Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just for fun: some new books for tweens

Just for fun, these books are exciting and filled with great characters who will make you laugh. Find copies at your local library using the World Catalog search box or Amazon.com link here on BookBag.

Binky the Space Cat, by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press) Graphic Novel. Binky is a cat with a mission: to protect his humans from aliens, which are everywhere (his humans call them "bugs"). His official certification as a Space Cat has just arrived in the mail from F.U.R.S.T. (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel), and he's decided to build a rocket ship so he can explore outer space and battle aliens on their home turf. But if he blasts into space and leaves his humans behind, who will protect them while he's gone? You don't have to be a cat lover to appreciate this funny, tongue-in-cheek adventure--but if you are, you'll laugh extra-hard at Binky, the bug-munching kitty with a secret identity.

The Dream Stealer, by Sid Fleischman; illustrated by Peter Sis (Greenwillow Books) Fantasy. Zumpango is a Dream Stealer. It's his job to capture children's nightmares, but he's sick of dealing with scary monsters and has begun to steal happy dreams instead. One night, however, Zumpango steals an especially good dream from a brave and clever young girl named Susana -- and Susana decides to get her dream back. This whimsically illustrated story is a little bit funny,

a little bit scary, and a whole lot of fun to read.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing the Piano (But She Does Love Being in Recitals) by Peggy Elizabeth Gifford (Schwartz & Wade Books) Fiction. Pint-sized drama queen Moxy Maxwell is back, ready to wow the audience at her piano recital. She'll be playing a duet with her younger sister, Pansy--and she's more than a little miffed that her twin brother, Mark, gets to play a solo. Also, there was that bothersome note from her piano teacher, who says that Moxy pounds on the keys and doesn't stop playing her recital piece at the right time. But really, Moxy has far too much to do before the show for her to worry about something as silly as practicing. This 3rd book in the hilarious Moxy Maxwell series, just like the others, is illustrated with Mark's own off-kilter photos.

Two Bad Pilgrims, by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by John Manders (Viking) Historical Fiction. If you think that all Pilgrims were prim and proper, think again. Based on the real-life story of the Billington brothers Francis and Johnny -- whose entire family was notorious for their bad behavior -- Two Bad Pilgrims tells how the boys nearly blew up the Mayflower, discovered an "inland sea," and (ironically enough) made peace with the Nauset Indians who had previously attacked the Pilgrims. Don't judge this book by its package -- it's the size and shape of a picture book, but it reads like a comic and contains lots of fascinating facts and a story that older kids, especially history buffs, are sure to enjoy.

Ottoline Goes to School, by Chris Riddell (Harper Collins) Humorous Mystery. Not quite a graphic novel but more than just a story with pictures, this is

the 2nd book about Ottoline Brown and her best-friend-slash-sidekick, the extremely hairy Mr. Munroe (who looks sort of like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family). After making a new friend who attends the Alice B. Smith School for the Differently Gifted, Ottoline decides to enroll at the school herself. Surrounded by students with special abilities, she finds it difficult to discover her own gift...but easy to stumble upon a mystery. Full of quirky characters and delightful feats of wordplay, Ottoline Goes to School is a quick, fun read.

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