I have always enjoyed a good historical fiction book. Regardless of the age. Sometimes, the younger books will leave out detail for the sake of the story; to not bog it down; yet, it never really takes away from the story. I was hoping Dust for Dinner would be like that. And for the most part, it is. However, there is little action. They have a happy life. They get the storms. They must sell the farm. They head towards California. There are events that are told and not shown. The narration by the son is accurate to the voice that age would have.
For the first grader who is a slightly higher reader, or a younger second grader, this could be a nice way to introduce the subject of the dust bowl. But the lack of action and little background (I had to assume who some of the characters were) does not allow itself to be for the child looking for a lot of action to the story. And just because it is a male narrator this is not a “boys” book.
With all that said, I still recommend the I Can Read Books. The biggest issue I have we leveled books is there is no set format for the age. A level three in on group could be easier than a level two in another. Sometimes even within a series, the levels are not steady. Yet, this series does seem to be one of the stronger stories and keeping their levels consistent.
The illustrations are a delightful addition as they do help fill in some of the blanks the text does not cover.