The Big Gray House II
by Henry J
Trafford Publishing

"He wanted to tell his experiences to another person, anyone that would listen."

Franklin Meyers' exuberance for everything he encounters fuels his stories within this story. Following the never-dull daily life of young Franklin and his family, The Big Gray House II explores the balance of play and chores, responsibility and imagination, and the importance of family in South Carolina farm life. From the exciting birth of a new calf to running from the vicious stings of angry wasps, Franklin is always (perhaps sometimes too) eager to learn and explore the world around him. The story sees Franklin at home with his family, at school, and on excursions to the city to visit flour mills and sell fresh vegetables with his father and brothers.

The characters, even in misbehavior, are always respectful and considerate of one another, illustrating strong values of honesty and good character. One of this book's biggest strengths is the wealth of factual information included about the topics like animals and farming processes discussed in the narrative. With photographs and references to online research material study after reading a chapter, it provides a good way for parents and children to learn and discuss the book together. The final chapter also includes some examples and rules of games that the characters play, encouraging the reader to go and do the same. The language would most likely suit ages 9-12, but the enthusiastic tone of the writing makes this book ideal for reading aloud to younger children.

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