A little girl chased up a tree by a pack of hunting dogs, has no memory of her name or family.  How did she get there?  Where is her family?  The girl shows up the very same day the men of the village have set fire to an old ladies house because they think she is witch who steals babies.  A kind family finds the little girl and helps her heal from the pack of dogs.   Soon, the family whose baby was stolen by the witch shows up and claims this unknown child as their own baby Isabella who was also stolen by the witch as an infant six years ago.   Is this child Isabella?  If not who is she? So many questions.  So, little time to find answers.  This family is taking her home, a home they hope she remembers.  She does not.  Nothing is familiar.  Nothing seems right.  Especially her new older sister.  Who is the witch  everyone keeps talking about?

This is a suspenseful story, with a twist.  I enjoyed this book.  Whenever I put it down my mind wanted to work on solving the mystery.  I had to pick it back up and see if any of my theories were correct.  This book does not have a lot of action but it does keep you turning the pages. 

















This book could have been written about many of the young men who attend our school. We have many students with a great sense of humor.  Sometimes that sense of humor gets them into trouble.  Joey is a prankster.  He is constantly dreaming up practiacal jokes and schemes.  Rusty on the other hand is a bit more reserved but goes along with Joey’s ideas (when he gets over the shock of them.)  Rusty and Joey  keep the truth of their adventures secret with a handshake and a “swear to howdy” promise. 

Besides the pranks, Rusty and Joey share other situations.  Both boys have sisters they find difficult.  The boys have their way of getting revenge for how the sisters act.  How a  frog got in a sisters underwear drawer is just one of the secrets the boys keep. But, on a more serious side, Joey has a father who is more than a little difficult.  Throughout the book, Joey struggles with understanding the relationship between Rusty and his dad. 

When Joey comes up with a splendid prank, Rusty follows his lead and soon both boys find themselves living with tragic results.  The secret is too important to be told and but too devestasting to hide.  Now, there is a true test of friendship.  What would a friend do to help?

I laughed out loud at the antics of Joey and Rusty for about three fourths of this book.  I especially liked the bullfrog.  The last quarter of the book I was spellbound as the boys worked out their difficulties.  Wendelin Van Draanen (of the Sammy Keys series) did an excellent job of letting the characters tell the story without preaching or talking down to young adults.  This book will go on my list of favorites to give to students when they need a good book.    Although the characters are thirteen, I think even high school students would enjoy and appreciate this book.  I would recommend it for any student 12 or older.

Tears of a Tiger is a story that is too farmiliar in many schools in our country.  A high school basketball captain and his friends are celebrating after a winning the game.  The celebration involves alcohol and a car.  The scene is set for tragedy.  Andy is the driver whose reckless behavior kills his best friend.  Tears of a Tiger takes the reader inside the guilt ridden life of Andy as he tries to get his life back in order.  Nothing seems the same.  Why did he live while Robert died?  How can life really go on when his friend is lying in the cold ground?  Andy tries reaching out but thinks he should be able to handle everything on his own.  The story is told in many ways and from many different characters’s viewpoints.  English essays, letters from students, newspapers all help the reader see and hear the life of the teenage students.  Without giving away the ending, I will say the ending was too quick for me.  It seemed a bit rushed.  I knew it was coming but I still was not ready for what came.  I think many teens will like this book.

This is NEWS I can get excited about.  Flat Stanley is a staple in many classroom.  He is read to students, he goes home with students, and is a going to become a world wide traveler.  I read on Sara Pennypacker’s site (see post from yesterday) that she has taken over the writing of the Flat Stanley books.  I wonder if Flat Stanley will every borrow Stuarts cape?  Maybe he will get a nickname from Clementine.  I can’t wait to see where Stanley travels and hear about his adventures.

Stuart has just moved to a new town and EVERYTHING is going wrong.  His box of treasure were mistaken for trash, he has no friends, and school starts in three days.  What if he is the shortest kid in his class?  What if he has no friends?  This is all TOO much for Stuart… he needs an adventure to get his mind off his troubles.  Where can you find an adventure?  Stuart decides that all the super heroes have adventures because they are wearing a cape.  Stuart needs a cape.  Stuart staples 100 ties together and the adventures begin! 

I love the understated humor in this book.  I love Stuart.  I want a cape made of ties!  Well done, Mrs. Pennypacker!  Sara Pennypacker is also the author of the Clementine books. Clementine is a little girl with a lot of spunk.  Clementine and Stuart would be great friends. 

The Stuart books and the Clementine books are great books for the second and third graders who need to move beyond the first start easy books but they are not difficult.  There are engaging illustrations that are important to the story line.  I would love to see more from Sara Pennypacker.  I hope she is working on some sequels with both characters.

Getting to know Mississippi Beaumont (Mibs) and her family was an unexpected delight.  I thought that because of the lower reading level this book would not hold my attention and the characters would be a bit dull and flat.  But, happily that was not the case with this book.  Mibs and her family and friends are believable, full of life, and interesting.  I thought I would do a quick read to see who might like the book and found that I can excitedly recommend it to anyone. 

Mississippi  is just about to turn thirteen.  And at that magic age Mibs knows she will be getting her savvy.  When her brothers got their savvy’s one cause a huge black out with electrical sparks while the other was the cause of a hurricane.  In fact, the family had to move to keep this brother far away from water until he could gain control of his savvy.  When Mib’s dad is injured in an auto accident, she believes her savvy will be healing power. Mibs is sure her touch will wake her dad from his comma.   In order to get to her dad’s side Mib (and her entourage) stow away in the van of a bible salesman.  Mibs discovers her savvy and it is not what she thought it would be.  Along the way she learns to find her voice amid all the other voices clammering for attention.

zwani.com myspace graphic comments It is the perfect time to get out a travel book and follow the map to a new place you have never seen.   I have just such a book to read.  We get a free book from the Reading Is Fun representative when the school sells 10 books from their display.  It is a nice way to get free books for the library and a great way for the staff to get bargins on books.  I am so glad we get a chance to see these books.

Backroads and Byways of Missouri:  Drives, Day Trips, and Weekend Excursions by Archie Satterfield

This is not the kind of book you snuggle up with and not get up until you are finished.  And that is fine.  This book serves it purpose well.  Backroads and Byways of Missouri is the kind of book you pick up when you are ready to travel.  Each chapter takes you on a trip from one part of Missouri to another.  Along the way you find out the interesting histroy you would not have known without this book as a guide.  I am from Doniphan, Missouri so my interest was peaked when I saw the name General Doniphan. I knew the town was named after him but I did not know the rest of his story.  At one point in the general’s career he stood up to his commanding officer and refused to execute a group of Mormans.  Besides the history, this book tells about Bed and Breakfasts and small hotels along the way.  It also tells about some selective shopping areas. The next time you are going on a trip in Missouri come to the library and check out this book.  You will enjoy a bit of history and find some great places to stop along the way.