Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Books, books, books

I've finally found a series of chapter books for G that I don't hate: the Jigsaw Jones mysteries. Jigsaw and his partner Mila are great characters, as are the other kids who populate their world. I'd say the books are around early third-grade level, so G can do her share of the reading, but they're written with real humor and flair, unlike 90 percent of the series books available for this age. It's a long series, too, so we should be occupied for a while.

Just for reference, here are a few of the other series we've tried:

The Secrets of Droon -- This series sounded promising -- three kids find a door to another world in the basement of one kid's house -- but they turned out to be extremely dull and formulaic, even for children's fantasy. (A lot of authors and publishers seem to operate on the premise that kids at this level of ability haven't read much, so won't recognize clich├ęs when they see them.) We got through one and a half before giving up. There are more than 30 in the series, though, so someone must like them.

Jewel Kingdom -- The Jewel Kingdom has four princesses -- the Diamond Princess, the Ruby Princess, the Emerald Princess and the Diamond Princess -- whose royal parents have sent them to rule over different regions of the kingdom. G thought the two books we read together were okay, but I found them both boring and overly precious in a Disney Princess/Barbie sort of way (the princesses had little bird and butterfly friends with names like "Flitter," bleah), and was very glad she didn't beg for more.

Pixie Tricks -- In these books, a girl meets a sprite who has been sent to her world to capture a bunch of escaped evil fairies. She and her annoying boy cousin end up helping out. The actual writing wasn't anything to get excited about, but the stories themselves weren't bad, and G really enjoyed them. She also liked the associated sticker game that let her play along as an official Pixie Tricker.

More later as we try out additional authors.

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