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September 21, 2007 Edition
Part Lemony Snicket, part Roald Dahl, this fast-paced and funny adventure follows twelve year-old Tim and Grk the dog as they track down Grk’s previous owner, the daughter of Stanislavia’s ambassadors to Great Britain. The Raffifis have been recalled to their home country after a coup and now the kids, Natascha and Max, are orphaned and imprisoned. Imagining that Grk is merely lost, Tim resolutely sets off for Stanislavia, intent on returning Grk to his owner. But he quickly finds he’s up against the evil dictator General Zinfandel and has to use all his considerable brainpower to get himself, Natascha, Max, and of course, Grk, back to London alive. (5th grade readers and older)
Life in the American Colonies takes a lot of adjustments for 10 year-old Molly Abraham. Newly arrived from London, where she was arrested as a pickpocket, she’s been sold to Mr. Bell and his family as a maid until she’s 21. The Bells have chosen her because her last name indicates that she is Jewish, as are they, but she knows nothing of Judaism, housekeeping, or even much about proper speech. This delightful historical novel has a lot to offer, including vivid details about daily life in early New York and an introduction to Flash-speak, the dialect of London thieves (with a glossary in the back). Colorful, engaging, and energetic, this is a great read for kids interested in early American history.
Word-loving Mosca Mye is an orphaned reader in a land of book burnings. Taught by her father, a noted historian, to read and reason, Mosca has been kept for years by an uncle in a damp town called Chough. Now she’s met another lover of words, the poet and con man Eponymous Clent, only to see him imprisoned and set for execution. In freeing him, she finds herself allied with him in this clever, funny, and involved fantasy that fans of Philip Pullman and Cornelia Funke will devour. (7th grade readers and older)
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover: the atmospheric images on this one give fair warning of the haunting story contained within. Sixth Year Henry, who has just moved with his parents to a small English town from London, sees a man standing outside the garden gate one evening, surrounded by fireflies. He has the strange sensation of being both himself in his bedroom and the man looking up from the gate. His dreams begin to mingle with the memories of another, older Henry, one who might have known the older woman who lives next door before dying in World War II. Nothing gruesome or scary here, but both Henrys and their friends will stay in readers’ memories for a long time. (4th grade readers and older)
One of Meg’s fondest wishes is to make a friend in her new school – not any friend, really, but a best friend. She’s never stayed anywhere long enough to have had one before, but now, with the help of the stories she tells about her father being a doctor from Tasmania and having had malaria, she’s got Grace. It’s better than she ever imagined, as if she and Grace were the same person. But the problem is that Meg’s father isn’t a doctor, he’s an alcoholic. And with him around, it’s so much easier to lie than to tell the truth. When Grace finds out, will she decide she doesn’t want to be Meg’s friend anymore? This complex story of friendship and family buoys the spirit even as it lays bare some hard truths. (fifth grade readers and older)
When Flash, a photographer, crash lands his plane near a tiny village whose people have never seen a camera or a photograph before, he has 10 shots left in his instant camera. What should he photograph? The kids who rescued him, Sutira and Olu, are first, and after the villagers decide it is safe, they all clamor to be next. With some quick thinking and the help of the villagers, Flash takes a picture of the most important cow in the world, the best of the village warriors, the most beautiful woman in the village, and more, until his camera is empty. (third grade readers and older)