Kendra and Seth think they are going to be bored spending time at their Grandparent’s estate while their parents go on a cruise. Once there, however, they discover their Grandmother is actually missing and that the estate is really a secret nature preserve for magical creatures – fairies, trolls, satyrs and more. Grandpa and Grandma are the preserve’s caretakers. Some of the creatures on the preserve are nice…and some are not. There are rules and treaties that govern the preserve so that the creatures can all exist together peacefully. Some creatures follow the rules…and some don’t! The caretaker’s house is protected from even the evil creatures…except for certain nights, like Midsummers Eve, when the bad guys can roam free everywhere.
Kendra is careful and studious, always trying to think through situations before making a decision. Seth is curious and spontaneous, acting before he thinks while he is caught up in the moment. On Midsummers Eve Seth makes a spontaneous, careless choice that leaves them all vulnerable to attack. If you liked Spiderwick Chronicles I think you’ll like this. Fablehaven is a series that will eventually have five books. I especially liked Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star, but I really enjoyed them all and am looking forward to book four. Author: Brandon Mull
Book four in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is just as fast paced, exciting and funny as the first three. Percy, our favorite half human, half Greek God hero can’t seem to stay away from trouble, trouble always finds him. This time it’s evil demon cheerleaders. To stop them, Percy destroys yet another school. Will this kid ever graduate?
After the explosion, Percy flees to Camp Half-Blood in hopes of getting a grip on what the deal is with demon cheerleaders. He finds out that the Titan Lord Kronos is assembling an army of monsters, demons and other nasties to overthrow the Gods. Kronos’s plan is to attack Camp Half-Blood by entering through a giant underground maze that has an exit inside Camp Half-Blood.
Percy and his friends enter the maze in a crazy attempt to stop the invasion. This maze is no ordinary maze. Hidden entrances and exits exist all over the US…if you know where to find them. And to top it off, the maze itself is alive! The passages in the maze move and change so that finding his way back out again is as much of a challenge to Percy as the monsters and demons inside it trying to kill him! He’s got his friends along; Annabeth, Grover & Tyson as well as Rachel, a mortal with monster vision, to help him find the way. Author: Rick Riordan
“There was a hand in the darkness and it had a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately. The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.” And you know why the blade and handle are wet, even though the book doesn’t say. Scary. Really scary.
But one person escapes the house, a toddler who makes his way to the neighboring graveyard and is taken under the protection of the resident ghosts to keep him safe from the mysterious man with the knife. And that, this very unconventional family, not the knife, is the heart of the story.
At first, the ghosts in the graveyard have a discussion about whether or not it is OK to keep the baby and raise it in the confines of the graveyard. A childless ghost couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens, agree to raise the baby as their own. But as one of the graveyard inhabitants points out, “It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will take a graveyard.” And so the group agrees to offer the little boy protection from the danger that lies outside the graveyard fence and raise him as their own, a living boy in a village of spirits, ghosts and ghouls.
The Graveyard Book is a really delicious story about what makes a family and how that family raises up a child to go out into the world and face the dangers there. This book was just named this morning as the 2009 Newbery Medal Winner. One of the links below is to a set of online videos of the author, Neil Gaiman, reading the whole book outloud. Yes, you can listen to the whole thing. Cool! Author: Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book Trailer Narrated by Neil Gaiman:
And here is a review of this book from Bethany, a reader of IMCPL’s Readers Connection:
A murderer goes after an entire family, but the youngest member — just a toddler — manages to slip away… and toddle into a nearby graveyard. There, the toddler becomes Nobody “Bod” Owens and is raised as a living boy among the dead. Bod is taught the secrets of the graveyard, how to Fade and frighten people, but he craves human companionship. As he grows up, it becomes clear that those who originally wanted to do Bod harm want to see the job finished.
This is another one of those books that shouldn’t be labeled as a kid’s book, becaus grown-ups really should read it too. Gaiman’s spooky riff on Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” is great storytelling, with a full cast of delightful characters. Bod’s struggle to figure out what it means to be human among a graveyard full of dead people from different times is poignant and surprising.
This book is the last in the Inkheart Trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath). The series is about twelve-year-old Meggie and her father, who binds and fixes old books for a living. The two of them love books, yet Meggie’s father will not read outloud to her. Meggie discovers that when her Dad reads outloud, he brings book characters to life. The trouble is, when book characters come into our world, people from our world go into theirs (like Meggie’s Mom, who has disappeared into the book world). When one of the book characters comes looking for Meggie’s Dad because he wants to go home, a dangerous and exciting adventure begins.
The Inkheart world is a world of castles, kings, outlaws and travelling entertainers that walk tightropes and eat fire. Meggie and her Dad manage to read themselves back and forth between their own world and this fantastical book world as they try to defeat bad guys and rescue people they love. Inkdeath is a great ending to the whole series. It’s really very long, but hang in there for the second half – it’s worth it. If you haven’t read any of the series yet, I think you will want to begin with Inkheart and Inspell. It will be easier to understand who each of the characters are, plus the story and characters are so good, you won’t want to miss any of it. The movie version of Inkheart comes out January 23rd. Author: Cornelia Funke
Despereaux is a lovable big-eared underdog, um, mouse. When he’s born, he’s too small and his ears are too big and his eyes are weird. He’s so puny no one thinks he will even live. Even his own mother describes him as a disappointment. Now that’s sad. And as he grows, he’s just not good at being a mouse, but he’s got dreams, big ones. Go see the movie (opens Dec. 19), sure, but don’t miss the book, Despereaux might be tiny but he’s one mighty mouse. Author: Kate DiCamillo