Today I recommend: Frogkisser! by Garth Nix.
Princess Anya has a big problem: Duke Rikard, her step-stepfather is an evil wizard who wants to rule the kingdom and has a habit of changing people into frogs, and her older sister Morven, the heir, is a wimp–so with the help of the librarian Gotfried (who turns into an owl when he is upset), and the Royal Dogs, she must find away to defeat Rikard, save her sister, and maybe even turn Prince Denholm back into a human being.
This fantasy book has everything you could want: humor in the shape of hilarious talking dogs, the classic fantasy elements in the magic lip balm, newts, otters, a Good Wizard, and a strong main character! It also subverts a lot of fantasy tropes, there is no romance plot for our brave main character, Princess Anya. The book also has some interesting discussions about privilege and how laws should apply equally to everyone. This book is pretty hefty at 372 pages but if you love fantasy this is a book for you! You can find it in the Juvenile Fiction section at J NIX.
Today we recommend: The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone.
Eleven-year-old Haleigh Adams paints a picture with a mysterious set of paints she found and now she is stuck in a time loop, but when she realizes her parents have been keeping a secret she and her new best friend Kevin must find the source of the magic paints and the secret of the time loop before it is too late.
Haleigh doesn’t want summer to end and finds herself repeating her last day of summer break over and over again. As you might expect, this turns out to be less fun than she thought especially when it turns out that lives are at stake. This is a really fun summer read, the writing is realistic (you know except for the time travel), and the tone is humorous. If you’re a fan of time-loops like in the movie Groundhog Day then this is the book for you! You can find it in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CIRRONE.
Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez
Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in Sandy’s bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room. One day, Morfie, a mysterious pale girl, appears at school. And she knows all about Sandy’s talent and her drawings.
First- this graphic novel has amazing illustrations! If you don’t want to read it, just pick it up to look at the pictures! Second- it was a creepier story than I thought it would be. I can’t wait to read the next one! Look for it in our Juvenile Graphic Novels under
J GRAPHIC ALVAREZ.
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
Jack might be the only kid in the world who’s dreading summer. But he’s got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s boring, too, because Maddy doesn’t talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk–to tell Jack to trade their mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds. It’s the best mistake Jack has ever made. What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.
This graphic novel is a cool new twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. Lots of adventure and a little bit of magic makes me want to read the next book in the series! This book is recommended for grades 5-7. Look for it in our Juvenile Graphic Novels under J GRAPHIC HATKE.
This week I finished reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest to keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle and rescues the babies. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon was 2016’s Newbery Award Winner, and is a good book for anyone who likes very detailed fantasy novels. This book has a slower pace but the question of who exactly is spreading the rumors about the evil witch will keep you reading to the end of the novel. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J Barnhill.
This week I read The Crystal Ribbon
by Celeste Lim.
Li Jing is an 11 year-old girl with a special connection to the village guardian, the Great Golden Huli Jing- a five-tailed fox. The family farm isn’t doing well, so they sell her as a bride to the 3 year-old son of the Guo family in another city. Sadly, her new life is not what her family thought it would be. As her situation worsens, she realizes that the only thing to do is escape.
This magical story had me hooked right away and I was desperate to know what would happen to dear Li Jing! It also had me wondering: could I be that brave? Would I be able to leave my family for a new life I knew would be awful, to save them? Look for this book in our New Juvenile Fiction collection under the call number J LIM.
Sophronia Temminnick is 14 and supposed to be concerning herself with becoming a lady, Sophronia however, would much rather concern herself with matters such as spying on house guests using her house’s dumbwaiter (it doesn’t end well). Sophronia’s mother decides the only thing to do with her is send her off to finishing school, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. However, before she (and fellow new student Dimity) arrive at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s their carriage is attacked by flyaway men (like highway men, but they, you know, fly).
Upon arrival at her new (floating) finishing school Sophronia begins to realize she’ll be learning much more than just how to become a lady (although that is still part of the process). The school’s teachers include a vampire and a werewolf (who makes sure to keep his top hat on, no matter his form) and Sophronia quickly earns herself a nemesis in a far more accomplished student, Monique de Pelouse. In between learning how to curtsy properly, how to most effectively blush and flutter her eyelashes, and making sure to always have a handkerchief on her person (“not only a communication device, but it an also be dropped as a distraction, scented with various perfumes and noxious gases for discombobulation, used to wipe the forehead of a gentleman, or even bandage a wound, and of course, you may dab at the eyes or nose if it is still clean” (p124)), Sophronia is trying to figure out what Monique is up to and keep her mechanical dog Bumbersnoot fed a steady diet of coal.
Etiquette & Espionage is a fun steampunk story that isn’t too heavy handed with the steampunk. Sophronia gets stuff done and without much waffling on weather she should or not, such as scale balconies on the airship to get coal for her mechanimal, she just does it (which is quite refreshing). It’s not your typical beach read, but this book could definitely serve as an entertaining summer read.
The answer to yesterday’s trivia questions is: