Poor Goat. Ever since Unicorn moved into his neighborhood, he’s been ignored. After all, Unicorn can make it rain cupcakes! But even Unicorn can’t do some things that only Goats can do (like make cheese). And the two learn that their differences make them unique and that together they make quite an amazing pair. Great picture book with a message that doesn’t preach, but instead celebrates each individual.
Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap is easily one of my favorite fantasy series. And now that the seventh and last book is out, you can read all the books one right after another and not have to wait for the next adventure to come out.
I probably can’t do the series justice in a small post like this, but here are the basics: Septimus is the 7th son of a 7th son of a 7th son and, therefore, highly magical. In Magyk, he discovers who he his and who his family is, including the heir to the kingdom, Princess Jenna. In Flyte, he finds his wonderful dragon, Spit Fyre. In Physik, he travels back in time and learns the secrets of alchemy. In Queste, he undergoes one of the most difficult trials of any young magician. In Syren, he and his companions are stranded on a strange island and must find a way to rescue themselves and a mysterious young woman. In Darke, he must help save the wizard tower from destructive forces. And, finally, in Fyre, all the threads of these marvelous stories come together and Septimus realizes his fate.
I plan to read all seven books again soon. That’s how much I like them.
Do you know the story of Henry Knox? In 1775, he took on the nearly impossible task of bringing 59 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York all the way to Boston — traveling over 300 miles across lakes, forests, and mountains during a bitter winter! — to help General George Washington chase the British army out to Boston. In Don Brown’s thrilling Henry and the Cannons, you’ll see how difficult the trip was and all the obstacles Henry overcame. (Illustrated non-fiction, grades 1-4.)
Two young boys set out on a quest in this beautifully crafted book by Clare Vanderpool. Early Auden is a little strange, but he knows certain things: like, his brother didn’t die in the war, the numbers of Pi tell a story, and a trek through the Maine woods will prove both. Jack Baker, meanwhile, is alone and adrift, having recently been uprooted from his native Kansas to an all-boys school on the Maine coast. He is mourning the loss of his mother, missing his naval captain father, and trying to find his way. Early and Jack experience an adventure to last a lifetime, as they outwit pirates, get chased by a bear, and solve some mysteries on their own. Navigating Early is destined to be a classic. Clare Vanderpool is also the author of the Newbery Medal-winning book Moon Over Manifest. For kids 10 years old and up.
Today, the American Library Association named the annual award winners for best children’s books. Here’s a sample of some of the books they selected. Come to the library to check them out!
Winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Honor books: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.
Winner: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Honor books: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown; Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen;
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small; and Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.
Winner: Up, Tall, and High by Ethan Long
Honor Books: Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems; Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean; and Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.
Winner: Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Honor Books: Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd; Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip M. Hoose; and Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson.
The complete list of winners can be found here.
It’s that time of year: Book reviewers far and wide are posting lists of the best children’s books of 2012. Below are links to some of those lists. And rest assured, you’re sure to find most of these books at the Malverne Public Library.
The Horn Book: Horn Book Fanfare of 2012
Kirkus Reviews: Best Children’s Books of 2012
The New York Times: Notable Children’s Books of 2012
School Library Journal: Best Books of 2012
In an England similar to our own, but not really, magic exists in all of us, but only some can actually do anything with it.Others, like our heroine Jennifer Strange, help manage it. More specifically, Jennifer manages a group of magicians who in this time of diminishing magic now have to do odd jobs, like cleaning out drains or offering their flying carpets for delivery services. But Jennifer has another destiny–one involving the last dragon of her world. That’s the setting for The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. I admit that I have a fondness for dragons. But that isn’t the only reason I recommend this book. This is a funny novel that pokes fun at all the same things you like to poke fun at. And, in Jennifer, you’ll find a heroine who’s strong and believable, wry and sarcastic. Did I mention the Quarkbeast? You’ll love him too. Ages 10 and up.
Three boys are taken from orphanages to be schooled in the way of princes. One will be selected to fool an entire kingdom and claim the throne. If the ruse works, civil war will be averted. That’s the premise of The False Prince, the first book in what promises to be an exciting trilogy from Jennifer A. Nielsen. Roden, Sage, and Tobias are picked by a nobleman because of their resemblances to the lost Prince Jaron. But the nobleman has plans of his own for the “prince” he puts on the throne. And one of the boys has a secret of his own he’s keeping. Will you figure out his secret before the others do? If you’re like me, you’ll will and you’ll be hoping the next book in the series comes out quickly.
Think zombies are just on television or in the movies? Think again. There are a host of creatures out there that love to turn other living things into zombies. In Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature’s Undead, by Rebecca L. Johnson, you can find out about a fungus that turns a harmless housefly into its slave. And about worms that force crickets to do their bidding. And even about bugs that use other bugs to babysit their children. It’s gross and fascinating at the same time. Read it if you dare.