Check out youth chapter books at the library

In the stacks

Posted: Sunday, February 06, 2005

Chapter books make great read-alouds for families or read-alones for kids, and we've got something for everyone at the Juneau Public Libraries.

"The Dark Pond," by Joseph Bruchac. This eerie tale combines Native American lore with modern day horror tradition for a satisfying and thoroughly creepy read. When Armie moves to a small town in the mountains, he stumbles across a pond in the woods, nearly walking right onto its thin ice. After that, he starts dreaming about the pond - it calls to him and tries to draw him in closer. When he meets another Native American at school, the two plot to destroy whatever the voracious thing is that lives in the pond. (ages 10-16, but not for the faint of heart)

"Molly McGinty has a really good day," by Gary Paulsen. Can the worst day ever end up being the greatest? Molly's day isn't starting out too well; she's got a math test, she lost her notebook, her skirt got torn sometime between breakfast and school, and she's got a black eye. But worst of all, her grandmother is spending the day at school with her, and she's wearing purple suede pants! Will Molly ever salvage her reputation? What about her notebook? (ages 9-12)

"Leaping Beauty," by Gregory Maguire. This collection of fractured fairytales is great fun! Try "Hamster and Gerbil," the sad story of two young rodents with a wicked skunk for a step-mother, who stumble across a house made entirely of pet food. And follow So What as he escapes being killed by the hunter and ends up living in a house with seven giraffes in a spoof on Snow White. Finish up with "Rumplesnakeskin," featuring Norma Jean the sheep, who is forced to spin straw into gold to finance a movie producer. (ages 9-14, or even older!)

"Millions," by Frank Cottrell Boyce. When English fourth-grader Damien and his older brother Anthony find a bag stuffed with pound notes, they rejoice in being rich. But there are just a few weeks left before England makes the switch to euros, and they've got to spend it all before then or the pounds are worthless. Damien is a do-gooder who wants to give the money to charities, while Anthony wants to spend it all on fun stuff. But while they bicker, the deadline approaches - and so do the real owners of the money. (ages 9-12)

"Bindi Babes," by Narindi Dhami. Ten year-old Amber, eleven year-old Jazz, and thirteen year-old Geena have the perfect life. Known in school as the Bindi Babes, they are not only the coolest, best dressed girls around, but their Dad buys them anything they want, and they are talented and smart, too. But not smart enough to outwit their Dad's sister, who's moving in with them from India to mess up their lives - at least, that's how the Bindi Babes see things. Auntie ought to be easy to dislike, but when she arrives, the girls find that their lives change for the better. (ages 9-12)

The Lady Grace Mysteries: "Assassin," and "Betrayal," by Patricia Finney. This new series features thirteen year-old Grace, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, who gets along better with the Queen's obnoxious dogs than with her fellow ladies. In "Assassin," Lady Grace is presented with three suitors that the Queen has approved; Grace must choose the one she will marry when she is sixteen. After Grace picks, one of the other suitors is killed and the man she has chosen is accused. She must use all her quick wits to prove the truth. In "Betrayal," a fellow lady seems to have run away with the dashing Sir Francis Drake, and Lady Grace is enlisted by the Queen to follow her and bring her home. Both mysteries are lively and full of period detail, and afterwords distinguish fact from fiction. (ages 9-12) "The Worry Website," by Jacqueline Wilson Mr. Speed isn't like the other teachers in school. For one thing, in his 6th grade class, instead of doing Circle Time and having to talk about how you feel in front of everyone, he's got a Worry Website that all the kids in the class can access to post their problems anonymously. Then, anyone in the class can post suggestions back. Holly's wicked step-mom problem gets solved. So does Claire's bad dream. But with Mr. Speed playing Cupid, will Greg's girlfriend dilemma ever get solved? (ages 9-12)

"Eager," by Helen Fox. When Gavin Bell's family realizes their beloved old household robot is running down but unrepairable, they decide to get a new one to replace it. Gavin's sister Fleur wants a beautiful BDC4 model like her friend Marcia has, but what they get instead is funny-looking EGR3, nicknamed Eager, an experimental robot that is programmed to learn and to feel emotions. But by the same time Eager gets settled in with the Bells, odd things start happening with the BDC4 robots, and Gavin and Fleur start investigating. It takes Eager, with his understanding of both humans and robots, to save the day. (ages 9-14)

As always, placing a hold on our material is easy: call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249, or, if you have internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our website ( and looking at our catalog. Placing holds on items featured in In the Stacks is now even easier! The new columns are hyperlinked to the catalog: simply look up the column on our website, click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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