Sunday, October 3, 2010

Adventure stories for kids: Seven wonders, giant-slayers, and a skibberee

So ... what's a skibberee? Read What-the-Dickens by Gregory McGuire and you'll find out .... There's lots more adventure in these books, from a boy transported to a redwood forest from the subway, to the trials of Bob, the castle rat caught by the King's two cats, Muffin and Brutus. Be sure to look for these books here on BookBag using the World Catalog and Amazon search boxes, and get ready for some exciting reading that will keep you turning the pages!

How to Save Your Tail*: *If You are a Rat Nabbed by Cats Who Really Like Stories about Magic Spoons, Wolves with Snout-Warts, Big, Hairy Chimney Trolls -- and Cookies Too, by Mary Elizabeth Hanson (Schwartz & Wade Books) Fractured Fairy Tales. Bob the castle rat loves to read almost as much as he loves to bake, and it's a good thing--because the stories he reads end up saving his life! Distracted by a book on a bench, Bob is caught by palace cats Muffin and Brutus, who plan to make a meal out of him. Thankfully, Bob is able to stall by telling the cats stories about his ancestors (all of which bear striking resemblance to well-known fairy tales) and feeding them some of his freshly-baked cookies. But how long can he postpone being eaten by the fearful felines? Pick up this quick, funny read and find out.

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, by Betty G. Birney; illustrated by Matt Phelan (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) Historical Fiction. Fascinated by stories of the Seven Wonders of the World, 12-year-old Eben McAllister longs to leave the small town of Sassafras Springs, Missouri and see some of them for himself. But no one else from Sassafras seems eager to go exploring, so Eben figures he's stuck on the farm with his folks until he grows up. Then Pa makes a deal with him: if Eben can find seven true wonders right in Sassafras Springs, he gets to take a train trip out West and have an adventure after all. Set in 1923, this old-fashioned yarn shows that even places and things that seem ordinary can have extraordinarily magical stories to tell.

Redwoods, by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press) Picture Book. If you've ever heard or read a great story, you probably understand what people mean when they say that books transport them to completely different worlds. Well, when the boy in this story finds a book about redwoods on a subway-platform bench, it really happens! The boy begins reading amazing facts about the giant trees while riding the subway, and when he climbs the stairs that lead to the city street, he instead finds himself smack in the middle of a redwood forest. Combining thrilling adventure (in the illustrations) with fascinating facts (in the text), this book is big -- really big! -- fun.

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy, by Gregory Maguire (Candlewick Press) Fantasy. Ten-year-old Dinah, her brother Zeke, and their baby sister Rebecca Ruth are stranded in their remote home while a terrible storm rages. Only their inept older cousin Gage is there with them, but he has almost no practical survival skills. So, to pass the time and ease their fear, Gage tells the story of What-the-Dickens, a newly hatched orphan creature who doesn't realize that he is a skibberee--a tooth fairy. After meeting a number of beings who are not like him (a cat named McCavity, a tiger, a bird, even people), What-the-Dickens eventually meets Pepper, another skibberee who shows him what being a tooth fairy is all about. And as Gage spins the tale through the night, the storm rampages on...

The Giant-Slayer, by Iain Lawrence (Delacorte Press) Historical Fiction. Shy, quiet dreamer Laurie Valentine has no friends at all until she meets Dickie Espinosa. The two of them range all over their 1950s neighborhood exploring and playing--until Dickie comes down with polio and is confined to an iron lung. Laurie sneaks into the hospital to visit Dickie and begins spinning a fantastical tale that spreads over many visits, a heroic adventure in which a young boy must slay an enormous giant (with the help of all manner of interesting and unusual characters). We won't tell you what power Laurie's amazing story holds; read The Giant-Slayer and decide for yourself.

Travels of Thelonious, by Susan Schade and Jon Buller (Simon & Schuster) Animal Fantasy. Thelonious Chipmunk is the only member of his family who believes that, in ancient times, human beings ruled the Earth (most everyone else thinks that the legends about humans are just old stories--entertaining, maybe, but not true). When the tree that he lives in is swept downstream in a huge storm, Thelonious finds himself in the City of Ruins, where he joins a porcupine librarian and a helicopter-flying bear in their dangerous quest to discover the truth about Earth's past. Alternating written chapters with comic-book chapters, this first volume of the Fog Mound series is a story that both intrigues and inspires.

1 comment:

  1. Nice group of books. Thanks for the reviews.