Fantasy Friday: The False Prince

It's that time of year again- school is back in session, football is on tv, and Fantasy Fridays return to Darien Library!

This week we're talking about a marvelous work of fantasy that could just as easily have taken place in a real medieval kingdom like France or England. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen contains no magic, no dragons, and no wizards. Instead, it's a twisty, turning, suprise-a-minute tale of treachery and treason in the imaginary kingdom of Carthya.

Sage is a cheeky orphan of 14 content with his life as a petty thief when he is suddenly purchased by the mysterious Lord Connor. Taken in secrecy to Lord Connor's estate, Sage meets 4 other orphans who all look like him. They have been chosen because they resemble the King of Carthya's missing son. At the end of two weeks, whichever orphan has learned to act the most like the Prince will be taken to the castle and introduced as the long-lost heir. The other three boys will be killed. Can Sage survive the next two weeks and become The False Prince?

First in her Ascendence Trilogy, Nielsen has written one of my favorite books of the year. Highly recommended for fans of courts, kings, Camelot, and Meghan Whalen Turner's The Thief.

Review: Super by Matthew Cody

Super is a book about a young boy named Daniel and his friends*,  His friends have super powers.  In the previous book, Powerless, they defeat the Shroud...or do they? Daniel now thinks he is becoming the Shroud and there is a new Plunket in town.  There are also new villains, called Shades.  Read Super to find out if Daniel and his friends defeat the Shades and give Noble Green's powers back.

I think this is a great book and I would definitely recommend it.  It is suitable for ages 9-12 and I think it is more of a boy book.  It is a great fantasy book.  So, if you like fantasy, this is a good choice.  If you want a book full of adventure, excitement, super pwoers, and Shades, read Super.

-George H.

*by Matthew Cody

The Librarians are Talking About...Three Times Lucky

Message in a bottle!
Message in a bottle!

Librarians like to talk about good books. In fact, its one of our favorite ways to pass the time! Right now, the Children's Librarians are talking about a great new work of fiction for our 4-6th graders. If you like mysteries and independent kids, then the we have a new book for you -Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage.

Three Times Lucky comes with a lot of Newberry buzz and starred reviews. It's a book about luck and a book about mysteries - three mysteries, in fact. The main character, Moses "Mo" LeBeau washed up on shore as a tiny baby during the last major hurricane to hit the town of Tupelo, North Carolina. No one knows who she is or where she came from. That's the first mystery. Mo is adopted by a mysterious man who also came to Tupelo Landing the night of the hurricane. Known as The Colonel, he opens up the only cafe in town with Miss Lana. No one knows who The Colonel is or where he came from either. That's the second mystery.

But the third mystery is the biggest mystery of all. Someone seems to be killing the customers at The Colonel's cafe. With the help of her best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, can Mo find out the connection between herself, The Colonel, and the murders before the next big hurricane comes to Tupelo Landing?

The Librarians are Talking About...Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Sometimes in the Children's library, we find books we love so much that we pass them around the office like a special type of candy bar. Last week, Miss Marian talked about one of those books, Liar and Spy.  This week, the librarians are talking about Summer of the Gypsy Moths!

Summer of the Gypsy Moths is a new middle-grade book by beloved IRead author Sara Pennypacker. Sara's Clementine series was already a huge favorite of the Children's librarians, but her new book is for older readers, grades 4-6. It follows the adventures of two very different girls thrown together under very difficult circumstances.

Stella is living with her Great-Aunt Louise for the summer in a big house on Cape Cod. An independent survivor, Stella won't be at Louise's for too long, she's sure. As soon as her mother stops wandering, Stella will go home. Angel is also an independent survivor, and she's also living with Louise. She's a foster child, but she's sure won't be at Louise's for too long either. As soon as her aunt finds work, Angel will go home. When tragedy comes unexpectedly, will Stella and Angel be able to work together and survive?

The Librarians are Talking About...The Unfortunate Son

A one-eared boy, pirates, and a family secret...if you have a taste for adventure and the unusual, check out The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds.

Luc has always sensed that his father despises him and prefers his younger brothers, but he's never known why.  His father's cruelty drives him away, to the small, but welcoming cottage of a fisherman, Pons, and his family.  In the seaside town of Mouette, Luc finds a warm home and great skill as a fisherman (Pons swears Luc's presence seems to draw the fish in).  He forms a close relationship to Beatrice, the beautiful daughter of a disgraced knight, and spends his days with her and his beloved dog, Cadeau.

One day while they're out fishing, Luc is captured by buccaneers and sold as a slave in Tunisia.  His flaw, having only one ear, makes him less valuable, except to an old surgeon, who begins to teach him Arabic and medical skills.  Luc becomes a part of Salah's household, joining the grumpy dwarf servant, Bes, who loves teasing and harassing the new boy.  Although, Luc adjusts to life in northern Africa, he can never forget his life in Mouette and longs to return.  Back in France, Beatrice and Pons uncover the secret of Luc's past and use this knowledge to try to bring him home. 

This is a great book for older readers (5th grade and up) who enjoy complex, character-based tales.  A super choice for middle school students who need to read fulfill a genre requirement--it's historical fiction!

Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke's new novel Ghost Knight was just released. One of our Kid Galley Bloggers wanted to share their review of this new fantasy read.

I loved Ghost Knight because it combined medieval fantasy and ghosts. I thought it was well written, and the characters developed very nicely.

~ Tre

Dealing with Bullies Booklist

photo courtesy of Flickr user Eddie~S

From pushes on the playground to mean instant messaging, bullying is an issue that almost all children face at some time or another.  With a recent surge in media attention and a new focus on cyber-bullying, parents may wonder where and how to find the best information and ways of talking to their own kids about bullies. 

What if my child is the victim of bullying?

A recent article in Parenting magazine offered the following 3 Step process for parents:

Step One: Find out what's going on.  Get the facts and reassure your child that you will both work together on a solution.

Step Two: Help your child figure out how to respond.  Some responses include:

  •  Stand tall and act brave
  •  Ignore the bully
  •  Stick with friends
  •  Tell an Adult

Step Three:  Take action yourself.  Set up a meeting with the teacher, parent, or caregiver. 

What if my child's friend is the bully?

One of the hardest things for a child to learn is how to stand up for what's right, even in the face of possible scrutiny or embarassment. 

The US Department of Health and Human Services has a kid-friendly website called Stop Bullying Now that features info, games, quizzes, and webisodes all designed to address the issues of bullying , offer meaningful discussion starters, and help promote positive ways of combatting this childhood problem.  Check out this video featuring the character Melanie and her struggle with a friend who is a known bully.

What if my child is the bully?

It can sometimes be hard to tell if childhood squabbles are simply "kids being kids" or if there is a more serious problem.  

Stop Bullying Now offers the following advice to parents:

  • Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously and that you will not tolerate this behavior.
  • Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your children's behavior. Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and use non-physical, non hostile consequences for rule violations.
  • Spend more time with your child and carefully supervise and monitor his or her activities. Find out who your child's friends are and how and where they spend free time.
  • Build on your child's talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in prosocial activities (such as clubs, music lessons, nonviolent sports).
  • Share your concerns with your child's teacher, counselor, or principal. Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must stop.
  • If you or your child needs additional help, talk with a school counselor or mental health professional.

The Children's Library also offers some great books for both children and parents on the subject of bullying.  These are a few of our favorites: 

 

Fantasy Friday: The House With A Clock In Its Walls

The House With A Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs

Just in time for Halloween, I dedicate this Fantasy Friday to a classic of horror and fantasy - The House With A Clock In Its Walls.

Lewis is recently orphaned and on his way to live with an uncle he's never met before. He's also slightly overweight and slightly nerdy - the pages of his many books are stained with chocolate. He hasn't had the happiest or most exciting life and he doesn't expect that to change, ever.

Fortune seems to be favoring Lewis when it turns out that Uncle Jonathan is a magician. And not a parlor tricks kind of magician, but a real, live wizard! Lewis' new house is a strange and wonderful old mansion with hidden passages and trick staircases. In no time at all, Uncle Jonathan and the good witch next door, Mrs. Zimmerman, introduce Lewis to a fantastic world of adventures to different lands, star gazing, spells, and delicious chocolate chip cookies.

The one problem with Uncle Jonathan's house is the ticking clock hidden in the walls. It's a constant ticking that gets louder and faster every day. What is the clock ticking down to? Where in the house is it hidden? And will Lewis survive his encounter with the clock's diabolical creator?

Fantasy Friday: Breadcrumbs

Fantasy Friday (and new book alert!): Breadcrumbs  by Anne Ursu.

"It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems. It was the sort of snow that transforms the world into a different kind of place. You know what it's like - when you wake up  to find everything white and soft and quiet, when you run outisde and your breath suddenly appears before you in a smoky poof, when  you wonder for a moment if the world in which you woke up is nt the same one that you went to bed in the night before. Things like that happen, at least in the stories you read. It was the sort of snowfall that, if there were any magic to be had in the world, would make it come out. And magic did come out."

Unfortunately, the magic that comes out of that wonderful, marvelous, story book snow is evil magic- in the form of The Snow Queen. She spirits Jack away from Hazel and everyone he knows into a deep, dark forest. And even though Jack has stopped talking to Hazel, she is still his best friend. Best friends save each other, no matter what.

This marvelous, magical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen is a must-read for anyone who loves a heroic, epic adventure, dazzling fantasy worlds, and a character who's learning what it means to grow up.

Fantasy Friday: Dealing With Dragons

Fantasy Friday: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Princess Cimorene is bored. Unlike her perfect, preening princess sisters, she couldn't care less about dancing, protocol, or embroidery. She's bored silly by lessons on the correct volume a proper princess should scream when being carried off by an ogre. According to her parents, it's not proper for a princess to take cooking lessons from the castle cook, fencing lessons from the general of the army, magic lessons from the court magician, or Latin lessons from the royal librarian. The only thing Cimorene can do is sit and wait for the day of her arranged marriage to a handsome, boring, silly Prince Charming. And practice a princess-like scream for when those ogres come.

Then Cimorene gets a brilliant idea. If she runs away and becomes a dragon's princess, she won't have to dance, learn manners, or embroider ever again. Any dragon would be happy to have her. She wasn't snatched out of her castle like the normal dragon's princess. She actually wants to be there, and the dragon won't have to fight a knight to keep her or chase her if she runs away. Plus, she knows how to make delicious cherries jubilee.

Thrills, chills, witches, adventures with fire-proofing spells, evil wizards, and hypersensitive dragons abound in this hysterically funny story of a princes who isn't ready to wait for happily ever after.

 

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