Category Archives: Adventure

The Cabinet of Earths

The Cabinet of Earths

The Cabinet of Earths

This is a deliciously creepy tale about a magical cabinet full of jars of earth. Each jar belongs to a person who can live forever as long as their jar is not opened.

Some of the people who have jars are determined to make sure their jars are NEVER opened. Other people long to return to a more natural life, because as often happens in stories, eternal life isn’t as great as it sounds.

Each group wants control of the cabinet to either keep the jars sealed or open them all. To keep the jars safe there has always been a guard – the cabinet keeper. Now that the cabinet is at the center of a brewing war, that person is in terrible danger.

When the story opens, a little boy who inherited the job of cabinet keeper from his grandmother is an old man himself. He remembers VERY well the day his grandmother, who was oddly very, very young, decided she had had enough of life and opens her own jar and her earth crawls back to her body, crawls inside and returns her mortality.

 “Long after, the pictures would come back to haunt him: his grandmother at the table with her bread – and everything covered with the eagth, shifting grains of earth she had poured out of the bottle of hers, the bread covered with earth, earth spilling out of the cup she drank from, earth creeping toward the corners of her lovely mouth, while he stood there and pulled on her arm and cried.” (pages 6-7)

The way the dirt acts when it comes out of the jars has a delicious creepiness to it. The dirt  is relentless as it searches for its owner…like a line of scurrying spiders. The images in my head when I read this immediately made me think of the Other Mother’s hand in Coraline. Remember that? The way it scuttles across the ground? Shiver. It also reminded me of The Mostly True Story of Jack and the creepiness of how the plants move – like the vines in the maze in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Relentless nature is very scary to me..flooding water, tornadoes, scurrying bugs – that’s what this creepy earth is like.

Enter 13 year-old Maya and her little brother James. Their mother is very ill. When the cabinet chooses Maya to replace the old man as cabinet keeper, she sees a way to help her mother. Should she trade herself to save her mother’s life? Should she take the job of cabinet keeper and all of the dangers that go with it? What would you give up to save someone you love? And what if you might be saving them from one thing, only to hand them over to something altogether worse?

If you like Maya and James’ battle against the earth, try these creepy tales:

Coraline The Mostly True Story of Jack
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Staff Pick: Dragon Slayer’s Academy #1: The New Kid at School

Staff Pick: Dragon Slayer’s Academy #1: The New Kid at School

The New Kid at SchoolWiglaf is off to Dragon Slayers’ Academy and in for a first day of school he will never forget.

Author: Kate McMullan

“In the time of dragons, castles, and wizards a young boy named Wiglaf seems just a bit out of place at home with his rowdy brothers and medieval parents. A strange prophet comes along and lets Wiglaf know he is destined for more than being the family wimp.

With dreams of being a hero Wiglaf heads to the Dragon Slayers Academy to become The New Kid at School. With fun twists and turns Wiglaf discovers he may not have what it takes to be a hero all alone, but with a little bit of team work he may just be able to slay a dragon.”

Recommended by: Kamara McKinney, Spades Park Library

More Staff Picks

If you liked Dragon Slayers Academy try some of these other series about kids that go to very special boarding schools:

Character Series/School Specialty
Harry Potter Series: Harry Potter School: Hogwarts Witches & Wizards
Connwaer Series: The Magic Thief School: Academicos Potential Wizards
Wiglaf Series: Dragon Slayer’s Academy School: Dragon Slayer’s Academy Dragon Slayers
Charlie Bone Series: Charlie Bone School: Bloor’s Academy Gifted Children
Max McDaniels Series: The Tapestry Series: Rowan Academy Secret Mystics
Will Treaty Series: The Ranger’s Apprentice School: Halt’s Apprentice Rangers
Charlie Series: Nightmare Academy School: Nightmare Academy Monster Fighters
Cody Mack Series: Splurch Academy School: Splurch Academy Kids into Monsters
Otto Malpense Series: H.I.V.E. School: Higher Institue of Villainous Education Evil Geniuses
Percy Jackson Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians School: Camp Halfblood Demigods

 

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The Unfortunate Son

The Unfortunate Son

The Unfortunate Son

Luc works hard, even though he’s just a boy. His father is constantly complaining about him and finding more and more work for him to do. He never has enough to eat. When a local fisherman wants to take him on as an apprentice the offer includes living with the fisherman and his sister in the village. Luc can’t believe it when his father lets him go.

Luc works hard on Pons’ fishing boat too but the work is a lot different. Mostly it’s different  because Pons doesn’t yell at him, or complain, or hit him. Pons teaches Luc about the weather, sailing, fishing techniques and the sea.

What’s more, Pons and his sister have also taken in Beatrice, a girl who is the first real friend Luc has ever had. The four of them make a family. Luc feels like his luck has suddenly turned…until the day Pons’ boat is overtaken by pirates and Luc is taken captive and sold into slavery.

When the man who buys Luc gets him home, he directs his servent to give Luc a bath and give him clean clothes. Luc’s wounds are washed and bandaged. He is fed. But then metal bands are places around his ankles.

“These show you are mine. They will protect you.” Luc blinked and stared at the man. He was confused by the gentleness and care. He looked down at the metal bands. Though he understood nothing of the man’s language, he understood that the rings showed he was a slave, that they demonstrated that, despite the kindness, Luc was now the property of this stranger. (page 113)

With a voice that cracked, he [Luc] asked, “Am I never to go home again?” The old man paused. “This is your home now, Luc. Do not speak again of the life you had. It is gone.” (page 114)

Even though he lives now in a nice house and is well fed and going to school, he is still a slave. All Luc wants to do is go home to Pons, Mattie & Beatrice. All Pons, Mattie & Beatrice want is to find him. This is the story of one boy, his changing fortunes and the people who love him. You might be surprised by some of the people who turn out to care. Author: Constance Leeds

Here are some more books about boys like Luc who find themselves under the power of others; stories about how these boys fight back to regain their freedom:

A Conspiracy of Kings Deadweatehr and Sunrise
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Survivors #1: The Empty City

Survivors #1: The Empty City

The Empty City

Erin Hunter, the author of the wildly popular Warriors series about cats has announced a NEW series featuring dogs called Survivors. Book one, The Empty City, comes out TODAY.

“In the aftermath of the Big Growl that destroyed his city, a Lone Dog named Lucky must find a way to work with other dogs in order to survive in this frightening new world.”

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Staff Pick: One Dog and His Boy

Staff Pick: One Dog and His Boy

One Dog and His Boy

When lonely, ten-year-old Hal learns that his wealthy but neglectful parents only rented Fleck, the dog he always wanted, he and new friend Pippa take Fleck and four other dogs from the rental agency on a trek from London to Scotland, where Hal’s grandparents live. Author: Eva Ibbotson

“Fleck and Hal know at first sight they are one dog and his boy. The adventure begins when parents, then criminals, and even tracker dogs named Darth and Terminator conspire to keep them apart. Four other dogs and an assortment of humans, including a circus, come to the aid of Fleck and Hal. There are miles and miles of surprising and funny adventures as Hal and Fleck go ‘on the run’ away from their pursuers and toward their happy ending and the happy endings of each of their protectors, human and canine.”

Recommended by Barbara Obergfell – Outreach

More Staff Picks

More great books if you love dogs::
Everything for a Dog A Dog's Life Shiloh The Incredible Journey
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