September 20, 2006

Recommended Book Reading List - Middle School Fiction

Checklist

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three
Marguerite De Angeli, The Door in the Wall
William H. Armstrong, Sounder
Richard Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard
Lynne Reid Banks, The Mystery of the Cupboard
Lynne Reid Banks, The Return of the Indian
Lynne Reid Banks, The Secret of the Indian
John Bibee, Magic Bicycle: The Story of a Bicycle That Found a Boy
Carol Ryrie Brink, Caddie Woodlawn
Alan Burgess, The Small Woman
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Sheila Burnford, The Incredible Journey
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan: The Lost Adventures
Beverly Cleary, Henry and Ribsy
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Alice Dalgliesh, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
Alice Dalgliesh, The Courage of Sarah Noble
Franklin W. Dixon, Hardy Boys #1: The Tower Treasure
Franklin Dixon, Hardy Boys Complete Set 1-58
Franklin W. Dixon, The Best of the Hardy Boys Classic Collection Vol 1
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Walter D. Edmonds, The Matchlock Gun
Eleanor Estes, The Moffats
C.S. Evans, Cinderella
John D. Fitzgerald, Great Brain,The
Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain
Jean Fritz, The Cabin Faced West
Ruth Stiles Gannett, My Father's Dragon
Doris Gates, Blue Willow
Jean Craighead George, My Side of the Mountain
Frank B. Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen
Fred Gipson, Old Yeller
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Elizabeth Janet Gray, Adam of the Road
Marguerite Henry, Misty of Chincoteague
Holling C. Holling, Paddle-to-the-Sea
Irene Hunt, Across Five Aprils
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew 75th Anniversary Box Set
Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew Girl Detective
Harold Keith, Rifles for Watie
Rudyard Kipling, Jungle Book
E.L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Charles Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare: Children's Classics
Munro Leaf, Wee Gillis
Lois Lenski, Strawberry Girl 60th Anniversary Edition
C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set
Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
George Macdonald, The Princess and the Goblin
Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah, Plain and Tall
Marie McSwigan, Snow Treasure
Cornelia Meigs, Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women
Jean Merrill, The Pushcart War
L.M. Montgomery, Complete Anne of Green Gable Boxed Set
Walt Morey, Gentle Ben
Farley Mowat, Owls in the Family
Anne E. Neimark, Touch of Light: The Story of Louis Braille
E. Nesbit, The Enchanted Castle
Robert C. O'Brien, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins
Howard Pyle, Otto of the Silver Hand
Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows
Barbara Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square
Marcia Sewall, The Pilgrims of Plimoth
Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
Elizabeth George Speare, The Bronze Bow
Armstrong Sperry, Call It Courage
Johanna Spyri, Heidi
Dorothy Sterling, Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman
Mildred D. Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
James Ramsey Ullman, Banner in the Sky
Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days
Louise A. Vernon, Ink on His Fingers
Virgil, The Aeneid of Virgil
Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Boxcar Children
E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
Johann Wyss, The Swiss Family Robinson
Source: http://writing-edu.com/literature/booklistB.php

Summaries

Little Women [mvpl] [amzn]
Louisa May Alcott
In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.
The Book of Three [mvpl] [amzn]
Lloyd Alexander
The tale of Taran, assistant pig keeper, has been entertaining young readers for generations. Set in the mythical land of Prydain (which bears a more than passing resemblance to Wales), Lloyd Alexander's book draws together the elements of the hero's journey from unformed boy to courageous young man. Taran grumbles with frustration at home in the hamlet Caer Dallben; he yearns to go into battle like his hero, Prince Gwydion. Before the story is over, he has met his hero and fought the evil leader who threatens the peace of Prydain: the Horned King.

What brings the tale of Taran to life is Alexander's skillful use of humor, and the way he personalizes the mythology he has so clearly studied. Taran isn't a stick figure; in fact, the author makes a point of mocking him just at the moments when he's acting the most highhanded and heroic. When he and the young girl Eilonwy flee the castle of the wicked queen Achren, Taran emotes, "'Spiral Castle has brought me only grief; I have no wish to see it again.' 'What has it brought the rest of us?' Eilonway asked. 'You make it sound as though we were just sitting around having a splendid time while you moan and take on.'" By the end, Alexander has spun a rousing hero's tale and created a compelling coming-of-age story. Readers will sigh with relief when they realize The Book of Three is only the first of the chronicles of Prydain. --Claire Dederer

The Door in the Wall [mvpl] [amzn]
Marguerite De Angeli
As the son of a nobleman, Robin’s destiny is changed suddenly when he falls ill and loses the use of his legs. When the great castle of Lindsay is in danger, Robin discovers that there is more than one way to serve his king.
Sounder [mvpl] [amzn]
William H. Armstrong
Sounder is no beauty. But as a coon dog, this loyal mongrel with his cavernous bark is unmatched. When the African American sharecropper who has raised Sounder from a pup is hauled off to jail for stealing a hog, his family must suffer their humiliation and crushing loss with no recourse. To make matters worse, in the fracas, Sounder is shot and disappears. The eventual return of a tattered and emaciated Sounder doesn't change the fact that the sharecropper's oldest son is forced to take on man's work to help support the family. His transition to adulthood is paved by the rocks and taunts hurled at him by convicts and guards as he searches for his father. But along this rough road he ultimately finds salvation as well.

William H. Armstrong's Newbery Award-winning novel quickly became a classic as a moving portrayal of resilience and hope in the face of profound human tragedy. Decades later, the bittersweet story still rings true, as strong-spirited individuals continue to battle the evil of prejudice. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Mr. Popper's Penguins [mvpl] [amzn]
Richard Atwater
More than 60 years have not dated this wonderfully absurd tale--it still makes kids (and parents) laugh out loud. Poor Mr. Popper isn't exactly unhappy; he just wishes he had seen something of the world before meeting Mrs. Popper and settling down. Most of all, he wishes he had seen the Poles, and spends his spare time between house-painting jobs reading all about polar explorations. Admiral Drake, in response to Mr. Popper's fan letter, sends him a penguin; life at 432 Proudfoot Avenue is never the same again. From one penguin living in the icebox, the Popper family grows to include 12 penguins, all of whom must be fed. Thus is born "Popper's Performing Penguins, First Time on Any Stage, Direct from the South Pole." Their adventures while on tour are hilarious, with numerous slapstick moments as the penguins disrupt other acts and invade hotels. Classic chapter-a-night fun. (Ages 5 to 10) --Richard Farr
Tuck Everlasting [mvpl] [amzn]
Natalie Babbitt
Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever--isn't that everyone's ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt (Knee-Knock Rise, The Search for Delicious) outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift--but doesn't know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. Intense and powerful, exciting and poignant, Tuck Everlasting will last forever--in the reader's imagination. An ALA Notable Book. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
The Indian in the Cupboard [mvpl] [amzn]
Lynne Reid Banks
What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins. Turn the key once and the toy comes alive; turn it a second time and it's an action figure again.

The Indian in the Cupboard is one of those rare books that is equally appealing to children and adults. The story of Omri and the Indian, Little Bear, is replete with subtle reminders of the responsibilities that accompany friendship and love. For kids, it's a great yarn; for most parents, it's also a reminder that Omri's wrenching decision to send his toy back to its own world is not so different from the recognition of their children's emerging independence.

The Indian in the Cupboard is also available in Spanish (La Llave Magica.) (The publisher recommends this book for children ages 9-12, although younger kids will enjoy hearing it read aloud.)

The Mystery of the Cupboard [mvpl] [amzn]
Lynne Reid Banks
In the fourth book in Bank's acclaimed INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD saga, Omri and his family move to an old farmhouse, where he finds an ancient notebook that reveals a family secret-and the mysterious origins of his magical cupboard.
The Return of the Indian [mvpl] [amzn]
Lynne Reid Banks

The Magic Continues . . .

In The Indian In The Cupboard, Omri discovers a wonderful, magical world when a three inch high Indian named Little Bear came to life. Now, in The Return Of The Indian, Omri tries to see his friend Little Bear again, and lands in the middle of a whole new series of astonishing and dangerous adventures -- from which he may never escape!

The Secret of the Indian [mvpl] [amzn]
Lynne Reid Banks

The adventure deepens . . .

In The Return of the Indian, Omri found he could transport himself and his friend Patrick back in history to the dangerous days of his miniature companions. Now, in the secret of the indian, Patrick time-travels back to the rough-and-tumble frontier age of his cowboy friend, Boone. When he returns to the present day, he's accompanied by a disastrous bit of Texas weather that devastates half of England.

Magic Bicycle: The Story of a Bicycle That Found a Boy [mvpl] [amzn]
John Bibee
Caddie Woodlawn [mvpl] [amzn]
Carol Ryrie Brink
At age 11, Caddie Woodlawn is the despair of her mother and the pride of her father: a clock-fixing tomboy running wild in the woods of Wisconsin. In 1864, this is a bit much for her Boston-bred mother to bear, but Caddie and her brothers are happy with the status quo. Written in 1935 about Carol Ryrie Brink's grandmother's childhood, the adventures of Caddie and her brothers are still exciting over 60 years later. With each chapter comes another ever-more exciting adventure: a midnight gallop on her horse across a frozen river to warn her American Indian friends of the white men's plan to attack; a prairie fire approaching the school house; and a letter from England that may change the family's life forever. This Newbery Medal-winning book bursts at the seams with Caddie's irrepressible spirit. In spite of her mother's misgivings, Caddie is a perfect role model for any girl--or boy, for that matter. She's big-hearted, she's brave, and she's mechanically inclined! (Ages 9 to 12)
The Small Woman [mvpl] [amzn]
Alan Burgess
The Secret Garden [mvpl] [amzn]
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; "It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together.... 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'" As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden's portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived. (Ages 9 to 12)
The Incredible Journey [mvpl] [amzn]
Sheila Burnford
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love. The Incredible Journey is one of the great children's stories of all time--and has been popular ever since its debut in 1961.
Tarzan: The Lost Adventures [mvpl] [amzn]
Edgar Rice Burroughs
For nearly fifty years, Edgar Rice Burroughs's last Tarzan manuscript lay untouched and unfinished, locked away in a vault. It was the stuff of legend until, finally, the magnificent tale was completed with the help of award-winning author Joe R. Lansdale.

Once again the roar of Tarzan resounds through Africa as the Lord of the Jungle battles the savage creatures of the wild and helps a beautiful woman search for ancient Ur, lost city of gold. But Tarzan discovers they aren't alone in their quest. For evil follows in his path, and terror awaits him and his fierce lion Jad-bal-ja in Ur, where incredible treasures lie and horrors even more awesome hunger to destroy the mighty hero.
Henry and Ribsy [mvpl] [amzn]
Beverly Cleary

At last, Henry Huggins's father has promised to take him fishing, on one condition. Henry's dog, Ribsy, has been in all sorts of trouble lately, from running off with the neighbor's barbecue roast to stealing a policeman's lunch. To go on the fishing trip, Henry must keep Ribsy out of trouble -- no chasing cats, no digging up lawns...and no getting anywhere near little Ramona Quimby, the pest of Klickitat Street.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [mvpl] [amzn]
Roald Dahl
For the first time in a decade, Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, is opening his doors to the public--well, five members of the public to be exact. The lucky five who find a Golden Ticket in their Wonka chocolate bars will receive a private tour of the factory, given by Mr. Wonka himself. For young Charlie Bucket, this a dream come true. And, when he finds a dollar bill in the street, he can't help but buy two Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delights--even though his impoverished family could certainly use the extra dollar for food. But as Charlie unwraps the second chocolate bar, he sees the glimmer of gold just under the wrapper! The very next day, Charlie, along with his unworthy fellow winners Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and Augustus Gloop, steps through the factory gates to discover whether or not the rumors surrounding the Chocolate Factory and its mysterious owner are true. What they find is that the gossip can't compare to the extraordinary truth, and for Charlie, life will never be the same again. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another unforgettable masterpiece from the legendary Roald Dahl, never fails to delight, thrill, and utterly captivate. (Ages 9 to 12)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain [mvpl] [amzn]
Alice Dalgliesh

"There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain, No bears, no bears at all..."

Or so young Jonathan is told by the grown-ups as he sets out alone over Hemlock Mountain. But as Jonathan discovers on that cold winter night, grown-ups don't always know...

And there are bears on Hemlock Mountain!

The Courage of Sarah Noble [mvpl] [amzn]
Alice Dalgliesh

In 1707, young Sarah Noble and her father traveled through the wilderness to build a new home for their family. "Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble," her mother had said, but Sarah found that it was not always easy to feel brave inside. The dark woods were full of animals and Indians, too, and Sarah was only eight!

The true story of Sarah's journey is inspiring. And as she cares for her father and befriends her Indian neighbors, she learns that to be afraid and to be brave is the greatest courage of all.

Hardy Boys #1: The Tower Treasure [mvpl] [amzn]
Franklin W. Dixon
Reader t.b.a.
approx. 3 hours
2 cassettes

Afer a dying criminal confesses that his loot has been stashed "in the tower" the Hardy Boys make an astonishing discover.
Hardy Boys Complete Set 1-58 [mvpl] [amzn]
Franklin Dixon
HC complete set books 1-58.
The Best of the Hardy Boys Classic Collection Vol 1 [mvpl] [amzn]
Franklin W. Dixon
The Hardy brothers make a triumphant return in these special editions featuring some of the best-loved Hardy Boys mysteries. Each omnibus features three full-length The Hardy Boys classics.

The Best of The Hardy Boys Classic Collection Volume 1
#1 The Tower Treasure: When the Hardys' neighbor is robbed, Frank and Joe's father enlists their help in solving the case.

#3 The Secret of the Old Mill: Frank and Joe have two mysteries to unravel—a counterfeiting case and a national security case that their father is working on. Will they be able to tie up all the loose ends?

#44 The Haunted Fort: Frank, Joe, and their friend Chet search for two stolen paintings in an old fort said to be inhabited by a ghost. Can they survive the dangerous traps and threats and find the paintings?
The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes [mvpl] [amzn]
Arthur Conan Doyle
A facsimile edition of the original 24 Sherlock Holmes stories from London's The Strand Magazine, written between 1891 and 1893, with black and white illustrations by Sidney Paget.
The Matchlock Gun [mvpl] [amzn]
Walter D. Edmonds
In 1756, New York State was still a British colony, and the French and the Indians were constant threats to Edward and his family. When his father was called away to watch for a raid from the north, only Edward was left to protect Mama and little Trudy. His father had shown him how to use the huge matchlock gun, an old Spanish gun that was twice as long as he was, but would Edward be able to handle it if trouble actually came? This classic, first published in 1941, has an updated, kid-friendly format that includes the original black-and-white illustrations.
The Moffats [mvpl] [amzn]
Eleanor Estes
Who else but a member of the Moffat family could, during kindergarten recess, accidentally hitch a ride out of town on a boxcar? Or wind up trapped in the breadbox outside the delicatessen store? Or kindly offer to escort the Salvation Army man to his destination--only to accidentally bump him out of his own horse-drawn wagon? The Moffats is a paradigm of old-fashioned family fun. Four children and a hard-working widowed mother live together on New Dollar Street in the village of Cranbury. Their seemingly quiet lives are studded with almost daily unexpected adventures, with droll results.

This charming book has been making readers smile for over half a century. It reflects a gentler era, when the jolly chief of police had time to sit on the curb to hear a little girl's "crimes" and a little boy's escapade on a train was not cause for media panic, just a simple redirecting by the agreeable engineer. Eleanor Estes, author of the Newbery Honor book The Hundred Dresses, and Caldecott medalist Louis Slobodkin (Many Moons) make a lovely team in this story of benign humor and sweet times. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Cinderella [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Evans
Great Brain,The [mvpl] [amzn]
John D. Fitzgerald
The best con man in the Midwest is only ten years old. Tom, a.k.a., the Great Brain, is a silver-tongued genius with a knack for turning a profit. When the Jenkins boys get lost in Skeleton Cave, the Great Brain saves the day. Whether it's saving the kids at school, or helping out Peg-leg Andy, or Basil, the new kid at school, the Great Brain always manages to come out on top—and line his pockets in the process.
Johnny Tremain [mvpl] [amzn]
Esther Forbes
This story of a tragically injured young silversmith who ends up hip-deep in the American Revolution is inspiring, exciting, and sad. Winner of the prestigious Newbery Award in 1944, Esther Forbes's story has lasted these 50-plus years by including adventure, loss, courage, and history in a wonderfully written, very dramatic package. It's probably not great for little guys but mature 11-year-olds or older will find it a great adventure.
The Cabin Faced West [mvpl] [amzn]
Jean Fritz
For Ann Hamilton, life out west was anything but adventurous. In fact, she had never been lonelier. She longed for the ease and comfort of the days with friends back in Gettysburg-until a stranger rode into Hamilton Hill and changed her life forever.
My Father's Dragon [mvpl] [amzn]
Ruth Stiles Gannett
My Father's Dragon--a favorite of young readers since the 1940s and a Newbery honor book--captures the nonsensical logic of childhood in an amusingly deadpan fashion. The story begins when Elmer Elevator (the narrator's father as a boy) runs away with an old alley cat to rescue a flying baby dragon being exploited on a faraway island. With the help of two dozen pink lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a fine-toothed comb, Elmer disarms the fiercest of beasts on Wild Island. The quirky, comical adventure ends with a heroic denouement: the freeing of the dragon. Abundant black-and-white lithographs by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (the author's stepmother) add an evocative, lighthearted mood to an already enchanting story. Author Ruth Stiles Gannett 's stand-alone sequel, Elmer and the Dragon, and her third volume, The Dragons of Blueland both received starred reviews in School Library Journal and are as fresh and original as her first. (Ages 4 to 8)
Blue Willow [mvpl] [amzn]
Doris Gates
My Side of the Mountain [mvpl] [amzn]
Jean Craighead George
Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons.

Jean Craighead George, author of more than 80 children's books, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves, created another prizewinner with My Side of the Mountain--a Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and a Hans Christian Andersen Award Honor Book. Astonishingly, she wrote its sequel, On the Far Side of the Mountain, 30 years later, and a decade after that penned the final book in the trilogy, Frightful's Mountain, told from the falcon's point of view. George has no doubt shaped generations of young readers with her outdoor adventures of the mind and spirit. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Cheaper by the Dozen [mvpl] [amzn]
Frank B. Gilbreth

What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father -- a famous efficiency expert -- who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen.

Translated into more than fifty-three languages and made into a classic film starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, Cheaper by the Dozen is a delightfully enduring story of family life at the turn of the 20th century.

Old Yeller [mvpl] [amzn]
Fred Gipson

At first, Travis couldn't stand the sight of Old Yeller

The stray dog was ugly, and a thieving rascal, too. But he sure was clever, and a smart dog could be a big help on the wild Texas frontier, especially with Papa away on a long cattle drive up to Abilene.

Strong and courageous, Old Yeller proved that he could protect Travis's family from any sort of danger. But can Travis do the same for Old Yeller?

The Wind in the Willows [mvpl] [amzn]
Kenneth Grahame
If you ever feel like falling into a beautiful comic-book story--in the same way one falls back into a warm field of grass--reach for Michel Plessix's lush adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows. The artwork is an aquarelle, with thin, precise, detailed lines. It's no wonder he received numerous awards for his previous effort, Julien Boisvert, a contemporary take on the Tintin character type. In Wind in the Willows, Plessix breathes life into Mole, Rat, and Toad (of Toad Hall) as they picnic on the riverbank, indulge in Toad's latest fad, and get lost in Wild Wood. The pacing is masterful: each panel lingers just long enough to make you appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

This review refers to ISBN 1561631965.

Adam of the Road [mvpl] [amzn]
Elizabeth Janet Gray
Eleven-year-old Adam loved to travel throughout thirteenthcentury England with his father, a wandering minstrel, and his dog, Nick. But when Nick is stolen and his father disappears, Adam suddenly finds himself alone. He searches the same roads he traveled with his father, meeting various people along the way. But will Adam ever find his father and dog and end his desperate search?
Misty of Chincoteague [mvpl] [amzn]
Marguerite Henry
On an island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom, a rarely seen mare that eludes all efforts to capture her--that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and determine that they can't live without her. The frenzied roundup that follows on the next "Pony Penning Day" does indeed bring Phantom into their lives, in a way they never would have suspected. Phantom would forever be a creature of the wild. But her gentle, loyal colt Misty is another story altogether.

Marguerite Henry's Newbery Honor Book has captivated generations of boys and girls both with its thrilling descriptions of true incidents from the tiny island of Chincoteague, and its realistic yet wonderfully magical atmosphere. This story of an animal brought into captivity poignantly reveals the powerful opposing forces of humans and nature. Wesley Dennis's pen-and-ink ponies are masterfully depicted with rippling muscles, shaggy coats, and free spirits. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Paddle-to-the-Sea [mvpl] [amzn]
Holling C. Holling
A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region.
Across Five Aprils [mvpl] [amzn]
Irene Hunt
The Phantom Tollbooth [mvpl] [amzn]
Norton Juster
"It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," Milo laments. "[T]here's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing." This bored, bored young protagonist who can't see the point to anything is knocked out of his glum humdrum by the sudden and curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. Since Milo has absolutely nothing better to do, he dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. What ensues is a journey of mythic proportions, during which Milo encounters countless odd characters who are anything but dull.

Norton Juster received (and continues to receive) enormous praise for this original, witty, and oftentimes hilarious novel, first published in 1961. In an introductory "Appreciation" written by Maurice Sendak for the 35th anniversary edition, he states, "The Phantom Tollbooth leaps, soars, and abounds in right notes all over the place, as any proper masterpiece must." Indeed.

As Milo heads toward Dictionopolis he meets with the Whether Man ("for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be"), passes through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). The brilliant satire and double entendre intensifies in the Word Market, where after a brief scuffle with Officer Short Shrift, Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of Ignorance to rescue the twin Princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Anyone with an appreciation for language, irony, or Alice in Wonderland-style adventure will adore this book for years on end. (Ages 8 and up)

Nancy Drew 75th Anniversary Box Set [mvpl] [amzn]
Carolyn Keene
Teenage sleuth and cultural icon Nancy Drew is still going strong more than seven decades after her first adventure was published. The more than 30 million copies of the Nancy Drew franchise in print prove that this teen detective is as popular as ever. And her popularity is still on the rise with award-winning video games, a much anticipated television movie, and a massive relaunching of the series planned for spring 2004. Perhaps the first embodiment of Girl Power, Nancy Drew has an appeal that is both enduring and international - she is currently translated into thirteen foreign languages. The Nancy Drew 2004 Calendar features twelve classic book cover images and synopses to engage adults and younger readers who have experienced these beloved books, as well as those who have yet to discover the timeless Nancy Drew.
Nancy Drew Girl Detective [mvpl] [amzn]
Carolyn Keene

Let me introduce myself. I'm Nancy Drew. Some call me a girl detective. Others call me "that girl who cooked my goose." But everyone calls me sharp -- especially when it comes to crime. And since mystery and I follow each other everywhere, I'm pretty busy. Take a look inside at some of my favorite cases, and you'll see what I mean!

#1 Without a Trace

#2 A Race Against Time

#3 False Notes

#4 High Risk

Rifles for Watie [mvpl] [amzn]
Harold Keith

Jeff Bussey walked briskly up the rutted wagon road toward Fort Leavenworth on his way to join the Union volunteers. It was 1861 in Linn County, Kansas, and Jeff was elated at the prospect of fighting for the North at last.

In the Indian country south of Kansas there was dread in the air; and the name, Stand Watie, was on every tongue. A hero to the rebel, a devil to the Union man, Stand Watie led the Cherokee Indian Na-tion fearlessly and successfully on savage raids behind the Union lines. Jeff came to know the Watie men only too well.

He was probably the only soldier in the West to see the Civil War from both sides and live to tell about it. Amid the roar of cannon and the swish of flying grape, Jeff learned what it meant to fight in battle. He learned how it felt never to have enough to eat, to forage for his food or starve. He saw the green fields of Kansas and Okla-homa laid waste by Watie's raiding parties, homes gutted, precious corn deliberately uprooted. He marched endlessly across parched, hot land, through mud and slash-ing rain, always hungry, always dirty and dog-tired.

And, Jeff, plain-spoken and honest, made friends and enemies. The friends were strong men like Noah Babbitt, the itinerant printer who once walked from Topeka to Galveston to see the magnolias in bloom; boys like Jimmy Lear, too young to carry a gun but old enough to give up his life at Cane Hill; ugly, big-eared Heifer, who made the best sourdough biscuits in the Choctaw country; and beautiful Lucy Washbourne, rebel to the marrow and proud of it. The enemies were men of an-other breed - hard-bitten Captain Clardy for one, a cruel officer with hatred for Jeff in his eyes and a dark secret on his soul.

This is a rich and sweeping novel-rich in its panorama of history; in its details so clear that the reader never doubts for a moment that he is there; in its dozens of different people, each one fully realized and wholly recognizable. It is a story of a lesser -- known part of the Civil War, the Western campaign, a part different in its issues and its problems, and fought with a different savagery. Inexorably it moves to a dramat-ic climax, evoking a brilliant picture of a war and the men of both sides who fought in it.

Jungle Book [mvpl] [amzn]
Rudyard Kipling
No child should be allowed to grow up without reading The Jungle Books. Published in 1894 and 1895, the stories crackle with as much life and intensity as ever. Rudyard Kipling pours fuel on childhood fantasies with his tales of Mowgli, lost in the jungles of India as a child and adopted into a family of wolves. Mowgli is brought up on a diet of Jungle Law, loyalty, and fresh meat from the kill. Regular adventures with his friends and enemies among the Jungle-People--cobras, panthers, bears, and tigers--hone this man-cub's strength and cleverness and whet every reader's imagination. Mowgli's story is interspersed with other tales of the jungle, such as "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," lending depth and diversity to our understanding of Kipling's India. In much the same way Mowgli is carried away by the Bandar-log monkeys, young readers will be caught up by the stories, swinging from page to page, breathless, thrilled, and terrified. (Ages 9 to 12)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler [mvpl] [amzn]
E.L. Konigsburg
After reading this book, I guarantee that you will never visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or any wonderful, old cavern of a museum) without sneaking into the bathrooms to look for Claudia and her brother Jamie. They're standing on the toilets, still, hiding until the museum closes and their adventure begins. Such is the impact of timeless novels . . . they never leave us. E. L. Konigsburg won the 1967 Newbery Medal for this tale of how Claudia and her brother run away to the museum in order to teach their parents a lesson. Little do they know that mystery awaits!
A Wrinkle in Time [mvpl] [amzn]
Madeleine L'Engle
Everyone in town thinks Meg Murry is volatile and dull-witted, and that her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is dumb. People are also saying that their physicist father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors and an unearthly stranger, the tesseract-touting Mrs Whatsit, Meg and Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O'Keefe embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so, they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep within themselves to find answers.

A well-loved classic and 1963 Newbery Medal winner, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg's shattering, yet ultimately freeing, discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the triumph of good over evil. The companion books in the Time quartet, continuing the adventures of the Murry family, are A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which won the American Book Award; and Many Waters. Every young reader should experience L'Engle's captivating, occasionally life-changing contributions to children's literature. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter

Tales from Shakespeare: Children's Classics [mvpl] [amzn]
Charles Lamb
In the twenty tales told in this book, Charles & Mary Lamb succeeded in paraphrasing the language of truly adult literature in children’s terms. Let us not underestimate young readers: they love a complex story with many and varied characters, twists of plot, and turns of fate as much as anyone — but they draw the line at reading in unfamiliar language. The Lambs provide a real feast of plain fare, and flavor it with as many tasty tidbits of Shakespearean language as they felt the young reader could easily digest. This deluxe Children’s Classic edition is produced with high-quality, leatherlike binding with gold stamping, full-color covers, colored endpapers with a book nameplate. Some of the other titles in this series include: Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, King Arthur and His Knights, Little Women, and Treasure Island.
Wee Gillis [mvpl] [amzn]
Munro Leaf
A Caldecott Honor Book by the creators of the beloved Story of Ferdinand

Wee Gillis lives in Scotland. He is an orphan, and he spends half of each year with his mother's people in the lowlands, while the other half finds him in the highlands with his father's kin. Both sides of Gillis's family are eager for him to settle down and adopt their ways. In the lowlands, he is taught to herd cattle, learning how to call them to him in even the heaviest of evening fogs. In the rocky highlands, he stalks stags from outcrop to outcrop, holding his breath so as not to make a sound. Wee Gillis is a quick study, and he soon picks up what his elders can teach him. And yet he is unprepared when the day comes for him to decide, once and for all, whether it will be the lowlands or the highlands that he will call his home.

Robert Lawson and Munro Leaf's classic picture book is a tribute to the powers of the imagination and a triumph of the storyteller's and illustrator's art.
Strawberry Girl 60th Anniversary Edition [mvpl] [amzn]
Lois Lenski

The land was theirs, but so were its hardships

Strawberries -- big, ripe, and juicy. Ten-year-old Birdie Boyer can hardly wait to start picking them. But her family has just moved to the Florida backwoods, and they haven't even begun their planting. “Don't count your biddies 'fore they're hatched, gal young un!” her father tells her.

Making the new farm prosper is not easy. There is heat to suffer through, and droughts, and cold snaps. And, perhaps most worrisome of all for the Boyers, there are rowdy neighbors, just itching to start a feud.

The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set [mvpl] [amzn]
C. S. Lewis
The adult trade paperback editions of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA are now available in two new box sets. This box will feature Cliff Nielsen’s illustrations picked up from the cover art on the books inside.
Pippi Longstocking [mvpl] [amzn]
Astrid Lindgren
Pippi is an irrepressible, irreverent, and irrefutably delightful girl who lives alone (with a monkey) in her wacky house, Villa Villekulla. When she's not dancing with the burglars who were just trying to rob her house, she's attempting to learn the "pluttification" tables at school; fighting Adolf, the strongest man in the world at the circus; or playing tag with police officers. Pippi's high-spirited, good-natured hijinks cause as much trouble as fun, but a more generous child you won't find anywhere.

Astrid Lindgren has created a unique and lovable character, inspiring generations of children to want to be Pippi. More than anything, Pippi makes reading a pleasure; no child will welcome the end of the book, and many will return to Pippi Longstocking again and again. Simply put, Pippi is irresistible. (Ages 9 to 12)

The Princess and the Goblin [mvpl] [amzn]
George Macdonald
As always with George MacDonald, everything here is more than meets the eye: this in fact is MacDonald's grace-filled vision of the world. Said to be one of J.R.R. Tolkien's childhood favorites, The Princess and the Goblin is the story of the young Princess Irene, her good friend Curdie--a minor's son--and Irene's mysterious and beautiful great great grandmother, who lives in a secret room at the top of the castle stairs. Filled with images of dungeons and goblins, mysterious fires, burning roses, and a thread so fine as to be invisible and yet--like prayer--strong enough to lead the Princess back home to her grandmother's arms, this is a story of Curdie's slow realization that sometimes, as the princess tells him, "you must believe without seeing." Simple enough for reading aloud to a child (as I've done myself more than once with my daughter), it's rich enough to repay endless delighted readings for the adult. --Doug Thorpe
Sarah, Plain and Tall [mvpl] [amzn]
Patricia MacLachlan
MacLachlan, author of Unclaimed Treasures, has written an affecting tale for children. In the late 19th century a widowed midwestern farmer with two children--Anna and Caleb--advertises for a wife. When Sarah arrives she is homesick for Maine, especially for the ocean which she misses greatly. The children fear that she will not stay, and when she goes off to town alone, young Caleb--whose mother died during childbirth--is stricken with the fear that she has gone for good. But she returns with colored pencils to illustrate for them the beauty of Maine, and to explain that, though she misses her home, "the truth of it is I would miss you more." The tale gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.
Snow Treasure [mvpl] [amzn]
Marie McSwigan
In the bleak winter of 19 0, Nazi troops parachuted into Peter Lindstrom's tiny Norwegian village and held it captive. Nobody thought the Nazis could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children could fool the enemy. It was a dangerous plan. They had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds. It meant risking their country's treasure—and their lives. This classic story of how a group of children outwitted the Nazis and sent the treasure to America has captivated generations of readers.
Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women [mvpl] [amzn]
Cornelia Meigs
The Pushcart War [mvpl] [amzn]
Jean Merrill
The pushcarts have declared war! New York City's streets are clogged with huge, rude trucks that park where they want, hold up traffic, and bulldoze into anything that is in their way, and the pushcart peddlers are determined to get rid of them. But the trucks are just as determined to get rid of the pushcarts, and chaos results in the city.



The pushcarts have come up with a brilliant strategy that will surely let the hot air out of their enemies. The secret weapon--a peashooter armed with a pin; the target--the vulnerable truck tires. Once the source of the flat tires is discovered, the children of the city joyfully join in with their own pin peashooters. The pushcarts have won one battle, but can they win the war against a corrupt mayor who taxes the pins and prohibits the sale of dried peas?
Complete Anne of Green Gable Boxed Set [mvpl] [amzn]
L.M. Montgomery
When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, send for a boy orphan to help them out at the farm, they are in no way prepared for the error that will change their lives. The mistake takes the shape of Anne Shirley, a redheaded 11-year-old girl who can talk anyone under the table. Fortunately, her sunny nature and quirky imagination quickly win over her reluctant foster parents. Anne's feisty spirit soon draws many friends--and much trouble--her way. Not a day goes by without some melodramatic new episode in the tragicomedy of her life. Early on, Anne declares her eternal antipathy for Gilbert Blythe, a classmate who commits the ultimate sin of mocking her hair color. Later, she accidentally dyes that same cursed hair green. Another time, in her haste to impress a new neighbor, she bakes a cake with liniment instead of vanilla. Lucy Maud Montgomery's series of books about Anne have remained classics since the early 20th century. Her portrayal of this feminine yet independent spirit has given generations of girls a strong female role model, while offering a taste of another, milder time in history. This lovely boxed gift collection comprises Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
Gentle Ben [mvpl] [amzn]
Walt Morey
The Alaskan wilderness is a lonely place for Mark Andersen, especially after the death of his brother. But Mark finds a friend named Ben, who happens to be an Alaskan brown bear. Ben and Mark form a special bond, but the townspeople are determined to destroy it. It is only through the strength of an enduring friendship that Ben—and Mark—have a chance of being saved.
Owls in the Family [mvpl] [amzn]
Farley Mowat
Every child needs to have a pet. No one could argue with that.

But what happens when your pet is an owl, and your owl is terrorizing the neighbourhood?

In Farley Mowat’s exciting children’s story, a young boy’s pet menagerie – which includes crows, magpies, gophers and a dog – grows out of control with the addition of two cantankerous pet owls. The story of how Wol and Weeps turn the whole town upside down is warm, funny, and bursting with adventure and suspense.
Touch of Light: The Story of Louis Braille [mvpl] [amzn]
Anne E. Neimark
The Enchanted Castle [mvpl] [amzn]
E. Nesbit
A plot summary makes this story sound ordinary by children's literature standards: the summer adventures of four children who discover an enchanted castle and a magic ring. But Edith Nesbit's adored classic (written in 1907) is so much more than the description suggests. Right from the start, the author plays with the idea of magic, teasing us with a sleeping princess who turns out to be a fake. Elsewhere, the magic is "real" as can be--in fact, though written nearly 100 years ago, The Enchanted Castle prefigures the magical realism of modern novels in the matter-of-fact way it weaves the uncanny into the children's everyday life. And, while few authors are confident enough to parody bad writing, Nesbit does it hilariously (and ever so gently) through one character's tendency to "talk like a book": "'To brush his hair and his clothes... was to our hero but the work of a moment,' said Gerald." Things turn scary when the Ugly Wuglies, fake people made from painted cardboard masks, old clothes, and broomsticks, come to life. But on the whole this book about enchantment--much praised by such luminaries as H.G. Wells and Noel Coward--is, simply, enchanting. (Ages 6 and older) --Richard Farr
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh [mvpl] [amzn]
Robert C. O'Brien
There's something very strange about the rats living under the rosebush at the Fitzgibbon farm. But Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with a sick child, is in dire straits and must turn to these exceptional creatures for assistance. Soon she finds herself flying on the back of a crow, slipping sleeping powder into a ferocious cat's dinner dish, and helping 108 brilliant, laboratory-enhanced rats escape to a utopian civilization of their own design, no longer to live "on the edge of somebody else's, like fleas on a dog's back."

This unusual novel, winner of the Newbery Medal (among a host of other accolades) snags the reader on page one and reels in steadily all the way through to the exhilarating conclusion. Robert O'Brien has created a small but complete world in which a mother's concern for her son overpowers her fear of all her natural enemies and allows her to make some extraordinary discoveries along the way. O'Brien's incredible tale, along with Zena Bernstein's appealing ink drawings, ensures that readers will never again look at alley rats and field mice in the same way. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Island of the Blue Dolphins [mvpl] [amzn]
Scott O'Dell
Scott O'Dell won the Newbery Medal for Island of the Blue Dolphins in 1961, and in 1976 the Children's Literature Association named this riveting story one of the 10 best American children's books of the past 200 years. O'Dell was inspired by the real-life story of a 12-year-old American Indian girl, Karana. The author based his book on the life of this remarkable young woman who, during the evacuation of Ghalas-at (an island off the coast of California), jumped ship to stay with her young brother who had been abandoned on the island. He died shortly thereafter, and Karana fended for herself on the island for 18 years.

O'Dell tells the miraculous story of how Karana forages on land and in the ocean, clothes herself (in a green-cormorant skirt and an otter cape on special occasions), and secures shelter. Perhaps even more startlingly, she finds strength and serenity living alone on the island. This beautiful edition of Island of the Blue Dolphins is enriched with 12 full-page watercolor paintings by Ted Lewin, illustrator of more than 100 children's books, including Ali, Child of the Desert. A gripping story of battling wild dogs and sea elephants, this simply told, suspenseful tale of survival is also an uplifting adventure of the spirit. (Ages 9 to 12)

Otto of the Silver Hand [mvpl] [amzn]
Howard Pyle
Fantastically illustrated tale of motherless son of a valiant robber baron of medieval Germany.
Where the Red Fern Grows [mvpl] [amzn]
Wilson Rawls
Author Wilson Rawls spent his boyhood much like the character of this book, Billy Colman, roaming the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma with his bluetick hound. A straightforward, shoot-from-the-hip storyteller with a searingly honest voice, Rawls is well-loved for this powerful 1961 classic and the award-winning novel Summer of the Monkeys. In Where the Red Fern Grows, Billy and his precious coonhound pups romp relentlessly through the Ozarks, trying to "tree" the elusive raccoon. In time, the inseparable trio wins the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, captures the wily ghost coon, and bravely fights with a mountain lion. When the victory over the mountain lion turns to tragedy, Billy grieves, but learns the beautiful old Native American legend of the sacred red fern that grows over the graves of his dogs. This unforgettable classic belongs on every child's bookshelf. (Ages 9 and up)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever [mvpl] [amzn]
Barbara Robinson

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale -- the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating -- has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year's pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

The Cricket in Times Square [mvpl] [amzn]
George Selden
One night, the sounds of New York City--the rumbling of subway trains, thrumming of automobile tires, hooting of horns, howling of brakes, and the babbling of voices--is interrupted by a sound that even Tucker Mouse, a jaded inhabitant of Times Square, has never heard before. Mario, the son of Mama and Papa Bellini, proprietors of the subway-station newsstand, had only heard the sound once. What was this new, strangely musical chirping? None other than the mellifluous leg-rubbing of the somewhat disoriented Chester Cricket from Connecticut. Attracted by the irresistible smell of liverwurst, Chester had foolishly jumped into the picnic basket of some unsuspecting New Yorkers on a junket to the country. Despite the insect's wurst intentions, he ends up in a pile of dirt in Times Square.

Mario is elated to find Chester. He begs his parents to let him keep the shiny insect in the newsstand, assuring his bug-fearing mother that crickets are harmless, maybe even good luck. What ensues is an altogether captivating spin on the city mouse/country mouse story, as Chester adjusts to the bustle of the big city. Despite the cricket's comfortable matchbox bed (with Kleenex sheets); the fancy, seven-tiered pagoda cricket cage from Sai Fong's novelty shop; tasty mulberry leaves; the jolly company of Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat; and even his new-found fame as "the most famous musician in New York City," Chester begins to miss his peaceful life in the Connecticut countryside. The Cricket in Times Square--a Newbery Award runner-up in 1961--is charmingly illustrated by the well-loved Garth Williams, and the tiniest details of this elegantly spun, vividly told, surprisingly suspenseful tale will stick with children for years and years. Make sure this classic sits on the shelf of your favorite child, right next to The Wind in the Willows. (Ages 9 to 12)

The Pilgrims of Plimoth [mvpl] [amzn]
Marcia Sewall
After an abundance of prayers and tears we made farewells at dockside and boarded our small ship. Our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean "began with a prosperous wind," but the sea soon became "sharp and violent" and storms howled about us.

When the pilgrims set out for America, they brought with them a dream for the future. Sickness, hardship, and heartache stood in the way of that dream. But the pilgrims worked hard, keeping their dream close to their hearts, until they were finally able to make it come true.

Black Beauty [mvpl] [amzn]
Anna Sewell
Told by the magnificent black horse himself, this is the dramatic and heartwarming tale of Black Beauty's life-from his idyllic days on a country squire's estate to his harsh fate as a London cab horse.
The Bronze Bow [mvpl] [amzn]
Elizabeth George Speare
Set in Galilee in the time of Jesus, this is the story of a young Jewish rebel who is won over to the gentle teachings of Jesus.
Call It Courage [mvpl] [amzn]
Armstrong Sperry
Mafatu's name means "Stout Heart," but his people call him a coward. Ever since the sea took his mother's life and spared his own, he has lived with deep fear. And even though his father is the Great Chief of Hikueru--an island whose seafaring people worship courage--he is terrified, and consequently, he is severely scorned.

By the time he is fifteen years old, Mafatu can bear it no longer. He must conquer his fear alone. . . even if it means certain death.

This classic tale of a young boy's hidden strength has been a favorite of readers of all ages since its 1940 publication--now this exclusive audio preserves its original poignancy and splendor, and brings Mafatu to life for future generations of listeners.

Highlights of Lou Diamond Phillips's film credits include Courage Under Fire, Young Guns II, Stand and Deliver, and La Bamba. An accomplished stage actor, he starred in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of The King and I.

Heidi [mvpl] [amzn]
Johanna Spyri
Johanna Spyri's classic story of a young orphan sent to live with her grumpy grandfather in the Swiss Alps is retold in it's entirety in this beautifully bound hardcover edition. Heidi has charmed and intrigued readers since it's original publication in 1880. Much more than a children's story, the narrative is also a lesson on the precarious nature of freedom, a luxury too often taken for granted. Heidi almost loses her liberty as she is ripped away from the tranquility of the mountains to tend to a sick cousin in the city. Happily, all's well that ends well, and the reader is left with only warm, fuzzy thoughts. Spryi's story will never grow wearisome--and this is a very appealing edition. --Naomi Gesinger
Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman [mvpl] [amzn]
Dorothy Sterling
Born into slavery, young Harriet Tubman knew only hard work and hunger. Escape seemed impossible--certainly dangerous. Yet Harriet did escape North, by the secret route called the Underground Railroad. Harriet didn't forget her people. Again and again she risked her life to lead them on the same secret, dangerous journey.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry [mvpl] [amzn]
Mildred D. Taylor
In all Mildred D. Taylor's unforgettable novels she recounts "not only the joy of growing up in a large and supportive family, but my own feelings of being faced with segregation and bigotry." Her Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry tells the story of one African American family, fighting to stay together and strong in the face of brutal racist attacks, illness, poverty, and betrayal in the Deep South of the 1930s. Nine-year-old Cassie Logan, growing up protected by her loving family, has never had reason to suspect that any white person could consider her inferior or wish her harm. But during the course of one devastating year when her community begins to be ripped apart by angry night riders threatening African Americans, she and her three brothers come to understand why the land they own means so much to their Papa. "Look out there, Cassie girl. All that belongs to you. You ain't never had to live on nobody's place but your own and long as I live and the family survives, you'll never have to. That's important. You may not understand that now but one day you will. Then you'll see."

Twenty-five years after it was first published, this special anniversary edition of the classic strikes as deep and powerful a note as ever. Taylor's vivid portrayal of ugly racism and the poignancy of Cassie's bewilderment and gradual toughening against social injustice and the men and women who perpetuate it, will remain with readers forever. Two award-winning sequels, Let the Circle Be Unbroken and The Road to Memphis, and a long-awaited prequel, The Land, continue the profoundly moving tale of the Logan family. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter

J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set [mvpl] [amzn]
J.R.R. Tolkien
Hobbits and wizards and Sauron--oh, my! Mild-mannered Oxford scholar John Ronald Reuel Tolkien had little inkling when he published The Hobbit; Or, There and Back Again in 1937 that, once hobbits were unleashed upon the world, there would be no turning back. Hobbits are, of course, small, furry creatures who love nothing better than a leisurely life quite free from adventure. But in that first novel and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo and their elfish friends get swept up into a mighty conflict with the dragon Smaug, the dark lord Sauron (who owes much to proud Satan in Paradise Lost), the monstrous Gollum, the Cracks of Doom, and the awful power of the magical Ring. The four books' characters--good and evil--are recognizably human, and the realism is deepened by the magnificent detail of the vast parallel world Tolkien devised, inspired partly by his influential Anglo-Saxon scholarship and his Christian beliefs. (He disapproved of the relative sparseness of detail in the comparable allegorical fantasy his friend C.S. Lewis dreamed up in The Chronicles of Narnia, though he knew Lewis had spun a page-turning yarn.) It has been estimated that one-tenth of all paperbacks sold can trace their ancestry to J.R.R. Tolkien. But even if we had never gotten Robert Jordan's The Path of Daggers and the whole fantasy genre Tolkien inadvertently created by bringing the hobbits so richly to life, Tolkien's epic about the Ring would have left our world enhanced by enchantment. --Tim Appelo
The Hobbit [mvpl] [amzn]
J. R. R. Tolkien
Anna Karenina [mvpl] [amzn]
Leo Tolstoy
Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world's greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy's best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn't take well to that sort of thing.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [mvpl] [amzn]
Mark Twain
A seminal work of American Literature that still commands deep praise and still elicits controversy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul. The recent discovery of the first half of Twain's manuscript, long thought lost, made front-page news. And this unprecedented edition, which contains for the first time omitted episodes and other variations present in the first half of the handwritten manuscript, as well as facsimile reproductions of thirty manuscript pages, is indispensable to a full understanding of the novel. The changes, deletions, and additions made in the first half of the manuscript indicate that Mark Twain frequently checked his impulse to write an even darker, more confrontational book than the one he finally published.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [mvpl] [amzn]
Mark Twain
This is Mark Twain's first novel about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, and it has become one of the world's best-loved books. It is a fond reminiscence of life in Hannibal, Missouri, an evocation of Mark Twain's own boyhood along the banks of the Mississippi during the 1840s. "Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred," he tells us. This is a book one never forgets: Tom whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence, Tom and Huck's dreadful oath, their cure for warts ("spunk water" and dead cats), Tom's puppy love for Becky Thatcher, the boys playing "pirate" on Jackson's Island.
This Mark Twain Library text is the only edition since the first (1876) to be based directly on the author's manuscript and to include all of the "200 rattling pictures" Mark Twain commissioned from one of his favorite illustrators, True W. Williams.
Banner in the Sky [mvpl] [amzn]
James Ramsey Ullman

The Citadel

It stands unconquered, the last great summit of the Alps. Only one man has ever dared to approach the top, and that man died in his pursuit. He was Josef Matt, Rudi Matt's father.

At sixteen, Rudi is determined to pay tribute to the man he never knew, and complete the quest that claimed his father's life. And so, taking his father's red shirt as a flag, he heads off to face the earth's most challenging peak. But before Rudi can reach the top, he must pass through the forbidden Fortress, the gaping chasm in the high reaches of teh Citadel where his father met his end. Rudi has followed Josef's footsteps as far as they will take him. Now he must search deep within himself to find the strength for the final ascent to the summit -- to plant his banner in the sky.

His father died while trying to climb Switzerland's greatest mountain -- the Citadel -- and young Rudi knows he must make the assault himself.
Around the World in Eighty Days [mvpl] [amzn]
Jules Verne
Jules Verne was trained as a lawyer, but wanted to write stories and novels instead. One of his first stories to gain immediate popularity was "Five Weeks in a Baloon" written when airtravel was unknown and balooning was still in its early days. In this story an Englishman, Phileas Fogg bets that he can travel completely around the world in

only eighty days. In this

humorous and fun

story he encounters exotic places and cultures and situations that can ground him. Can he actually make it around the world? And can it be done in this eighty LISTPRICE: 8.99

Ink on His Fingers [mvpl] [amzn]
Louise A. Vernon
The Aeneid of Virgil [mvpl] [amzn]
Virgil
Aeneas flees the ashes of Troy to found the city of Rome and change forever the course of the Western world--as literature as well. Virgil's Aeneid is as eternal as Rome itself, a sweeping epic of arms and heroism--the searching portrait of a man caught between love and duty, human feeling and the force of fate--that has influenced writers for over 2,000 years. Filled with drama, passion, and the universal pathos that only a masterpiece can express. The Aeneid is a book for all the time and all people.
The Boxcar Children [mvpl] [amzn]
Gertrude Chandler Warner
Read by Phyllis Newman
Two cassettes / 1 hour 54 minutes

Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, four orphaned brothers and sisters, suddenly appear in a small town. No one knows who these young wanderers are or where they have come from. Frightened to live with a grandfather they have never met, the children make a home for themselves in an abandoned red boxcar they discover in the woods. Henry, the oldest, goes to town to earn money and buy food and supplies.

Ambitious and resourceful, the plucky children make a happy life themselves--until Violet gets too sick for her brothers and sister to care for her.

This unabridged recording will delight any child who has fantasized about being on his or her own and overcoming every obstacle.
Charlotte's Web [mvpl] [amzn]
E. B. White
An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads "Some Pig," convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.
The Trumpet of the Swan [mvpl] [amzn]
E. B. White
Although he lacks a voice in the traditional "Ko-hoh!" sense, trumpeter swan Louis learns to speak to the world with a trumpet stolen from a music store by his father. With the support of an unusual boy named Sam, who helps Louis learn how to read and write, the swan has some rather unswanlike adventures and ultimately wins the love--and the freedom--of a beautiful swan named Serena.

For over 30 years, E.B. White's masterpiece has captured the fancy of countless readers. Now, with stunning new art by award-winning illustrator Fred Marcellino, the beloved story can be experienced anew. The sepia-colored drawings lend an old-fashioned charm to the story--it's almost as if, with their complementary dry wit and uniquely creative talents, White and Marcellino originally worked together. Marcellino received the Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Charles Perrault's Puss in Boots. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm [mvpl] [amzn]
Kate Douglas Wiggin
Author Jack London wrote Kate Douglas Wiggin a letter about her classic Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm from the headquarters of the First Japanese Army in Manchuria in 1904: "May I thank you for Rebecca?... I would have quested the wide world over to make her mine, only I was born too long ago and she was born but yesterday.... Why could she not have been my daughter? Why couldn't it have been I who bought the three hundred cakes of soap? Why, O, why?" Mark Twain called Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm "beautiful and warm and satisfying."

Who is this beguiling creature? The irrepressible 10-year-old Rebecca Rowena Randall burst into the world of children's book characters (and her new life in Maine) in 1903 when storybook girls were gentle and proper. A "bird of a very different feather," she had "a small, plain face illuminated by a pair of eyes carrying such messages, such suggestions, such hints of sleeping power and insight, that one never tired of looking into their shining depths.... " Soon enough, she wins over her prim Aunt Miranda, the whole town, and thousands of readers everywhere with her energetic, indomitable spirit. This beautiful trade edition features the artwork of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm's original illustrator Helen Mason Grose, with 6 full- color plates and 32 pen-and-ink drawings. (Ages 9 and older)

Little House [mvpl] [amzn]
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The set includes: Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.

Little House in the Big Woods

Wolves and panthers and bears roam the deep Wisconsin woods in the late 1870's. In those same woods, Laura lives with Pa and Ma, and her sisters, Mary and Baby Carrie, in a snug little house built of logs. Pa hunts and traps. Ma makes her own cheese and butter. All night long, the wind howls lonesomely, but Pa plays the fiddle and sings, keeping the family safe and cozy.

Little House on the Prairie

Pa Ingalls decides to sell the little log house, and the family sets out for Indian country! They travel from Wisconsin to Kansas, and there, finally, Pa builds their little house on the prairie. Sometimes farm life is difficult, even dangerous, but Laura and her family are kept busy and are happy with the promise of their new life on the prairie.

Farmer Boy

While Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the western prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Almanzo and his brother and sisters work at their chores from dawn to supper most days -- no matter what the weather. There is still time for fun, though, especially with the horses, which Almanzo loves more than anything.

On the Banks of Plum Creek

Laura's family's first home in Minnesota is made of sod, but Pa builds a clean new house made of sawed lumber beside Plum Creek. The money for materials will come from their first wheat crop. Then, just before the wheat is ready to harvest, a strange glittering cloud fills the sky, blocking out the sun. Soon millions of grasshoppers cover the field and everything on the farm. In a week's time, there is no wheat crop left at all.

By the Shores of Silver Lake

Pa Ingalls heads west to the unsettled wilderness of the Dakota Territory. When Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and baby Grace join him, they become the first settlers in the town of De Smet. And Pa begins work on the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the shores of Silver Lake.

The Long Winter

The first terrible storm comes to the barren prairie in October. Then it snows almost without stopping until April. Snow has reached the rooftops, and no trains can get through with food or coal. The people of De Smet are starving, including Laura's family, who wonder how they're going to make it through this terrible winter. It is young Almanzo Wilder who finally understands what needs to be done. He must save the town, even if it means risking his own life.

Little Town on the Prairie

The long winter is over. With spring come socials, parties, and "Literaries." There is also work to be done. Laura spends many hours each day sewing shirts to help send Mary to a college for the blind. But in the evenings, Laura makes time for a new caller, Almanzo Wilder.

These Happy Golden Years

Laura is teaching school, and it's terrifying! Most of the students are taller than she is, and she must sleep away from home for the first time. Laura is miserable, but the money is needed to keep Mary in a college for the blind. And every Friday -- no matter what the weather -- Almanzo Wilder arrives to take Laura home to her family for the weekend. Laura and Almanzo are courting, and even though she's not yet sixteen, she knows that this is a time for new beginnings.

The First Four Years

Laura and Almanzo Wilder have just been married! Their life on a small prairie homestead begins with high hopes. But each year seems to bring unexpected disasters -- storms, sickness, fire, and unpaid debts. These first four years call for courage, strength, and a great deal of determination. Always, though, there is love, especially for the newest member of the family -- baby Rose.

Little House on the Prairie [mvpl] [amzn]
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for Kansas. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their little house on the prairie. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Sometimes pioneer life is hard, but Laura and her folks are always busy and happy in their new little house.

The Swiss Family Robinson [mvpl] [amzn]
Johann Wyss
"For many days we had been tempest-tossed . . .the raging storm increased in fury on the seventh day all hope was lost." From these dire opening lines, a delightful story of adventure begins. One family will emerge alive from this terrible storm: the Robinson's -- a Swiss pastor, his wife, and four sons, plus two dogs and a shipload of livestock, hens, pigeons and geese! Inspired by Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Cruesoe," this heartwarming tale portrays a family's struggle to create a new life for themselves on a strange and fantastic tropical island. There each boy must learn to control his own nature -- such as Ernest's bookishness and Fritz's hot temper -- as their adventures lead to amazing discoveries, danger, and tantalizing surprises, including a puzzling message tied to an albatross's leg. But it is the authenticity of the boys' behavior, the ingenuity of the family, and the natural wonders of this exotic land that have made The Swiss Family Robinson, first published in 1812-1813, one of the world's best-loved and most enduring stories of shipwreck and survival.


From the Paperback edition.
Posted by torque at September 20, 2006 1:44 AM | TrackBack