Tag Archives: Fantasy

Staff Pick: Last of the Gullivers

Staff Pick: Last of the Gullivers

Last of the Gullivers

After orphaned twelve-year-old Michael Pine, who seems headed for trouble, meets old Lem Gulliver, he finds new purpose as protector of the Lilliputians who live in Lem’s back garden, even if that means saving them from one another. Author: Carter Crocker

“Michael Pine is always in trouble – he’s headed right for the Young Offenders Institution if he messes up again. Then one night he hears strange singing and discovers the Lilliputians, tiny people (the size of your thumb!) with tiny animals, living in a garden surrounded by a tall stone wall.  At first, Michael can’t believe it, but pretty soon he is visiting them every day and helping out in their village.  When weasels and other humans attack the Lilliputians, Michael must turn his life around if he is going to save them.”

Recommended by: Melissa Wooten, Glendale Library

If you like Michael’s adventure with little people, try the original story, Gulliver’s Travels, which will tell you how Gulliver came across the Lilliputians in the first place. Also try The Borrowers, The Minimoys and The Littles – more little people with large adventures living in our regular-sized world:

Gulliver's Travels The Borrowers Arthur and the Minimoys The Littles
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Staff Pick: The Wikkeling

Staff Pick: The Wikkeling

The Wikkeling

“Imagine if you will, a world defined by safety.  School busses can’t start until you strap yourself in, you’re not allowed to exercise because you might fall down, you live in molded plastic houses with no interesting corners, and your parents track where you are by cell phone.  This is the Addition.

Henrietta Gad-fly isn’t a particularly remarkable girl (at least according to her class ranking), and she lives in one of the few remaining old houses on the very edge of the Addition.  When she finds a Wild Housecat and a bunch of old books in her attic, things in her predictably safe world start going frighteningly (and excitingly) wrong.  All the strange events point to a mysterious creature called the Wikkeling that only Henrietta and her friends can see.  Will they solve the mystery of the Wikkeling before it’s too late?  Read the book and find out!”  Author: Steven Arntson

Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch

More Staff Picks

If you liked The Wikkeling try The Museum of Thieves – another fantasy/mystery about kids who live in a town where adults go to strange lengths to protect them:

The Museum of Thieves
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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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