New York, NY : Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2013
New York, NY : Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2013
In Jackaby, Abigail Rook, who has recently arrived in New Fiddleham, becomes assistant to R. F. Jackaby. Jackaby is an eccentric detective of supernatural and inexplicable occurrences, whose last assistant has been turned into water fowl. Jackaby’s home houses himself, a ghost named Jenny, Douglas, the aforementioned assistant turned duck, and now Abigail. The author does an amazing job of introducing us to the characters while still shrouding them in mystery.
With a string of murders occurring in New Fiddleham, Jackaby and Abigail set out to discover who, or what, is committing them. With the help of Officer Charlie Cane, they discover a banshee who reveals the next victim. While keeping the identity and species of the killer in question, Ritter keeps it interesting and fast paced, never leaving a dull moment. He leads readers on an adventure with plot twists and even a few things that go bump in the night. It is a great read for anyone looking to be scared or for lovers of lore.
∼ Bistany, Library Page
by William Ritter
Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin, c2014
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson
Madeleine L’Engle’s classic, A Wrinkle in Time, was originally published in 1962. Although we can now marvel at the fact that a juvenile science fiction novel with a female protagonist was written at that point in time, L’Engle had a lot of difficulty getting it published. The countless rejections she faced finally gave way to its publication though, and it proceeded to win the Newbery Medal. This modern adaptation of the work by Hope Larson sheds new light on the story.
Meg Murray’s father disappeared mysteriously while working for the government. Everyone in town talks about him leaving his family, but the Murrays still hold out hope that he will return. When strange new ladies move into an abandoned house nearby, Meg, her little brother, and an eager friend are shown the way to find him and rescue him. On a planet called Camazotz their father is trapped by IT, a dark, evil thing. Can they save him?
Done entirely in monochromatic blue, this graphic novel adaptation by Hope Larson has the feel of an old-school comic book. It looks like the time period during which the novel was originally written. I thought I would get bored with the images, but the limited color scheme works well here and the verbage was well done.
Age Range: 10-12 years
The Princess in Black by Shannon & Dean Hale
Princesses do not wear black. Princesses do not run. And princesses certainly do not fight monsters. Princess Magnolia, however, does all of these things.
While dining with Duchess Wigtower, Princess Magnolia’s monster alarm goes off. She has to sneak away from the Duchess to stuff a monster back down the Monster Hole or he is going to start eating goats left and right. She manages the task, but while she is gone the Duchess has been snooping through the palace. Will Princess Magnolia’s secret be discovered?
The theme of The Princess in Black is what I love so much about this book. Princess Magnolia can be a princess, but she can also be a superhero. While it is potentially problematic that she cannot show people that she is also a superhero, the message to the reader is that she is good at being both. She even maintains the tiara while she is doing her superhero duties which indicates that her personality overlaps between the two jobs. This is a strong heroine who doesn’t have to choose between being a princess or being a superhero because she is great at being both.
This chapter book is ideal for children 2nd-4th grade who are interested in princesses. It is heavily illustrated and contains short chapters. This is definitely a princess book, but one with pizzazz that shows the strength of the female lead. She needs no rescuing, she will rescue you.
Recently I finished the Tana French mystery series set in Dublin. A strong part of its appeal is the glimpse into modern Ireland today, with its uneasy mix of rich but tragic history and twenty-first century commercialism and economic problems. That got me thinking about how crucial atmosphere is to the success of many of the best mystery series today, along with strong plotting and memorable characters.
There are so many great series out there that it’s hard to know where to start, but here are a few:
Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti series, set in Venice
And there are many, many more…what other mystery series stand out to you because of their setting?
It’s 2015 and the nurses’ note clipped to her bed says that Patricia Cowan is “confused today”. It is true that Patricia is very old and sometimes she remembers having four children by her husband Mark, but also, she distinctly remembers raising three children with her partner, Bee. In My Real Children, author Jo Walton asks what if you could travel down both of Frost’s paths diverged in a wood? A splitting apart of lives from one pivotal point so that two lives are lived in two parallel worlds? Alternatively, the loves, losses, triumphs and sorrows of Patricia’s two lives are explored against a changing backdrop of world events. Very interesting, speculative fiction, securely anchored in the understanding of human relationships. For fans of Kate Atkinson’s terrific best seller, Life After Life, and other alternative histories mirroring our own society.