- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
I absolutely adored The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. It reminded me of books that I liked to read when I was small of a slower-paced world, where children explored small towns riding their bikes around or visiting the lonely mansion. In this story, four sisters, Rosalind, Sky, Jane, and Batty, with their dad and dog arrive at the Arundel estate for a summer holiday. Here, they have the holiday of their dreams--no sand, no beach, but an imposing castle surrounded by a formal garden. With their dog, Hound, the girls just about tear down the estate at the dismay of its owner, the forbidding Mrs. Tifton; however, her son, Jeffrey, has the summer of his life. The girls' vivacity and energy transforms Jeffrey's world of stifling upper-class formalness to a world of play and spontaneity. This story is a great summer read. If you are interested, the story continues with two sequels: The Penderwicks at Gardham Street and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. I recommend this book for girls from 3rd to 6th grade, because the book describes a range of girlhood experiences. This book qualifies as an award winner, for it received the National Book Award in 2005.
Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is a wonderful story of how an ordinary girl, Abigail, is really extraordinary. Abigail grows up in a family where her mother, father, and all her siblings possess magical powers. She is tested at the age of twelve and found to be “ord” or ordinary. Despite having “unmagical disabilities” Abigail is loved and accepted by her family and sent to a special school to learn how to get along in a magical world. Think Harry Potter...
Abby learns that as an “ord” her world is dangerous because of all the goblins and kidnappers. She learns that she is special despite not having traditional magical powers. Her family loves and accepts Abby. You, the reader, will love the spunky Abigail too!
Everyone knows magic happens when a princess kisses a frog, but why would the smallest and most fearful toad of all want to kiss a not-quite-ordinary girl? What makes Julie special is her love of nature, and her stubborn resolution to find a way to save her pond from being drained and turned into another strip mall. Tad is just a frightened toad with strange dreams, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to save Toadville – journey to a strange city, learn to dance, and even kiss a human girl (yuck!) When these two determined characters meet, magic is bound to happen. Read "The Hop" by Charlene Byars Moranville, it's a fun read for 4th graders and above.
Read Emily's Fortune for an exciting story about eight-year-old Emily, who is left all alone, bereft of any family except for Uncle, Victor, of whom she is afraid and with whom she would never live. This is her story of how she runs away from Uncle Victor to find her Aunt Hilda, who lives in Redbud. She meets a fellow traveler, Jackson, who is also alone, and together they travel across the U.S on a hair-raising ride of train and stagecoach to her Aunt Hilda. I highly recommend this title to children who are assigned historical fiction or California or Western fiction. The book is for children grades 3 and above.
Another favorite historical fiction along the same vein is Barbara Brooks Wallace's Peppermints in the Parlor. Taking place in San Francisco, Emily, newly orphaned, finds her aunt and uncle's house on Sugar Hill Hall strangely changed. All is not well, there is evil lurking around every corner. This novel will work for either a mystery or a historical fiction novel assignment. This novel is a little longer than Emily's Fortune and a little more difficult to read, but it is just as suspenseful and fun to read. Be prepared that the beginning of this story is a little slow as it builds up suspense, but both stories are equally well-written and provide insight to the California West in late 19th century America. I recommend both. Peppermints in the Parlor is for children 4th grade and up.
Do you love mermaids?
Emily Windsnap is the half-mermaid, half-human protagonist in this charming series for tween girls. In The Tail of Emily Windsnap, Emily discovers that she is a mermaid during the first day of swim class in Seventh Grade. She also finds her merman father and goes through many adventures along the way. Emily is quirky (she is half-mermaid after all!) and down to earth at the same time. She goes to mermaid school and makes friends while confronting Neptune and other dangers. Tween girls will love the ink drawings by Sarah Gibb.
The author, Liz Kessler, also wrote Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep, where Emily gets in trouble while trying to impress her mermaid friends, Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist, where she finds a diamond ring on the seabed, and Emily Windsnap and the Siren’s Secret, where she is on a mission to assist Neptune in making humans and the merfolk get along.
Imagine waking up one morning to discover that the dream you had is being reported in the news and then your sister tells you that the dream you had is replicated in your mirror. That's strange. Moreover, when you visit the dentist, the dentist tells you that you will have to have your wisdom teeth taken out and that you will be his youngest patient ever from whom he has to remove wisdom teeth. As it turns out, John and his twin sister Phillipa, are the descendants of a long line of djinns, and they discover that they have super powers to do things that no one else can do, such as grant wishes, make people disappear, and to travel to exotic locales. The Akhenaten Adventure is the first in the series: Children of the Lamp by P. B Kerr, which includes six titles at this time. This title and some other titles of the series are available in audio. Recommended for children in grades 4 and up, this title and other titles in the series would make a great read for children who like action and a fast-paced story.