Summer reading recommendations for my son, Finn

Type of reader: Finn (age 8) loves stories, and often stories above his typical age. He devoured the audiobook versions of Harry Potter, Greenglass House and its sequel, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and the like. He likes humor, mystery, fantasy, and animals. The challenge is finding books that are gentle on his reading skills yet aren’t babyish.

Flat Stanley

A bulletin board fell on Stanley during the night, and now he is only half an inch thick! Amazing things begin happening to him. Any in the series.

The Mouse & the Motorcycle

When Keith leaves his toy motorcycle unattended in his room, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles.

The Magic School Bus

Science and adventure combine as Ms. Frizzle takes her class on some amazing field trips, from the ocean floor to the human body. Any in the series.

The Tiger Rising

Walking through the Florida woods one morning, 12-year-old Rob is stunned to encounter a tiger—a real-life, very large tiger—pacing back and forth in a cage.

Hank the Cowdog

Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security, is framed for the murder of a chicken and becomes an outlaw with the coyotes. Any in the series.

Homer Price

Welcome to Centerburg! Where you can win a hundred dollars by eating all the doughnuts you want; where houses are built in a day; and where a boy named Homer Price can foil four slick bandits using nothing but his wits and pet skunk. I love this book (and this author).

Ordinary People Change the World

This biography series tells the story of one of America’s icons in a conversational way that focuses on the traits that made the heroes great; they also include the hero’s childhood influences. Any in the series.

The Magic Tree House

Jack and his younger sister, Annie, are just regular kids, but when they discover a tree house in the woods, something magical happens. Jack and Annie are whisked back in time to the Age of Dinosaurs, a medieval castle, ancient pyramids, and treasure-seeking pirates, and beyond. Any in the series.

How to Eat Fried Worms

Billy may have bitten off more than he can chew when he takes his friend Alan’s bet that Billy can’t eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. If Billy wins, Alan has to fork over fifty dollars.

Sideways Stories From Wayside School

The builder of Wayside School made a terrible mistake—instead of building 30 classrooms side-by-side, he built them one on top of another. Maybe this accounts for the goings-on in Mrs. Jewls’ class, where children are turned into apples, dead rats wear raincoats, and little girls try to sell their toes. I read this a thousand times as a kid.

The Time Warp Trio

Magician Uncle Joe’s birthday present entitled “The Book” swirls green mist and sends Sir Joe the Magnificent, Sir Fred the Awesome, and Sir Sam the Unusual to King Arthur’s castle opposing the Black Knight, giant Bleob, and fire-breathing green dragon Smaug. Any in the series.

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

Leroy Brown, aka Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville neighborhood’s ten-year-old star detective. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids through his own detective agency. But his dad also happens to be the chief of the Idaville police department, and every night around the dinner table, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes.

Binky the Space Cat

Unlike other house cats, Binky has a mission: to blast off into outer space (outside), explore unknown places (the backyard) and battle aliens (bugs). Binky must undergo rigorous training so he can repel the alien attacks that threaten his humans.

The Geronimo Stilton series

Geronimo is a nervous, mild-mannered mouse who would like nothing better than to live a quiet life, but he keeps getting involved in far-away adventures with Thea, Trap, and Benjamin, and sometimes Aunt Sweetfur. Any in the series.

Dragon Masters series

8-year old Drake is snatched up by King Roland’s soldier and taken to the castle; He is to be trained as a Dragon Master. The Dragon Masters must learn how to connect with and train their dragons—and they also must uncover their dragons’ special powers.

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