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Gā's Reviews

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes

Penny (star of the endearing Penny and Her Song) finds a blue marble on a green lawn and pockets it, knowing it probably belongs to someone else. Incrementally, she is consumed by guilt. Her parents, recognizing a problem, encourage her to tell them about what is troubling her, but Penny handles this alone, and the next morning she returns the marble to the spot where it was found. A small, terse--yet humorous--I Can Read drama written on the same reading level as Frog & Toad. For ages 4–7. Available in paperback and hardcover.

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Penny and Her Marble (I Can Read Level 1) Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780062082053
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 27th, 2013

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

In this enjoyable, sweet, low-key drama, Billy Miller carefully navigates his way through his second-grade year: happy sometimes, worried sometimes, accepting and understanding change. We empathize with his anxieties and celebrate his successes, just as we are amused by the very different style of his sister. Sal is 3 years old and utterly sure of herself, toting her pillowcase, which contains the pale-yellow plush whales she refers to as the Drop Sisters (Raindrop, Dewdrop, Gumdrop, etc.). Henkes writes so well about the small difficulties and pleasures one experiences in the school year. Ages 7–9, 3rd-grade reading level.

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The Year of Billy Miller Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062268129
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 17th, 2013

The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

Twelve-year-old Summer and her Japanese-American family work every harvest season to earn money to pay their mortgage. But this last year, Summer has had malaria (she is now obsessed with learning everything to be known about mosquitoes and is both amazed and repelled); her parents have to travel to Japan to care for elderly relatives; her grandmother, now in charge of cooking for the combine crews, has intense spinal pain; and her grandfather driving the giant harvesting machine all day and night is getting very tired. Her brother, Jaz, amusing and puzzling, earnest and autistic, is, like Summer, attempting to maneuver within friendship and family ties. The Thing About Luck is heartfelt, perfect in structure and narrative, accessible, and very funny. Newbery-winner Cynthia Kadohata could, with this book, do it again. Grades 5–8.

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The Thing About Luck Cover Image
By Cynthia Kadohata, Julia Kuo (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781416918820
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 4th, 2013

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

For such a slim book, Flora & Ulysses is enormously enjoyable. I won’t outline the plot, but I will tell you it’s about the pleasure of reading aloud and sharing references (both Flora and her father will sometimes exclaim "Holy Bagumba!"); a superhero squirrel who writes poetry; a couple of quick-witted 10- and 11-year-olds (one boy, one girl), and other adults who mean well, but not always and not all of them. I smiled as I read the first page and continued to smile all the way through, except when I occasionally stopped smiling to laugh. For all ages, but particularly for 7- to 11-year-olds, this book would be an absolutely super read-aloud. We have signed first editions.

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Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, K. G. Campbell (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780763660406
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - September 24th, 2013

The Center of Everything by Linda Urban

Sixth-grader Ruby Pepperdine is "good at figuring out what she was supposed to do," but since her grandmother Gigi’s death, she’s lost the center of everything. The story is told in flashbacks circles around the truth. What if there is no "supposed to"? Ruby, missing Gigi, misses opportunity after opportunity to remain close to her best friend, her family, her town. This sweet novel is simultaneously commonplace and complex, poignant, and oh-so-gently funny, like life, like death—like love, which is the center of everything.

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The Center of Everything Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780547763484
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - March 5th, 2013

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

When the Queen Mary sinks, Charles Maxim finds 1-year-old Sophie floating in a cello case in the English channel and fishes her out. Book fiends, firm friends, the two create a harmonious, unorthodox life together. On her 12th birthday (evading the National Children’s Agency), Sophie and Charles flee to Paris, where Sophie believes her mother may be: "Never ignore a possible," says Charles. The book blooms into a nocturnal rooftop escapade high above the streets of Paris, where a nimble gang of kids live and get around the city by leaping building to building. Sophie joins them, following night after night a trail of notes. A buoyant, witty, Dickensian treat. Grades 4–8.

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Rooftoppers Cover Image
By Katherine Rundell, Terry Fan (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781442490581
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 24th, 2013

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

In all good westerns, place is palpable. Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871 was the site of the largest passenger pigeon nesting ever, a flock covering 850 square miles. The birds in flight darkened the sky, soiled the town like dirty snow, and made wild pigeon pie a staple in most homes. 13-year-old Georgie, living in Placid, is content to help Ma and Grandfather Bolte run the general store. Her older sister, Agatha, on the other hand, yearning to be accepted into a college that would allow a woman student, leaves town. When a body wearing her clothing is found, but in such poor condition that its identity cannot be confirmed, Georgie refuses to believe that her sister is dead, and taking her Springfield rifle (she’s the best shot around), hits the road. One Came Home is a gritty, engrossing mystery/western with superb comic relief that, like last year’s (Newbery Honor) Three Times Lucky, will entertain children and adults alike. Grades 6–9.

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ISBN: 9780375869259
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - January 8th, 2013

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Madeline, 14, lives in an attic flat in Cambridge and is dealing with sudden (comparative) poverty and her mother’s odd breaks with reality. Elliot, 15, lives in the kingdom of Cello, a world which could seem almost unbearably pleasant and small-town and kind except for its very weird and color-filled edges—colors attack, seasons roam unpredictably. The two teenagers communicate between their worlds. Isaac Newton, color theory, and the laws of physics, of course, are epistolarily discussed as Elliot inserts a letter into a crack in a concrete sculpture on the school grounds in Cello and Madeline sees the corner of white poking out from the foot of a parking meter in Cambridge. Clever, quirky, charming, comic, sad—you know the list, but this is unlike anything else out there. Grades 7–11.

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A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine, Book 1): Book 1 of The Colors of Madeleine Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780545397360
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - April 1st, 2013

Quintana of Charyn

Quintana is the brilliant final volume of a standout fantasy series that is known for its political world building and its complex chiaroscuro characterization. Shall I mention I fell in love with all the protagonists (of which there are many)? Witty, strange, and sometimes savage, the Lumatere Chronicles are books that long for and ultimately achieve peace, without sacrificing any of our desire to turn the pages faster and faster. Grades 9–12.

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Quintana of Charyn: The Lumatere Chronicles Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780763658359
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - April 23rd, 2013

Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Monty Python comes to the middle-grade novel. Magic is draining from the world and magicians are getting testy. They’re a lot harder to manage these days, and 15-year-old Jennifer, former foundling and current head of Kazan Mystic Arts Management (levitating carpets for cleaning purposes and pizza delivery, etc.; general magic-for-hire) has her hands full. And that’s before she’s elevated to the position of the Last Dragonslayer— particularly since the Last Dragon is such a quirky, lovely character. Clever, imaginative, and silly; for Terry Pratchett fans. Grades 6–10.
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The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780544104716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - July 2nd, 2013

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