My public library kindly reminded me that I have 8 books due soon. BUT I only read FIVE of them. NO!
So here are three of the books I read this week:
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. (Grades 5 through 7) Our hero isn't much for reading but he does like to play games. No, make that LOVES to play games. And his game designing hero is Mr. Lemoncello, a rags-to-riches game board, video game designer. Mr. Lemoncello owes a great deal to his public library so he builds an enormous, incredible new public library and runs a contest for children to win a lock-in overnight at this amazing place.
Our hero's original entry into the contest is awful but he decides to try again, inspired by some of the odd rules in Mr. Lemoncello's games. And he wins.
He wins more than just an overnight full of games, food, fun, with some treachery thrown in to spice things up. Our hero learns about trusting his own strengths, teamwork and some interesting new rules to the game of life.
This is a quick, exciting, action packed read with enough trickery to keep easily bored readers amused. I hope the publisher's put out a board game based on this book. I'd buy it!
The Apprentices by Maile Meloy. (Grades 7 and up) Janie Scott hasn't seen the apothecary's son, Benjamin, for two years but she still feels connected to him. Her memories of him are foggy thanks to the tea Benjamin's father gave her. (Read The Apothecary to learn more.) The year is 1954 and the world is still reeling from the impact of the Atom bomb - a danger that Ben's dad and friends are working so hard to contain. Ben finds a way to communicate with Janie even though they are continents apart. Janie's roommate's father wants the knowledge that Janie, Ben, their friends and the mystical book the Pharmaecopia have and he will do anything to get it - kidnap, steal, even murder....
Reading the first book is recommended. But a first reader can muddle through. Ben and his father are caught up in the battles in Indochina when Janie is....OK. No spoilers. This is an adventure for a more practiced reader since the narrative bounces from character to character. Readers may learn something about the period after WWII and a bit about the Cold War, too.
The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher. (Grades 4? through 7, maybe older) Sophie Young and her best fried, Grace Yang, love to spy on their neighbors but the new guidance counselor is far and away their weirdest subject. When they witness a scene of "HORROR" through her windows, the two girls find themselves disgraced and beleaguered. Things go from bad to worse and soon the girls don't know who to trust.
The writing is lively and fun. Sophie and Grace come from such different backgrounds that their friendship eventually falters. But does it fail?? Sophie's disgrace pushes her into an odd friendship at school. And that counselor?? She's pretty freaky, all right.
Tune in tomorrow to read reviews of the other two books - or maybe even three that I managed to finish.