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"B" is for Betsy

by Carolyn Haywood

(1939, 154 pages)

B is for Betsy cover

First book in the Betsy series

Type: Domestic

Reading level: Primary (or as a read-aloud for younger children)

Committee rating: Excellent

Children, parents, and grandparents will be touched by the simplicity and innocence of childhood which Carolyn Haywood brings to life through six-year-old Betsy. She has just arrived at school for the first day of first grade, and is feeling fearful:

"If I got up now and ran out the door," thought Betsy, "I could catch Mother. I could be out in the sunshine again with Mother and take hold of her hand. I could tell Mother that I don't want to go to school, that I know it is a terrible place, Old Ned said so." But Betsy knew that she couldn't do that.

How she gets through this first day and the rest of the school year is the subject of this charming story. Betsy's home and school life, her everyday problems and joys, are presented from her six-year-old point of view. Nothing "big" happens in this book, but children will connect with the commonplace yet meaningful experiences of Betsy's childhood. The author has provided the perfect illustrations for the story.

Click here for more information, including links to the Amazon reviews.

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet

by Eleanor Cameron

(1954, 195 pages)

Mushroom Planet cover

Book 1 in the Mushroom Planet series

Type: Science fiction/fantasy

Reading level: Intermediate (or as a read-aloud for younger children)

Committee rating: Excellent

The imaginations of two boys, David Topman and Chuck Masterson, are captured by the following ad in their local paper:

WANTED: A small spaceship about eight feet long, built by a boy, or by two boys, between the ages of eight and eleven. The ship should be sturdy and well made, and should be of materials found at hand. Nothing need be bought. No adult should be consulted as to its plan or method of construction. An adventure and a chance to do a good deed await the boys who build the best space ship. Please bring your ship as soon as possible to Mr. Tyco M. Bass, 5 Thallo Street, Pacific Grove, California.

This book appeals equally to both boys and girls, even to those who do not generally like science fiction. And no one who reads it will ever forget Mr. Bass.

Click here for more information, including links to the Amazon reviews (careful, though, since some comments may give away key plot points).