Tremendous Trilogies – C Authors

More fun trilogies…moving on to authors whose names start with the letter C!  Do you like long stories?  Trilogies are great because the plot and characters span three books, not just one.  Great for hours of reading!  Here are a few more to try from our library collection.  This isn’t a complete list, so ask a librarian if you’re looking for something that’s not here.

If you missed our list of trilogies from authors whose names start with A & B, look HERE

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Calonita, Jen — Fairy Tale Reform School
fairy tale reform flunked fairy tale reform charmed fairy tale reform tricked
Flunked – Charmed – Tricked
Twelve-year-old Gilly is mostly happy living in a shoe with her parents and five siblings. Times are hard though, so to help feed her family, Gilly steals food and trinkets from the wealthier residents of Enchantasia.  Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).  But then she is busted and sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are reformed villains. Harsh!  When she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns that Fairy Tale Reform School is not all it seems. Someone has a secret, sinister agenda, and Gilly and pals must quickly discern perpetrator and plot, whom to trust, and what to do to avert a not-so-happy ending for everyone. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?
Fairy Tales, Adventure, Humor, Magic

Cameron, Anne – The Lightning Catcher trilogy
lightning catcher trilogy
The Lightning Catcher – The Storm Tower Thief – The Secrets of the Storm Vortex

Eleven-year-old Angus’s world is turned upside down when he is mysteriously whisked away to become an apprentice at the Perilous Exploratorium for Weather and Vicious Storms. At Perilous, the world’s most dangerous weather is studied to protect mankind from its ravages. There, Angus discovers that his parents aren’t boring government workers after all—they are actually famous Lightning Catchers, and they’ve been kidnapped. With the help of two new friends, Angus intends to find them. It’s Angus, Indigo, and Dougal to the rescue. . . . Will they get there in time and all in one piece?
Adventure, Weather, Nature Magic

Carlson, Caroline – The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates
very nearly honorable league trilogy
Magic Marks the Spot – The Terror of the Southland – The Buccaneers’ Code

Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle?  Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. There’s only one problem: the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags. But Hilary won’t let this stop her; instead, she sets out to find her own piratical adventure and gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas. Read Weston’s very own most famous library graduate’s exciting trilogy!
Adventure, Humor, Magic, Pirates

Carman, Patrick – Floors trilogy
floors trilogy
Floors – 3 Below – The Field of Wacky Inventions

With mystery and adventure on every floor, there’s no other place quite like the Whippet Hotel. Each and every floor has its own wacky design–and its own wacky secrets. The guests are either mad or mysterious. And ducks are everywhere. Leo Fillmore should know everything there is to know about the Whippet Hotel–he is the janitor’s son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when four cryptic boxes are left for him…boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and an unexpected friend or two. Join Leo as he takes the ride of his life, without ever having to step outside. As the hotel starts falling apart and the mystery thickens, there’s only one thing Leo can know for sure: The future of the Whippet Hotel depends on him.
Puzzles, Humor, Hotels

Carroll, Michael – Quantum Prophecy
quantum prophecy trilogy
The Awakening – The Gathering – The Reckoning

It has been ten years since the great battle that wiped out all the superhumans. Whether they all died that day or simply lost their powers and blended back into society, only one thing is certain: They are gone. Or are they? Thirteen-year-olds Danny and Colin have recently begun changing. How can they explain Danny’s newfound ability to move at the speed of light, or Colin’s surprising strength? They can’t, but their parents, the lost generation of superhumans, can. They have been watching and waiting for these changes. So have others—and not everyone is happy about the boys’ new powers. Some will do anything to stop them.
Science Fiction, Superheroes, Adventure

Castle, M.E. – The Clone Chronicles
clone chronicles
Popular Clone – Cloneward Bound – Game of Clones – Clones vs. Aliens
Meet Fisher Bas– 12 years old, growth-stunted, geeky science genius, and son of the Nobel Prize-winning creators of the Bas-Hermaphrodite-Sea-Slug-Hypothesis. No surprise: Fisher isn’t exactly the most popular kid in his school, tormented daily by the beefy, overgrown goons he calls The Vikings. But he senses relief when he comes upon the idea of cloning himself–creating a second Fisher to go to school each day while he stays at home playing video games and eating cheetos with ketchup. It’s an ingenious plan that works brilliantly, until Fisher’s clone turns out to be more popular than him–and soon after gets clone-napped by the evil scientist Dr. Xander. Another trilogy that turned into a quartet when I wasn’t looking!
Science Fiction, Humor, Schools

Catanese, P.W. – The Books of Umber
books of umber
Happenstance Found – Dragon Game – The End of Time

Twelve-year-old Happenstance awakens in a cave with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Soon a mysterious trio arrives to take him away: the explorer Umber, shy archer Sophie, and Oates, whose strength and honesty are both brutal. Hap and his new acquaintances narrowly escape the cavernous underworld and make their way to Lord Umber’s harbor city, Kurahaven. Once there, Hap learns that Lord Umber is an extraordinary man — he’s a merchant, adventurer, inventor, royal adviser, and chronicler of all things monstrous and magical. But Umber’s accomplishments can’t answer the question closest to the boy’s heart: Who is Happenstance? Desperate to uncover clues in his new, baffling surroundings, Hap accompanies Umber on dangerous and unusual missions. Hap soon learns that there are powerful enemies inside the kingdom, and a ruthless assassin hot on his trail. Faced with many unknowns, Hap knows one thing for certain: There’s a reason Umber has chosen him…if only he could figure it out.
Magic, Imaginary Animals, Adventure

Child, Lauren – Ruby Redfort trilogg
ruby redfort trilogy
Look into My Eyes – Take Your Last Breath – Catch Your Death

Ruby Redfort is a genius code-cracker and daring detective. She gets into lots of scrapes with evil villains, but she’s always ice-cool in a crisis. Ruby gets to prove that when she gets an anonymous call setting a challenge that leads her to the headquarters of Spectrum, a highly secret anti-crime agency. They need her help to crack a code. But Ruby quickly becomes bored with her first Spectrum assignment. With the help of her sidekick/classmate Clancy Crew, she ventures out from her well-hidden office into more dangerous territory to prevent the theft of a priceless jade Buddha statue. Playing a game of cat and mouse with criminals and fellow agents, Ruby finds her way into some dire situations. Can she and her back-up team get her out of them?
Codes and Ciphers, Mystery, Adventure

Clark, Platte, F. – Bad Unicorn Trilogy
bad unicorn trilogy
Bad Unicorn – Fluff Dragon – Good Ogre

It wasn’t Max Spencer’s idea to fight robots, lead an army, or save the world-it just so happens that he’s the only living person who can read the most fantastical book ever written: The Codex of Infinite Knowability. The Codex is no ordinary book, and among other things, it describes Princess the Destroyer, an unusual unicorn who loves nothing more than hunting down, killing, and eating other creatures. And right now Princess is on Max’s trail. Her mission? To retrieve the lost Codex for an evil sorcerer and his mysterious master. If she can do that, she’s been promised an all-the-humans-you-can-eat buffet in Texas. Stuck in another world and with a carnivorous unicorn on his trail, Max must find the courage to save himself, his friends, and, oh yeah…the entire human race.
Wizards, Humor, Urban Fantasy

Clarke, Cassandra Rose – The Assassin’s Curse duology
assassin's curse trilogy
The Assassin’s Curse – The Pirate’s Wish
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.  And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be. Not actually a trilogy, unless you count the novelettes available only as 3-books, it’s too good to miss!
Magic, Adventure, Thieves, Pirates

Cody, Matthew – Powerless trilogy
powerless trilogy
Powerless – Super – Villainous

Twelve year old Daniel, the new kid in town, soon learns the truth about his nice–but odd–new friends: one can fly, another can turn invisible, yet another controls electricity. Incredible. The superkids use their powers to secretly do good in the town, but they’re haunted by the fact that the moment they turn thirteen, their abilities will disappear–along with any memory that they ever had them. Is a memory-stealing supervillain sapping their powers?   The answers lie in a long-ago meteor strike, a World War II-era comic book, the green-flamed Witch Fire, a hidden Shroud cave, and–possibly, unbelievably–“powerless” regular-kid Daniel himself.
Heroes, Paranormal, Mysteries

Cole, Steve. The Hunting trilogy
zrex trilogy
Z.Rex – Z.Raptor – Z.Apocalypse

Adam Adler is thirteen and suddenly on his own. His father, who has developed the world’s cutting edge research on virtual electronic game-playing, has been missing for weeks. And suddenly Adam is being hunted by men with guns, his picture is on the news, and, worst of all, something seemingly impossible is chasing him–a savage, man-eating dinosaur…his father’s greatest creation, which has seemingly escaped from the game. How can that be? Can Adam gain control of Z.Rex and rescue his father from the people who have kidnapped him?
Adventure, Gaming, Kidnapping, Dinosaurs

Colfer, Eoin – W.A.R.P. trilogy
WARP reluctant assassin WARP hangmans revolution WARP forever man
The Reluctant Assassin – The Hangman’s Revolution – The Forever Man
Teenage Riley, an orphan living in Victorian London, is unwillingly apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who uses his unique conjuring skills for murder and other crimes. Riley is saved from having to participate when his intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of W.A.R.P. –the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program.  Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick.
In modern London, Riley teams up with Chevron Savano, a nineteen-year-old FBI agent with a bad record. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been altered by his trip through the wormhole. Not only is Garrick evil, but now he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie’s possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.
Adventure, Time Travel, Mysteries

Corder, Zizou – Lion Boy trilogy
lionboy trilogy
Lion Boy – The Chase – The Truth

When his parents are kidnapped, what’s ten-year-old Charlie Ashanti to do? Rescue them, that’s what! He doesn’t know who has taken them, or why. But he does know that one special talent will aid him on his journey: his amazing ability to speak Cat. Charlie calls on his clever feline friends –from stray city cats to magnificent caged lions–for help. With them by his side, Charlie uses wit and courage to try to find his parents before it’s too late.
Kidnapping, Survival, Adventure

Up Next: Trilogies D – F

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For help finding any of these books, check the Minuteman Library Catalog, or visit the Library.  We’re happy to pull these books for you, and have they ready for pick up.

Happy Reading!



Audio Reviews: Survival!

I didn’t realize there was a theme between the last three audio books I listened to, but when I put them together, it was right there.  One space adventure, one steamy Everglades fiasco, and one white-water rafting trip in the middle of a tropical storm.  And yet, they all have one thing in common–Survival!

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Have Space Suit, Will Travel
By Robert A. Heinlein, Read by Will McAuliffe and the Full Cast Family
8 CDs, 8 Hours

Kip has wanted to go to the moon since he was in elementary school.  There is a lunar base up there, of course, but most people have to do something extraordinary to get stationed there. Kip decides that he’ll just have to go into science, work hard, and get there. His parents support his plan, although they tell him he’ll have to work hard.  In fact, his father takes a look at his school and the curriculum, and gives Kip a bunch of extra homework to do in order to have the type of basis he’ll need to get into a good college.

But then Kip hears about a contest a soap company is running. The person who creates a new slogan for their product will win an all-expenses paid trip to the moon!  Kip is suddenly the biggest fan of soap that ever was. With everyone in town giving him soap wrappers to mail in the slogans he thinks up, Kip is sure he can win.  With five thousand entries, one of them has to catch the eyes of the judges.

But Kip doesn’t win first prize; he wins something else. A spacesuit. Formerly used on the space station but retired, it’s still (mostly) space-worthy.  Instead of selling it for college tuition, Kip decides to completely renovate and update it.

Which is why he’s standing in the middle of a field when he receives a distress call from space.  And it’s how he survives being snatched by space pirate, meeting aliens, and being stranded on a secret base on the moon.

If Kip survives the experience, he’ll have a LOT to tell his grandchildren!

Have Space Suit, Will Travel was written in 1958, and it’s an interesting blend of 50s culture, projected technology and science fiction. For example, Kip is trying to fit a radio into his spacesuit helmet, and he mourns the fact that the transistor circuit isn’t smaller.  But of course now, we have micro circuits that could fit a radio in something the size of a quarter…and have much better ways than radio waves to communicate, anyway.  Kip wants to make multiple copies of something, but can’t because he doesn’t have access to a mimeograph machine.  There are computers, but they’re the size of houses. And Kip buys 5,000 stamps for under $200!

But even though there’s a huge difference from the projected future of Kip’s world and what we have now, Kip and Peewee are kids who could exist today.  They’re brave, and funny, and determined to get back home.

Now, there is quite a bit of scientific theory in this book, which might make it a little hard to listen to for listeners not interested in how things work.  But if you’re a budding scientist, with a yen for space travel, this book would be perfect for you.  And I do love the narrators of Full Cast Audio, who have different actors reading each part.  The voices are perfect, and listeners will find themselves absorbed in the adventure.

I’d recommend Have Space Suit, Will Travel book to listeners in 5th – 8th grade.  The book might be more accessible to slightly younger readers, because you can skip over the science theories and explanations.

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By Carl Hiaasen, Read by James Van Der Beek
5 CDs, 6 Hours, 11 Minutes

Wahoo Cray lives in Florida, where he shares his home with his parents, several alligators, a few dozen snakes, monkeys, raccoons, turtles, a wild cat and a bunch more animals.  His father, Mickey, is a wildlife wrangler, and is so good at his job that he’s frequently in demand by TV and movie productions.   Unfortunately, he’s currently having problems due to being hit on the head by a frozen iguana dropping out of a tree onto his head and causing a head trauma and a (temporary) coma. Even though he’s now home, he’s not quite up to working.

Because the family still needs to pay their bills though, Wahoo’s mother takes a job in Japan. When she’s gone, Wahoo accepts a job over the phone, one that will pay extremely well and help the family pay off their bills.  All they have to do is work with Expedition Survival!, a TV-reality show starring Derek Badger.  What Wahoo doesn’t know is that Derek Badger is a pampered TV star who believes his own press and thinks that he can wrestle any wild animal into submission. And then eat them.   Mickey, who is extremely protective of his animal family, clashes with Derek immediately.

So when the Expedition Survival! production company decides to film in the wild, instead of in the Cray’s Everglades staging lot, Mickey and Wahoo are hired to go along as animal wranglers.  Who knew things would be complicated by a runaway girl named Tuna, a crazy boat driver, Derek Badger’s inflated ego, and a dangerous man with a gun.  Will Wahoo and Mickey survive Expedition Survival!?

Chomp is a great book to listen to!  Carl Hiaasen always creates completely wacky situations that seem to be just normal life for his characters.  I loved Wahoo and Tuna and Mickey.  And even though I didn’t really LIKE Derek or Raven, his producer, they were a lot of fun to hear about.  As they travel around the Everglades, finding snakes and dodging giant bats and encountering danger, you won’t want to stop listening.

James van der Beeks’ narration was quite enjoyable, although I was a little unsure of it at first.  Wahoo and Mickey sound very similar, and I thought there would be a problem distinguishing between the voices.  As soon as the cast of characters started growing though, everyone had a distinct voice and rhythm.  And it makes sense that a father and son would sound alike.  And he did some great Australian, Floridian, and backwood swamp folk accents.

Chomp is a great survival story, with a hint of mystery that could be enjoyed by readers in grades 5  through grade 8.    The audio could be listened to by kids slightly younger, although Tuna’s situation and her father’s actions might require some discussion with younger kids. I think adults and high school kids would enjoy it as well…it has a unique and subtle humor that makes you grin, rather than laughing out loud.  And then try Hoot, Flush and Scat, which are all great books and books on CD as well!

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Take Me to the River
By Will Hobbs, Narrated by Steven Boyer
5 CDs, 5.25 Hours

Dylan has been planning this trip to Texas to visit his uncle and cousin for months.  Although he’s never met them, all three share a love of white water rafting; for the visit they’ve planned a trip  down the Rio Bravo, with Dylan in a canoe and Rio and his father in a raft.  When Dylan gets to the airport, he takes the bus to town, just as planned. But no one comes to meet him. Instead, he gets a message that he should hitchhike to his uncle’s house.

Puzzled and dismayed, but not wanting the adventure to be cancelled, Dylan finds a ride with a trucker, and meets Rio in a little restaurant where he works.  There, he learns that his uncle has been hired as a river guide in Alaska, and won’t be able to go on the rafting trip.  Rio was supposed to call Dylan while he was still at home in North Carolina, so that he could change his travel plans.  Rio didn’t make that call though, because he wanted to meet Dylan, even if all they can do is hang around Rio’s house.

And then the boys have an idea.  Why don’t they go on the rafting trip anyway?  They’re old enough and responsible enough, and they have plenty of experience on a variety of rivers. They get a friend of Rio’s to give them a ride to the head of the Rio Bravo, planning to buy most of their supplies at the store there.

But when they reach the store, it’s closed. And there are black helicopters on the river.  Dylan and Rio learn that there’s a tropical storm approaching and that the US and Mexican governments are searching for a group of dangerous drug runners.  Even though they consider both these problems with care, Dylan and Rio decide that it’s most likely that the tropical storm will go another direction, and that the Mexican criminals will be spotted by the searchers before they even reach the river. They set out on their trip.

But of course, things don’t go as planned, and soon Dylan and Rio are faced with tropical downpours, a raging river that’s much higher than they’d planned on, and two unwanted passengers.  Will they manage to survive?

Take Me to the River is a great adventure book for anyone who likes their stories spiced with danger!  The cousins don’t always make the wisest choices, but they’re both smart, and tough, and trying to do the right thing.   Although they’ve been in touch through e-mail and phone calls for years, this is the first time they’ve had a chance to meet, and it’s quite an introduction!

The descriptions of the storm, the raging river and the various weather fronts make the listener feel like they’re in the back of the raft.  The tidbits of information about life on the border of Texas and Mexico are quite interesting, and very eye-opening.  Once the boys run into their uninvited passengers, their actions stay true to their natures, and they struggle with a lot of difficult choices.

Take Me To The River is a wonderful survival story for kids in fifth through seventh grade. The audio could be enjoyed by family members of all ages for a long car trip.  This is a must read for anyone planning to raft the Rio Bravo, and would be an enjoyable selection for anyone who might be going white water rafting.

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And…that’s it.  Enjoy these survival stories and let us know what you think.  If you’re in the Weston Public Library looking for something to read or listen to, ask one of our librarians for help.  We’re glad to assist you in finding the perfect book or audio!


Old Favorite: Sparrow Hawk Red

It’s that time of summer when the heat starts mounting and it seems like it will never be cool!  Sometimes, that makes me want to read about winter, and sometimes, it makes me want a book where the setting is even hotter. In Sparrow Hawk Red, by Ben Mikaelsen, not only is there a boy fighting for his own survival, there’s dry desert, no rain, heat baking through the parched earth…and no modern conveniences or relief in sight.

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Ricky Diaz and his father live just over the border from Mexico, in southern Arizona.  Their life had been pretty normal until three years earlier, when Ricky’s mother died in a car accident. After that happened, Ricky’s Papa, Benito, quit his job with the Drug Enforcement Agency and became a rancher.  Benito had even stopped flying in airshows; something he’d loved doing since his days as a jet pilot in the Air Force. But the only flying he’s doing these days is illegally teaching Ricky, who’s too young for a pilot’s license, how to fly a biplane.

Ricky loves flying, and every time he’s up in the air, he promises his mother he’ll do his best to learn…and to keep his father happy. Both of the Diaz men miss her.

But when Ricky overhears his father being offered a new job with the DEA, he discovers that his mother’s accident wasn’t an accident at all…it was murder.  She was killed to distract his father from pursuing a case against a drug lord in Mexico. And it succeeded.  When the visiting agents tell Benito he’s the only one who has the skills and ability to help them, by crossing the border, posing as a Mexican drug buyer and sneaking into the headquarters of the drug cartel and steal their new radar-equipped plane, Benito refuses.  But Ricky knows that if he were his father, he would do it, to avenge his mother’s death.

And then Ricky realizes that he could do it.  He can fly a Cessna.  If he could sneak into the drug compound, he could get into the plane and fly it back to the United States. Who’s going to look at a kid, especially a kid who speaks Spanish and looks like a ratero–a Mexican street kid?  Ricky makes a plan and sneaks out of the house and into Mexico, bringing some money and a disguise with him.

But Ricky had only planned on playing the part of a street kid, not on actually becoming one. When he’s attacked by a group of real rateros, robbed of his money, his ID,  and even his American clothing; he’s left with nothing–and no way to get home.   Without money, proof that he’s an American, and looking like every other ratero, Ricky is stuck. What can he do?

Life on the streets is hard, and Ricky is barely surviving.  When a girl named Soledad helps him, Ricky is suspicious. What’s in it for her? But Soledad really does seem to care, and even better, she has a connection with someone inside the drug compound. Can Ricky still salvage something from his self-imposed mission?  Can he avenge his mother and help the Drug Enforcement Agency…and still get home?

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Originally released in 1993, Sparrow Hawk Red still feels like it could be contemporary.  Ricky is a headstrong kid who wants to do the right thing, but who ends up in a really bad situation. Instead of giving up, he keeps on finding new ways to survive, adapting to his surroundings and fighting to keep what he has. He’s determined to survive and succeed.

Survival books are always fun to read, because you can put yourself into the place of the main character and think about what you might do differently.  In the case of Sparrow Hawk Red, if you were Ricky, would you have different skills that might help in his situation, or would you even be able to do what he did?  Author Ben Mikaelsen has written several great survival stories, all with interesting backgrounds and different scenarios.  Although Sparrow Hawk Red is my favorite, other good ones include Rescue Josh Maguire and the Spirit Bear series.

I’d recommend Sparrow Hawk Red to readers in grades four through six; it would also make a great read-aloud for a scout troop or a family with survival skills!  It would also be good to read if you’re trying to get a sense of what life is like for kids with no money in another country.  I wish it was available as a book on CD or a playaway, because it would be an excellent choice for a car trip.

So check out Sparrow Hawk Red, and see what you think!


Old Favorites: The Lion’s Paw by Robb White

Ah, adventure stories.   Where a kid can do anything, be anything and save the world…or at least their own little part of it.

The Lion’s Paw is a story about three orphans, a missing father, a nasty uncle and a sailboat. Most of all, it’s the story of becoming a family through belief in yourself, hard work, trust in each other, and faith.  Originally published in 1946, this story stands up to the test of time.

Penny and her brother Nick live in an eganahpro. (That’s an orphanage, to those people reading the sign from the outside of the gates.)  Nick is about to be adopted, and won’t be able to see Penny for even those brief minutes they can manage to steal.  Although Penny wants her brother to have a better life,  it turns out that Nick has other plans. Together, the siblings decide to run away.

The next night, they sneak out of the orphanage and walk as far as they can, ending up at the wharves. Knowing they have to be out of sight by daylight, they walk along, looking for a special boat. Most of the boats are old, or dingy, or weather-beaten, but near the end of a dock, they see a beautiful sailboat. They climb on board and fall asleep.

The next morning, they wake up being attacked by a mop. At the other end of the mop is a boy named Ben, owner of the sailboat.  After learning about their situation, Ben shares his own story: his father is MIA in the war.  Ben shows Nick and Penny a letter from his father that tells him if he’s ever declared MIA to wait, he’ll find his way back. It might take a year, but he’ll be home. Ben tells the siblings that it’s been over a year, but he still believes his father will return. The problem, he says, is that he hasn’t accomplished the mission his father left him: to find a lion’s paw.  (No, not a real lion–it’s a rare kind of seashell, found hundreds of miles away.)

While he’s waiting for his father to return home, Ben is living with his aunt and his uncle, a very unpleasant man. He spends most of his time on this sailboat his father built; mostly taking care of it, since he isn’t allowed to sail it. Penny tries to convince Ben to run away with them, but he refuses…until he overhears Uncle Pete accepting an offer to sell the boat.

What follows next is an adventurous trip down the coast and through the waterways of Florida, evading Uncle Pete, alligators, the Coast Guard and the unrelenting bounty hunters Uncle Pete has set on the escapees. Along the way Penny and Nick lose their landlubber status as they help Ben crew the boat and search for the elusive lion’s paw.

How will it all end? All I can tell you is that every time I read this book as a kid, I would immediately turn back and reread the final two chapters about four or five times, just because they were That Good.  (I also cried, but that might be TMI.)

I recently reread The Lion’s Paw. It’s surprising how contemporary it feels for something that was written almost 70 years ago. When I originally read the book, I thought that “the war” everyone was referring to was Vietnam, because that was my frame of reference. I wouldn’t be surprised if kids today might think it was a book  from their parents’ generation.  (The lack of cell phones, Amber alerts and any kind of child protective services means that it couldn’t be this century.)

This book is great for a survival story, an adventure story, or (if the time period is pointed out) historical fiction.  Kids who like sailing seem to love this story!  Since the characters span a wide range of ages (Nick is 9, Penny is 12, and Ben is 15) the book is accessible for readers from about fourth through seventh grade. It’s also a wonderful read-aloud for ages eight and up.  Enjoy!

As always, if you’d like help finding a book about a specific topic or for a certain age, ask one of our librarians!