Monday Children’s Book Reviews for February 14, 2011

Children’s Classics, Part 5: Fiction [continued]

Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

“Babe the pig proves himself invaluable to Farmer Hogget when he learns to herd sheep, eventually distinguishing himself as a champion ‘sheep-pig.’ Babe wins over the sheep with his gracious manners; King-Smith wins over readers with a humorous, heartwarming story.”               [J KING-SMITH]

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

“The Herdmans are absolutely and without question the worst kids ‘in the entire history of the world.’ They are guilty of evey unmentionable childhood crime and have thought of more than a few original ones. When they take over the church Christmas pageant (although none of them has ever attended church, much less heard the Christmas story before), the first Christmas becomes new and real in some pretty surprising ways.”                                               [J ROBINSON]

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

“Follows the life story of Black Beauty, a magnificent horse who is unwillingly sold by a beloved master and who lives a life of hard labor at the hands of cruel and ignorant humans until he is rescued by a kind family.”                    [J SEWELL]

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

“In the series’ first book, teen-aged Alec Ramsey and an untamed, apparently wild black stallion, age uncertain in the first book, are stranded on a desert island after their ship, returning from Arabia where Alec was visiting his uncle, sinks. Dependent on each other for survival, the boy and horse learn to trust and love each other as they establish an amazing life-long bond. After being rescued, Alec befriends retired racehorse trainer, Henry Dailey, who lives near Alec. Henry recognizes the Black’s superior breeding, and he and Alec secretly begin training the Black to race. But without a documented pedigree, Alec and Henry can only compete as mystery horse in a match race between two champions.”         [J FARLEY]

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

“The Clock family — Pod, Homily, and Arrietty — live beneath the floor of a country house in a home furnished with objects they have borrowed from the humans who live above them.

“Pod, Homily, and Arrietty Clock’s huge adventures have been thrilling children young and old for fifty years — and their appeal is as strong as ever.”     [J NORTON]

The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

“Fifth grader Jess Aarons becomes friends with his new neighbor Leslie Burke after he loses a footrace to her at school. Leslie is a smart, talented, outgoing tomboy, and Jess is an artistic boy who, in the beginning of the novel, is fearful, angry, and depressed. After meeting Leslie, Jess is transformed. He becomes courageous and learns to let go of his frustration.”                      1978 Newbery Medal winner              [J PATERSON]

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