Tag Archives: smart girls

Little Red & the Very Hungry Lion

A few years ago I wrote a post called “The Various Tales of Little Red Riding Hood” about retellings of the well known story. It actually gets the most hits of any blog post that I’ve written. While I’m not on the hunt for more stories about the crimson clad kid, if a great story comes out, I do pay attention. One such story is Alex T. Smith’s Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion.little red cover

Right off the bat there are a few noticeable differences in this story versus the traditional version. Little Red is a spunky, intelligent, African girl. The lion is, well, a lion and not a wolf, but more importantly, he doesn’t manage to trick Little Red. Smith uses some creative illustrations to move this story along and capture a completely different tone. The best part, in my opinion, is when Little Red walks into her Auntie’s house, notices the lion, and decides to teach him a lesson. Continue reading →


Sleuthing with Cam Jansen

A young girl who solves mysteries? Count us in! We have read a few books in the Cam Jansen mystery series that center on a 5th grade girl nicknamed Cam and her best friend Eric and I am happy to keep J reading them.

cam jansen

Here is what J told me a few weeks ago when I asked her about the series:

“Cam Jansen had a really really good memory. She said click and could remember anything. People called her the camera and then that got shortened to Cam. I don’t remember her real name.”

Well, her real name is Jennifer and she has a photographic memory. She goes around with her best friend, Eric, and when strange things happen, she commits them to memory. She later recalls these things to help solve a mystery.

Cam is a great character. She is smart, observant and confident. These are great for early chapter readers because the books are short, use language that is easily accessible and they are fun. It is great to see a girl who is smart and doesn’t fall into the trap of being a princess or snarky. I think that many young kids can have fun reading these books.

If it helps at all, according to Scholastic, these are the reading level breakdowns:
Lexil – 480
RL – 2.2
DRA – 20
Guided Reading – L