Category Archives: Fantasy

Staff Pick: Goblin Secrets

Staff Pick: Goblin Secrets

Goblin Secrets

Hoping to find his lost brother, Rownie escapes the home of the witch Graba and joins a troupe of goblins who perform in Zombay, a city where humans are forbidden to wear masks and act in plays.

*Goblin Secrets* is a terrific fantasy novel, inventive and odd like a novel that Hayao Miyazaki (filmmaker of *Spirited Away* and others) might write.

Rownie is a young boy living in a household of abandoned children raised by a witch-like “grandmother,” Graba. The children are sent out to make deals and steal for her and Rownie is sometimes responsible for winding up her mechanical chicken legs. That’s right – chicken legs. She lost her legs somehow long ago and had them replaced by huge metal chicken legs. And this is only the beginning of the oddness. Rownie lives in Southside, the part of the City of Zombay on the south side of the River (which needs a capital R). He is also looking for his brother Rowan, an actor who disappeared after the Mayor of Zombay banned all acting. The Mayor also has a troop of mechanical Guardsmen, supposedly former humans he has punished.

While Rownie is on an errand from Graba, he sees a touring acting troop of “Goblins” – former humans who have been changed in some way into odd green people. He joins their troop and finds that they and the masks they wear might be the key to all of the strangeness in Zombay. And he himself might be the key to saving the city from the River which is about to flood.

This is a relentlessly fascinating and completely weird book, yet satisfying at the end. The masks are a big emotional key – be careful what mask you wear in life; you might become what you wear. *Goblin Secrets* is the first novel by this author (but a companion novel, *Ghoulish Song*, has just been published). It’s for children 6th grade and up, who like fairy tales and fantasy but who are ready to jump away from the well-trod paths. And for adults who don’t mind remembering that they once were children in search of themselves.

Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Children’s Literature.

Recommended by: Steve Bridge, Irvington Library

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Staff Pick: The Little Secret

Staff Pick: The Little Secret

The Little Secret

When she is invited to her new friend’s home for summer vacation, eleven-year-old Jane discovers that Staffa and her family are not what they seem to be. Author: Shane Peacock

Evil queens, kindly princes, and best friends are what you will find in this book. A story to lose yourself in a magical world that needs the help of a not so ordinary girl. What would you do if your new best friend turns out to be from a magical realm? And she has just tricked you into leaving your home so you might help save her world from an evil queen . Would you stay and help or demand to be returned to your family? If you stay it will be dangerous and you might never get back. If you leave your new best friend, your first truly best friend, will surely see her world destroyed and loved ones lost forever.

Recommended By: Barbara Obergfell – Outreach Services

More Staff Picks

More books about kids entering the world of fairies:

Small Persons With Wings Rise of the Darklings
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Staff Pick: Hokey Pokey

Staff Pick: Hokey Pokey

Ever since they were Snotsippers, Jack and the girl have fought, until one day she steals his bike and as he and the Amigos try to recover it, Jack realizes that he is growing up and must eventually leave the “goodlands and badlands of Hokey Pokey.”

“Readers who love the classic  Peter  Pan, will be fascinated by Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli’s  latest book, Hokey Pokey. 

Only children live in Hokey Pokey.  Here Newbies, Snotsippers,  Gapper  Gums and Big kids spend endless days playing at what they like most. There’s the Doll Farm, Trucks, Playground,  watching  cartoons on the Big Screen  and riding bikes.   Jack, the oldest, smartest, and fastest bike rider is their leader.  He can answer any question, settle disputes and rescue the helpless.  One day Jack’s beloved bike, Scramjet  is stolen and something is different.  He discovers an unexpected outcome. “

Recommended by Beverly Elrod, Haughville Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Staff Pick: Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom Author: Christopher Healy

We’ve all heard of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. But what about the princes who saved them? Healy introduces us to these “Prince Charmings” – Duncan, Frederic, Gustav, and Liam – who are far from being heroes in the eyes of their princesses. With humor, the princes encounter bandits, dragons, dwarves, trolls, and others straight out of the fairytales as they learn to work together. Can the princes save the kingdoms and prove that they can be the princes that princesses are looking for?

Recommended by: Janet Spaulding, Selection

More Staff Picks

If you like The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, try:
Ella Enchanted The Frog Princes Beauty" Half Upon a Time
Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair The Rumpelstiltskin Problem The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Fairest of All
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Splendors & Glooms

Splendors & Glooms

Clara is a lonely only child growing up in a grief-filled house. Her parents are overwhelmed with sadness after the deaths of all of  brothers and sisters. Not just one. ALL of them. Every holiday, every Sunday even, the family walks to the cemetery and remembers “the Others”. It’s very hard for Clara to have so many days of her life taken up with mourning. And it isn’t that she doesn’t miss her brothers and sisters. She does. But she is having trouble figuring out how to LIVE now that they are gone.

For her 12th birthday Clara begs to have a puppet show. She longs for something fun because there is just so much sadness in her house. She pleads. She cries. She gets her way! And when Grisini and his assistants, two orphans named Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, come to perform they are SO good the show seems like MAGIC! It’s like the marionettes have no strings. They move just like people!

When Clara disappears after the puppet show Grisini is suspect #1, but no one can find him. Lizzie Rose and Parsefal can’t even find him…but they do notice a new puppet, one that looks really, really familiar. Can you guess where this is going? Lizzie Rose and Parsefal are tough and street wise and know how to take care of business, even when the business gets a little creepy. And in this book, it sure DOES.

Lizzie Rose and Parsefal follow this mystery to a creepy old country house as well as the creepy old lady who lives there. Again, I mean CREEPY. They need to be brave and smart and resourceful. They also have to know how to be a good friend. Author: Laura Amy Schlitz

This is a great read for lovers of Coraline or The Graveyard Book. Spooky. Spooky wonderful! It has a creepy old mansion like The Secret Garden, and ghostly characters like The Aviary and The Shadows. If you like to read stories with just a little bit of shiver in them…try Splendors & Glooms or one of these:

Coraline The Graveyard Book The Secret Garden The Aviary
Books of Elsewhere The Shadows
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