The Deadlies: Felix Takes the Stage
by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Scholastic Press, 2010
$15.99, ages 9-12, 142 pages.
Felix, a recluse spider, knows better than to show himself to humans, but one day his dream of riding the conductor's baton in the philharmonic hall gets the better of him and all havoc erupts.
At the sight of Felix on his baton, the conductor collapses in fright, causing Felix to fall and lose a leg. His mother worries exterminators are on their way and whisks the kids away from their hideout.
But why, asks Felix, must they always run away and will his dream of being an artist ever come true?
In this first book in a fun new series, Lasky transforms one of the most feared spiders into a creature to cheer for, though at the end, cautions readers to steer clear of them in real-life.
Whistle Bright Magic: A Nutfolk Tale
by Barb Bentler Ullman
Katherine Tegen Books, 2010
$16.99, ages 9-12, 224 pages
Twenty years after the debut of The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood, a grownup Willa returns from the big city to Plunkit with daughter Zelly, and though Willa can no longer see the fairies, Zelly meets the last remaining fairy child living in the wood, Ronald Whistle Bright.
But what can Zelly do to stop developers threatening to destroy the fairy village of Nutfolk Wood and will she ever reconnect with the father she hasn't seen since her parents separated?
Pair this engaging sequel with the first book for the trip there and back.
Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers School: We the Children, Book 1
by Andrew Clements, pictures by Adam Stower
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010
$14.99, ages 7-10, 143 pages.
Benjamin Pratt isn't happy about plans to flatten his harbor-side school and erect an amusement park in its place, but he never thought he'd fight it. After all, what's the use in challenging the inevitable?
But then a janitor slips Benjamin a coin inscribed with secret orders to defend the school against attack, and suddenly Benjamin and his friend Jill are uncovering things the developer never wanted anyone to know.
From the author of Frindle comes an exciting new series that will have kids riveted to the last page. Stower's blue and black ink illustrations makes this book feel like a classic passed down from parents to kids.
Lawn Boy Returns, Book 2
by Gary Paulsen
Wendy Lamb Books, 2010
$12.99, ages 9-12, 112 pages.
In this hilarious sequel to the 2007 Lawn Boy, a 12-year-old boy who made millions mowing lawns with his late grandad's old sit-down mower and investing in stock is now getting a taste for what it means to be rich.
He's having to juggle the media, the IRS, a full-blown business and a street full of girls wanting his autograph. On top of that Lawn Boy has to deal with an unsavory character named Zed, his prizefighter's long-lost relative, who's trying to mooch off his earnings.
A perfect read for reluctant readers from three-time Newbery Honor winner Paulsen.
by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
David Fickling Books, 2008-2010
$16.99 each, ages 8-12. 224-240 pages.
A courier lad named Barnaby Grimes bounds over the rooftops of a Dickensian city, battling supernatural forces and creepy characters, in this winning series by the creators of Muddle Earth.
In the latest installment Legion of the Dead, the "tick-tock lad" must try to unravel a plot involving zombies raised from the dead.
Riddell's intricate ink drawings capture his fast-pace escapades into a world of greed and betrayal.
Don't miss the first two books, Curse of the Night Wolf and Return of the Emerald Skull, all equally fun to read.