I love finding a great read-aloud book.
The Legend of Vinny Whiskers tells the tale of Boomerang Lookout, a young prairie dog with a legendary name. Imagine being named Harry Potter -- after Harry #1 had done his thing.
Like Harry, Boomerang's name carries certain expectations. Lookouts are the sentinels of the Ward, the praire dogs' home, and for generations, the Lookout Manuever has been their signature move. Boomer, however, is unable to master the Manuever.
Making matters worse is the fact that the original Boomerang Lookout disappeared ages ago, one of the infamous "Lost Six," a group of prairie dogs who left the Ward and never returned.
But Boomer is a prairie dog of great curiousity -- and destiny. From the back of the book:
When young Boomer decides to venture beyond the Ward, he learned the true story of his namesake. The original Boomerang Lookout was the first King of the Tubes, an underground city populated by a band of small animals called the Alignment of the Wee. Years earlier, when control of the Tubes was passed to the rat Vinny Whiskers, the Wee were betrayed. Vinny opened the Tubes to the rats from the sewers, and the Wee were expelled. Ever since, the Wee have search for a way to win back their home. When a young prairie dog emerges with a legendary name, a showdown between the Alignment of the Wee and the Rat Nation seems inevitable.
Aimed at tweens, I'd say this book captures its market perfectly: My eleven- year-old commandeered the book the moment it arrived and was up til 1 am reading. He simply couldn't put it down. Now, I'm reading it aloud to my eight- and six-year-olds (with the eleven-year-old often listening in) and they're entranced. The good news is that I am too. I'm as eager to settle in and read as they are!
The Legend of Vinny Whiskers , by Gregory Kemp, reminds me a bit of another rat adventure, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. If you're looking for a summer read, check it out.