Category Archives: Fantasy

The Aviary

The Aviary

The Aviary

Clara and her Mom live in a big crumbling mansion with elderlyMrs. Glendoveer and the housekeeper Ruby. Clara has a heart condition and her Mom won’t let her play outside or go to school. Clara watches the kids walk home from school from an upstairs window. She wishes and wishes she could go to school and have friends. It’s not that her life is bad…it’s just lonely.

There is one thing about the house Clara doesn’t like at all and that’s the birds. Five birds live in the backyard in a large pen called an aviary. The birds are squawky and mean spirited. Clara hates to go near them. For some reason Mrs. Glenoveer loves the birds and worries about them all the time. Sometimes people can get really attached to their pets.

One day when Clara is standing at the window watching the children walk home from school one of the girls sees her and waves. Clara can hardly believe it. When the little girl shows up at the door with her mother Clara really can’t believe it. A real girl who could be her friend! Clara’s Mom does not approve and so the girls start a secret friendship. Daphne is really curious about Clara and the old mansion and old Mrs. Glendoveer. When Daphne tells Clara what the town thinks about Mrs. Glendoveer Clara is astounded.

It turns out the Mrs. Glendoveer once had children of her own. One of them disappeared and the rest of them…were murdered! The murderer was never discovered and the town thinks Mrs. Glendoveer and her husband did it. Clara refuses to believe that kind Mrs. Glendoveer would do anything so terrible and sets out to solve a 50 year old mystery. Clara follows clues in the mansion, in the memories of some elderly townspeople, in old scrapbooks and diaries and in the story of her own father to prove once and for all what happened to the children. The trouble is, will anyone believe her? Will you?

The Aviary is very much like The Secret Garden with old family secrets, a lonely little girl in a mansion, a garden and something mysterious going on that can’t quite be explained.  The mood is a little creepy. Candles extinquish themselves. The birds act strangely when Clara is present. Clara’s Mom turns quiet and stiff when certain questions are asked. And othen there is the murders. That alone is creepy enough! Author: Kathleen O’Dell

If you liked The Aviary here are some stories that take place in mansions that hold mysterious secrets:
The Secret Garden The Shadows The Game of Sunken Places The Mystery of Martell Tower
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Wildwood

Wildwood

Wildwood

Prue doesn’t pay much attention at first when she notices birds acting funny at the park. She’s taken her baby brother there to play and she’s just glad he’s happy for awhile hanging on to his wagon and pushing it along all by himself. Prue is watching him play and letting her mind drift. But the birds. The birds! The birds keep grabbing her attention. They seem to fly in chaos and then form spiraling, diving patterns before dispersing again. When the dive pattern suddenly aims straight at her brother Prue takes notice. When the birds swoop down and actually pick up her brother with their talons and take him up into the sky she starts to run, but it is too late. How can birds pick up a baby? WHY would birds pick up a baby? And what in the world will she tell her parents?

That last question is the only one Prue can answer.  She CAN’T tell them. Who would believe her anyway? Prue decides the best thing to do is go after her brother herself. She knows where the birds were headed – straight into the Impassable Wilderness. And even though NOBODY in their right nind goes there, Prue is going there, because she is determined to get her brother back.

Joined by her classmate Curtis, who she did NOT invite, Prue makes her way into the Wilderness and discovers  a secret world there unknown to the people currently living in Portland. The people of Portland know the forest is there, but they sure don’t know what goes on inside. Animals talk. They strategize. They are at war! Curtis and Prue are immediately separated and captured. They each have to figure out which side is the right side and how to rescue Prue’s brother before it is too late. Sometimes it is really difficult to figure out which side is the good guys. (Just like in real life!) Is it the civilized Wildwood government, the Robin-Hood like-bandits,  the coyote army, the rogue birds or the exiled Queen? Who is telling the truth and just WHAT does Prue’s little brother have to do with it?

This one is perfect for lovers of Narnia or 100 Cupboards – it’s about regular kids finding themselves in the middle of a magical place wrapped up in an epic battle. You might also like this one if you liked Redwall. There are a lot of action-packed battle scenes between the animals. Loyalty, bravery, friendship; all of these things play a part. The place itself, the fantastical Wilderness, it plays a part too….even though it’s just a forest in Portland, Oregon. In fact, you could go to Oregon and walk right into it. But beware – you just never know what might be in there! Author: Colin Meloy

  • Google Preview Wildwood
  • Amazon Look Inside Wildwood
  • Wildwood Chronicles Official Website (You will really like meeting Colin and Carson. HE is the author and also the lead singer in the band the Decemberists. SHE is the illustrator and also drew the pictures for The Mysterious Benedict Society. In the video below they take you to the forest that inspired their story. Very, very interesting and talented people! Don’t miss their 8 song Wildwood iTunes playlist.)
  • Wildwood on eAudio

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe One Hundred Cupboards Spellbound Beyonders

Wildwood Web Comic Used With Permission:

 

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The Invisible Order#2: The Fire King

The Invisible Order#2: The Fire King

The Fire King

In book #1, Rise of the Darklings, Emily discovered that fairies, piskies, giants and all kinds of creatures actually do exist, it’s just that most people can’t see them. Emily discovers she CAN see them the day  she saves a piskie after a battle that takes place in the middle of a London street.

In this second adventure an approaching war between fairy world factions could result in the return of the Fire King, an event that will destroy our world as we know it, including all of the humans in it.

When Emily, her brother William, their friend Jack and the piskie Corrigan get sent back in time to London, they have a chance to stop the war before it starts. The problem is, they can’t agree on a way to do it. Everybody has an opinion but nobody has a plan. When William and the ever opinionated and sassy piskie Corrigan sneak off in the night to follow their own plan, Emily is left to lead her ragtag group HER way, with the very real possibility that she will never see her brother again.

Follow the two groups, one lead by William and one lead by Emily, as they gather friends, use disguises, solve riddles, sneak, fight and battle their way to an exciting epic confrontation they have to win, in order to survive. Author: Paul Crilley

  • Amazon Look Inside The Invisible Order: The Fire King

The Invisible Order Series:

#1: Rise of the Darklings on Downloadable eBook and eAudio
#2 : The Fire King

Emily and William remind me a lot of Amy and Seth in the Fablehaven books or the brother and sister in the Spiderwick Chronicles. A brother and sister can both be smart, but have two very different ways to approach problems and fight their battle. Here are some more adventure books starring brother and sister teams who battle each other…as well as the bad guys!
Fablehaven Dragons of Ordinary Farm The Alchemyst The Red Pyramid
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The Mostly True Story of Jack

The Mostly True Story of Jack

The Mostly True Story of Jack

If you’ve ever felt forgotten or ignored at home then you can probably relate to Jack. But when you read about what HIS Mom and Dad are like, you might not feel so ignored after all. Something weird is going on with Jack’s family and you can tell right away because Jack’s Mom…she can’t even remember his NAME.

Jack’s mother pointed at Jack, her face slack and dreamy. She narrowed her eyes and snapped her fingers a couple of times as though trying to remember something. Jack pressed his hand to his chest. “Jack?” he said, prompting her. “Right,” she said, bringing her hands to her face and furrowing her brow. “Jack.” (page 18)

And then you find out that at Jack’s house all of the pictures everywhere in the house are of his brother Baxter. There are no pictures of Jack, and it isn’t just because his pictures didn’t get chosen for the walls. There are no pictures of him anywhere in any photo album either. 

And so you understand that there is something very, very odd going on and no one in his life is talking…until his parent divorce and he is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa to live for a while with his Aunt Mabel and Uncle Clive -  two people he has never heard mentioned before. There is something strange about the Aunt and Uncle too, because they seem to know Jack, in fact, they have PICTURES.

“It’s me” he whispered, and he knew it was true: a picture of himself — sitting in Clive and Mabel’s living room — as a little boy. The only picture of him, as far as he knew, in existence. (page 56)

When Jack tries to write his parents letters and the letters keep disappearing you know something more is up than a family secret because the letters are not simply gone, like somebody stole them…the paper Jack wrote the letters on goes blank, like a chalkboard wiped clean, like nobody every wrote on it at all.

Creeped out yet? You will be. : ) In Iowa Jack finds himself in the middle of a big mystery starring himself. It isn’t just Jack that seems to have vanished from Hazelwood, other children have too. Where are they and what does it have to do with Jack? In Hazelwood Jack makes the first friends of his life and together they begin to unravel some powerful, magical secrets. Jack is a whole lot more than what he first appears. No way will you ever, ever figure out where this author is going until you get there. Trust me. Author: Kelly Barnhill

If you like the mysterious creepiness…the twilight zone-ish ness of Jack’s story, you might also like some of these:
Coraline Fairy Tale Detectives A Tale Dark and Grimm The Graveyard Book
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Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble is a boy on his own. Not only that, he’s blind. He fends for himself until he is “discovered” by a man who sees in Peter a chance to get rich himself. The man decides to make Peter the very best thief ever.

For the first year, he locked all the boy’s meals inside an old sea chest. If Peter wanted to eat, he had to pick the lock with his bare fingers….By the age of ten, Peter Nimble had become the greatest thief the town had ever seen. But of course no one actually saw him: they only saw the open safes and empty jewelry boxes that he left behind.” (pages 7-8)

And so his life goes until the day Peter nicks a box that has something very unusual in it – three  pairs of eyes. One made of the finest gold, one made of black onyx and one made of emeralds. The first pair of eyes begins Peter’s journey into a new life – Peter pops them in and is transported to a mysterious island where he meets Professor Cake, who has a secret mission especially for Peter – save the Vanished Kingdom from an evil, tyrant king. With the help of his loyal companion Sir Tode, a contingent of loyal birds and a Princess, Peter will battle the evil King’s ape army to free the kingdom’s children from slavery and return it’s rightful heirs to the throne. A really original fantasy adventure with a blind thief as the swashbuckling hero fighting his way toward a destiny he never could have imagined.

I have noticed a lot of really good stories lately that include unusual eyes. Mad Eye Moody isn’t the only one with a powerful eye. What is it about eyes that make them such a delicious part of a story? Maybe because they are thought of as “windows to the soul.” Here are some other fantasy adventures that include eyes doing some amazing things:
The Eyeball Collector Happenstance Found Rise of the Darklings
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