Harleigh J. Weatherby IV (read as "the fourth") is the only child currently living in Weatherby Manor, the big old house that had been in his family for years. The family had once been massively wealthy, but over the years the estate had become run down because of loss of funds and grown-ups who didn't care as much about the house. Harleigh had great plans for fixing up the mansion and grounds, but he had to grow up and regain the family wealth first.
One day, while out exploring the overgrown grounds, Harleigh meets a strange girl named Allegra who literally flies over the walls and into his world. With the help of Allegra, Harleigh begins to learn about the people who live in his house and the mystery of the family wealth. What he discovers is nothing short of amazing.
The Treasures of Weatherby by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Lexile: 1060; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) is an interesting story of a lonely boy with a lot to offer. Readers who enjoy a good "realistic fantasy" will enjoy this story. (240 p.)
cAfter watching the movie Saving Mr. Banks I was inspired to go back and re-read the classic book Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (Lexile: 830; Interest Level: Grades 4-7). Originally published in 1934, this is truly a story for the ages. The children in the Banks family are driving their parents (and their nannies) crazy. In fact, the nannies they have keep quitting because of the poor behavior of Jane and Michael. Then, one day, Mary Poppins shows up at the door and changes the children with her unexpected adventures and the entire family with her strict efficiency. Everything runs smoother with Mary Poppins around, and the children are attentive like never before because of some of the strange things that happen when she is around.
First, Mary Poppins catches the attention of the children by perching herself on the bannister and riding it UP the staircase! The adventures that follow include pulling an entire armchair out of her carpet bag, making medicine taste like lime cordial, and even floating to the ceiling during tea time at the home of one of Mary Poppins' relatives!
This engaging fantasy will continue to fascinate all children who ever had to have someone look after them (so, ALL of them!) and who have wished for spectacular adventures in their daily lives. (208 p.)
Can you imagine being able to heal someone's injury or sickness by touching them? Would you want to do it if it meant that their hurt became yours? What if you knew that you could you then move it from you into an enchanted metal? I think this sounds like an interesting power for sure. Nya, however, may wish she didn't have to think about that problem. She can draw the pain and injury out of people, but she can't sense the metal to move it out of her. She can only pass it on (shift it) to another person.
Unfortunately for Nya, this is a rare gift, and not one that she wants people to know she has because other people may want to use her as a weapon. Then, when some of the Takers (healers who can shift the pain to the pynvium, or enchanted metal), including Nya's sister Tali, start to go missing, Nya must decide how far she is willing to go to save them. Will she use her power to make money to purchase pynvium to help the Takers?
The Shifter by Janice Hardy (Lexile: 630; Interest Level: Grades 5-9) is an interesting fantasy in which the good power is also the bad, in which things aren't always what they seem, and in which healing power is the great commodity that everyone wants. Those looking for a little different of a story will certainly want this one on their list. This is the first book in The Healing Wars series. (370 p.)
In this third, and final, book in the Chronicles of the Red King series, Jenny Nimmo skips us through time by many years to introduce us to Timoken's children. Timoken and his friends are living peaceably in his magical castle in the forest, which they can hide from their enemies through a series of invisibility spells. The castle itself grows as needed through the help of the Ancestors that Timoken can conjure. Timoken's powerful magical endowments have passed down to his children, and they take a variety of forms.
Once again, the forces of evil threaten the life of the good King Timoken and those who live in his castle. However, evil can sometimes capture the hearts of those closest to the good, and the king may not know who to trust. His young sons, Petrello and Tolemeo must reach within themselves to find their gifts in time to save the kingdom.
Leopard's Gold (Lexile: 700; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) brings us an ultimate battle between good and evil and sets up the characters for the Charlie Bone series. Again, fantasy lovers and Charlie Bone fans will enjoy this adventure. (352 p.)
Ahhh, the joys of summer, when you can read an entire series back to back! In The Stones of Ravenglass,the second book in the Chronicles of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo (Lexile: 660; Interest Level: Grades 3-6), Timoken's adventure continues as he has found a new home in a castle in Britain. However, an evil steward (someone who takes care of a castle for the king) is jealous of Timoken and his power so he arrests him and throws him in prison. Timoken will need the help of his camel, Gabar, and a new friend he makes in prison to break out so he can find and save his other friends from the evil steward. He will also need to find somewhere safer to live and build his own kingdom.
This is another extraordinary adventure in the life of Timoken, who is now a couple hundred years old, for all that looks like a 12 year old. Again, fans of fantasy and Charlie Bone will love this story, but you should definitely read The Secret Kingdom first. This series should be read in order. (272 p.)
This first book in the Chronicles of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo tells the story of the Red King from the well-loved Charlie Bone books. Timoken is born in a secret kingdom where everyone is happy and peaceful. His father is visited by the last of the forest jinn, who grants Timoken and his unborn sister some wonderful gifts, including a cloak made of the web of the last moon spider and a potion called an Alixer, which can keep him from growing old. However, gifts this powerful draw enemies, and when their peaceful kingdom is attacked, Timoken and his sister must set off to find a new kingdom to call home. Befriended by a camel, the children travel a long way for many years in search of a safe place to call home as they continue to hide from those that would steal their special gifts.
If you enjoyed the Charlie Bone series, you will definitely enjoy this "prequel" series about the boy who became the Red King. The Secret Kingdom (Lexile: 710; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) is also a good stand-alone adventure for lovers of fantasy. (224 p.)
Convergence by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore and Andie Tong (Lexile: 600; Interest Level: Grades 4-9) is first book of the Zodiac Legacy Series. Stan Lee, for those who don't know, is the father of Marvel Comics.
Steven is visiting Hong Kong with his class. While on a museum tour, he hears a strange scream and sneaks off to investigate. What he finds is a secret stairway leading to an ancient chamber full of strange, glowing pools and something he will find out later are called ley lines. Steven witnesses a man on a hovercraft going from pool to pool seeming to gather energy of some kind. And, he sees their odd museum guide sneaking around the edge of the room. Little did he know that he was about to get sucked into the world of super powers, with both heroes and villains--and he would have to choose which side he was on!
A power source tied into the Chinese Zodiac is unleashed and seeks hosts throughout the world who must choose to use their new power for good or evil (although it is sometimes hard to tell which side is which), but above all, they must first learn to control it so that it does not control them. Fans of the great Superheroes, and we almost all have a favorite) will be sucked into this book, which is a fast read, despite the length. (512 p.)
Franny, Pru, Cat, and Ivy all live on the same street, but that is about all they have in common. Franny wants to be an explorer; Pru is afraid of almost everything and has safety tips for every situation; Cat seems to be perfect, and Ivy has a jinx. So, how do they end up in a secret society?
It starts when Ivy moves into #5 Gumm Street, and before they even have their things moved in, a piano is mysteriously delivered and Mr. Staccato shows up offering lessons. Then strange things continue to happen to Ivy around school (which isn't really new to her, but it is to her new classmates). Then, when school lets out for the summer, the students are thrown together at a piano recital, after which Mr. Staccato surprisingly gives Ivy his collection of ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. That night there is a mysterious hurricane that brings with it a crazy lady named Cha-Cha, who claims that Ivy should give the shoes to her. Trying to protect themselves (and the town) from this crazy witch-like lady, the girls team up and form a club.
The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera (Lexile: 910; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) is certainly a wild ride through the aftermath of the Tale of Oz (what really happened to those slippers?) as the girls navigate a world full of witches, talking potatoes, safety tips, and a world they thought was make-believe. Any reader who looks for a crazy summer adventure may find one in the pages of this book. (441 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.