When sixth grader Scottish Play Doe starts a new school he prefers to go by “Scott”. Wouldn’t you? Erno and Emily are twins in Scott’s class. They are wicked smart – especially Emily. This makes them “weird”, kind of like Scott the new kid with the funny name, so they end up sitting together on the bus. The three of them discover that smart is something they have in common. That, and the fact that Scott’s Mom and Erno and Emily’s foster Dad both work at the Goodco Cereal Company.
On a field trip to the city, Scott catches a tiny little man…a leprechaun (like the Lucky Charms guy) trying to steal his backpack. Mick the leprechaun, or clurichaun as he prefers, claims Scott can rescue him from the evil people at Goodco who steal his magic to “fortify” their cereal. After all “There’s a Little Bit of Magic in Every Box!” What else can Scott and his friends do but help the little guy?
Erno and Emily’s foster Dad is wicked smart too, just like Emily. He might just be plain old wicked though, because he disappears just when the kids find out that Emily has been the test subject for the stuff Goodco uses to fortify cereal. She is, in fact, a human experiment.Then some bad guys from Goodco come after Emily – they want to dissect her to study the effects of their experiment. Erno and Scott suspect that evil is afoot at Goodco and that whatever Emily has been given to make her wicked smart is related to the magic that has been stolen from Mick and some of his magical cereal box friends. Scott and Erno take Emily and make a break for it, determined to get justice for Emily and their new magical friends.
Adam Rex comes up with the craziest scenarios but he makes the characters SO likeable and SO funny…who cares if breakfast cereal characters have come to life? And besides, I love a careening adventure that has as it’s core exposing people who will do anything to anyone to make a sale. Looking forward to books #2 and #3 for some magical, kid fortified justice! Favorite character? The sassy clurachaun Mick and Biggs, Erno and Emily’s 8 foot tall Butler. When you are being chased by goons it’s always good to have a cereal fortified giant on your side. Author: Adam Rex
If you like the idea of magical creatures like fairies and pixies and boggarts living just out of our sight try some of the websites, books and activities below. You can get some tips for finding and attracting fairies right to your own yard….because really, you just never know!
Fer lives in a cottage in the woods with her Grandmother, Grand-Jane. Grand-Jane knows a lot about the woods and the plants there – especially how the plants can heal people or ease their troubles.
One day while Fer is out in the woods she hears a snarling dog fight and sees a pack of wolves attacking a black dog. 3 against 1 plain makes her mad! She grabs a large stick and starts swinging it and yelling. Miraculously, the wolves fade back into the bushes.
“Panting, Fer turned to the thing they’d been attacking. It had fallen beneath the branches of a bush; she saw its dark shape huddled there. Carefully, gripping her club in case it tried to bite, she pushed aside the branches, letting the moon’s light in. Fer blinked and set down the club. It wasn’t a dog at all. It was a boy.” (page 11)
Huh. A boy! Something strange is going on here! And when Fer takes the bleeding boy home for Grand-Jane to heal, things get stranger still, because Grand-Jane says, “No.” No? Don’t help a bleeding little boy? He does snarl like a dog. He also has yellow eyes. It turns out Grand-Jane knows some things Fer doesn’t; things about how a little boy and black dog can actually be the same thing!
A great adventure that puts Fer in a magical place where the lines between humans and animals are blurred and where questions asked three times and promises are the most powerful magic of all. I look forward to seeing what happens next. I hope there is a book two because I’m not done with Fer and the blackdog/boy and that black horse on the cover – he’s part of it too!
Don’t miss Sarah Prineas’s other OUTSTANDING series, The Magic Thief. If you liked Fer and her adventure transporting to a magical place and discovering her place in it, try The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Wildwood, or 100 Cupboards:
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
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
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.)