Happy New Year! Prequels,  Sequels, and Series’
January 4, 2016
Candace Hardy (22 articles)

Happy New Year! Prequels, Sequels, and Series’

Happy New Year to all the reading cats and kittens out there. I’ve spent some time reflecting on favorite authors, tried and true and books that have delighted children of all ages evolving into series’.


The little red-haired orphan has delighted generations with her madcap adventures, “kindred spirits” Gilbert Blythe and lifelong friend Diana Berry. From the day Matthew Cuthbert drives her from the train station until she enjoys newly married life at the seashore, we laugh with her, cry with her, hold our breath as her hopes and dreams at the turn of the century fail her and come to fruition.

L.M. Montgomery paints a delightful picture of life on Prince Edward Island, a life with a scope for the imagination which young Anne Shirley certainly has from the moment she puts her carpet bag on the veranda of Green Gables, the loveliest place along the North Shore.

A classic series never to grow old or outdated.


Of course every family is familiar with the wonderful Little House TV series. Little frontier girl Laura Ingalls with her fiddle-playing Pa and sweet sisters Mary and baby Carrie will delight your early reader with LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, the earliest of the books in the series. The innocent illustrations by Garth Williams have always charmed me and I can think of no better visual representation of this series.

The writing is very detailed and a wonderful descriptive first person voice of pioneer life. While it is in the author’s voice, as an autobiography, it eliminated some of the devastating more mature events handled by subsequent books, all of which are thoroughly enjoyable.


HARRY POTTER To say there was controversy when this wonderful series about a boy wizard with a lightning bolt on his forehead was released, would be an understatement. The camps were seriously divided. Many parents avoided the series, fearing it was filled with witchcraft. It was and is a wonderful story of the fight between good and evil in an alternative universe of realistic fantasy. A young boy, whose parents were killed by an evil wizard is destined to destroy the wizard who has figured out a way to remain immortal.

The plot evolves in seven books which take place primarily in a wizarding school, a place where Harry thrives, away from a less than loving aunt and uncle who have taken him in  to live in his “closet under the stairs.” Wonderful crossover series to be shared with the entire family.

J.K Rowling very cleverly engages the younger reader with the first installment, HARRY POTTER and the SORCERER’S STONE, as a mid-grade novel. Harry is 11 and a wonderful read particularly for the pre-teen male reader, particularly the reluctant reader. Once this novel is read, the reader is hooked on the series. Each subsequent novel shows Harry a year older, more mature, more aware of his destiny and of course the content is more sophistocated and a bit darker as he and his friends, Hermione and Ron fight the Dark Lord who slew Harry’s parents.

AMERICAN GIRLS Definitely for girls, each girl is accompanied by a doll, accessories, clothes, etc. but thankfully the books can be purchased separately as the collections and all their accouterments can be quite costly. Classified under the genre of historical fiction, each book and main character encompasses a time period from Kaya in 1764 to Julie in 1974. In between, in approximately 10 year periods, are characters who experienced the Underground Railroad, the Great Depression, Victory gardens of WWII, as well as the wonderful time period of the 1950’s complete with the Lone Ranger and Davy Crockett, released in August of 2015.
Accompanying many of the traditional books now are mystery stories featuring the characters.
Of course, there are girl games and activities as well as a few wonderful movies featuring the American Girl characters.And if you happen to be in Chicago or Columbus, Ohio, a trip to the American Girls store for lunch with your favorite little girl and her doll is not to be missed.http://www.americangirl.com/retailstore/columbus

Candace Hardy