When Jason told me it was a soft week for new releases, I realized that it was a good time to switch things up and focus on kids' books that are featured on our Boswell's Best. Like adult books, they are discounted 20%, at least through next Monday (February 25), but they tend to be priced around $17-18, so that brings the price to under $15. How can you say no?
Clare Vanderpool won the Newbery medal for Moon Over Manifest, and was also a big hit with several Boswellians. Her new novel, Navigating Early (Delacorte), is set after World War II and features a young boy uprooted from his home and placed at a boarding school in Maine. So Jack befriends this odd kid Early, and when left alone, set out to explore the Appalachian Trail. Mary Quattlebaum in the Washington Post Book World reports that "Clare Vanderpool deftly rows this complex, inventive novel — her most recent since her Newbery-winning Moon Over Manifest — to a tender, surprising and wholly satisfying ending." Publisher suggests 10+ for age range.
Our buyer Amie is a particularly big fan of Chris Kurtz's The Adventures of a South Pole Pig: A Novel of Snow and Courage (Harcourt). It's the story of Flora, a big-dreaming porker who wants more than anything to be a sled pig, and journeys to Antarctica to make it happen. Kirkus called it "engaging fantasy adventure for preteen pig pals." And Amie's rec says that this is "a wonderful story that is also a great family read-alous" and she should know, because she's a boar-acious reader. The publisher suggests 9-12, though Kirkus starts it at age 8.
Speaking of adventures (and we always seem to be speaking of adventures at this age range), Lisa Graff's new novel, A Tangle of Knots (Philomel) takes place in a world where almost everyone is blessed with a special talent, and for 11-year-old Cady, that talent is cake baking. Really, she just looks at a person and knows what they'll like best and then makes it perfectly. Other people are just Fair. Needless to say, when Cady leaves the orphanage (of course she's an orphan!) for a room at the Lost Luggage Emporium, she's bound to meet new people, find herself in the center of a crazy puzzle, and learn a bit about herself. You can tell that Graff know kids' lit inside and out, and in fact, she teaches it at McDaniel College. Here's an interview with her in the Baltimore Sun. The publisher recs for ages 8-11.
I'm so excited to see a new book from Peter Lerangis, the delightful author who visited schools and the Bay View library for The 39 Clues. His new book is Seven Wonders: The Colussus Rises (Harper) which Rick Riordan calls "a high octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets." It of course starts with an ordinary boy with an extraordinary problem--in six months, he's going to die of a genetic trait he inherited from a prince of a long-lost civilization. He's dying because he's getting too strong too fast, but he has to stay strong to save the world. And yes, the series is likely to be seven books, and each installment is going to focus on one of the wonders of the ancient world. You know the Colossus of Rome, right? Lerangis is coming around these parts for his new book, but he might be hitting just about everywhere else. Check out his itinerary. Perfect for ages 8-12.
Note that these are all intermediate series. I hope I'm not showing my preferences here, but they all seem great. If only ten lasted more than 365 days.
Mr. Strycker has the ability to write about the worlds of man and fowl without simplifying either.... He thinks like a biologist but writes like a poet, and one of the small pleasures of The Thing With Feathers is watching him distill empirical research into lyrical imagery.... Part the palm fronds behind his sentences, and you can almost see the British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough standing there in a pith helmet, smiling with amused approval at Mr. Strycker's off-center sensibility." – Wall Street Journal
17 hours ago