For three years, I've tried to interest my now eight-year-old in reading. This series is the first he has wanted to read. He finishes one Zack Files story and immediately wants the next book. The children in his class at school are asking my son to donate the books so that they can read the series too. The titles are catchy -- pulling the children into reading!
In this story, Zack starts out to adopt a kitten and ends up with a very, very old cat. The author introduces the word reincarnation and repeats it throughout the story, so that the child can learn a new concept and understand it. New words are cleverly defined. Ah! A talking cat, imagine that, but read to find out what the cat has at the bank... This story includes the words cigar and schnapps, which may be for the adult reader and ignored by children.
These books are perfect for book reports because the action is fast, funny and happens in each chapter. The books are illustrated, short (50-60 pages) and complicated enough so that they hold adult interest. Read them too, so you can talk with your child after they read them silently. Dan Greenburg has a wonderful imagination, so you never know what Zack will do next. Also, the author doesn't use a lot of extra words, so the books are true page turners.
Zack's parents are divorced. It isn't discussed, but presented as a fact. You don't have to read these books in order, but you should encourage it because after your child works their way through these stories they will have read 26+ books. What an accomplishment! Our local elementary school rates this series 2.2 - 3.0 grade reading level.