Ruth is in the throes of middle school and floundering without her friend Charlotte. For years, the girls did everything together: Charlotte was adopted by two dads, and Ruth has two moms, so their parents formed a “support group.” Now Charlotte has moved on to the popular crowd, and Ruth has become a loner. “I’m that hawk flying above it all, the quiet observer on the sidelines. And that’s the way I like it,” she says. But life won’t leave her on the sidelines.
It takes a village, as they say, and in this case it takes one to help a young girl feel right at home.
Author Sara O’Leary and illustrator Julie Morstad invite us into a day in the life of Sadie, an imaginative young girl who loves diving into stories. In the opening illustration, Sadie is hiding inside a box, her head barely peeking above the top, but, as she tells readers, she’s actually on a giant boat, crossing the ocean.
Rapunzel could not be happier. She has a beautiful tower that obeys her command; no one bothers her when she reads stories or brushes her hair; and a loving, caring Witch protects her from the evil people who would want to steal her away. In Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel, life is innocent and perfect—until Jack arrives. Jack thinks Rapunzel was involved in the injury of a fairy yesterday, but she’d remember something like that . . . right?
In the time Before, Peter Lee and his older brother, Nelson, loved baseball. They played it, listened to it on the radio and cheered for both Taiwan and the United States in the 1972 Little League World Series. But now Peter lives in the After. With Nelson dead from a car accident, Peter’s mother does nothing but watch TV, his younger sister is increasingly frustrated and his father, Ba, has become more distant than ever.
Bowser has led a tough life, avoiding thugs in the city before ending up in an animal rescue shelter in Louisiana’s bayou country. Life hasn’t been easy for 11-year-old Birdie Gaux, either. With a police detective father killed in the line of duty and an engineering mother working on an oil rig off the coast of Africa, Birdie is being raised by Grammy, who owns a bait store and gives swamp tours. When Birdie selects Bowser as a belated birthday present, the lovable mutt and spunky tween become a formidable sleuthing team.
It’s been 20 years since Cynthia Rylant’s beloved middle grade novel Gooseberry Park introduced the world to Stumpy the squirrel and her quirky, clever, community-minded friends. Now, the furry and feathered bunch is back in Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan, and readers will delight in discovering that the Gooseberrians are as adorable, smart and resourceful as ever.
Almost-13-year-old Delphine, middle sister Vonetta and baby sister Fern Gaither are back in the final installment of the award-winning series by Rita Williams-Garcia. This time they’re spending the summer of 1969 in Alabama with their grandmother (Big Ma), great-grandmother (Ma Charles) and great-aunt (Miss Trotter).
Tad the tadpole’s dad is a phenomenal frog. With large, noisy Dad as inspiration, Tad learns to sing loudly (especially early in the morning), swim fast and snap up flies with his sticky tongue. Tad follows Dad everywhere, preferring Dad’s lily pad to his own cozy pondweeds. But as Tad grows from happy tadpole to spirited frog, Dad’s lily pad gets smaller, as does Dad’s patience for sleepless nights.
My first thought when seeing the titles of these books was, “I love books about airplanes!” Well . . . now I love books about flies . . . as in insects. These three books for very young readers will open their eyes to the joys and challenges of being a reviled critter in a butterfly world.