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In the stacks: New chapter books

Posted: April 4, 2012 - 11:04pm

New chapter books include two Roald Dahl read-alikes (“The Candymakers,” by Wendy Mass and “Mr. Stink,” by David Walliams), new titles in the Anna Hibiscus, Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, and Samurai Kids series, and many others besides the titles below. You’ll find them all on the new book shelves in the kids’ areas of the public libraries.

“Small Persons with Wings,” by Ellen Booraem.

When Mellie was in kindergarten, her best friend was a Small Person with Wings (don’t call him a fairy!) named Fidius, but when she tries to prove that he’s not imaginary, he disappears. Mellie never lived it down — and now, at 13, she’s turned herself into a science nerd who doesn’t have any friends and is still called Fairy Fat by the kids at school. When her grandfather dies and leaves her parents his inn, Mellie is overjoyed to be moving to a new town. It turns out, though, that the inn is infested with a ton of Small Persons with Wings who think they’re the bomb, but are really a little ridiculous and need taking care of. Mellie discovers that there’s a connection between her family, the SPWW, and a mysterious, bossy woman who keeps appearing in various guises. For middle-school readers.

“The Secret Journeys of Jack London: the Wild,” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon.

By the time real-life Jack London was 17, he’d had plenty of adventures that contributed to his later works, and here, the authors imagine what other hazards he might have met that remained unwritten. In this fiction series opener, Jack and his brother-in-law, James Shepard, have gotten gold fever and are heading to the Yukon to make their fortunes. Shepard’s weak heart forces him to abandon Jack soon after landing in Dyea. Jack’s first winter is hard: he and two friends find themselves holed up, starving, in an isolated cabin, and then they encounter the horrors of the slave gold-panning trade. But he also meets his spirit guide, a wolf, and enters a folk-tale world of monsters and angels.

“No Passengers Beyond this Point,” by Gennifer Choldenko.

The Tompkins kids couldn’t be more different: Finn is the sensible middle child in the family; his older sister, India, has her head in girl-world and his little sister Mouse is a tiny Einstein. But they all think the same about their mom’s latest plan: she’s sending them to live with an uncle they don’t remember, in a state far from California, without her! Everyone is unhappy, except perhaps the bank that’s foreclosing on their house, but no-one expects what happens next. When their plane lands, the kids are met by a pink limo covered in white feathers and chauffeured to their new homes — yep, homes, one for each of them, each equipped with their favorite things. No Uncle Red, just… everything the kids could want, including a cool new mom for India and a basketball-playing dad for Finn, with no need to share. But is it really Happily Ever After? Fantasy and reality blend well in this funny but touching story for older elementary and middle school readers.

“Selling Hope,” by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb.

Other kids may envy her, but 13-year-old Hope is tired of traveling with her father’s vaudeville troupe. They are just about to pass through her hometown of Chicago and she wants to convince her father to stay, but they need the money he earns as a magician. Fortunately, Halley’s comet is due in just a few weeks and Hope, who earns a little as a medium in the show, is well aware that many people are worried that the world will end. She has an idea: maybe people will pay for something they think will protect them against whatever the comet might bring. She enlists young Buster Keaton, who has recently joined the troupe, to help with the scheme and soon finds herself making more money than she dreamed. But is she cheating people? Or bringing them hope?

•••

Kids: put on your best pajamas and come to the Downtown Library tomorrow night (April 6) at 6:30 p.m. for a quiet evening with award-winning singer and storyteller Kevin Roth.

Then, find out how noisy Kevin can be in the afternoon: head to the Valley Library on April 7 at 3 p.m. for a lively afternoon concert.

And, if you want another reason to be at the library, come on over to the Douglas Library for the monthly Family Movie on April 8 at 3 p.m. Snacks provided are guaranteed to not include jelly beans!

The Valley Library will be closed for Easter Sunday. The Downtown and Douglas libraries will be open regular hours.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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