Posts Tagged ‘adventure’


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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Daredevil Duck

July 24, 2015

Daredevil-Duck-cover-925x1024Daredevil Duck by Charlie Alder

Meet Daredevil Duck
He is afraid of everything. But that doesn’t stop him from DREAMING of being brave.
Then one day he is given the biggest challenge of all . . .
Can Daredevil Duck prove that he is the bravest duck in the whole wide world?

This is the story of an ordinary duck (with a few little fears), who longs to be something extraordinary, and how, over the course of this adorable lift-the-flap book, he just might get his wish (with some help and a little effort along the way). This is a great way to explore the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something that makes you feel a little afraid, and how sometimes that can open up a whole new world to you! With bold bright illustrations, lots of humor, and pictures hidden behind various flaps, it’s an interactive experience that’s a whole lot of fun–even if you’re already the bravest duck in the whole world!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)


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Finding Serendipity

April 8, 2015


Finding Serendipity

By Angelica Banks

Tuesday McGillicuddy has a famous mother but she can’t tell you anything about her.  The reason being that her mother is the author of one of the most popular adventure series in the world!  She is so famous that she has to dress in disguise and pretend to be a completely different person when she’s out doing book signings or speaking in schools as the author Serendipity Smith.

Tuesday loves her mother deeply but she doesn’t love all of the time she spends writing her novels – locked away from her family for days on end. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Tuesday is happy that her mother is about to finish writing her last book in the Vivian Small adventure series.  This means a family trip where Tuesday will be able to spend weeks on a remote island somewhere with her mother and father, all the while enjoying their undivided attention.

But now something terrible has happened!  Her mother has apparently vanished through the open studio window while writing the final pages of Vivienne Small and the Final Battle!  The only clue left behind in her writer’s studio is a silver box containing a shimmering silver thread that spells “The End” and floats above the keyboard of her typewriter.  Hoping her mother will reappear, Tuesday starts a story of her own on the same typewriter. And now, her own adventure begins as she sets off to find her mother who is seemingly lost in her story somewhere.

I thoroughly enjoyed this magical and imaginative tale filled with twists and turns that introduce readers to a mystical land where authors find inspiration for their characters and stories.  A land where their characters become real and can live out the lives created for them.  And maybe, just maybe, live lives of their own after the author has left the story.

I highly recommend Finding Serendipity for children grades 4 through 6.  It would also be tremendous as a read-aloud!

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)

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Upside Down Babies

December 17, 2014

by Jeanne Willis

“Once when the world tipped upside down, the earth went blue and the sky went brown.  All the baby animals tumbled out of bed and ended up with very funny moms instead.”  These are the first two sentence in this clever and beautifully illustrated book, “Upside Down Babies.”  We would all be a bit shocked to see a pig falling into a parrot’s nest.  But just imagine how that parrot mom would feel.   How about a polar bear landing in the desert next to her new mom, a camel.   A cheetah faster than lightning ends up with a sloth, can anything be slower.  This cheery book brings humor to each page as each mom is faced with unthinkable challenges gazing on their new babies.  Of course, the world does turn around but the ending may surprise you as a few babies and moms actually are happier with their new arrivals.

This book is great for our toddlers as well as preschool children.  Any adult would enjoy sharing this book with a group of children as well as a fun read one on one.

Davis – (Bev)

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Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

December 16, 2014

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jon Klassen

Sam and Dave are on a mission to dig a hole in search of something spectacular.  As they try to figure out the best strategy, the reader (and the knowing dog) see the big gems that the pair are missing.  When they fall asleep and free-fall through the deeper hole, they end up falling from above, back to where they were before…or is it?  With sepia-toned illustrations, spare text and the reader in the know, children will enjoy the surprise ending.

This story reminded of that child-like belief that you can dig a hole to China, and the illustrations brought to mind that classic, A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss.  Enjoy!



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December 11, 2014

Picnic by John Burningham

John Burningham’s books are some of my favorites.  Simply written and simply illustrated, they are perfect for young children.

Picnic is a quiet story about a boy and girl who go out one day and meet their animal friends.  Along the way they have a small adventure, as they are chased by Bull and the wind blows Sheep’s hat away.  In the end, they all go home to bed. Children will love reading along and answering the questions in the text like, “Can you find Sheep’s hat?”

Reading with children every day is essential to their early literacy development, and talking about the story as you read is equally important.  This particular book makes life easy for the parent because the story already includes interactive questions.

I hope you’ll share Picnic with your children, and that John Burningham’s books become some of your favorites too!

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