I no longer sleep in very long or often and I haven't played in a sprinkler for decades. Sadly, there is very little wheat harvest where I live. But the bare feet and watermelon still happen, and summer still means books upon books.
Here are the last two middle-grade books I read and enjoyed:
by Sid Fleischmann
Twelve-year-old Jake Bannock cannot believe that his actor-father is dead and he is an orphan. Now all Jake has left is his father's wolflike dog, Jim Ugly.
But is his father really dead? When Jake hears talk about a fortune in missing diamonds, he wonders if his father is hiding out somewhere. Jake feels sure that Jim Ugly has the nose to pick up his father's trail. But eyes are watching every move they make. Whom can Jake trust on his search for the truth about his father?
Fleischmann never disappoints. The characters are always fun, bigger than life, and a joy to read aloud. There's always a twist, plenty of humor, and a compelling Old West setting. His books are usually short reads, like Jim Ugly, leaving you hungry for more.
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail
by Richard Peck
The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn't even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. There he's called "Mouse Minor" (though it's not quite a name), and he doesn't make a success of school. Soon he's running for his life, looking high and low through the grand precincts of Buckingham Palace to find out who he is and who he might become.
Queen Victoria ought to be able to help him, if she can communicate with mice. She is all-seeing, after all, and her powers are unexplainable. But from her, Mouse Minor learns only that you do not get all your answers from the first asking. And so his voyage of self-discovery takes him onward, to strange and wonderful places.
It is a delightful read, with loads of humor I'm not sure the kids got. Very British, quite random, and just a lot of fun. I'll check out more of Peck's work in the future.