As an adult library associate, I spend most of my time with the adult collection. However, once in a while, I will venture over to the children’s section to see what might catch my eye.
The following five books are excellent for children but will also be entertaining to adults who take the time to read them.
by Shannon Hale
Featuring Raven Queen, the Evil Queen's daughter, as the protagonist and a storyline teaching kids that they don't have to follow the path the world sets for them, Ever After High was a fun, intelligent and well-paced book. Obviously geared toward children, Hale kept me entertained and interested through the whole book and did so with a great deal of humor. I particularly enjoyed Madeline Hatter, daughter of the Mad Hatter, and her quirky yet pragmatic view of the world and the people in it.
Interesting questions arise from the story: Can the next Evil Queen really be friends with the next Snow White? What happens to Prince Charming's younger brother? Is your future set in stone or are you master of your own destiny? Hale blends life lessons and fairy tale enchantment in such a way that kids won't feel like they are "learning" but that adults will appreciate.
A counterpoint to the female-oriented Ever After High, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a world full of adventure and more "boy oriented," although girls are likely to enjoy it as well.
Fast-paced and full of action, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom introduces the four princes from Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel as individuals -- Duncan, Liam, Frederic and Gustav -- rather than the stock Prince Charming of the original stories. Healey is entertaining and engaging while encouraging children (and adults!) to examine their own strengths and weaknesses.
Teamwork and family are heavily emphasized without making the book seem like a lesson.
by Kelley Armstrong
For fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Loki’s Wolves features the descendants of the Norse pantheon charged with stopping Ragnarok. Matt Thorsen is chosen as Thor’s champion and finds himself facing monsters and armies while teaming up with Fen and Laurie, descendants of Loki, despite their fated role of “bad guys."
Armstrong provides nearly constant action for a fast-paced read that will appeal to both girls and boys. Lessons on teamwork, the pitfalls of judging someone you don’t know, trusting yourself and your friends, and not accepting fate’s role for you are woven into the plot deftly.
by Michael Buckley
A little like the television show Once Upon a Time -- but for kids -- The Fairy Tale Detectives takes place in a small town in New York where fairy tale characters are real. (For instance, Prince Charming is the Mayor).
Action-packed and a fast read, The Fairy Tale Detectives features Sabrina and Daphne, who are taken in by a woman claiming to be their grandmother after their parents disappear. Sabrina is the older sister and is very untrusting after a string of bad foster homes but Daphne is happy to meet Relda Grimm and live in her “dollhouse."
The girls get into fairy tale trouble from day one and it’s a nonstop ride from there.
by Django Wexler
Take a little Harry Potter, mix it with a little Alice in Wonderland, add a fortress full of magical books, and you have The Forbidden Library.
Sure to delight any voracious reader, The Forbidden Library features Alice, who moves in with Greyon, who is not really her uncle but claims to be for guardianship purposes, after her father’s steam ship is reported lost at sea. Greyon’s estate is called The Library, perfect for Alice, who loves to read. On the estate is a very secure building which is an actual library, but is full of magic and books full of creatures and mischief where talking cats live along side a wizard boy named Isaac.
What girl could resist the call of such a building especially when it is deemed off limits?