Our October Book Stack explores books in Read to Them‘s library that fit this year’s Read Aloud to a Child Week theme, “Off on an adventure!” Have your map and compass at the ready? Let’s go!
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
A lone robot crashes on a remote island, but soon enough, she’ll leave her cold robotic persona behind to learn the language of the island’s wildlife, adopt a gosling, and ultimately forge a family worth protecting.
Magic Moment: As a winter storm rages, Roz invites the animals to keep warm in her lodge.
“I propose a truce,” said Roz, “like the Dawn Truce. Everyone must agree not to hunt or harm one another while in my lodge.”
“Very well,” said Swooper, after consulting his carnivorous friends. “We hunters will control ourselves.”
“Then it’s settled,” said Roz. “My home is a safe place for all.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roahl Dahl
In this Dahl classic, young Charlie Bucket lands the once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore Willy Wonka’s miraculous chocolate factory.
Magic Moment: Charlie and the other children step into the sprawling meadow of the CHOCOLATE ROOM.
“The waterfall is most important,” Mr. Wonka went on. “It mixes the chocolate! It churns it up! It pounds it and beats it! It makes it light and frothy! No other factory in the world mixes chocolate by waterfall! But it’s the only way to do it properly! The only way! And do you like my trees?” he cried, pointing with his stick. “And my lovely bushes? Don’t you think they look pretty? I told you I hated ugliness! And of course they are all eatable! All made of something different and delicious! And do you like my meadows? Do you like my grass and my buttercups? The grass you are standing on, my dear little ones, is made of a new kind of soft, minty sugar that I’ve just invented! I call it swudge! Try a blade! Please do! It’s delectable!”
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Reader, it is your destiny to discover what happens to a tiny, daring mouse with exceptionally large ears and a lonely serving girl with a simple, but seemingly impossible wish.
Magic Moment: Why does Despereaux go on a dangerous quest to the dungeon for a spool of thread? Because love is a powerful, ridiculous, wonderful thing, capable of moving mountains.
“Yes,” said Despereaux, “because I am on a quest.” The word felt good and right in his mouth.
Say it, reader. Say the word “quest” out loud. It is an extraordinary word, isn’t it? So small and yet so full of wonder, so full of hope.”
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Dive into the diary of young Sam Gribley as he leaves his family’s cramped New York apartment to live on his own off the land in the Catskill Mountains.
Magic Moment: Sam meets his young hawk companion, whom he names Frightful.
I scrambled to the river bed somehow, being very careful not to hurt the hot fuzzy body that was against my own. However, Frightful, as I called her right then and there because of the difficulties we had had in getting together, did not think so gently of me. She dug her talons into my skin to brace herself during the bumpy ride to the ground.
I stumbled to the stream, placed her in a nest of buttercups, and dropped beside her. I feel asleep.
When I awoke my eyes opened on two grey eyes in a white tousled head. Small pinfeathers were sticking out of the soft down, like feathers in an Indian quiver. The big blue beak curled down in a snarl and up in a smile.
“Oh, Frightful,” I said, “you are a raving beauty.”
From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Siblings Claudia and Jamie run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art only to find themselves on a journey to discover the secrets of a mysterious statue.
Magic Moment: Their first night at the Met, Claudia and Jamie sleep in a bed dating back to sixteenth century France.
Claudia had always known that she was meant for such fine things. Jamie, on the other hand, thought that running away from home to sleep in just another bed was really no challenge at all. He, James, would rather sleep on the bathroom floor, after all. Claudia then pulled him around to the foot of the bed and told him to read what the card said.
Jamie read, “Please do not step on the platform.”
Claudia knew that she was being difficult on purpose; therefore, she read for him, “State bed – scene of the alleged murder of Amy Robsart, first wife of Lord Robert Dudley, later Earl of…”
Jamie couldn’t control his smile. He said, “You know, Claude, for a sister and a fuss-budget, you’re not too bad.”
The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz
Once Flora sets her eyes on a team of sled dogs, she endeavors to become a sled pig; soon enough, she’s on a ship to Antarctica, setting out on the most dangerous adventure of her life.
Magic Moment: As she imagines what her role on the expedition could be, Flora sees stars for the first time.
Flora felt as though she might be the only one awake. She looked up into the clear night sky and… there they were.
Stars. She had no idea there would be so many, and they doubled themselves by reflecting off the water. Some were bigger and brighter than others, and they almost blinked if one watched them long enough.
Eyes watching over me, thought Flora.
Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner
Ranger, a golden retriever, travels in time to 1850 after finding a mysterious first aid kit in his owner’s garden.
Magic Moment: Sam and Ranger are out exploring when they stumble upon a secret cave.
“J. Bower was here on July 11, 1847. F.B. Chamberlain was here in 1849. Look at all the names… Brisbee… Hawk… Connor… So many people were here before us, Dog. Do you think they saw rattlesnakes or got sick or had to scare off buffalo stampedes?”
Ranger lifted his head. Luke used to talk with him like this sometimes, when they were alone in the backyard or up in Luke’s bedroom. He’d talk about important things and ask questions as if Ranger were another person. Ranger could never answer, but somehow, Luke always understood he was listening. Sam seemed to understand, too.
“I wonder if they all made it to the Oregon Territory… or California… or the Great Salt Lake… or wherever they were going.” Sam traced another name with his finger. “I hope so.” Then he added, even more quietly, “I hope we all make it, too.”
Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins
Two squirrels – Chai and TsTs– leave the safety of their home to find their friend, Jed, after he narrowly escapes the clutches of a hawk.
Magic Moment: TsTs invents a game called Move to save the red squirrels from humans armed with chainsaws.
“Here’s what I think,” she said. If we call it a game, and everyone thinks it’s a game, then it’s a game. At least for a while. It needs a name, though, and there should be teams. And a way to keep score. But the most important thing is, everyone has to believe it’s a game.”
“Why will they believe it’s a game, when they don’t believe us about the racket?” asked Jed.
“Because, like all of you have been saying,” said TsTs, smiling, “we’re squirrels. We want to believe in games.”
Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Journey back to the wild west with trailblazer Charlotte Pankhurst as she becomes an expert horse rider, a legendary stagecoach driver, and the first woman to ever vote in the United States.
Magic Moment: Just after doubt is cast on her stagecoach driving abilities, Charlotte saves her passengers from a collapsing bridge amid a raging storm!
Charlotte kept her sights on the far bank.
She heard the splintering and cracking of weathered wood that meant the bridge was coming apart.
Tree limbs swayed in the wind and the sounds of the storm brought back a memory from somewhere deep in Charlotte’s mind. A jumble of frantic images and words. Being held in someone’s lap. And voices. “Stop! Hold on!” Her parent’s voices. And a face. Yes, her mother’s face close to hers. “Keep them straight! Keep them straight!” That’s what she had to do.
Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan by Cynthia Rylant
When water becomes scarce in Gooseberry Park, an eclectic group of animals who call the park home create a plan that will save the day.
Magic Moment: When all seems dire, Kona’s conviction helps Gwendolyn, Stumpy, and Murray find confidence.
But newborns and the elderly could not wait for any day. Rain was not here today, and they could not survive just by imagining it.
Gwendolyn looked at Kona.
“We must give them help,” she said.
Kona sighed. For a moment he wished he were someone else. Maybe one of those dogs on a surfboard in Hawaii.
Then he shook himself out, lifted his head high, remembered who he was, and answered with conviction:
“We will, Gwendolyn. We will.”
Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Appleblossom is thrust into a life or death performance when she accidentally falls down a chimney and into a home filled with people and dogs.
Magic Moment: Appleblossom recalls her mother’s drama lessons to keep calm and navigate a precarious situation.
She closes her eyes and forces herself not to panic. Isn’t that what Mama Possum has said? Don’t panic when you have stage fright. Well, where is Mama now? What would Mama Possum do in this situation? How would she act? They never rehearsed being trapped in a monster house.
She decides to act brave and confident. Trying out a line, Appleblossom whispers, “If there is a way in, then there has to be a way out!”
Stuart Little by E.B. White
When his dear bird-friend Margalo disappears from her nest, Stuart Little ventures from his New York home to find her – and adventures, too!
Magic Moment: Stuart enters (and wins) an action-packed sailboat race in Central Park.
Straight and true sailed the Wasp, with Stuart at the helm. After she had crossed the finish line, Stuart brought her alongside the wall, and was taken ashore and highly praised for his fine steamship and daring. The owner was delighted and said it was the happiest day of his life. He introduced himself to Stuart, said that in private life he was Dr. Paul Carey, a surgeon-dentist. He said model boats were his hobby and that he would be delighted to have Stuart take command of his vessel at any time. Everybody shook hands with Stuart – everybody, that is, except the policeman, who was too wet and made to shake hands with a mouse.
When Stuart got home that night, his brother George asked him where he had been all day.
“Oh, knocking around town,” replied Stuart.