02/25 - Students find magic in turned pages - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

02/25 - Students find magic in turned pages

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Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 12:29 pm | Updated: 1:59 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A magic treehouse, Ramona, and a group of children who always get into trouble are all the rage at Mesa’s Johnson Elementary School.

Children in third through fifth grades are not only reading, but talking — a lot — about the books they’re reading.

The popular titles are any of the ‘‘Magic Tree House’’ books by Mary Pope Osborne, any book by Beverly Cleary, especially those featuring the character of Ramona, and books from the "A Series of Unfortunate Series of Events" titles by Lemony Snicket.

Fifth-grader James Cole, 11, said he just finished ‘‘Ralph S. Mouse’’ by Cleary. He enjoyed it because it was about a mouse who could talk, but only to children who have an interest in cars and motorcycles.

"I’ve read almost every Beverly Cleary book I can find," he said. "She has such an imagination."

Second-grader Alexis Leicht, 8, said she likes to follow the adventures of Jack and Annie, who are whisked away to Africa, London, Egypt and other places by their magic treehouse. There are 27 books in the series, with No. 28, ‘‘High Tide in Hawaii" expected next month.

"Everybody reads ‘Magic Tree House,’ ’’ Leicht said. ‘‘It feels like you’re in the book."

Just this week, she stayed up late reading by her book light to finish one of the books.

The books by Snicket follow three orphaned children who are shuffled from foster home to foster home while running away from a character who wants the money they will inherit when they are older. They leave readers wondering what will happen next as the children are put into one bad situation after another.

Levi Krecalow, 10, a fifth-grader at Johnson, said he’s on book No. 6, "The Ersatz Elevator." It’s taken him three months to read the first six.

"A lot of people were reading it and I decided to try it and it turned out to be cool," he said. "I like it because it’s never happy. You always have a mystery too."

The Johnson students’ choices follow the popular title trends at the Mesa Public Library, said youth supervisory librarian Ali Mattei-Mejia. Other popular titles include any books about Junie B. Jones by Scottsdale resident Barbara Park, "Harry Potter" books by J.K. Rowling, the "Sailor Moon" series by Lianne Sentar and any book in the "American Girls" series.

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