Graphic novels, early readers and reads about space and Legendary Ladies. Check out these books to keep your kids reading throughout the summer.

Gordon Bark to the Future

We have read Gordon Bark to the Future by Ashley Spires ($16.99, Kids Can Press) a number of times. A spin off from the Binky and Fluffy series, Agent Gordon realizes his fellow PURST (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) and his humans have been captured by alien invaders.

It’s up to Gordon, his powerful mind and his untested prototype to save the world without messing up the past or the future and imploding the universe.

There isn’t a lot of talking in these graphic novels – Gordon is a dog after all – but you follow the story through the narrator, who is quite funny. My nine year old loves these books and enjoys having them read to him over and over.

One Big Happy Family follows the story of Ivy and her quest to have a sister so she isn't a spoiled only child.
One Big Happy Family is the 11th Ivy+Bean book.

Ivy + Bean

Despite being Book 11, this is the first time I have read an Ivy + Bean book ($20.99, Raincoast Books, ChronicleKids).

The series, by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall, follows the adventures of best friends Ivy and Bean. In this book, titled One Big Happy Family, the girls’ classmate Vanessa suggests Ivy must be spoiled rotten because she is an only child and everyone knows only children don’t have to do any work and get everything they want.

Ivy worries she is spoiled and decides the only way to not be so is to get a baby sister (she does try giving away all her clothing, but her teacher makes her give everything back). Despite Beans’ insistence Ivy is not spoiled and sisters aren’t worth it, the Ivy decides to go ahead with her plan to get a sibling.

I read the book to my nine year old in an afternoon. I laughed in a number of parts and was grossed out in others. I love that both Ivy and Bean use their imagination not only in their plans for getting a baby, but in every aspect of their lives (including the importance of brain food. Gross, but imaginative). I also loved how kind the pair are as well.

Nick the Sidekick, by Dave Whmond and Kids Can Press, is a quick-read graphic novel.
Nick the Sidekick is a quick-read graphic novel.

Nick the Sidekick

Nick the Sidekick by Dave Whamond ($15.99, Kids Can Press) is a super fast read.

Nick, who hates superhero cliches, is recruited by Super Fantastic Guy for his supersized ears and hearing to be his sidekick, AKA assistant. Super Fantastic Guy has everything you would think a superhero would have – spandex onsie, a cape and the ability to fly. He also takes all the credit – Nick is the one who actually solves most crimes, but Super Fantastic Guy gets all the glory.

“Will Nick ever get the chance to be a true superhero and save the day?”

The book offered some funny moments and shows real superheroes come in all sizes.

The Space Adventurer's Guide (is) Your Passport To The Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe.
The Space Adventurer’s Guide (is) Your Passport To The Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe.

The Space Adventurer’s Guide – Your Passport to the Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe

My nine-year-old son wasn’t interested in The Space Adventurer’s Guide by Peter McMahon ($18.99, Kids Can Press). His space phase seems to be over, but I found the book super interesting; space still fascinates me.

I loved the mix of real photos and renderings of everything from what a space colony of the future may look like to NASA prototypes.

The idea of the book is to show potential space adventurers what they would need to do to prepare for a trip into space (besides hundreds of thousands of dollars). The book also talks about the ways the “average” person can get travel to space – both things that have already happened as well as what people are hoping to do.

The book offers you a look at what it is like to live at the International Space Station (that fascinates me the most) as well as things to do while on it including astronaut Suni Williams‘ Top 5 things to see in Earth’s obit. You also get to learn what your flight would be like and what you could do if you journeyed to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn among other locations.

There is lots of interesting information in this book and some great photographs and graphics, but the layout of the book is too text heavy, which is why my son wasn’t interested in me reading it to him.

Interesting information in Ann Shen's Legendary Ladies - 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You.
Legendary Ladies – 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You.

Legendary Ladies, 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You

There is lots of interesting information in Legendary Ladies, 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You by Ann Shen ($23.98, Raincoast Books, Chronicle Books). Each Legendary Lady is described in two to three paragraphs including what she is known for, what she looks like and some background. I like the addition of why you should call on the person to help you.

For example, Aine, a fairy queen from Ireland, should be called to “help you find your own inner strength to face present challenges or overcome past traumas.”

I confess the illustrations dampened my desire to read the book. It sat on my shelf for a while before I picked it up.

Note: I put these book in this list because the illustrations make it look like it’s a book for kids. However, if you are planning to read this book to your children, make sure you read each story to yourself first – a lot of the myths aren’t that pleasant and often the women are victims of rape or sexual assault.

A copy of these books were provided by Raincoast Books and Kids Can Press for an honest review. The opinions are my own.