There are serveral things in The Emerald Atlas that remind me of other books…3 kids, an orphanage, sassy dwarves, a town of missing children, magic books, good friends, a mysterious old man with bushy white hair and eyebrows (a wizard?) and a beautiful evil woman who wants DOMINION OVER ALL THE WORLD! But there is not too much of the familiar – there is just enough to make me say, “this is just the kind of book I like!”
Kate remembers the most about that long ago Christmas Eve when she and Michael and Emma were awakened in the dead of night and spirited away. Mostly, Kate remembers her mother saying goodbye, ‘There isn’t time to explain. Promise me you’ll look after them.” (page 1) And so Kate HAS looked after Michael and Emma and has held onto the belief that their parents will find them again, no matter how many orphanges and foster homes they live in.
Moved to yet another orphange, Kate and Michael and Emma are troubled to find that in this new place only the evidence of children is there. Beds. Toys. But no other children. And the orphanage itself is the largest house the children have ever seen…except for Kate…because the exact house has been in her dreams. When an afternoon exploring leads them down a dark hall with shifting walls and doors that seem to appear out of nowhere their real adventure begins, the adventure that has to do with a prophecy…and three children, three magic books and saving the world. Author: John Stephens
Mellie has a friend that is really small and has wings. His name is Fidius. Really. She’s not making it up, and to prove it she’s promised the kids in her class that she will bring him to school. When she tells Fidius this plan he is none too pleased. “I am not your servant. I am your secret.” In the night, he disappears leaving Mellie with nothing to take to school but a china figure…of a small person with wings. Makes you wonder if he was real doesn’t it? Maybe Mellie just has a really good imagination.
The kids are not kind about Mellie trying to pass off a china figure as a real fairy. “How’s the fake fairy?” they ask her on the bus. They call her names, they push her head in the drinking fountain; they are just plain mean. Mellie gets a second chance when her parents inherit her Grandpa’s house and they move. She decides to leave her imagination behind and move forward with just the facts. The problem? More small persons with wings! Author: Ellen Booraem
In The Books of Elsewhere #1: Shadows, Olive Dunwoody moved into an old Victorian mansion that looked as if nothing had been moved since the day the previous owner died many years before. And it hadn’t! The furniture, the clocks, the mirrors, the paintings on the walls – all were exactly the way they were the moment the former owner died…as well as the clothes and personal items neatly folded in the drawers.
When Olive found an old fashioned pair of glasses that allowed her to “fall” right into the paintings and walk around, even talk to people, her big adventure began. But now something terrible has happened. Olive has lost the glasses and the ability to fall into the paintings. Her friend Morton is stuck inside one of the paintings and Olive has vowed to help find a way to get him out. When she discovers an old grimoire, or spellbook, Olive is sure it holds the answer to traveling around the paintings without glasses (or the help of the talking cats: Harvey, Leopold & Horatio that came with the house and guard its many secrets).
The spellbook is powerful, more powerful even than Olive realizes. Is Olive using the book to help her friend? Or is the book using HER?! Olive needs all her smarts, the cats and a couple new friends to figure out the evil that lives in her house and save Morton before it is too late. This one is a little bit of the paintings in Harry Potter, a little bit of Coraline and a little bit of 100 Cupboards….and lot of creepy fun! Author: Jacqueline West Series: The Books of Elsewhere
Turned into a rat at the end of Emmy’s second adventure, Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls, Evil Miss Barmy is determined to make Emmy pay. That Miss Barmy is one self-absorbed lady, worse even, than Cruella DeVil. She’s so evil her snivelling, devoted sidekick Cheswick can’t figure out why she wants so much revenge on Emmy. But what Miss Barmy REALLY wants is to be human, and beautiful, again.
Miss Barmy steals Sissy, one of Emmy’s rat friends, because Sissy has the ability to make Miss Barmy Human again…in the same way that Raston Rat can turn humans into rats.
With her human friends Ana and Joe, two elderly Aunts, her best rat friend Raston and an army of rats and bats, Emmy stages an improbable rescue. It’s improbable, but it’s the only plan they’ve got!
If you liked Emmy, Joe and Ratsy don’t miss their first two adventures. Ratsy makes whining fun! Talking rats is kind of a stretch and Miss Barmy is evil in a cartoon-like way…a lot like Cruella DeVil…but the real story is the friendship between Emmy, Joe, Ratsy and the other animals. Sometimes, you forget the characters are animals. 101 Dalmatians and Mrs. Frisby are two more animal books that imagine what a society of animals would be like.
The Warlock is book 5 in the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. The series tells the story of twins Sophie and Josh who are caught up in a centuries old battle over an ancient book that is supposed to hold the secret of eternal life. Sophie and Josh are thought to be the twins of an ancient prophecy, so both sides of the battle want them. Their problem is figuring out which side is the “good” side. Is it Nicholas Flamel or his rival, John Dee?
I would start with the first one with these. I actually like them more with each book. I especially liked book 4, The Necromancer, because the tension between Sophie and Josh kept growing as they tried to figure out who to trust. In The Warlock, the twins are separated because they have decided to trust different people. Sophie has stuck by Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle, even though she isn’t 100% comfortable with them. Josh has sided with John Dee, and even though he would not want to admit it, he isn’t 100% sure of his choice either. What both kids DO know, is that it definitely doesn’t feel right to be apart.
If you have followed the whole series The Warlock explains a lot about why this epic battle started in the first place. The end is quite a jaw dropper – I can’t wait for the 6th and final book to find out what happens to Josh and Sophie…and all the humani on earth.
You would think it would be easy to choose sides on this but it isn’t! I really like the way the characters are so three dimensional – that means they have strengths and flaws both. If you were given the choice between two things and neither one seemed absolutely right…how would you choose? This is what Josh and Sophie are faced with.
Nicholas Flamel was probably a real person although his life is shrouded in mystery and legends have grown up around his story. Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel DID live in Paris in the 1300s. Both were alchemysts, were thought to be studying a mysterious book and were also thought to have figured out how to turn lead into gold & also the secret of eternal life. When Flamel died, belief that he had discovered the secret of eternal life also died…except for the story that a grave robber dug up his grave and found it empty. Hmm. Did he fake his death and is still around today? Truth or legend? You decide! It makes for a very good story though! You might remember that Nicholas Flamel is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone too. If you like that blending of historical bits and pieces into the story like J.K. Rowling does in the Harry Potter books, then I think you’ll like this series too. Author: Michael Scott