Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old boards a moving castle, travels by airship, and provides friendly encouragement to a reluctant dragon.  

A sampling of this week’s books:

July 17

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones wrote for middle grade readers (ages 8-12) before middle grade fiction was officially a thing. I discovered this book after watching the movie about 10 years ago. I have been hoarding the book for my Eight-Year-Old ever since. She’s only about a third of the way in, but she wanted me to include it on the list of books for this week, “because it’s that good, Mommyo.”

The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

I stumbled across this book while searching for The Wind in the Willows. A boy makes friends with a dragon who lives in a cave on the edge of town. The villagers find out about the dragon and send immediately for St. George to kill it. Can the boy save the dragon? Here’s a clue: The Eight-Year-Old loves, loves, loves this book.

The Journals of Thaddeus Shockpocket by Henry Walton

Steampunk written delightfully for the middle grade reader. The Eight-Year-Old laughed her way through this book, and on her recommendation, I’m now doing the same.

In the news:

New Horizons Reveals Ice Mountains on Pluto (The New York Times)


One of the images of Pluto returned to Earth this week by the New Horizons Spacecraft. (Photo Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins and the New Horizons team)

In case you’ve been too busy dodging Russian space debris to notice, after nine years, the NASA New Horizons spacecraft has finally begun sending images back to Earth of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. The New York Times has a wonderful collection of images here and here.

Velociraptor’s cousins, ancestors were even more terrifying (CNET)

Looks like Jurassic Park cast the wrong dinosaur. Paleontologists recently unearthed the fossil remains of Zhenyuanlong suni, a five-foot long raptor that combined the voracious appetite of the velociraptor with almost-fully functional wings. Although these particular dinosaurs probably couldn’t fly like the birds of today, the discovery raises the possibility that somewhere along the line a velociraptor cousin evolved who could swoop down on its prey from the sky. (Thanks, Aunt Vic, for sharing the news with us.)

Massive chicken recall (Washington Post)

There’s another massive chicken recall. Last week Barber Foods announced it was recalling 1.7 million pounds of its frozen stuffed chicken breasts due to fears it may have been contaminated with salmonella. This week, it’s Aspen Foods’ turn. The affected products have a best if used by date between July 14, 2016 and Oct. 10, 2016 and were sold under a number of brands including Kirkwood, Safeway Kitchens, Koch Foods, and Antioch Farms. You can find the complete list here. One way or another those dinosaurs sure seem set on killing us, don’t they?

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