Friday, June 4, 2010

Books With Characters You Feel You Know (Or Wish You Did!)


By Frank Cottrell Boyce

Walden Pond Press, 2010

$16.99, ages 8-12, 314 pages.

What's a big lad of 12 to do if everyone assumes he's grown up just because he's tall?

Well, play along. Why not? Especially if it allows him to do things he couldn't do otherwise, like ride the Cosmic catapult at the amusement park and be invited to test drive a Porsche off the showroom floor.

But now Liam's gone too far and conned his way onto a spaceship that's rolled out of orbit, and Mom and Dad have no idea where he is.

Hilariously fun and clever, this crazy fun story imagines a resourceful kid finagling his way out of an impossible situation as only a kid can do.

If you love this, check out Boyce's Carnegie Medal-winning hit Millions and equally enjoyable Framed.

Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to A Little Princess

by Hillary McKay

Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010

$16.99, ages 8-12, 288 page

In this lovely sequel to the 100-year-old Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic A Little Princess, Bauer returns to Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies to see how Ermengarde, Lottie and Lavinia have faired since Sara Crewe, the little princess, and her scullery maid Becky left with a mysterious benefactor.

A new maid, Alice, has arrived at the school, bringing a breath of fresh air and practicality, as Emengarde eases her sadness at the loss of Sara and, at Sara's urging, agrees to watch over precocious Lottie, and an intriguing new boy moves in next door, stirring Lavinia's hunger for higher learning.

Scurvy Goonda

by Chris McCoy

Knopf Delacorte Dell, 2010

$16.99, ages 10 and up, 336 pages.

In this first installment of a wonderfully off-the-wall story, a 14-year-old misfit named Ted Merritt is convinced that his problems fitting in at school have a lot to do with the imaginary friend he's had since age 7, a crazy, bacon-loving pirate named Scurvy Goonda.

Everyone thinks Ted's a bit daft to talk to an imaginary friend and besides that, Scurvy's always leaving a mess in his wake. But when Scurvy disappears, Ted realizes what he's lost, and heads off to Middlemost, a strange land where imaginary friends are made to order, to rescue Scurvy and help stop an army of discarded imaginary friends from attacking Earth.

Along the way Ted discovers his elbow has powers to make wishes come true, and learns the true meaning of friendship.

Kid Vs. Squid

by Greg van Eekhout

Bloomsbury, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 208 pages.

When plans to join his parents on a tour of squirt gun factories in Asia gets derailed, Thatcher Hill is forced to spend summer at great-uncle Griswald's curiosity museum in Los Huesos, California, dusting oddities like shrunken heads and barnacle-encrusted wooden box called a "What-Is-It?"

It looks like he's in for a dull summer until a mysterious girl breaks into the museum at night and steals the What-Is-It?, and Thatcher discovers she's no ordinary thief. She's the princess of the lost city of Atlantis and is trying to break a witch's curse that forces her people to wash ashore every summer at the boardwalk, and work the midway games and sausage stands.

Non-stop funny from start to finish, a great debut in children's books from author of the adult fantasy Norse Code.

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