Moving right along!
Look at that cover. A little girl, horses, and in a pink background. Combine that with a fairy godmare (!) and the talents of Laura Joffe Numeroff, who knows a thing or two about writing books beloved by small children, and you have a book that probably won't stay long on the shelves.
The Romeo and Juliet Code
Scholastic is pitching this as ""Chasing Vermeer meets The Secret Garden." Oh, yeah? Publisher Weekly agrees, saying that it "resembles The Secret Garden in all the best ways." Whoa. Felicity has been sent to live in Maine with her grandmother, uncle, and aunt. It's World War II, and many London children are being sent away from the city. She meets a 12 year old polio patient, and together they set out to solve the mysteries of this dark, enormous mansion, including the reason why Uncle Gideon is receiving letters from Portugal in her father's handwriting. It's also received stellar reviews from The Wall Street Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus. Cannot wait to read this. Sounds like it may be one to watch for the 2012 Newbery?
Ship Breaker won the 2011 Printz for young adult fiction. It's a futuristic tale set in the Gulf Coast.
Victoria Kann has another "-licious" title out. Pinkalicious loses a tooth!
The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
Twins Coke and Pepsi (!) are about to turn thirteen. Before that happens, they have to jump off a cliff, get trapped in a sand dune, be chased by a bunch of crazy people, be thrown into a giant tub of SPAM, and much, much more. They're part of The Genius Files, a top-secret government organization. Dan Gutman is popular among elementary school kids, so I'm thrilled that he's embarking on a new series.
The Great Wall of Lucy Lu
Lucy just knows that her sixth grade year will be awesome. She loves basketball and is psyched about finally getting her own room. That is, until her great-aunt from China comes to visit, and Lucy has to share her room (she thought she would be Ms. Free and Independent when her older sister went off to college)! Not only that, her parents are making her attend Chinese school, which may interfere with basketball practice. Reviews have been very appreciative, and note that Wendy Wan-Long Shang incorporates Chinese proverbs and traditional tales in the story. Very cool.
A Running Back Can't Always Rush
I'm hoping that Scholastic's Victory School Superstars will find fans among our patrons. These easy chapter books look cute and they feature multicultural characters. Each book features a different sport; this one introduces us to Danny, a football player. Looks like a little moral lesson is incorporated into each story.
The Pirate of Kindergarten
I saw this in a catalog, thought it looked interesting, and forgot about it until it won the young children's book division of the Schneider Family Book Award. The Schneider is one of my favorite awards. Since 2004, the Schneider has recognized picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult fiction that portray the everyday experience of life with a disability. The Pirate of Kindergarten features a kindergartener who must wear an eye patch (and later, glasses) in order to correct her double vision.
The Secret River
Marjorie Kinnan Rawling's The Secret River, originally published in 1955, is given new life through illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon. Those familiar with The Yearling won't be surprised to find that this is also set in rural Florida. Set during the Depression, when not only is there not much food, but not much catfish for her father to sell at market, this is the story of what happens (and doesn't happen) when young Calpurnia finds a secret river. This looks tremendous.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs
Johnette Downing is one of my favorite children's performers; her music, inspired by her Louisiana roots and sung in her soothing low voice, is a welcome antidote to the hyper-cheerfulness of too many children's recordings. She's also adapted and illustrated picture books; her most recent one is an adaptation of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." I'm happy that it's already received very good reviews.
A Time of Miracles
This year's Batchelder Award (given to the American publisher of a children's book originally published outside of the United States in a language other than English) tells the story, translated from the French, of a boy with a mysterious past and his caregiver who flee the war-ravaged Caucasus for the safety of France over the course of five years.
Tony Baloney is a middle child with annoying siblings and frequently finds himself in trouble. And he's a penguin. Sounds irresistible. (I'm a middle child, myself.)
Oliver asks his great-uncle Gilbert to help him make a kite for the town's kite festival. When great-uncle Gilbert mysteriously disappears, Oliver uses his uncle's kites in order to find him. Kirkus praised this "inventive debut fantasy."
That should keep everyone busy for a while!