Book Advisor: What can I read to the boys this weekend?

I love a biblio-challenge! This time the request was suggestions for bedtime reads around the campfire for 8-10 year old boys ....... I hope some of these will suitably warm their toes - or chill them to the bone!

Short Stories:

Kevin Crossley Holland is an established children's author and this is a collection of very short stories - all about 2 pages long. The stories cover a good range of themes including ghosts, shopping, adventure and animals and are entertaining and fun. 

Short And Spooky
Campfires and storytellling - it's the place for sharing ghost stories right?! Including folk tales, urban myths as well as original stories, this collection has over 40 stories all about 2 pages long. A good introduction to "spooky" tales and also quite a lot of fun!

Football Shorts
Billed as a collection of "short stories and poems about football, by a fantastic line up of children's authors, football writers and players" this has got to be a hit with any young boys!

Second World War Stories for Boys. by Jim Eldridge
My son really enjoyed this collection of stories - the Second World War seems to be another subject which truly captivates young boys. These stories are a bit lengthier and so they would suit a longer session but my 9 year old has read and reread this collection.

The Complete Horowitz Horror
Most famous for his "Alex Rider" series for slightly older boys, this book contains the complete collection of his short horror stories. Horowitz is a talented writer and I used these stories when I was teaching as thought they were chilling, unnerving, full of clever twists, unexpected endings and suspense. I did use them with Years 7 & 8 (ages 11-13) so it might be worth reading through yourself first to check suitability for a younger age group but he's definitely an author to encourage your boys to read! He has also written a series of detective stories which include titles like "The Devil and His Boy", "The French Confection" and "South by South East" which are all about 180 pages long and very entertaining and humorous mystery stories that would suit 8-11 year olds.
Australian short stories for boys (& girls)
I like the use of brackets around the words "& girls"!! I haven't read this but it includes 10 short stories about adventure, animals and historical settings and sounded like it would be worth adding to the list.

Books for the Campfire:

Product Details
You can't go camping without taking a bit of Bear Grylls with you! All the boys I know are fascinated by this slightly unhinged adventurer! This is the first book in a series of 8 featuring 13 year old Beck Granger who is stranded in the jungle with no food, no compass and no hope of rescue. But, luckily, he is the world's youngest survival expert........

Tiger Wars (The Falcon Chronicles)
Again, if you're off for a weekend of surviving in the outside world, who better to take along with you! My son is flying through these titles - this is the first in the Falcon Chronicles, there are 3 to date. The story is about Saker and Sinter (a boy and a girl) who are on the run from India to the Himalayas and China, pursued by hunting dogs, mercenaries, spies, thieves and assassins in his quest to set free the tigers. I'm exhausted already!

Other Books For Boys:

Young Werewolf
This is a brief 64 pages long so could be easily read in a couple of sittings. Cornelia Funke is an established children's author with a gift for story telling and her titles are always popular. This tale is about Matt and Lisa and the mysterious change that seems to be coming over Matt as the moon rises....

Demolition Dad
Another great children's author who can always be relied on for an entertaining read! This is a kind of reimagining of "Danny Champion of the World" - in lycra! Jake's dad, George, is a builder. Spends all week knocking down buildings, all weekend knocking down wrestlers! Then Jake spots a competition in the USA....... This is a funny, humorous book full of jokes and a good book to be shared between father and son. It's about 190 pages long and is well illustrated.

The Last Wolf
Another highly acclaimed author-and possibly with the most titles under his belt - is the great Morpurgo. This book is 90 pages long so again could be read with the children over a weekend. Robbie McLeod and his wolf cub are both orphans searching for somewhere to call home. Set against the backdrop of the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and a land full of rebellious fighters this is another spellbinding tale from the master!

The Mystery of the Hidden Gold (Adventure Island, #3)
Made to look like Blyton's "Island Adventure" series and feeling a bit like her Famous Five / Secret Seven books, this is a book packed with mystery, suspense and adventure. There is a whole series of them and we have them all! My son raced through several of them on holiday and keeps the others in a pile, making them last and saving them for when he wants a real treat or for school holidays! I think that's enough of a recommendation in itself!

Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed (Uncle Gobb 1)
This is an hilarious read full of brilliant illustrations, comic interjections, witty asides and a good storyline with vivid characters. This is Michael Rosen's slightly crazy and suitably madcap novel about Malcolm and his awful, boring and bossy uncle. You'll want to read it as much as your son!

More Traditional or Classic Books

Hamlet (Tales from Shakespeare #3)
I bought these at a bargain price from "The Book People" and they have been a real hit. I love Marcia William's books - they are always spot on and always captivate young people making traditional stories completely accessible; bringing them alive with spirit and humour. The illustrations are equally appealing. When I was teaching, I always used to use her versions when introducing Shakespeare, Chaucer or Greek Myths with all the year groups from 7-13 (ages 11-18) as they extract the key events and most interesting details so affectively. Each tale is 40 pages long, with lots of small illustrations on most pages making them a quick read, condensing the plot and characters into something bite size and enticing.

Product Details
This is a really lovely. The "Classic Collection Box Set for Boys" by Ronne Randall includes "Gulliver's Travels", "Robinson Crusoe", "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "Robin Hood" and "The Three Musketeers." Each book is 48 pages long with illustrations accompanying the text. They are very readable and great introductions to these timeless stories of adventure and bravery. Have been a really great buy and a great way to make boys familiar with traditional stories without being put off by dense text or complex vocabulary.

Emil and the Detectives
This is Michael Rosen's favourite book! Originally printed in 1929, this is the story of Emil who sets off on a train journey to Berlin and ends up meeting with a group of detectives and having all sorts of adventures. This is a text revered and respected within the world of Children's Fiction. It's appeal seemingly still as strong as nearly a hundred years ago!

I hope this provides a few ideas for something to read around the campfire - or while the water is boiling for a brew!

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