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Summary: Mo Shen Ma is spending his summer vacation with his grandparents. They live at the base of a mountain in a rural area that is also a nature preserve. Mo makes a new friend, Bat Ears, and there is plenty of adventure as the two boys try to find things to do. When the boys learn that there is a family of monkeys pestering and stealing from the tourists (not to mention Grandpa's cornfield), they decide to take matters into their own hands and "save the day." Will solving this problem be the end of their adventures? This is an English version of the beststelling Chinese chpater book series about a young Chinese boy.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, independent reading, early reader, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 12; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 12
Reading Level: 5
Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: We had lots of requests to keep reading this book until we got about two-thirds of the way through. Then, we couldn't get any interest in it at all. Our daughter said that the adventures were getting boring.
Adult Reader Reaction: We finished the book without her, and would have to agree: enough is enough. While the story is built around the mischief that Mo and friends get into, there is so much that they all start to sound the same after awhile. That said, the story is well written and there is plenty of humor.
Pros: Short chapters, lots of pranks, and plenty of adventure will keep kids (particularly dormant readers) reading.
Cons: The book could do with a few fewer events. Although several of the activities aren't realistic (like chasing monkeys), others are and are suggestive enough that kids might try them at home.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a series of illustrated chapter books for transitional and reluctant readers. It will appeal to kids (particularly boys) who like humor and pranks.
Educational Themes: This is a story meant for recreational reading.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 5.0
Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, humor, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2009
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