In today's Sun-Times Books section, children's book reviewer Deborah Abbott writes about a handful of back-to-school books for young readers.
So today I'll stick to the "young readers" theme with One Beastly Beast (Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales) by Garth Nix, illustrated by Brian Biggs.
This book offers four short stories...
In "Blackbread the Pirate" (yes, Blackbread), 9-year-old Peter gets caught up with a band of sewer rat pirates when they steal the videos he's supposed to return to the store for his mother.
"The Princess and the Beastly Beast," the young Princess Chlorinda gets no satisfaction upon telling her parents that there's a "bloody beastly beast" on the battlements, so she goes in search of her own adventure.
"Bill the Inventor" is the story of an orphan boy who was found wrapped in a banana skin when he was a baby. (If that doesn't make you want to read the rest of the story, I don't know what will.)
In "Serena and the Sea Serpent" (say that three times fast), Serena, the youngest of 17 children and a smarty-pants know-it-all, turns into a penguin to take care of a little sea serpent problem in her town.
The stories are clever, witty and fun — perfect for readers age 7-11 who may not enjoy or be ready for a whole chapter book, or for parents and children who like to read aloud together.