By Anna Sewell
(Barnes & Noble 2012 edition)
Black Beauty is about a horse whose mother always taught him to be polite under any circumstances. Beauty’s first master treated him very well and was polite so Beauty returned the favor and even saved his master’s life. One night Beauty’s mistress became ill and Beauty had to be sold because he couldn’t be taken with her when she moved away. Beauty was soon sold to different owners including a thief, an irresponsible gentleman and a cabman who overworked him to such a degree that he almost died. I would highly recommend this classic book because it is a well-written story about a horse that leaves the reader feeling as if he has just read a horse’s thoughts in the form of a book.
By Sarah Pennypacker
Balzer & Bray, 2016
Pax is about a boy and his pet fox who get separated because of a war. Peter, the boy in question, has raised his pet since he was a kit and he is devastated when his dad makes him leave his pet in the woods. Pax, who is Peter’s pet fox, loves Peter with all his heart and when Peter’s dad leaves him in the woods he tries everything to get back to Peter. After Peter’s dad enlists in the army, Peter is left at his grandfather’s house where he promptly runs away to find Pax. Pax is feeling very lonely when he meets another group of foxes who eventually take him in and advise him against going back to find his boy. Peter leaves home and in his journey he falls and breaks his leg, so he has to sleep in a mysterious barn at night. While in the barn, the owner, whose name is Vola, sympathizes with Peter and decides to make him crutches and teach him how to use them so that he could find Pax. I would recommend this story because it is a dramatic story about a boy and his pet, who although they get separated, still try to find each other and do not give up.
The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan is about a gorilla whose name is Ivan who lives in a cage in a mall. Ivan is both a philosopher who thinks about life in his cage, and an artist who paints pictures. Ivan was raised in the jungle but when hunters killed his parents, he was bought by Mack, the owner of the mall. Mack and his wife raised Ivan and took good care of him. Ivan was very happy with his life but when a young elephant whose name was Ruby was also bought by Mack, Ivan’s world was turned upside down. Ivan began to have thoughts of another world outside of his cage, another world in which he would not just be a mere attraction on the side of a highway but a free animal who could do whatever he pleased. Ivan, accompanied by his friend Bob, who is a dog, used many different methods to try to escape and to help Ruby not be afraid of the world outside. I would recommend this book because it is a funny story about animals who stick together and whose companionship brings them through many hard times.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
By Robert C. O’Brien
In Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH the main character, Mrs. Frisby, is a mouse whose son Timothy gets sick so she has to get him a doctor, whose name is Mr. Ages. Mr. Ages tries to help her and he gives her medicine for her son but there is still one problem. The day when the farmer would plow his field was coming and Mrs. Frisby’s house was right in the path of his plow. Mrs. Frisby usually traveled across the field that she lived in so that she could move into her summer house, but this year Mrs. Frisby couldn’t do that because Timothy was too sick to travel. Mrs. Frisby goes to the wise owl who lives in a tree in the forest and he tells her that she should go to see the mysterious “Rats of NIMH” because they are the only ones who can help her. Mrs. Frisby is shocked to find out that her late husband was good a friend of the rats. Mrs. Frisby rejoices when she hears that the rats are capable and willing to move her house so that she can be safe from the farmer’s plow. The rats, however, are in danger because there is a mysterious exterminator who is trying to find them and kill them. I would recommend this award-winning classic because it is an exciting story that the reader will find both hilarious and entertaining.
By Josh Stiefel
Josh Stiefel is a fourth grader at Yeshivat Noam. He’s been known to devour books. He also likes hamburgers.