Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Dick King-Smith wrote great animal books for the elementary school set. Short chapters, good illustrators, often set in big clear type. At almost 12, my boy is expected to read about
alcoholic fathers, dead mothers, younger siblings with cancer,
and concentration camps. Not only does he not understand these concepts, he vehemently protests reading chapter books at all.
Of course, he has to read something other than Seuss.
When I choose for him I usually pick a title like The Mouse Family Robinson which tries to bridge the picture book - chapter book gap.
King-Smith, with his usual straight-forward charm,
describes a happy family of parents and mouselings troubled only
by the house cat. When one of the youngsters wanders off and is nearly eaten, he decides they should move. So off they go to a cat-free house.
The pictures (by Bad Kitty's Nick Bruel) and motivations could not be clearer.
My boy tolerated the book, and it should engage any child interested in mice.