Doc McDuke's Books for Kids!



Charming Chapter Children's Books (or Adult read-alouds)


Sasha's dad is the best Communist he knows and Sasha is excited about becoming a member of the Young Pioneers. Then he has a horrible day. He breaks a classmate's glasses with a snowball, then he accidentally breaks the nose off a sculpture of the terrifying Josef Stalin.  He learns that his father was arrested the night before and life is suddenly crumbling around him. What can he do to get out of trouble?  This is a vivid and powerful story.

This is based on a true story about a veterinarian riding to prepare horses for shipment during World War I decided to rescue an abandoned bear cub. He named her Winnie and actually took her with him when he left Canada and went overseas to an army base in England. The bear ended up in the London zoo where she made an actual friend named Christopher Robin. From this story, the famous character, Winnie the Pooh, is created.

Ralph was eight years old when his family moved from New Hampshire to a ranch in Colorado. His stories of growing up rival Little House on the Prairie. Your kids are guaranteed to love this series. Great to read at bedtime.


Second in the Ralph Moody series. Ralph's father dies and the eleven-year-old must take on a man's responsibilities. You'll get so attached, you will order every book in this great series.

Cece is a regular young girl until she becomes sick with meningitis, leaving her completely deaf.  Even after being fitted with a bulky hearing aid, she still can't comprehend much of what she is hearing. She goes to a school for the deaf and makes a little progress but still feels lost. When her family moves to a small town she had to attend a public school she has to wear a huge phonic ear on her chest. The only good thing is that the phonic ear enables her to hear from distances that her classmates cannot. This results in finding a friend and feeling a bit less different. Great book. 

The price is a little steep, but you've gotta buy this book for posterity. It's a funny, wacky look at the U.S. presidents that adults may actually enjoy even more than the kids. It pokes harmless fun at various quirks presidents actually had. Highly entertaining.

Three orphans ,Pauline, Petrova, and Posie, lose their great-uncle while he's on a fossil hunting expedition and now they must make it on their own. At first, they earn a pittance by dancing. These are wise and industrious children and, as they grow, they each select their own trail to travel while still cherishing their bond as sisters.


Marvin Redpost is asked by his teacher to feed her dog while she goes away for a week. When the dog dies, Marvin is terrified that the teacher will blame him, kick him out of third grade, maybe have him arrested?


Lucas is always getting in trouble for being the class clown in Mrs. Hockaday's class, but it's not because he's such a bad boy. He just gets carried away at times. The story has some funny, as well as some moving moments, and Lucas learns some lessons.


Rosa Parks tells the true story about how she, a black girl, refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. It tells how she was brave enough to take a stand for what she believed in when lots of people were against her. Sets a great example for kids.


 The book conveys the excitement and awe surrounding just about everything in outer space that would grab kids' interest. They'll love it.

Any kid, even a reluctant reader, will love this book if he or she likes baseball. It features the greatest hitters of the past in brief, exciting chapters that backtrack to how the player was as a child, and how he got his break into professional baseball.


This book is another one in the Ralph Moody series in which the family leaves the ranch and tries to settle in Massachusetts. Will they survive that first bitter winter in the northeast?

This is based on a true story about a boy who adopts two owls who can't help themselves. The story is both moving, educational, and hilarious. Makes both a good reader as well as an adult read-aloud that both adults and kids can enjoy together.

A farmer thinks he's struck a deer but it is a man and the man seems to have amnesia. The farmer and his wife take him in and nurse him to health. But then he stays. Though he doesn't talk, in little ways he begins to make life easier or happier for the couple. Then one day he disappears but not without leaving behind a legacy or remembrance. This story has a good message that thinking children will enjoy pondering. Excellent illustrations.


In an emergency, Abigail has to take the wheel of her father's big boat and steer it to safety in a very busy harbor. Proves to kids that they can take on emergency responsibilities and succeed.

Raphael cannot be crowned king until he finds a bride who is his equal. This is exceedingly difficult because Raphael thinks himself superior to everyone. Finally a wise old wolf sends a beautiful maiden who proves herself his equal. In fact, she refuses to marry him because he is not her equal. Raphael has the tables turned and he must measure up. An entertaining story with magnificent illustrations.

This is a classic that has been around for decades but young girls still love the entire series. Don't expect the serious conflicts of which novels are made. This is great feel-good stuff... two best friends who go through all sorts of experiences together. Mothers love to introduce these stories to their daughters.


Ellie's been dreaming of having a puppy for years, but then she inherits her aunt's old mutt named Preston. At first, she ignores him, but then she gradually warms up to the dog and is finally won over after a scary experience of getting lost.


Amber Brown and Justin are great friends, and Justin lifts her spirits when her parents get divorced. But now Justin learns that his family is moving. Suddenly the friends just can't get along. Whyis it like this?  Can they keep their friendship? Is it the end of the world?


Tommy Fuller, a Quaker boy, helps blacks escape slavery in the South on the Underground Railway. An exciting story with important lessons.


Harry loves fun and practical jokes. His antics are daring and entertaining. Don't worry, Harry's not a model for bad behavior. Every kid knows someone just like Harry and they will enjoy reading his jokes and hearing about his fun.

Mr. Popper likes to read travel books at night and see animal pictures. Then a package arrives at the Popper's home and suddenly their home is full of penguins, there's an ice rink in the basement, and... I'll let you read about the rest.


Ramona's family is trying to squeak by while her dad goes back to school. Meanwhile Ramona is going through things at school like throwing up and, at home, like having to play a game called Uncle Rat with a neighbor. Though fiction, the story presents a slice of real life that kids will relate to.

Poetry is typically considered a bit boring, even to some adults, but there is no way on earth you could call Prelutsky's poetry boring. It explodes with zip and flash and is terribly entertaining and funny. This collection of 100 poems is a great value. Don't even bother to resist the temptation of reading some of the poems aloud with your kids. They sound even better out loud.


Little Fox is an 11-year-old Cheyenne brave. Just before he races his friend, Robert Bent, in a footrace, the Cheyenne chief announces a vision he's had in which Bent's Fort will be attacked and destroyed. What does this vision mean? Can anything be done to save the fort?


Herbie kind of likes Annabelle Hodgekiss until she starts getting mushy and following him around everywhere. He and his friend figure out a way to cheat and win the spelling bee, ensuring that Annabelle will be angry enough to leave him alone. Herbie doesn't feel quite right about cheating but he figures it's the only way to get rid of this girl.


Not only does Gregory's family have to move, he had to share a bedroom with his Uncle Max. Gregory finds an burned down chalk factory next door and begins drawing pictures on the wall with some chalk he finds. When kids at school find out, they start acting like he's a bit weird. But the class artist tells some adults about Gregory's art, and things start looking up for the budding artist.


Robert is in the slow reading group and school is a bummer. But then he decides to become a super helper and is appointed the classroom library monitor. Who has been scribbling in the books?  Is it a class bully, Robert's friend, or an unknown classroom criminal?

Philippe Petit, a Frenchman, started out walking a tightrope between two trees. But then he moved far beyond Manhattan's Trade Center towers. Posing as construction workers, he and his friends lugged cable up to the top of the buildings and fastened it between the two buildings. The illustrations are jaw-dropping as one sees Phillippe's view as he walked the cable and other sensational views of his endeavor. It's as amazing to adults as it is to children how someone could consider such a risky feat!


This book takes children back to the Revolutionary War. As they read, kids will feel as if they really lived during this stormy time in American history. History done fun.


Cam is a young girl with a photographic memory. That means she remembers almost everything she sees. She uses this skill to solve cool mysteries. Buy a whole collection in one book and enjoy.

Dorothy beats out Dwayne for the role of Tarzan in a class play. She has the best Tarzan yell in the entire school. The problem is that the yell is so good that it draws stray dogs and cats as well as other assorted animals. The climax comes when Dorothy actually does the yell in the play and pandemonium reigns. For any teacher, parent, or grandparent brave enough to do a Tarzan yell, this would make a hilarious read-aloud for third or fourth graders.


A great introduction to football for a wide range of kids. Even 8-year-olds like this animal intro to a great game.


Time travel fantasy about how Jack and his sister are in their tree house and suddenly find themselves back in the age of dinosaurs. They're being chased by a Tyrannosaurus and... Well, if I tell you, I might spoil the story.


Junie B. Jones is going to her first day of kindergarten and everything starts going wrong, starting with the stupid, smelly bus ride. Don't you want to find out if Junie even makes it through her first day? I thought so.


Four children get stranded in a mysterious Gothic house with wolves at the door and no escape. Then they find a whole new world under the house where the rats might just be able to help...


We imagine that every kid has read Alice's Adventures, but a whole new generation may be missing out on one of the greatest fantasies of all.

Some "save the environment" books beat you over the head so hard, you're glad when the book is over. However, this is good fun with a strong message and terrific, entertaining illustrations. Might be a book to read with kids and discuss.


Priscilla's good-hearted nature is definitely ruffled by another girl named Felicity and her sneakiness. She tries to mess up everything Priscilla tries. This book has some funny moments and you find out that Priscilla is not a pushover.


Pippi Longstocking lives alone in a very wacky house with a monkey. Yep, you heard me right. Every kid wants to be like this kooky girl who dances with burglars, fights the world's strongest man, and plays tag with the police! 


Kids aren't usually crazy about poetry, but this poetry has been voted some of the best, most fun poetry in the world.


Miss Trunchbull is like the worst curse any young, innocent child could meet in a classroom. Matilda hangs in there until Miss Trunchbull just goes over the top with meanness. Now Matilda has to figure out what to do about her problem teacher.


Michael discovers an ancient man named Skellig living in a shed on some property his family has just bought. He and a girl named Mina proceed to try to make the old man's life a bit better. This makes for an interesting plot. Skellig seems sent to earth on a grim mission, but will Michael be able to save the day?

A child's first introduction to the Depression. An Oklahoma family must leave behind everything except a radio and a dog and make the tough gritty trip out to find work in California. Illustrates what such an unheaval might have meant for children. A realistic, interesting look at a rather grim period in U.S. history.


A bestseller about a blind and deaf girl who eventually learns how to understand language after living a miserable life for years. Eventually she becomes famous, and the best thing about this is that everything about this story is really true.


A bulletin board falls on Stanley and knocks him flat. Being flat has some advantages, including sliding under doors and helping to catch some art thieves, but then the kids start teasing Stanley and he's got to find out how to be boy-shaped again. Is he stuck being flat forever?


Everything's going just great for Eric Banks, that is until he's changed into a terrier for no particular reason. He and his pal, Roy, must find out if there's a way to turn him back into a boy.

The Henry Huggins book was such a hit, Cleary turned it into a great series. The series features Henry and his crazy dog, Ribsy. In this story, Henry finally talks his dad into taking them on a fishing trip. It is one trip dad probably deeply regretted, except for the fact that they catch a 25-pound fish. Kids love the Henry Huggins books.


Despereaux Tillings is a small mouse with a large task-to rescue a beautiful human princess. This book is divided into four different sections (called books) that tell the story from different viewpoints.   Fun, exciting, and creative!

This is the coolest way ever to find out about that brain inside your head and how it controls all the other gooey parts of your body. You can find out all kinds of things about your body in language you can understand.


Abel, with his dear wife, Amanda, are mice who live the life us middle class mortals only dream about. However, during a wild storm, this wealthy mouse gets swept away and lands on a desert island. Used to the luxuries of the good life, Abel must learn what it means to survive. Will he ever make it back to civilization in one piece?


A time travel book about three boys who go back in time to the Stone Age. The boys are discovered by some Cro-Magnon women, one of whom looks remarkably like the mom of one of the boys. The boys wonder if the reason there are no males is because the women are cannibals. Then the boys escape and fall into a hole where Neanderthal men live. They are grosser than the women and maybe more dangerous. Will the boys be able to outwit prehistoric beasts, bring the clans together and find a way home? And will they solve the math problem they must solve to survive?


A boy goes to live with his grandmother in a strange home with a grandmother who is even stranger. This is a great fantasy with captivating language. It may be better to either read this when you're a little older or have your parent read it aloud so you both can enjoy it.


A father and son who aren't very close end up going back to when Babe Ruth was still alive. They want to find out if he really predicted his home run in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. The father wants to get rich by getting signed baseballs, but instead the father and son get to know Babe Ruth and each other in a closer way.


Digging in the sand, the last thing five kids expect to find is a real sand fairy. The sand fairy can make one wish come true each day, but the kids have no idea what trouble one-wish-a-day can really cause.


Maybe the best part about this Rumplestiltskin book is the wonderful illustrations. The short little man can spin gold and seems nice, but he's also nasty at times. He will take the maiden's baby boy unless she can think of his name. Will she think of the name or lose her little child?

Tiger Ann Parker is smart but her parents both happen to be mentally challenged, so Tiger's grandma lives in the home and takes charge of things. But then something happens to grandma and Tiger's wealthy aunt comes to town. Tiger is offered the chance to live the life of a rich girl with her aunt or stay and help her parents. It's the toughest decision of her life, and she doesn't want to cheat herself. Read this story to find out what she decides. Parents, this is a wonderfully-told and moving story--a great excuse to read the story aloud with your child or children.

I'm going to take a little chance and recommend a book in this age group that is also enjoyed by nine through twelve-year-olds. A man named Leon Tillage tells about his life as the black son of the sharecropper in the South. He went through some devastating experiences, including his father's death at the hands of white teens. This would be a powerful read-aloud for a teacher or parent; it would set the perfect stage to discuss with kids the way things used to be during the days before the Civil Rights movement.


Barney is warned again and again not to go too near the edge of the cliff overlooking a chalk quarry. One day he falls over the edge and finds a cave man living in the dump. Barney helps make the man a little place to live and their friendship is one of the most unusual ever.


The clock family is a tiny group that live under the floorboards of a house. They borrow little objects from the house and use them in new ways in their little home. But a boy and a ferret move in, and the borrowers are in great danger of being found out and even destroyed.


Weird things keep happening to Andy Russell who goes to visit his friend's aunt. Someone spreads butter on the elevator buttons and sends hamsters floating from above in parachutes. At first, it looks like Andy is the culprit of these crazy stunts and he must prove who it really is.


As you know, wolves are supposed to be dangerous and bad critters, but little wolf happens to be too good. So his father sends him to the Cunning College of Brute Beasts. Will the school be able to train Little Wolf to be nasty and mean? Will he earn his BAD badge from his Uncle Bigbad? Good question.


This is an emotional story about a boy who loses his best friend, Jamie. However, it sensitively treats a topic that is all too real to kids today, with natural disasters, accidents, young people's suicides, deadly pranks, and the death of loved ones. Many book reviewers on who had read the book in early grades recommended it wholeheartedly.