Saturday, July 21, 2012

Series Books

Kids have always enjoyed reading about the same characters in different stories. When I was young I loved the Heidi trilogy, Little Women, Nancy Drew, the Ramona books, the Narnia series and many more.

Some are justifiably classics while others weren't very well written, but kids still check them out of the library or get them as gifts and enjoy them.

Recently I read one from a series that I won't mention by name because it was so bad. The family of children told their parents they were about to take their boat to sea to follow the evil bad guys and the parents response was to suggest they try to be home in time for dinner. Even in the 1920s or 30s when the book was written that was unrealistic.

But some recently written series are annoying in a different way.

I find it very frustrating when I come to the last page and nothing has been resolved. That's just a dishonest way to get people to buy the next book, and then the one after that, and so on because they'll never find out what happens unless they read the entire series. It's okay if there are still a few unanswered questions at the end of a book, but the main ones should be resolved or the reader has been cheated.

Of course all newer series for kids aren't like that.

Some great ones I've been reading lately are the Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer.

Each book has a mystery that is solved by Enola, the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, at the end, but there's an underlying problem of the girl's family relationships that continues throughout the series.

Springer does a wonderful job of portraying the world of long-ago London, (some of which might be disturbing to sensitive young readers) and the historical setting is essential to the plots, not just an interesting background. The feisty protagonist is someone modern girls can relate to, the stories are exciting, and the mysteries difficult for the readers to solve.

I highly recommend this series for kids.


Penelope Cole said...

Hi Jan, I'm with you. I llike series books as long as each book leads to a satisfying conclusion. You can like the main character and want to see his/her next adventure or problem, but please wrap it up at the end of each book. I loved the Narnia series, Harry Potter, and am reading A Wrinkle in Time Series and The Alchemyst, Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flammel series. My daughter read Cat Warrior books, Twilight series, Princess Diaries, etc.

Janet Ann Collins said...

There sure are a lot of good ones out there!

BarbaraB said...

Thanks for mentioning the Nancy Springer books. I have enjoyed other of her books, and these also look interesting.

Janet Ann Collins said...

I understand she's now writing for adults. Too bad.

Melissa Abramovitz said...

You are so right about how frustrating "bad" series books can be! I often wonder how and why they even get published.

Nancy Stewart said...

I love, for the most part, series for kids. They enjoy the continuity and anticipation of what is coming with their favorite characher/s.

Thanks for the introduction to these books! I enjoyed this post!

Janet Ann Collins said...

Melissa, they get published because they make money.

Nancy, I'm glad you share my enjoyment of the good ones.

Margo Dill said...

Thanks for the series recommendation. It sounds like something I would enjoy. :)

Janet Ann Collins said...

I hope you do, Margot.