Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
I saw this series last year and knew I had to read it with Second Daughter. She's developed an intense love of all things bird, but is drawn to all wildlife. A little girl with a menagerie? A girl who likes to leap off the swing when it's at it's highest height? Oh yes, this girl is for Second Daughter!
Each Tuesday, the class walks through the park for their swimming lesson.
Getting Class Three past the climbing wall without anyone darting in, and the lake without anyone getting wet, was the hardest part of Mrs. Holiday's week.We all know how that goes, right?
On the way back one Tuesday, they witness a near-tragedy at the local park when a few dogs run amok, disturbing all the birds' nests. Lulu spies one lone egg on the sidewalk as they walk back to class and smuggles it into school. Of course, it hatches! Lucky for Lulu, she has a good friend and a wise teacher to help her.
Second Daughter and I both enjoyed this book. One of the best parts are the illustrations which are realistic and somehow surprisingly joyful. You can feel the energy in them. Even better, Lulu and her cousin (and best friend) are black, a point not mentioned in the story at all. Her class is multicultural (which is standard today and welcome), but minority main characters are harder to find, especially if you're just looking for a sweet story and not one specifically about being a minority. (Those stories are important, too, of course.)
I'm not sure Second Daughter is confident enough in her reading to read them herself. (In theory, she's been reading more advanced books, but I think she's just skipping the more difficult words.) We alternated reading pages after her official-reading-lessons but when the story was really exciting, she wanted me to just read it to her. I wouldn't; we'd set it aside if she got too tired to read.
I haven't read the rest of the books yet, but they're on my list. If you've read them, let me know what you think!