What are your kids reading? What have they loved? What would they recommend to friends or other children their age?
My 7-year-old, Isabelle, has been reading Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Cave of the Dark Wind. This chapter book for ages 8 and up is part of the writing team’s Never Land Adventure series and is an offshoot of their brilliant Peter and the Starcatchers series about the origins of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Never Land. The Never Land books are geared toward beginning readers and focus on the Lost Boys, the daughters of the Mollusk chief, and other Never Land residents while Peter Pan is away with Molly on other adventures related to the Starcatchers. I’ve been a Dave Barry fan for a long time and miss his weekly humor columns, but I’m thrilled that he’s now writing children’s books! Ridley Pearson has written numerous adult novels, including thrillers, and the combination of suspense-filled adventure and humor works well in their books.
At the beginning of Cave of the Dark Wind, Shining Pearl, Little Scallop, and the Lost Boys find a cave that just begs to be explored. Having lived on the island her whole life, Shining Pearl warns the boys to stay away from it, as a mysterious being known to the Mollusk tribe as “The Goat Taker” is said to live there. When the boys find out that a treasure is also part of the Mollusk tribe’s legends about the cave, they can’t resist the appeal of a treasure hunt, Goat Taker or not—and neither can Captain Hook and his pirates, who secretly follow them on the hunt. It’s an exciting tale with spooky elements that aren’t gruesome or too scary.
Isabelle said: “The cave is kind of creepy and full of hundreds of bats—they cover the whole moon when they come out at night. Shining Pearl is telling a story to James and Ted and the rest of the Lost Boys about some [of her tribe’s] hunters going into the cave and coming out blind for three days so the boys won’t go into the cave, but they decide to anyway. It makes me want to keep reading!”
I also wanted to mention how wonderful Jim Dale’s narration is for the audiobook versions of the Never Land books and the Peter and the Starcatchers series! He’s one of my favorite book readers to listen to and also did the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series. I read or listened to all of the Never Land books before handing them over to my daughter and really enjoyed them myself. They make exciting read-alouds, and the engaging characters and fast-moving plots keep reluctant readers turning the pages.