As a teacher, I’m often asked for kids’ book recommendations. And I’m always looking for great books to offer to kids. One series that always gets top mention is the Gregor Chronicles.
Written by Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games fame, this is a milder, gentler series for younger readers not quite ready for that world. With Gregor as our hero, we are taken to a world hidden deep beneath the streets of New York City. His adventures bring him into contact with giant rats, bats, and roaches among others. There are legends to be followed, and destinies to be realized.
It’s not without violence, however, as there are deaths along the way. However, I was able to read and recommend this series to second graders with no hesitation. And older readers have no fear. This is still one of my favorites to read MYSELF.
The boxed set makes an excellent gift and truly should only be bought that way as eager eyes are sure to zip through the first volume and immediately look for the next. Happy reading!
Buy It Now: Gregor the Underland Chronicles
As another school year winds down, one of the things I’ve been working on is a list of possible books for my kiddos to read over the summer. And no, it’s not a required reading list. Most of you probably know how I feel about those. Instead, it’s a suggested list of titles that I know were good for me, so I can guess that they’ll probably appeal to younger readers as well. And no compilation of such books would be complete for me without The Overlander Chronicles series written by none other than Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games.
Gregor is an unlikely hero, a young boy of just eleven. But when his young sister crawls into an air vent in the laundry room of their New York City apartment building, he doesn’t hesitate before going in after her. So begins their journey into the Underland, a mystical magical land right under the feet of New Yorkers. As magical as the Underland is, however, it’s also a land on the brink of war. And it appears that Gregor is exactly the hero mentioned in the prophecy that guides the Underlanders as they ready themselves for battle.
Oh, and did I mention the giant cockroaches? Yes, that’s right. Cockroaches. Giant ones. And giant bats and rats and spiders. Here’s where some of the story’s deeper messages come into play, as there’s a definite hierarchy in the Underland as well as a lot of prejudices and stereotypes. There are also moral decisions to be made, and there are consequences to some of the choices made by the characters. While some of the books in the series are definitely better than the others, none in the series rated less than four stars out of five for me.
So if you’re thinking about checking out right about now, reasoning that a book of this sort couldn’t possibly appeal to you for whatever reason, please don’t. First and foremost, this is a story that will appeal to readers of all ages. Older readers will appreciate the simplicity and innocence of the story as well as the unbelievable world created by the author. Younger readers will fall into a fantasy world that’s rich in visual imagery and descriptions. And kids who aren’t yet ready to read this one on their own will gladly snuggle up with a grownup for this amazing bedtime story. And fear not, Gregor’s world is nowhere near as scary or as graphic as the one in The Hunger Games. So start with book one, jump right in. And be prepared to move on to the rest in the series one after the other.
Buy It Now: Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1)