THIS BOOK IS AN ANSWER TO PRAYER! I kid. You. Not. As alluded to in a previous post, about how hard it is to find suitable reading material for young kids with high Lexile scores… well, it’s really hard to find reading material suitable for young kids with high Lexile scores! I once put my then-eight year-old’s score into a Lexile “find a book” page, and the first recommendation to come up was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. FOR AN EIGHT YEAR-OLD?!? I won’t even let them read The Hunger Games yet (someday, just not yet), precisely because they are old enough to understand what is going on in the story… and have a month of nightmares because of it. Thanks, but no thanks.
And then… along came Stout Hearts and Whizzing Biscuits: A Patria Novel by Daniel McInerney
We have Oliver, a young American hero who accidentally finds himself in the middle of a war. There’s Farnsworth, a wisecracking, biscuit-shooting prince from the country in conflict, who we absolutely know will never be friends with American Oliver Stoop. Like, neverrrr. Then there’s Princess Rose, who is a hilarious combination of Princess Giselle and (a far more mentally stable) River Tam. The plot zips along with just the right pacing and just the right level of complications to keep minds young and old working for their entertainment. There are just enough “go get your dictionary” words in there to provide a nice stretch for the younger reader and to prove that the novel is never dumbed down. I laughed out loud through the whole reading of it, and am I very excited to pass it along to my kids old enough to read independently.
If there were six stars on Amazon, I’d give them to Stout Hearts and Whizzing Biscuits. Alas, there are not. There is, however, a brilliant Web site for all things Patria, where kids (adults too, why not?) can explore Patria, interact with Oliver, Farnsworth, and Princess Rose, and buy the next book in the series. I hope it’s the next of many, many more.