Thursday, November 08, 2007

First Fiction: Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One

Beloved children's author Judy Blume has written another winner. Abigail and Jake are siblings who have a typical love-hate relationship. He calls her "The Great One" because she thinks she's *so* great: She calls him "The Pain" because he's...well, a first grade pain.

Together these two loveable characters conquer doggy breath, learning to ride a bike, and a terrible fear of haircuts. Kids will love to laugh with Jake and Abby.

First Fiction
Grades 1-4
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue.

Nonfiction: Care and Feeding of Sprites (Spiderwick Chronicles)

This "nonfiction" addition to the bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles tells kids how to become an expert Spritekeeper. Sprites make excellent pets (if you can catch one), and this book covers essential topics like "illnesses of sprites", "proper nutrition for your growing sprites", and "housing your sprite".
Kids who are interested in sprites and fairies will want to check out this slim volume. Watch out for the Spiderwick movie coming this winter!
Nonfiction (mostly)
Grades 2-5
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Fiction: Schooled

Homeschooled on an isolated "alternate farm commune" that has dwindled since the 1960s to 2 members, 13-year-old Cap has always lived with his grandmother, Rain. When she is hospitalized, Cap is taken in by a social worker and sent—like a lamb to slaughter—to middle school. Smart and capable, innocent and inexperienced (he learned to drive on the farm, but he has never watched television), long-haired Cap soon becomes the butt of pranks. He reacts in unexpected ways and, in the end, elevates those around him to higher ground. From chapter to chapter, the first-person narrative shifts among certain characters: Cap, a social worker (who takes him into her home), her daughter (who resents his presence there), an A-list bully, a Z-list victim, a popular girl, the school principal, and a football player (who unintentionally decks Cap twice in one day). Korman capably manages the shifting points of view of characters who begin by scorning or resenting Cap and end up on his side. From the eye-catching jacket art to the scene in which Cap says good-bye to his 1,100 fellow students, individually and by name, this rewarding novel features an engaging main character and some memorable moments of comedy, tenderness, and reflection.

Grades 4-8
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Fiction: The White Giraffe

Losing parents in a tragic fire and restarting life with an unwelcoming grandmother would be overwhelming for most 11-year-olds, and Martine is no exception. What's worse, Martine has never met her grandmother, who presides over a large game preserve in faraway South Africa.
Even so, from the moment Martine steps off the plane, she senses that her new home holds a special destiny, one that begins to unfold when she learns about a legendary white giraffe. The beautiful creature appears one day, and Martine, who is just becoming aware of her own mystical gifts, begins a heroic journey that leads her to expose and prevent the destructive work of poachers.
Magic realism, adventure, and a well-realized setting combine in this appealing tale, which will resonate particularly with conservation-minded children.
Grades 4-7
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Fiction: Faraway Tree Collection

When I was a child, the Faraway Tree books, by Enid Blyton, were my favourites. Three stories are included in this thick volume, and each has lovely original black and white illustrations.
Kids who enjoy imaginative stories and fairy tales will be enchanted by the tales about three siblings who move to the English country in the 1930's. The children quickly discover that there is a magical tree in their forest, filled with wonderful and fantastic inhabitants. They befriend some of the folk of the faraway tree, and some amazing things begin to happen! The top of the tree ends in a ladder that goes up to a series of fantasy worlds, such as Candyland, The Land of Treats, and so on.
Children in grades two through four will love this book for its classic language, friendly characters, and wonderful creativity.
Grades 2-4
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's Catalogue!