Five Books Featuring…Magicians!

Did you know that we just celebrated International Magic Week?  At the library we had a display of our books on famous magicians (Harry Houdini, Adelaide Herrmann, Harry Keller, Sid Fleischman),  books on how to perform magic tricks (J 793.8), and middle grade fiction featuring magicians and kids learning how to be magicians (the rabbit-producing kind of magic, not Harry Potter magic).

Because there were several fun and exciting titles, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for a Five Books Featuring… book post!  So, here you go:  Five Books Featuring…Magicians!  Just know they’re the performing kind, not the fantasy wizard-y magic-making type of magic.

Our Five Books Featuring are five books related by topic–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite of library staff–but you’ll have to guess which is which! Each book has a short synopsis and link to the book in the catalog, so you can easily find and request it.

Read on!

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AbrakaPOW   by Isaiah Campbellabrakapow
Try as she might, cheeky middle schooler Maxine Larousse (aka The Amazing Max) has yet to learn the one magic trick she needs the most: how to reappear in New York City. That is where she used to live with her parents before her father, Major Larousse, was put in charge of a Nazi POW camp in Abilene, Texas. At least in this desolate wasteland she’ll have plenty of time to practice her illusions, even if the only audience member is her ferret Houdini.
When she’s tasked with entertaining the Nazi prisoners with a magic show, the pressure may be too much. But with the help of some classmates and an unexpected magic expert, the performance is a hit–until twelve Nazi prisoners escape during her final act. Will Max be able to track them down before her reputation as a magician is destroyed forever?
Based on a true story of a prisoner escape during WWII.

The Magic Trap by Jacqueline Daviesmagic trap
A magic show, card tricks, and a disappearing rabbit named Professor Hoffman—Jess and Evan Treski are at it again as they try to put on a professional magic show in their own backyard. They practice, they study, and they practice some more.  But will they be able to put on the show? Maybe not! With the show date coming up, so is an approaching hurricane. But nothing prepares them for what blows into town next… Their father, who has done a good job of disappearing over the past few years.
Jessie and Evan have waged a lemonade war, sought justice in a class trial,  unmasked a bell thief, and stood at opposite ends over the right to keep secrets.  Now they take on the challenges of magic and illusion all while discovering some hidden truths about their own family.  The fourth book the the Lemonade War series, this can be read as a stand-alone…but read the whole series!

The Vanishing Coin by Kate Eganvanishing coin
Want to see something cool?  I can make that quarter vanish.  All it takes is a little magic…
Fourth grade was supposed to be a fresh start, but Mike’s already back in the principal’s office. He’s not a bad kid. He just can’t sit still. And now, his parents won’t let him play soccer anymore; instead he has to hang out with his new neighbor Nora, who is good at everything!
Then Mike and Nora discover the White Rabbit. It’s an odd shop–with a special secret inside. Its owner, Mr. Zerlin, is a magician, and, amazingly, he believes Mike could be a magician, too. Has Mike finally found something he’s good at?  The first in a fun series…with an afterword that lets you learn some of the same tricks Mike performs!

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evanshortens miraculous
Enter a wonderful world filled with magic, mystery, and danger.
As if being small and having S. Horten as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony–a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth–and Tony’s marvelous, long-lost workshop.  Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who’s also desperate to get hold of Tony’s treasures.  Who will find the workshop–and the valuable secrets within–first?

Mr Mysterious and Company  by Sid Fleischmanmr mysterious
A magic show is in town! See Jane float through the air. Watch the head in the box move its lips and talk (that’s Paul behind the whiskers). See tall, light-hearted Mr. Mysterious–Pa himself–make a cow lay an egg and a chicken give milk. Follow the adventures and high comedy of this family of magicians traveling in a show wagon through the Old West. The wonder workers are heading for California, where Pa intends to retire the show so that the kids can go to school. But the frontier has tricks of its own up its sleeve, and the magicians find themselves in hairbreadth escapes and nose-to-nose encounters with villains galore.  Mr. Mysterious & Company (otherwise known as the Hackett family)  is a traveling magic show making its way across the country toward California. When this family passes through town in their brightly painted wagon, anything can happen–even the capture of a notorious bandit, the Badlands Kid!

The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harrismagic misfits
When street magician Carter runs away from his uncle, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.
After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth through some tricky situations.  Magic Misfits: The Second Story has just been released, and there are four titles projected for this series.
(Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Congratulations on reading this far. As a reward, I’ll let you in on a little secret… This book isn’t just a book. It’s a treasure trove of secrets and ciphers and codes and even tricks. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll discover more than just a story–you’ll learn how to make your own magic!)

Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana Lopeznothing up my sleeve
When sixth-grade best friends Loop, Dominic, and Z stumble on a new magic store in town, they quickly decide to become amateur magicians and participate in a competition held by the Texas Association of Magicians.  They can’t wait to spend their summer mastering cool tricks to gain access to the Vault, a key holders-only back room bound to hold all kinds of secrets.  They work on their card tricks, sleights, and vanishing acts, trying to come up with the most awesome routines possible….Problem is, the trip is expensive, and it’s money that each guy’s family just doesn’t have. To make things worse, the shop-owners’ daughter, Ariel (who just so happens to be last year’s competition winner), will do anything to make sure the boys don’t come out on top. Even pit them against one another. Will these friends make it to the competition? And if so, at what cost?

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Oh dear.  My list of five has magically expanded.  Well, all the better for reading! 🙂

If you would like any other books about magicians, magic or anything else, ask one of our librarians for help.  We always like matching books and readers!  Until then…

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

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Five Books Featuring…Elephants on Adventures!

Elephants!  What’s not to love?  One of my favorite books growing up was Little Burma, by Robert McClung.  It was about a boy in Revolutionary America, who rescued a baby elephant and tried to help him, after they both escaped from a traveling side show.  It’s not available in Minuteman, but my old, beat up copy is still somewhere in my mom’s attic.  Elephant adventures have always been appealing since then, the more adventurous, the better!

So this week, when two brand new adventures featuring elephants and kids came in for the kids collection, it seemed like a great time to feature an animal everyone loves.  And so, for our first entry back after way too long, we present…Five Books Featuring…Elephant Adventures!

Our Five Books Featuring are five books related by topic–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite of library staff–but you’ll have to guess which is which! Each book has a short synopsis and link to the book in the catalog, so you can easily find and request it.

Read on!

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elephant in the darkCarrick, Carol.  The Elephant in the Dark
With a sick mother and nowhere else to go, Will Sleeper is taken in by the Sandersons, the village storekeeper and his wife.  His duties will be to help feed and care for Toong, an elephant they are boarding for the winter. Even though at first Will is afraid of Toong, after he loses his mother some of Will’s grief and loneliness are eased by the friendship that develops between the boy and the elephant.
As they spend more time together, Toong learns to accept Will’s directions and even lets him rides on her back. But just when Will becomes comfortable with the Sandersons and with Toong, the elephant is sold. This time, Will isn’t willing to be left behind, and he determinedly follows Toong and her new owners on foot, sure that his destiny and Toong’s are intertwined and that they belong together.
Although Will is fictional, this story is based on a real elephant, Old Bet, who toured Massachusetts and New England in the early 1800s.

Harris, R.P.  Tua and the Elephanttua and the elephant
Tua–Thai for “peanut”–has everything she needs at home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, except for one thing she’s always wanted: a sister. In the market one day, Tua makes an accidental acquaintance–one with wise, loving eyes, remarkable strength, and a very curious trunk. And when Tua meets Pohn-Pohn, it’s clear this elephant needs her help. Together, the unusual team sets off on a remarkable journey to escape from Pohn-Pohn’s vile captors. From the bustling night market to the hallowed halls of a Buddhist temple and finally, to the sanctuary of an elephant refuge, this clever girl and her beloved companion find that right under their noses is exactly what each has been searching for: a friend.

High, Linda Oatman.  One Amazing Elephant one amazing elephant
Lily Pruitt loves her grandparents, but she doesn’t love the circus–and the circus is their life. If your mother were a trapeze artist and your grandparents traveled with a circus, you might imagine that you’d get such perks as free cotton candy, the chance to befriend sideshow performers, and behind-the-scenes tours. While this lifestyle might excite most tweens, Lily Pruitt views the circus as dangerous. She’s perfectly happy to stay with her father, away from her neglectful mother and her grandfather’s beloved elephant, Queenie Grace.
Then Grandpa Bill dies, and both Lily and Queenie Grace are devastated. When Lily travels to Florida for the funeral, she keeps her distance from the elephant. But the two are mourning the same man–and form a bond born of loss. And when Queenie Grace faces danger, Lily must come up with a plan to help save her friend.

Kehret, Peg.  Saving Lillysaving lilly
Erin Wrenn and her friend David are in big trouble when they refuse to go on a field trip to the Glitter Tent Circus. They wrote a report on the sad lives of circus animals and discovered that the Glitter Tent Circus is one of the worst animal abusers of all. However, their teacher Mrs. Dawson is determined to give her students the happy circus experience she remembers from her childhood; she won’t let Erin and David share their report or pass around a petition asking for a different field trip. Erin is determined to force Mrs. Dawson to change her plans…or she’ll stage a sit-in at school.
Then Erin sees an even bigger problem: Lilly, a mistreated elephant, is about to be sold to a hunting park. How can she save Lilly before it’s too late? It seems impossible.
Can one girl — and an entire class of sixth graders – really make a difference?

Kelly, Lynne.  Chainedchained
After Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, but he knows that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape.

Kerr, Jane.  The Elephant Thiefelephant thief
When young pickpocket Danny accidentally buys an elephant at an auction, he finds himself swept up on an unforgettable adventure. Offered a job by a zookeeper, all he has to do is ride Maharajah from Edinburgh to Manchester in one week.  Everyone in the country is watching, even the Queen, but the journey soon proves to be filled with drama and danger. A rival zookeeper will stop at nothing to make sure they fail, and soon Danny’s shady connections from his past threaten to overturn the mission.  Can Danny win the trust and friendship of the elephant and guide him home? Can the two of them stick together through the odds and win the day?

Morpurgo, Michael.  An Elephant in the Gardenelephant in the garden
Frail and in a nursing home, Lizzie recalls when she was a teen and her family, including an elephant named Marlene, escaped the devastating 1945 bombing of Dresden, Germany…
Lizzie and Karl’s mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene.  Because of the war, Marlene is supposed to be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals don’t run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead.
Marlene takes to her new family, particularly to Lizzie’s little brother, Karli, and when the bombers actually do arrive, Marlene accompanies them on their flight across Germany, away from the invading Russians and toward the advancing American army. Along the way, they meet a wounded Canadian soldier, who himself becomes an integral part of this makeshift family.
Inspired by a true story about an elephant rescued from a Belfast zoo during WWII.

Walters, Eric.  Elephant Secretelephant secret
Samantha Gray is known as the “elephant girl.” She lives with her Dad and helps care for all the elephants in her family’s sanctuary. Raised close with the herd, Sam’s ability to connect with the elephants transcends human understanding. In fact, she bonds and interacts with the elephants much better than she does with people; especially with her dad’s new girlfriend, Joyce.
When a beloved elephant dies giving birth, Sam develops a connection with baby Woolly–who isn’t actually an elephant but was cloned from woolly mammoth DNA. The family is horrified to discover that the billionaire genius behind the cloning experiment will stop at nothing to protect his investment.
Smart, determined, and loving, Sam stands up to this powerful adversary to protect the sanctuary and her family…her herd.

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(Shhh…we’ll just pretend there were just five books, not eight.  I couldn’t decide which book to pick for the “new” choice!)   So many elephants, so many good reading choices!  Some of them we even have as audio books, so they would be good family choices as well.

Most of these books are middle grade, which means they would be good for third through sixth grade readers.  If you’re an elephant fan, you can’t go wrong with one of these choices.  So try one and see what you think.  And because I found so MANY elephant adventures, this would be a good place to put the rest of the elephant books.  No blurbs to entice you as a reader, but every single one of these is a great book to read.

Applegate, Katherine.  The One and Only Ivan
Burchett, J.  Safari Survival
DiCamillo, Kate.  The Magician’s Elephant
Dinerstein, Eric. What Elephants Know
Jacobson, Jennifer.  Small as an Elephant
Kadohata, Cynthia.  A Million Shades of Gray
McCall Smith, Alexander.  Akimbo and the Elephants
St. John, Lauren.  The Elephant’s Tale
Smith, Roland.  Thunder Cave

 

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Book Reviews from Summer Readers!

It’s Summer…and that means Summer Reading!  More specifically, it means the Library’s Summer Reading Program…with lots of kids reading and writing reviews.

Here are a few of our favorites from the last week:

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This book is called The Frog Princess, by ED. Baker.

frog princessIn this book, Princess Emma, an aspiring witch from the kingdom of Greater Greensward, is persuaded into kissing a frog who claims to be Prince Eadric of Upper Montevista.

He claims that, if he is kissed by a princess, he will return to his true form as a prince. But when Emma kisses him, the spell backfires, and she is turned into a frog, too!

Emma is determined to find the solution to this curse that she receives, especially since that she doesn’t want to be stuck as a frog forever with her only companion the ever-annoying Eadric.

Emma goes to her aunt Grassina — Green Witch and protector of Greater Greensward — for advice. After being locked up in a witch named Vannabe’s house, meeting a bat named Li’l Stinker, meeting three spiders, one, who apparently was very knowledgeable about knots, AND meeting a snake named Fang, and his girlfriend, Clarisse.

Grassina tells Emma that her bracelet — the one that Grassina gave Emma for her birthday to protect her — backfires any curse that is put upon Emma, and, therefore, backfired on her when she kissed Eadric, turning her into a frog. Grassina tells her that she must find the bracelet and wear it while kissing Eadric again.

Emma knows that an otter took her bracelet when she turned into a frog. She, Grassina, and Eadric go looking for the otter. But when they find him, Emma sees a problem: Otters eat frogs.

Emma comes up with a plan to trick the otter. She will disguise as the Swamp Fairy and demand the otter to give up the bracelet. Every living thing with common sense knows not to anger a fairy. (A fairy can be nasty when angry.) But the otter isn’t very wise, and Emma finds herself turning the otter blue.

But her plan backfires after she gets the bracelet and meets the REAL Swamp Fairy, who demands a price for being impersonated. Emma and Eadric give her the vile of Dragon’s Breath that they had collected back in Vannabe’s cottage. But the fairy demands the BRACELET.

Emma and Eadric say NO. They tell the fairy about their mission to get back into their human forms. When the fairy hears that, she quickly takes back her request.

Emma and Eadric try the kiss again. This time, with Emma wearing the bracelet. IT WORKS!

Meanwhile, Grassina has been acting funny. When Emma and Eadric find her, she is stroking the otter’s ears and rubbing his fur. When Emma questions her, she says that the otter is her betrothed, Haywood, and it turns out that Grassina’s mother hadn’t turned Haywood into a frog when she got mad at him. She turned him into an otter!

I like this book because it has a lot of humor and suspense, and best of all, there’s a sequel!

By BS, entering grade 4

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Ghosts By: Rina Telgelmeir

ghosts rainaGhosts is about a girl who moves to Southern California because her sister needs to be more healthy. The girl’s name is Cat and her sister’s name is Maya. Maya has a hard time breathing. When the two sisters meet ghosts, they swarm around Maya and she had to go to the hospital. She stays in the hospital for a while but then gets better. She has always loved ghosts and Cat introduces a nice and friendly ghost and they play together!! Although Maya has a hard time breathing they have a lot of fun together! I like this book because the author keeps me interested!

By HP, entering grade 5

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UnSouled By Neal Shustermanunsouled

It is the 3rd book in the UnWind dystology and it’s REALLY GOOD! Connor gets captured by his fan. Then Lev saves him and Connor’s fan’s sister, Grace. Connor,Lev and Grace go to Arápache reservation after Connor hits Lev with a car and needs to save him. Starkey creates an army of storks and hangs 5 people from a ceiling fan. Cam comes to the Arápache reservation and he has Wil’s hands and part of his brain!!!!!!!! Then Una and him kiss!!!!! (Una was Wil’s fiancé) Then Connor, Grace, and Cam all leave together and at the end get reunited with Risa and Sonia! And Sonia tells them about a body parts printer, the solution to stopping unwinding!!! And then the book ends :(, and I must start UnDivided :)!!!!

By CL – entering 5th grade

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Milk To Ice Cream By Lisa M Herrington milk to ice cream
This taught me about ice cream and that milk is the step they need the most. .I Ilke this book because I love to eat ice cream. The end.

By RR, entering grade 2

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Title: Charlie Joe Jacksons Guide To Not Growing Up
Author:Tommy Greenwaldcharlie joe jackson's guide to not growing up
Well the thing that I loved about this book is that I think the same I think that you can do whatever you want when you grow up but thats not all true when I read this book I am loving it now that I’m a child but I don’t want to grow up until I read this book so basically this book inspired me to enjoy being a child but don’t be afraid of growing up. So this is one of my favorite books.

By AS, entering grade 6

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So…just a handful of some early reviews.  We’re hoping for quite a few more by the end of August.   We are all eager to read some new recommendations, and to share them with others..  These five reviews are great examples; they’re all a little different, but they all have some information about what the book is about, followed by the reviewer’s opinion of the book–why they liked it.  (Or didn’t like it, if you didn’t.)  That’s what a true review is all about.

You too can join the Weston Library Summer Reading Program, for fun and for prizes!  Just sign up online at http://WestonLibrary.org/Just-for-Kids and join the Libraries Rock Elementary Program.  We’ll be happy to read your reviews too!  If you’d like your review featured here  on our blog, just add a note to the bottom to that effect.

Happy Summer, and Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Five Books Featuring…Robin Hood!

What’s better on a grey rainy day than something green?  Put yourself in the mindset of merry old England, with these books featuring  the legendary outlaw Robin Hood!  Okay, so one of our books is a dystopia, one is set in space, and there are just as many female as male Robin Hoods in this list…it’s not exactly the same Sherwood Forest you might have heard about.  But if you try one of these adventurous tales, you’ll be sure to be thinking about the myths and the legends (and the re-imaginings) of Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Little John, Will Scarlet and the rest of the Merry Men!

Our Five Books Featuring are five books related by topic–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite of library staff–but you’ll have to guess which is which! Each book has a short synopsis and link to the book in the catalog, so you can easily find and request it.

Read on!

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Five Books based on the Legend of Robin Hood…

Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody
will in scarletWill Shackley is the son of a lord, and though just thirteen, he’s led a charmed, protected life as heir to Shackley House.   While his father is away on the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart, the winds of treason sweep across England.  Shackley House becomes caught up in a dangerous power struggle when King Richard’s brother John tries to take the throne and sends his representative to take Will into custody. After wounding Sir Guy’s manservant with a sword, Will becomes an outlaw and flees to Sherwood Forest, taking the name Will Scarlet. He joins a ragtag band of thieves and, bent on revenge, throws himself into adventures that force him to face hard truths and figure out where his path lies.

League of Archers by Eva Howard
league of archersSent to live in a nunnery after her mother’s death, Ellie spends her days as a novice nun and her evenings hunting in the woods with her friends. She and her friends call themselves The League of Archers, and try to be like their hero Robin Hood by sneaking out to hunt on the lands belonging to the village Baron and stealing from him to feed their poor neighbors. One night, Ellie encounters a mysterious man in the woods, wounded by a poisonous arrow. She brings him back to the nunnery only to discover that he is Robin Hood and the kind abbess of the nunnery is Maid Marion.
With the abbess’s secret revealed, the Baron immediately arrests Marian. But he needs a scapegoat for the murder of Robin Hood, and who better than a young novice nun? Ellie is proclaimed a hero–the person who killed the famous outlaw Robin Hood–but the villagers don’t agree.  Now Ellie is on the run, and Marian set to hang unless the League of Archers can find a way to contact the disbanded Merry Men and mount a rescue.
Will Ellie and her League of Archers be able to find the real killer, free Maid Marian, and keep Robin Hood’s legacy alive?

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
outlaws of sherwoodRobin is an apprentice forester in the woods of Nottingham. The arrows he makes and sells earn barely enough extra coin to retain the title to his father’s small lands. The sheriff of Nottingham’s jealousy toward Robin’s father is just as fierce towards his son, and the sheriff’s men take every opportunity to harass the young woodsman. When Robin defends himself and accidentally kills one of the sheriff’s men, he flees to Sherwood Forest, knowing that he has not only lost his father’s land and good name forever, but that he will live the rest of his days as a hunted man.
Joined by his friends Much and Lady Marian, who both believe the disaster that has befallen Robin is also an opportunity for others cast out or outlawed in ways equally unjust, to gather together. As more and more people join them, Robin builds a community of Saxon outlaws deep in Sherwood who risk the gallows and the sword for the sake of justice and freedom.

Shadows of Sherwood by Scott Magoon
shadows of sherwoodOne night when after returning from a midnight adventure scavenging for the poor of Nott City, Robyn Loxley finds her parents missing and her home in disarray. Grabbing the secret items her father has trained her to take in case of emergency, Robyn flees. Following the advice of her parents to head for the woods, she ventures into rough-and-tumble neighboring Sherwood City.  Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers-misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown’s merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can’t rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.
If you liked Shadows of Sherwood, you should read Rebellion of Thieves and Reign of Outlaws, the next two books in the Robyn Hoodlum Adventures .

Robin Hood: The One Who Looked Good in Green by Wendy Mass
robin hood looked good in greenRobin has a bad habit of getting into trouble–and a better habit of getting out of it (barely). He lives on an isolated outpost in the middle of nowhere and has no idea why his parents disappeared years ago. Then a strange delivery arrives at his doorstep.
Marian was raised to be a powerless girl in a very powerful family. But that hasn’t stopped her from making her own adventures – and trespassing in some places her parents definitely don’t want her to see. She has no idea what life should be like outside of her home–until a mysterious invitation forces her to leave everything behind.
Robin and Marian have lived very different lives in very different places. Their paths should never, ever cross–but before they know it, they are thrown together on a quest that requires legendary bravery, quick-witted escapes, and the ability to get along. With each other!  The sky’s no longer the limit on what Robin and Marian can do, as long as they manage do it together!

 

 

 

Five Books Featuring…Summer Vacation!

Are you ready for summer? I am!  Heat, sand, waves and relaxation…what’s not to love?  And while you’re enjoying that sunny, stretched out time, you should bring along a book featuring an adventure during summer vacation!  Just promise not to drop it in the sand or the sea while you’re relaxing!  😀

Our Five Books Featuring are five related Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite of library staff–but you’ll have to guess which is which! Each book has a short synopsis and link to the book in the catalog, so you can easily find and request it.

Read on!

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The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker
hotel under the sandEmma is lost at sea in a terrible storm. She awakens on a desolate island, frightened and lonely. Yet brave, quick-witted Emma will not be alone for long, as the ghost of a bellboy appears with the tragic tale.
More than a century ago, a brilliant inventor built a splendid Victorian resort, the Grand Wenlocke. The hotel was powered by a Difference Engine, a miraculous device that could slow down time (making your vacation just as long as you’d like). But just before it was scheduled to open, the Grand Wenlocke mysteriously sank under the sand. Now the storm that brought Emma to the island has awakened the hotel, perfectly preserved and as incredible as ever.
While exploring the magical hotel, Emma encounters a kind-hearted cook and her faithful little dog, a seemingly fearsome pirate captain, and the imperious young heir to the Wenlocke fortune (should it ever be recovered). Adventure, friendship, peril, and perhaps even treasure–all these and more await Emma at the hotel under the sand.

Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blumefudge-a-mania
Fudge is back–and driving his brother Peter crazy, as usual. This five-year-old human hurricane is more trouble than ever. His latest plan is to marry Peter’s sworn enemy, Sheila Tubman (how disgusting!).
But Peter’s problems are about to get worse. His parents have decided to try a new vacation spot–Maine.  And Sheila’s parents have told them there’s a perfect spot to go, right next door to them–and they can be there the same time.  Only, once Peter and his family get there, it turns out that “next door” actually means “share”–as in the Tubmans and the Hatchers will be sharing the house. And Peter will be stuck with Fudge and Sheila the Cootie Queen for three whole weeks!
It’s going to be an unforgettable (and hilarious) trip for both families, filled with old friends and new ones, plenty of surprises and lots of laughs. It may not be the vacation of Peter’s dreams. But with Fudge around, anything can happen…and does!

The Worry Week by Anne Lindbergworry week
Spending the summer at their summer cottage on an island in Maine is always the best part of the year–at least for Allegra and her two sisters, Alice and Minnow.  So when their parents announce that they have to return to Boston for a funeral, and are planning to leave the girls with stuffy Aunt Edna on the mainland, the girls are understandably upset.
But when Aunt Edna calls their mother to tell them she’s broken her ankle and can’t take them, Allegra doesn’t pass on the message.  A week alone on the island sounds like heaven to Allegra…and she manages to convince her sisters that she’ll take care of everything.  She even entices them with a search for treasure rumored to be hidden in their cottage.
But upon their return to the cottage, they discover that their mother had packed up all the food and most of their clothing.  Suddenly Allegra is in charge of finding food and managing their survival…and she learns that parenting is not easy!

Quicksand Pond by Janet Lislequicksand pond
The pond is called Quicksand Pond.
It’s a shadowy, hidden place, full of chirping, shrieking, croaking life. It’s where, legend has it, people disappear. It’s where scrappy Terri Carr lives with her no-good family. And it’s where twelve-year-old Jessie Kettel is reluctantly spending her summer vacation.
Jessie meets Terri on a raft out in the water, and the two become fast friends. On Quicksand Pond, Jessie and Terri can be lost to the outside world–lost until they want to be found. But a tragedy that occurred many decades ago has had lingering effects on this sleepy town, and especially on Terri Carr. And the more Jessie learns, the more she begins to question her new friendship–and herself.

Notations of Cooper Cameron by Jane O’Reillynotations of cooper cameron
Cooper Cameron likes things to be in order. When he eats, he chews every bite three times on each side. Sometimes he washes his hands in the air with invisible water. He invented these rituals after the death of his beloved grandfather to protect others he loves from terrible harm.
But when Cooper’s strange behavior drives a wedge between his parents, and his relationship with his older sister, Caddie, begins to fray, his mother’s only solution is to take Cooper and Caddie to the family cabin for the summer.
Armed with a collection of rocks, his pet frog, and his notebook, Cooper vows to cure himself and bring his damaged family back together.

There’s our Five!  But if  you would like to read even more vacation stories, try these as well:  (The difference in these titles is that they take place at home during summer vacation…not away from home on a vacation trip.  I suppose we could have saved them for another Five Books Featuring….but just click on the links and you can get a summary.)

Summer of Lost and Found by Rebecca Behrens
The Misfits Club by Kieran Crowley
Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation by Tommy Greenberg
Welcome to Dog Beach by Lisa Greenwald
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sarah Pennypacker
Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstub

summer of lost and foundmisfits clubcharlie joe jacksons guide to summersummer of the gypsy mothscody and the fountain

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Are you going away for vacation this summer?  Are you planning to read?  (At the beach or otherwhere?)  Do you know that we have a great Summer Reading Program for kids in First through Sixth Grades?

We also have a Teen Reading Program for Middle and High School students and a Young Readers Program for kids ages three to six!  Come by the library for more information, or keep an eye on BellaOnBooks.  We will post all of our Summer Reading Info over the next few weeks.  The important date to remember is June 16th, which is the Friends Summer BookSale and the first day you can sign up for the Summer Reading Programs!

Pick up a book about summer vacation and start reading FOR summer vacation!  If you would like any recommendations for books to keep you busy this summer, stop by the library.  We’d LOVE to give you some suggestions!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Five Books Featuring…Boston!

Our last Five Books Featuring featured two sets of siblings from the Boston area–the March sisters and the Penderwick sisters.  So going from there, here are five more books featuring Boston…just in time for tourist season.  If you’re going to be poking around on the Freedom Trail, or dashing into Zoo New England or even visiting Faneuil Hall, you might want to read one of these books first to get your bearings!

Our Five Books Featuring are five related Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite of library staff–but you’ll have to guess which is which! Each book has a short synopsis and link to the book in the catalog, so you can easily find and request it.

Read on!

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13 hangmen13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau
Being 13 is strange enough, but Tony DiMarco is extra baffled when his great-uncle Angelo, whom he hardly knows, mails him legendary Red Sox player Ted Williams’s original baseball cap on his 13th birthday, then promptly dies and bequeaths him an entire town house in Boston’s North End. And that’s just the beginning!
Some people won’t believe any of this story. You might be one of them.
Tony makes new friends as soon as he moves into the house; five 13-year-old boys, all of whom are living in the same house in the same attic bedroom– but at different times in history.  None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure… 

nicky flynnHow I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (And a Dog!) by Art Corriveau
Nicky Flynn’s life just got a whole lot harder. His parents are going through a messy divorce, and as a result he’s starting a new life.  Suddenly he and his mom are in a tiny apartment in the North End of Boston, and he’s starting a new school. Now his mom has brought home Reggie, an eighty-pound German shepherd fresh from the animal shelter, who used to be a seeing-eye dog. At first Nick isn’t sure about this canine intrusion–it’s just another in a series of difficult changes. Soon, however, Nick is on the path to solving a mystery–why would a seeing-eye dog be left at an animal shelter?  He follows Reggie along the Freedom Trail to his old master’s haunts, and along the way discovers that Reggie is a true friend he can rely on. But when he tries to reconnect with his dad, Nick puts everything on the line, including the life of his new best friend.

last gargoyleThe Last Gargoyle by Paul Dunham
Penhallow is the last of his kind. The stone gargoyle–he’d prefer you call him a grotesque–fearlessly protects his Boston building from the spirits who haunt the night. But even he is outmatched when Hetty, his newest ward, nearly falls victim to the Boneless King, the ruler of the underworld.
Then there’s Viola, the mysterious girl who keeps turning up at the most unlikely times. In a world where nightmares come to life, Viola could be just the ally Penhallow needs. But can he trust her when every shadow hides another secret? Can he afford not to?

The Time Garden by Edward Eagertime garden
Cousins Roger, Ann, Jack and Eliza are excited to spend their summer vacation together…until they learn they’re not going to England with their parents, but instead being sent to a country estate near Boston.  But once they’re at the estate, their disappointment wears off when they discover a magical thyme garden and a talking Natterjack, which grants them all their time-traveling wishes…almost.   From midnight rides with Paul Revere to meeting the March sisters to visiting the court of Queen Elizabeth I, there are no limits to their fun this summer!
Of course, if you enjoy visiting The Time Garden, you might have to read the other books Edward Eager wrote about these cousins who travel in time, as well as their parents, who started the trend!

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbesjohnny tremain
Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper,The Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington.  To read this riveting novel is to live through the defining events leading up to the American Revolutionary War.

    Uh-oh…5 already?  It’s our state!   How about we double that number..?

alvin ho allergic to girlsAlvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
Alvin, who loves superheroes and comes from a long line of brave Chinese farmer-warriors, wants to make friends, but first he must overcome his fears.  But Alvin is afraid of everything–elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all?  School. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.  Whether they are fearful or brave, kids will smile at Alvin’s scrapes and empathize with his concerns.

anastasia krupnik photoAnastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
To Anastasia Krupnik, being ten is very confusing. For one thing, she has this awful teacher who can’t understand why Anastasia doesn’t capitalize or punctuate her poems. Then, there’s Washburn Cummings, a very interesting sixth-grade boy who doesn’t even know she is alive. Even her parents have become difficult. They insist she visit her 92-year-old grandmother who can never remember Anastasia’s name. On top of that, they’re going to have a baby — at their age! It’s enough to make a kid want to do something terrible. Anastasia knows that if she didn’t have her secret green notebook to write in, she would never make it to her eleventh birthday.
Once you’ve read all of Anastasia’s adventures, you can try All About Sam, the first book of her brother Sam’s adventures.  (Psst…make sure you check out the dedication!)

taking care of terrific 80sTaking Care of Terrific by Lois Lowry
Fourteen year old Enid takes a job for the summer babysitting.  Her charge is  four-year-old Joshua Warwick Cameron IV.  Babysitting seems like an ordinary thing to do, but Enid definitely sets her sights on having a more-than-ordinary summer. She decides to spend the summer meeting new people and maybe becoming a new person herself.  The perfect place to do that?  The Boston Public Garden.
Enid and Joshua change their names (to Cynthia and Tom Terrific) and start making new friends with unexpected people.  But soon things don’t go as planned, and Cynthia–Enid–is in the middle of a mess.  Will her new friends come to her aid?

black moon risingBlack Moon Rising by D. J. MacHale
Marcus is an agent of the Library–a place filled with tales that don’t have an ending. Mysteries that won’t be solved until Marcus and his friends Theo and Lu step in to finish them. Before it’s too late…
Because mysterious accidents are disturbing a middle school in Massachusetts. Windows shatter for no reason. Bleachers collapse at a pep rally. Most of the students think they’re just having a string of bad luck, but Marcus suspects something a lot more dangerous. Something like witchcraft. When the black moon rises, this story must come to an end . . . one way or another.
This is the second book in MacHale’s The Library series, so you may have to read The Curse of the Boggin, book one, first.

colonial madnessColonial Madness by Jo Whittemore
Tori Porter is best friends with her mom, and most of the time it’s awesome. Not many girls have a mom who’d take them to a graveyard for hide-and-seek or fill the bathtub with ice cream for the world’s biggest sundae. But as much as Tori loves having fun, she sometimes wishes her mom would act a little more her age.
Thanks to her mom’s poor financial planning, they are in danger of losing their business and their home. But an unusual opportunity arises in the form of a bizarre type of contest put on by an eccentric relative: Whoever can survive two weeks in the Archibald Family’s colonial manor will inherit the property. The catch? Contestants have to live as in colonial times: no modern conveniences, no outside help, and daily tests of their abilities to survive challenges of the time period.
Tori thinks it’s the perfect answer to their debt problems, but she and her mom aren’t the only ones interested. The other family members seem to be much more prepared for the two weeks on the manor–and it doesn’t help that Mom doesn’t seem to be taking the contest seriously. Do they stand a chance?

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There you have it!  Five…er, ten…books set in and around Boston.  That’s not even going into some other favorite series, like Judy Moody, Magnus Chase, Clementine and Stink!  Give one or two a read, and see if you recognize where you are.  Then let us know what you think!

As always, if you need help finding these or any other books in the Library, please ask one of our Librarians for help.  We always love to match kids and books!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Book & Audio Review: Beyond the Bright Sea

Are you a summer visitor to the Cape?  Does the idea of living on an island fill you with delight?  How about adding a bit of treasure hunting, and an unsolved mystery?  If all of those things sound enticing, you’ll love this book!

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beyond the bright seaBeyond the Bright Sea
By Lauren Wolk, Read by Jorjeana Marie
6 CDs, 7 hours, 16 minutes

Crow lives on a nameless, tiny island; part of the Elizabeth Islands, off the cost of Massachusetts.  As long as she remembers, she’s been there with Osh.  But she wasn’t born there.  No, Osh found her as a tiny wailing baby, only hours old, in a small boat, washed up on the shore.  He took her in, cleaned her up, and fed her.  Now they live together in the tiny island home Osh created for them, surrounded by the sea and Osh’s art.

If she’d been a normal baby, someone would probably have taken her away from Osh, thinking he wasn’t fit to raise a small girl.  But Crow wasn’t what most of the islanders would call normal–too sickly, her eyes and skin too dark, her arrival on the small skiff too mysterious.  But most of all, people were afraid that she came from Penekese,   Penikese, the island next closest to their tiny island after Cuttyhunk.  Penikese, home of the leper colony.  Not knowing where Crow came from makes everyone on Cuttyhunk and the other small islands worried that Crow is dangerous.

But it doesn’t bother Crow, not really.  She has her island, she has Osh, and she has Miss Maggie, who she visits almost every day on her farm across the sandbar and who worries over her just as much as Osh does.  Crow also has her imagination and her curiosity.

But Crow’s life changes when she spots a fire over on Penikese, and she starts questioning everything she knows.  Once her curiosity is roused, she starts to look for answers to some of her questions:  Where did she come from?  Who are her “real” parents and why did they send her away?  What is her “real” name?  Why are there lights on Penikese and who is over there?

As Crow searches for answers, she finds herself on a dangerous path, involving menacing strangers and missing treasures.  Will she get her answers, or will she endanger the life she already has?

beyond the bright sea audioThe audio recording for Beyond the Bright Sea is absolutely marvelous.  Jorjeana Marie is suburb; her narration of Lauren Wolk’s gorgeous prose perfectly suits the story and the characters.  You’ll feel like you’re right there beside Crow as she explores the world around her.  I can’t say enough about how beautiful both the story and the narration of that story are.  It’s a perfect package.

Beyond the Bright Sea is perfect for anyone who likes stories of growing up, of discovering who you are, and of carefully plotted mysteries.  The writing is gorgeous.  It’s written for fourth through sixth grades, but the audio recording would be good for kids ages 8 through adults.  If you have ever visited Cape Cod, or are planning to visit, you should read this book: the portrait of the Elizabeth Islands and life on the Cape in the early part of the century is amazing.  You’ll be left wanting to know more about Crow and her world.

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If you can’t tell, I loved this book!  You can practically smell the salt air and hear the seagulls as you listen to Crow’s story unfold.  The pacing of the mystery leaves you on the edge of your seat; and Crows relationship with Osh and Miss Maggie is so, so good.  Really, everyone who lives in Massachusetts needs to read or listen to this book!

Some books and audios that have similar themes or feelings:
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holt
The War That Saved My Life by Jennifer Brubaker Bradley
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

As always, if you need help finding this or any other book or audio in the library, or you’re looking for suggestions on what to read next, ask me or any of our other librarians.  We’re happy to help!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::