Literary Genres: Fantasy

Aiken, Joan.  THE STOLEN LAKE.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.  314 p.
    0-618-07020-6; $16.00 hb.    81-5015    Gr. 4-7    FIC

    Republished after two decades, Aiken continues the Wolves Chronicles which stemmed from her classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE. This imaginative, dramatic and dazzling book is for those with a basic knowledge of legends and history and those who want to learn more about the King Arthur connection. The story revolves around saucy twelve-year-old Dido Twite and her adventures from Nantucket back to England.  The ship is ordered to stop off in New Cumbria, a  mysterous nation in South America, ruled by an ancient queen.  The queen claims that she is the widow of King Arthur. Dido manages to sort things out and thus saves an imprisoned princess and restores the stolen lake in the process. It is a fascinating, entertaining beautiful book with a happy ending, but not necessarily for those faint of heart. There are some disturbing parts to Aiken's work, so it might be a bit heavy for a sensitive young reader.  All in all, however it is a fast, fun read and one of Aiken's standouts.
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Baker, E.D. A PRINCE AMONG FROGS.  New York. Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers. 
      2010.  211p.  978-59990349-1; Hardcover.  $16.99. Gr. 6-9  YA

      Fans of fantasy, magic and all things 'princess' will enjoy this latest addition to the Frog Princess series. While Princess Millie and her finance, Audun, are busy preparing for their royal wedding, they are faced with a calamity of gigantic proportion. Millie's baby brother, Felix, is kidnapped while in Millie's charge. Millie's magic is not strong enough for her to find him on her own. Before the required happy ending, Millie must face dragons, ghosts, a witch, swarming demented crabs, sea monsters; in other words, everything but the kitchen sink. The plot gets foggy and convoluted, but fans of the series will likely enjoy it.
Barb Ward, Children's Librarian, Retired. Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Barker, Clive.   ABARAT.  New York: Harper Collins, 2002.
     388p.  0-06-028092-1, hb., $24.99     Gr. 9+    FIC

    Frustrated with the boring attitudes and expectations of her parents and community, Candy Quackenbush skips school to wander in the grassy plains surrounding Chickentown, Minnesota.  Guided by a powerful compulsion, she heads toward the remnants of an old tower. She suddenly meets a bizarre man, with 8 heads, who pleads with her to help him escape the murderous intentions of an evil pursuer.  In their effort to escape, the man magically propels them into his water-world of Abarat.  In Abarat, Candy encounters many strange sights, amazing inhabitants and dangers.  She is pursued by evil creatures, though she doesn’t know why.  Instead of collapsing in terror, Candy summons inner strengths to survive.  Far from family and home, Candy knows she belongs in Abarat.
    In this first book of a series, we are introduced to a resourceful and likable heroine, and a truly fantastic world.  Unusual for most young adult novels, this book includes more than 100 color illustrations by the author.  They give a visual definition to his fantastic world.   Filled with surreal action, grotesque creatures and exotic lands, this book won’t appeal to all readers.  Readers who like unusual worlds and strong female characters should feel right at home in Abarat – just like Candy.
    Maureen Booth; Library Media Specialist, Southfield High School, Southfield, MI

Berry, Julie.  THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT. New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A.,
          2009.  306p.  ISBN: 978-1-59990-334-7 hb. $16.99.  Gr. 4-8   Juv.

          THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT is a new twist on the "Cinderella" story that everyone knows.  Lucinda is the daughter of wealthy parents, who die in an accident and leave her orphaned.  She is taken in by her uncle and his wife.  The wife isn't very nice to her.  While working in their Jewelry Shop, Lucinda meets the prince of the country and is instantly taken with him.  She also meets a thief named Peter who befriends her, and Beryl, the Amaranth Witch.  Shortly after the beginning of the story, her uncle dies, and her "Aunt" kicks her out of their home.  While wandering the streets, she tries to return a gem to Beryl and finds that Peter has stolen it.  Lucinda finds herself swept up in dangerous situations throughout the story and has to rely on wit to escape.  Will she recover the gem for Beryl?  Will the prince fall in love with her?  Will she choose the prince or Peter?  How will the story end?  Not as you’d expect.  The story leaves the reader with  a lot of assumptions, based on prior knowledge of the original fairy tale.
  Melissa Coyne, Substitute Teacher/Patron, Tahquamenon Area Library

Bracegirdle, P.J.  UNEARTHLY ASYLUM. New York:  Simon & Schuster,  2010.  298p. 
            ISBN  978-1-4169-8681-2 hc.  $15.99      Gr. 4-7      FIC

In this sequel  to Fiendish Deeds,  twelve year old Joy Wells, who lives in a menacing looking Gothic style house with her parents and brother Byron, becomes embroiled in another strange adventure in the strange, dilaptidated town of Spooking.  Paranormal activity and strange, mysterious characters abound in Spooking, and Joy is the person to uncover its mind-bending secrets. When Fizz, Joy’s pet frog is trapped inside the walls of Spooking mental asylum, she embarks on a quest to solve the mystery surrounding the asylum and its inhabitants. Readers who enjoyed the Unfortunate Events series will be ready for this more intricate series.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Cle , Troy.  MARVELOUS  EFFECT. Marvelous World Series. New York:  Aladdin
          Paperbacks, 2007.  369p. ISBN: 1-4169-4215-3 pbk. $5.99    Gr. 4-7   Juv.

          Louis Proof, an inner-city, African American teen, and his friend Brandon receive an invitation to a mysterious  amusement park. Their trip leads to strange experiences,  which become stranger after Louis slips into a coma and, upon his recovery, discovers that he has special powers.  Soon, Louis finds himself battling creatures from another dimension, led by the often-funny Galonious Imperial Evil.  In the course of the xtremely complicated plot, Louis and his friends fight many high-octane battles. Little is resolved at the end of the book, but readers will discover more when they read this title's sequel, OLIVION’S FAVORITES. Louis' adventures completely parallel those typical of computer games, and this title is clearly an attempt to capture the video-game world in prose.
          Phyllis King, Librarian   North Central Area Schools

Collier, James.  THE EMPTY MIRROR.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2004.  192p.
ISBN 1-58234-949-5 hb. $16.95.   Gr. 6-8   J FIC

             THE EMPTY MIRROR is about thirteen year old Nick Hodges, whose parents died in the flu epidemic of 1918 and is now under the care of his Uncle Jack.  When Nick wakes up one morning without a reflection, he doesn’t know what to think.  When his reflection starts causing trouble all over town, he gets blamed for the mischief.  Nick has to catch his reflection before it does something to get him thrown in jail!  The storyline is full of mystery and suspense, keeping readers on the edge of their seats.  At the same time, the historical information in the story setting is very interesting and educational.
Sara Jane Parsons, 9th grade student

Dahl, Michael.  THE BOOK THAT DRIPPED BLOOD.  Illus. by Bradford Kendall.
          Library of Doom Series.  Mankato, MN: Stone Arch Books, 2007.  38p.
          ISBN: 1-59889-324-6 hb. $15.95     Gr. 3-8   Juv. Fic.

          This was a very interesting book.  The book was not long, but the content definitely makes it geared for older children.  The story seems to come in the middle of the series called the "Library of Doom".  Because you come into the series in the middle, it was a little confusing, but the book itself was an easy read and was funny. 
          The book starts with a gentleman who seems to have been in some kind of accident running into a book store to sell a book with a fur cover.  The store owner jumps at the chance to buy the book because of the gold hinges on the spine.  When the owner is alone with the book, it attacks him.  A woman walks into the store after hearing a scream coming from inside.  She sees the book and steals it, runs back to her apartment, where she is seen running to her rooms by the landlord.  A few minutes later, her landlord goes into her rooms to talk to her, but the woman is missing.  He sees the book lying on the floor by a dark puddle.  As he runs out of the room a paperback book falls out of his pocket.  The paperback oozes ink out into the form of a man, who is the Librarian.  The Librarian tries to destroy the book, but before he can, the man who sold the book comes back into the room looking for it.  The Librarian calls this man The Collector, and tells him that he shouldn't "feed" the book because it only gets stronger.  The Collector says that he also gets stronger as the book does, pulls a small book from his hand which grows larger,, floats in the air, and flies away with the furry book. The Librarian oozes back into a puddle and into the book he came from.  Read the next book in the series to see what happens.
          Melissa Coyne,  Patron/Substitute Teacher, Tahquamenon Falls Area Library

Dale, Anna.  SPELLBOUND. New York, NY: BloomsburyU.S.A. Children's Books,
          2008.  200p.  ISBN: 1-59990-006-8 hb. $16.99.    Gr. 4-8    Juv.

          A quiet summer vacation in the country turns out to be anything but peaceful for Athene & her younger brother. In an effort to rid herself of her pesky brother, Athene gets them caught in the middle of an old feud between two rival groups of magical, gnome-like creatures, the Humble Gloam who live above ground with humans and the Low Gloam who live below. Athene sets outs on quest to find the secret that could unite the Gloam.  Dale’s story will catch the interest of middle school fantasy readers.
Charlotte Dugas, Library Director, Munising School & Public Library

Dickinson, Peter.  THE ROPEMAKER.  New York: Delacorte, 2001.  375p.
    0-385-72921-9; hb., $15.95  2001-017422  Gr. 7+   FIC

    Tilja is unhappy when she learns that her sister is the one in their generation who hears the cedars sing and will inherit the family farm.  Then something unusual happens in their valley.  The protection of the forest and glaciers are failing and after many generations the Empire can intrude again.  Tilja and her grandmother, Meena Urlasdaughter of Woodbourne; go to the winter gathering and learn from a blind man, Alnor Ortahlson, who sings to the snows in the mountains and communes with water; that the glacier is receding and they could be vulnerable to invaders.  In order to renew their ancient powers, Meena, Alnor, Tilja and Tahl (Alnor's grandson) take a raft down the river and begin their quest.  The women have to go along because once they enter the forest area, the men will be unable to function and the women will have to navigate the raft.  Because men are unable to penetrate the forest without becoming ill, the invaders had been kept out for generations.  If the cedars fail, the invaders will come.  While searching for Faheel, the only person who can help them, readers and the travelers encounter unicorns, a magic hair tie, a magic ring, fortune telling spoons, the ropemaker, watchers, and animals (a lion, donkey, cat, and dog) who are not what they seem.  Magical things happen, roc feathers help the grandparents regress in time and their cantankerous horse, Calico, becomes a flying horse.  But most of all, Tilja learns about her own magic and is a strong female fantasy role model.  Dickinson is novice at strong female characters; i.e., EVA (Delacorte, 89) and Vinny in BONE FROM A DRY SEA (Delacorte, 93).
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    *Editor’s Note:  This book is a 2002 Prinz Honor Book winner

Eager, Edward. THE WELL-WISHERS. Illus. by N.M. Bodecker. New York:
    Harcourt, 1999.  220p.  0-15-202072-1 hb. $17.00.   99-22564    Gr. 3-6    FIC

    This book is priceless. The magic of the backyard wishing well is considered trite and used up; it's enchantment gone dry. However, James, Laura and Deborah, along with their friends, Kip, Lydia and Gordy each have a story to tell--each in their own way. They relate their experiences when the old wishing well involves them in a variety of magical adventures, thus proving that sometimes the best kind of magic is the kind that is so magical at all. There are a number of pen and ink drawings by Bodecker that add flavor and flair. Even readers beyond the magical fanciful or fairytale age will get a kick out of reading this title which was first published in 1960.
    Patricia Fittante; Children's LibrarianEscanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Fisscher, Tiny. THE FOUR PRINCESSES. Illus. by Barbara de Wolf. LaJolla, CA: 
    Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2001. 64p. 1-92913219-0; hb.  $18.95    Gr. 2-4    FIC

    Almost every little girl has dreamed of being a princess.  Now is her chance.  And she has a choice of four--Ruby, Rosalie, Oceana, or Sparkle.  Not only is the reader given a biographical background of her regal choice, but also offered are instructions on how to make that princess' costume and understand her customs.  An intriguing concept!  First published in the Netherlands in 1999, this unusual title will inspire little wannabe princesses and offer hours of creativity and role playing.
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Foster, Alan Dean.  THE HAND OF DINOTOPIA.  New York: HarperCollins, 1999.
        409p.   0-06-028005-0;  hb., $22.95     Gr. 8-12       FIC

        With some deja vu of the DUNE desert fantasies, a jot of JURASSIC PARK'S island, and a snip of the STAR WAR'S good versus evil theme, this fourth tale of a peaceful human-dinosaur working society becomes believable.  A young couple go in search of a symbolic hand which will show them a way to leave the islands but they find something more important.  This is a long story and the author has fun inserting large words as well as the names of many working dinosaurs.  One frontpiece black and white sketch is the only illustration.  Hopefully the reader has seen the original colorful and marvelously detailed Dinotopia artwork.
        Virginia Foreman, retired Title I and language arts teacher; library volunteer

George, Jessica Day  TUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE. Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers,
            2011.  228p. ISBN: 978-1-59990-644-7 hb. $16.99    Gr. 3-6   JUV FIC

            Princess Celie’s favorite day at the Castle is Tuesday, the mysterious day when the Castle magically grows a new room. When the king and queen disappear, Princess Celie and her siblings start a quest to find their parents and hold onto their kingdom. The many readers who enjoy stories about castles and princess will be intrigued by the unique storyline, and by a new heroine, Princess Celie.
Barbara Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library,Iron Mountain, MI

Griffin, Adele. WITCH TWINS.   New York: Hyperion, 2001.   154p.
    0-7868-0739-3; hb., $14.99    00-63385    Gr. 3-5    FIC

    Identical twins; identical witches.  Ten-year-olds Claire and Luna can cast single-star spells by doing something good, something smart, and something tricky.  They are going to have to recruit the help of their five-star-witch, Grandy, if they want to cast a spell powerful enough to prevent their father from marrying Fluffy and moving to Fluffy's native Texas.  Griffin's humorous tale provides plenty of witchy mischief as the girls live out typical fifth-grade experiences, such as new teachers, the class play and the not-so-typical, like rescuing their long-lost grandfather from a time-warp spell. The realistic and the magical smoothly blend with the use of middle-grade dialog so the result is the realization "that the power of love is far greater than the power of spells."  A twin win!
    Patricia J. Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
Hahn, Mary Downing.  ALL THE LOVELY BAD ONES.  New York: Clarion Books,
          2008.  182p.  ISBN: 978-0-618-85467-7 hb. $16.00.   Gr. 4-7    Juv FIC

          This is a very funny book about ghosts and young, mischievous children.  Corey and Travis go to stay with their Grandmother at her bed and breakfast inn for the summer.  They find a book that lists the inn as a haunted spot and decide to "scare" up some business for Grandma by faking the haunting.  However, after they start "haunting"
the inn, real ghosts come and begin to do some real haunting and scaring the guests.  Grandma doesn't want to have a haunted inn, so the kids devise a plan to put the ghosts to "rest."  This is a very well written story that was very entertaining and fun to read.
          Melissa Coyne, Substitute Teacher, Tahquamenon Area Public Library

Harrison, Michelle.  13 TREASURES.  Illus. by Kelly Louise Judd.  New York: Little,
Brown & Co. 2010.  255p. ISBN 978-0-31604148-5 hb. $15.99     Gr. 5-8    J FIC

      New author, Michelle Harrison, weaves an intriguing tale with the ingredients to spellbind young readers.  Tanya has “second sight,” an ability to see faeries.  Sent to her grandmother’s isolate house in the country because of what her mother perceives as unruly and strange behavior, Tanya finds her self in danger from the evil faeries and goblins that appear in her grandmother’s manor, which seems to have secrets around every corner.  All the ingredients of a compelling mystery and fantasy are here – a cold, distant grandmother, a bunbling cousin with a stern, forbidding father, good and evil faeries, an off-limits enchanted forest and the mystery of disappearing babies and children.  Some of the elements were somewhat reminiscent of Harry Potter novels.  A good read.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Hennesy,Carolyn. PANDORA GETS LAZY.  Mythic Misadventures Series. New York:
            Bloomsbury, 2009 277p. ISBN: 978-1-59990-198-5 hb. $14.99   Gr. 5-8   Juv. FIC

            This is the third book in the Pandora series that begins when Pandora opens a box, releasing seven evils into the world.  As she sets out to capture the third evil, laziness, she meets her uncle, Atlas, who bears the heavens.  The laziness is in his nose hair. Through many trials and tribulations, she is able to capture laziness in the end.  This story is adventurous, has romance, and is also mysterious. Pandora is a very likeable character, and I found myself rooting for her throughout the book. 
            Samantha Coyne, Patron, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI

Hornik, Laurie Miller. THE SECRETS OF MS. SNICKLE'S CLASS.  Illus. by Debbie Tilley. 
    New York: Clarion, 2001. 135p.  0-628-03435-8; hb.  $15.00      Gr. 3-5     J FIC

    What kid, in lieu of tests in a classroom, wouldn't like to substitute them with pizza-topping spelling contests and class trips to find runaway desks?  Most would.  In Ms. Snickle's bizarre classroom, this off-the-wall teacher has a unique way of teaching; no tests or homework.  However, she does insist on one principle.  "No telling secrets!"   Ms. Snickles recognizes the importance of secrets and keeping them, and announces "Secrets are precious and sometimes a bit fragile, so be careful!"  The biggest secret of all is that of Ms. Snickle.  After school is dismissed, she pushes a button and the schoolroom turns into her apartment, complete with her cat, Lacey.  The class busybody, makes it her mission in life to learn the secrets of all her classmates and tells all!  However; when she learns Ms. Snickles' secret, she soon discovers that secrets are definitely made to be kept.  This wildly imaginative and humorous novel, absurd though it may be, will bring snorts and Snickles!
    Patricia J. Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
Jarvis, Robin.  THORN OGRES OF HAGWOOD.   Orlando, FL:  Harcourt, Inc.,
            1999.  244p.  ISBN: 0-15-205122-8  pbk. $5.95    Gr. 4-8    Juv Fic

            Gamaliel Tumpin has a hard time shape changing, but this young creature will remind readers of another hero, the Hobbit. He finds himself caught up in a war that threatens his home and family. The bloodthirsty thorn ogres devour anything in their path.  Gamaliel surprises everyone by rising to the challenge. An excellent chapter book that will delight fantasy readers of all ages, this is the first book of the Hagwood Trilogy.
            Ray Arnett; Director, Fremont Area District Library, Fremont, MI

Jones, Diana Wynne.  POWER OF THREE.  New York: Harper Collins, 2003. (originally published
            in London: McMillia, 1976).  328p.   ISBN 0-06-623743-2; hb.  $16.99    Gr. 5+     J FIC

            If I hadn’t checked the original publication date before I read this story, I would never
 have guessed it was almost thirty years old.   The contemporary elements still feel contemporary; 
the social/political/environmental aspects are still relevant.   POWER OF THREE works on several 
levels.  I was first lost in the story simply because it is a well told tale.  As I read, my attachment 
and sympathy for the major characters (especially the lonely middle child, Gair) grew.   Halfway 
through the book, I was blown away by Jones’ skillful design.  At first, this work reads like pure 
escapist fantasy, when all along Jones has been offering a fresh perspective on a world that is very
 familiar.  Among other things, Jones writes about communication in personal as well as international
 relationships.  The reader, as well as the characters, learns that not everything is as it originally or 
even has always appeared to be.
            Ellen Moore, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI 

.  Berkeley,CA:  Tricycle Press, 2004.  144p. ISBN 1-58246-115-5 
    hb. $14.95,  Gr. 2-5,  Juv. Fic.

    In her first novel, short storywriter, Sarah Clark Jordan, delves into the canine thought and communication processes of three dogs, Chris (The BossQueen), Layla (Little BigBark) and Mina (The Sentinel Pup) and their female owner (OurShe).  New adventures begin as they move across country to join another family unit to become “blended.” How will the pets react to their new surroundings and new “pack?”  Anyone who has owned a pet will appreciate Ms. Jordan's ability to apply human feeling and expression to these well-loved pets and give the reader insight into how difficult change and adjustment is for all family members, including the animals.
    Although the childlike names require thought association with each animal character, by the end of the book the young reader will grasp “dog” talk. Life situations parallel those of humans as the dogs and That Cat do what they view as their jobs, learn their limitations, make friends, and pass on responsibilities to the younger generation.  Readers, especially dog owners, will be enthralled by Ms. Jordan’s ability to create such individual personalities by giving dogs the gift of speech. 
    Jana Aho, Media Assistant, Middle School, Gladstone School & Public Library

Kingsley, Kara.  EREC REX AND THE THREE FURIES. Illus. Peter Mohrbacher. New York:
            Simon & Schuster, 2010. 564p. ISBN: 978-1-4169-7990-6 hb. $16.99.  Gr. 5-9  Juv. FIC

            Erec Rex and the Three Furies is the fourth book in the Erec Rex series.  It is about Erec attempting his fifth and sixth quests towards becoming the rightful King of Alympium.  During his fifth quest, he must meet the Nightmare King, free his best friend from the hands of Baskania, his arch-enemy, and rescue the Clown Fairy.  He almost immediately begins hissixth quest, which required
him to give himself to the Three Furies, and set them free.  He is not sure if this will save the world or
destroy it, but he is sure that it will be the end of him and his chances at becoming king.  The Erec Rex series will appeal to anyone who likes the Harry Potter series.  Kaza Kingsley does a great job spinning this tale.  Each book in the series seems to be better than the next.
            Melissa Coyne  Patron, Munising School Public Library

Lasky, Kathryn. WOLVES OF THE BEYOND. New York:  Scholastic, 2011.  225p.
             978-0545-09314-9 hb. $16.99   Gr. 4-8  Juv.

            The owls of Ga'Hoole have a war brewing. A bear cub has been stolen by a wolf. The bears a massing and looking for revenge. The wolves are claiming innocent but need to fight back or get annihilated. For a wolf called Faolan, raised by a grizzly bear, the threat of war is a challenge.  The bear cub needs to be found and the traitor must be caught or the wolves of the Beyond will lose
everything.   Absorbing story of mother nature in the wild.   Very enjoyable.  
Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools Librarian

Lasky, Kathryn.  WOLVES OF THE BEYOND: SHADOW WOLF. Illus. by Richard Cowdrey.
      New York: Scholastic Press, 2010.  258p.  978-0-545-09312-5 hb. $16.99.   Gr. 6-9    J FIC

      A wolf named Faolan makes it back to his clan.  He was born with a twisted paw and became a cast off and abandoned in the forest to die.    A grizzly bear helps raise him and Faolan survives.   He is now the lowest ranking wolf of the pack.  His bad paw makes him an outsider which makes him eat last, sleep away from the den, and take abuse from the other wolves.   This is just the beginning as a wolf pup is murdered and Faolan is framed for the crime  His survival is again on the line as he hunts for the killer and is hunted by his own pack.  This is a fine story line with a little twist of humanity involved. 
    Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools, Librarian

Lewis, C. S.  ASLAN’S TRIUMPH.  Illus. by Deborah Maze.  World of Narnia Series.
    New York:  HarperCollins, 1998.  40p.    0-06-027638X; hb., $12.95.
    0-06-443575-X;  pb., $5.95    97-28642     Gr. 1-4      FIC  or   E

     This sequel to EDMUND AND THE WHITE WITCH, adapted from the Chronicles of Narnia books, finds Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy entering Narnia where they meet Aslan, the Great Lion. Together they set out to fight the White Witch and reverse her evil spell. Illustrator Deborah Maze uses warm rich colors and finely detailed paintings to carry the youngest of readers through a ride on Aslan's back to the Stone Table, to the battle against the Witch, and finally back through the wardrobe to the empty room in the rambling old house. This adaptation, which is done in large print; is sure to entertain, delight, and intrigue any 5-9 year-old and satiate the appetite until he/she is old enough to read the original classic.
    Patricia Fittante, Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Lewis, C. S.  EDMUND AND THE WHITE WHITE WITCH.  Illus. Deborah Maze.
    World of Narnia Series.  New York:  HarperCollins, 1997.  40p. 0-06-027517-0 lib.bdg. $12.89 
    0-06-07516-2; hb., $12.95.  0-06-443506-7; pb. $5.95.  96-23202 Grades 1-4   FIC   or    E

    Each turn of the page draws the early reader farther and farther into the magical land of Narnia.   This illustrated adaptation, despite its lack of detail and description, does work. The heartwarming illustrations seem to fill the gaps, bringing the age-old, but still popular, Chronicles of Narnia series back to life for the younger set. "Edmund and the White Witch" is adapted from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".  Susan, Edmund, Peter and Lucy, who because of the air raids in London in World War II, are sent to stay at the rambling countryside home of Professor Kirke. Lucy is the first to find her way through the mysterious wardrobe and into Narnia. She is followed by Edmund who meets the beautiful White witch who feeds him Turkish Delight and tells him of the day she will make him King of Narnia--as long as he brings his brother and sisters to meet her. C.S. Lewis' " Chronicles” have enticed the hearts and imaginations of millions of readers and now for the first time, the youngest of readers can enter this mystical world too.     
    Patricia Fittante, Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Lyga, Barry.  ARCHVILLAN.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2010.  181p.
       ISBN 978-0-545-19649-9, hb. $16.99.    Gr. 4-7    Juv. FIC

      Lyga attributes his qualifications as a writer of super-hero fiction to a enjoying a multitude of comics which in his words,.... "thoroughly warped his mind." From that 'warped' mind, Archvillan is born. Kyle is a self-styled prankster, devoted to showing that people (mostly adults) take themselves too seriously and are foolish. His pranks humiliating teachers and parents, have made him a hero and popular figure with his classmates.   After witnessing a plasma storm, Kyle is amazed to find that he now has superpowers. He can fly, doesn't feel pain, and has superpower strength.  Kyle, whose ego is the size of the state of Texas, definitely doesn't like Mike, a boy found in the field where the plasma storm exploded. Quickly named Mighty Mike, he not only has super powers equal to Kyle's, but he uses his power to do good, saving kittens in trees, putting out house fires and performing good deeds where ever needed. Kyle is sure that Mike is an alien with an evil plan for earth. Worse, he has stolen Kyle's popularity. Kyle is out to get Mike even if he has to become an Archvillan, cape and all, to do it. Stay tuned.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Lynch, Chris.  PRIME EVIL. Cyberia Series, #3. New York:  Scholastic Press.
      2010, 160 Pages.  ISBN 978-0-545-02795-3, hb. $16.99.     Gr. 5-8     JUV

      Although Zane foiled the evil plans of his enemy, Dr. Gristle in the two previous adventures, Zane is once again in the clutches of Dr. Gristle and his equally maniacal brother, Bucky Gristle . Will he prevail once again now that he is the clutches of the terrible brothers? Gristle sends Zane to a farm populated with angry, wild farm animals who would like nothing better than to stomp, maim, and humiliate Zane. What is Buckly gristle doing to make the animals angry?  Once again Lynch strikes a perfect combination of humor and adventure just right for today's young readers.
      Barb Ward, Retired Children's Libraran, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

McCaffrey, Laura Williams.  ALIA WAKING.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
	214p.  ISBN 0-618-19461-4; hb. $15.00     Gr. 6-10   J FIC

                This first novel by a Vermont elementary school librarian contains all the qualities
of a top notch tale– adventure, magic, trials and growth.  Twelve-year-old Alia knows that she is
at a crucial age in her community.  She hopes to prove herself worthy of being chosen for 
apprenticeship to serve as a warrior woman and defender of her village, and that she will not be 
doomed to wearing an apron for the rest of her life.  As she struggles to distinguish herself, she 
also struggles to define and live by her own principles.  Through this process, her relationships 
with friends and family members change.  She learns that she has talents and options she had not 
before considered.  The writing throughout is clear, well-paced and engaging.  I’d strongly 
recommend this book.
               Ellen Moore, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI  

McKinley, Robin.  THE STONE FEY.  Illus. by John Clapp. New York: Harcourt, 1985.
    52 p. 0-15-200017-8 hb.   $17.00.    95-3915    Gr. 5-8    FIC

     An unusual story about a strong, determined shepherdess, her dog, her family, her fiance and the way in which her encounters with the mythical Stone Fey of the hills effects their lives.  Set in a primitive, yet unspecified time and setting, Maddy, the main character, faces many internal struggles as she finds herself falling in love with a secret and magical creature.  The story line is loose and it is assumed that the reader knows-or will be able to figure out-what such creatures as yerigs and folstzas are.  At times it is hard to follow, but the story is enjoyable with its dark, artistic and moving watercolors.  I would recommend it for readers in grades 5-8 although the format makes it appear to be for a younger audience.
    Charlotte Oshe, Library Assistant, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

McKissack, Patricia and Frederick McKissack. THE CLONE CODES. New York: Scholastic,
      2010.  165p. ISBN: 978-0-439-92983-7 hb. $16.99.   Gr. 6-9    JUV FIC

     The Clone Wars is set in the year 2170, where clones and cyborgs are treated as slaves and second-class citizens. The government arrests her mother for treason, and Leanna finds herself on the run while being chased by bounty hunters. While in hiding, Leanna learns about the Liberty Bell movement and how its members may have answers about her past and her new reality.
      Leanna learns a lot about her true identity in this book. This is a futuristic retelling of slavery.  The story includes many characters from history, including Elenor Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, and Justice John Harlan. The story weaves history and fantasy together very well. This is the first of a new series with plenty of room for a larger story with these characters.
      Melissa Coyne, Volunteer, Munising School Public Library, Munising

            Illus. by Wiley Miller.  New York:  The Blue Sky Express, 2006.  128 p. 
            ISBN  0-439-856665-5 hb.  $14.99  Ages 8-12  Juvenile Fiction

            Twelve-year-old Basil lives in a lighthouse in Maine and the year is 1899.  He believes his life is ordinary and wants to experience the extraordinary.  And this is what this story is about Basil’s extraordinary adventures and his visit to Helios, a city in the clouds, via a hot air balloon.  Meet unforgettable characters like Professor McGookin and Louise and the dark Dr. Von Rottweil.  Join Basil as he sails through the skies, rides a pet pteranodon named Beatrice, and saves Helios from destruction by an evil madman.  Basil wakes up and thinks it was all a dream  - or was it? 
            Author and illustrator Wiley Miller is a noted cartoonist whose illustrations are unique and enthralling.  The characters and scenes add just the right feel to the story.  This is a delightful book and Basil’s adventures will certainly be continued.  A good read for all ages – just let your imagination soar!
            Jana Aho, Gladstone School and Public Library, Gladstone, MI

Morrissey, Dean. THE MOON ROBBER. New York: Harper Collins, 2001. 64 p.
    0-06-442113-9; $5.95 pb.   00-33586    Gr. 4-7    FIC

    Old Bridgeport is struck unexpectedly by an earthquake and much to the astonishment of trio, Joey, Michael and Sara, a rusted old door in a local toy shop opens itself to them.  This is the beginning of the series, Magic Door Series. The three young children step through it into the alternate world called Great Kettles.  Great Kettles is a magical place, filled with storybook characters.  All is not peaceful in this magical world however. As in all lands of magic, there is a giant, Mogg who, finding what he is searching for, does something that could destroy both Old Bridgeport and Great Kettles. 
    The plot of the book is sprinkled with light fantasy and seasoned with some clever twists.  It is reinforced with some beautifully detailed illustrations that give a feeling of the old world.  The artistic element of the book might lead the reader who is just beginning chapter books to believe he/she had made a good find, but it might be too difficult for most of them.  Although nothing really alarming ever happens, readers will realize that if the night sky is ever to have light again, the three children must stop the giant from hoarding or destroying, the moon. The reader will enjoy the thought of the moon being a spaceship and a giant being afraid of the dark, hopefully causing this new series to take flight!
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Morrissey, Dean.  THE WINTER KING.  New York: Harper Collins, 2002. 64 p.
    0-06-028583-4; $15.95 hb. 00-046099 Gr.3-6 FIC

    Because the format and the interest level are not exactly on the same wave length, this title might require some promotional support. And because it is Book Two in the Magic Door Series, one might want to read Book One first to better understand that "The Kettles" is an alternate world.  This story begins when Sarah finishes making a snowman and then is drawn to the Magic Door Toyshop. Old man Winter appears announcing that his assistant, Kudgel has taken over the Great Kettles (the islands across the Sea of Time) and has created chaos with the weather.  Kudgel is a novice, but he has driving and dangerous ambitionns. Sarah realizes that Old Man Winter needs her help to keep winter from going totally out of control and to keep Kudgel from becoming king. Coming to the rescue of O.M.W. becomes more difficult than Sarah ever imagined. Morrissey's outstanding Old World paintings carry the story and create a compeling atmosphere for the characters who have a bizarre influence over the real world.  Ask Sarah...she knows....she's been there before! 
     Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Neimark, Gillian. THE SECRET SPIRAL. New York: Aladdin, 2011. 193p.
ISBN 973-14169-85266 hb. $15.99   Gr. 6-8   JUV FIC

            Flor Bernoulli doesn’t realize how extra-ordinary she is until her entire life is turned into a spiral.  It all begins with an ordinary trip to the Sky-High Pie Shop owned by the eccentric Dr. Pi.  It turns out that Dr. Pi is actually the keeper of a magic spiral and the fire that powers the spiral.  Flor is visited by two brothers whose lives depend on stealing from Dr. Pi.  Flor embarks on an adventure through time and space to protect the spiral.
Megen Hood, Reading Specialist, Engadine Schools, Engadine, MI

Nimmo, Jenny.  SNOW SPIDER. The Magician Trilogy.  New York : Scholastic, Inc.
          2006.  146p.  ISBN: 9780439846752  pbk. $9.99.     Gr. 4-8     JUV.

          In this first book of the Magician Trilogy, Gwyn receives five unusual gifts from his grandmother on his ninth birthday.  He has no idea what to do with a brooch, a tin whistle, dried seaweed, a scarf and a broken toy horse, but his grandmother seems to think he has magic inside.  Gwyn uses the gifts to search for his sister who disappeared while tending the sheep causing a rift between Gwyn and his father. There is a distinct line both good and evil in this book.  The first chapter of Book 2 is included at the back
of the book to entice readers to continue the story.  The characters are well developed and will be able to carry the story through three books as readers wil wonder what will happen to Gwyn next. 
          Denise Engel, Wakefield Public Library, Walefield, MI

Norcliffe, James.  THE BOY WHO COULD FLY.  New York:  Egmont, 2009.  312p.
      ISBN: 978-1-60684-9, hb. $16.99.  Gr. 4-6   Juvenile Fiction

      Have you ever wished you could fly away or disappear when life gets tricky?  Michael, who was abandoned by his family, wishes so every day.  And it seems as if the mysterious creature who visits him in the orphanage where he is currently living might be able to provide the answer to all his problems.  So when this creature, who calls himself the Loblolly Boy, offers to teach Michael how to fly, he jumps at the chance.  But in learning to fly, Michael exchanges lives with the Loblolly Boy, becoming the Loblolly Boy himself.  At first, his new life seems incredible!  He soars through the skies, feels no cold or heat, and is undetectable to all but a rare individual.  But before long, Michael begins to question his existinst.  He is incapable of all human interactions- Is he even a person anymore?  What does the future hold for him?  How can he get his life back?
      This book will prompt readers to think- about what it means to be human, about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence, about fairness, and forgiveness.    
      Megen Hood, Engadine Elementary, Second Grade Teacher

Paterson, Katherine. CELIA AND THE SWEET, SWEET WATER.  Illus. by Vladmir Vagin. 
    New York: Clarion, 1998. 32p. 0-395-91324-1- hb., $15.00    Gr. K-3    E or FIC

    Whether read to primary children or read independently by upper level children, readers will be drawn to the antics and spunky attitude of Brumble, the dog, companion to Celia.  Celia is on a quest for the "sweet, sweet water of her mother's childhood in order to save her mother's life. Celia's generosity and optimism are sharply contrasted to Brumble the dog's sense of doom, yet together they meet many challenges as they search for the healing water. On this journey Celia encounters three unhappy and lonely people but through her selflessness and optimism, Celia helps each change their perspective on life.  Russian artist Vagin uses watercolor to convey a richly detailed traditional setting typical of folktales. Simple borders separate the text from the illustration except on the two wordless double page spreads. This book would be a good addition to studies of literary fantasy or of how one's attitude can affect the way in which one faces challenges.
    Sandra Imdieke; PhD. Dept. of Education, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
Paterson, Katherine.  THE FIELD OF THE DOGS.  Illus. by Emily McCully.  New York: 
    HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001.  96p.  0-06-442147-3 pb.  $4.99  Gr. 3-6   Juv.FIC

    Josh, who just moved to Vermont with his mother, stepfather, and baby brother, finds himself victimized by the neighborhood bully until he discovers that his dog is experiencing the same problem with an aggressive gang of dogs.  Josh has a special relationship with his dog because he’s discovered that his dog can talk!  Although this book takes a step into the fantasy genre, it is a fast and interesting story about real problems of real people.
    Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI
Pattou, Edith.  EAST.  Orlando, FL:  Harcourt, 2003.  498p.  0-15-204563-4 hb.
    $18.00   Gr. 7 - Adult   Juv FIC

    Children born facing north will grow to wander the world, so the old Norwegian tale goes.  When Rose was born, her mother insisted that she was an East baby.  However, when the white bear arrived promising wealth to the family if Rose was allowed to go with him, it was for certain that Rose was a North baby after all.
    This is a lyrical retalling of the folktale EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON.  Rose travels with the bear to a beautiful, but lonely, manor carved in the mountain.  There she lived in splendor alone except for the stranger who came to her bed after dark and left before morning.  When she dared peek at this stranger, she learned that the enchanted bear must leave her and marry the troll princess who had him under a spell.  Rose follows the bear "east of the sun and west of the moon: and eventually marries her prince.  Though nearly five hundred pages long, the narrative flows smoothly and it is easy to get totally absorbed in the fascinating tale.  Fantasy lovers will savor this story.
    Linda Cooley, Director, L'Anse School/Public Library

Pinkwater, Daniel.  THE YGGYSSEY.  Illus. by Calef Brown.  New York: Houghton-
      Mifflin, 2009.  245p.  ISBN: 9780618594450 hb. $16.00    Gr. 5-8    Juv

      The Yggysey, although fully capable of standing on its own, is a sequel to Daniel Pinkwater’s, THE NEDDIAD. Yggdrasil Birnbaum, the heroine of the book, resides in a haunted hotel in 1950’s Hollywood. She and her friends (including Ned of THE NEDDIAD) discover that ghosts are disappearing from the area and set off on a quest to get them back. The chapters are extremely short, some little more than a page, and the writing is engagingly reminiscent of Roald Dahl.  While I found the ending to be unsatisfying and anticlimactic, fans of Lemony Snickett, Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman will delight in this whimsical supernatural tale.
      Heather Crozier, Public Librarian, Munising School Public Library

Reeve, Philip. FEVER CRUMB.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2009.  325p.
      ISBN: 978-0-545-20719-5 hb. $17.99.     Gr. 6-8   J FIC

      This story started slowly with many odd names (which kids will love) to file and lay foundation for the story. But it quickly becomes a fast-paced page turner. Why did Dr. Crumb adopt Fever & plunge her into a male dominated world where females were seen as unreasonable creatures? Why does she hold memories of the past that point to the future? Definitely the beginning of a new series on the
horizon. Fever Crumb addresses power struggle of the masses, reinventing science through it's past, and what if's for the future yet to be. I think this book will transport many young readers into many hours of entertainment.
      Charlotte Dugas, Retired librarian, Munising School Public Library

Rosales, Melodye Bensen.  MINNIE SAVES THE DAY.  New York, NY:  Little Publishing,
    2001.  84p.  0-316-75605-9; hb., $12.95  99-19896   Gr. 2-5   FIC

    What a delightful transitional chapter book. With the text set on a cream-colored background, the story takes place in Bronzeville, a section of Chicago during the Depression. Rosales incorporates historical facts with fiction in just the right proportions and she includes a chapter at the end of the book featuring snapshots of Chicago's African American History.  The real frosting on the cake (literally) is the recipe for Mama's butter pound cake. However, leading up to all this good stuff is a story about Hester Merriweather who receives a brown rag doll from her Grandmamma.  Hester senses that this doll is really special.  In fact, she is magical.  The doll's outfit is made from clothes worn by Hester's father and her brown skin was made from a dress worn by Hester's great-great-grandmother.  Neither the doll nor her owner realize what is in store for them.  Minnie comes alive when Hester is asleep and shares a secret life with other dolls which leads to adventure, excitement, and a bit of humor.  Rosale's illustrations incorporate fashions from the '30's, attitudes of the day, and popular pastimes of the era.  It's a delicious read and one that is going to keep the reader asking for "seconds please!"
    Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

    Illus. by Mary Grandpre.  Harry Potter Series; Book 2.    New York: Scholastic, 1999.
    341p.    0-439-06486-4; hb., $ 17.95      98-046370     Gr. 3+      FIC

    In this sequel to HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, we find twelve-year-old Harry Potter back at the Dursley's house, where he is once again treated very cruelly.  A few weeks before he returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a strange creature comes and warns him he must not return there because if he does, terrible things will happen Harry returns to Hogwarts despite the warning and indeed, terrible things do start happening–students start becoming petrified and Harry hears a disembodied voice inside the walls of the school.  Can all this have something to do with the legend of the Chamber of Secrets?  And why do most students seem to suspect Harry of doing these dreadful deeds?  Can Harry prove himself innocent?  Find out in this satisfying sequel to J. K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book.
   Once again Rowling has created characters that are truly complete and realistic and about whom you care.  The characters are very interesting and the villains are equally satisfying–in their own way.  The characters all grow and change, and that is all right because inside they are very much the same as they were in the first novel.  Readers will feel as if they know the characters when they are done with this book.  The dialogue is natural and seems very realistic.  This book is even better (if possible) than the first book and should be read by everyone who is 8 and up.
    Emily, an Upper Peninsula ninth grade honor student.
Rowling, J. K.  HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.  Illus by Mary Grandpre. 
    Harry Potter Series, Book 4.  New York: Scholastic, 2000.  734p.  0-439-13959-7 hb., 
    $25.95    Gr. 3+    FIC

    Harry Potter, about to enter his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is spending another miserable summer with his aunt, uncle, and cousin.  Forced to eat very little because Dudley is put on a diet, Harry must live on increasingly stale birthday cakes.  Just when things are looking grim, Harry receives an invitation to go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys.
    Soon Harry is eating food enough for three people and is happier than he has been all summer.  At the Quidditch World Cup, however, things turn ugly when someone puts the Dark Mark, the sign of You-Know-Who, into the sky causing panic everywhere.  At Hogwarts, however, everything is ordinary except for one thing: instead of the usual Quidditch games, students from foreign schools are coming to compete in the dangerous Triwizard Tournament.  The Triwizard Tournament is so dangerous you have to be seventeen to even qualify.  When the the judge of the students, Goblet of Fire, spits fourteen-year-old Harry’s name out of it’s mouth, everyone grows suspicious.  Did Harry put his own name into the goblet to gain more fame?  Or  is someone trying to kill him?
    Rowling’s magical world is heartwarming and funny with well-rounded characters and an amazingly complicated plot.  Adding romance to the story shows the author’s willingness to show that our two worlds are not so different.  This, the fourth book of seven, is by far the best of the books and is appropriate for children eight years old and up, although it can get a little scary!
    Emily, a 10th grade Upper Peninsula honor student

    Illus. by Mary Grandpre. Harry Potter Series;  Book 3. New York:  Scholastic, 1999. 
    435p.  0-439-13635-0 hb., $19.95    99-023982   Gr. 3+   FIC

    In this third book about Harry Potter, readers once again find him at his relatives' house, but this time, his uncle's sister is there and insults Harry every chance she gets.  Finally Harry gets very annoyed with her and blows her up like a balloon and then runs away.  Harry finds out that there is an escaped convict whom everyone thinks has escaped to kill Harry because, the convict, Sirius Black, was said to be Voldemort's, right hand man.  When Harry defeated Voldemort, the Dark Lord, Sirius Black ran away and killed thirteen people with a single curse.  Now that he has escaped, precautions are taken everywhere and the Azkaban guards are at Hogwarts.  The guards, called Dementors, suck the happiness out of people.  Why do these guards make Harry hear the last moments of his mother's life whenever he is near them?  Is Sirius Black really out to kill Harry?  Find out in this wonderful novel which is the third in a series of seven.   Rowling's characters and plot are still as terrific as in the first two books and the setting is excellent too.  The story takes place in the present which helps people to relate to the characters in an imaginary wizard school called Hogwarts which seems as real as if it were next door.  The setting helps provide the mood of mystery and laughs, fun and scares.  This terrific novel is great for adults and kids age 8 and up.
    Emily, an Upper Peninsula ninth grade honor student.

 Rowling, J. K.  HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE.  Illus. by Mary Grandpre. 
    Harry Potter Series; Book  1.  New York: Scholastic, 1999.  309p.  0-590-35340-3 hb.,  $16.95  
    0-590-35342-X pb., $5.99  97-039059   Gr. 3+    FIC

    Harry Potter is a wizard who is famous for defeating a wizard that most are still afraid to call by name.  Harry  lives with the Dursleys,  his rotten aunt, uncle, and cousin.  On his eleventh birthday, a giant called Hagrid comes and gives him a letter telling him he has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Suddenly Harry is whisked away to a world where train platforms are invisible and pictures move.  When Harry reaches Hogwarts he finds even more surprises, like ghosts and magical mysteries, that seem impossible to solve.  Harry makes friends and enemies, too.  Harry also discovers that hidden somewhere in the castle is a very valuable item and that someone is after it.  Can Harry and his friends protect it?
    Rowling has created a fantastic plot in this first novel with an intriguing plot.  It is very lively, unique, and interesting.  There is great tension between Harry Potter and his enemies at school and inside his own painful history.  Readers are captured from the first chapter and from there it increases in excellence.  There is more than one conflict, which makes for a much more interesting read; multiple conflicts do not, however, take away the suspense of the main conflict.  There is much foreshadowing, but the reader will not necessarily notice these until they have finished the book.  This is one of the most excellent books I have ever read and hope that everyone from ages 8 and up will read and enjoy it!
    Emily, an Upper Peninsula ninth grade honor student.

Scalora, Suza. THE WITCHES AND WIZARDS OF OBERIN. New York:  HarperCollins,
    200l. unp. 0-06-029535-X hb. $19.95   Gr.6-8    F

    Bizarre? Unusual? Totally creative and imaginative?  Weird?  Outstanding?  The emotions will be mixed on this title.  Totally different from the run-of-the-mill picture books.  Definitely for an older audience and because of the format, which might cause this to be a shelf-sitter.  A group of anthropologists discover a mysterious mountain cave in France. The cave had been used by witches and wizards as their gathering place and because of the intrusion these spirits abduct a notable Frenchman who is responsible for unlocking their hidden lair.  The design and photography on the extremely glossy paper cause the text to take a back seat, but fantasy fans who are into creating imaginative worlds will be totally mesmerized with this mysterious, evocative, literary creation.
    Pat Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley.  THE BRONZE PEN.  New York, NY:  Athenum Books for
            Young Readers, 2008.  200p.  ISBN 13 97814169 42016 hb.   Gr. 4-7   JUV

            Twelve year-old Audrey is an only child who has to stay close to home, helping to care for her ailing father.  Her body stays home, but her imagination takes off in many directions, along with the stories she writes in her journal.  One day she follows a duck to the old pirate cave where a hooded figure gives her a bronze pen and the message, "Write wisely and to good purpose."  Audrey writes with the pen and is surprised to find that her stories come true.  Not only did a duck try to communicate with her, but now her dog and bird start talking.  Who will believe her?  When Audrey writes a personal wish with the bronze pen, the situation turns from bad to worse, setting her on a mission to find out exactly how to manipulate the power of the pen.
            Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Stewart,  Jennifer.  IF THAT BREATHES FIRE, WE'RE TOAST!  New York, NY:
    Holiday House, 1999.  118p.  0-8234-1430-2  hb. $15.95   Gr. 5-8  Juv.

    Eleven year old Rick and his mother have just moved to Arizona, and Rick dreads being without his friends.  Their new house has a furnace problem and when his mom calls the telephone number on the furnace, the company delivers a live, fire-breathing, time-traveling dragon.  Rick and his neighbor, Natalie, spend the time keeping the dragon secret, time traveling with the dragon and dealing with mom's new love interest.   This is a funny book, but students may find too much happening in the story.  It does deal with the issue of moving, leaving old friends, making new friends, and dealing with a single parent's new love life.
    Linda Cooley, Director, L'Anse School/ Public Library 

Tolkien, J. R. R.  THE HOBBIT OR THERE AND BACK AGAIN.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin,
    1966, 2001.  330p.  0-618-1622-6 hb., $18.00   0-618-15082-X pb., $10.00   Gr. 4+   FIC

    New cover art by Peter Sis provides nine glimpses into this classic.  The success of the feature film THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS, will increase demand for all of Tolkien’s books.  Purchase to replace or supplement titles by Tolkien to meet the demand.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

 Vande Velde, Vivian.  NOW YOU SEE IT.  San Diego, CA:  Magic Carpet Books,
2005.  280p.  ISBN 0-15-205311-5 hb. $17.00.  Gr. 6-8   J FIC

            The author blends family life and modern day reality with  a fantasy world of elves and dragons that begins when Wendy finds a pair of sunglasses on her front lawn.  When she looks through them, she sees her surroundings in a new and sometimes scary way.  Why does the most beautiful girl in school look like a wrinkled hag through the glasses?  There’s a mystery to be solved, and Wendy’s the only one who can solve it.
Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Walsh, Pat.  THE CROWFIELD CURSE. New York: Chicken House, 2010.
      326p.  ISBN: 978-0-545-22922-7 hb. $16.99.    Gr. 4-7    JUV
      This is an intriguing story about a world where faries and hob's lives side-by-side with human beings, however they live in secret and only a few people can see them, unless they wish to be seen. In this story, Will stumbles across an injured hob and brings him back to the abbey where he lives to care for him. Around the same time, a strange visitor comes to stay at the abbey. This sets up a chain of events that threatens Will's very existence. This story is filled with suspense and mystery. 
      Melissa Coyne, Patron, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI

Wersba, Barbara.  WALTER, THE STORY OF A RAT.  Illus. by Donna Diamond. Asheville, NC:  
Front Street Publishers, 2005.  60p.  ISBN: 1-932425-41-1 hb. $16.95    Gr. 4-7   Juv Fic

            Walter is a rat who can read.  He now lives with an elderly children's literature author, Miss Pomeroy, and reads his way through her library.  The book tells the story of their friendship and makes reference to numerous works of classic literature.  This is an interesting book; fun for young readers.  Adults may enjoy the book too.
            Melissa Coyne, Patron/Volunteer, Tahquamenon Area Library, Newberry, MI

    Retrospective Edition.  Illus by Garth Williams.  With an afterword  by Peter F. Neumeyer. 
    New York:  HarperCollins, 1952; 2002.   0-06-000698-6 hb., $29.95    Gr. 2-5     FIC

    This is a handsome edition worthy of celebrating the 50th anniversary of this beloved classic.  Both sets of end papers contain a giant web, complete with dewdrops.  The print is larger than usual, which would be of special interest for large print collections in public libraries as well as libraries for the blind.  The original Garth Williams illustrations have been enhanced with color.  The story is the same classic readers know and love but it is the afterword that makes this an edition a desirable purchase even though every library already has one or more copies of the original.  The afterword, pages 186-215, contains interesting background information on White and his wife, Katherine; copies of draft pages; quotes from reviews and essays about the work; photos of White on his farm and at his typewriter; a drawing of a barn on which White based his own; covers of the book in five languages, and lest people not make the connection, a color cover shot of STUART LITTLE (Harper, 1945).  Persons who want to know more about White can use the Acknowledgements to find out where to find reviews, biographies, and the Cornell University Library, Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

White, E. B.  STUART LITTLE.  Illus. by Garth Williams.  Special Read-Aloud Edition.  New York:
    HarperCollins, 1999.  131p.  0-06-028334–3 hb., $19.95.  45-4150    Gr.1-6      FIC

    First published in 1945, this title is White's first children's book, written before CHARLOTTE'S WEB.  Stuart is a two inch high mouse who is the second son in the Little's human family.  His small size is an advantage when Stuart climbs down the drain to get his mother's ring.  However, Stuart's size is a disadvantage when facing the family cat and the neighborhood dogs.  The story is just as fresh today as it was over fifty years ago.   The book and print size are larger than other editions and the release of this one is timely–just in time to read it aloud to children before and after they see the film of the same title.  School and public librarians who need a fresh copy of this classic will be happy with this edition and will be pleased to promote it for gift giving.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Wrede, Patricia and Stevermer, Caroline.  SORCERY AND CECELIA OR THE ENCHANTED
 New York: Harcourt, Inc. 2003.  316p. 0-14-204615-1 hb. $17.00.  
    Gr. 6-12    YA FIC

    Cecy and Kate are English cousins, separated by their very proper aunts for the debutante season because of their penchant for stumbling upon trouble.  Through their letters, they tell of their individual adventures, which become linked to each other by mutual, magical friends.  These girls are daring and fun.  The story is filled with suspense as readers come to fear for the welfare of the heroines.  If you enjoy this story as much as I did, you'll be looking forward to Cecy and Kate's continuing adventures in THE GRAND TOUR, (2004).
    Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Yolen, Jane.  DRAGON’S BLOOD.  Book One of the Pit Dragon Trilogy.  San Diego, CA: 
    Magic Carpet Books, Harcourt Inc., 1996.  First published by Delacourte Press in 1982. 
    0-15-205126-0 pb. $6.95   Gr. 7-12    FIC

    This series revolves around Jakkin, a bond boy who works as a Keeper in a dragon nursery on the planet Austar IV.  The planet was originally a penal colony which evolved, over time, into a segregated society of freemen and bonded people.  Jakkin’s goal is to work his way to freedom by training his fighting pit dragon.  There’s a lot of action and great reading in this book.
    William Kim, Northern Michigan University student, Marquette, MI

Yolen, Jane.  HEART’S BLOOD.  Book Two of the Pit Dragon Trilogy.  San Diego, CA: 
    Magic Carpet Books, Harcourt, Inc., 1996.  First published by Delacourte Press in 1984.  
    0-15-205118-X pbk.   $6.95   Gr. 7-12   FIC

    Jakkin, now a freeman, sets off to find his beloved Akki with his dragon, Heart’s Blood, at his side.  Through his adventures, Jakkin discovers why he has such strong telepathic ties to his dragon.  He also joins a resistance movement on the planet.  There’s danger around every corner and Jakkin must not be caught.  The second book of this series leaves plenty of room for storyline in the third book.
    William Kim, Northern Michigan University student, Marquette, MI

Yolen, Jane.  A SENDING OF DRAGONS.  Book Three of the Pit Dragon Trilogy. 
    San Diego, CA:  Magic Carpet Books. Harcourt, Inc., 1996.  First published by
    Delacourte Press in 1987.  0-15-205128-7 pbk.  $6.95   Gr. 7-12   FIC

    The young adventurers, Jakkin and Akki, find an underground civilization where everyone is telepathic just like the main characters.  How did they get that way?  Dragons hold the secret, but Jakkin suspects the keepers of mistreating their dragons.  Heart’s Blood, Jakkin’s dragon companion, could be in danger underground.  Jakkin has to make some tough choices about himself and his friends.  The excitement of this trilogy will satisfy teen readers and adults who enjoy fantasy fiction.
    William Kim, Northern Michigan University student, Marquette, MI

Yolen, Jane. WIZARD'S HALL.  Magic Carpet series.  San Diego:  Harcourt, 1991.
    133p.  0-15-202085-3 pb., $6.00   90-45445   Gr. 6+     FIC

    For those who are growing impatient waiting for J.K. Rowling's next volume on Hogwarts, reading Jane Yolen's Wizard's Hall will help bide the time.  Henry, an 11-year-old boy, goes off to wizard school with a few belongings and his mother's advice that it only matters if you try.  Once arrived at Wizard's Hall, Henry is given a new name, Thornmallow, and makes his first friends ever. He soon learns that a terribly evil wizard has threatened Wizard's Hall and all who are there. Thornmallow recalls his mother's advice, which becomes his mantra, saving the school and everyone there. The book chronicles only Henry's first two days at Wizard's Hall, whetting the reader's appetite for the rest of the story.
    Tami Seavoy, Volunteer school library coordinator, Father Marquette Catholic Schools, Marquette, MI

Yolen, Jane. THE WIZARD'S MAP.  Tartan Magic Series, #1.   San Diego:  Harcourt, 1999.
    132p.    0-15-202067-5 hb., $15.00    98-33889    Gr. 3+    FIC

    This tale begins with a family taking a summer vacation in Scotland, but the author soon lets us know that magic, witches, and wizards will make this vacation extraordinary.  Jennifer, along with her twin, Peter, and her 4-year-old sister, Molly, are sent to play in the attic of their cousin's house--a house that even looks like magic.  It takes them little time to get into trouble with an evil wizard, who kidnaps Molly and then other family members in order to obtain a map that will give him great power.  This imaginative and well-written book will keep readers captivated as they follow Jennifer through to the end.  An excellent addition to the fantasy section of any library.
    Tami Seavoy, Volunteer school library coordinator, Father Marquette Catholic Schools, Marquette, MI

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