We are reading this now as required reading for my rising 3rd grader. This book is not appropriate for younger readers. They vocabulary is very mature and i had to help my son with many of the words from a pronunciation and definition perspective, which was sometimes difficult to explain given his age. Words like 'dioecious', 'bedraggled' and 'crepusular' are not words I understand let a lone an 8 year old. The subject matter was a little beyond his 'worldliness' and I felt the message could have been conveyed a little more innocently to this young audience. I would say this book is much more appropriate for a 4-5th grade audience to 2-3rd.