Books for ducklings

If you look to the right, you’ll see a few books for younger readers on my list of books read this year. There are two reasons for this:

1) As an involved parent, I like to keep up with what my kids are reading.

2) I find books that other people are reading insanely attractive. I’ve read a whole bunch of thrillers and sf space operas over the years that I would never have picked up except the Carnivore was reading them, and I couldn’t resist a little peek. It drives him nuts, which is an added bonus.

I’ve got Demon Duck started on Terry Pratchett, which she’s enjoying. She’s only eight, but she has quite an adult sense of humour. Either that or mine is pretty juvenile, because we laugh at the same things.

Drama Duck is more of a problem. She’s ten and reads as well as someone 14 or 15 – but she doesn’t like to read the kind of thing that’s aimed at 14 and 15-year-olds. She doesn’t like dark or scary or sad, which pretty much rules out most of YA, as far as I can tell.

She loves Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest books, though she’s bright enough to pick holes in the plots. But she enjoys the adventure and puzzle-solving in them. She also loved The Hobbit. I gave her the first Harry Potter, which she liked, but the movie of it frightened her and she’s shown no desire to read any more of them.

I’d like to introduce her to some good writing, rather than the pulpy girls/babysitting/boyfriends type stuff she often reads, but I don’t know what. At her age I was reading The Lord of the Rings and other adult fantasies. I don’t remember much that came before that except Enid Blyton (which she also enjoys). And though I still read the occasional YA, I don’t read “middle grade” books, so I don’t know what to recommend. I bought her a Garth Nix on the weekend, which looks promising – and there’s certainly a good backlist there if she likes it!

Does anyone have any suggestions of something to suit a fluent but sensitive young reader who enjoys adventure?

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