Out West in Washington State

some-kind-of-courageI loved the Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart, so the moment I saw Some Kind of Courage on the shelf I grabbed it. It was totally different, but so good. The story still takes place in Washington State, but in the 1890’s.  Joseph Johnson has lost his mother and sister to disease and his father in an accident.  All that is left to him is his pony, Sarah.  When Sarah is sold without his permission, Joseph begins a quest to get her back.  He will have to stand up to grizzlies, outlaws and a raging river with courage and decency to see his sweet Sarah again.  I recommend this rip roaring adventure to readers in grades five on up and to grown-up Louis L’Amour fans too.


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Delightful Fractured Fairytale

kingdom-of-ash-and-briarsI really enjoyed the Kingdom of Ash and Briars by new author Hannah West. Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, is kidnapped and thrown into the water off the Forest of the Western Fringe.  All who touch this water either die or come out an elicromancer with a precious and powerful crystal and magical shapeshifting powers.  Saved from her kidnappers by the only other two elicromancers in the world, Bristal must decide between using her power to serve and protect the human race, or use it to gain everything she has ever wanted.  Though this book contains elements that build on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, I found it very original and engaging.  I recommend to readers in grade seven and up.


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If the Magic Fits

100-dressesI was excited to find a new series, 100 Dresses by Susan Maupin Schmid. In book one, If the Magic Fits, we meet Darling Dimple, a young orphan who slaves away as an under washer in the under cellar of the castle.  Given a chance to become an under-presser (that is someone who irons cloth) in the rooms above, she finds a long unused closet that contains 100 dresses.  Unable to resist trying one on, she is astonished to see it has disguised her as someone else.  When Princess Mariposa is threatened, Darling finds the courage to use the dresses to help her.  This is a fun read for grades four to six.


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No one can hold this bunny back!

bunjitsu-bunnyI just read a delightful book, Bunjitsu Bunny jumps to the moon, by John Himmelman. Each chapter is its own story. Isabel, Max, Betsy, Wendy, Ben and Kyle all study bunjitsu, but Isabel is the best in the school. So good, in fact, that they call her Bunjitsu Bunny.  In this book, Bunjitsu Bunny confronts a bully, keeps a promise, learns to be a good guest, and has a kicking contest.  I recommend to readers who enjoy Ninja stories, especially those in Kindergarten to grade three. This would also make a great read aloud book.


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