Grade 3-6-Two delightful short books by John Reynolds Gardiner have been paired up in this audio set. Stone Fox (HarperCollins, 1980) tells the story of a boy determined to win a dog sled race to save his grandfather's farm. No one has ever beaten Stone Fox, an imposing and silent Native American, but little Willy trains daily for the race with his beloved dog, Searchlight. It seems like Willy might even win the race until heartbreaking tragedy strikes. Top Secret (Little, 1984) also features a determined boy and his grandfather, but in a much different setting and story. Allen Brewster has a fantastic idea that might even win the silver trophy at the science fair human photosynthesis. He has several obstacles to overcome. Allen persists in his mission using the scientific method and finally comes up with a concoction that turns him into a human plant. He turns green, craves sunlight and water instead of food, and sprouts baby roots if he stands in mud too long. Everything changes when Allen is deemed a threat to national security and his project is suddenly top secret. Both books are about 20 years old, so the characters do not represent very diverse backgrounds, but the messages of loyalty and determination are timeless. Tony Award winner B. D. Wong narrates the characters to fit the emotion and suspense of each story. The fact that one sentence was left out of the narration of Stone Fox and a few words were dropped from Top Secret might deter purchase of this audiobook for a read-along program. Each story could be listened to for pleasure or as a springboard for classroom discussion. Teresa Wittmann, St. Anthony School, Renton, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a surprising, quick read written for children, grades 3-6. I would classify it as a chapter book because it has chapters (ten of them), simple, easy to read language, and an elementary plot that children can follow. I read Stone Fox 25th Anniversary Edition because it was selected by the teens in my Teen Reading Club that I lead. In the beginning, I was interested in the book because of its premise. My enjoyment lessened as Grandfather's situation … more