As you’ve gotten to know me, you might have gathered that I am an animal lover, and if so, your deduction would be correct. I didn’t grow up with animals. But as an adult my pets have become my best friends and family. Especially during those lonesome years when I lived in Panama. So, it kind of goes hand-in-hand that I would like animal stories. And if you like animals, too, do I ever have the series for you.
I was first introduced to Humphrey through the 2009-2010 Master List for the Texas Bluebonnet Award. He is the super star of his own “Humphreyville” series of books written by Betty G. Birney. But first things first, I’ve forgotten my manners. Allow me to introduce you. Humphrey, these are my readers. Dear readers, this is my furry friend Humphrey.
Surprises According to Humphrey is actually the fourth book in this series but it is the title that brought us (Humphrey and me) together. The first book in the series is The World According to Humphrey. Humphrey originally belonged to substitute teacher Ms. Mac but she had to leave school unexpectedly. And our boy is left behind to become the classroom pet for room 26. But Mrs. Brisbane, the teacher in room 26, wasn’t quite as excited about the new addition to her class as her students were. Readers follow the hamster’s adventures in school and on weekend home visits as narrated in Humphrey’s voice throughout the twelve-title series. His insight into the personalities and problems of the children enables Humphrey to work his magic in the lives of each of them. The children he calls Lower-Your-Voice-A.J. and Speak-Up-Sayeh and Don’t-Complain-Mandy-Payne will remind you of kids we all know. Here are the covers of the titles in this series.
You can do your one-stop shopping for all books Humphrey on Amazon.com, here. Author Betty G. Birney has a playful website with games, homework help and resources, here. She even includes a curriculum guide to use with the Humphrey books. Going to try to attach it.humphrey_curriculum_guide
Would you look at that! I did it! Wonders never cease.
While the reading level of the books above is mid-fourth grade on average, the series will appeal to younger and older children. The books in Birney’s newer series “Humphrey’s Tiny Tales”, below, are written on a mid-third grade reading level.
These are new to me so I haven’t read any of them yet. But I am thinking a certain six-year-old in my life might enjoy them. Mary, maybe these would be fun for your better readers in second grade? Please let me know if you check them out. And I will do the same.
There are so many touching animals stories for children that I could have written “31 Days of Children’s Animal Books” and just skimmed the surface. I think animal stories appeal to both boys and girls (teachers and librarians) and kind of close that gender gap issue. Want to leave you with the titles of a few other animal books worthy of mention.
- Down Girl and Sit: On the Road by Lucy Nolan (also a series) (2.8 RL)
- How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor (love) (4.0 RL)
- The Winner’s Walk by Nancy Ruth Patterson (4.8 RL)
- Squirrel’s World by Lisa Moser (2.0 RL)
Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit by Joan Carris (4.1 RL)
Hamster Magic by Lynne Jonell (3.9 RL)
Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan (3.0 RL)
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (3.9 RL)
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo (series) (2.7 RL)
Mr. Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant (series) (2 RL)
These are all touching stories will bring a laugh and maybe a tear or two.
Since I’ve returned from my babysitting stint in Albuquerque, I have worked everyday! And you can sure tell it by looking at my house and my pile of ironing. I have spent bits of several days trying to knock out the ironing and have only a dozen pieces left to do. Yes, it was THAT bad! Tomorrow is house cleaning day and hope to enjoy doing a few craft projects. And of course, I will be back here with another review. Hope you will join me.
Hugs and kisses,