Friday, June 4, 2010

Stories With a Touch of Magic

The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon

by David Almond, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Candlewick Press, 2010

$15.99, ages 9-12, 123 pages.

A lonely boy living in the basement of an apartment building decides to climb to the top story and touch the sky, and along the way meets happy people with strange ideas who encourage him to test out his theory that the moon is not the moon but a big hole in the sky.

Quirky and wonderful, this story will inspire readers to follow their dreams, no matter how crazy they seem, and find a place where they belong.

If you love this, don't miss Almond's brilliant tribute to the human spirit, My Dad's a Birdman, also illustrated by Dunbar, about a girl who helps her grieving father fly like a bird.


by Kathleen Van Cleve

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 368 pages.

Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody lives on a magical farm where rhubarb tastes like chocolate, tourists ride a giant umbrella her family built and every Monday at 1 p.m. it rains.

But then one Monday, it doesn't rain, and in a week's time, the plants are shriveling up, brother Freddy is sick and Aunt Edith is trying to convince her father to sell the farm.

Polly has always had special powers to talk to plants and bugs, but can she get it to rain before it's too late?

A whimsical fantasy about a shy girl who learns to face her biggest fears and help those she loves.

Magic Below Stairs

by Caroline Stevermer

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 208 pages.

When 11-year-old Frederick gets his chance to leave the orphanage and work as a footboy for a wealthy wizard, he can't believe his good fortune.

But little does he know that a mischievous hobgoblin who helped him out of a scrape at the orphanage has tagged along with him.

Once the wizard finds out about the trouble-making brownie Billy Bly, he bans all magical creatures from his manor, but Billy Bly is a stubborn little fellow and it's a good thing too with all the trouble brewing.

Full of charm and adventure, this is a perfect start for a young fantasy reader.

The Night Fairy

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Candlewick Press, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 128 pages.

A night fairy named Flory gets stranded on a cherry tree after a bat pup accidentally bites her wings then tries to get other creatures to carry her around in this beautifully written book about what it means to be a friend.

Newbery winner Schlitz's short tale will delight any girl who's ever lain on her back, looking up into a tree and imagined what it would be like to be small enough to leap from branch to branch in a petal dress.

The Dreamer

by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis

Scholastic Press, 2010

$17.99, ages 9-12, 364 pages.

A timid Chilean boy named Neftali daydreams about magical adventures and longs to speak freely about what he thinks, but fears that he will disappoint his domineering father in this breathtaking retelling of poet Pablo Neruda's childhood.

Neftali imagines poetry all around him, and with the encouragement of his stepmother and uncle, is able to rise above his father's reproach.

This lovely, poetic story envelops you and leaves you feeling more aware and available to the world around you, as well as more aware of the injustices that shaped the life of the Noble Peace Prize-winning poet.

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