Category Archives: Fantasy

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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43 Old Cemetery Road #4: The Phantom of the Post Office

43 Old Cemetery Road #4: The Phantom of the Post Office

The Phantom of the Post OfficeJust like books #1-3, this one doesn’t have any chapters in it. It’s a collection of letters and notes with a few newspaper articles thrown in here and there. You have to figure out who is who and what is going on by reading the letters the characters write to each other and by reading the newspaper articles that report the strange happenings at 43 Old Cemetery Road.

One thing I don’t like in books is when an author TELLS me what a character is thinking. I want them to SHOW me the character by having the character say or do things that reveal who that character is. This book is GREAT for that because the author as a narrator is absent. All you read are texts and letters from the characters to each other. There is no chance for anybody else, like a narrator, to get in the way!

This time around Olive is determined to keep letter writing alive. She loves getting fan mail about the books she writes with Iggy and Seymour. She is suspicious of cell phones in particular and is not happy at all that the post office in Ghastly is going to close. When threatening fan letters begin to arrive with the return address of a post office box at the Ghastly post office Iggy is concerned…and when more alive, becomes determined to find out who is behind the letters before Olive gets hurt. (Can a ghost get hurt?!) Love this one too although #1 is still my favorite.

Author: Kate and Sarah Klise

 

All of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series books are original and funny. You might especially like reading Book #1, Dying to Meet You, that way you can find out how Iggy, Olive and Seymour became a family in the first place. When you get done with these, try Billy Bones – he’s another ghost in hiding with a fun family.
Dying to Meet You Dying to Meet You Til Death Do Us Bark Billy Bones a Tale from the Secret Closet
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The Council of Mirrors

The Council of Mirrors

The Council of Mirrors

If you haven’t tried any of The Sisters Grimm series, I’ll fill you in a little. Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sisters who find out The Grimm Brother stories are actually a history of all the crimes committed by fairy tale characters. The girls are part of a long line of detectives from the Grimm family whose job it is to investigate the fairy tale crimes. In each book the girls do some sleuthing to figure out which fairy tale characters have been behaving badly.

In this very last book in the series, Book Nine The Council of Mirrors, the Grimms and their fairy tale character friends still hope to save the people of Ferryport Landing from the evil plans of the Magic Mirror. To get help, the seek the advice of….OTHER magic mirrors. Of course there is more than one! Find out what happens to Sabrina, Daphne and all the other Everafters.

An exciting conclusion filled with all of your favorite sassy characters like Pinocchio (“I was NOT A PUPPET!”) and Puck (“Smell you later!”). My advice – start at the beginning…that way you can keep all the characters straight!

 

#1 The Fairy-Tale Detectives (This one is a bonus book – 30 points!)
#2 The Unusal Suspects
#3 The Problem Child
#4 Once Upon a Crime
#5 Magic and Other Misdemeanors
#6 Tales from the Hood
#7 The Everafter War
#8 The Inside Story
#9 The Last Council

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Kid Review: Fairy Lies

Kid Review: Fairy Lies

Fairy LiesHalf-fairy Tamisin and her boyfriend, Jak, have been arguing over whether she should return to the land of the fey when Oberon, king of the fairies, kidnaps her and Jak must return to that place of fairies, goblins, and sphinxes to rescue her.

Lily says:

“This book is awesome! It’s a countinuation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and I LOVE the kid’s versions of it.”

 

This is a sequel to Wings, which you also might like…and as Lily says patterned after Shakespeare’s famous play A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Wings A Midsummer's Night Dream A Midsummer's Night Dream A Midsummer's Night Dream
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