Tag Archives: children

Review: The Empire of Gut and Bone by M. T. Anderson

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The Empire of Gut and Bone—buy it by M. T. Anderson—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ In The Game of Sunken Places, best friends Brian and Gregory learned that the destiny of Earth is tied up in a game played by two humans in every generation, representing two pointy-eared races with very different ideas about what to do with the planet. The elfin Norumbegans would peacefully coexist with mankind; the alien Thusser intend to invade, conquer, ... Read More »

Review: The Well Between the Worlds by Sam Llewellyn

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The Well Between the Worlds—buy it by Sam Llewellyn—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ I was so overwhelmed by the strangeness and originality of this book’s fantasy conceits that, in spite of several clues, I got halfway through it before I realized that it is a retelling of the Arthurian legend. Color me embarrassed! It mentions a round table. It features a sword in a stone, which only the rightful king can pull loose. It has ... Read More »

Review: The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck

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The Secret History of Tom Trueheart—buy it by Ian Beck—his website Recommended Ages: 10+ Young Tom comes from a line of storybook heroes. And by that I mean the actual heroes of such stories as “Jack the Giant Killer” and “The Frog Prince.” Whether a clever tailor or a charming prince, the hero in each of your favorite fairy tales was most likely a member of the Trueheart clan, acting on instructions from the staff ... Read More »

Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

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The Humming Room—buy it by Ellen Potter—her website Recommended Ages: 12+ Roo Fanshaw is a runty thief, good at hiding with her hoard of trinkets in tight spaces where big people can’t come after her. Before we have time to find out what made her this way, we see her taken from the scene of her drug-dealer father’s murder (which she witnessed) and passed along to a series of foster families, where she is even ... Read More »

Review: The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

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The Kneebone Boy—buy it by Ellen Potter—her website Recommended Ages: 12+ The Hardscrabble children are (let’s face it) strange. Elder brother Otto never takes off the scarf he has worn since their mother disappeared, and speaks only in a private sign language understood only by his siblings. Youngest child Max is a walking encyclopedia with a head for heights. And in the middle is Lucia, the narrator (though she pretends to be anonymous), scared and ... Read More »

Review: House of Secrets by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

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House of Secrets—buy it by Chris Columbus—at IMDb—at Wikipedia & Ned Vizzini—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Without screenwriter, director, and movie producer Chris Columbus, where would your childhood be? Perhaps it would be lost in a world without such films as The Goonies, Gremlins, Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentennial Man, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and—oh, yeah!—the first two Harry Potter movies! So when the folks at HarperCollins offered ... Read More »

Review: The Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

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Keys to the Demon Prison—buy it by Brandon Mull—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ It’s the fifth and final “Fablehaven” adventure, and the world is coming to an end. More of the world’s magical game preserves are falling to the Society of the Evening Star, which is collecting the five hidden talismans needed to open the demon prison of Zzyzx. Young Kendra and Seth Sorenson, along with their family and friends, are charged with protecting these ... Read More »

Book Review: The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman

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The Scarecrow and His Servant—buy it by Philip Pullman—his website Recommended Age: 10+ This book by the author of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and The Ruby in the Smoke combines a fairy-tale concept with elements of the picaresque novel. That is to say, it presents a hero from humble origins, making his way through a corrupt world in a series of funny, ironic adventures. Seemingly set in Italy around the time of the Napoleonic wars, this ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

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The Ogre Downstairs—buy it by Diana Wynne Jones—her website Recommended Age: 10+ This is a delightful tale, full of charm and laugh-out-loud humor. Plus, the theme of a “blended family” resonates with the personal experience of many of us. The Brants and the McIntyres are living under one very British roof, since Mrs. Brant (a widow) married Mr. McIntyre (a divorced, single Dad). But after only a couple months, things aren’t going too smoothly. Sally, ... Read More »

Book Review: The Rose and the Ring by W. M. Thackeray

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The Rose and the Ring—read it online by William Makepeace Thackeray—wiki him Recommended Ages: 10+ This hilarious fairy-tale spoof was written as a “fireside pantomime,” to amuse a group of English children between Christmas and New Year while staying in an unnamed European city. Moreover, it was published under the pseudonym “Michael Angelo Titmarsh,” if you please. Today’s American children might not understand what’s so funny about that name, let alone what a pantomime is ... Read More »