Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Children's Classic Books

Children's Classics 5 Minutes for Books is hosting a "Children's Classics" carnival, this month's featured age is on middle grade readers (ages 8-12). It was incredibly difficult coming up with only one book! I pondered a great many, because there are SO many excellent books out there for children, so many that I enjoyed as a child and am now thrilled to pass on to my own children.

The book I chose is one that really stirred my interest in the mystery genre. It's a book that kept me up reading very late into the night, and was one that I tried (often in vain) to recommend to every one of my friends. At almost every stage of my life, I have had one friend who is an avid reader like I am, and when I was in elementary school her name was Holly. I vividly remember going over to Holly's house one afternoon and passing along my precious copy of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, which she devoured and loved as much as I did!

The Westing Game was written in 1978 and was given the Newberry Award in 1979. The book begins with sixteen people and families, all who have been "invited" to live in the Sunset Towers apartment building. Wealthy Samuel Westing has died, and these people are invited to the reading of his will. This will contains a game filled with puzzles, which will determine who will inherit Mr. Westing's sizeable estate. The sixteen are divided into eight groups of two to work together to solve the puzzles.

Isn't this every child's dream--to be given the opportunity to be rich based on solving puzzles in a game? Well, it certainly was MY dream!

This book is a great mystery, but it is also filled with a ton of humor. The characters come from all different races, nationalities, and walks of life. I found that, reading the book aloud to my children as an adult, I picked up on some different layers of humor than I did as a child. And also, as an adult, Ms. Raskin's writing is even more clever and entertaining.

The Westing Game is a book I have been proud to pass on to my children, one they love as much as I do!

Ms. Raskin's other books (The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel), Figgs and Phantoms, and The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues) are also brilliantly entertaining reads.


Bluestocking said...

I've never heard of this book. But it sounds good.

Ladybug said...

Oh, I absolutely loved this book. I actually was looking it for at the library the other day just to re-read it! It is a fun read! Now I'll definitely have to get it! What a great classic to share! :D

Tanya said...

Hi Melissa,
Don't think I have read this one - it's been on my summer reading list, though. I'm reading THE LIGHTINING THIEF now - read it yet? It's goooooooood!


Tameka said...

I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds really good. I'll have to write it down and add it to my son's library soon.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I haven't read this one. I am enjoying getting all these great suggestions!

teachmom said...

I had never heard of this book, but it sounds right up our alley! "Just Another" book to add to our never-ending list of books to read! Thanks for the recommend/review! :)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Don't worry--we'll focus on this genre again, so you'll get to share another great pick.

In fact, I'm thinking of focusing on Newbery Award winners in the near future.

As for this book, I haven't read it, but came across it in the "free" pile at the library, so I bought it for my daughter after seeing it recommended around on blogs.

She won't read it! I think I may have to make it a read-aloud and then we can both enjoy it.

morninglight mama said...

You have convinced me that this is one to put on the to-be-read list with my big kid!