Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Arctic Danger
Barbara Bockman
Illustrated by Eugene Ruble

Barbara Bockman’s new picture book,“Arctic Danger,”  illustrated by Eugene Ruble, is set in Alaska. Siblings Kiana and Gary are on a routine kayak trip to their local general store. All of a sudden it becomes an urgent mission when they discover an ecological disaster—an oil leak on the Alaska Pipeline. Sadly, this leak has already caused some wildlife problems. They rush to alert authorities, who respond appropriately.

Eugene Ruble’s realistic illustrations depict the two realities of Alaska:  the beauty and harsh life in the wild, contrasted with the practical concerns of family life in Alaska and how it is all affected by the Alaska Pipeline.

For a short book, this is a pretty exciting adventure taking place in an exotic U.S. state where wilderness and wildness still exist. As the kids paddle toward the store, Ms. Bockman has juxtaposed the peace and beauty of Alaska’s natural surroundings with the real ecological concerns of the oil pipeline. There is a factual background statement about the Alaska Pipeline at the back of the book. Recommended for kids aged 8-10.

“Arctic Danger” is published by www.guardianangelpublishing.com

Information on author Barbara Bockman is at https://barbarabockman.wordpress.com/

Barbara Bockman, Arctic Danger, Eugene Ruble, Alaska Pipeline, Alaska, wilderness, problem solving, wild life, ecology, ecological concerns, helping, children's books, quick thinking.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

In preparation for hip surgery next month, I have stockpiled books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, who passed last October 2014 in San Francisco.  I don't know what order I'll read them in, but I'm sure to find reality mixed with magic and fantasy. After I read them, I'll post MG Monday reviews here.

"The Egypt Game" - 
The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April decide it's the perfect spot for the Egypt Game. Before long there are six Egyptians instead of two. After school and on weekends they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code. Everyone thinks it's just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players.  Has the Egypt Game gone too far?  ~ A Newbery Honor Book.

"The Headless Cupid" - 
When the four Stanley children meet Amanda, their new stepsister, they're amazed to learn that she studies witchcraft. They're stunned to see her dressed in a strange costume, carrying a pet crow and surrounded by a pile of books about the supernatural.  It's not long before Amanda promises to give witchcraft lessons to David, Jamie and the twins.  But that's when strange things start happening in their old house. David suspects Amanda of causing mischief, until they learn that the house really was haunted a long time ago.  Legend has it that a ghost cut the head off a wooden cupid on the stairway. Has the ghost returned to strike again? ~ A Newbery Honor Book

"Blair's Nightmare" - 
With five children, a raven, and a pet turkey named King Tut, the Stanley house is full to bursting. But David desperately wants a dog--even though his dad has forbidden another pet. So when Blair begins sleepwalking and having dreams of an enormous dog that comes to the house every night, David assumes Blair just wants a dog, too.  But what if Blair's Nightmare, as the kids quickly name the dog, isn't only a dream?" Is Nightmare the dog they've always wanted" and how can the kids keep him--without letting their parents know? ~ A companion book to "The Headless Cupid"

"The Witches of Worm" - 
Cats. Jessica's never liked them,. Especially not a skinny, ugly kitten that looks like a worm. Worm. Jessica wishes she'd never brought Worm home with her, because now he's making her do terrible things. She's sure she isn't imagining the evil voice coming from the cat, telling her to play mean tricks on people. But how can she explain what's happening? Witches. Jessica has read enough books to know that Worm must be a witch's cat. He's cast a spell on her, but whom can she turn to? After all, no one will believe that Worm has bewitches her. . .or worse? ~ A Newbery Honor Book

"The Bronze Pen" - 
When Audrey Abbot finds a mysterious cave, magic suddenly enters her life. Sitting in the cave is an old woman who knows all of Audrey's hopes and fears, including the young girl's dreams of becoming a writer The old woman gives Audrey a bronze pen and warns her "to use it wisely and to good purpose." Soon something magical happens; Everything Audrey writes with teh bronze pen comes true. The trouble is, the pen is unpredictable. Is the bronze pen really a gift--or a curse?

"The Treasures of Weatherby" - 
Harleigh J. Weatherby IV, leads a lonely existence in the vast Weatherby mansion under the watchful eye of his great aunt Adelaide-until a mysterious girl named Allegra literally flies over the walls of Weatherby House and into his life. Allegra's intense curiosity about Weatherby House forces Harleigh to think about things he's always ignored, including the long-lost treasure of the first Harleigh--which someone is trying to steal.

More information on Zilpha Keatley Snyder is at http://www.zksnyder.com

Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Newbery Honor Books, middle grade novels. children's books, fantasy, magic, magical realism.

Friday, March 13, 2015

by Erin Liles

illustrated by Alexander Morris

Erin Liles’ new book, “A Friend for Freckles,” illustrated by Alexander Morris, is a sweet story about finding the right friend—in this case a doggy friend—regardless of looks, talent or disability. Freckles is stuck in the animal shelter. He’s hoping for a friend and a new home. Freckles is kind to the other dogs as he waits his turn.

Adopters come looking for a fancy dog, a rowdy dog, or a dog that does tricks. Freckles tries his best to be what each adopter is looking for. But each time they find fault with him—he has only three legs so how can he be fancy, rowdy or do tricks? One by one the other dogs are adopted. Just when Freckles loses hope, he’s given one more chance for his happy ending.

The illustrations by Alexander Morris are in his whimsical, cartoon style that kids like. It’s clear on each page what’s happening in the story. And even though dogs don’t shed tears, you’ll probably feel like it with this story.

Ms. Liles shows us that when we look at animals—and people—we should look at their character, their nature, their values, rather than superficial things like how they look. It’s who they are and how they treat others that’s important. If we could all learn this, it would be a better world. Recommended for ages 4 through 8.

“A Friend for Freckles,” is published by www.guardianangelpublishing.com

(bulk, print, and ebooks), and available from www.amazon.com.

Information on author Erin Liles is at https://editperfectword.wordpress.com/

More books by artist Alexander Morris are at www.guardianangelpublishing.com

A Friend for Freckles, Erin Liles, Alexander Morris, Freckles, dogs, animal shelter, adoption, pets, children's books, picture books, character, appearances, looks, kindness, helping, home