Experiences With Guns by S. Beth Atkin. For more
books by Paulsen and an author profile, see Paulsen here.
| Novels: p.1 p.2 p.3 p.4
& Folk Tales : p.1