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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Beneath the Sun by Melissa Stewart


ABOUT THE BOOK

When the sun is shining brightly, people put on sunscreen or scurry inside to cool off. But how do wild animals react to the sizzling heat? Journey from your neighborhood to a field where an earthworm loops its long body into a ball underground, to a desert where a jackrabbit loses heat through its oversized ears, to a wetland where a siren salamander burrows into the mud to stay cool, and to a seashore where a sea star hides in the shade of a seaweed mat. In simple yet informative language, Beneath the Sun shows young readers how the animals who live there survive the hottest time of the year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Stewart is the author of more than one hundred children's books including When Rain Falls, A Place for Butterflies, and A Place for Birds.  She holds degrees from Union College and New York University and has also worked as an editor.  She lives in eastern Massachusetts.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Constance R. Bergum has illustrated several children's books, including When Rain Falls, Dancing with Katya, Daniel and His Walking Stick, and The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins.  She holds an M.F.A. in illustration from Marywood University and lives in Montana.

REVIEW

Beneath the Sun is a beautiful introduction to a common problem and how various living creatures deal with it.  The heat of the sun is a blessing but can also be dangerous.  Stewart reveals to the reader the many ways this problem is addressed.  Humans love to run through sprinklers and drink cool drinks like lemonade. Jackrabbits release heat through their ears, horned lizards hide beneath bushes, and frogs use the warmth to develop from tadpole to adult.  The illustrations are beautiful and add the perfect touch.  I appreciated the focus on one aspect of adaptation since it allows the reader to compare the differences and similarities between the different creatures. I also enjoyed how the story starts with sunrise and moves through various habitats until it reaches sunset, it creates a coherent and understandable story.


TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday 4/14- Jean Little Library and Blue Owl
Tuesday – Geo Librarian
Wednesday- Kid Lit Reviews

Friday, April 11, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Fractured Truth by Rachel McClellan


It's finally here!

Fractured Truth, the final novel in the paranormal, YA Fractured Light trilogy, was just released! Follow the blog tour to find out more about Fractured Truth and enter below for a chance to a signed copy or a $25 Amazon gift card!




Llona is determined to end the fight with the Vykens once and for all. All she needs is to find and destroy the Shadow—the ultimate source of dark power. But when she makes a startling discovery about someone she loves, Llona has to fight the toughest battle yet in this exciting conclusion to the Fractured Light series.

Buy Fractured Truth
  
Amazon     |     Barnes & Noble     

Contact Author

Website     |     Blog     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Click the pictures below to find out more about Fractured Light and Fractured Soul, book one and book two. 

http://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Light-Rachel-McClellan/dp/1599559420/ref=la_B005RFFM9M_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396458040&sr=1-2
http://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Soul-Rachel-McClellan/dp/1462111807/ref=la_B005RFFM9M_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396458040&sr=1-3


















REVIEW

Oh, my goodness! What a ride. Just when I thought I knew where things were going, BAM, McClellan threw in another twist. This is the kind of book that when you are finished reading it you have to stop and take a deep breath to recover from it.  The book is quite heart-wrenching in both good and bad ways. I'm not going to say much more than that because I don't want to spoil it for those yet to read it.  Just know there are some surprises here, many of them not happy ones.  But Llona is tough and she's got some good friends on her side. While I wasn't completely satisfied by the ending, it does fit with the story and everything that has happened.  I wouldn't mind finding out more about what happened after that ending though. As far as content, there is quite a bit of violence and a number of deaths, hardly surprising considering the Auras and Vykens are at war with each other. The thing I had a hard time with though was the number of betrayals. That's something I have a hard time reading about and I found quite upsetting, but that's just me I think.  In fact that tells you how good the series is, that the characters felt so real that it really upset me to read about the betrayals.  An amazing end to an amazing series.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monkeys, monkeys, and more monkeys!


ABOUT THE BOOK

One hundred monkeys are hunting for food in this colorful counting book, but something else -- something big and scary -- is hungry, too! Young readers will find page-turning action on every page -- and more than 100 reasons to take a second look.

REVIEW

Seeing as search and find books are quite popular in my library, I'm pretty sure this one will be too.  I liked how the book both tells a story and asks the reader to find details in the pictures.  Children will enjoy the humor embedded in the illustrations. There is a sweet message in the story about friendship and assumptions which is a nice feature since most search and find books don't have a story at all. Plus monkeys are a naturally funny animal to children.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Clyde gets excited, he brings a whole new meaning to "monkeying around!"

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Clyde is an energetic student who just can't sit still. After eating a banana that has been zapped by lasers on his class field trip to the science museum Clyde starts to feel weird. Now every time he gets excited, he transforms into a monkey! Only with the help of his twin sister, Claudia, can Monkey Clyde stay out of trouble.


REVIEW

I'm not sure why it is, but monkeys seem to be a naturally funny animal. And that is especially true in this new series from Scholastic. Energetic Clyde reminds me so much of some kids I know that I had to laugh and sigh at the same time. Somehow they are so much more entertaining in books than in the classroom. But regardless, Clyde is basically a good kid with an insane amount of energy that shows itself in lots of fidgeting. Luckily for him, his twin sister, Claudia, is there to help him.  But after eating ray-blasted fruit during a field trip, Clyde finds himself turning into a monkey when he gets really excited (which is quite often).  This does not of course help him behave at school resulting in some rather hilarious chases through the school. Things come to a head however when he discovers something valuable was stolen from the museum while his class was on their field trip there. Can he help save the day or is he bound to just be a silly monkey forever? A thoroughly entertaining new series for early chapter book readers, Monkey Me, has lots of illustrations, including the comic book like sections when Clyde turns into a monkey.  Sure to be a hit with young readers.



18371578ABOUT THE BOOK

When Clyde gets excited, he brings a whole new meaning to "monkeying around!"

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Clyde is an energetic student who just can't sit still. When he gets too excited, he transforms into a real monkey! When the class bully challenges Clyde's "monkey me" to the pet talent show, he has no choice but to participate. But when the other pets start to disappear, Clyde uses his inner monkey to save the day.


REVIEW

A funny book revolving around a main character who has inadvertently developed the ability to turn into a monkey when he gets excited (which is quite often). When he and his twin sister, Claudia, decide to use him in a pet show to show up the local bully things get complicated when the pets start disappearing, including Clyde himself!  The book is great for young readers just starting with chapter books, the short chapters, numerous illustrations (including the comic sections when Clyde turns into a monkey), and the large font all make this a great new series that kids are bound to enjoy.


MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist by R.R. Russell


ABOUT THE BOOK

Deep in the heart of a mist-shrouded island, an impossible secret is about to be discovered.

Twig is used to feeling unwanted. Sent to live on a pony ranch for "troubled" girls on a misty, haunted island, Twig is about to discover the impossible — someone who needs her.


Jolted awake from a bad dream, Twig follows the desperate whinny of a terrified horse out to the stables. There in the straw is a bleating little scrap of moonbeam. A silver-white filly with cloven hooves and a tiny, spiraling horn.

A baby unicorn.

Now Twig knows what secret is hiding in the island's mist: the last free unicorn herd. And a mysterious boy named Ben who insists that this impossible creature is now Twig's to care for. That she needs Twig's love and protection. Because there's something out there in the deep, dense shadows that's hunting for them..


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

R.R. Russell lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up traveling the world as an army brat and now travels the country as a coach with a non-profit judo club. She loves to read and draw, and like Twig, once spent a lot of time sketching unicorns. Visit her at rrrussellauthor.com.

REVIEW


Unicorns! Sigh. A book with lots of unicorns as well as a protagonist who is struggling to find who she is and where she belongs. Twig ends up on Lonehorn Island as a result of an unfortunate incident with her stepsister that everyone thinks she caused.  But there seems to be more to the island than first appears. Shortly after arriving, she sees what appears to be a ghost.  Can Twig find a home here with so many mysteries as she struggles to deal with her own sense of inadequacy?  


Being a fan of unicorns I quite enjoyed this well-written story. I appreciated the fact that the story takes place over a whole year as Twig grows and develops along with the baby unicorn.  It was also very refreshing to read about a home for troubled girls that really benefited the students.  Twig really flourishes in an environment where she is loved unconditionally, given responsibility, and shown that she has much to offer. 

The setting was well-presented and I wanted very much to visit the place (during the day of course), especially to see the unicorns.  Russell's unicorn mythology I thought was well-developed and explained. Truly an enjoyable read for those readers who love unicorns and stories of growing into one's own skin.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

YA COVER REVEAL w/ GIVEAWAY: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

Cover Reveal, About the Author, a Sneak Peek of REWIND TO YOU and Rafflecopter Giveaway


Genre: Clean Contemporary YA Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2014; Available for PREORDER now

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

About the Author:

Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (deduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.

A Sneak Peek of REWIND TO YOU:





Giveaway: Signed Copy of REWIND TO YOU and $25 Amazon Gift Card


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. The winner, chosen by Rafflecopter, will be announced here on April 29th as well as emailed. The winner will have 5 days to respond at which point a new winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

Friday, April 4, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff

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ABOUT THE BOOK

No one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge. No one, that is, except old Cornelius, the Grudge Keeper.

Ruffled feathers, petty snits, minor tiffs and major huffs, insults, umbrage, squabbles, dust-ups, and imbroglios-the Grudge Keeper received them all, large and small, tucking each one carefully away in his ramshackle cottage.

When a fierce wind blows through Bonnyripple, the residents are forced to rescue Cornelius and deal with their various disputes.


REVIEW

Old Cornelius, the Grudge Keeper, holds onto the grudges of everyone in his town of Bonnyripple. Every toe that gets stepped on, prizewinning flowers destroyed, and misbehaving students all add to the growing collection that Cornelius houses at his home.  But when a storm blows through and changes everything, can the townfolk find the will and means to let go of their grudges or will it all start again?  I love the premise of this book, that one person keeps the grudges of others, but that those grudges fill up his house. That's a big burden for anyone to carry.  The message here is clear: letting go of grudges makes everyone happier. But it's presented in such a creative and fun way that it doesn't feel didactic at all. A must read for all ages!


Follow on Twitter: @PeachtreePub
Like on Facebook

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb



ABOUT THE BOOK

Now an apprentice magician, Rose is asked to help find a very special missing person

Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can't believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, she is now an apprentice to the king's chief magician. But when the country's beloved princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumors of dark magic fly through the city, the king asks Rose for help. She must find the missing princess, before all is lost.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Holly Webb is the author of Dog Magic, Cat Magic, and Lost in the Snow. She has always loved animals and owns two very spoiled cats. They haven't said a word to her yet, but she's always listening, just in case! She lives in England.

REVIEW

Rose's magical abilities have been discovered by her master as well as the rest of the household. And while her master and her fellow apprentice, Freddie, accept her and her abilities, the other servants now fear her and one of the maids even torments her. While Rose debates whether to stay or go, winter strikes with a vengeance and an attempt is made to kidnap one of the princesses.  Combining these events with Miss Swallow's attempts to use child blood to achieve eternal life, there is a growing prejudice against those that practice magic.  When Rose is asked to help protect the princess she finds herself smack dab in the middle of the growing tension. And the disappearance of the princess complicates things further. 

A delightful continuation of a wonderful British series that combines adventure and magic with history.  Sure to be a child-pleaser, I can heartily recommend it. The book is not only a quick and exciting read but the characters are sure to be enjoyed. Rose is a feisty young lady who refuses to take her mistreatment lying down, but she still struggles with uncertainty about her magical abilities and where they might take her. But as the possibilities start to percolate in her brain, the growing fear and hatred of magicians makes her wonder where she really belongs.  Her experiences at the palace also add to her confusion.  

I think that a lot of young fantasy readers will thoroughly enjoy this new series.


GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have one print copy of Rose and the Lost Princess to give away.
US and Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR SCHEDULE

Date Name Blog Blog Link
Tu April 1 Bonnie Wagner A Backwards Story http://abackwardsstory.blogspot.com/
Wed April 2 Heidi Grange Geo Librarian http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/
Th April 3 Suzanne Costner The Fairview Review http://fveslibrary.blogspot.com
Fri April 4 Pamela Thompson YA Books - What We're Reading Now booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com
Sat April 5 Kristen Harvey The Book Monsters www.thebookmonsters.com
Sun April 6 Jessica Nottingham Hopeless Bibliophile www.hopelessbibliophile.com




Mon April 7 Stephanie Turner Cover 2 Cover Blog www.cover2coverblog.blogspot.com
Tues April 8 Sharon Schmidt Tyler Sharon the Librarian http://sstwriting.blogspot.com/
Wed April 9 Dena Batch of Books www.batchofbooks.com
Th April 10 Aeicha Word Spelunking http://wordspelunking.blogspot.com/
Fri April 11 Kelly Hager Kelly Vision http://kellyvision.wordpress.com/
Sat April 12 Karen Nelson Central MN Mom http://centralmnmom.com/
Sun April 13 Sarit Coffe & Books & Art http://sarityahalomi.blogspot.com/




Mon April 14 Sara Grochowski The Hiding Spot http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com
Tues April 15 Deborah Debz Bookshelf http://debzbookshelf.blogspot.com/
Wed April 16 Tiffany Erickson Miss Tiff Reads www.misstiffreads.blogspot.com
Th April 17 Teri Crosby Snarky Mamma http://snarkymamma.blogspot.com/
Fri April 18 Lory Widmer Emerald City Book Review http://emeraldcitybookreview.blogspot.com/
Sat April 19 Debbie Alvarez The Styling Librarian http://thestylinglibrarian.com/
Sun April 20 Erin Al-Mehairi Hook of a Book http://hookofabook.wordpress.com/




Mon April 21 Orsayor Young-Simmons Book Referees http://bookreferees.blogspot.com/
Tues April 22 Megan T Inspired by Fiction http://inspiredbyfiction.blogspot.com/
Wed April 23 Kyra Morris Blog of a Bookaholic http://blogofabookaholic.blogspot.com/
Th April 24 Jenny Wondrous Reads http://www.wondrousreads.com/
Fri April 25 Tanya Johnson Tanya's Book Nook http://tanyasbooknook.blogspot.com
Sat April 26 Pam Torres Madison and Cooper's Blog http://www.madisonmorgan11.com/madisonmorgan11.com/Home.html
Sun April 27 Allie In Bed With Books http://inbedwithbooks.blogspot.com




Mon April 28 Erin PreFontaine Jump Into Books http://jumpintobooks.blogspot.com/
Tues April 29 Amanda One Momma Saving Money http://www.onemommasavingmoney.com/
Wed April 30 Natalie Literary Rambles http://www.literaryrambles.com/
Th May 1 Hope Clippinger Hope to Read www.hopetoread.com
Fri May 2 Ashley P. Tales of Mommyhood www.talesofmommyhood.com
Saturday May 3 Marcie Turner To Read or Not To Read http://www.toreadornottoread.net
Sunday May 4 Rubina Ramesh The Book Club - Rubina Ramesh http://rubinaramesh.blogspot.com/




Mon May 5 Sheila Ruth Wands and Worlds http://blog1.wandsandworlds.com/
Tues May 6 Brandee Foster One Crazy Kid http://onecrazykid.com/
Wed May 7 Inma Leonard Inspired Librarian http://inspiredlibrarian.blogspot.com/
Thurs May 8 Alanna Shaw The Flashlight Reader http://www.theflashlightreader.com/
Fri May 9 Colleen Bohensky A Madison Mom www.amadisonmom.net
Sat May 10 Laura Got Fiction? www.gotfiction.com
Sun May 11 Jean Vallesteros Jean Book Nerd http://jeanbooknerd.com/




Mon May 12 Karen DeWysockie Books Beside My Bed www.booksbesidemybed.com
Tues May 13 Jennifer Szoch Novel Nutritious www.novelnutritious.com
Wed May 14 Kim (KJ) Bateman Tea and Savories www.teaandsavories.blogspot.com
Thurs May 15 Karen Cassey The Bookaholic Blurbs http://thebookaholicblurbs.blogspot.com/
Fri May 16 Lindsay Karson Live to Read http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/
Sat May 17 Emily Harris Read Your Bookcase http://readyourbookcase.blogspot.com/
Sun May 18 Liz Engebrecht Redd's Reads http://reddjena.tumblr.com/




Monday, March 31, 2014

Ninja Librarians are on the way! PLUS ten items I would take from books if I could!

COMING SOON!
The Ninja Librarians
By Jen Swann Downey
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
April 2014 ● ISBN: 9-781-4022- 8770-1
Hardcover/$16.99 ● Ages 9 -13

“A rollicking adventure with a smart heroine, heaps of mystery and the whole of history to explore. 
It's like finding Lara Croft running your local library!” —Lissa Evans, author of Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms, long-listed for the Carnegie Medal (2012) and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (2011)

Your  mission should you choose to accept it: support and promote the unsung heroes of literature, the defenders of the Dewey Decimal system, the freedom fighters of free speech -- Ninja Librarians!

Dorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor’s closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch’s Library —the headquarters of a secret society of librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.

Dorrie and Marcus meet highly trained, dangerous, sword-fighting, karate-chopping freedom fighters with an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Here, Hypatia of Alexandria and her colleagues train many of the world's librarians to not only catalogue and sharpen short pencils, but to pull heretics off of stakes in fourteenth century Spain, and track down stolen manuscripts through the wilds of ancient Persia.

Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Swann Downey’s nonfiction pieces have appeared in New York MagazineThe Washington PostWomen's Day, and other publications. She’s never visited a library in which she didn't want to spend the night. Jen lives in Charlottesville, VA with her family.

TRAILER


Sneak Peek - The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand from Monica Babaian on Vimeo.

EXCERPT

Chapter 1
Books and Swords

Twelve--year--old Dorothea Barnes was thoroughly un--chosen, not particularly deserving, bore no marks of destiny, lacked any sort of criminal genius, and could claim no supernatural relations. Furthermore, she’d never been orphaned, kidnapped, left for dead in the wilderness, or bitten by anything more bloodthirsty than her little sister.

Don’t even begin to entertain consoling thoughts of long flaxen curls or shiny tresses black as ravens’ wings. Dorrie’s plain brown hair could only be considered marvelous in its ability to twist itself into hopeless tangles. She was neither particularly tall or small, thick or thin, pale or dark. She had parents who loved her, friends enough, and never wanted for a meal. So why, you may wonder, tell a story about a girl like this at all?

Because Dorrie counted a sword among her most precious belongings. Yes, it was only a fake one that couldn’t be relied upon to cut all the way through a stick of butter, but Dorrie truly and deeply desired to use it. Not just to fend off another staged pirate attack at Mr. Louis P. Kornberger’s Passaic Academy of Swordplay and Stage Combat (which met Tuesdays behind the library after Mr. Kornberger finished work there) but, when the right circumstances arose, to vanquish some measure of evil from the world.

Dorrie regarded every opportunity to prepare for that moment as a crucial one, and the Passaic Public Library’s annual Pen and Sword Festival—always bursting with costumed scribblers and swashbucklers—afforded, in her strongly-held opinion, one of the best. On its appointed day, she pounded down the wide battered staircase of her home long before the rising sun finished gilding the rusty dryer that sat, for lost reasons, on top of it. She did so in the one tall purple boot she could find, dragging her duffel bag behind her.

At the bottom, in the vast chamber that had once served as a ballroom, Dorrie caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror that hung over a bureau by the back door, and hiked up her wide leather belt. She had buckled it over a hideous, electric-blue-and-black-striped suit jacket with ripped-out sleeves that Dorrie’s father swore he had worn proudly out in public in a bygone era. Underneath it, a shirt with great puffy sleeves and dangling cuffs screamed “pirate” loudly and well. After taking a moment to tug on the hem of the moth-eaten velvet skirt that was meant to hang to her knees but had got caught in the waistband of her underwear, she glowered into the mirror, her sword aloft. Despite the missing boot, the overall effect pleased her.

“Yo ho, Calico Jack,” called her father. “Put this back in Great--Aunt Alice’s sitting room, will you?” 

Dorrie looked away from the mirror to see her father, holding a tiny carved owl. He wore a ruffled, candy-striped apron that read, “You Breaka My Eggs, I Breaka Your Fast”. With his free hand he was stirring a pot of glopping oatmeal in the part of the old ballroom the Barnes called “The Kitchen”. Other parts of the once grand chamber served as “The Living Room”, “The Office”, “The Rehearsal Hall” for Dorrie’s fourteen-year-old drum-pounding brother, Marcus, and “The Playroom” for Miranda, Dorrie’s four-year-old sister.

Dorrie made her way to her father across one of the dozen rugs bought cheap from thrift stores currently living out their end days beneath the daily burden of ill-conceived art projects, the occasional mislaid plate of scrambled eggs, and books. Heaps and hills and hoards of books. Books left open on the back of the sway-backed sofa and under the piano, on the top of the toaster and hanging from the towel rack.

“Miranda borrowed it,” he said, dropping the carved owl into Dorrie’s outstretched hand. Dorrie gave her father “a look.” Her sister had a deeply ingrained habit of “borrowing” things. Dorrie set off for Great--Aunt Alice’s sitting room, which lay on the other side of the deteriorating mansion.

Great--Aunt Alice had invited Dorrie’s family to live with her two years ago when her sprawling home had become too much to care for by herself.

Besides the ballroom and a few bedrooms, the rest of the mansion was her territory. Just as shabby, she kept it spare and clean and orderly. Great--Aunt Alice claimed the Barnes side of the house gave her fits of dizziness.

After Dorrie set the owl back on its shelf in Great--Aunt Alice’s empty sitting room, the thick hush tempted her to tuck her sword beneath an arm and open a little stone box that stood beside the owl. Inside lay an old pocket watch and a silver bracelet set with a cloudy black stone.

The doorbell rang, and Great--Aunt Alice’s voice in the marble--floored hallway made Dorrie’s hand jerk so that the box’s lid fell closed with a small clack.

Hurriedly, Dorrie pushed the box back onto the shelf. Then, in a silly horror at the thought of Great--Aunt Alice—-who often seemed as remote and unfathomable as a distant planet—-catching her snooping, she wrenched open the lid of a cavernous wicker trunk that stood against the wall and scrambled inside, sword and all. She pulled the heavy lid down on top of her. It bounced on her fingers, trapping them, just as Great--Aunt Alice hobbled into the room. Dorrie sucked in her breath, the pain making her eyes water. She heard the sitting--room door close.

“Well, did he see you go in?” asked Great--Aunt Alice.

“Oh, he doesn’t have the imagination to suspect,” said a young woman breathlessly.

Dorrie pressed her eyes to the gap made by her swiftly swelling fingers. Amanda, Dorrie’s favorite librarian at the Passaic Public Library after Mr. Kornberger, stood now, inexplicably, just inside Great--Aunt Alice’s sitting--room door. Everything about Amanda Ness was long. Her skirts, her hundred braids which hung down below her shoulders, and her nose—-which had been given the usual infant inch and had taken a mile. If a long temper was the opposite of a short one, well, she had that too.

“You should be more careful,” said Great--Aunt Alice, stopping at her writing desk. She smoothed a few white hairs back toward the tight bun at the back of her head. “Has anything changed?”

“Not yet,” said Amanda, sitting down on the edge of a little pale--blue sofa.

“No. Of course not,” said Great--Aunt Alice, easing herself down into a straight--backed chair. “It’s patently absurd that we’re even discussing the possibility.”

Amanda looked vaguely hurt.

“I don’t know what I’ve been thinking,” said Great--Aunt Alice. “Sneaking around in there like a thief these past weeks.”

Amanda clasped her hands together. “You were thinking that the stories might be true!”

Dorrie listened so hard that she could almost feel her ears trying to creep away from her head.

Great--Aunt Alice picked lint from a sweater hung on the back of the chair. “Well, I’m a foolish old woman.” She caught Amanda staring at her. “Oh now, don’t look so disappointed.”

“Give it more time!” pleaded Amanda. “He said he wasn’t sure how long it might take.”

Great--Aunt Alice absently toyed with a little jar of pens on her desk. “I’m ashamed that I believed even for a moment in the possibility.”

In her wonder at the thought that Great--Aunt Alice could believe in anything fantastical for even the briefest of moments, Dorrie barely felt the wicker strands of the trunk embedding themselves in her knees. After all, Great--Aunt Alice had frowned disapprovingly when Miranda asked her to clap her hands so that Tinkerbell wouldn’t die.

Amanda leaned toward Great--Aunt Alice. “But it’s obvious that something special is supposed to happen there.” Dorrie held her breath so as not to miss a single word. The conversation positively bulged with mysterious possibilities.

“It’s obvious my father wanted something special to happen,” Great--Aunt Alice corrected. “My believing that it will happen is as ridiculous as Dorothea believing that she’s going to corner modern evil with a sword.”

At the mention of her name, Dorrie nearly lost her grip on the sword in question and had to scrabble to keep it from falling noisily to the floor of the trunk. There was a moment of silence during which Dorrie felt certain that Amanda and Great--Aunt Alice could hear the small cave-in taking place in the general vicinity of her heart, but her great-aunt only sniffed and began to talk about Mr. Scuggans, the new director of the Passaic Public Library, calling him insufferable.

Dorrie began to breath again in shallow little huffs. Ridiculous! She turned the stinging word over in her mind. Dorrie had never stopped to think about whether her desire to wield a sword against the villains of the world was sensible or ridiculous. It just was. She squeezed the hilt of her sword, drawing strength from it until the crumbling hollow feeling in her chest faded a little.


The conversation outside the basket had turned to the difficulty of cleaning the library’s gutters, and stuck there for what seemed like an excruciating eternity until, at last, Great--Aunt Alice showed Amanda out. Dorrie, her heart pounding, slipped from her wicker prison, and back through the double doors that led into her family’s side of the house.

10 ITEMS I'D LOVE TO OBTAIN FROM BOOKS!

  1. Wings--from The Wings of Merlin by T.A. Barron--I've always wanted to fly (of course I'd have to get over my fear of heights first).
  2. Wand--from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling--I'd love to wave a wand and clean my house (among other things).
  3. Toilet plunger from Janitors 2: Secrets of New Forest Academy by Tyler Whitesides--would allow me to pick up all sorts of heavy things (like boxes of books,etc.)
  4. The healing music from Nightingale's Nest by Nikki Loftin, music seems to have a unique ability to touch the soul.
  5. Castle Glower from Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George--awesome building that rearranges itself when needed.
  6. Flying books and library from The Fantastic Flying Books from Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.
  7. The Black Stallion from The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. What a magnificent animal.
  8. Emerald Atlas from The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. What better way to learn history.
  9. Katana from Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford. (And the training to go with it of course.)
  10. Various devices from Lunch Lady series by Jarrott Krosoczka. I'm sure these would come in handy at school. ;)
 
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