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Gā's Reviews

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Monty Python comes to the middle-grade novel. Magic is draining from the world. 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
ISBN: 9780547738475
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2012

What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

In the formal, patterned language of oral epic poetry (think Beowulf), readers are given details of a battle between opposing forces. To save the essence of civilization, Young Waeglim forges the Art of the Valorim into a chain and hurls it into space. And such is the measure of his desperation and power that the necklace streaks through the galaxies, past stars and comets, and lands on Earth in 12-year-old Tommy’s way-too-babyish Ace Robotroid lunchbox (a birthday gift from his grandmother). Two worlds intersect and inextricably combine and nothing will ever be the same for Tommy and his family. There is such beauty and yearning (and humor) in this novel—in all of Gary Schmidt’s novels, really—and though this book may rend your heart, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Grades 5–8.
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What Came from the Stars Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780547612133
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Clarion Books - September 4th, 2012

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

In preparing for the winter newsletter, booksellers in the children’s section of Bookshop read all the books published in 2012 that we suspect may be good— suspicions created by publishers’ reps, readers we like, children’s lit blogs, book reviews we admire, and some less tangible trickle of interest that accompanies a certain book and that publishers refer to as “buzz.” The Mighty Miss Malone was published in January. I didn’t read it until the day before the newsletter was due at the printers. MMM is a smart, amusing novel about a loving, bookish family’s struggle to live together when job possibilities are forcing them apart—a struggle as relevant today as it was in the 1930’s setting of Curtis’s story. Warmly memorable and completely buzz-worthy. Ostensibly for grades 5–8. And the rest of us.
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The Mighty Miss Malone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385734912
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - January 10th, 2012

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes

On her way home from school, Penny composes a song that she just has to sing. She starts to sing it to her parents, who, worried that she’ll wake the babies, tell her to wait. She sings her song to the glass animals in her bedroom, but wishes for a more responsive audience. Penny attempts her song again at supper, but she’s asked to eat. Finally, after dinner, the family gathers and Penny sings her song exuberantly and successfully (with encores). The family joins in, singing and dancing until they are all exhausted. For newly independent readers grades K–2.
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Penny and Her Song (I Can Read Level 1) Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062081971
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 21st, 2012

Life in the Ocean by Claire A. Nivola

In this lyrical biography of renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, whales move like sparrows; otters, ballerinas. Bioluminescent creatures flash with blue fire, like fireflies in open air. As much a celebration of the ocean’s grandeur as Earle’s personal story, Life in the Ocean allows us to enter “the blue heart of the planet” through Earle’s eyes. Claire Nivola’s stunningly detailed watercolors capture everything from the immensity and grace of a blue whale to the Paul Klee–like vision of the sea 3000 feet down. “After reading this, I have a mounting sense of regret for not becoming an ocean biologist.” (Eileen). Grades 1–5. —Tera & Gā

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374380687
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - March 13th, 2012

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look

Alvin has many zany fears, allowing even the most anxious reader to feel brave. (Grades 2–3, Schwartz & Wade)
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances Cover Image
By Lenore Look, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780307976956
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Yearling - September 11th, 2012

Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich

Erdrich has given us a Native American side of Wilder’s Little House family saga. The first book, Birchbark House, won the National Book Award, and the subsequent books are even better. (Grades 4–7, Harper Collins)
Chickadee (Birchbark House #4) Cover Image
By Louise Erdrich, Louise Erdrich (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780060577902
Availability: Backordered
Published: HarperCollins - August 21st, 2012

Hard Pan Trilogy by Susan Patron

A lovely stepmother–daughter relationship unfolds in a small, hot, California desert trailer park community. Friendship, school bullying, and the vicissitudes of running a café come into play in this funny, beguiling trilogy, the first book of which won the coveted Newbery Award. (Grades 4–6, Atheneum Books)

Lucky for Good Cover Image
By Susan Patron, Erin McGuire (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781416990598
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 7th, 2012


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