Sunday, July 11, 2010

New summer fiction and fantasy for tweens

When it's too hot to think, readers might enjoy these new books featuring everything from a finger-puppet Yoda who dispenses sage advice to a hard-boiled school safety monitor named Griff. Look for these here on BookBag using the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes and prepare to laugh!

City of Spies, by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan; illustrated by Pascal Dizin (First Second) Graphic Novel. It's 1942, smack in the middle of World War II, and 10-year-old Evelyn is being sent to New York City to live with her pampered, free-spirited aunt. Evelyn spends most of her time drawing her own comic, in which super-hero Zirconium Man and his sidekick, Scooter, repeatedly foil the plans of Nazi spies. But when she teams up with Tony, the building superintendent's son, the two of them decide that they can defeat actual Nazi spies in the German district of the city--which leads to all kinds of mishaps, adventures, and, ultimately, a very dangerous situation. With clean-lined art, an old-fashioned adventure story, and Evelyn's fun comic-within-a-comic, City of Spies is an exciting and action-packed read.

13 Treasures, by Michelle Harrison (Little, Brown) Fantasy. Tanya is constantly tormented by nasty, brutish fairies that only she can see. When the fairies' pranks get Tanya in trouble, she is shipped off to her cold, demanding grandmother's secluded countryside manor. There Fabian, the grounds-keeper's son, convinces Tanya to investigate the disappearance of a local child, and she discovers dark secrets in the mysterious woods near her grandmother's house. Sure to satisfy fans of Holly Black's Spiderwick Chronicles, this supernatural mystery will pull you into its gothic setting and keep you turning the pages.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger (Amulet Books) Humorous Fiction. Sixth-grader Tommy needs to know whether Origami Yoda is for real. His buddy Dwight is considered a weirdo even before he shows up at school wearing a folded-paper Yoda as a finger puppet. Then "Yoda" begins doling out advice that seems pretty solid. In this hilarious book (illustrated with equally funny cartoons), Tommy compiles tales from classmates who've sought wisdom from Origami Yoda, hoping to determine whether it's just a "green paperwad" or a link to The Force ... because he isn't about to take advice about girls from a fraud. With quirky characters, plenty of in-jokes for Star Wars fans, and instructions for folding your very own Origami Yoda, enjoy this book you shall!

The Celestial Globe: The Kronos Chronicles, Book 2, by Marie Rutkoski (Farrar Straus Giroux) Historical Fantasy. As this sequel to The Cabinet of Wonders begins, Petra Kronos is under attack from the evil prince of Bohemia's hired assassins. British spy John Dee whisks her out of harm's way via a mysterious space-time Loophole, but Petra is desperate to return to Bohemia to find her father. While Dee holds Petra captive and instructs her in magic, espionage, and swordplay, Petra's friends Neel and Tomik search for a pair of enchanted globes that hold great power--and they aren't the only ones trying to find them. Incorporating historical details from 16th-century Bohemia, The Celestial Globe is a fast-paced adventure laced with mystery, political intrigue, romance, and some excellent swashbuckling.

Short: Walking Tall When You're Not Tall at All, by John Schwartz (Roaring Brook Flash Point) Nonfiction. This book's author, John Schwartz, is short (he's five feet, three inches tall). According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, children -- boys especially -- who aren't likely to exceed Schwartz's height as adults can be given a synthetic growth hormone to help them grow taller. But is being short really so bad? In addition to debunking research that claims short people are less happy and successful, Schwartz talks about his own experiences as a short person and offers great advice on how to cope with being different (something that extremely tall people might benefit from, too).

Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol, by Jim Krieg (Razorbill) Humorous Fiction. Griff Carver may be new to Rampart Middle School, but he's an old hand at enforcing the law--as a veteran member of the Safety Patrol, he's seen it all. He can tell that something isn't right at his new school, and with the help of patrol rookie Tommy, school-newspaper editor Verity, and Solomon the janitor, Griff is determined to bust up an operation that distributes phony hall passes (among other criminal activity). Written in a hilarious tongue-in-cheek style that spoofs hard-boiled detective stories, this fast-paced, action-packed tale is a must-read for fans of Jack Ferraiolo's The Big Splash.

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