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February 14, 2013 Edition

The Bell Bandit

Written by Jacqueline Davies

Things are changing and Jessie doesn’t like it! Instead of going to Grandma’s before Christmas as they always have, she and her mom and big brother Evan are driving up afterwards because their grandmother is in the hospital following a small, accidental house fire. Jessie and Evan are afraid things will never be the same, especially after they see the extent of the damage. But the really big changed thing is that someone has stolen the big bell that hung at the top of Lovell’s Hill, the one that’s a part of the whole town’s New Year’s celebration. Who would do such a thing? And how can they celebrate the New Year if there is no bell? Jessie and Evan are the heroes of two previous books, The Lemonade War and The Lemonade Crime, but this can be read as a stand-alone (and I bet you’ll go back for the first two!).

Water Balloon

Written by Audrey Vernick

While her best friends from middle-school, Jane and Leah, are starting to hang out with high schoolers at drama camp, she’s still plotting water balloon wars. Her parents have separated and Marley’s been sentenced to spend the summer at her dad’s new place, on the other side of town from anyone else she knows. To top it off, her dad volunteers her to babysit not one, but two five-year olds for his landlord, Monday through Friday. There are two bright spots in her summer: Rig, her big black mutt, and Jack, the cute blue-eyed boy who lives next door to her dad. But even with Rig and Jack around, her world feels like quicksand, ready to suck her down at any moment. Disaster strikes at Jane’s Fourth of July party – and next thing she knows, Marley has EX-best friends. Will this summer never end?

Neversink

Written by Berry Wolverton

The small island of Neversink is a peaceful one, full of walruses, hummingbirds, lots of auks, and plenty of fish. Little do the residents know that they’re about to be invaded – by owls! There’s a famine on the mainland and King Rozbell of the Owl Parliament is all for plundering the island’s fish-filled waters to feed his citizens. When Rozbell, his eagle thugs, and his army of burrowing owls arrive and begin setting down new rules, it’s up to Lockley J. Puffin and his best pals, Egbert the walrus and Ruby the hummingbird, to save their island. Lively and funny, but with the serious issue of bullying, this has the cadence of saga.

The Death of Yorik Mortwell

Written by Stephen Messer
Illustrated by Gris Grimly

Yorik’s day starts out promisingly, but quickly goes downhill once Master Thomas Ravensby comes on the scene. The last thing Yorik remembers is falling from an elm tree, trying to save his little sister from Thomas. Now it seems he’s dead, and Susan has disappeared. Ordered by the mysterious silvery princess of the Aviary Glade to haunt the Ravensby family (which quite fits with his plans), he discovers a whole new world of deadly creatures in his quest for vengeance. But in the end, in order to save his sister and the remaining manor folk, he must set his vengeance aside. Part Lemony Snicket, part Neil Gaiman, but with Messner’s own twist, this is a delightfully creepy, yet heartwarming story.

Ice Island

Written by Sherry Shahan

Tatum is head-over-heels crazy for dogs and the Iditarod. She helps out with her friend Beryl’s team, so when she and her mom end up on Santa Ysabel Island for a week and she meets Cole, who shares her dream of racing in the Iditarod someday, it’s only natural that the two should try a training run together. But the weather turns and the two find themselves stuck in a storm. When a sled runner breaks and their strongest dog runs away, the two teens are left with a difficult decision. Their best hope is for one of them to take the strongest dogs and go for help and the other to stay with the broken sled and weaker team. A gripping story for fans of Gary Paulsen and other adventure authors.

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