In the Stacks

Posted: Sunday, June 02, 2002

The kids' summer reading program has started! Come on in to any of the public libraries, load up on books and pick up your game card!

"Through the Lock," by Carol Otis. It is 1840, and 12-year old Walter and 11-year old Etta are caught up in the feud between new canal workers and river workers who are afraid canals will take away their business. All Etta wants is to make a home where her big sister and little brother can come and live together. All Walter wants is to get away from his alcoholic father. But when river workers trying to destroy the canal almost knock the kids' shack down around their ears, Walter and Etta realize that they need to choose sides if they hope to reach their goals. (chapter book)

"Daughter of Venice," by Donna Jo Napoli. In 1592, noble Venetian families are governed by almost unbreakable traditions. When Donata, intensely interested in the world around her, finds that tradition will send her to a convent, she rebels. What she does changes her future and that of her siblings forever. (chapter book)

"Ten Miles from Winnemucca," by Thelma Hatch Wyss. Martin J. Miller can take a hint. When his new step-brother tosses all Martin's belongings out a second-story window and pours beer over them, Martin packs up his jeep leaves Seattle, heading home to Winnemucca. He's resourceful, he's got a plan, but he's nowhere near Winnemucca when he lands. (chapter book)

"The Red Wolf," written and illustrated by Margaret Shannon. Little Princess Roselupin is so precious to her father that he keeps her locked up inside the castle though she longs to be part of the world she can see from her windows. On her seventh birthday, she receives an unusual gift: many skeins of yarn and a note reading, "Knit what you want." And she does, with a nod to the Wild Thing! (picture book)

"Dance," written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper. The dancers in this lively story skip and wiggle across the pages as they arrive in the studio, ready to begin preparing for a new show, stretching and warming up, greeting the choreographer, and learning new steps. Over the course of four weeks, costumes are fitted, flyers, posters, and tickets appear, and then, finally - the curtain goes up! (picture book)

"In Search of a Homeland," by Penelope Lively, illustrated by Ian Andrew. There is no need to be afraid of the classics anymore! Lively's retelling of "The Aeneid," while staying true to the original storyline, breathes life into Virgil's tale of adventure and loyalty and lives touched by the not-so-gentle hands of the gods. If you like this book, try Rosemary Sutcliff's retellings of the Iliad and the Odyssey (chapter book)

"Hungry Hen," by Richard Waring, illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church. What do you do if you are a hen who is hungry no matter how much she eats? What if you are a fox who watches the hungry hen eating and starts feeling hungry, too? Big, bold drawings capture the essence of the innocently hungry hen and her sly and hungry pursuer perfectly! (picture book)

"Leaving Home," by Sneed B. Collard, illustrated by Joan Dunning. This is a lovely dual-text book about animals growing up. Each page details an animal's "at-home" period (for bromeliad crabs, it is six months; for hedgehogs, it is about six weeks) across the bottom, while the text at the top tells a simple story. Beautiful color drawings make it clear which animal is being discussed. Intricate pictures mean there's lots to look at: great for reading with little ones! (non-fiction picture book)

"How Raven Stole the Sun," by Maria Williams, illustrated by Felix Vigil. Every culture has stories about how the sun, moon, and stars came to be in the sky (see "Batwings and the Curtain of Night" for a story of stars), but this is one of my favorites. Raven turns himself into the grandson of the selfish chief who keeps the moon, stars, and sun in carved wooden boxes. Raven wants to bring light to the people, but how will he be able to get to the boxes? (picture book)

There were too many really good kids' books going out on the shelves for one week, so next week is kids' week again!

If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site ( and looking at our catalogue. The "In the Stacks" column is now archived! Go to the Juneau Public Libraries' Web site and look for "In the Stacks."

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