What Are the Grandchildren Reading?: A Kids’ Review of Two Graphic Novels

The best way to review a children’s book is to take it to the kids themselves! Blogger Terrie Farley Moran asked her grandchildren to review the graphic novels Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Secret Sand Sleuths by Sarah Kinney and Stan Goldberg, and The Secret of Whale Island by Thea Stilton. Here’s what they had to say (with a little help from their grandma).

I can easily trace my own love of reading to a batch of secondhand comic books my father brought home one day when I was in third grade. Beetle Bailey, Little Lulu, Nancy and Sluggo and, of course, everything Archie.

Finding “the book” that makes reading fun is like giving the child the key to a magic world. So when I had the opportunity to ask two of my granddaughters to each read a book and share what they thought, I jumped at the chance. I was curious to see how they would react to reading a book and telling us about it.

Madeline read Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Secret Sand Sleuths a graphic novel by Sarah Kinney and Stan Goldberg based on the series by Carolyn Keene. Here is what Madeline had to say:

Nancy Drew is a very good series! Nancy, George, and Bess are the Clue Crew. In this story Nancy and the Clue Crew went on a class field trip. The field trip turns into a mystery. The mystery is that somebody ruined a sand painting. Nancy and the clue crew meet Gelek, the sand artist. Mr. Glenn is the person who runs the museum. He thinks it is Laura who ruined the sand painting … But you’ll have to find out!!!

Madeline is eight years old and thinks that the book was exactly right for her, not too hard, not too easy. She is eager to read more Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew books and recommends the series for girls aged seven to nine.

Madeline’s sister Emelia read The Secret of Whale Island by Thea Stilton. Thea Stilton is a famous mouse reporter and the younger sister of the famous editor and book character, Geronimo Stilton, so it is likely that the real author of the book is Elisabetta Dami. Here is Emelia’s opinion of the book:

The Thea Sisters books are great for ages six through nine. When the five sisters spot a whale all alone, they are curious. Why is the whale all alone? Why does he keep staying in one place? After a celebrity named Vissia De Vissen arrives at Mouseford, the Thea sisters find the “animal lover’s” underground aquarium. The celebrity has imprisoned many sea animals, including the whale’s mate! Can the Thea sisters free the sea creatures???

Emelia is ten years old. Even though the publisher recommends this book for children aged seven to eleven, Emelia thought the reading was too easy and the story was more suited to younger children, so she doesn’t want to read any more of the Thea sisters, although she does think some of her younger sisters might like the series.

I love buying books for my assorted grandchildren, so this was a terrific chance for me to hear directly from Emy and Maddie what they liked or didn’t like about the books they read. I also learned that the reading ages listed by a publisher are more of a suggestion and that topics that seem appealing to me may have no interest for the kids no matter how well I think I know their tastes. Great fun all around. And, naturally I ran out and bought another Nancy Drew for Madeline and a YA mystery for Emy, not to mention some extra books for their brother and sisters.

Learn more about, or order a copy of Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Secret Sand Sleuths by Sarah Kinney and Stan Goldberg:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes and Noble



Learn more about, or pre-order a copy of The Secret of Whale Island by Thea Stilton before its April 30 release:

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Emelia signs her emails “The Bookworm” and Madeline is a sports superstar. They are really good at arts and crafts and both gave stellar performances in the parish production of Annie. Terrie Farley Moran thinks hanging out with any or all of her grandkids is more fun than anything in the world with the possible exception of eating cookies. Fortunately, when she is hanging out with grandkids, they usually wind up eating cookies. 


  1. Brian Greene

    I love this! My eight-year old daughter is showing signs of taking after her dad, in that she will write out reviews of books she reads, movies she sees, restaurants where we eat . . . and there’s always such a refreshing innocence and spiritedness to her write-ups. It’s definitely great to hear kids’ own reactions to kids’ books. Thanks for posting these. Great idea!

  2. Deborah Lacy

    What a fun post. You’re grandchildren did such a great job reviewing the books.

  3. David Cranmer

    And now I have some ideas for presents. Thanks, Terrie!

  4. Terrie Farley Moran

    Hi Brian, Wow, your daughter has great habits. I always think that reviewing refreshes memory content. Deb, thank so much. The girls are reading the comments and get a kick out of finding out that folks are pleased with their work. David, and aren’t books the world’s best presents!

  5. datrappert

    The secret to getting kids to read is to not let them watch TV or to limit it severely. By time my daughter was 8, she had finished all the Harry Potter books, read the Lord of the Rings twice, and finished much of Jane Austen.

  6. Terrie Farley Moran

    datrappert–your daughter sounds like a real star. Thanks so much for letting us know that there are still kids out there reading Jane Austen.

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