Calder, Petra and Tommy (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3) are back with another puzzling art mystery. Now in 7th grade, the three go with their class to see an exhibit of Alexander Calder’s mobiles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Shortly after the field trip, Calder and his Dad take a trip to England and stay in a tiny village well known for its giant garden maze. The maze is life-size, and easy to get lost in, like the maze in the last challenge in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. To Calder’s surprise, the village also has a newly installed Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Many people living in the village are angry about the new sculpture, some villagers even seem angry at Calder for sharing the artist’s name. The anger turns to fear, however, when the sculpture, and Calder, both disappear without a trace. Petra and Tommy are flown to England to try to help Calder’s dad and the police figure out what happened to Calder. Is he lost in the maze, or something worse? Try to solve the puzzle and find the clues with Tommy and Petra. The illustrator hid puzzles in the pictures again – see if you can solve those too! Author: Blue Balliett Illustrator: Brett Helquist
Conn is an orphan surviving the best he can picking locks, thieving and picking pockets. One night, he picks the pocket of the powerful wizard, Neverly Flinglas. Conn gets the wizard’s locus magicalicus, a stone that is the center of the magician’s power. Nevery isn’t mad that Conn tried to pick his pocket, he’s astonished that touching the magic stone didn’t kill Conn. No one else is supposed to be able to touch a wizard’s stone. Intrigued, Nevery takes on Conn as a servant and when Conn shows he indeed has a mysterious and powerful attraction to magic and magical things, Neverly makes him his apprentice.
The two of them get caught up in a magical investigation when Neverly is hired to figure out why magic is draining away from their city. This story has it all: wizards, a power hungry crime boss, friends, enemies, spying & betrayal. Nevery and Conn are both great characters. Neverly is grouchy and stern, but Conn is so endearing, smart and funny he manages to weasel his way straight into Nevery’s heart…although Neverly would never admit it. Author: Sarah Prineas
Great reading in league with Harry Potter, Septimus Heap and The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
The Irregulars, those delinquent Girl Scouts: Kiki, Ananka, Oona, Betty & Iris, are still protecting the secret city that lies beneath Manhatten. Trouble comes from an unlikely insider when it is discovered that Oona’s father is Lester Liu, the New York gangster they are protecting the secret city FROM.
The trouble is, Oona has known this all along and never told the Irregulars. Oona wants to trust that her Dad has turned over a new leaf but the Irregulars are skeptical and hatch a plan to find out what Lester is up to as well as keep an eye on Oona while she is in Lester’s mansion. Illegal immigrants, Russian operatives, an art museum and a Chinese mummy all play a part in the mystery of Lester Liu’s new life. Is he really turning into Daddy of the Year or is this just another plan to line his wealthy pockets? The Irregulars won’t stop until they find out the truth.
“Emma-Jean Lazarus knew very well that the seventh-grade boys at William Gladstone Middle School behaved like animals at times. They threw fruit in the cafeteria and stampeded through the hallways. They chased balls on the blacktop and laughed in a howling manner when Mr. Petrowsky discussed a certain part of the digestive system in science.”
But Emma-Jean doesn’t really have to care about the boys and their mysterious behaviors, she’s got Colleen, Valerie, Kaitlin and Michelle. But then the Spring Fling comes along – a girls ask boys dance at school. The girls immediately decide to have a sleepover instead since the gross boys are hardly worth their time. But that plan falls apart when Valerie, Kaitlin and Michelle all ask a boy to the dance.
Emma-Jean is again caught in the middle of seventh grade drama when Colleen begins receiving notes from a secret admirer and enlists Emma-Jean to find out who it is. Author: Lauren Tarshis