After Rusty Larson spies a German Shepard chained to a tree with no food or water during a sleet storm, he decides he must do something to help it. When animal control tells him they can't do anything to help with out proof of abuse, he and his friend Andrew hatch a plan to take care of the dog, they have now named Ra. One night Rusty notices that Ra has been hurt, so he and Andrew unchain the him and take him back to their clubhouse. While all this is going on, the ghost of a collie has been paying Rusty visits. She seems to want Rusty's help in protecting/helping Ra and a new dog at Ra's owner's house. When Ra's owner finds out Rusty and his mom have his dog, he begins making threats to take the dog and more. With the ghost dog's help, Rusty finds a way to keep Ra safe and put an end to "Mean Man's" cruelty.
This is a wonderful story that has a great message about stepping up and helping solve problems. One of the things Rusty's teacher tries to teach his class is that everyone can help solve problems instead of always saying "Someone ought to do something" be the someone who does.
Reading Level: 3-6 grade
In this story, Mallory's school has taken the pledge to "Go Green" and Mallory is gung ho to make everyone around her do just that. She volunteers to be the class representative for the school Green Committee and present an idea for her class to do for the Green Fair. All doesn't go as planned when her idea for the fair isn't popular with her classmates. Mallory must learn to listen to everyone's ideas and be a team player if they are truly going to be a Green Team.
Mallory is a very lovable character (think Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody and Amber Brown all rolled up together). While it is a simply told story, its message to readers about working together and really listening to those around you is an important one to get across. This would be a fun story for Earth Day or when launching a communities unit to get everyone working together.
Reading Level: 3-5 grades
After a tragic accident leaves eleven-year-old Aubrey Priestly alone, she believes she has everything she needs to run her household: a house, food and a new family (a beta fish named Sammy). Aubrey is unable to talk about the tragedy that has so drastically changed her life. The only way she can deal with her life now and get her feelings out is by writing letters to her sister's imaginary friend, Jilly.
When her grandmother takes her home to Vermont, Aubrey begins to get "unstuck" as she calls it. With new friendships and the warm nurturing love of those around her, she learns that she is not alone and that she can heal and move on. Aubrey must make a hard decision when she is faced with the one wish of her heart's desire.
This was a wonderful story. I laughed and cried with Aubrey as she dealt with her grief and came out the other side of it. This is a story about loss, but is also a story of hope. I would highly recommend this book!
Reading Level: 3-6 grades
I'm off to AdventureLand with the kids.
Until next time...