Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New fiction and fantasy for kids

Once in a while kids may want to sit quietly and read, with or without their parents' help. Here are some books that will keep both kids and adults interested, with a little quiet time added for good measure! Look on World Catalog and Amazon search boxes here at BookBag to find copies at the bookstore or your local library.

Kerka's Book, by Jan Bozarth; illustrated by Andrea Burden (Random House) Fantasy. In Birdie's Book, Kerka Laine learned that she (like Birdie) is descended from a long line of fairy godmothers who guard and guide people in our present-day world. As Kerka, who is now living with her aunt and older sister in New York City, tries to cope with the recent death of her mother, she's also anxious to begin her training in the fairy world Aventurine ... but the quest that the fairies set her on is much more difficult than she'd imagined. Blending a fascinating imaginary world with realistic family drama, this magical second book of the Fairy Godmother Academy series will delight fans of gutsy girl heroes--and the series also has a fun website loaded with games, activities, and more.

Out of the Woods, by Lyn Gardner; illustrated by Mini Grey (David Fickling Books) Fantasy. When their explorer father goes off in search of the "legendary four-tongued, three-footed, two-headed honey dragon," the three Eden sisters Aurora, Storm, and little Anything do their best to get by on their own. A fun-fair comes to town, and the owner gives the sisters free passes to enjoy it...but little do they know that the carnival is a trap set by the evil witch Belladonna, who wants to cut out Aurora's heart and steal a magical pipe of great power from Storm. This clever, funny sequel to Into the Woods is full of adventure and weaves in bits and pieces of many familiar fairy tales--but be sure to start with the first book, or you'll miss too much background.

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang, by Amy Ignatow (Amulet Books) Humorous Fiction. Best friends Lydia and Julie are keeping a secret notebook in which they record their observations of a different species: the popular girls. They're determined to decipher the secrets to popularity before they go to middle school next year ... but when they try putting what they've learned into action, things don't quite go as planned. Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Julie and Lydia's hilarious journal is filled with drawings, dialogue, and plenty of embarrassing moments. Following the girls' schemes and getting to know their interesting family members is sure to keep fans of funny, (mostly) realistic fiction entertained.

Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess, by George O'Connor (First Second) Graphic Novel. This dramatic and exciting comic tells five different myths about Athena, the goddess who sprang full-grown from her father Zeus's head. Narrated by the three Fates who spin the threads of the world's destiny, this well-researched retelling gives readers a clear image of the bold and fearsome goddess of war and wisdom. Excellent, action-packed artwork keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, and character profiles, "Greek notes," and a family tree of Olympians offer more in-depth information for serious mythology buffs.

Dinosaur Mountain: Digging into the Jurassic Age, by Deborah Kogan Ray (Frances Foster Books) Nonfiction Picture Book. After the first reconstructed dinosaur skeleton in America went on exhibit in 1868, scientists began a fevered race to find more evidence of the "terrible lizards." In 1908, Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest men in the country, sent paleontologist Earl Douglass on an expedition to find "something big"--and did he ever. This fascinating book tells about Douglass' hunt for dinosaur bones and his discovery of the bones of an enormous Apatosaurus. Strikingly illustrated and including maps, quotations from Douglass' journals, informative charts, details about the tools and methods of the trade, and more, this book is a must-read for dinosaur fans.

Sports Camp, by Rich Wallace (Alfred A. Knopf) Fiction. Eleven-year-old Riley Liston is one of the youngest (and smallest) kids at sports camp, where all of the campers compete for the Camp Olympia Trophy. Riley knows that he can hold his own in running or swimming competitions -- although wild tales of the gigantic snapping turtle that lives in the lake make him a bit nervous--but he's not so great at basketball or softball, and he really doesn't want to be the weak link on his cabin's team. This action-packed and suspenseful sports story will score lots of points with fans of Matt Christopher's Nothin' But Net (about basketball camp), John Coy's Eyes on the Goal (about soccer camp), or Mike Lupica's Summer Ball (about basketball camp).

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