Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Linus says: My mom just started telling me a random bedtime story and I had to guess it, and it turns out it was Harry Potter. I liked it and that’s how I got involved in the series.  Harry Potter is a wizard, and he’s just really good at magic. He goes to a really good school. His friends are Ron, Hermione, and Cedric Diggory. Harry goes to Hogwarts but he’s just trying to have a normal time but then Voldemort comes back alive and he’s really good at magic. It’s sort of funny.

I liked The Goblet of Fire because Harry Potter escapes Lord Voldemort and he doesn’t die but he was really close to dying. It was really cool and I like magic. This one is my favorite because it is really long. I just like the series, and it’s really surprising what happens. They make up really good characters. I like it because you can just hear the first book and say “Oh I like this book” and go into the whole series.

Mom says: We have been listening to the excellent audio books of the Harry Potter series for a few months now. We all enjoy listening to them, and they last a long time. (So long that we had to return this one to the library and put another hold on it so we could finish it.) We moved through the first three books pretty quickly but this one was much more involved. Linus seemed to like it though, especially the Tri-Wizard Tournament tasks.

I haven’t been letting him watch the movies until he’s at least listened to the books. He is trying to read the first book himself out loud, though right now it’s a bit of a challenge for him.


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Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot

Linus says: It’s about a mouse who wanted a friend and this evil scientist made a robot but he actually made one that was good. The robot became the mouse’s friend. I knew he wasn’t an evil robot because he wasn’t destroying the town. It was kind of short for a chapter book, but the battle part was cool, so funny. I don’t think you would let me have a pet robot. Well, maybe if it did yard work.

Mom says: The Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series is by Dav Pilkey (of Captain Underpants fame), but is for younger readers than Captain. The chapters are very short, and the text is easy. Linus isn’t at that reading level yet, but we enjoyed reading it together. Linus seemed to really enjoy the bold illustrations and the “fliporama” action sequences. It involved some of his favorite things, robots and battles. It was a quick, fun read. I didn’t realize there were more in the series, but now that we know we’ll check them out.

What’s cool about this book is that there is a “how to” section in the back that shows step-by-step how to draw the robot and the monster. Linus could hardly wait to finish so he could give it a shot. He drew the monster:

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Elephant and Piggie Series

Linus says: I like these because I got to read it by myself and it’s also very funny. Can I Play Too? is the funniest one because the worm says “Can I play too?” [Linus says this in his high-pitched worm voice.]

Mom says: Linus has been learning to recognize words and sound out new words all year in kindergarten, but seemed reluctant to tackle any of the beginning reader books we have. We tried the Bob books, and the various “level 1” books. These are the first books we’ve read together that Linus was enthusiastic about reading on his own. He read most of Today I Will Fly by himself.  There are very few words on each page and lots of repetition. And the illustrations are simple but convey a lot of what’s going on, and are so funny that they make us both laugh. I love that there are so many to choose from!

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The Witches

Linus says: I liked it because this little boy got turned into a mouse and he escaped from the most powerful witch of them all. He’s so brave. He was brave enough to go into the kitchen and turn the witches into mouses. He had a potion that he stole from the most powerful witch of them all and he poured it in their soup. I liked it because it was long. I like long things because they’re interesting and they fit more stuff in them.

Mom says: Another audiobook from the library, one that we both enjoyed. I never read this book as a kid, but remembered loving the movie (the one with Anjelica Huston as the grand high witch). Like Linus says, this one was a bit longer (5 discs) and I was afraid he’d lose interest having it spread out over a few weeks, but he definitely got into the story. We listened to a long jag during a drive back from the coast, and even though it was late and he was tired, he stayed awake to listen to the conclusion. This is our second Roald Dahl audiobook and we liked them both a lot. They always lend themselves to fun voice caricatures.

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Ghosthunters and the Muddy Monster of Doom

Linus says: I liked it because it’s scary and I like scary books. And because it’s about the king of all ghosts and the ghosthunters fight it and they are very brave. They have this ghost as a pet that doesn’t harm anybody, but it’s funny how it talks. I like him in this story a lot. This is my favorite Ghosthunter book and here are the others: I liked The Totally Moldy Baroness because a boy named Tom had to wear a dress and that was funny. The next one is The Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost. I like that one because it’s almost like burning down the hotel they’re staying in. The ghosthunters are fighting all the ghosts, but it’s ghost against ghost.

Mom says: It’s a fun series by itself, but the audio book performance really made these books for Linus. The ghost voices are silly and made Linus laugh quite a bit. I haven’t seen him this excited about book in awhile. He could hardly wait to get the rest of the audiobooks after hearing the first one. Luckily the library has most of them. I don’t know if I’d even try reading the actual paper version of these books to him (the ones the library doesn’t have on CD), because there is no way I can compete with the actor in the audio version. Both mom and Linus highly recommend these books!

This book series also seems to have started him on a scary/ghost story kick, though sometimes they give him nightmares.

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The Boxcar Children: a video review

Linus says:

(Note: Linus would like everyone to know that he meant to say that the story is about FOUR children, not three. He groans every time he hears himself say three.)

Mom says: Linus was sick about a week ago, which meant he was home from school for two days and feeling crummy. I suggested we read The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner, which was one of my absolute favorite books as a kid. I wasn’t sure if he’d like it. There were few illustrations, and those were silhouettes. It’s also kind of old fashioned. But he really liked it, and sat through many chapters. We both enjoyed the story, and finished it in a few days.

Also, I can get Linus to say a lot more about a book when he knows he’s being recorded. We will probably do more video reviews in the future!

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We went to grandma and grandpa’s house today and Linus found a stash of my old books, including the Serendipity books and a Golden Books version of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm. He found himself  nice sunny spot where he could look through them all.

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