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March 13, 2009 Edition

Savvy, by Ingrid Law

When kids in Mibs Beaumont’s family turn thirteen, their savvy shows itself - and about-to-turn-thirteen Mibs can’t wait for hers. She’s got one brother who causes hurricanes and another who can create electricity, so she’s pretty sure hers will be pretty awesome. But the night before her birthday, her father is in a terrible accident and all that Mibs wants is a savvy that will help her save him. What she gets is a birthday party she doesn’t want, a trip on a bus going the wrong direction, a boyfriend, and a savvy that’s quite unusual, and much more helpful than she would ever have believed. (older elementary and middle school readers)

Don’t Shoot: Chase R’s Top Ten Reasons NOT to Move to the Country, by Michael J. Rosen

When 14 year-old Chase, his big sister, and their parents move out of the big city to a farm outside the town of Beaver Creek, they face culture shock. The new-found joys of country life include being overrun by cicadas (and finding recipes for cicada cookies and pizza in the local paper), frequent power-outages, thunderstorm-fearing dogs, and the mutual mystification when non-hunters meet hunters. Chase tells all in emails to his friends back home, punctuating his lively commentary with inventive emoticons (one representing a tofu turkey/turtle). The anti-hunting theme is tempered by Chase’s growing realization that many people in his new community need to hunt to eat, and he wraps up the book (and starts the new year) by adding to his list of reasons to live in the country. (older elementary and middle school readers)

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, by Lauren Tarshis

Highly intelligent and unemotional, Emma-Jean is as big a mystery to the other kids in her middle school as they are to her. She finds the other students and their crushes and squabbles interesting and observes them dispassionately until she finds Colleen crying in the girls’ restroom. Such behavior is completely unlike Colleen and it draws the logical Emma-Jean into Colleen’s problem. Soon, she’s used her scientific mind to solve things neatly for her new friend, and, flushed with success, begins to take an active interest in her fellow students for the first time, with gratifying results. (for older elementary and middle school readers)

Medusa Jones, by Ross Collins

Collins mixes contemporary school themes with ancient Greece to tell the laugh-out-loud story of Medusa, whose best friends are Chiron, a centaur, and Mino, a small bull-boy, and whose puppy, Cerebus, has three heads (that’s a lot of drool!). School is tough for Medusa – no matter how she tries to arrange them, her head snakes draw the attention of bullies and mean-spirited teachers alike. And she even isn’t allowed to use her one real ability – until it suddenly comes in handy while on a school camping trip. With its tongue-in-cheek nods to mythological figures (Mino is always late to school because his family’s house is so maze-like), this will appeal to kids who aren’t quite ready for Percy Jackson. (elementary grades)

Jamie and Angus Together, by Anne Fine

Jamie and his toy Highland bull, Angus, return to delight young listeners and readers with more adventures. But Jamie is growing up and in this bittersweet book, is doing more with friends and family than with his best friend. In the first story, Bella is coming to play with Jamie, and he’s got to find a way to protect Angus from her rowdiness. In another story, Jamie leaves Angus to guard his chocolate while he goes for a walk with his parents and his uncle Edward. And in the final story, Jamie experiments having fun on his own (and even starts to write a book about it) but finds that he’d much rather have fun with Angus. (kindergarten through early elementary)

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