We’ve started sign-up for our Saturday Read to a Dog Program! Build your confidence in reading aloud by sharing a story with one of our Reading Buddies!
Sign up at the Youth Services Desk in person or by phone. See you Saturday!
We’ve started sign-up for our Saturday Read to a Dog Program! Build your confidence in reading aloud by sharing a story with one of our Reading Buddies!
Sign up at the Youth Services Desk in person or by phone. See you Saturday!
It’s the rare book that will make a variety of readers unexpectedly laugh out loud. But when you do find one, it’s a book to treasure. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke and The BFG always make me laugh, (especially the chapter called Frobscotters and Whizzpoppers in The BFG. I challenge anyone to read that aloud without completely cracking up.) Actually, most Roald Dahl books have a few LOL chapters! There are moments with Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins that make me chuckle, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Fudge-a-Mania always make me grin foolishly. But nothing has ever caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud (in my dentist’s office, no less!) than Romeo and Juliet Together (and alive!) At Last, by Avi.
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Peter Saltz likes Anabell Stackpoole. It’s a new thing (only two days old, in fact) but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s in love. Ed Sitrow has been Peter’s best friend for forever, and when Peter confesses his love to Ed, Ed knows he has to do something to get them together. The idea hits him in English class, where they’re studying Shakespeare.
Have Peter and Anabell act out the greatest love story of all time: Romeo and Juliet.
Ed gets together his friends Hays, Radosh and Lucy, then asks Priscilla Black to join them because she’s Anabell’s best friend. Hamilton, the kind of obnoxious kid every class has, overhears their “secret meeting” and manages to butt his way into the group. Together, Ed and his friends decide that the best way to get Saltz and Stackpoole together is to put on a play of Romeo and Juliet, with Peter and Anabell in the starring roles. It will be a lot of work, but for Saltz, they’re willing to do it. They figure they can get costumes, build some sets, write an abridged script and have enough after school rehearsals in to present a polished performance in, well…two weeks. Their teachers seem a little doubtful that they can pull it off, but the kids know they can do it. Of course, they still have to talk Peter and Anabell into the lead roles. And come up with the costumes. And the script and sets. And find time for rehearsals.
Between sets that feature ice-covered log cabins, fight scenes between mortal (for middle school, anyway) enemies, wobbly balconies and extremely shy lead actors (who know they’ll have to, eventually, kiss) the production is soon underway. Nobody quite knows what is going to happen, but it will definitely be THE most memorable production of Romeo and Juliet ever put on by an eighth grade class!
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Romeo and Juliet Together (and alive!) At Last is the sequel to S.O.R. Losers, which is also about Ed and Peter…and their not-so-winning soccer team. You don’t need to read that book to enjoy this one, but S.O.R. Losers is another Old Favorite which is definitely worth reading.
I loved Romeo and Juliet Together (and alive!) At Last when I first read it (and laughed in the dentist’s office) and each and every time I’ve read it again since then. Avi has the voice of his eighth-grade characters down pat, as well as their well-meant but bumbling efforts as matchmakers, playwrights, actors and stuntmen. If you know Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, it adds an extra element of fun to the book, but it’s not necessary. I guarantee you’ll laugh out loud at least one time, and probably throughout the whole performance of the play.
When I read this book, it made me wish that I had friends like Ed and Lucy and even Hamilton when I was in middle school. Even if their efforts didn’t produce exactly the result they were intending, they certainly made an impression on everyone involved.
I often wish Avi had written a few more books featuring the kids at the S.O.R Middle School, but instead he went on to win several notable children’s literature prizes with other books instead, like Newbery Honors for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, as well as a Newbery Medal for Crispin: The Cross of Lead. I guess he can’t be faulted for that! Still, if he’d like to revisit Saltz, Sitrow, Stackpoole and the other kids of S.O.R. Middle School, I’d be cheering!
Romeo and Juliet Together (and alive!) At Last is a short book…only 123 pages. It features eighth graders, but the story is accessible to kids in fifth grade and up. And anyone who has ever loved Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet seriously owes it to themselves to read this book.
(and let me know if you laughed out loud too.)
OPEN BOOK: AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER FOR TEENS
from the Weston Public Library
Here are the picks for this week…
Don’t forget to click on the title to be connected to our catalog where you can
-Request the book
-Read reviews of the book from multiple sources
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.
Read an excerpt
After the death of her father in 1855, seventeen-year-old Sophia goes to live with her wealthy and mysterious godfather at his gothic mansion, Wyndriven Abbey, in Mississippi, where many secrets lie hidden.
Read an excerpt
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
When his father disappears while experimenting with a black mirror that is a portal to both the past and the future, Jake encounters obstacles when he tries to use the mirror to find his father.
Read an excerpt
Having once shared a kiss with her best friend’s boyfriend, Kevin, fourteen-year-old Charlie finds life even more awkward when their parents marry, making Kevin, still her crush, now her stepbrother.
Read an excerpt
Buzz: Middle School
Fourteen-year-old Celia, hurt by her parents’ separation, the loss of her only friend, and a classmate’s cruelty, has only her poetry for solace until newcomer Drake Berlin befriends her, comes out to her, and seeks her help in connecting with the boy he left behind.
Read an excerpt
Buzz: High School
Seven linked vignettes unfold on a Scandinavian island inhabited–throughout various time periods–by Vikings, vampires, ghosts, and a curiously powerful plant.
Read an excerpt
Don’t forget! This Saturday we have a new session of Read To Dogs! Children who would like to read-aloud to a dog can sign up for a fifteen-minute session with one of our fabulous Reading Buddies! Stop by or call the Library to register.
A Quick Note about the program:
It is important that kids stay within their allotted time. If you’re late, you forfeit the time you miss, because other kids are waiting for their time.
One child at a time per dog, no parents or siblings. (The handler will also be with the dog to supervise.) Siblings can meet the dog at the end of the session, and parents may take pictures then too, if they want.
Walk-ins will be allowed if there is a space open or we have a no-show for five minutes.
We do enforce the K – 4 age limit, because this is a program designed to give kids confidence in reading. It is for school-aged children. We will not sign up preschoolers; however, if there is an open slot on the day of the program, interested preschoolers can participate too. Time with the dogs is limited, so please realize that we are trying to help children improve their reading skills, not providing access to a dog to play with.
See you there!
Following up our post from Tuesday, here are our new series E-book titles.
To download an e-book title, go to WestonLibrary.org and click on the Download Audiobooks EBooks Overdrive button. Click on the Sign in button (it’s very important to do this first!) then just follow the directions. (If you sign in first, you’ll see the books that are only available to Weston residents.) To get one of the books on this list, click on the links below or simply search the digital catalog.
While you’re there, browse the Minuteman collection too, and see what’s available. There are plenty of good reads! Minuteman just added the Disney Digital e-books to our collection; these titles are always available…which means that multiple readers can read these books at the same time, and you never have to place a hold. There are plenty of picture books, easy readers and adaptations of Disney movies, but there are also books for tweens and teens. Just start exploring.
And…on to our new E-book series:
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The Blue Envelopes Duo, by Maureen Johnson
13 Little Blue Envelopes
When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes, she knows something exciting is going to happen. Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket. Envelope 2 has directions to a specific London flat. The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist. Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. But will she ever see him again? What Ginny doesn’t know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.
The Last Little Blue Envelope
Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.
Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.
The Delirium Series, by Lauren Oliver
They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
It’s the near future, a time when love has long since been identified as a disease called amor deliria nervosa, and 17-year-old Lena is 95 days away from the operation that everyone gets to cure themselves. Enter Alex, a rakish daredevil who, as it turns out, is one of the Invalids—a tribe of uncured who hide out in the surrounding wilderness. With the clock ticking down to her surgery, Lena is drawn into Alex’s world, one of passion and freedom. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure.
The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and ﬂame.
In this electrifying follow-up, set six months after the events in Delirium, Lena is on a dangerous course. Her life hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement and nightmarish predicaments, with a new set of characters and ever-shifting situations.. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
(So far the third book, Requiem, is not available as an e-book. It is available as a downloadable audio book though.)
The Divergent Series, by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
The third book, Allegiant, is coming out on October 22, 2013!
The Wicked Lovely Series, by Melissa Marr
Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention. But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires. Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life. The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .
With summer approaching, Aislinn finds herself increasingly attracted to Keenan, the Summer King who stole Aislinn’s mortality to make her a monarch. Yet Aislinn clings to her love for human Seth, refusing to release her connection to the mortal world. Seth wants to be with Aislinn forever, but he knows that Aislinn’s immortality will eventually separate them; and he pursues a dangerous remedy as tensions within Faerie increase and allegiances shift. In this third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and to each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.
So far, the other books in the series, Radiant Shadows and Darkest Mercy, are not available as e-books in our network. You can get the real books at the library though!
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The Septimus Heap Series, by Angie Sage
The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this myster ious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus? Readers will set out on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters and magykal charms, potions, and spells. This is a story of lost and rediscovered identities, rich with humor and heart.
It’s been a year since septimus heap discovered his real family and true calling to be a wizard. As Apprentice to Extra Ordinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, he is learning the fine arts of Conjurations, Charms, and other Magyk, while Jenna is adapting to life as the Princess and enjoying the freedom of the Castle. But there is something sinister at work. Marcia is constantly trailed by a menacing Darke Shadow, and Septimus’s brother Simon seems bent on a revenge no one understands. Why is the Darke Magyk still lingering?
When Silas Heap unSeals a forgotten room in the Palace, he releases the ghost of a Queen who lived five hundred years earlier. Queen Etheldredda is as awful in death as she was in life, and she’s still up to no good. Her diabolical plan to give herself everlasting life requires Jenna’s compliance, Septimus’s disappearance, and the talents of her son, Marcellus Pye, a famous Alchemist and Physician. And if Queen Etheldredda’s plot involves Jenna and Septimus, then it will surely involve Nicko, Alther Mella, Marcia Overstrand, Beetle, Stanley, Sarah, Silas, Spit Fyre, Aunt Zelda, and all of the other wacky, wonderful characters that made magyk and flyte so memorable.
The other books in the series, Queste, Syren, Darke and Fyre are available as e-books through the Minuteman Digital catalog. Let us know if you would like the Weston Library to order those e-books too!
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And there you have it…our new e-book series titles. If you have any suggestions for other titles we should have, let one of our librarians know. In the meantime, happy e-reading!
Vacation week! Are you away, with nothing to read? If so, you’re in luck! With a Weston card, internet access, and your own e-reading device, you can download one of the new e-books in our collection from anywhere in the United States or even the world!
If you’re not away, that’s okay. You can still just download one of our titles. It might even be easier. Go to WestonLibrary.org and click on the Download Audiobooks EBooks Overdrive button. Click on the Sign in button (it’s very important to do this first!) then just follow the directions. (If you sign in first, you’ll see the books that are only available to Weston residents.) Go browsing for titles you’d like, type in one of the titles here, or click on the links here.
So, without further ado, in kind-of alphabetical order, our new titles:
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Airborne, by Kenneth Oppel
Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious. In world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies, anything is possible.
Bad Kitty, by Michele Jaffe
All Jasmine really wants is to enjoy her family vacation in Las Vegas. And avoid her evil cousin Alyson and Alyson’s best fiend, Veronique. And show her suspicious dad that she can be a Model Daughter. And maybe meet the hot guy she’s been eyeing from across the pool. It that too much to ask? Apparently, yes. One moment she’s an innocent bylounger, the next the central figure in a Las Vegas-sized mystery. Fortunately, Jasmine is both a forensics enthusiast and possessed of some very special friends. Polly, Tom, and Roxy crash the vacation, BeDazzle Jasmine’s wardrobe, and find themselves key players in the most outrageous adventure in a town known for outrageous adventures. All because of a very bad kitty.
Beastly, by Alix Flint
I am a beast. A beast! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. I am a monster. You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll,stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell. Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones
Cat doesn’t mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. The Castle is filled with a variety of witches, wizards and other magic users, led by Chrestomanci himself. There are even other children there! But with so many magic users around, Gwendolen feels that she’s being slighted. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack. What is Cat to do?
Football Genius, by Tim Green
Troy White has a phenomenal gift. He can predict football plays before they happen. Any position. Any player. Any team. When Troy’s single mom gets a job working in public relations for the Atlanta Falcons, Troy figures it’s his chance to prove what he can do. But first he has to get to the Falcons—and with tight security and a notoriously mean coach, even his mom’s field passes aren’t much help. Then Troy and his best friends devise a plan to get the attention of star linebacker Seth Halloway. With Seth’s playing and Troy’s genius, the Falcons could be unstoppable—if they’ll only listen.
The Get Rich Quick Club, by Dan Gutman
I’m just lying out there in the backyard one night, staring up at the sky. Then suddenly a dollar bill lands on my face. I pick it up. It looks real. I have no idea where it came from. Then another one falls. And another. I look up and see bills fluttering down from the clouds above me. First they come in flurries, and then it turns into a snowstorm of money.
Four friends make a pact to earn a million dollars by the end of the summer, led by the clever and daring Gina Tumolo. They come up with a fantastic scheme that involves a photograph of a UFO. Before they are through, they will have their photos in newspapers across the country and even meet face to face with . . . well, you don’t think we’ll give the story away right here, do you? Look inside and see for yourself what happens!
Go Big or Go Home, by Will Hobb
Brady Steele’s love for all things extreme is given a boost when a fireball crashes through the roof of his house. It turns out that Brady’s space rock is one of the rarest meteorites ever found. In fact, a professor from a nearby museum wants to study it in search of extraterrestrial bacteria, hoping to discover the first proof of life beyond Earth. During a wild week of extreme bicycling, fishing, and caving, Brady discovers he’s able to do strange and wonderful feats that shouldn’t be possible. At the same time, he’s developing some frightening symptoms. Could he be infected with long-dormant microbes from space? Is his meteorite a prize . . . or a menace?
Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old woman. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
InterWorld, by Neil Gaiman
Joey Harker isn’t a hero. In fact, he’s the kind of guy who gets lost in his own house. But one day, Joey gets really lost. He walks straight out of his world and into another dimension. Joey’s walk between worlds makes him prey to armies of magic and science, both determined to harness Joey’s power to travel between the dimensions. The only thing standing in their way is Joey—or, more precisely, an army of Joeys, all from different dimensions and all determined to save the worlds. Now Joey must make a choice: return to the life he knows or join the battle to the end.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone, and Cam becomes an expert at both. Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship, one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is. An unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.
Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth, by Jane O’Connor
Fancy Nancy is all grown up (well, sort of). No longer fond of just sparkles and playacting, Nancy is now a detective. Nancy Clancy is on the case! Nancy Clancy has everything she needs to be a super sleuth (that’s a fancy word for detective): She has a glamorous magnifying glass complete with rhinestones, a totally professional pink trench coat, and a sleuthing partner with awesome code-breaking skills—her best friend, Bree. But when crime strikes right in the middle of her classroom, will Nancy have what it takes to crack the case?
Nation, by Terry Pratchett
The sea has taken everything. Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne’s sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .
The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better. The winner of the 2013 Newbery Award.
The Shadow Project, by Herbie Brennan
Danny Lipman is a thief . . . until one night he robs the wrong house. He inadvertently breaks into the headquarters of the Shadow Project, a secret government organization where teenage spies are trained to leave their bodies, using astral projection to travel around the world on deadly missions. Danny is captured, but the Project leaders quickly realize he has a special gift. And when a key operative—the director’s daughter, Opal—goes missing, he is offered a choice: Join the Shadow Project or go to jail. Danny joins and is quickly sent to investigate the Project’s current target: a worldwide terrorist organization known as the Sword of Wrath. But as he gets deeper in, he discovers both the Project and the Sword of Wrath are far more than they seem. Danny and his fellow operatives are caught up in an ancient supernatural conflict and will have to learn how to survive in a world without boundaries of space or time, where the wrong choice could be their last.
So. B. It. by Sarah Weeks
You couldn′t really tell about Mama′s brain just from looking at her, but it was obvious as soon as she spoke. She had a high voice, like a little girl′s, and she only knew 23 words. I know this for a fact, because we kept a list of the things Mama said tacked to the inside of the kitchen cabinet. Most of the words were common ones, like good and more and hot, but there was one word only my mother said: soof.
Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbour, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother′s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi′s thirst for the truth leads her on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past.
Stealing Heaven, by Elizabeth Scott
Dani has been trained as a thief by the best—her mother. Together, they move from town to town, targeting wealthy homes and making a living by stealing antique silver. They never stay in one place long enough to make real connections, real friends—a real life. In the beach town of Heaven, though, everything changes. For the first time, Dani starts to feel at home. She’s making friends and has even met a guy. But these people can never know the real Dani—because of who she is. When it turns out that her new friend lives in the house they’ve targeted for their next job and the cute guy is a cop, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she’s always known—or the one she’s always wanted.
Take Me to the River, by Will Hobbs
Deep in trouble, deep in the canyons. Fourteen-year-old Dylan Sands has come all the way to the Big Bend on the Texas-Mexico border to paddle the fabled Rio Grande with his cousin Rio. As the boys are packing their raft and canoe for ten days in the canyons, six Black Hawk helicopters appear overhead and race across the river into Mexico. The Army warns them that a hurricane is approaching the coast. Convincing themselves that their chances of running into a storm are slim, Dylan and Rio launch onto the wildest and most remote waters in the Southwest. Downriver, a man appears with a seven-year-old boy, begging for help . . . and the storm is upon them. Danger, suspense, and the ever-looming troubles in Mexico drive this white-knuckle adventure forward at a breakneck pace.
Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen
Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage, and hate. Cole has been stealing, fighting, and lying for years. His attack on a classmate has left the boy with permanent physical and deep psychological damage and Cole in the biggest trouble of his life. To most, Cole seems beyond hope. But when he’s offered a chance at an alternative path called Circle Justice, based on Native American tradition, Cole finds himself banished to a remote Alaskan island, where his rage and isolation lead him to another brazen attack. This time, his intended victim is the Spirit Bear of Native American legend—and the clumsy assault ends with Cole mauled nearly to death, desperately clinging to the life he has tried so hard to waste. Rescuers arrive to save Cole’s life, but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that is the start of Cole’s long journey to accepting responsibility for his life and saving his soul. This gripping, graphic survival story from an award-winning writer paints an unsparing picture of one violent teen and offers a poignant testimony to the power of pain that can destroy and may also heal.
Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising, by Jason Henderson
This doesn’t happen . . . does it? Two vampire attacks in his first three days at boarding school and Alex Van Helsing realizes there’s more to the family name than he thought—and more to this area of Switzerland than meets the eye. Lurking underneath Lake Geneva lies a secret vampire university called the Scholomance. And somehow the vampires know a Van Helsing has arrived. Special agent Sangster of the Polidorium—an undercover, international vampire-hunting organization—wants to train Alex in the tricks of the trade, but when two innocent teens are kidnapped, rehearsal is over. It’s up to Alex to infiltrate the Scholomance and rescue his friends . . . if he can survive the zombies, bullets, and fangs heading his way!
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Although there are a couple stand-alones on this list, most of these titles are the first book in a trilogy or series. Let me know if you’d like the library to get the other books!
Coming up next: The e-books we bought in partial or complete series!
With April Vacation week coming up, families are going to be looking for things to do! If you’re still around, you should consider visiting one of our local museums. Boston is one of the best places in the world for museum-hopping! And get a good deal by borrowing one of the Weston Library’s Museum Passes…they offer discounted prices for visits. Call the Reference and Information Desk for details.
If you do go to a museum, or if you just like visiting museums, try one of these books during vacation week. Each of them features a museum as a key part of the plot!
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Allison, Jennifer. Gilda Joyce: the Dead Drop
When Gilda lands a summer internship at Washington, D.C.’s International Spy Museum, she finds herself embroiled in both a museum haunting and a real case of espionage. While investigating a cemetery where Abraham Lincoln’s son was once buried, Gilda stumbles upon a spy’s dead drop of classified information. Gilda’s efforts to decode the cryptic message lead to further intrigues: Is she on the trail of a mole operating inside the U.S. intelligence community? Aware that nothing is what it seems when it comes to spies in Washington, D.C., Gilda faces the most serious challenge yet in her career as a psychic spy. Read the entire Gilda Joyce series!
Balliett, Blue. Chasing Vermeer
When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen. Seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one — neighbors, parents, teachers — is spared from suspicion. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their problem-solving skills, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled? If you enjoy this, check out the sequels The Wright 3 and The Calder Game.
Bosch, Pseudonymous. The Name of This Book is Secret
This is the story about a secret, but it also contains a secret story. When adventurous detectives Cass, an ever-vigilant survivalist, and Max-Ernest, a boy driven by logic, discover the Symphony of Smells, a box filled with smelly vials of colorful ingredients, they accidentally stumble upon a mystery surrounding a dead magician’s diary and the hunt for immortality. Filled with word games, anagrams, and featuring a mysterious narrator, this is a book that won’t stay secret for long. The first book in the Secret Series.
Broach, Elise. Masterpiece
Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays’ apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can’t go through with the plan without Marvin’s help. And that’s where things get really complicated (and interesting!).
Estes, Eleanor. The Moffat Museum
There has never been a museum in Cranbury… until now. Among its treasures are the first bike each of the Moffat kids rode, stardust from a meteor that fell to earth, a beautiful painting made by Sylvie, and — most spectacularly — Rufus, the Waxworks Boy, who is as funny as he is waxy. The museum is so interesting that Mr. Pennypepper even brings tourists to visit. But the museum is really for Jane, Joey, and Rufus themselves, so they can remember all the good times they’ve had. Because life is changing for the Moffats. Yet even if Sylvie gets married, or Joey goes off to work, or Rufus grows up, one thing will never change: The Moffats are still the sort to hilariously fill even the most ordinary day with extraordinary fun. Read the entire Moffat series!
Flavin, Teresa. The Blackhope Enigma
An ancient painting, a magical labyrinth, and skeletons found in a locked room… For centuries, Blackhope Tower has been shrouded in intrigue, centering on a labyrinth and painting in the Mariner’s Chamber. When Sunni Forrest visits the tower and sees her stepbrother, Dean, disappear, seemingly into the painting itself, she must find him and risk being drawn into the heart of the Blackhope enigma. This action-packed debut follows Dean, Sunni, and her friend Blaise on a journey to the heart of an age-old mystery. Check out the sequels The Crimson Shard and The Shadow Lantern.
Golds, Cassandra. The Museum of Mary Child
Heloise lives with her strict and forbidding godmother in an isolated cottage where the emphasis is on doing one’s duty and avoiding all things which could be considered a waste of time. Next door is a sinister museum dedicated to the memory of Mary Child. Visitors enter the museum with a smile, but depart with fear in their eyes. Heloise has never been in the museum. When she finds a mysterious doll, she’s forced to run away, ending up in an orphanage. But one day she must return to the house where the devastating secret of her past awaits.
Johnston, Tony. The Mummy’s Mother
A young mummy boy named Ramose is awakened one day by the sound of grave-robbers invading his home — the pharaoh’s tomb. They’ve stolen his mother (who’s also a mummy) and now it’s up to Ramose to find her. With the help of a cranky talking camel and some young American tourists, Ramose finds himself en route to New York City, home of an important museum and its famous collection of mummies.
Konigsburg, E. L. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along. Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.
LaFevers, R. L. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos
Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theo, and only Theo, who is able to see all the black magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum. When Theo’s mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egypt, a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomb, Theo learns that it comes inscribed with a curse so black and vile that it threatens to crumble the British Empire from within and start a war too terrible to imagine. Intent on returning the malevolent artifact to its rightful place, Theo devises a daring plan to put things right. But even with the help of her younger brother, a wily street urchin, and the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, it won’t be easy… The first in the Theodosia series.
Malone, Marianne. The Sixty-Eight Rooms
Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed in the Children’s Galleries of the Chicago Art Institute, they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms made in the 1930s by Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Each of the 68 rooms is designed in the style of a different historic period, and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. Some might even say, the rooms are magic. Imagine — what if you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you were small enough to sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind? Also read the other Sixty-Eight Room Adventures: Stealing Magic and The Pirate’s Coin.
Newsome, Richard. The Billionaire’s Curse
Gerald Wilkins never considered himself a particularly exceptional thirteen-year-old. But that was before he inherited twenty billion pounds, a Caribbean island, a yacht, and three estates from a great-aunt he never knew. With this fortune, however, comes a letter. One from his great-aunt Geraldine. One that tells Gerald that she was murdered, and that it’s up to him to find out why. Along with his friends Ruby and Sam, Gerald embarks on a journey that will lead him from the British Museum to dodgy social clubs for the disgustingly rich to mansions in the English countryside to secret places far underground. Who was Geraldine Archer? And what secrets was she hiding? Unless Gerald, Sam, and Ruby can find out before the killer does, they may be next. The first book in The Archer Legacy trilogy.
Riordan, Rick. The Red Pyramid
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe — a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. (I don’t even have to say this is the first in the Kane Chronicles, do I?)
Santopolo, Jill. The Niña, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure
Alec Flint is practicing to be a super sleuth. He’s even got a pair of super sleuth pants with lots of pockets to hide his detective tools, and a sidekick Gina, who’s a little bit bossy, but a really great detective and friend. When his dad, a local police officer, tells Alec the Christopher Columbus exhibit has gone missing from the town museum, Alec is on the case! You can read his second case too: The Ransom Note Blues. And more adventures should be on the way!
Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck
Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing heading in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing. Set fifty years apart, these independent stories — Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in picture — weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.
Stout, Shawn. Penelope Crumb Never Forgets
Penelope Crumb’s best friend Patsy Cline Roberta Watson is becoming best friends with another girl in class, so Penelope decides she needs to win her back. Compliments and presents fail, and Penelope is afraid she’ll lose Patsy Cline forever, so she decides to swipe Patsy’s necklace and start a secret museum to remember all the people she cares about, in case they leave her too. But stealing turns out not to be the best plan when Grandpa Felix calls the police about his missing camera, forcing Penelope to confess. Now she’s lost both Patsy Cline AND her museum. But in the end she makes a huge personal sacrifice to repair her friendship with Patsy and finds out that drawing pictures—what she likes to do best!—is a way to make a personal museum that doesn’t involve any sort of stealing.
Tanner, Lian. Museum of Thieves
Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime. Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day. When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving. Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum, plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him… The first in the Keepers Trilogy.
Van Eekhout, Greg. Kid vs. Squid
Thatcher Hill is bored stiff of his summer job dusting the fake mermaids and shrunken heads at his uncle’s seaside Museum of Curiosities. But when a mysterious girl steals an artifact from the museum, Thatcher’s summer becomes an adventure that takes him from the top of the ferris wheel to the depths of the sea. Following the thief, he learns that she is a princess of the lost Atlantis. Her people have been cursed by an evil witch to drift at sea all winter and wash up on shore each summer to an even more terrible fate—working the midway games and food stands on the boardwalk. Can Thatcher help save them before he, too, succumbs to the witch’s curse?
Van Leeuwen, Jean. The Great Googlestein Museum Mystery
Tired of their comfortable digs in Macy’s department store, Marvin, Fats, and Raymond are three mice searching for adventure. Following a hair-raising ride in a shopping bag, they find themselves disembarking in front of the famous Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art. There they discover many interesting things about the world of humans. Fats discovers that blobs of jam on canvas isn’t food, it’s art! But will his newfound artistic talent go to his head? Meanwhile, will Marvin be able to pull off the most daring skating stunt of the century? And will poor Raymond run out of brilliant ways to save his friends from sticky situations-or worse, the exterminator?
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AND FOR TEENS:
Bray, Libba. The Diviners
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City — and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult — also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.” When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer — if he doesn’t catch her first.
Bryant, Jennifer. Pieces of Georgia
Like her mother, Georgia McCoy is an artist, but her dad looks away whenever he sees her with a sketchbook. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what it was like when her mother was still alive . . . when they were a family . . . when they were happy. But then a few days after her 13th birthday, Georgia receives an unexpected gift — a strange, formal letter, all typed up and signed anonymous — granting her free admission to the Brandywine River Museum for a whole year. And things begin to change.
Hayes, Daniel. The Eye of the Beholder
Tyler and Lymie are sick in bed and bored out of their minds. But while their hometown plans a festival for a famous local artist, and folks scramble to find his last known works of art, the boys hatch a clever plot. Tyler and Limy create their own sculptures as a joke and discard them near the artist’s studio. But when the sculptures are found and determined to be authentic, the art world is suddenly abuzz with news of the amazing discovery — and two boys with great imaginations are in a hilarious heap of trouble. . . .
Richards, Justin. The Death Collector
What starts as an ordinary picket-pocketing incident in Victorian London unites three teens against a madman. Eddie is the pickpocket; George is an assistant at the British Museum; Elizabeth has a nose for trouble — and all of them are being hunted by Augustus Lorimore. Lorimore is a sinister factory owner, a villain bent on reanimating the dead, both humans and dinosaurs – -and one of each is already terrorizing the streets of London. It’s up to Eddie, George, and Elizabeth to stop Lorimore’s monsters . . . or die trying.
Booklist prepared by Casey S.
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If you want an informative book about museums and how they work, try How the Sphinx got to the Museum or The Museum Book, both in our non-fiction collection. These books are two of my favorites, which make museum visits fun and exciting, but we have many more! The Dewey Numbers for Museums range from J 700 (for general art) to J 709 (for more specific collections.) Come in and get some ideas for your next museum visit about what to look at and to look for to enhance your visit.
And as always, come into the Library for any suggestions about what to read!
OPEN BOOK: AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER FOR TEENS
from the Weston Public Library
Here are the picks for this week…
Don’t forget to click on the title to be connected to our catalog where you can
-Request the book
-Read reviews of the book from multiple sources
Sophie is not happy to be back in the Congo for the summer, but when she rescues an abused baby bonobo she becomes more involved in her mother’s sanctuary–and when fighting breaks out and the sanctuary is attacked, it is up to Sophie to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.
Read an excerpt
In free verse, evokes the voice of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, a book-loving writer, feminist, and abolitionist who courageously fought injustice in nineteenth-century Cuba. Includes historical notes, excerpts from her writings, biographical information, and source notes.
Read an excerpt
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
In an alternate England of 1851, spirited fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where, she is surprised to learn, lessons include not only the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also diversion, deceit, and espionage.
Read an excerpt
In a love story told in photographs and drawings, Glory, a brilliant piano prodigy, is drawn to Frank, an artistic new boy, and the farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness until the only song she is able to play is “Chopsticks.”
Buzz: Middle School
Jamey Barlowe has been crippled since childhood, the result of being born on the Moon. He lives his life in a wheelchair, only truly free when he is in the water. But then Jamey’s father sends him, along with five other kids, back to the Moon to escape a political coup d’etat that has occurred overnight in the United States.
Read an excerpt
Buzz: High School
A coming of age novel about Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. He deals with the usual teen problems, but also with the suicide of his best friend.
Read an excerpt
There are several new books just out this spring that deal with magic by way of cooking. It’s a delicious thought, isn’t it? Find a recipe that you can follow to get some magical results! It made me think about what other cookbook magic is out there…I remember reading a couple when I was a kid; I think my favorites were Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians, by Mary Nash and a bunch of different books by Ruth Chew. Sadly, they’re no longer in print and our library doesn’t own them. (If you’re interested though, you can find used copies online.)
So if you’re a fan of cooking shows, or you’d like to have a little magic spicing up your kitchen, try one of the books on this list. I think you’ll find them to your taste!
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A booklist of some magical recipes and extraordinary cooks!
Ames, Mildred. Is There Life on a Plastic Planet?
Hollis is miserable with her life. She hates her name, her mother keeps bugging her to eat healthy food, her cousin Addison makes her life miserable. Then Hollis meets Ms. Eudora, who manages a shop that sells dolls, and serves Hollis yummy éclairs while she listens to her problems. It’s Ms. Eudora who comes up with the plan…substitute one of her dolls for Hollis, and Hollis can spend her days at the shop with Ms. Eudora and her magical éclairs. But is it all too perfect to be real..?
Bosch, Pseudonymous. This Book is Not Good for You
Between the pages of this book lies the secret to the best-tasting chocolate in all the world. I promise, your taste buds will tingle. Your palette will sing! Oh no, have I accidentally tempted you to read this book? I will warn you, however, the most delicious things are never good for you…and this story is particularly scrumptious! In this tooth-rotting adventure, Cass’s mom has been kidnapped by the evil dessert chef and chocolatier, Señor Hugo! The ransom…the legendary tuning fork. Can Cass and Max-Ernest find the magical instrument before it’s too late? Will they discover the evil secret ingredient to Señor Hugo’s chocolate success? If you’re tempted, take a taste, but just remember…this book is not good for you.
Callaghan, Cindy. Just Add Magic
Take three friends. Add an old cookbook. Combine with cute boys and a pinch of magic…and see what kind of chaos ensues! When Kelly Quinn and her two BFFs discover a dusty old cookbook while cleaning out the attic, the girls decide to try a few of the mysterious and supposedly magical recipes that are inside. To their surprise, the Keep ’Em Quiet Cobbler actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother and the Hexberry Tart puts a curse on mean girl Charlotte. Is it possible that the recipes really are magic? Who wrote them and where did they come from? And most importantly of all, when boys get involved, what kind of trouble are the girls stirring up for themselves?
Catling, Robert. The Chocolate Touch
John Midas loves chocolate. He thinks chocolate is better than any other food! But when John finds an odd coin, he buys a tiny piece of chocolate at an odd little shop. It’s the most chocolaty chocolate he has ever tasted. The next morning, John discovers that everything that touches his lips turns into chocolate—rich, sweet, smooth chocolate. Toothpaste tubes squirt chocolate. Water fountains at school spout streams of chocolate. This is a dream come true! But even greedy John finds that too much of a good thing can quickly turn from a dream into a nightmare—especially when he kisses his mother and turns her into a chocolate statue. Is there anything John can do to reverse this horror?
Connor, Lexi. The Chocolate Meltdown
Eleven year-old Beatrix, B for short, is a witch with a quirky talent. When she spells out words, magic spells take shape! B’s dad’s job at Enchanted Chocolates has always been a great thing — who doesn’t like free candy and special tours of a chocolate factory? But when something goes wrong with the new batch of treats, there’s nothing sweet about it! Everyone seems to be losing their magic touch — can B whip up a solution, or could this spell the E-N-D of witches?
Corbalis, Judy. The Ice Cream Heroes
Oskar’s mother is a famous mountaineer, off on a trip to explore the Himalayas. When he discovers that she’s forgotten her favorite ice pick, Oskar and his new friend Henrietta (a girl who wears a gorilla costume because of her job delivering gorillagrams) set off to deliver it to her in person. Along the way they meet a tribe of abominable snowmen; are held captive in a palace made of magically flavored ice cream by the henchmen of The Controller, a demonic thief with a cohort of mad scientists; and meet the Great Khone, an ice cream maker searching for the world’s stolen ice cream supply.
Corbett, Scott. The Great Custard Pie Panic
On a walk through the fog Nick and his dog discover a wonderful bakery that makes magical pies. Unfortunately, the owner turns out to be his archenemy, the evil magician Dr. Merlin! (Early Chapter Book)
Corbett, Scoll. The Lemonade Trick
A mysterious potion mixed by Kerby with his chemistry set has a beneficial effect on the neighborhood bully but also wreaks havoc at the Sunday School pageant. Try the rest of the series too…Kerby’s chemistry set has quite a few magical recipes in it!
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. All they have to do is find the golden ticket. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life! As he tours the magical candy factory, what will Charlie find there?
Dahl, Roald. George’s Marvelous Medicine
George is alone in the house with Grandma. The most horrid, grizzly old grunion of a grandma ever. She needs something stronger than her usual medicine to cure her grouchiness. A special grandma medicine, a remedy for everything. And George knows just what to put into it. Grandma’s in for the surprise of her life—and so is George, when he sees the results of his mixture! George decides that his grumpy, selfish old grandmother must be a witch and cooks up some marvelous medicine to take care of her. (Early Chapter Book)
Dunbar, Fiona. The Truth Cookie
Lulu Baker’s dad is getting ready to marry his new girlfriend, world-famous model Varaminta le Bone. Everyone thinks Varaminta is fabulous. Everyone, that is, except Lulu. She knows that her stepmother-to-be, not to mention her awful son Torquil, is cruel, deceitful, and just using her father. But how can she make her dad see Varaminta and Torquil for who they really are? When a magical recipe book called The Apple Star finds its way into Lulu’s hands, she finds that some very unusual ingredients and some help from her friends just might do the trick.
Graff, Lisa. A Tangle of Knots
In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent!
Hashimoto, Meika. The Magic Cake Shop
Emma Burblee couldn’t be more different from her parents if she tried. She’d rather dig for treasure in a park than try the latest fashions or discuss their favorite subject: themselves. When Emma mortifies her parents, her punishment is to spend the summer with her Uncle Simon—a loathsome man with a huge appetite for food and get-rich-quick schemes. Although Emma’s days revolve around cooking and cleaning, there is one bright spot. Her uncle’s sweet tooth means she gets to visit the town bakery, Mr. Crackle’s Cake Shop, all the time. Mr. Crackle is as charming and kind as Uncle Simon is vile. But then Emma discovers a plot by Uncle Simon; he has set his sights on ruining Mr. Crackle and the entire dessert making industry! Can Emma stop their evil plan?
Kennemore, Tim. Circle of Doom
One day, Lizzie Sharp decides to concoct a potion to cast a spell on her family’s only neighbors, the unbearable, ancient Potwards. The very next day, Mrs. Potward breaks her hip and the couple disappear forever. It could be just a coincidence, but Lizzie is convinced of her own magical powers, and the temptation to involve both her younger brothers in her ambitious spellmaking plans is irresistible. As one potion leads to another, all three Sharp children become ridiculously entangled in a web of secrets, conspiracies, and misunderstandings.
Konigsburg, E. L. Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth
Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She’s also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is… different. She’s read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says “please” or “thank you.” And she says she is a witch. It’s not always easy being friends with a witch, but it’s never boring. At first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw ends and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That’s when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that’s when trouble starts to brew.
Kramer, Stacy. Karma Bites
Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders. Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma. Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up. But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways. Ouch!
Lindsay, Norman. The Magic Pudding
The Magic Pudding is a pie, except when it’s something else, like a steak, or a jam donut, or an apple dumpling, or whatever its owner wants it to be. And it never runs out. It’s magic! No matter how many slices you cut, there’s always something left over. But the Magic Pudding is also alive. It walks and it talks and it has a personality like no other. A meaner, sulkier, snider, snarlinger Pudding you’ve never met. So Bunyip Bluegum (the koala bear) finds out when he joins Barnacle Bill (the sailor) and Sam Sawnoff (the penguin bold) as members of the Noble Society of Pudding Owners . This madcap childhood classic recounts the adventures of the three friends as they defend the pudding from thieves.
Littlewood, Kathryn. Bliss
Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke under lock and whisk-shaped key while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. Aunt Lily rides a motorcycle, wears purple sequins, and whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, non-magical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun. So Rose and her siblings experiment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke. A few Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?
Littlewood, Kathryn. A Dash of Magic
Rosemary will do anything to get back her family’s magical Cookery Booke, even challenging Aunt Lily to an international baking competition in Paris. If Rose wins, Lily will return the Cookery Booke that she stole. If Rose loses . . . well, the consequences are too ugly to think about. But Lily isn’t playing fair—she’s using a magical ingredient to cheat. The only way for Rose to compete is for her to find magical ingredients of her own. Together with her long-lost grandpa, his sarcastic talking cat, and a turncoat French mouse, Rose and her brothers race around Paris to find the magical ingredients that will help her outbake—and outmagic—her conniving aunt. She has to win or the Bliss Cookery Booke will be lost to her family forever.
Loftin, Nikki. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy
Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy—Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones—and might even pick them clean! Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you’ve got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy.
Lowe, Natasha. The Power of Poppy Pendle
Ten-year-old Poppy, born to ordinary parents, inherits her famous Great Aunt Mabel’s genes—GAM was a famous witch. In Poppy’s world, witches work for good and are much valued, with powers both coveted and praised. But Poppy does not want to be a witch—she wants to be a baker, and she is extremely good at baking. Her parents insist Poppy follow in the footsteps of her great aunt, but Poppy has plans of her own. Part magic, part adventure, and wholly delicious, this spirited story includes more than a dozen recipes readers—and budding bakers—can try at home.
Magnin, Joyce. Cake: Love, Chickens and a Taste of Peculiar
Wilma Sue seems destined to go from one foster home to the next—until she is sent to live with sisters and missionaries, Ruth and Naomi. Do they really care about Wilma Sue, or are they just looking for someone to help raise chickens and bake cakes? As Wilma Sue adjusts to her new surroundings and helps deliver ‘special’ cakes, she realizes there’s something strange going on. On her search for secret ingredients, she makes a new friend, Penny. When Penny and her mother hit a rough patch, Naomi decides to make her own version of cake—with disastrous results. Then tragedy strikes the chickens, and all fingers point to Wilma Sue—just when she was starting to believe she could at last find a permanent home with Ruth and Naomi. Will the sisters turn her out, or will she discover what it feels like to be truly loved?
McGowan, Keith. The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children
When Sol and Connie Blink move to Grand Creek, one of the first people to welcome them is an odd older woman, Fay Holaderry, and her friendly dog, Swift, who carries a very strange bone in his mouth. Sol knows a lot more than the average eleven-year-old, so when he identifies the bone as a human femur, he and Connie begin to wonder if their new neighbor is up to no good. In a spine-tingling adventure that makes them think twice about who they can trust, Sol and Connie discover that dangerous secrets lurk in even the most pleasant neighborhoods.
McGowan, Keith. The Witch’s Curse
A shadowy witch, a cursed hunter—it’s tricky business for Sol and Connie as they face off against this awful pair. The kids narrowly averted being eaten by the last witch after them, and this time it doesn’t look any better. It’s a long way through the accursed valley, they’re running out of food and water, and that lodge on the mountain side with the collection of animals inside isn’t exactly comforting. Who can save them? The All Creatures Manager? A heroic woodthrush? The Camper Lady? The Know-It-All Cube? Or will they have to save themselves? And here’s the worst of it: little do Sol and Connie know that the ancient child hunter is about to wake up—thanks to the witch’s curse.
Mull, Brandon. The Candy Shop War
Welcome to the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe, where the confections are bit on the . . . unusual side. Rock candy that makes you weightless. Jawbreakers that make you unbreakable. Chocolate balls that make you a master of disguise. Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon meet the grandmotherly Mrs. White, owner of the Sweet Tooth, and soon learn about the magical side effects of her candies. Then the ice cream truck driver, Mr. Stott, arrives with a few enchanted sweets of his own. The danger unfolds as the kids discover that the magical strangers have all come to town in search of a legendary treasure—one that could be used for great evil if it fell into the wrong hands. The kids, now in over their heads, must try to retrieve the treasure first. And so, the war begins . . .
Mull, Brandon. Arcade Catastrophe
In the sequel to The Candy Shop War, Nate and his friends meet Mrs. White’s brother Mr. White, who owns Arcadeland, a local amusement center. At Arcadeland, kids can play games and earn thousands of tickets, which are redeemable for one of four kinds of stamps jets, tanks, subs, and race cars. Could it be true that these stamps allow kids to fly through the air? Or breathe underwater? Or run faster than a car? But Mr. White is hiding a secret: when all four clubs are filled, he will be able to retrieve perhaps the most powerful talisman ever. For Nate and his friends, it will take more than candy to fight and win this war!
Ryan, Margaret. Magic Mistakes!
It’s the start of the autumn school semester and the fairies are learning a new subject—cooking! Who can make the best pudding? Airy Fairy is determined to do well in cooking class, but with Scary Fairy around to stir up trouble, things are bound to go wrong once again. Airy Fairy might be the clumsiest, most messy little fairy in town. Her wand is bent, her wings are patched with bandages, and her magic spells have a way of going wrong. Even so, she’s a lovable little fairy whose adventures have quickly become favorites among young readers.
Parker, Richard. M for Mischief
When they move into a new house, Andrew, Milly and Peg find a little round structure in the garden, complete with a stove inside. The stove looks like a normal one, except for the strange “M” on the dial. And then there’s the “Magical Cook Book” they find with the stove. Could it really be true? Andrew and his sisters can hardly wait to try it. Carefully, they set the stove dial to M. Then Andrew cooks an egg and eats it, following the directions. He can see himself perfectly fine though. But his sisters can’t. Andrew has disappeared! Now they have a magic stove and a whole book of spells to try. Can they keep their stove secret and keep out of trouble?
Rylant, Cynthia. The Van Gogh Café
At the Van Gogh Cafe, anything can happen. Clara’s dad owns the cafe, and she’s seen it all—from food that cooks by itself to poems that foretell the future. This award-winning collection of vignettes by Newbery medalist Cynthia Rylant is a treat to be relished. So bring your appetite for the unexpected, because at the Van Gogh Cafe, your order of tea and toast comes with a side of magic! The Van Gogh Cafe, located in Flowers, Kansas, has magic in its walls, causing strange and mysterious events to occur there.
Saunders, Kate. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop
Welcome to the most magical house in London. The family of eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily have inherited it, together with the mysterious shop downstairs. Long ago, the shop’s famous chocolate-makers, who also happen to be Oz and Lily’s great uncles, were clever sorcerers. Now evil villains are hunting for the secret of their greatest recipe. The terrifying powers of this magic chocolate have the ability to destroy the world. Soon, Oz and Lily are swept into a thrilling battle, helped by an invisible cat, a talking rat, and the ghost of an elephant. It’s up to them to stop the villians and keep the magical chocolate recipe out of harm’s way. Their family and the world depends on it.
Smith, Robert Kimmel. Chocolate Fever
Henry Green is a boy who loves chocolate. He likes it bitter, sweet, dark, light, and daily; for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; in cakes, candy bars, milk, and every other form you can possibly imagine. Henry probably loves chocolate more than any boy in the history of the world. One day, Henry finds that strange things are happening to him. First he makes medical history with the only case of Chocolate Fever ever–Henry breaks out in brown bumps which cause a series of events ending in a hijacking and a realization about chocolate and family.
Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins in the Kitchen
Get a unique glimpse at the famous Poppins cast as the spit-spot English nanny and the Banks children take over the kitchen for a week. With the help of familiar visitors like the Bird Woman, Admiral Boom, and Mr. and Mrs. Turvy, Mary Poppins teaches her irrepressible young charges the basics of cooking, from A to Z. And young readers can re-create the week’s menus by following the thirty different recipes. Kitchen adventures were never so much fun!
Weeks, Sarah. Pie
When Alice’s Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice. Suddenly, the whole town is wondering how you leave a recipe to a cat. Everyone wants to be the next big pie-contest winner, and it’s making them pie-crazy. It’s up to Alice and her friend Charlie to put the pieces together and discover the not-so-secret recipe for happiness: Friendship. Family. And the pleasure of donig something for the right reason.
Wrede, Particia. Sorcery & Cecelia: Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot
Cousins Kate and Cecelia have always been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, they are forced to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with English society. At the initiation of a magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot. Kate refuses the drink and the witch disappears as chocolate burns through her dress. Strange forces convene to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. But for two girls who have to contend with the pressures of choosing dresses and beaux for their debuts, deadly magic is only one of their concerns.
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As it turns out, magical cookery books seem to be very popular! Most of these titles were out when I made this post. If you’d like to place a book on hold in the Minuteman system, simply click on the title link and you’ll find yourself on that page of our catalog. Just place a Hold Request from there!
Enjoy! And if YOU find a mysterious magical cookbook, please bring it in and share with our staff! Everyone here would like a turn at some cooking magic!
Time for three new audio reviews! I haven’t been driving much, so this has taken a little longer than expected. Although it wasn’t planned, these three books do have something in common: Kids in trouble, trying to find their way home…even though they’re already there.
So, here we go!
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Sylvia is leaving the only home she’s known with frail, elderly Aunt Jane. She’s off to live with her cousin Bonnie and Bonnie’s parents, Lord Willoughby and Lady Green at Willoughby Chase, an estate deep in the wilds of Britain. It’s the middle of winter, and there are wolves on the prowl…and not only the furry kind.
When Bonnie’s parents leave for a year-long journey abroad to improve Lady Green’s health, Sylvia and Bonnie are left in the care of a distant cousin. Miss Slighcarp was recommended to Lord Willoughby, but neither girl likes her. She soon proves she’s not to be trusted, as Sylvia and Bonnie are locked in the attics, the servants are dismissed, and all Bonnie’s toys and books and belongings are sold. Miss Slighcarp tells the girls that Bonnie’s parents have been lost at sea, and they soon end up in a workhouse run by the evil Mrs. Brisket. Bonnie is determined to get Sylvia out of there and back to Willoughby Chase.
We featured The Wolves of Willoughby Chase earlier as one of our Old Favorites. It’s a very exciting story, full of adventures and daring escapes. It is considered a modern classic by most children’s literature sources. Lizza Aiken, the reader, is Joan Aiken’s daughter. Her reading is well done; her cadence and accent vary for most characters.
The audio recording of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase starts with a wonderful foreword, where Lizza shares details about her own childhood and memories of her mother writing the book. I feel these details help create an immediate connection between the listener and the reader. The little tidbits about the background of the book are interesting and memorable. My only reservation is that I’m not sure that a new reader appreciates the foreward as much as someone who has already read the book and is listening to it as a “re-reading”. Some of the information depends on knowledge of the story.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is a fairly short book; only 150 pages. Because it’s sort of an “alternate history” book of Britain though, it might confuse younger readers…and even adults not familiar with British history. It is chock-full of adventure and emotions though, and would be enjoyed by listeners as young as third grade, and probably up to middle school. It’s an excellent choice for a family car trip!
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The Valorim are under attack, and their way of life is at an end. Young Waeglim, of The Ethelim, manages to pull all the strength of the Valorim into one small package, which he casts out into the galaxy. Traveling at the speed of thought, the Art of the Valorim makes it through multiple universes until it comes to a small, single-sun planet on the remote edges of a tiny galaxy…
Tommy Pepper lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts. His family lives in a ramshackle old house on the seashore. Every morning, Tommy, his dad and his little sister Patty greet the morning out on the beach, watching the sun come up. After that, Tommy and Patty walk or take the bus to school. Both of them prefer walking; then they don’t have to deal with Cheryl Lynn Lumpkin and her bullying about how her mother’s new development is going to take over the stretch of beach in front of their house.
The morning of Tommy’s twelfth birthday starts out with nothing going right. Tommy’s father makes him take the lunchbox his grandmother sent him to school–the lunchbox for a show Tommy hasn’t watched since he was eight. Afraid that the other kids will laugh at him, Tommy hides the lunchbox under the picnic table. Tommy doesn’t notice when a mysterious glowing green chain falls from the sky and lands in his lunchbox. He just thinks it’s part of the birthday present from his grandmother, and puts it on.
Suddenly, Tommy is using words his classmates have never heard before. The town of Plymouth is under attack from something that breaks into houses when no one is home and leaves them strewn with stinky seaweed. Tommy can draw things that move, hear music that no one else can hear, and his head is full of information about life on a double-sun world. Plymouth Police are at the Peppers’ door and Tommy spends more time in the principal’s office than he ever has before.
Does all this have something to do with the glowing necklace Tommy is now wearing? Tommy and his friends are going to try to figure it out. But when Tommy draws a figure in the sand, it comes to life, and suddenly Tommy isn’t only dealing with his odd new memories and abilities, but an O’Mandim, the enemy of the Valorim, come to life on Earth.
The audio recording of What Came From the Stars is excellent–I love the narrator’s voice. His take on Tommy, his family and his friends (and enemies) are all slightly varied. He does a wonderful job with integrating the foreign words Tommy starts using, making them sound completely commonplace.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the Valorim as well, their planet and their way of life. In the book, the chapters based on the Valorim are in italics. I did find it a little more confusing to hear the names rather than read them. There are a lot of vowels and “th” sounds in the names of the O’Mondim, Valorim and Ethelim, and I had a hard time distinguishing who belonged to which group. But that’s probably just me.
What Came From the Stars is probably best for fifth through eighth grade readers. It would make a wonderful audio book for a family car trip. The book balances well between science fiction and a realistic school story. Tommy Pepper has some problems, and his friends rally around him to help him deal with them. Yes, he is dealing with inter-galactic technology and aliens, but at heart, this is a story about love and life and loss.
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Georges (the s is silent) is not happy to be leaving the house he grew up in, but his father has lost his job and is still looking for a new one. In order to save money, they had to sell the house and move into a small apartment. They’re in an entirely different neighborhood, but still close enough so that Georges can go to the same school. Not that that’s a huge benefit, since Georges best friend dumped him the year before to sit with the cool crowd, and Georges hasn’t really made too many other friends. Georges tends to end up at the table with the other outcasts, like Bob English Who Draws.
Living in a apartment building is very different from living in a house. There are people coming and going on the time, and your neighbors are a lot closer. When Georges and his father go down into the basement to look over their new shared laundry room and garbage cans, Georges’ dad sees a sign for an upcoming Spy Club meeting. Georges’ dad writes “what time?” on the announcement. When the reply is penciled in the next day, Georges decides to go. (Or maybe his father pushed him into it.) At any rate, Georges meets Safer and his little sister Candy.
The Spy Club turns out to be an excuse for Safer to get Georges to be his second in command and spy on Mr. X, another tenant in the building. Safer is convinced that Mr. X is up to no good, and has something to hide. Georges goes along with it, learning techniques of observation and spying skills. He also starts to spend some time with Safer’s eccentric family when his father is away or visiting his mother at work.
At school, Georges is spending more time with Bob English Who Draws, and finds that maybe being picked on by the popular kids isn’t something he has to just take. As time goes by, Georges finds that living in an apartment is still something to get used to though, even though he and his father are taking it one day at a time.
The audio for Liar & Spy is excellent. I really enjoyed listening to the recording. This is a book where things unfold very slowly, and although the clues are there, it’s not until later that you see them. The narrator’s voice fits the story well.
I did have one problem though…although I wanted to, I really didn’t like Safer. Because I listened to the book rather than read it, I don’t know if it was the character’s actions or the voice the narrator chose to use for him. Since I had a pretty quick reaction to the voice though, I think it was that. I’m not sure if my take on the book might have been different if I had read it rather than listened.
Liar & Spy is an interesting book about a boy who is trying to figure out what friendship really means. He’s also dealing with quite a few changes in his life, and some issues that he doesn’t even want to acknowledge. It’s probably best for readers in fifth through eighth grades, but a mature fourth grade reader would probably enjoy it too.
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So, there you have it. Three VERY long reviews of three very different books. I think I’m going to go for humor next time!