Tumble & Blue by Cassie BeasleyFiction. Blue Montgomery is a born loser. All Montgomerys are cursed with unusual "fates," and Blue's is that he just can't win. At anything. Ever. Not even help from his new friend, aspiring superhero Tumble Wilson, can change that. But for the first time in 100 years, a red moon is rising over Murky Branch, Georgia. It's a sign that kicks off a quest for Tumble and Blue: if they venture into the Okefenokee Swamp and find a golden alligator named Munch, the family curse can be broken. Quirky characters and a sprinkling of fantasy make Tumble & Blue perfect for fans of Natalie Lloyd's A Snicker of Magic.
The Wizards of Once by Cressida CowellFantasy. Princess Wish is the daughter of the Warrior queen, but she prefers her enchanted pet spoon over fearsome weapons. Prince Xar is the son of the Wizard king, but he can't do any magic (yet). When the two of them meet in the wildwood between their kingdoms, each recognizes a fellow misfit, and soon they're sharing an unexpected journey in search of dangerous Witch. Similar to author Cressida Cowell's popular How to Train Your Dragon books, this series starter is set in a detailed fantasy world and filled with funny, scribbly drawings to draw you deeper into the adventure.
I'm Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Noodlings for Precocious Children... by Chris Harris; illustrated by Lane SmithPoetry. "I'm just no good at rhyming, it makes me feel so bad. I'm just no good at rhyming, and that's why I am blue." Are you smiling already, just from that first line? If so, you're not alone -- it's hard to resist the joyful, sprawling silliness of the poems in this collection. Paired with outrageous illustrations, these verses offer for witty wordplay ("if I ever find myself holding a gecko...I’ll lecko"), riddles, twisted nursery rhymes, and all sorts of rib-tickling absurdity. If you've read, recited, and relished the nonsense poems of Shel Silverstein or Calef Brown, I'm Just No Good at Rhyming will become an instant favorite.
The Night Garden by Polly HorvathHistorical Fantasy. World War II brings a lot of changes for 12-year-old Franny and her parents, but Winifred, Wilfred, and Zebediah are the biggest. The three siblings have come to stay on the family's Vancouver Island farm while their parents are off doing something mysterious involving a secret military plane, and things only get weirder from there. A terrible cook, some strange letters, a wish-granting garden, and a UFO -- not to mention a host of eccentric characters -- all add intrigue to this whimsical read from Canadian author Polly Horvath.
How to Be an Elephant by Katherine RoyNonfiction. It can take months before human babies learn to get around, yet the baby elephant who stars in this book has to learn how to walk as soon as she's born. Walking is just the first of many survival skills and social habits that the baby learns from her herd, and you can follow along with her at each step of the way. Whether you want in-depth scientific explanations of elephant biology -- it's incredible how many different things a trunk can do! -- or you just want to browse the energetic watercolor illustrations, this fascinating book from the creator of Neighborhood Sharks is a must-read for animal lovers.
Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa De los Santos and David TeagueFantasy/Mystery. The O'Malley family lives by a solemn vow to never use their "quirk" of being able to travel back in time. But after her dad is falsely accused of murder and sentenced to death, 13-year-old Margaret O'Malley is willing to break that vow in order to save her father's life. Here in 2014, cruel, corrupt judge Lucas Biggs isn't willing to change his mind, yet back in 1938 Margaret might still be able to influence him for the better. Suspenseful pacing and lots of heart make this time travel mystery a good choice for fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me or Charise Mericle Harper's Dreamer, Wisher, Liar.
Foxheart by Claire LegrandFantasy. Raised in a convent, orphan girl Quicksilver has no friends except for her dog, Fox, and no skills except for stealing -- or so she thinks. After meeting a boy named Sly Boots and an old witch named Anastazia, Quicksilver discovers that she's a witch too, and that it's her destiny to travel throughout time in order to prevent the powerful Wolf King from destroying all the witches in the Star Lands. Friendships, both old and new, are the driving force in this time-twisting tale that's sure to tempt fantasy fans.
Target Practice by Mike MaihackGraphic Science Fiction. As if ruling ancient Egypt wasn't enough pressure, 15-year-old Cleopatra is suddenly transported to an alien planet in the far future, where she discovers that she's destined to save the entire Nile galaxy. But before she can defeat the power-hungry villain Xaius Octavian, she's got to endure boring classes at Yasiro Academy, practice her skills with a ray gun, and get to know her teacher/sidekick, a talking cat named Khensu. This 1st book in the Cleopatra in Space series has enough exciting action and eye-catching artwork to tempt fans of Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl books.
Odessa Again by Dana ReinhardtLow Fantasy. After a stomp on a particular floorboard in her attic bedroom sends her hurtling 24 hours back in time, nine-year-old Odessa realizes that she has a unique opportunity. All the mistakes in her life can now be fixed! She can go back and study for that spelling test, say no to that terrible haircut, avoid embarrassing herself in front of the boy she likes…and maybe get her divorced parents back together? If you've ever wished that you had the power to undo your past, you don't want to miss this funny yet bittersweet book.
Time Traveling with a Hamster by Ross WelfordScience Fiction. On his twelfth birthday, Albert Einstein Hawking Chaudhury is given a pet hamster, a letter from his deceased father, and a life-changing mission. See, the letter contains instructions for Al to find his dad's time machine (it involves a tub and an old Macbook), go back in time to his dad's childhood, and prevent the accident that leads to his dad's death years later -- all without messing up space and time. No pressure, right? Packed with hilarious mishaps and big ideas about science of time travel, Time Traveling with a Hamster will make you think while keeping you on the edge of your seat.
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