Audio & Book Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training

Another fun book for a car ride or plane trip!  This is the second book in the Pip Bartlett series, but I liked the first one so much, I picked up the second one as soon as we got it in at the library.  If you like humor and fantasy, with a little mischief and crazy situations mixed in, this book is for you and your family.

* * *

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training, by Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater
Read by Cassandra Morris & Peter McGowan
4 Hours, 20 Minutes – 4 CDs

pip bartlett's guide to unicorn trainingPip Bartlett is still in small-town Georgia for the summer with her veterinarian aunt and her cousin Callie.  Aunt Emma’s Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures is still a pretty exciting place to be, even after she and her new friend Tomas have solved the mystery of the fire-starting Fuzzles.  (This is all in the first book, Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures.)  Even though Pip is a little worried that all of the adventures of the summer are over, she’s soon proven wrong when she finds out that the Triple Trident–the most famous unicorn show in the country–is being held right in Cloverton!

Because of her common sense during a crisis at the vet clinic, Pip is hired by Ms. Gould to keep her Rockshines (a sheep like animal that go invisible with any stress) calm and visible before the show.  Pip is eager to get a chance to get behind the scenes at the Triple Trident, and even if Rockshines aren’t very glamorous, they’re still magical!  And when she’s helping, Pip can watch the unicorns, her very favorite magical creature.  Even if they are rather vain, they are beautiful.

Pip finds out that Regent Maximus, the only unicorn she knows personally, is entered in the show and goes to see him.  But poor Regent Maximus is the complete opposite of what show unicorns are supposed to represent. Instead of being proud and majestic, he’s fearful and cowering.  Mr. Henshaw, his owner, promptly hires Pip and Tomas to train him to be able to walk across the threshold of the stable and into the show ring.  Two jobs!?  Can they manage to help both adults with their magical animals?

Training is well underway with Regent Maximus and the rockshines when disaster strikes!  Someone cuts off the beautiful tail of one of the unicorns.  On purpose!  Is someone trying to cheat so their unicorns win?  Or is there a mysterious person trying to sabotage the show? Pip uses her own special talent–talking to magical creatures–to investigate.  If they can discover who is responsible, they can figure out why.  But even the magical creatures are flummoxed.

Can two kids manage to do everything that needs to be done?  Can Pip still train Regent Maximus to compete with this creepy unicorn stalker on the prowl? Will Pip and Tomas solve the mystery before it’s too late?

pip bartlett's guide to unicorn training audioThe audio recording for Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training is absolutely delightful!  There are two readers; one for Pip’s narration, and one to read the entries for Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures.

I love both voices…Cassandra Morris sounds exactly like a girl who could talk to magical creatures, but she also sounds perfect as Aunt Emma, Callie, Mr. Henshaw and every other character who comes into the story.  She does a wonderful voice for all the magical creatures, Regent Maximus in particular is perfect! Her voice is wonderfully paced for the action.

I would highly recommend both of the Pip Bartlett books, both as books and as audio.  The book has lots of great pictures from Jeffrey Higgleston’s guide, with Pip’s comments and changes.  So if you do listen to the book, you should also check out the print copy for all the extras!  I don’t know how many more Pip Bartlett books are coming, but I hope that the series goes on for many volumes!

Pip Bartlett’s Guide books are probably best for third through sixth grade readers, but the audio is good for all ages–kids as young as five should enjoy both the humor and the mystery.  Some similar titles are Fridays at the Castle by Jessica George, The Imaginary Veterinary series by Suzanne Selfors, and The Familiars series by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.

* * *

As always, if you need help finding a book or need suggestions for books to read, just ask one of our librarians!




Audio Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures!

Almost time for the next school vacation!  And if you need a book for a long car trip, I’ve got a good one!

* * *

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures
By Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater; Read by Cassandra Morris & Peter McGowan
4 Hours, 12 Minutes; 4 CDs

pip bartlett's guide to magical creaturesPip Bartlett has an unusual talent…she can talk to magical animals.  Miniature Silky Griffins, Bitterflunks, Unicorns, Emerald Dunking Ducks…if she meets it, she can talk to it.  The problem is…no one believes her!  Not her parents, not her classmates, not even her aunt, a veterinarian who specializes in magical creatures.  So Pip has to keep her abilities a secret.

Then comes Career Day, when all the parents come to school to talk about their professions.  Piece of cake, right?  Pips parents are  geologists and bring geodes for kids to examine; there’s a dad who’s a chef, a mom with the stringed instrument quartet, an antique dealer dad….and then there’s Marisol Barrra’s parents.  Who raise unicorns.  Pip LOVES unicorns!  But unfortunately, unicorns love no one more than themselves, which Pip finds out from a vain unicorn named Raindancer as he tramples geodes, grills, violins and (almost) classmates and other unicorns, with Pip on his back!

After The Unicorn Incident, Pip is exiled to Cloverton, Georgia, to spend  the entire summer with her Aunt Emma and cousin Callie.  The best part to Pip will the the chance to help in the small vet clinic Aunt Emma runs.  It seems like a vet clinic for magical creatures would be the perfect place for her, but it’s more difficult than you might think NOT to talk to creatures when they’re right in front of you.  Things get a little heated when mysterious tiny fuzzles start popping up all over town, followed by fires that start small and grow to endanger everyone.  Pip and her new friend Tomas jump from the frying pan into the fire when they realize that the fuzzles they’re trying to rescue are actually starting the fires.  If that’s not bad enough, Mrs. Dreadbatch, from the Supernatural/Magical Animal Care, Keeping and Education Department, tries to close down Aunt Emma’s clinic and have the fuzzles exterminated.  Can Pip and Tomas save the town from fire, the clinic from Mrs. Dreadbatch, AND the fuzzles from themselves?  It’s a mystery and a rescue mission, all rolled into one!

pip bartlet audioI loved Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures!  It was a fun and fast story, with lots of humor, an intriguing mystery, some great flights of imagination, and a wonderfully original character right in the middle of it all.   Cassandra Morris narrates the story with lots of enthusiasm and great characterizations, while Peter McGowan jumps in to narrate the selections from Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, Pip’s source of information for everything magical…which she adds to once she meets a creature and agrees or disagrees with the description.  In fact, if you listen to the audio book, you should definitely pick up the print book as well, so see the illustrations for each creature entry.  Pip’s additions are humorous, and the illustrations are beautiful.  If you don’t want to listen to the book on CD, Pip’s story would be a fun read-aloud for a family to read together.

Pip Bartlett would be a great family car trip book for everyone…kids as young as five or six would probably enjoy the story as much as adults, and it’s perfect for third through fifth graders.  A second book just came out–Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training.  I’m looking forward to reading and/or listening to that one too!

So come down to the library and check out Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures!  And if someone else beats you to it, put it on hold and pick up something else while you wait.  Similar titles would be Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George, Hatch! by Bruce Coville, or Ten in a Bed by Alan Ahlberg.  Or ask one of our librarians for help finding something perfect, just for you!


The end of the April New Books!

It’s the end of the month, and April is ending with a bang!  On this very last day of the month, we have some great additions to our collection.  I haven’t had a chance to read these new fiction offerings yet, but they’re all on my TBR list.  Some are new entries in popular series, some are books by popular authors, and some just look really, really good.  🙂

Check it out!

* * *

New Series additions:

gracefulGraceful, by Wendy Mass
The newest entry in the popular Willow Falls series, following 11 Birthdays, Finally, 13 Gifts and The Last Present.  Angelina, the force behind the magic in Willow Falls has left town to see the world, leaving Grace in charge.  Grace does her best to use the powers, with help from the hints left behind by Angelica. Grace is supposed to come into her powers gradually, but something’s affecting the magic in the town of Willow Falls, and she needs to do something now! Luckily, she’s got friends who can help.  Family, friendship, and everyday magic — what could be better!

gone crazy in alabamaGone Crazy in Alabama, by Rita Williams-Garcia
The third book about the Gaither sisters, following One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven.  This time, the girls aren’t in Brooklyn or L.A, but instead in Alabama, spending the summer of 1969 in  the rural South.  Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are vistiting their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. The girls meet Miss Trotter, who they discover is Ma Charles’ half sister  They can’t understand why the two women haven’t spoken for years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers a surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

evil spy schoolEvil Spy School, by Stuart Gibbs
After attending  Spy School and Spy Camp Ben thought that he was all set with becoming an operative for the CIA.  That is, until during a spy school game of Capture the Flag, Ben somehow accidentally shoots a live mortar into the principal’s office-and immediately gets himself expelled. Not long after going back to the boring old real world, Ben gets recruited by evil crime organization SPYDER, an offer which he accepts.  As a new student in SPYDER’s evil spy school, which trains kids to become bad guys, Ben does some secret spying of his own. Working as an unofficial undercover agent, he discovers that SPYDER is planning something very big-and very evil.  Ben can tell he’s a key part of the plan, but he’s not quite sure what the plan is. Can Ben figure out what SPYDER is up to-and get word to the good guys without getting caught-before it’s too late?

gollywhipper games friend or foeGollywhopper Games: Friend or Foe, by Jody Feldman
In this third installment of The Gollywhopper Games, a new kid is ready for the Games…or is he?  Zane would rather play football than compete in the Games, and he’s sure that he’s headed straight for the NFL. But when he gets his second concussion, his parents tell him, “No football for a year.” Instead, to his surprise, he gets a chance to compete in the Gollywhopper Games. Zane’s sense of strategy, his physical strength, and his competitive edge are all assets, and so is his ability to motivate his teammates and get them to work together. Zane becomes particularly close to Elijah, a young and scrawny genius who is friendly, awkward, and funny–Zane’s polar opposite. These two unlikely friends end up head-to-head in the final challenge, where Elijah’s quick thinking and Zane’s physical strength make it a tough fight. Can they win?

* * *

Tomorrow…more great new titles coming!


Booklist: Museums!

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!

* * *

Dive into a story about

gilda joyce the dead dropAllison, 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!

Chasing VermeerBalliett, 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.

name of this book is secretBosch, 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.

masterpieceBroach, 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!).

moffat museumEstes, 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!

blackhope enigmaFlavin, 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.

museum of mary childGolds, 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.

mummy's motherJohnston, 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.

mixed up filesKonigsburg, 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.

theodosia and serpents of chaosLaFevers, 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.

sixty eight roomsMalone, 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.

billionaires curseNewsome, 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.

red pyramidRiordan, 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?)

nina pinta vanishing treasureSantopolo, 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!

wonderstruckSelznick, 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.

penelope crumbStout, 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.

museum of thievesTanner, 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.

kid vs squidVan 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?

great googlestein museumVan 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?

* * *


divinersBray, 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.

pieces of georgiaBryant, 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.

eye of the beholderHayes, 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. . . .

death collectorRichards, 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.

* * *

how the sphinxIf 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 museum bookmake 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!


Booklist: Double Trouble–More Twin fiction

Sorry for the delay.  That’s what happens when weekends get in the way of a good, long booklist.  So here we are, back again with some more triple trouble.  This time, we’re splitting the focus between Historical Fiction, Mystery and Horror stories featuring a double dose of siblings!

* * *

Double (or Triple!) the Trouble Family Stories:
Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets…



January 1905 by Katharine Boling

January_1905The winter has been a tough one for Pauline and Arlene’s family. Though only eleven, the twin girls are old in too many ways: They know what it is to work to exhaustion, to be hamstrung by longing, and to be blind with hate. Pauline labors from dawn to dusk alongside the other members of her family at the local cotton mill, and she wishes she could stay home like her twin. Meanwhile, crippled Arlene tends to all the housework while dreaming of one day working at the mill and earning money and respect. Each is certain the other has the easy life–but each discovers how wrong she is as this extraordinary debut novel unfolds.


Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac

children of the longhouseTold from the alternating points of view of Native American Ohkwa’ri and his twin sister Otsi:stia, this historic novel shows a Mohawk village during the best of times: after the Great League of Peace is formed and before European settlers rob the tribe of its land. The story revolves around 11-year-old Ohkwa’ri’s conflicts with a pompous bully, but the plot is less essential than the painstakingly wrought details about the tribe’s daily rituals, legends and annual celebrations. Besides learning the origins of modern-day lacrosse and certain kinds of tool-making, readers will come away from this novel with a broadened awareness of a nearly vanished culture.


The Adventures of Vin Fiz by Clive Cussler

adventures of vin fizTen-year-old twins Lacey and Casey Nicefolk have always wanted to fly, but kids can’t fly . . . or can they? They can if they know the mysterious Sucoh Sucop, a man who claims to have an enchanted box that can transform any toy into the real thing! Before you know it, the twins, along with their droopy-eared basset hound, Floopy, are soaring cross-country in a real-live Wright brothers biplane, which they name Vin Fiz (after Casey’s favorite grape soda). But dangers lurk everywhere, and if the twins are to make it all the way to New York, their courage will have to make heroes of them many times over. Thank goodness they have the magical Vin Fiz on their side! Check out book #2: The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy.


Horseback on the Boston Post Road, 1704 by Laurie Lawlor

horseback on the boston post roadAs the winter of 1704 approaches, New Englanders are reeling from the news of war with the French and Indians. Meanwhile a mysterious letter has arrived for the widow Madame Sarah Kemble Knight, instructing her to bring the twin servants, twelve-year-olds Hester and Philena, on an unfamiliar journey from Boston toward New Haven, Connecticut. But Madame Knight decides to take only one of the sisters, who have been bound in servitude since infancy. However Philena soon risks her life to follow Hester and the widow. When they meet up, the trip turns perilous. The travelers face drowning, starvation, and exhaustion as they make their way through menacing woods, hazardous swamps, and wild rivers. But neither girl can imagine the real reason for the journey that will end in New York and change their lives forever. Read all of the stories in the American Sisters series!


Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

jacob have i lovedLouise has had enough of her twin sister. Caroline is beautiful. Caroline is talented. Caroline is better. Growing up on the small island of Rass in Chesapeake Bay, Caroline seems to do nothing but take from Louise: their parents’ love, Louise’s chances for an education, her dreams for the future. They have spent their lives entwined — sleeping in the same room, eating at the same table, learning in the same classroom — and yet somehow nothing can bring them together. Louise’s only hope lies in seeking a place for herself beyond the stretch of Rass’s shores and her sister’s shadow. What will it take for her to break free?


* * *


Double (or Triple!) the Trouble Family Stories:
Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets…



13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau

13 hangmen“Some people won’t believe any of this story. You might be one of them. But every single word is true. Tony DiMarco does catch a murderer, solve a mystery, and find a treasure—all in the first few days after he moves, unexpectedly, to 13 Hangmen’s Court in Boston. The fact that he also turns thirteen at the same time is not a coincidence.” So begins the story of Tony and his friends—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.


The Midnight Curse by L.M. Falcone

midnight curseA deep, raspy voice whispered, “The midnight curse has been passed on to you!” Thus begins a frightfully wacky adventure that will have young readers turning every page in spine-tingling anticipation. Lacey and her twin brother, Charlie, are visiting England to find out if they inherited anything from their reclusive uncle Jonathan, but before long, Charlie realizes he might not have inherited anything but the family curse. It s a bad one he’ll shrivel up and die unless someone ventures to the attic to face a malevolent spirit. Curse removal is a complicated game involving a gothic cast of shifty characters. The twins sure have stirred things up, and the clock is ticking on Charlie s curse. Can they finish what they started.


Hunter Moran Saves the Universe by Patricia Reilly Giff

hunter moran saves the universeTwins Hunter and Zack have a small problem to solve: they must save their town from a diabolical dentist who is planning to blow it to smithereens. But first they have to hold a funeral for an incriminating report card before it breaks their mother’s heart, hide a cello that has been demolished, and keep their father from finding out what they did to his laptop. None of this is going to be easy with their busybody older sister, Linny, watching their every move; older brother, William, just waiting to get them in trouble; five-year-old brother, Steadman, tailing them; and baby Mary banging her spoon like a maniac so no one can think. Before the book is over, a vintage airplane, a hot air balloon, and a borrowed fire engine will all play parts in the unfolding mystery.


The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley

girl behind the glassEleven-year-old twins Hannah and Anna agree about everything—especially that they don’t want to move to the creepy old house on Hemlock Road. But as soon as they move into the house, the twins start disagreeing for the first time in their lives. In fact, it’s almost as though something or someone is trying to drive them apart. While Anna settles in, Hannah can’t ignore the strange things that keep happening on Hemlock Road. Why does she sense things that no one else in the family does?  It’s almost as though someone is trying to talk to her. Someone no one else can hear. Someone angry enough to want revenge. Hannah, are you listening? Is the house haunted? Is Hannah crazy? Or does something in the house want her as a best friend—forever?


Double Spell by Janet Lunn

double spellTwins Jane and Elizabeth are twelve years old and have outgrown dolls. Nevertheless, on a cold wet spring Saturday they find themselves in an antique store, inexplicably drawn to a small, tattered old fashioned doll. Even the owner of the store seems to understand that the doll somehow belongs to the girls. Once the twins buy the doll, stranger and stranger things begin to happen, and a young girl from the past seems to be calling out to them. The search to discover the history of the little doll brings the twins terrifyingly close to the world of the supernatural as they finally solve a tantalizing mystery.


Vanishing Acts: a Maggie Brooklyn Mystery by Leslie Margolis

vanishing acts margolisWhen a movie starring tween heartthrob Seth Ryan starts filming in Park Slope, everyone gets movie mania-including Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair. Though her plans to become a movie extra don’t quite work out, Maggie manages to capture Seth’s attention and he seeks her out at the Pizza Den to talk. But just when Maggie’s life is feeling like a romantic comedy, Seth disappears! Everyone thinks he’s been kidnapped, but Maggie knows better! This young Nancy Drew is back, along with her twin brother and dog-walking business, in a second mystery that shines a spotlight on her super-sleuth skills. Leslie Margolis’s pitch-perfect tween voice will leave fans begging for more of this loveable heroine. Read book #1: Girl’s Best Friend.


The Twin In the Tavern by Barbara Brooks Wallace

twin in the tavernOrphaned twice and all alone in the world, Taddy watches as Neezer and Lucky, two sinister thieves, steal his family’s possessions, and then make him a virtual prisoner. With only table scraps and dry crusts of bread to eat, Taddy and another boy named Beetle are forced to work long, cruel hours carrying freezing, heavy blocks of ice for delivery in Lucky’s ice wagon. Then a neighbor, Mrs. Mainyard, tells lucky she’d like to hire Taddy during the day as a servant boy. His wages go to Lucky, but he’s better fed. And once inside the sumptuous Mainyard mansion, Taddy sees the impossible – a boy who looks just like him. Can this be the mysterious twin he’d been told about?

Booklist by Julie Goldman!

* * *

Not quite as many books as our last multiples booklist, and all of them twins!  I think we’ve discovered an area where authors need to write some historical fiction, mystery and horror stories.   Any future authors out there listening?

Next time: our last twin booklist: two final topics that don’t really fit together. Science Fiction and Humor.  Oh well.  🙂  See you then!


Booklist: Double Trouble!

Coming up with ideas for booklists isn’t always easy…we like to do something that people will look for, but maybe not find easily.  Then we look back through some of the questions we’ve been asked over the last few months, where we always find some good ideas.  This month’s Good Idea?  Twins!  Triplets! Quadruplets and even Quintuplets!  It’s multiples madness!

* * *

Double (or Triple!) the Trouble Family Stories: Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets…


Never Mind!: a Twin novel by Avi and Rachel Vail

never mindEdward and Meg are like night and day. How could such different people be twins? Well, they are, but they don’t have to like it — or each other. For seventh grade, brainy Meg is attending ultra-competitive Fischer, while freewheeling Edward goes to an alternative school downtown. But it’s just when they’re finally out of each other’s shadows that the trouble begins. Meg’s aspirations for popularity and a boyfriend combine with Edward’s devious planning and lack of singing ability to set off a showdown the likes of which twindom has never before seen. Why is this final showdown so much fun? Could it be that Meg and Edward are more alike than they thought?


Go long! by Tiki and Ronde Barber

go long!Tiki and Ronde were the stars of their Pee Wee football team, the Cave Springs Vikings. But middle school is much bigger than elementary school and it’s a whole different game—on and off the field. When Coach Spangler takes a job coaching for the high school team and Tiki’s old science teacher Mr. Wheeler is tapped for the middle school coaching job, the beginning of the school year and the football season is off to a bumpy start. But through working together, the boys discover that the whole team is bigger than any of its parts.


Do You Know the Monkey Man? by Dori Hillestad Butler

do you know the monkey manFor thirteen-year-old Samantha, life consists of too many unanswered questions. Why has her father not tried to contact her all these years? How could he have allowed her twin sister to drown in Clearwater Quarry when they were only toddlers? And how can Samantha’s mother expect her to accept some man she hardly knows as her new father? Samantha already has a father out there. Somewhere. A fateful decision sets into motion a chain of events and confrontations that will change Samantha’s and her family’s lives forever. As she sets out to find her father and discover what really happened the day her sister was presumed drowned, she uncovers painful secrets that threaten to destroy her family all over again. Readers will be drawn into Dori Butler’s dramatic, suspenseful, and sensitive story of one family’s crisis unwittingly brought on by an adolescent girl’s search for the truth.


Lost and Found by Andrew Clements

lost and foundIdentical twins Ray and Jay Grayson are moving to a new town. Again. But at least they’ll have each other’s company at their new school. Except, on the first day of sixth grade, Ray stays home sick, and Jay quickly discovers a major mistake: No one knows about his brother. Ray’s not on the attendance lists and doesn’t have a locker, or even a student folder. Jay decides that this lost information could be very…useful. And fun. Maybe even a little dangerous. As these two clever boys exploit a clerical oversight, each one discovers new perspectives on selfhood, friendship, and honesty.


Trading Faces by Julia DeVillers, Jennifer Roy

trading facesIdentical twin sisters Emma (the smart one) and Payton (the popular one) start seventh grade at a brand-new school and discover they’ve been assigned entirely different schedules—so when they get sick of their respective cliques, they secretly switch places. What ensues is a hilarious yet poignant romp from middle school to the mall as the twins learn what it means to be true to yourself, even when the rest of the world isn’t making it easy. Read the whole series: Take Two, Times Squared, Double Feature and Triple Trouble.


The Girl With the Broken Wing by Heather Dye

girl with the broken wingA sweet and funny story about an unruly angel. The twins are in bed when it happens. They hear a sound like a wet cabbage hitting the wall. Then a clattering on roof tiles. Followed by a tapping at the window. It’s a girl. With a broken wing. And she’s here to stay. Who is she? Where did she come from? And, more important, what does she want? The twins have no idea. Perhaps she’s their guardian angel. But would an angel have filthy feet? Would an angel…snore?


Remarkable: a novel by Lizzie K. Foley

remarkableIn the mountain town of Remarkable, everyone is extraordinarily talented, extraordinarily gifted, or just plain extraordinary. Everyone, that is, except Jane Doe, the most average ten-year-old who ever lived. But everything changes when the mischievous, downright criminal Grimlet twins enroll in Jane’s school and a strange pirate captain appears in town. Thus begins a series of adventures that put some of Remarkable’s most infamous inhabitants and their long-held secrets in danger. It’s up to Jane, in her own modest style, to come to the rescue and prove that she is capable of some rather exceptional things. With a page-turning mystery and larger-than-life cast of characters, Lizzie K. Foley’s debut is nothing short of remarkable.


The Other Half of my Heart by Sundee T. Frazier

other half of my heartThe close relationship of a pair of biracial twins is tested when their grandmother enters them in a pageant for African American girls in this new story from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner Sundee T. Frazier. When Minerva and Keira King were born, they made headlines: Keira is black like Mama, but Minni is white like Daddy. Together the family might look like part of a chessboard row, but they are first and foremost the close-knit Kings. Then Grandmother Johnson calls, to invite the twins down South to compete for the title of Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America. Minni dreads the spotlight, but Keira assures her that together they’ll get through their stay with Grandmother Johnson. But when grandmother’s bias against Keira reveals itself, Keira pulls away from her twin. Minni has always believed that no matter how different she and Keira are, they share a deep bond of the heart. Now she’ll find out the truth.


A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers by Gail Gauthier

girl a boy and three robbersWhen Brandon has to go to Hannah’s house after school, she always gets to be the leader while he has to play her sidekick or some villain she’s out to destroy. Then the horrible Sunderland kids try to steal Hannah’s monster cat, Buttercup, and suddenly Brandon and Hannah have an exciting real-life mission on their hands. All the games of vampire hunter and enemy agent in the world couldn’t have prepared them for the task of saving Buttercup from the Sunderland “triplets” grubby clutches.


Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford

moxy maxwell does not love stuart littleIt wasn’t as if Moxy hadn’t tried to do her summer reading. She and Stuart Little had been inseparable all summer, like best friends. If Stuart Little wasn’t in her backpack, it was in her lap . . . or holding up the coffee table . . . or getting splashed when Moxy went swimming. But now it’s the end of August—the day before fourth grade. And if Moxy doesn’t read all of Stuart Little immediately, there are going to be “consequences.” It may look like Moxy is doing nothing, but actually she is very busy with a zillion highly crucial things—like cleaning up her room (sort of) and training her dog and taking a much-needed rest in the hammock. Just look at the pictures her twin brother Mark takes to document it all—they’re scattered throughout—and you’ll see why it’s so difficult to make time for a book about a mouse. Of course our heroine does manage to finish her book, falling so in love with it that she finds herself reading under the covers with a flashlight, late into the night. Read book #2 (Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes) and #3 (Moxy Maxwell does not love practicing the piano: (but she does love being in recitals)!


Pranked by Katy Grant

pranked“Dear Friend, I dreaded coming to camp Pine Haven and my first week here was the worst. While my best friend was sunbathing on the beach in Hawaii, I was stuck with outdoor showers, a rickety cabin, and only one friend — quiet, boring Melissa. Then the “Evil Twins” showed up. It turned out they’re totally cool and they wanted to be my friend! They’re not really evil — well, not to me, at least. They AREN’T too nice to Melissa. We started playing a few pranks and it’s kind of gotten out of control. I know I should put a stop to thinks, but I don’t want to lose my only friends here. I just hope that I don’t do anything I regret. Love, Kelly” Read the whole Summer Camp Secrets series!


Pinch Hit by Tim Green

pinch hitTrevor and Sam look alike. But their lives couldn’t be more different. Trevor is a movie star, living the Hollywood life in a huge mansion with his own limo, pool, and bowling alley. There’s nothing he doesn’t have except the one thing he wants most: to play baseball for real. Sam is a regular kid who seems to have what it takes to make it to baseball’s Major Leagues. He’s determined to get the scouts at the big USC tournament to recognize his talent. And he really wants to see his dad, a struggling screenwriter, realize his own dream. When Sam signs up at Casting Central to make some extra money, he and Trevor come together on a movie set and see the chance to trade places—to pinch hit for each other and make everyone’s dreams come true. At first, it’s all good. But what happens when the boys take their game too far?


The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

mission unstoppableCoke and Pepsi McDonald didn’t want to jump off a cliff. They didn’t want to get hit by poisoned darts from blowguns either. And they certainly don’t want to get locked in their burning school, thrown into a pit at the top of a sand dune, or drowned in a vat of liquified SPAM. But what are you supposed to do when you’re being chased across the country by your insane health teacher and two guys in bowler hats who are trying to kill you? One thing’s for sure, it’ll be a snap for Coke and Pep to write their essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Want to join in the fun? Fire up the old Google Maps and follow the McDonald twins as they get chased from the Pez museum to the largest ball of twine in the world. Also check out #2 (Never say genius) and #3 (You Only Die Twice)!


 Horse Camp: a novel by Nicole Helget and Nate LeBoutillier

horse campWhen their mom said she was sending twelve-year-old Percy and Penny and their little brother, Pauly, to stay with an uncle they’d never met, she tried to make it sound better by saying that Uncle Stretch’s farm was a horse camp. Well, the farm animals are actually chickens and pigs, and the only two horses are mean-tempered and not too keen on being ridden by kids. As Penny puts it, “This farm is like the eighteenth century, but way worse! The water has a rusty taste, and all the meat used to be animals on the farm.” If there is one thing the twins can agree on, it’s that between endless chores, no Internet or cell phones, and the prospect that their mom might have to stay in jail (even though some people say she’s a hero), horse camp is a big, fat joke. Will they ever have a real family again? Or is there a family for them right here? Nicole Helget and Nate LeBoutillier have written a funny novel about farms and family, animals and antagonism—and the paths kids take, sometimes while living in the same house, before coming home.


 We Are Not Eaten by Yaks by An Accidental Adventure C. Alexander London

we are not eaten by yaks 2Eleven-year-old twins Oliver and Celia Navel live on the 4-1/2th floor of the Explorers Club with their father, Dr. Navel. Their mother, Dr. Navel, has been missing for years. So when an explorer shows up with a clue as to where his wife could be, Dr. Navel drags Oliver and Celia to Tibet to find her. Once there, the twins fall out of airplanes, encounter Yetis, travel through waterfalls, and end up in the Demon Fortress of the Warrior King where they-just possibly-might find their mother and save their father from the Poison Witches. Thing is, they would much rather be watching television. And if their trip doesn’t work out as planned, the twins could end up as slaves to Sir Edmund Thitheltorpe III, an evil explorer with breath that smells like boiled carrots, who has it in for the whole Navel family. Read book #2 (We Dine with Cannibals) and #3 (We Give a Squid a Wedgie).


Trading Places by Claudia Mills

trading placesTodd and Amy Davidson may be twins, but they’re complete opposites – Todd is organized and is the family “engineer,” while Amy is outgoing and has been dubbed the “poet.” So it would seem that for a fifth-grade economics project, Todd would come up with a master invention, and Amy would have a blast with her best friends as partners. To their surprise, Todd can’t think of a single idea, and Amy gets stuck working with the class crybaby. Then Todd begins writing poetry . . . But this is nothing compared to the switch their parents have made. Their father has been unemployed for months and their mother has started to work at a crafts store. Now there’s never enough food in the house, everybody is always on edge, and when Amy’s friends come over after school, they find Mr. Davidson, uncombed and unshaven, in his ratty old bathrobe. Will life ever return to normal?


Stirring It Up! by Diane Muldrow

stirring it upTo Molly and Amanda, cooking classes with their friends Shawn and Peichi seem like the key ingredient for a super summer. That is, until their arch-nemesis, Natasha, shows up. But when tragedy strikes a local family, the girls decide to put their cooking skills to good use and make some meals for them. The meals hit the spot, plus the girls feel good about helping out. Maybe they can turn their hobby into something more? Read the entire Dish series!

Rare Beasts by Charles Ogden

rare beastsTwins Edgar and Ellen live alone — their parents disappeared years ago, and who can blame them? — in the quaint, little town of Nod’s Limbs, in a grim, gray house overlooking the cemetery and the junkyard. They spend their days avoiding Heimertz, the mysterious accordion-playing caretaker; pestering Pet, a hairy, one-eyed creature of indeterminate species and gender; and wreaking havoc on the hapless citizens of Nod’s Limbs. But wreaking havoc can incur expenses, so the twins come up with a unique fund-raising scheme: They’ll nab the pets of Nod’s Limbs and transform them into exotic animals they can sell for big bucks. Not a bad plan, if one of the purloined pets wasn’t a lethargic python with a raging appetite! Check out the whole series about Edgar & Ellen!


Almost Identical by Lin Oliver

almost identicalIdentical twins Sammie and Charlie are starting out seventh grade at a brand-new school. As they make new friends, and join different clubs, the sisters (and once inseparable best friends) start to grow further and further apart. Told from Sammie’s point of view, this moving yet funny story will be gobbled up by middle-school girls! Check out book #2 (Two-Faced) and #3 (Double-Crossed, coming in MARCH).


Sister of the Quints by Stella Pevsner

sister of the quintsIt’s quite believable that an eighth grader, the stepsister of toddler quintuplets, would have trouble getting her father and stepmother’s attention. Natalie wants to be known for herself, not just for her troublesome siblings. She wants to get to know a new boy in town and to excel in soccer, but both goals are waylaid by her ongoing duties at home. And she’s still adjusting to her real mother’s move from Chicago to Colorado. After the news media makes a big deal of the quints’ first birthdays, Natalie’s family starts getting threatening phone calls. One of the quints disappears. She is found, but not before Natalie starts thinking of herself and each sibling as individuals. Read the next story in the series I’m Emma: I’m a Quint.


 The One Left Behind by Willo Davis Roberts

one left behindFor the first time in her eleven years, Mandy is alone. Through a series of miscommunications, her entire family has left her by herself in their big house on Lake Michigan. But it’s the absence of her twin sister, Angel, that she feels the most. One year ago Angel died, and Mandy’s life has been at a standstill ever since. While the rest of her family has moved on, Mandy clings to the pain of her loss. At first Mandy is almost relieved to have the time to herself. But quickly the loneliness consumes her — until she stumbles upon two boys, one her age, the other not yet two, who are also on their own. Running away from men who wish to do them harm, the boys turn to Mandy for help. But what can she do for these boys when she can barely take care of herself? If only Angel were here, she would know what to do.


Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

jake and lilyThis is a story about me, Lily. And me, Jake. We’re twins and we’re exactly alike. Not exactly! Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me. Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood. Right. So anyway, this is a book about goobers and supergoobers bullies clubhouses true friends things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt and about figuring out who we are. We wrote this together (sort of) so you’ll get to see both sides of our story. But you’ll probably agree with my side. You always have to have the last word, don’t you? Yes!


 The Sister Switch by Jane B. Mason & Sarah Hines Stephens

sister switchTwins Andie and Caitlin are best friends but they couldn’t be more different. Andie loves sports and hanging out with her friends — Caitlin is passionate about music and loves learning at school. Now that junior high is starting, the girls will finally get a chance to pave their own way. They can’t wait! But when Caitlin discovers she’ll have to pass a fitness test or spend every day after school doing gym, she fears her year is ruined before it even begins. Check out the whole Candy Apple Books series!


 Desperate Measures by Laura Summers

desperate measuresVicky has always felt responsible for her mentally disabled twin sister, Rhianna, and their feisty little brother, Jamie. So when the foster care system threatens to split them up, they all run away together, heading for a distant relative’s home. After a difficult journey, they arrive-only to find strangers living there. With nowhere else to go, they hide in a cave, and must survive by their wits. By the end of their adventure, Vicky is surprised to find that the sister she thought she was protecting is the one who saves her.

Booklist by Julie G!

* * *

Up next: Twins in Fantasy!

Booklist: Unlock a Secret…

A few days ago, I was putting away books and three in a row had keys on the cover.  Attractive keys, which I’d wear as jewelry!  Anyway, I started thinking about keys, and locks, and how they play into book titles and designs.   And a booklist was born!

So unlock the secret of these books.  Some are mysteries, some are romance, some are coming of age. But every single one of these books features locks or keys or secrets…and some have all three.  Check it out!

* * *

Unlock a Secret…            
               Keys & Locks Booklist

brimstone keyBenz, Derek.  The Brimstone Key  –  Juvenile collection
A year ago, the Grey Griffins were just regular kids—but now they are monster-hunters, celebrated heroes, and allies to the legendary Templar knights.  But even heroes have to go to school. When the Griffins enroll at a school to train young recruits in the fight against the forces of evil, they find themselves at the center of a whole new adventure. The Clockwork King, a Templar foe from days past, has returned to finish the plan he set in motion decades ago.  Can the Griffins figure out a way to save their world…again?

lightning keyBerkeley, Jon.  The Lightning Key  – Juvenile collection
Now that Miles Wednesday has discovered his link to a magical Tiger’s Egg, he’s suddenly at the wheel of a great voyage. Determined to recover the stolen stone and free the trapped soul within, Miles sets off to release the Egg’s true power.  But along the way, his travels are quickly riddled with thrills and near catastrophes—from soaring across the sky in an airborne schooner to run-ins with the twisted circus ringmaster to a dark Sleep Angel. Will Miles crack the secrets of the Egg and stand up to the Realm in the face of grave danger?

unspokenBrennan, Sarah Rees.  Unspoken  – Teen collection
Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met—a boy she’s talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in her sleepy English town, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. When members of the Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago, return, suddenly there’s screaming in the woods and other mysterious problems. Now Kami can see that the town is hiding a multitude of dangerous secrets. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is definitely real, and deliciously dangerous.

bitterblueCashore, Kirstin.  Bitterblue  – Teen collection
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is queen. But the influence of her psychopathic  father Leuck lives on. Her advisorswant to pardon all and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle in disguise to see her city, she realizes that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

janitor's boyClements, Andrew.  Janitor’s Boy  – Juvenile collection
When Jack Rankin gets busted for defacing a school desk with a huge wad of disgusting watermelon bubble gum, the principal sentences him to three weeks of after-school gum cleanup for the chief custodian. The problem is, Jack’s anger at the chief custodian was the reason for his gum project in the first place. The chief custodian happens to be Jack’s dad. But doing time in the school basement after hours reveals some pretty surprising things: about the school, about Jack’s father, and about Jack himself.

keepers of the school 1Clements, Andrew.  The Keepers of the School  Juvenile collection
Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. But Ben thinks it would be better if it  just stayed as is. It is over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor, with ocean breezes and million dollar views.  After a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the property. As much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and they have the right to defend it! With Ben in charge, they will!

dark is risingCooper, Susan.  The Dark is Rising –  Juvenile  & Teen collections
On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift;  he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest to find the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.

9780142414729_LockAndKey_CV.inddDessen, Sarah.  Lock and KeyTeen collection 
Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now she’s living in a fancy new house with the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years. She’s attending private school, wearing new clothes, and for the first time, looking forward to a future that includes college and her family. So why is she so wary? And what is her adorable neighbor Nate hiding behind his genial nature? As Ruby starts to see, there’s a big difference between being given help, and being able to accept it. And sometimes, in order to save yourself, you’ve got to reach out to someone else.

IncarceronFisher, Catherine.  Incarceron  – Teen collection
Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains cells and corridors, metal forests, dilapidated cities, and wildernesses. Sealed for centuries, only one man has ever escaped. Finn is a prisoner there. Although he has no memory of his childhood, he is sure he came from Outside. His link to the Outside, his chance to break free, is Claudia, the warden’s daughter, herself determined to escape an arranged marriage. They are up against impossible odds, but one thing looms above all: Incarceron is alive.

change the locksFrench, Simon.  Change the Locks –  Juvenile collection
Steven has vague and disturbing memories of being left alone on a road in the middle of nowhere when he was young, but his mother continually avoids answering his questions about their earlier life in an Australian city. Hoping to piece together the fragmented pictures of his childhood, Steven discovers an old newspaper clipping and photograph that forces him to confront the truth about his father’s abandonment, his mother’s struggles, and his own feelings.

joey pigzaGantos, Jack.  Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key –  Juvenile & Teen collections
Joey Pigza’s got heart, he’s got a mom who loves him, and he’s got “dud meds,”–the pills that are supposed to even out his mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn’t stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot – and eventually he bounces himself all the way downtown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.

the keyGrant, Michael.  Magnificent 12: The Key  –  Juvenile collection
Mack hates doing homework (that’s what golems are for), but it seems that the only way to defeat the Pale Queen and her evil daughter is to learn the magical language of Vargran. Mack and his friends travel to Europe to find the Key, an engraved stone that unlocks the power of Vargran. Can they locate the invisible castle of William “Blisterthöng” MacGuffin, who guards the Key? Mack has less than thirty days to master Vargran and defeat the evil queen. Will the Key be enough? Or is there something else Mack must find in order to save the world?

into the gauntletHaddix, Margaret Peterson.  Into the GauntletJuvenile collection
Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan Cahill have uncovered history’s greatest mysteries and their family’s deadliest secrets. But are they ready to face the truth about the Cahills and the key to their unmatched power? After a whirlwind race that has taken them across five continents, Amy and Dan face the most the difficult challenge yet.  When faced with a choice that could change the future of the world, can two kids succeed where 500 years worth of famous ancestors failed?

fly by nightHardinge, Frances. Fly By Night Juvenile collection
Taught to read by her father, orphaned book lover Mosca Mye lives in a realm where books are considered dangerous . When a traveling poet-spy passes through her village, Mosca becomes his traveling companion, serving as his uneasy accomplice in a mission that exposes the cutthroat intrigues of her troubled kingdom.  While she tries to judge right from wrong within the complex plots that ensnare her, Mosca discovers that few of the people she meets are as simple as they first seem.

seven keys of balabadHaven, Paul.  The Seven Keys of Balabad Juvenile collection
Balabad, the birthplace of the Brotherhood of Arachosia, an international secret society, is rumored to be the secret hiding place of the grand. It’s also the boring country Oliver Finch calls home. When a sacred carpet is stolen and one of the few friends he has disappears, Oliver is determined to figure out what exactly is going on. In order to do that he’ll have consult with a one-eyed warrior, track down the far-flung members of the Brotherhood, and unlock a centuries-old secret! Suddenly, life in Balabad for Oliver has become a whole lot more interesting . . . and dangerous.

george's secret keyHawking, Lucy.  George’s Secret Key to the Universe Juvenile collection
When George’s new neighbor, Eric, turns out to be a brilliant scientist with a supercomputer, the boy takes an educational journey through the solar system and discovers how interesting outer space can be. A rival scientist, who also happens to be George’s teacher, steals the computer and sends Eric into a black hole, leaving George to save the day.

through the lockHurst, Carol Otis.  Through the Lock  – Juvenile collection
Etta and her brother and sister, wards of the state of Massachusetts in 1840, have been parceled off to separate foster homes. Determined to gather her family back together and create a secure home for them, Etta has run away to find a place where they can live as a family. She encounters Walter, another runaway hiding in a cabin on the New Haven and Northampton Canal. Before she can get her own family together, Etta is caught up in Walter’s problems, which include the bringing a body up a mountain at night, convincing the canal company to hire them as a security team, and catching the vandals who are determined to sabotage the canal.

suite scarlettJohnson, Maureen.  Suite ScarlettTeen collection
Scarlett Martin’s family owns a small hotel in the heart of New York City, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings. For Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, she gets the responsibility of caring for the Empire Suite and permanent guest Mrs. Amberson.  Scarlett doesn’t quite know what to make of the C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. Her summer takes a second unexpected turn when she meets a handsome aspiring actor. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions.  Also read the sequel: Scarlett Fever.

forgotten door 2Key, Alexander.  The Forgotten Door Juvenile collection
A boy falls through a mysterious door and finds himself alone in a forest.  Although he is able to talk to animals and read minds, he finds himself in trouble when he cannot communicate with the people surrounding him. Will he ever recover his memory and find a way to unlock the secrets of his life?

eight keysLaFleur, Suzanne.  Eight Keys Juvenile collection
Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Since her parents died when she was young, Elise lives with her loving Uncle and Aunt.  Behind their big house is a barn with eight locked doors on the second floor.  When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her twelfth birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn . . .

mystery of martello towerLanthier, Jennifer.  The Mystery of the Martello Tower  – Juvenile collection
Hazel and Ned are home for summer vacation and looking forward to long, lazy days that include spending time with their father. But when he disappears, their summer plunges into chaos. The babysitter leaves, their apartment is burgled, and two menacing thugs start turning up everywhere. Ned and Hazel try escaping to an island castle belonging to long-lost relatives. As they work to untangle the threads that ensnare their father, they learn of a second secret surrounding their mother’s death years ago. Only by solving both mysteries can they bring their father home.

ruby keyLisle, Holly.  The Ruby Key Juvenile collection
Genna and her brother Dan live in the primitive village, surrounded by danger. Like other humans, they can go out only in daylight, and they have an uneasy truce with the nightlings, creatures of the nearby forest who only come out after dark. All are ruled by Letrin, an arrogant and powerful being who lives underground. But when Genna and Dan venture into the old forest one night, they encounter a Nightling slave who reveals a terrifying secret: their village chief has made a dangerous deal with Letrin, offering the lives of his people in exchange for his own immortality.

sixty eight roomsMalone, Marianne.  The Sixty-Eight RoomsJuvenile collection
Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed deep inside the Chicago Art Institute they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms. Each room is set in a different historic period, and every detail is perfect. Some might even say, the rooms are magic. Imagine—what if on a field trip, you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you could 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..?

jeremy fink and the meaning of lifeMass, Wendy.  Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life –  Juvenile and Teen collections
Jeremy’s summer takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious wooden box with a note that says it holds the meaning of life arrives in the mail. He’s supposed to open it on his birthday, but the keys are missing, and the box is made so that what’s inside will be destroyed without the keys. Jeremy and his friend Lizzy set off to find them, and they  soon discover that there might be other ways of finding out the meaning of life.

specter keyNation, Kaleb.  Bran Hambric: The Specter Key  – Juvenile collection
Bran Hambric believes that the Farfield Curse is over. But when he discovers a safe-deposit box in his dead mother’s name, Bran’s past comes rushing back. Now he’s on a frightening path that puts everyone he cares about in danger.  When his best friend Astara is kidnapped, Bran will do whatever it takes to save her and prevent the evil mage on his trail from claiming the power of the curse for herself. But will the magic destroy him the way it destroyed his mother?

keys to the kingdom 1Nix, Garth.  The Keys to the Kingdom  – Juvenile & Teen collections
Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world — where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets.  During a running exercise at school, Arthur Penhaligon collapses from an asthma attack. Upon awakening, he meets a stranger, Mister Monday, who hands Arthur an unusual key which begins a wild adventure. Using the powers of the key, Arthur travels to another realm and battles many evil creatures in a struggle to save his world from a mysterious disease.

sweetlyPearce, Jackson.  Sweetly Juvenile & Teen collections
Years ago, Ansel, Gretchen, and Gretchen’s twin ventured into the woods near their home in search of a witch. After being chased by a monster, only Ansel and Gretchen come out; their sister is never seen again. Their mother dies of grief and their father remarries. And when their father dies, Ansel and Gretchen’s stepmother kicks them out. They find a home with a beautiful chocolatier, but Gretchen’s childhood fears come back to haunt her. With new friend Samuel, she must figure out how to stop this monster and uncover the mystery behind the way it chooses its victims.

Pkey of brahaerro, Bryan.  Amos Daragon; The Key of Braha –  Juvenile collection
Amos survived his first mission, but an encounter with a mysterious girl sends him on his way to Braha, the City of the Dead, where souls await judgment. Amos, now a spirit himself, meets Jerik, a decapitated criminal who carries his head. Jerik says that Braha is overcrowded with spirits; the gods have shut the doors. A key will unlock them, but its missing. Only someone who dies and comes back to life can find it. Will Amos be that someone? Will his ingenuity and intelligence be enough to restore order? And even if Amos finds the key, will he ever return to the land of the living?

greenRoberts, Laura Peyton.  Green  – Juvenile collection
Turning thirteen starts off with a bang for Lily when a present explodes! Soon after, a trio of leprechauns  appear and whisk her away to a land of clover, piskies, a new friend, a cute boy, and lots of glimmering, glittering gold. A world of Green. It turns out that Lily, like her grandmother before her, is next in line to be keeper for the Clan of Green,in charge of all their gold. IF she passes three tests. And she has to pass them. Because if she doesn’t she may never get to go home again…

key to rondoRodda, Emily.  The Key to Rondo –  Juvenile collection
There are three rules to the old, painted music box: Wind the box three times only. Never shut the box when the music is playing. Never move the box before the music stops.  Leo wouldn’t dream of breaking these rules, but does his stubborn cousin Mimi listen? She winds the box four times–and suddenly the paintings on its side come to life and a powerful witch is released. Now it’s up to Leo and Mimi to stop the witch, if only they can find the key to the music box–and the magical world it controls.

magykSage, Angie.  Magyk Juvenile collection
Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son, disappears the night he is born, and is pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow — a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take her into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

invention of hugo cabretSelznick, Brian.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret  –  Juvenile & Teen collections
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

13th signTubb, Kristin O’Donnel.  The 13th Sign  – Juvenile collection
What if there was a 13th zodiac sign?  What if you’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s.  What about the rest of the world?  What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs?  Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives–including her own–depend upon it.

* * *

Everyone I know has at least one key that they can’t identify. These books take into account the questions you might have if you find a mysterious key. Where did it come from? What does it unlock?  What is on the other side of that lock?  If you like keys for the sake of their history, beauty and mystery, try one of these books and imagine what you could unlock with a secret key…