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The Egypt Game starts from the perspective of April Hall, a little girl who's just moved to a new neighborhood so that she can live with her grandmother while her mother runs around Hollywood. Despite the fact that April finds the new town far too provincial for her tastes, she soon makes friends with the decidedly less precocious Melanie Ross, and by proxy, Melanie's very serious little brother, Marshall (who never goes anywhere without his safety octopus, aptly named Safety). The three begin playfully reenacting ancient Egyptian rituals, and are soon joined by two boys, Ken and Toby. With five players in the Egypt game, all bringing their own ideas and research to the table, the game becomes more serious, and when strange things start happening, the kids can't help but wonder if they are making it happen. Meanwhile, a child murderer is in the neighborhood, and everyone suspects the Professor, the strange old man whose backyard is the secret location for the Egypt game. Though the cast of characters is racially diverse, Snyder never devolves into sanctimonious preaching about difference. All these varied characters and elements create a wonderful story about imagination, learning and the joy of play.
It may be impossible to throw a rock at an elementary school without hitting a third or fourth grader who's curious about ancient Egypt. So throw a rock, hit a kid and then buy them a copy of this book. The parents will totally drop charges when they see how awesome the book is. Or you'll go to jail with a funny story about bad advice an excellent kids book. For ages 8-12.
A bear has lost his hat, and it’s quite tragic, indeed. Though he politely asks everyone in the forest if they have seen his hat, he is met with little to no help. However, a simple question from a deer jogs something most suspicious in his memory… perhaps finding his hat was easier than he’d feared!It’s hard to find repetitious, simple stories that appeal to grownups as much as they do to kids… and since it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, or Nanny McPhee who’s going to have to read that book (over and over and over and over and over and over again) it’s not just nice to find one with ageless appeal; it’s a blessed reprieve. And I Want My Hat Back is just that. With a sly, mischievous sense of humor reminiscent of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s work, Klassen gives a wink to readers in this hilarious tale of forest animals and missing hats. For ages 3+
You know that feeling you get when someone hands you a present? The way it feels as you untie the ribbon, rip the tape and pull back the wrapping paper? It’s something like anticipation, with a touch of nervousness… and hope, too. Because that present could be anything, and all that possibility is exciting, and a little scary. It’s something more complicated than a noun. That’s the feeling that defines Bigger Than a Breadbox.
When Rebecca’s mother leaves her father, she takes Rebecca and her little brother with them, and Rebecca is forced to start at a new school where she knows no one. Removed from Baltimore and thrust into Atlanta, Rebecca struggles to fit in at a new school, cope with the separation of her parents and grow up all at the same time. But then, Rebecca finds a beautiful breadbox that, to Rebecca’s delight, grants wishes. Not all wishes… just wishes that can fit into the breadbox itself.
Even though this is a book with a touch of magic, Snyder keeps the characters and their relationships so honest and organic that it feels as believable as truth. Simple sentences underlie not at all simple emotions in this complicated novel about coming of age, recognizing your parent’s humanity and realizing that no matter how wonderful a gift is, there is no object that can fix all your problems. A lovely novel perfectly suited for discussing as a family or in a bookclub. For ages 8-12.
Little Elmer Elevator (the father of the faceless narrator) would give anything to fly. Luckily for him, he's made friends with an alley cat who knows where a dragon lives, held captive by a slew of wild animals. It is Elmer's quest to free the dragon, and chase his own dream of flying, and to do so he must use all his cunning, courage and (most of all) kindness to accomplish his goals. Elmer makes for a lovable protagonist, whose most memorable characteristics are that he is kind and he is clever. Though many of the animals want to eat him, he finds ways around them that do no harm to anyone. Win, win.
The illustrations are plentiful, and the type set is large, so the fact that it is 86 pages is a bit misleading. It's a very short story that’s simple enough for younger kids to follow, with all the adorable a grown-up can handle, making this book wonderful for full family read alouds, barring the involvement of any snarky teens.
To read on their own for ages 7+ and to be read as a family for all ages.