Peter is an orphan. Even though he is just a boy, he has a job taking care of an old soldier. Peter is supposed to be learning how to be a soldier, but mostly he is just being a servant boy to the soldier. Peter is sad and lonely.
One day on his way to buy some food, Peter impulsively spends his food money on a fortune-teller. The fortune-teller tells Peter that his little sister Adele is still alive and that an elephant will lead him to her. An elephant in the middle of winter! What nonsense! What a waste of money. And now Peter will go hungry as well.
But strange and magical things are about to happen. The very night that Peter visits the fortune-teller a magician is putting on a show. He makes an elephant, (an elephant!) appear out of thin air.
Can this miraculous elephant mean that Peter can have a miracle of his own? Is his sister really alive and can the elephant help him find her? Author: Kate DiCamillo
Piper and The Gypsy Club (Piper and her friends Hailey, Michael and Nicole) have a problem. Since Piper moved and left her treehouse behind, there is nowhere good for them to hold their Gypsy Club meetings. They find an ad in a magazine for the perfect clubhouse – it has window boxes, wooden shingles…and it only costs $1,999.00. Now that’s cash The Gypsy Club doesn’t have, but they figure if they each ask their parents, at least ONE set of parents ought to say yes.
They figured wrong. Three sets of parents (Michael & Nicole are twins)=three answers:
“We aren’t rich like the Trumps in New York.”
“No, no, and no with a cherry on top.”
“No way. Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
On to plan B. The kids decide that the only way they can get their clubhouse is to earn the money themselves – that’s $500 each. Piper is so intent on earning her money she says “yes” to every job she can get: planning a three-year-old’s birthday party, drawing the pictures for her sister’s book and babysitting…for triplets! Unfortunately Piper schedules these things all for the same weekend. As if she hasn’t heard, “Piper Read, you’re in trouble” before! Piper finds out that bringing home the bacon takes more than just doing the work, you have to have a good plan and good friends to get all the jobs done. And it helps a lot to get your homework done first too. Author: Kimberly Willis Holt
Twelve year-old Ryan isn’t really into the great outdoors. He’d rather play video games. Ryan’s older brother Tanner would love to change that. Tanner convinces Ryan to go on a river trip to camp, fish and kayak, just the two of them. What could go wrong?
When their inflatable kayak hits a log in a rapid chute of the river, both boys are pitched into the frigid river. It is Tanner, the experienced one, the one who actually knows how to survive in the woods, who hits his head and is knocked unconscious.
Ryan manages to drag Tanner to shore but this accomplishment is only the beginning. With no cell phone service, little food and plunging temperatures Ryan knows that he is in a do or die situation – for himself, but especially for his brother.
This is a really tense, nail-biting adventure. Ryan has to break down his situation into a series of smaller problems so that he can solve them each one at time. Otherwise he would be totally overwhelmed. He tries things that don’t work. He gets discouraged, even panics…but then manages to calm himself down again and think. Reading Ryan’s thoughts as he puzzles out each step he has to take to rescue himself and his brother makes this a gripping, realistic story. Author: P.J. Petersen
Bran Hambric doesn’t know a thing about himself. He was found at age 6 locked in a bank vault in the town of Dunce. He has no memory of anything before being discovered in the vault. He’s being raised by the Wilomas family, only because Mr. Wilomas worked at the bank and is forced to obey the “Finders Keepers Law.” If you find it, you have to keep it, even if “it” is a kid.
In Dunce, magic is outlawed. When Bran is confronted by a gangly creature that actually knows his name, he knows something is up – something about his past. Something that has to do with magic. Clues lead Bran to a magical library, a mysterious girl, a bank employee that is much more than she seems and a gnome. Yeah, a gnome: short guy, long beard, tall red hat shaped like a cone. Together the new friends set out to uncover Bran’s past and confront the Farfield curse.
An orphan kid living in a house where the family treats him badly. The kid finds out he’s magic. A bad guy wants the kid dead. Oh, and there’s a curse involving the kid. Sound familiar? I know it does. There are an awful lot of Harry Potter similarities…but even so, Bran Hambric is a fun story anyway. I would call it fan fiction. Fan fiction is fiction created by the admirer of a certain story or that story’s characters. Kaleb didn’t plagiarize, he just took some ideas and built his own story around them. There are enough original ideas to keep the story interesting. AND, he’s a teenage author – not too shabby. He says that there are more Bran Hambric stories coming. It will be fun to see where he goes with Bran’s story and how his writing matures. Author: Kaleb Nation
Kari and Lucas from The Mystery of the Third Lucretia are back for another international mystery. This time they are in Scotland where Kari’s Mom has an assignment interviewing a teen prodigy – a touring pianist all of 15 years old.
Kari and Lucas are excited to meet the famous Seneca Crane. Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she’s talented. Yes, she’s traveled all over the world…but Seneca turns out to be just a normal kid who happens to have mad piano skills.
Seneca reveals the disciplined life she leads and how difficult it is to trade a normal kid life for life touring the world playing music with and for grown-ups. Seneca is frustrated with her overprotective Mom, her strict tutor and her new Stepfather. The three of them barely let Seneca out of their sight. Kari and Lucas make it their job to show Seneca what regular teens do and convince Seneca’s Mom to let them take Seneca sightseeing around Edinburgh. The three friends have a great time together and look forward to more Scottish adventures after Seneca’s concert performance.
After the concert, everyone waits outside Seneca’s dressing room but she doesn’t appear. A search of the room reveals a ransom note – Seneca doesn’t need rescued anymore from her overprotective Mother…she needs rescued from kidnappers!
Kari and Lucas are on the case in their signature clue-busting style. They are resourceful, gutsy and determined. They rely on their sharp memories and their keen powers of deduction to sort out the clues and get on the trail of the kidnappers. I can’t wait for Book #3 Adventure at Simba Hill which will come out next. Simba Hill takes place in Africa. Author: Susan Runholt