Two on an Island by Bianca Bradbury

The author does not have a personal website and there are no book trailers online. This book was published in 1965. This is a link to a page list of her books.

Summary: This is the story of a brother and sister who take their dog on a quick daytrip to a sandbar island. They do not leave a note behind for their grandmother (who is not expecting them to arrive for a visit for several days). Their boat is swept away and the siblings must cooperate to survive.

Personal Reaction: I agree with most other reviewers who shared that this was one of our favorite books as an elementary school child. Now in my 40’s, I can recall how suspenseful this survival story was for me way back when I had read the book. As soon as another reviewer mentioned the tomato juice and pineapple juice, I could instantly remember my reaction to that scene in the book. Wonderful read.

Curriculum or discussion topics: boating safety, survival tips, sibling rivalry

Connections to other books: Hatchet by Paulsen, Island series by Korman, The Box-Car Children by Warner, My Side of the Mountain by George, The Swiss Family Robinson by Wyss, Lost in the River of Grass by Rorby, Storm Runners by Smith, Red Midnight by Mikaelsen (for gr7+); Elite Forces Survival Guides by Wilson, Survive Alive series by Champion; SOS: Stories of Survival by Butts

Items to display with book: stuffed animals (German Shepherd, rat, crab); photo of sandbar island, rickety fishing shack; toy helicopter

Food items connected to story: Milk, tomato juice, oatmeal cookies, bananas


Welcome Home by Billi Tiner

Welcome Home

author’s blog includes video trailer, but it’s easier to find on YouTube

Summary: Jake has a puppyhood dream of the kindest man in the world being his owner. However, he is given away to a cruel man who beats him instead. He escapes the abuse only to be temporarily loved by a homeless woman, set upon by a gang of dogs, makes a few animal friends, and is hit by a car.

Personal Reaction: Simple story for young children who can tackle a chapter a day (167 page book) – I don’t know if I can recommend it as a bedtime story given some of the imagery. It’s going to be fine for 1st to 3rd graders, as long as they’re not oversensitive to the fact that people aren’t always nice to their pets (you can be assured it will turn out well because of the title). Another self-published book that could use editorial eyes, though as a read aloud/along it shouldn’t be an issue. For older kids, grades 4 and up, I much prefer the depth and richness of Flawed Dogs by B. Breathed. Both involve dogs talking about death, neglectful owners, and both even involve shootings.

Curriculum or discussion topics: Possible use as an elementary read for a class that’s taking a field trip to the pound or having an animal control officer or animal charity rep come to speak, or maybe taking up items/collections for a local animal group need.

Connections to other books: There are lots of good pet stories out there… Animal Ark Series series by Baglio, Runt by Bauer, One Small Dog by Hurwitz, Love That Dog (poetry) by Creech, Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale by Myers

Items to display with book: Dog stuff – collar, squeaky toys, bowl; cast iron toy truck; stuffed dogs (and a cat)

Food items connected to story: I doubt you’d be serving dog food, but there are plenty of stews you could try to make your kids laugh and cookies you could bake into dog biscuit shapes. The dog and his homeless companion visit 3 restaurants (pizzaria, bar-b-que and bar&grill) for food, but no special dishes are mentioned.

Nimpentoad by Henry Herz

author’s website  includes 30 sec. video trailer

Summary: Nimpentoad leads fellow Niblings through the forest to ask Goofus the giant if they can live with him for mutual benefit. Along the way, Nimpentoad uses his wits to prevent capture by larger creatures like Goblins, Trolls and wolves.

Personal Reaction: Beautiful illustrations! The audience level is elementary rather than middle grades, so I found it much too simple for my taste, but at only 44 pages I didn’t worry about time wasted.  Maybe fun as a “chapter a day” read aloud in grade 2?

Discussion topics: food art; character trait discussion ideas are detailed in end pages

Items to display with book: branches, chariot toy, action figure goblin creature in armor, various size, color & shape eggs

Food items connected to story: strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries (whole, salad, skewers, or smoothies/milkshakes); mushrooms, bird eggs and bug eggs (use several types: cooked white, yellow, wild, etc.) as omelettes, poached, scrambled; tomatoes, spinach, carrots, yellow squash, brown potatoes


disclaimer: I received a free pdf copy for review via e-mail from the author


By moviesofthemind Posted in fantasy Tagged