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In the stacks: New chapter books

Posted: October 2, 2013 - 11:09pm

New chapter books for elementary and middle school readers are waiting for you on the New Book Shelves in every kids’ area at the public libraries.

“Sadie and Ratz,” by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Ann James.

Hannah’s hands have their own names, Sadie and Ratz, and they get angry all on their own sometimes. Usually, that happens when Baby Boy, who’s four, uses up all the markers or changes the channel when Hannah’s watching something good. Then Sadie and Ratz try to rub Baby Boy’s ears off, or show him what they look like as shark’s teeth and Baby Boy yells like a banshee. Mom suggests that Sadie and Ratz could do yoga instead, but they like Lion’s Mane pose better than Snowflakes in Winter. Then one day, Baby Boy gets crafty, and Hannah discovers that even though Sadie and Ratz like doing bad things, they don’t like it when they get blamed for bad things they didn’t get to do. Great early chapter book with a nice twist ending.

“Zombie Tag,” by Hannah Moskowitz.

Ooo! Moskowitz blends scary, sad, and funny together into a fantastic book. Ever since Wil’s big brother Graham died six months ago, Wil’s home life hasn’t been the same. His dad is mostly okay, but his mom keeps going blank in the middle of things and they all miss Graham so much. When Wil discovers that his best friend’s father (a paranormal researcher like Wil’s dad) actually has the Wake-Up bell from the last zombie uprising hidden in his house, he can’t wait to go on a hunt for it. And when he finds it, it works, and Graham comes home. But there’s something different about him, and when Wil overhears Graham and his new zombie friends talking about knives, guns, and bleach, he runs for his life. But things aren’t quite the way Wil imagines. This is Moskowitz’s first foray into the world of middle school books (she’s known for her YA novels) and it’s a doozy.

“Popular Clone,” by M.E. Castle.

Fisher Bas isn’t like most people: he’s a 12-year-old genius, the smartest, runtiest, most picked-on kid in the school. His parents have a lot to do with that – they’re both Nobel Prize-winning scientists who have turned their entire house into a laboratory for their experiments. One day, Fisher has an idea, and, with his mother’s supply of Advanced Growth Hormone and some creative thinking, he creates Fisher 2 in his bedroom lab. At first the clone is a huge success: it takes over the bad parts of Fisher’s life, leaving him free to pursue his experiments in peace. But soon Fisher discovers that Two has made friends and is well on his way to becoming popular! Not only that, but someone is trying to steal his mother’s latest secret project – could it be the mysterious Dr. X? Fisher’s in a quandary: if he stops the thieves, his parents will find out about Two, and then he’ll not only be in big trouble, but he’ll have to go back to school. Pick this up and find out what happens!

“Fetching,” by Kiera Stewart.

When Olivia sits in a packet of ketchup put on her chair by mean girl Brynne, it’s the last straw. Humiliated by a trip to the office to clean up, expected to wear the spare “one size fits all” polyester pants in the nurse’s emergency box, and finding the school assistant principal unsympathetic, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Olivia lives with her grandmother, who trains dogs, especially problem dogs, and Olivia begins to think that maybe if she thinks of Brynne and her friends as a pack of insecure dogs, things could change. The fun begins as Olivia and her friends use body language, the all-powerful twin tactics of ignoring annoying behavior and rewarding good behavior, and before they know it, they’ve made it off the lowest rung and are climbing towards normal middle school life.

“Remarkable”, by Lizzie K. Foley.

Take a town called Remarkable, where everyone is gifted or talented or somehow amazing and no one ever gets cavities, drop in one very ordinary girl with an ordinary name, add the pirate captain Rojo Herring and his parrot Salzburg, a truckload of jelly from Munch, and a beautiful, but bored dentist. Mix in a shy sea monster named Lucky and a missing composer and you’ve got a town so filled with secrets that it’s ready to burst. Jane, the girl at the heart of this story, thinks she’s finally found a way to escape the utter dreariness of being herself when she meets Captain Rojo Herring, but in the end, finds that it’s her very ordinariness that saves the day, the town, and Lucky.

•••

Jonathan Waterman, author of “Northern Exposures,” will be at the Downtown library at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Oct. 3) to talk about his book and tell stories from his career as a journalist, filmmaker, and explorer.

Bookmark entries are coming in – don’t wait till the last minute! Pick up applications at any public library (or see the information here for printable applications: www.juneau.org/library/bookmarks.php) for the bookmark contest. Contest closes Oct. 15.

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

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