Steve’s family has just welcomed a new baby, so all should be well. But it isn’t. The baby—who disconcertingly remains unnamed for many pages—is very ill, with an undisclosed congenital disorder, so his parents are constantly worried, stressed and distracted. It isn’t until young Steve begins to have inexplicable and surreal dreams that his life begins to change . . . not necessarily for the better.
Gary Paulsen has long been beckoned by nature, and throughout This Side of Wild, he recounts numerous tales from his decades of outdoor adventures. As he does, he comes to realize that the one constant throughout is his ever-evolving and maturing relationship with the animals he both raises at home and encounters out in the wild, all of whom seem to know far more than humans have ever assumed.
Graphic novels are all the rage with young readers these days, but this fact can be frustrating for adults who are trying to encourage kids to read more complex material. Thank goodness veteran comic-book creators Robert Venditti and Dusty Higgins have created a hybrid sure to satisfy both camps in Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Attack of the Alien Horde. Sixty-five of the 304 pages are comic panels drawn by Higgins, while the rest is prose written by Venditti.
In Ruby on the Outside, Nora Raleigh Baskin gives readers a serious, relatable look into the criminal justice system and its ripple effects. The story of Ruby, her aunt and her mother contributes to the growing body of children’s literature highlighting nontraditional family structures.
After six children receive invitations from an eccentric countess, they encounter mysterious keys, things that go bump in the night and secret passages during the weekend visit of a lifetime. The children unknowingly share a connection, but rather than bringing them together, this bond nearly destroys them.
Truly Lovejoy, or Drooly as her brother calls her, tries to stay under the radar. But she’s nearly six feet tall and sporting size 10.5 shoes, so being overlooked is impossible.
When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novels A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, in which a girl is whisked from darkest India to a very different environment in England, usually in the wake of a family tragedy. As captivating as those novels were to my preteen self, what was always missing was a real portrait, not just a glimpse, of what the heroine’s life was like in the exotic place from which she came. Katherine Rundell’s Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms does exactly that.
According to author Jessica Lawson, Tom Sawyer was a tattletale and Becky Thatcher was the real rascal getting into all sorts of trouble in St. Petersburg, Missouri. That’s the inventive premise of this gem of a chapter book that stirs up all of the ingredients of the American classic to create a thoughtful, energetic new debut novel.
What happens when a group of middle school geniuses trains for months to win a special contest at a Disney World-style Florida theme park called Incredo Land? That’s the premise of Bringing Down the Mouse, a page-turning caper whose hero is sixth-grader Charlie Lewis, known as “Numbers,” the nerdy son of an MIT professor dad and a mom with two Ph.D.s.
From the best-selling author of Airborn and This Dark Endeavor comes another cinematic adventure. In this historical steampunk folktale, young William Everett is traveling across Canada on the maiden voyage of The Boundless. With seven miles of cars, including enough freight cars to form a circus “town,” The Boundless is the longest train in the world.