Dances with Dogs

The dogs of winter by Bobbie Pyron is an incredible, heart-pounding survival story based on fact.  Ivan is but one of 80,000 to 2 million homeless children forced to fend for himself in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Most of these abandoned children form packs and live in vacant buildings and/or underground train stations. What distinguishes four year old Ivan Mishukov is his decision to depend on a pack of feral street dogs instead of other children for his survival.  For two years they eek out an existence together, helping one another just as a family would.  Enduring the brutal Russian winters with temperatures often twenty below zero is almost beyond belief.  As Ivan is later quoted as saying, "I was better off with the dogs. They loved and protected me." For years his dreams are of dogs -  warm, soft, loving dogs who are always there watching out for him.
This powerful, illuminating story is one that you will never forget.

Far Out Fantasy

The scorpions of Zahir by Christine Brodien-Jones is a riveting, fast-paced mixture of fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, mythology, mystery, family affairs, and travel. Feisty Zagora Pym sets off for Morocco with her astronomy-crazed brother and archaeologist father to connect with a long lost colleague (Pitblade Yegen) of her father and explore  ruins of the ancient city of Zahir. But Pitblade had been kidnapped, mammoth scorpions have invaded the city, and the rogue planet, Nar Azrak, is on a collision course with earth. With the help of members of the Azimuth tribe, thought to have been extinct, Zagora begins a daring quest to restore order and harmony to this desert land. Key to success of this mission is returning the Oryx Stone to the apex of a buried pyramid. This exotic, somewhat creepy, historical and otherworldly madcap adventure is not to be missed!

First Book in a Great Mystery Series?

The secrets of Shakespeare's grave by Deron R. Hicks ; illustrated by Mark Edward Geyer has action, humor, suspense, and family intrigue.  An unscrupulous, greedy relative theatens to take control of the family publishing business from Colophon and Case's father. Enter Julian, an eccentric cousin. He and Colophon join forces to solve a centuries' old mystery about a hidden family fortune that dates back to Shakespeare's time. She is even able to enlist the help of her obtuse older brother Case in a valiant attempt to save their father from financial ruin. Puzzles, hidden clues, creepy graves, slapstick chases, and diverse family dynamics keep readers riveted. A open ending ensures at least one more gripping epsisode in The Letterford Mysteries.

Dystopian Fantasy or a Fantastic Dystopia

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann is like Harry Potter entering the Hunger Games, according to one Kirkus reviewer. Other reviews also rave about this new teen/tween Fantasy/Sci-Fi series. In the dystopic land of Quill, when you reach age 13, you are deemed Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Alex is too creative and is thereby judged Unwanted and sentenced to be cast into the Lake of Burning Death along with the other Unwanteds.  His identical brother, Aaron, is rated Wanted, turns his back on his brother, enters Wanted University, and rises quickly, becoming the protege of High Priest Justine. Meanwhile, Alex is pleasantly surprised when instead of suffering a painful death, he is welcomed into the magical realm of Artime by the kindly mage Mr. Today. Here Unwanteds are trained in artistry, independence, and magic in a truly amazing mileau where talking blackboards, transporting tubes, fantastical creatures, and whimsical inventions abound. Action, suspense, humor, and captivating characters in a sparkling imatinative setting make this distopian fantasy a sure-fire hit.

Meet the Greatest Paleozoologist

The wondrous journals of Dr. Wendell Wiggins: describing the most curious, fascinating, sometimes-gruesome, and seemingly impossible creatures that roamed the world before us by Lesley M.M. Blume ; illustrated by David Foote. If you don't know what a paleozoologist is, then read this extremely informative and entertaining work by Dr. Wiggin. It reveals the secrets of the very ancient earth and long-extinct plant, animal, and humanoid species. Wiggins provides detailed sketches and descriptions of such bizarre creatures as: Thunder Vulcusts, "Land" Whales, Bunny Fluffs, Cloud-Dwelling Hummingbird People, and Hapless Vampire Glow Bats. He future speculates on probable causes of each species tragic demise.  Two-Headed Mammoth Buffalo undoubtedly ate themselves to death, just as we are "always biting off our own heads" now. Wiggin's journal is sure to amuse and amaze, as well as give fodder for reflextion. Species often bring doom upon themselves through foolish actions. Can we learn from them and avoid a similar fate?

Are You Ready for VEXT-mail?

The phantom of the post office by Kate Klise — will bring you up to speed on this next generation of electronic communication if you are not. In book four of 43 Old Cemetery Road you will also meet a new, mysterious ghost and Seymour may actually find a human friend his age. Mystery, humor, intrigue, and heart-warming relationships fill every unusual page. Nothing is predictable in this story told with illustrations, letters, newspaper articles, diagrams, VEXT-mail recordings, and ghostly insights. Join Olive, Ignatius, and Seymour on their latest adventure and you will be swept away by a literary delight.

Spine-tingling Sherlock Case

The dragon turn by Shane Peacock will captivate readers, even if they have not read the first four cases in the award winnning The Boy Sherlock Holmes series. Actually, Sherlock is an astute teen, not boy, in these books and in addition to solving crimes Scotland Yard cannot, he is dealing with male teen coming-of-age issues. Malicious magicians, affairs d'amour gone awry, a missing body, terrifying creatures, and hidden identities keep Sherlock and readers searching for clues that will illuminate what is really going on behind the scenes of The Egyptian Hall. Adding to Sherlock's agony, is his conviction that a female's guiles has spurred him to win the freedom of a wizard who really is the murderer. Set in London in the mid 1800's, this series paints a very realistic picture of that era and a portrait of the legendary Sherlock during his formative years.

Great Mystery Book

The great cake mystery: Precious Ramotswe's very first case by Alexander McCall Smith ; illustrations by Iain McIntosh is a delightful read and a quick way to claim the Sleuth It badge in the CYS program. It is written by the bestselling author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (an adult series) and introduces readers to Precious Ramotswe as a child. When treats start disappearing from the kids' school lunches, a chubby boy named Poloko becomes the likely suspect. Precious believes he is innocent and sets out to find the real culprit. Set in a vividly realistic setting of Botswana with magnificent black and red illustrations and featuring compelling characters, this mystery will have readers of all ages clammering for a sequel.

Time Travel Trip (Youth Book)

Bridge of time by Lewis Buzbee is a perfect book for older readers who are interested in earning the Time Travel badge. A wrinkle in time propels best friends Lee Jones and Jones Lee back to the summer Mark Twain spent in San Francisco. The class trip they were on was a total loser, so they snuck away to discuss the pending divorces of their parents. Upon awaking from a nap in a lighthouse they find the Golden Gate bridge has fanished, their cell phones don't work, and they are clueless as to how to get back to their class and/or time. Then they meet this young man named Sam Clemens who is on the run from a mysterious stranger, who soon is after Lee and Jone, too. A suspenseful summer, sci-fi, time-travel treat for all those who delve into its pages.

Food-Faring Adventure

The traveling restaurant: Jasper's voyage in three parts: a novel for children by Barbara Else ; [illustrations, Sam Broad] is a savory story featuring twelve-year-old Jasper who must mature very quickly in order to meet the challenges of life suddenly thrust upon him. He is abandoned by his family, he thinks, and soon realizes his baby sister has been kidnapped by the ruthless Lady Gall and her soldiers. She holds the key to restoring the missing magic to Fontania and he must rescue her before they poison her and take control of the kingdom. He gets help from a most unexpected source - the Traveling Resaurant, a mysterious ship serving delicious, magically appearing food and the two owers who operate it. With twists and turns, hidden relationships, fast action, and zany humor, this adventure-fantasy is wonderful summer reading fare.


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