Fern Valley: A Collection of Short Stories by Aileen Stewart
(Summary taken from amazon.com) "Follow the adventures of delightful young farm animals who are just like you. Fern Valley is home to a group of wonderful animals who have fun and face some of the same problems children everywhere do. Roberta and Mildred Cornstalk are creative chickens dealing with the loss of their beloved granny, and they're looking for something to do to cheer them up. Want to know what adventures they find? Want to know what happens to Roberta and Mildred's brother, Edward, when he goes fishing, what birthday surprise is in store for Betsy Woolrich, or what lesson Kimmy Curlytail learns when she keeps something that isn't hers? Then follow this endearing cast of characters as they enjoy their time together and learn important lessons. A perfect addition for any child's personal library and a joy for families to share, Fern Valley is a collection to be treasured for many years to come."
This is a fun little collection of short stories. The characters are really cute. They are written mainly for younger children; maybe through age nine. I don't think my 6th and 5th grade boys would be too interested in reading them silently. As a read-aloud, however, I think they would sit and listen. Even big boys still get interested in mom and dad reading out loud. Even for younger children I think they would be better as a read-aloud, just because there are some difficult words for stories geared toward younger children. For example, the words "rummaged, array, brooches" are all on the same page. I know my 2nd grader would not know those words, and she would struggle to sound them out. Don't get me wrong, I think they are great words, and I definitely think children should increase their vocabulary. However, younger readers may not understand them or be able to sound them out. That's why it would be great as a read-aloud because you could stop and discuss those words. Thus, adding them to the children's vocabulary. The characters have some fun experiences, and some not very good ones. I think there is a good assortment of girlie stories and boy stories. There are some really good lessons taught. It's a fast, easy read, and it's fun to have some short stories. I haven't read short stories like this in awhile, so it's a fun change of pace. I will be reading these to my children.
Rating: G (Clean! Yay!)
Recommendation: Good for everyone. Older children may not be interested in reading them silently, but they would most likely enjoy them as a read-aloud. I'd say up until age 14 maybe, as a read-aloud, and probably 9 reading silently.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.