Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

The Forbidden Library

November 24, 2016

forbidden-libraryThe Forbidden Library

By Django Wexler

When I stumbled upon this book and saw the title, I had to read the cover summary:

“Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed after she met her first fairy hovering in the kitchen, threatening her father. The next day her father left, never to return.

Poor Alice dutifully goes off to live with an uncle she’s never heard of: a mysterious old man with an impossibly massive library full of books she’s forbidden to read. But when she runs into a talking cat who sneaks her inside and an arrogant boy who dares her to open a book, it’s hard to resist. The moment she reads the first line Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, with only one way out.

It seems Uncle Geryon is much more than he claimed to be. Good thing Alice is too, because she’ll need all her courage and wits to face the challenges to come.”

What library person could walk away from a story about magical books that LITERALLY take you to other worlds?  And talking cats are icing on the cake!  I really enjoyed Wexler’s unique book-based magical system.  “Readers” are the wielders of magic, seeking bits and pieces of magical fragments within their huge collection of books.  They then combined the found fragments to create magical books that can contain portals to other worlds and prisons for holding powerful magical creatures.

Alice is a smart, crafty girl who overcomes the many obstacles in her way by thinking outside the box.  There is a bit of mystery and intrigue as Alice comes to learn that people’s intentions are not always clear and most things are never simply black and white.  A few pictures are sprinkled throughout the book to help illustrate the unusual places and creatures Alice encounters during her adventure.

This book is part of a series which has two more books, The Mad Apprentice and the Palace of Glass, and a fourth expected sometime next year.

the-mad-apprentice the-palace-of-glass

I would recommend this middle grade novel for readers who enjoy magic, fantastical creatures, and strong female characters.

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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Bedtime For Batman

September 28, 2016

Bedtime for Batman

Written by Michael Dahl

Illustrated by Ethen Beavers


This is a cleverly written story of a little boy getting ready for bed – decked out in costume and imagining that he is Batman – juxtaposed with the superhero doing what he does best on the opposing pages. The simple text works for both scenarios at once, and the detailed illustrations are fantastic – with the boy’s toys matching Batman’s allies and enemies. This fun and engaging book will be enjoyed by children and superhero fans alike.  Happy reading!


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The Adventurers

September 20, 2016

The AdventurersThe Adventurers

Rachel Elliot

 A girl and her toys embark on an action-filled adventure together.  The girl, referred to as “The Child” travels with Velvet Cat, Russian Doll, Pirate, Rocking Horse, and Blue Elephant.  They each take turns describing the perils that they all are facing such as exploring snow-capped mountains and sailing the seas in search of buried treasure.  Each time, the quick thinking Child rescues the group from certain disaster just in the nick of time.  The final adventure, riding down a waterfall, ends with them all in a heap on the nursery room floor.

The illustrations by Valeria Docampo are simply stunning.  The artist paid attention to detail and included a pirate map on the endpapers and a treasure chest on the title page.  Children and parents will want to read this one over and over again.

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Tru & Nelle

September 16, 2016


Tru & Nelle

by G. Neri

In their small town of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1930, misfits Tru and Nelle strike up a friendship and find a mystery to solve when someone breaks into the drugstore and steals some candy and a fancy brooch.

This is a fictionalized account of the real-life friendship between two of America’s great writers, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, so for adults, it’s really fun to see the ways parts of this book mirror things that happen in the books that Capote and Lee wrote as grown-ups. But it’s also a really satisfying story of friendship, small town life, standing up for yourself and your friends, childhood adventures, and dealing with tough situations in life, and also about sometimes having to let go when you’ve found a person and a place you really connect with. No prior knowledge of Truman Capote or Harper Lee are necessary to enjoy this book immensely! Definitely well worth a read for aspiring writers, mystery fans, and those looking for adventures in everyday life.

Happy reading!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

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Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith

August 30, 2016

hoodooHoodoo by Ronald L. Smith

Looking for a page turner?  I picked up Hoodoo, because I heard it would keep you on the edge of your seat.  Set in 1930’s Alabama, Hoodoo Hatcher, twelve, needs to learn to conjure to defeat the “Stranger,” threatening the town with black magic.  Be sure to know your reader, because this story might be too scary.  But it’s perfect for those who like a bit of a shiver.  After all, Halloween is just two months away!

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December 31, 2015


By: Sam Gayton

Illustrated by: Alice Ratterree

Have you heard of the tale that’s short and tall?  There’s an island in the world where everything is small!

She is a girl three inches tall with eyes like drops of dew. Her clothes are cut from handkerchiefs and stitched with spider silk. For half her life, she has been trapped in a birdcage while her giant kidnapper sits below her, writing in a leather-bound book. Her name is Lily, and tonight she is escaping. She is going home. To Lilliput. (from book cover)

After suffering years of ridicule for his “fanciful” tales of travel, Lemuel Gulliver returned to the nation of Lilliput to find his proof.  Lily is that proof and Gulliver has done everything in his power to keep his prisoner from escaping as he hides away, working on his book, in the attic of the most nefarious clock maker in London.  With the help of the clock maker’s apprentice, and a jolly, rhyming chocolatier and his talking parrot, Señior Chitchat, Lily might finally get her freedom and her home back.  But first they must get past not only Gulliver but the scheming clock maker as well!

A thrilling tale based on Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, this middle grade book is fast-paced and full of adventure.  Because Gayton focused on the action and plot, the details are a little lacking; however, this makes for an enjoyable quick read.  The illustrations, spread out nicely throughout the book, enhance the story without overpowering it.  With a couple of darker scenes and themes, this is a great book for young readers who are not quite ready to make the jump into the deep end of young adult novels but still want a little bit of suspense and danger.

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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The Doldrums

December 10, 2015

The Doldrums

By Nicholas Gannon

11-year-old Archer Helmsley is a dreamer who longs for adventure.  Unfortunately, his overprotective mother has confined him to his house and his school.  Not for a week or a month but forever…or at least as long she can protect him from the adventurous tendencies passed down to him by his grandparents, famous explorers who disappeared in Antarctica. It doesn’t help that his family lives in his grandparents’ house surrounded by pictures and memorabilia from their numerous journeys around the world. Consequently, Archer’s resolve to escape is intensified. He soon concocts a plan, along with some new-found friends, to stow away on a ship to Antarctica to find his grandparents who he is convinced are still alive.  But… the best of plans don’t always turn out as expected.  Accidents can turn into adventures too!  After all, anything can be an adventure when you’re with friends!

This is the perfect book for kids in grades 4-6 who enjoy whimsical tales of friendship, mystery and adventure with characters who could have leaped out of a Roald Dahl novel. Delightful full-color as well as black and white illustrations complement the story without distracting the reader and give this imaginative novel a “classic” quality.

Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)


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Connect the Stars

October 29, 2015


Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Middle-school can be tough, and Audrey Alcott and Aaron Archer both feel like misfits at their schools.  They both have special gifts too…Audrey knows when people lie, and Aaron has an encyclopedic memory.

When Audrey and Aaron meet at a six-week wilderness survival camp, they are paired on the same team with two other campers and must undergo challenges designed by the camp founder and former football player, Jared Eastbrook.

I loved that this book addressed bullying, and developing friendships within a great story about the West Texas wilderness and survival.  Don’t pass this one up by assuming it might be another “problem” novel about middle school.  Even though the characters are a bit older than the typical juvenile novel, I think it would be a great book to read together as a family or in a classroom.

I hope you like Connect the Stars as much as I did!

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Space Dumplins

October 8, 2015

spacedumplinsSpace Dumplins

By: Craig Thompson

This is the first graphic novel written and illustrated by Craig Thompson for young readers. Thompson is known for his adult graphic novels that grapple with specific life themes. However, there is much evidence in this graphic novel of Thompson’s background in comics with the intricate artwork.

In this graphic novel intergalactic adventure, we meet Violet Marlocke, her family, and friends. Turns out that energy is hard to find in space and Violet’s father holds down a job as a “lumberjack”. Lumberjacks in space, however, do not cut down wood, but rather hunt down whale poop to use as a source of energy. Since, naturally, whales float around in space. Violet’s mother works as a day laborer, creating clothes for the space elite. When a whale rampage tears apart the trailer park where Violet and her family live, Violet spends the days with her mom while she is at work. Violet meets Elliot, a philosophical chicken with an absent scientific father. When Violet’s father takes on a risky contract and suddenly goes missing, Violet and her friends take on the adventure to find him.

This is a story that slides between themes about family, friendship, and economic disparities. It is sometimes difficult to discern the audience that would enjoy this story the most. However, fans of Diary of Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants would find the plot line humorous. Otherwise, the intricate artwork would hold the attention of older elementary and middle grade readers.

Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)

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August 11, 2015


By Jeffrey Ebbeler

Recommended for ages 3-8.

Written in a style similar to a comic book, Click! is a book with limited words. There are a lot of noises that go on in the night, and one little boy who needs a good night of sleep. To help give his family the rest they need, the boy’s friendly bird-lamp runs around the house to stop all of those pesky noises. He follows the drip, drip, drops to the leaky faucet and the rock, rock, creaks to a rocking chair being blown by the wind. After he takes care of all the night sounds, he makes sure to look after his human boy.

This is a sweet book about friendship and being thoughtful. Since the entire book is told in sound-effects and the bird’s reactions, it’s fun to sit with your child and narrate the story together. The colorful pictures give a lot of character to the sleeping house, showing that it’s not just the little bird who’s alive. Look for the faces hidden in the furniture and items all over the house!

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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