Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit are a bit controversial today, but I will leave that discussion for another time. For those unfamiliar with Uncle Remus, he is the fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales told in a Deep South dialect. The tales were adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris. I recently picked up Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox at a flea market and am enjoying it as much today as ever. The dialect creates a rhythm nearly as entertaining as Dr. Seuss rhymes. These are trickster type tales, many of which teach a lesson. Who can forget the troublemaker Brer Rabbit convincing Brer Fox to toss him into the briar patch after Brer Fox captures him?
Books for readers age 8 and up (or grade 3).
Denise Zaky mentioned The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis as a series that was hugely popular in her house. I admit that I have only read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I loved. There are seven novels in the series and three have been adapted into movies.
Another book recommended for this age group was from Jess, author of The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow. She said that The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary was a favorite read aloud in school. Who can forget Ralph the mouse and his friendship with Keith? Many adventures ensue and a great story unfolds.
You may have noticed that I have been discussing primarily boy books. I thought that Sher would enjoy discussing the girl books so I saved most of them for her. I did, however, want to make a special mention for my wife. We were discussing this topic and she told me a story that I just had to share (with her approval of course). As she grew up, she loved her mom reading Nancy Drew to her. She could have just as easily read them herself and was tempted to do so on more than one occasion after spotting the very book they were in the middle of reading in the library! She resisted, however, because it was such a special time with her mom that she waited to find out what happened with her.
Chemist Ken, author of My Hogwarts Sabbatical blog, recommended the Brains Benton mysteries. These, I must admit, I had never heard of. I did a little research, however, and after doing so wondered how I had missed them. They are the adventures of teenagers Barclay “Brains” Benton and his friend Jimmy Carson. They operate the “Benton and Carson International Detective Agency.” This is right up my alley. In fact, my research revealed that Brains Benton books were just as popular as The Three Investigators (one of my personal favorites). Unfortunately, it seems that these books are no longer in print (hold onto yours, Ken). So if you come across them second hand, be sure to buy them. They are also still available on Amazon.
Denise Zaky recommended The Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks. This was very popular in my house as well. I remember my older brother had these books and I had to beg him to let me read them. He finally gave in (after much begging) with the caveat that I not break the books’ binding. How generous of him, huh? I still managed to enjoy them even though I was never able to open the books up the entire way. The Brothers Hildebrandt illustrations are stunning as well.
Well that about wraps up this post and more fantastic books from our readers. Thank you everyone for your time and suggestions. I hope that you have discovered many, many wonderful books and hidden gems among them. I know that I have! I have a lot to do even though all I really want to do is read. Maybe I’ll use Brer Rabbit’s reverse psychology on those that would keep me from my reading and tell them,” Go ahead, make me mow the lawn, just don’t throw me in that briar patch (or in this case, just don’t make me read those books)!” Maybe that will work? What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or recommendations about anything discussed (or that you think should have been discussed).