Dick King-Smith's The Water Horse was a big hit as our most recent family read aloud book. Often it's a challenge finding a book that will keep the interest of all my three children, ages five to nine. This one was perfect. It had humor which appealed to the youngest, fantasy elements for my eight year old daughter, and the mystery of the water horse (Loch Ness monster) for my nine year old son. Last school year, looking up the Yeti, ghosts, the Loch Ness monster, UFOs and other sightings on the Internet was very popular with his group of friends. The Water Horse presents a back story for Crusoe who grows to be the Loch Ness monster.
Recently, I was cleaning my daughter's room and found a book her second grade teacher gave her as an end of the year present back in June. It is The School Mouse, and I remember that she zipped through it in just a few days. As it turns out, that was also written by Dick King-Smith, as was Babe: The Gallant Pig, inspiration for the fantastic family film Babe. If you've got a reader who is interested in animals and animal stories, it's worth checking out one of King-Smith's many books.