September 25, 2006

Mosquito larvae destruction

The resonant frequency idea is apparently more than half-baked.
At least one company, New Mountain Innovations, claims to be able to destroy mosquito larvae up to a five foot radius by sending audio signals at the resonant frequency of the mosquito larvae air bladder. Go Michael! The story is good - now does it really work?

The concept is simple: Use acoustic energy to kill mosquito larvae before they can become biting adults. All mosquito larvae, regardless of species, have internal air bladders that help them breathe and move up and down in the water where they feed and grow. Send sound waves through the water and those bladders start to vibrate like a tuning fork. Eventually the bladder tissue ruptures, killing the larvae.
There is at least one scientific paper on this giving 1 MHz as the frequency of choice.

I'm still hopeful on getting adult mosquitoes in mid-flight. Suppose you were able to send back ultrasound at the frequency the mosquitoes are flapping their tiny wings. Could you (a) cause them to fall to the ground via destructive interference, or (b) cause their wings to rip off via constructive interference? That would a cool demo. The device would need to listen and then replay using large volume the correct frequency. Of course, since you could hear mosquitoes buzzing, perhaps this may not be such a good idea. The frequency here is 250-1000 Hz. Here's some more serious analysis.

Posted by torque at 1:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ultrasonic mosquito repellent - will it work?

I was wondering about this all night after a friend of ours mentioned it. Their grandkids are currently in Central Asia getting eaten alive by these little buggers. The question at hand is whether there is anything that technology can offer besides air conditioning, netting and hazardous chemicals. Enter the ultrasonic mosquito repellant. The original theory goes like this - bats, el mosquito's #1 enemy, emit sonar in the 20-50 kHz range. By mimicing these bats, the mosquitoes should take a hike. But does it work? Cecil Adam's straight dope concluded in 1977 "no" based on EPA testing in Chesapeake Bay. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Center for Disease Control in 2002 said "no" -- this time to a new set of frequencies set to mimic "male mosquitoes and dragonflies".

...ultrasonic products are not effective at preventing mosquito bites. It advises people to:
  • use insect repellent containing DEET, according to the manufacturer's instructions;
  • wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants;
    spread mosquito netting over infant carriers; and
  • stay indoors at dawn and dusk.
As of 2005, the verdict from the CDC was still a resounding "no" -- ""ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites."

But it is 2006 now. And these things still sell. Perhaps the theory has changed?

I doubt it. For a first hand account, check out Joe Kissell's blog on the topic. Don't think "it can't hurt". The Biting Insect Management Bulletin reports on Dr. Richard Gorham, of the Arctic Health Research Laboratory in Fairbanks.

Dr. Richard Gorham, of the Arctic Health Research Laboratory in Fairbanks, took an ultrasonic mosquito repeller to Sagwon on the North Slope. The machine emitted a kind of extremely high-pitched whine that supposedly sent mosquitoes far, far away. Gorham challenged that claim by testing the whiner at the height of mosquito season. A true scientist, he calibrated the mosquito density by exposing the back of his unprotected hand for five minutes, counting the number of mosquitoes that drew blood.

From that part of the experiment alone, Gorham was able to calculate that had he been stripped naked and tied to a post at Sagwon, he would have died from loss of blood in two and a half hours. Then he turned on the whining device, and found that with its help, he'd die more quickly. The number of mosquitoes biting within five minutes actually increased slightly. He was not surprised, since mosquitoes use their own characteristic whine as a method for finding mates; high-pitched whines can be the mosquito equivalent of a wolf whistle. The non biting male mosquitoes are most likely to be attracted, but females may also use such signals to detect happy clouds of their sisters zeroing in on food.

So, buyer really beware. To get more answers to more questions about mosquitoes, check out the Colorado State West Nile Virus FAQ. It is excessively thorough. The bottom line is that you are mostly stuck with N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethly-3-methylbenamide (DEET) based solutions. Tough choice, long-term chemical poisoning or short-term death via encephalitis or West Nile?

We've established that the current set of ultrasonic devices are most likely not going to work. But perhaps this is a problem with the theory. Scaring the buggers away with the mutterings of bats, dragonfiles and male mosquitoes may not work, but consider the following: what if we design an ultrasonic mosquito repellent tuned to the resonant frequency of the mosquitoes brain... I wonder if we could cause the mosquitoes to explode in mid-flight...

Posted by torque at 12:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2006

compuntoe --> compuntoes

What is "compuntoe" and why is it the second most searched term on Technorati this morning? Interestingly enough, the main Google site shows absolutely nothing for the term. You'll have more luck looking in Spain. Does it mean computers? Spanish-English dictionary yields nothing. Clearly someone else also has nothing better to do than to try to understand what compuntoes is.

Update: Solution found here in comments. The word means "com dot es" (i.e., com-punto-es) and was chosen for a seo challenge that will finish 2/1. A lot more hits come in when you look for "compuntoes" which is the real target. My first guess was "the state of your toes after walking a mile in shoes that are too narrow -- "compun-toes".

Posted by torque at 4:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Recommended Book Reading List - High School Fiction

Checklist

Richard Adams, Watership Down: A Novel
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Anonymous, Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Willa Cather, My Antonia
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
Thomas B. Costain, The Silver Chalice
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Baroness Orczy Emmuska, The Scarlet Pimpernel:
C.S. Forester, Lieutenant Hornblower
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea
O. Henry, The Ransom of Red Chief
G. A. Henty, The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt
James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small
Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft
James Hilton, Good-Bye, Mr. Chips
Homer, The Iliad
Homer, The Odyssey
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Washington Irving, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow
Brian Jacques, Redwall
Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous
Jean Lee Latham, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis, Perelandra
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength
C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Jack London, The Call Of The Wild
Alistair MacLean, The Guns of Navarone.
Catherine Marshall, Christy
John Milton, Paradise Lost
George Orwell, Animal Farm
Chaim Potok, The Chosen
Howard Pyle, Men of Iron
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling
James Reeves, Exploits of Don Quixote
Conrad Richter, The Light in the Forest
William Shakespeare, The Riverside Shakespeare
Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
Gene Stratton-Porter, A Girl of the Limberlost
H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man
Source: http://writing-edu.com/literature/booklistC.php

Summaries

Watership Down: A Novel [mvpl] [amzn]
Richard Adams
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.
The Divine Comedy [mvpl] [amzn]
Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.
Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight [mvpl] [amzn]
Anonymous
The classic old English tale of King Arthur's kinsman
Pride and Prejudice [mvpl] [amzn]
Jane Austen
Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible, incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an insufferable goody-goody, but the truth is she's a completely hip character, who if provoked is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her exceptionally sharp -- but always polite -- 18th century wit. The point is, you spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hook up?
The Hiding Place [mvpl] [amzn]
Corrie Ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom stood naked with her older sister Betsie, watching a concentration camp matron beating a prisoner."Oh, the poor woman," Corrie cried."Yes. May God forgive her," Betsie replied. And, once again, Corrie realized that it was for the souls of the brutal Nazi guards that her sister prayed.

Here is a book aglow with the glory of God and the courage of a quiet Christian spinster whose life was transformed by it. A story of Christ's message and the courageous woman who listened and lived to pass it along -- with joy and triumph!
The Martian Chronicles [mvpl] [amzn]
Ray Bradbury
From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.

Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material. In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date. But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby

Jane Eyre [mvpl] [amzn]
Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë characterized the eponymous heroine of her 1847 novel as being "as poor and plain as myself." Presenting a heroine with neither great beauty nor entrancing charm was an unprecendented maneuver, but Brontë's instincts proved correct, for readers of her era and ever after have taken Jane Eyre into their hearts. The author drew upon her own experience to depict Jane's struggles at Lowood, an oppressive boarding school, and her troubled career as a governess. Unlike Jane, Brontë had the advantage of a warm family circle that shared and encouraged her literary pursuits. She found immediate success with this saga of an orphan girl forced to make her way alone in the world, from Lowood School to Thornfield, the estate of the majestically moody Mr. Rochester, and beyond. Unabridged republication of a standard edition.
My Antonia [mvpl] [amzn]
Willa Cather

ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED
BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP


The moving portrait of an orphan boy and immigrant girl who find hardship -- and love -- on the American prairie.


EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:

• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information

• A chronology of the author's life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations

• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience


Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.

SERIES EDITED BY CYNTHIA BRANTLEY JOHNSON

The Canterbury Tales [mvpl] [amzn]
Geoffrey Chaucer
On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

From the heroic romance of "The Knight's Tale" to the low farce embodied in the stories of the Miller, the Reeve, and the Merchant, Chaucer treated such universal subjects as love, sex, and death in poetry that is simultaneously witty, insightful, and poignant. The Canterbury Tales is a grand tour of 14th-century English mores and morals--one that modern-day readers will enjoy.

Heart of Darkness [mvpl] [amzn]
Joseph Conrad
Dark allegory describes the narrator’s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic story.
The Last of the Mohicans [mvpl] [amzn]
James Fenimore Cooper
The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican fiends Cingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.
The Silver Chalice [mvpl] [amzn]
Thomas B. Costain
The Silver Chalice recounts the story of Basil, a young silversmith, who is commissioned by the apostle Luke to fashion a holder for the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. The Silver Chalice was the best-selling fiction title of 1953 in the United States and was made into a film starring Paul Newman.
The Red Badge of Courage [mvpl] [amzn]
Stephen Crane
Tor Classics are affordably-priced editions designed to attract the young reader. Original dynamic cover art enthusiastically represents the excitement of each story. Appropriate "reader friendly" type sizes have been chosen for each title--offering clear, accurate, and readable text. All editions are complete and unabridged, and feature Introductions and Afterwords.This edition of The Red Badge of Courage includes an Introduction, Biographical Note, and Afterword by Joe Haldeman.Henry Fleming had no idea how horrible war really was. Attacks come from all sides, bullets fly, bombs crash. Men everywhere are wounded, bleeding, and dying. Now, Henry's fighting for his life and he's scared.He must make a decision, perhaps the most difficult decision he will ever make in his life: save himself-run from the enemy and desert his friends-or fight, be brave, and risk his life.If he stays to fight, he may die with his regiment. If he runs, he'll have to live with knowing he was a coward. Can Henry find the strength within himself to earn his red badge of courage?
Robinson Crusoe [mvpl] [amzn]
Daniel Defoe

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English

language.

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) trained for the ministry, became a political journalist, and finally, to many, became "the father of the English novel." He is also the author of Moll Flanders.

Great Expectations [mvpl] [amzn]
Charles Dickens
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [mvpl] [amzn]
Annie Dillard
An exhilarating meditation on nature and its seasons-a personal narrative highlighting one year's exploration on foot in the author's own neighborhood in Tinker Creek, Virginia. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays -King of the Meadow' with a field of grasshoppers.
The Three Musketeers [mvpl] [amzn]
Alexandre Dumas
This swashbuckling tale, beloved around the world, follows the fortunes of d'Artagnan, a country boy who travels to Paris to join the Musketeers, save his Queen from scandal, and outwit the devious Cardinal Richelieu.
The Scarlet Pimpernel: [mvpl] [amzn]
Baroness Orczy Emmuska
During the French Revolution's reign of terror, the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel rescues helpless men, women, and children from their doom in this unique, wonderfully colorful adventure classic.
Lieutenant Hornblower [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Forester
Read by Ioan Gruffudd Two cassettes Running time: 2 hours
The Scarlet Letter [mvpl] [amzn]
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hailed by Henry James as "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.

With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride.
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation [mvpl] [amzn]
Seamus Heaney
In Beowulf warriors must back up their mead-hall boasts with instant action, monsters abound, and fights are always to the death. The Anglo-Saxon epic, composed between the 7th and 10th centuries, has long been accorded its place in literature, though its hold on our imagination has been less secure. In the introduction to his translation, Seamus Heaney argues that Beowulf's role as a required text for many English students obscured its mysteries and "mythic potency." Now, thanks to the Irish poet's marvelous recreation (in both senses of the word) under Alfred David's watch, this dark, doom-ridden work gets its day in the sun.

There are endless pleasures in Heaney's analysis, but readers should head straight for the poem and then to the prose. (Some will also take advantage of the dual-language edition and do some linguistic teasing out of their own.) The epic's outlines seem simple, depicting Beowulf's three key battles with the scaliest brutes in all of art: Grendel, Grendel's mother (who's in a suitably monstrous snit after her son's dismemberment and death), and then, 50 years later, a gold-hoarding dragon "threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire." Along the way, however, we are treated to flashes back and forward and to a world view in which a thane's allegiance to his lord and to God is absolute. In the first fight, the man from Geatland must travel to Denmark to take on the "shadow-stalker" terrorizing Heorot Hall. Here Beowulf and company set sail:

Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
sand churned in the surf, warriors loaded
a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird...
After a fearsome night victory over march-haunting and heath-marauding Grendel, our high-born hero is suitably strewn with gold and praise, the queen declaring: "Your sway is wide as the wind's home, / as the sea around cliffs." Few will disagree. And remember, Beowulf has two more trials to undergo.

Heaney claims that when he began his translation it all too often seemed "like trying to bring down a megalith with a toy hammer." The poem's challenges are many: its strong four-stress line, heavy alliteration, and profusion of kennings could have been daunting. (The sea is, among other things, "the whale-road," the sun is "the world's candle," and Beowulf's third opponent is a "vile sky-winger." When it came to over-the-top compound phrases, the temptations must have been endless, but for the most part, Heaney smiles, he "called a sword a sword.") Yet there are few signs of effort in the poet's Englishing. Heaney varies his lines with ease, offering up stirring dialogue, action, and description while not stinting on the epic's mix of fate and fear. After Grendel's misbegotten mother comes to call, the king's evocation of her haunted home may strike dread into the hearts of men and beasts, but it's a gift to the reader:

A few miles from here
a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
above a mere; the overhanging bank
is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
At night there, something uncanny happens:
the water burns. And the mere bottom
has never been sounded by the sons of men.
On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
will turn to face them with firm-set horns
and die in the wood rather than dive
beneath its surface. That is no good place.
In Heaney's hands, the poem's apparent archaisms and Anglo-Saxon attitudes--its formality, blood-feuds, and insane courage--turn the art of an ancient island nation into world literature. --Kerry Fried
The Old Man and The Sea [mvpl] [amzn]
Ernest Hemingway
Here, for a change, is a fish tale that actually does honor to the author. In fact The Old Man and the Sea revived Ernest Hemingway's career, which was foundering under the weight of such postwar stinkers as Across the River and into the Trees. It also led directly to his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1954 (an award Hemingway gladly accepted, despite his earlier observation that "no son of a bitch that ever won the Nobel Prize ever wrote anything worth reading afterwards"). A half century later, it's still easy to see why. This tale of an aged Cuban fisherman going head-to-head (or hand-to-fin) with a magnificent marlin encapsulates Hemingway's favorite motifs of physical and moral challenge. Yet Santiago is too old and infirm to partake of the gun-toting machismo that disfigured much of the author's later work: "The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords." Hemingway's style, too, reverts to those superb snapshots of perception that won him his initial fame:
Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin. He saw it first when it jumped in the air, true gold in the last of the sun and bending and flapping wildly in the air.
If a younger Hemingway had written this novella, Santiago most likely would have towed the enormous fish back to port and posed for a triumphal photograph--just as the author delighted in doing, circa 1935. Instead his prize gets devoured by a school of sharks. Returning with little more than a skeleton, he takes to his bed and, in the very last line, cements his identification with his creator: "The old man was dreaming about the lions." Perhaps there's some allegory of art and experience floating around in there somewhere--but The Old Man and the Sea was, in any case, the last great catch of Hemingway's career. --James Marcus
The Ransom of Red Chief [mvpl] [amzn]
O. Henry
Sam and Bill, a couple of down-on-their-luck con men, decide to kidnap the young son of a prosperous banker, by the name of Ebenezer Dorset, in Summit, a small Alabama town, to finance one of their crooked land deals in Illinois. They kidnap the boy and hide him in a cave a few miles from Summit. At the cave they finalize their scheme to write a ransom letter to the boy's parent. The boy, an eight-year old freckle-faced red-headed hellion loves living in the cave. He treats the kidnaping as a wonderful adventure. Calling himself Red Chief, he makes believe his kidnappers are really his captives. He plans to burn Sam at the stake and scalp Bill at daybreak. Sure enough, at the rising of the sun and using Bill's sharp kitchen knife, Red Chief really attempts to scalp Bill.

When they write the ransom note, Bill convinces Sam that $2000 is too much for a kid like Red Chief, and they lower the ransom to $1500. The strain on Bill continues to worsen. Red Chief puts a hot baked potato down Bill's back and smashes it with his foot; then Bill is made to play the horse in Red Chief's Black Scout game and is ridden ninety miles to the stockade and forced to eat sand for oats. When the reply from the boy's father arrives, it is not what the kidnapers expect. Dorset answers the kidnappers' demands with a counter-proposal. He'll accept his son back only if they pay him. So when the kidnappers should have been collecting the ransom, they gladly hand over Red Chief and $250 to Dorset and flee town, two poorer but wiser men

READ-ALONG RADIO DRAMA KITS are literature units for the reading/ language arts classroom. The kit includes: A CD recording of the radio play with full cast and sound effects; A word-for-word read-along script; Duplication rights for word-for-word script and student activity sheets; Ready-to-use student activity sheets (Cloze Activity, Sequence Activity, Vocabulary Activities, Literal Comprehension Activity, Listening Skills Activity, Crossword Puzzles, A list of Writing/Discussion Questions); A literary terms study packet; Teaching suggestions w/answer keys; Strategies for teaching read-along in the secondary classroom; An annotated script of the original story; A sample lesson plan; Using Read-Along Radio Dramas. (Ransom of Red Chief Read-Along Radio Drama is recommended for grades 5 through adult. CD recording length 28 min.)

The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt [mvpl] [amzn]
G. A. Henty
Enslaved by a conquering army, the young prince Amuba finds friendship in the house of an Egyptian high priest, where he acts as a companion to the priest's son Chebron. The entire household plunges into peril when Chebron accidentally kills the sacred cat of the great temple at Bubastes--a riot ensues, and the boys are forced to flee. Set in 1250 b.c., the time of Moses, this thrilling adventure story offers an evocative look at the ancient Egyptian world. Skillfully interwoven in the narrative thread are fascinating, accurate details about Egyptian religion and geography, the methods by which the Nile was used for irrigation, and how the Egyptians made war and were prepared for burial.
All Creatures Great and Small [mvpl] [amzn]
James Herriot
Take an unforgettable journey through the English countryside and into the homes of its inhabitants-- four-legged and otherwise-- with the world's best-loved animal doctor.

For over 25 years-- since All Creatures Great and Small was first published-- readers have delighted to the storytelling genius of James Herriot, the Yorkshire veterinarian whose fascinating vignettes brim with the wonder of life, animal and human.

Whether struggling mightily to position a calf for birthing, or comforting a lonely old man whose beloved dog and only companion has died, Herriot's heartwarming and often hilarious stories of his first years as a country vet perfectly depict the wonderful relationship between man and animal-- and they intimately portray a man whose humor, compassion , and love of life are truly inspiring.
Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft [mvpl] [amzn]
Thor Heyerdahl

Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure -- a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.

On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land -- the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.

Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage -- a magnificent saga of men against the sea.

Washington Square Press' Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of Kon-Tiki has been prepared by an editorial committee headed by Harry Shefter, professor of English at New York University. It includes a foreword by the author, a selection of critical excerpts, notes, an index, and a unique visual essay of the voyage.

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips [mvpl] [amzn]
James Hilton
The Iliad [mvpl] [amzn]
Homer
One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its center is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his conflict with his leader Agamemnon. Interwoven in the tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, the besieged city of Ilium, the feud between the gods, and the fate of mortals.
The Odyssey [mvpl] [amzn]
Homer
Les Miserables [mvpl] [amzn]
Victor Hugo
Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, LES MISERABLES is not only superb adventure but a powerful social document. The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity, in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, became the gospel of the poor and the oppressed.
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow [mvpl] [amzn]
Washington Irving
Redwall [mvpl] [amzn]
Brian Jacques
As the inhabitants of Redwall Abbey bask in the glorious Summer of the Late Rose, all is quiet and peaceful. But things are not as they seem. Cluny the Scourge, the evil one-eyed rat warlord, is hell-bent on destroying the tranquility as he prepares to fight a bloody battle for the ownership of Redwall. This dazzling story in the Redwall series is packed with all the wit, wisdom, humor, and blood-curdling adventure of the other books in the collection, but has the added bonus of taking the reader right back to the heart and soul of Redwall Abbey and the characters who live there.

Magical, mystical, and the stuff of legends, this stunning tale of good battling with--and ultimately triumphing over--evil takes the reader on a roller-coaster adventure that barely draws breath from the first page to the very last. Brian Jacques is a true master of his craft. --Susan Harrison

Captains Courageous [mvpl] [amzn]
Rudyard Kipling
The only one of Kipling's novels to be cast in an American setting, Captains Courageous endures as one of literature's most cherished and memorable sea adventures. Harvey Cheyne, spoiled millionaire's son, tumbles overboard from a luxury liner--only to be rescued by the crew of a Gloucester schooner. Thus begins the boy's second voyage into the rugged rites and ways of sailors. Like all Kipling's masterworks, Captains Courageous is an interweaving of art and moral purpose. Angus Wilson has said that it shows "delicacy of craft and violence of feeling, exactitude and wile impressionism, subtlety and true innocence." A popular favorite since its first publication in 1897, the novel remains a classic story of youthful initiation--and a lively tribute to the author's famous code of bravery, loyalty, and honor among men.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch [mvpl] [amzn]
Jean Lee Latham
Readers today are still fascinated by "Nat," an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailor's worldSalem in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn't promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by "log, lead, and lookout." Nat's long hours of study and observation, collected in his famous work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the "Sailors" Bible"), stunned the sailing community and made him a New England hero.
To Kill a Mockingbird [mvpl] [amzn]
Harper Lee
"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often. --Alix Wilber

Out of the Silent Planet [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Lewis

The first book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

Perelandra [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Lewis

The second book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which also includes Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength, Perelandra continues the adventures of the extraordinary Dr. Ransom. Pitted against the most destructive of human weaknesses, temptation, the great man must battle evil on a new planet -- Perelandra -- when it is invaded by a dark force. Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order and who must destroy an old and beautiful civilization to do so? Or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man? The outcome of Dr. Ransom's mighty struggle alone will determine the fate of this peace-loving planet.

That Hideous Strength [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Lewis
The final book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which includes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, That Hideous Strength concludes the adventures of the matchless Dr. Ransom. The dark forces that were repulsed in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are massed for an assault on the planet Earth itself. Word is on the wind that the mighty wizard Merlin has come back to the land of the living after many centuries, holding the key to ultimate power for that force which can find him and bend him to its will. A sinister technocratic organization is gaining power throughout Europe with a plan to "recondition" society, and it is up to Ransom and his friends to squelch this threat by applying age-old wisdom to a new universe dominated by science. The two groups struggle to a climactic resolution that brings the Space Trilogy to a magnificent, crashing close.
The Great Divorce [mvpl] [amzn]
C. S. Lewis
The Great Divorce is C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy: the narrator bears strong resemblance to Lewis (by way of Dante); his Virgil is the fantasy writer George MacDonald; and upon boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood, the narrator is taken to Heaven and Hell. The book's primary message is presented with almost oblique tidiness--"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" However, the narrator's descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for many readers. Lewis has a genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception, and this book is tremendously persistent in forcing its reader to consider the ultimate consequences of everyday pettiness. --Michael Joseph Gross
The Call Of The Wild [mvpl] [amzn]
Jack London
Stolen from his family, a dog named Buck must quickly learn the harsh law of survival among the men and dogs of the goldcrazed North. With an introduction by award-winning author, Avi.
The Guns of Navarone. [mvpl] [amzn]
Alistair MacLean
An entire navy had tried to silence the guns of Navarone and failed. Full-scale attacks had been driven back. Now they were sending in just five men, each one a specialist in dealing death.
Christy [mvpl] [amzn]
Catherine Marshall
When Christy Huddleston leaves a life of privilege and ease to teach in the impoverished Smokey Mountains, her faith is severely tested by her pupils, the love of two men, and the curious customs of the mountain people in her community. Yet she grows to love these people and the simple, fulfilling lifestyle to be found in the heart of God's country. First released in 1967, Christy is based on the life of author Catherine Marshall's mother and was the inspiration for the recent television series of the same name. Beautifully told, this is a charming, timeless tale of love and faith that will appeal to romance readers of all ages. --Maudeen Wachsmith
Paradise Lost [mvpl] [amzn]
John Milton
Edited with an introduction and notes by John Leonard.
Animal Farm [mvpl] [amzn]
George Orwell
Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About. (The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy. --Joyce Thompson
The Chosen [mvpl] [amzn]
Chaim Potok
Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. Though on the surface it explores religious faith--the intellectually committed as well as the passionately observant--the struggles addressed in The Chosen are familiar to families of all faiths and in all nations.

In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love. (This is not a conventional children's book, although it will move any wise child age 12 or older, and often appears on summer reading lists for high school students.)

Men of Iron [mvpl] [amzn]
Howard Pyle
Master storyteller Howard Pyle at his best, incorporating fascinating historical information about life in a medieval castle, knighthood, and chivalry into the fast-moving and entertaining story of young Myles Falworth's fight to restore his family's rights and good name. This classic story remains a great favorite not only among young readers but also among educators because of the author's effortless way of teaching great virtues such as courage, loyalty, steadfastness, and generosity. Unabridged republication of the edition originally published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1892.
The Yearling [mvpl] [amzn]
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
RELIVE THE WONDER OF A CHILDHOOD FAVORITE THAT HAS BEEN CAPTURING THE HEARTS OF READERS FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY.

An instant bestseller when it was released in 1938, this Pulitzer Prize winner has been read and loved by school-age children across the nation for more than fifty years. In this classic story of the Baxter family and their wild, hard, and satisfying life in remote central Florida, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings has written one of the great novels of our times. A rich and varied tale -- tender in its understanding of boyhood, crowded with the excitement of the backwoods hunt, with vivid descriptions of the primitive, beautiful hammock country, written with humor and earthy philosophy -- The Yearling is a novel for readers of all ages. Its glowing picture of a life refreshingly removed from modern patterns of living is universal in its revelation of simple courageous people and the beliefs they must live by.

This edition, complete with a new introduction by author Ivan Doig, will be cherished for years to come and will make a welcome addition to any booklover's shelf.

Exploits of Don Quixote [mvpl] [amzn]
James Reeves
The Light in the Forest [mvpl] [amzn]
Conrad Richter
When John Cameron Butler was a child, he was captured in a raid on the Pennsylvania frontier and adopted by the great warrrior Cuyloga. Renamed True Son, he came to think of himself as fully Indian. But eleven years later his tribe, the Lenni Lenape, has signed a treaty with the white men and agreed to return their captives, including fifteen-year-old True Son. Now he must go back to the family he has forgotten, whose language is no longer his, and whose ways of dress and behavior are as strange to him as the ways of the forest are to them. A beautifully written, sensitively told story of a white boy brought up by Indians, The Light in the Forest is a beloved American classic.
The Riverside Shakespeare [mvpl] [amzn]
William Shakespeare

The Second Edition of this complete collection of Shakespeare's plays and poems features two essays on recent criticism and productions, fully updated textual notes, a photographic insert of recent productions, and two works recently attributed to Shakespeare. The authors of the essays on recent criticism and productions are Heather DuBrow, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and William Liston, Ball State University, respectively.

Treasure Island [mvpl] [amzn]
Robert Louis Stevenson
Climb aboard for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. Treasure Islandhas enthralled (and caused slight seasickness) for decades. The names Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are destined to remain pieces of folklore for as long as children want to read Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous book. With it's dastardly plot and motley crew of rogues and villains, it seems unlikely that children will ever say no to this timeless classic. --Naomi Gesinger
A Girl of the Limberlost [mvpl] [amzn]
Gene Stratton-Porter
The Invisible Man [mvpl] [amzn]
H.G. Wells
This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.
Posted by torque at 1:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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.
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Recommended Book Reading List - Stories for Young Children

Checklist

Verna Aardema, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
Karen Ackerman, Song and Dance Man
Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express
Claire Huchet Bishop, The Five Chinese Brothers
Jan Brett, The Mitten
Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, Little Fur Family Board Book
Marcia Brown, Stone Soup
Margaret Wise Brown, The Runaway Bunny
Virginia Lee Burton, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Geoffrey Chaucer, Chanticleer and the Fox
Barbara Cohen, Canterbury Tales
Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius
Roger Duvoisin, Petunia
P.D. Eastman, Are You My Mother?
Ian Falconer, Olivia
Marjorie Flack, The Story About Ping
Mem Fox, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Don Freeman, Dandelion
Hardie Gramatky, Little Toot
Donald Hall, Ox-Cart Man
Russell Hoban, A Bargain for Frances
Russell Hoban, Bedtime for Frances
Russell Hoban, Bread and Jam for Frances
Mary Ann Hoberman, A House Is a House for Me
Margaret Hodges, Saint George and the Dragon
Ludwig Bemelmans Author And Illustrator, Madeline, Reissue of 1939 edition
Ruth Krauss, The Carrot Seed Board Book
Munro Leaf, The Story of Ferdinand
Leo Lionni, The Biggest House in the World
Patricia MacLachlan, All the Places to Love
Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Snowflake Bentley
Robert McCloskey, Blueberries for Sal
Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings
A. A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
Evaline Ness, Sam, Bangs & Moonshine
Marcus Pfister, The Rainbow Fish
Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could
Patricia Polacco, Thunder Cake
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Marjorie Priceman, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
Cynthia Rylant, Henry And Mudge First Book
Cynthia Rylant, The Relatives Came
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!
Esphyr Slobodkina, Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
William Steig, Amos & Boris
William Steig, Brave Irene
Sarah Stewart, The Gardener
Ruth Tiller, Cinnamon, Mint, & Mothballs: A Visit to Grandmother's House
Brinton Turkle, Thy Friend, Obadiah
Bernard Waber, You Look Ridiculous, Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus
Lynd Ward, The Biggest Bear
Jane Yolen, All Those Secrets of the World
Jane Yolen, Owl Moon
Harriet Ziefert, A New Coat for Anna
Charlotte Zolotow, Big Sister and Little Sister
Charlotte Zolotow, Something Is Going to Happen
Source: http://writing-edu.com/literature/booklistA.php

Summaries

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale [mvpl] [amzn]
Verna Aardema
Song and Dance Man [mvpl] [amzn]
Karen Ackerman
Once a song and dance man, Grandpa reclaims his youth and profession before the delighted eyes of his three grandchildren one afternoon. He simply cannot resist the urge to dress up in clothes left over from his vaudeville days--complete with top hat and gold-headed cane--and to perform tricks, play banjo and tell jokes. He taps, twirls and laughs himself to tears on a thrown-together stage in his attic. Artist Stephen Gammell takes full advantage of lamplight to render Grandpa in shadow and silhouette, trivializing the concept of age and creating a feeling of intense nostalgia. Related from the point of view of the children, the text in Song and Dance Man is soft and understated, and Gammell's artistry is superb. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 1989.
The Polar Express [mvpl] [amzn]
Chris Van Allsburg
The Polar Express book, by Chris Van Allsburg, is the beautifully illustrated book that has been entertaining millions since 1985. The Polar Express is a heartwarming story about the power of belief. This holiday favorite also inspired the recent movie!
The Five Chinese Brothers [mvpl] [amzn]
Claire Huchet Bishop
The Mitten [mvpl] [amzn]
Jan Brett
A Ukrainian boy named Nicki wants his grandmother Baba to knit snow-white mittens for him. She warns her grandson that a white mitten will be hard to find if he loses it in the snow, but of course he promptly does just that! What happens next is the surprising part, as a mole takes refuge in the lost mitten, then a rabbit, then a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, and a fox. If you think the mitten might be a wee bit stretched out at this point, just wait: "Then a big bear sniffed at the mitten. The animals were packed in tight, but the bear didn't care. He crawled in anyway." When a tiny mouse squeezes in, her whiskers tickle the bear's nose. He sneezes, and "Aaaaa-aaaaa-ca-chew!" all the animals fly out of their crocheted cave. As the mitten sails through the air, Nicki spots it, reclaims it, and takes it home to show his smiling Baba.

Jan Brett is the illustrator of many well-known folktales, fairy tales, and poems, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear. Her special signature in her detailed artwork is the intricate borders, seen in this book as birch-bark panels with embroidered details and mitten-shaped vignettes offering additional insights into the story line. Brett is at her best when she illustrates animals, and the expressions on the faces of her creatures are a delight. She carefully researched the costumes, furniture, and house in this traditional Ukrainian tale--all are authentic. A fine story to read on a frosty night with a cup of hot chocolate, and if you ever get your fill of The Mitten, you can always try its delightfully original companion book, The Hat, winner of the 1998 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. (Ages 4 to 8)

Goodnight Moon [mvpl] [amzn]
Margaret Wise Brown

Buenas noches, Luna
por Margaret Wise Brown
Ilustrado por Clement Hurd

En una gran habitación verde, arropado en su cama, está un conejito.
-- Buenas noches, habitación.
-- Buenas noches, Luna -- dice el conejito.

Y así sucesivamente, le da las buenas noches a todas las cosas que reconoce en su cuarto: al cuadro de los tres ositos sentaditos en sus sillas, a los relojes y a los calcetines, a los gatitos juguetones y a los lindos mitones.

En este cuento clásico de la literatura infantil, adorado por generaciones de niños, la poesía que encierra su texto y la ternura de sus bellas ilustraciones con-vierten a éste en un libro ideal para culminar el día.

Little Fur Family Board Book [mvpl] [amzn]
Margaret Wise Brown

There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm wooden tree.

The Little Fur Family tells the story of a little fur child's day in the woods. The day ends when his big fur parents tuck him in bed "all soft and warm," and sing him to sleep with a lovely bedtime song.

Cuddle up to a classic with this timeless story! Garth William's soft illustrations join Margaret Wise Brown's rhythmic text to create a gentle lullaby. Bound in imitation fur, Little Fur Family is sure to comfort and delight.

Stone Soup [mvpl] [amzn]
Marcia Brown
First published in 1947, this picture book classic has remained one of Marcia Brown's most popular and enduring books. This story, about three hungry soldiers who outwit the greedy inhabitants of a village into providing them with a feast, is based on an old French tale.
The Runaway Bunny [mvpl] [amzn]
Margaret Wise Brown
Since its publication in 1942, The Runaway Bunny has never been out of print. Generations of sleepy children and grateful parents have loved the classics of Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, including Goodnight Moon. The Runaway Bunny begins with a young bunny who decides to run away: "'If you run away,' said his mother, 'I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.'" And so begins a delightful, imaginary game of chase. No matter how many forms the little bunny takes--a fish in a stream, a crocus in a hidden garden, a rock on a mountain--his steadfast, adoring, protective mother finds a way of retrieving him. The soothing rhythm of the bunny banter--along with the surreal, dream-like pictures--never fail to infuse young readers with a complete sense of security and peace. For any small child who has toyed with the idea of running away or testing the strength of Mom's love, this old favorite will comfort and reassure. (Baby to preschool)
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel [mvpl] [amzn]
Virginia Lee Burton
Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Mary Anne make quite a team. The inseparable duo digs the great canals for the big boats to travel through, cuts through the large mountains so trains can pass, and hollows out the deep cellars for the great skyscrapers in the city. But the introduction of gasoline, electric, and diesel shovels means big trouble for Mike and Mary Anne. No one wants an old-fashioned steam shovel like Mary Anne when a modern shovel can do the digging in half the time! Forced to travel far out of the city to look for work, Mike and Mary Anne find themselves in the little town of Popperville. Mike and Mary Anne make a bid to dig the cellar for the new town hall, promising the town that if they can't dig the cellar in just one day they'll accept no payment for the job. Will Mike and Mary Anne be able to complete the job? The whole town of Popperville turns out to watch. Virginia Lee Burton, author of such classic children's books as The Little House and Katy and the Big Snow, offers a touching portrait of love and dedication while commenting on the modernization that continuously shapes our lives. Hamilton's wonderful crayon drawings bring Mike and the indomitable Mary Anne to life. (Ages 3 to 6)
Chanticleer and the Fox [mvpl] [amzn]
Geoffrey Chaucer
King of the barnyard, Chanticleer struts about all day. When a fox bursts into his domain, dupes him into crowing, and then grabs him in a viselike grip, Chanticleer must do some quick thinking to save himself and his barnyard kingdom.

Winner, 1959 Caldecott Medal
Notable Children's Books of 1940-1970 (ALA)
Winner, 1992 Kerlan Award

Canterbury Tales [mvpl] [amzn]
Barbara Cohen
On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

From the heroic romance of "The Knight's Tale" to the low farce embodied in the stories of the Miller, the Reeve, and the Merchant, Chaucer treated such universal subjects as love, sex, and death in poetry that is simultaneously witty, insightful, and poignant. The Canterbury Tales is a grand tour of 14th-century English mores and morals--one that modern-day readers will enjoy.

Miss Rumphius [mvpl] [amzn]
Barbara Cooney
Petunia [mvpl] [amzn]
Roger Duvoisin
When Roger Duvoisin first introduced children to his proud and silly goose, Petunia, in 1950, it was love at first sight. Those children have grown up, but Petunia is every bit as fresh and funny and muddled as the day she was born.

In this, the first of the series of classic books featuring the silly goose, Petunia finds a book—and, deciding that if she owns a book she must be wise, dispenses hilariously mistaken advice to the other animals in
the farmyard.

With its gentle lesson and the kind of humor that kids love best, this new edition of a beloved classic will delight and inspire a whole new generation of readers.
Are You My Mother? [mvpl] [amzn]
P.D. Eastman
This is the classic from which many of our staff first learned to read, starting us on a path of unremitting bibliophilia. Are You My Mother? follows a confused baby bird who's been denied the experience of imprinting as he asks cows, planes, and steam shovels the Big Question. In the end he is happily reunited with his maternal parent in a glorious moment of recognition.
Olivia [mvpl] [amzn]
Ian Falconer
Olivia would be Eloise, if Eloise were a pig. She is good at singing 40 very loud songs and is very good at wearing people out. And scaring the living daylights out of her little brother, Ian, particularly when he copies her every move. She is also quite skilled at reproducing Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm #30" on the walls at home. When her mother tucks her in at night and says, "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway," Olivia precociously pronounces, "I love you anyway too."

The New Yorker artist Ian Falconer's endearing charcoal portraits of his porcine heroine are spotted with fire-engine red gouache in all the right places--perhaps a tribute to Hilary Knight's red, pink, white, and black celebrations of Olivia's human counterpart? When she dresses up, the bow on her ears, her red lipstick, and her high-heeled shoes are all red. (The only time her shades-of-gray body is pink is when she is sunburned and the area where her bathing suit was is white!) Falconer does a fine job of letting the spare text set up the jokes for the visual punch lines--a dryly humorous interplay that adults will appreciate as much as children.

Preschoolers (and their parents) will see themselves in Olivia--a typical high-energy, over-the-top kid who likes the beach and Degas paintings, but hates naps. On the other hand, she combs her ears and is unusually gifted at sandcastle building. While we are certainly reminded of Eloise, Falconer's portrait is simpler in scope, less demented, and, as a result, less adult. Bottom line: precocious is fun, and we're tickled pink to have Olivia join the parade of, let's just say, individualistic youngsters. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson

The Story About Ping [mvpl] [amzn]
Marjorie Flack
The tale of a little duck alone on the Yangtze River, The Story About Ping is a sweet and funny book with wonderfully rich and colorful illustrations. On a day like any other, Ping sets off from the boat he calls home with his comically large family in search of "pleasant things to eat." On this particular day, he is accidentally left behind when the boat leaves. Undaunted, the little duck heads out onto the Yangtze in search of his family, only to find new friends and adventures--and a bit of peril--around every bend.

The exceptional illustrations bring the lush Yangtze to life, from Ping's family to the trained fishing birds he finds himself among to the faithfully rendered boats and fishermen. Certainly intended to be read aloud, The Story About Ping deserves a place on every young reader's (or listener's) shelf. (Picture book)

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge [mvpl] [amzn]
Mem Fox
The offbeat style of this wonderful story--and of Julie Vivas's perfectly matched illustrations--couldn't be summed up better than by the oddness of the first sentence: "There was once a small boy called Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and what's more he wasn't very old either." Wilfrid lives next to a retirement home, filled with folks like "Mrs. Jordan who played the organ" and "Mr. Hosking who told him scary stories." But his favorite old person is 96-year-old Miss Nancy. Everyone says Miss Nancy has lost her memory, and despite the fact that Wilfrid doesn't even know what a memory is, by accident he helps her find it. Mem Fox's original take on the capacity of children to help the old remember is especially notable for its non-patronizing focus on old people. (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr
Dandelion [mvpl] [amzn]
Don Freeman
Little Toot [mvpl] [amzn]
Hardie Gramatky
Now in print for more than sixty years, this classic story of "the cutest, silliest tugboat you ever saw" continues to delight children around the world. This 8 x 8 edition features watercolor illustrations done in the style of the late Hardie Gramatky.
Ox-Cart Man [mvpl] [amzn]
Donald Hall
A Bargain for Frances [mvpl] [amzn]
Russell Hoban

Frances and Thelma are friends -- most of the time

Thelma always seems to get Frances into trouble. When she tricks Frances into buying her tea set, it's the last straw. Can Frances show her that it's better to lose a bargain than lose a friend?

Bedtime for Frances [mvpl] [amzn]
Russell Hoban
It's bedtime for young Frances--an adorable and irrepressible little badger--and everyone is ready but her. At 7:00 p.m. Frances is wide awake and bursting with youthful excitement. She tries every delay tactic she can muster--from demanding extra hugs and kisses to volleying a series of urgent last-minute questions ("May I sleep with my teddy bear?" "May I have my door open?"). She's almost positive there are spiders, giants, and tigers in her room.

Any parent will quickly identify with this phenomenon--how the last minutes of the day suddenly become the most action-packed. Garth Williams's illustrations complement Russell Hoban's sweet story perfectly, capturing the endless energy and overactive imagination of Frances, and the waning patience of her exhausted parents. Bedtime for Frances is the perfect goodnight story to tell your wide-eyed children. And never fear, like Frances, they too will eventually, contentedly, drift off to sleep. (Ages 4 to 8)

Bread and Jam for Frances [mvpl] [amzn]
Russell Hoban

Frances, one of children's best-loved characters for over 30 years, now springs to life even more in Bread and Jam for Frances,beautifully reillustrated in sparkling full color by Lillian Hoban. In this memorable story, Frances decides that bread and jam are all she wants to eat, and her understanding parents grant her wish'at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacktime. Can there ever be too much bread and jam?

A House Is a House for Me [mvpl] [amzn]
Mary Ann Hoberman
Children's Choice Book Club Edition
Saint George and the Dragon [mvpl] [amzn]
Margaret Hodges
Madeline, Reissue of 1939 edition [mvpl] [amzn]
Ludwig Bemelmans Author And Illustrator
Madeline Hardcover BookPre-ticketed at $16.99. ISBN # 670-44580
The Carrot Seed Board Book [mvpl] [amzn]
Ruth Krauss
Ruth Krauss, author of A Hole Is to Dig, has crafted a story almost Zen-like in its simplicity. A little boy plants a carrot seed and waits patiently, tending to it carefully, while everyone around him insists that "it won't come up." His conviction is steadfast, however, and sure enough, a carrot worthy of first prize at any state fair springs forth from the earth. Krauss's husband, Crockett Johnson (creator of Harold and the Purple Crayon), illustrated The Carrot Seed, and while the little boy is rendered with uncomplicated lines, all of his hope, confidence, and serenity shine through. The image that resonates most strongly in this minimalist tale is the unfaltering faith of the mild-mannered little boy. Young readers learn that standing your ground in the face of opposition and doubt can often result in twice the reward expected (even thrice the reward, if judging by the girth of this carrot). (Ages 4 to 8)
The Story of Ferdinand [mvpl] [amzn]
Munro Leaf

What else can be said about the fabulous Ferdinand? Published more than 50 years ago (and one of the bestselling children's books of all time), this simple story of peace and contentment has withstood the test of many generations. Ferdinand is a little bull who much prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree-- just smelling the flowers--to jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. This cow is no coward--he simply has his pacifist priorities clear. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, until the day he meets with the wrong end of a bee. In a show of bovine irony, the one day Ferdinand is most definitely not sitting quietly under the cork tree (due to a frightful sting), is the selfsame day that five men come to choose the "biggest, fastest, roughest bull" for the bullfights in Madrid.

Ferdinand's day in the arena gives readers not only an education in the historical tradition of bullfighting, but also a lesson in nonviolent tranquility. Robert Lawson's black-and-white drawings are evocative and detailed, with especially sweet renditions of Ferdinand, the serene bull hero. The Story of Ferdinand closes with one of the happiest endings in the history of happy endings--readers of all ages will drift off to a peaceful sleep, dreaming of sweet-smelling flowers and contented cows.

The Biggest House in the World [mvpl] [amzn]
Leo Lionni
Illus. in full color. A young snail realizes that a big house might be a disaster for him.
All the Places to Love [mvpl] [amzn]
Patricia MacLachlan

Within the sanctuary of a loving family, baby Eli is born and, as he grows, "learns to cherish the people and places around him, eventualy passing on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie: 'All the places to love are here . . . no matter where you may live.' This loving book will be something to treasure."'BL."The quiet narrative is so intensely felt it commands attention. . . . a lyrical celebration."'K.

Snowflake Bentley [mvpl] [amzn]
Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Most children are captivated by snow, but how many go on to make it their lifework? This beautiful biography, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, tells the true story of a Vermont farm boy who was mesmerized by snowflakes. Wilson Bentley was fascinated by the six-sided frozen phenomena, and once he acquired a microscope with a camera, his childhood preoccupation took on a more scientific leaning. Bentley spent his life taking countless exquisite photographs (many that are still used in nature photography today), examining the tiny crystals and their delicate, mathematical structures. Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells this tale with simple, graceful prose that will engage children's imaginations. Edifying and snowflake-scattered sidebars offer more information about Bentley's methods and snowflake science. The artwork of Mary Azarian, whose 19th-century hand-press illustrations decorate the charming Barn Cat, shines once again in Snowflake Bentley, with woodcuts that reveal an appreciation for detail as well as for the man who loved snow. The lovely illustrations and equally fresh text will inspire and comfort youngsters (and grownups too) who wish they could capture snowflakes all year long. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis
Blueberries for Sal [mvpl] [amzn]
Robert McCloskey
Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk go the blueberries into the pail of a little girl named Sal who--try as she might--just can't seem to pick as fast as she eats. Robert McCloskey's classic is a magical tale of the irrepressible curiosity--not to mention appetite--of youth. Sal and her mother set off in search of blueberries for the winter at the same time as a mother bear and her cub. A quiet comedy of errors ensues when the young ones wander off and absentmindedly trail the wrong mothers.

Blueberries for Sal--with its gentle animals, funny noises, and youthful spirit of adventure--is perfect for reading aloud. The endearing illustrations, rendered in dark, blueberry-stain blue, will leave you craving a fresh pail of your own. (Picture book)

Make Way for Ducklings [mvpl] [amzn]
Robert McCloskey
It's not easy for duck parents to find a safe place to bring up their ducklings, but during a rest stop in Boston's Public Garden, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard think they just might have found the perfect spot--no foxes or turtles in sight, plenty of peanuts from pleasant passers-by, and the benevolent instincts of a kindly police officer to boot. Young readers will love the mother duck's proud, loving protection of her wee webbed ones, and those with fond memories of Boston will enjoy familiar locales, from Beacon Hill to Louisburg Square, and over the Charles River--often from a duck's-eye view. Robert McCloskey, creator of Blueberries for Sal, never fails to elicit happy story-time giggles from youngsters, and his soft, brown-toned, Caldecott-winning illustrations make this gentle world come alive. (Ages 3 to 8) --Karin Snelson
The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh [mvpl] [amzn]
A. A. Milne
When Christopher Robin asks Pooh what he likes doing best in the world, Pooh says, after much thought, "What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying 'What about a little something?' and Me saying, 'Well, I shouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."

Happy readers for over 70 years couldn't agree more. Pooh's status as a "Bear of Very Little Brain" belies his profoundly eternal wisdom in the ways of the world. To many, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and the others are as familiar and important as their own family members. A.A. Milne's classics, Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, are brought together in this beautiful edition, complete and unabridged, with recolored illustrations by Milne's creative counterpart, Ernest H. Shepard. Join Pooh and the gang as they meet a Heffalump, help get Pooh unstuck from Rabbit's doorway, (re)build a house for Eeyore, and try to unbounce Tigger. A childhood is simply not complete without full participation in all of Pooh's adventures. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine [mvpl] [amzn]
Evaline Ness
Samantha (known as Sam) is a fisherman's daughter who dreams rich and lovely dreams--moonshine, her father says. But when her tall stories bring disaster to her friend Thomas and her cat Bangs, Sam learns to distinguish between moonshine and reality.
The Rainbow Fish [mvpl] [amzn]
Marcus Pfister
This book by Marcus Pfisher is a tale of the most beautiful fish in the sea that reinforces the themes of friendship and sharing.
The Little Engine That Could [mvpl] [amzn]
Watty Piper
Everyone loves The Little Engine That Could, that classic tale of the determined little engine that, despite its size, triumphantly pulls a train full of toys to the waiting children on the other side of a mountain.

Now the great Loren Long (Mr. Peabody's Apples) has brilliantly re-illustrated this classic story, bringing it exuberantly to life for today's child. Get on board for the publishing event of the year.

Thunder Cake [mvpl] [amzn]
Patricia Polacco
The Tale of Peter Rabbit [mvpl] [amzn]
Beatrix Potter
The quintessential cautionary tale, Peter Rabbit warns naughty children about the grave consequences of misbehaving. When Mrs. Rabbit beseeches her four furry children not to go into Mr. McGregor's garden, the impish Peter naturally takes this as an open invitation to create mischief. He quickly gets in over his head, when he is spotted by farmer McGregor himself. Any child with a spark of sass will find Peter's adventures remarkably familiar. And they'll see in Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail that bane of their existence: the "good" sibling who always does the right thing. One earns bread and milk and blackberries for supper, while the obstinate folly of the other warrants medicine and an early bedtime.

Beatrix Potter's animal stories have been a joy to generations of young readers. Her warm, playful illustrations in soft colors invite children into the world of words and flights of fancy. Once there, she gently and humorously guides readers along the path of righteousness, leaving just enough room for children to wonder if that incorrigible Peter will be back in McGregor's garden tomorrow. (Ages Baby to Preschool)

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World [mvpl] [amzn]
Marjorie Priceman
Illus. in full color. An apple pie is easy to make...if the market is open. But if the market is closed, the world becomes your grocery store. This deliciously silly recipe for apple pie takes readers around the globe to gather ingredients. First hop a steamboat to Italy for the finest semolina wheat. Then hitch a ride to England and hijack a cow for the freshest possible milk. And, oh yes! Don't forget to go apple picking in Vermont! A simple recipe for apple pie is included.
Henry And Mudge First Book [mvpl] [amzn]
Cynthia Rylant

The first book in the acclaimed easy-to-read series featuring Henry and his lovable 180-pound dog, Mudge.

The Relatives Came [mvpl] [amzn]
Cynthia Rylant
In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars.

When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.

Where the Wild Things Are [mvpl] [amzn]
Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it's been too long since you've attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak's color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.

The wild things--with their mismatched parts and giant eyes--manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they're downright hilarious. Sendak's defiantly run-on sentences--one of his trademarks--lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child's imagination.

This Sendak classic is more fun than you've ever had in a wolf suit, and it manages to reaffirm the notion that there's no place like home.

Horton Hears a Who! [mvpl] [amzn]
Dr. Seuss
Surely among the most lovable of all Dr. Seuss creations, Horton the Elephant represents kindness, trustworthiness, and perseverance--all wrapped up, thank goodness, in a comical and even absurd package. Horton hears a cry for help from a speck of dust, and spends much of the book trying to protect the infinitesimal creatures who live on it from the derision and trickery of other animals, who think their elephant friend has gone quite nutty. But worse is in store: an eagle carries away the clover in which Horton has placed the life-bearing speck, and "let that small clover drop somewhere inside / of a great patch of clovers a hundred miles wide!" Horton wins in the end, after persuading the "Who's" to make as much noise as possible and prove their existence. This classic is not only fun, but a great way to introduce thoughtful children to essentially philosophical questions. How, after all, are we so sure there aren't invisible civilizations floating by on every mote? (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr
Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business [mvpl] [amzn]
Esphyr Slobodkina
Caps For Sale
Amos & Boris [mvpl] [amzn]
William Steig
Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal. They meet after Amos sets out to sea in his homemade boat, the Rodent, and soon finds himself in extreme need of rescue. Enter Boris. But there will come a day, long after Boris has gone back to a life of whaling about and Amos has gone back to his life of mousing around, when the tiny mouse must find a way to rescue the great whale.

The tender yet comical story of this friendship is recorded in text and pictures that are a model of rich simplicity. Here, with apparent ease and concealed virtuosity, Caldecott medalist William Steig brings two winning heroes to life.
Brave Irene [mvpl] [amzn]
William Steig
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year

Brave Irene is Irene Bobbin, the dressmaker's daughter. Her mother, Mrs. Bobbin, isn't feeling so well and can't possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she's made for the duchess to wear that very evening. So plucky Irene volunteers to get the gown to the palace on time, in spite of the fierce snowstorm that's brewing-- quite an errand for a little girl.

But where there's a will, there's a way, as Irene proves in the danger-fraught adventure that follows. She must defy the wiles of the wicked wind, her most formidable opponent, and overcome many obstacles before she completes her mission. Surely, this winning heroine will inspire every child to cheer her on.
The Gardener [mvpl] [amzn]
Sarah Stewart
By the author-and-illustrator team of the bestselling The Library

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows. But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece -- an ambitious rooftop garden -- which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile. Sarah Stewart introduces readers to an engaging and determined young heroine, whose story is told through letters written home, while David Small's illustrations beautifully evoke the Depression-era setting.
Cinnamon, Mint, & Mothballs: A Visit to Grandmother's House [mvpl] [amzn]
Ruth Tiller
Thy Friend, Obadiah [mvpl] [amzn]
Brinton Turkle
You Look Ridiculous, Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus [mvpl] [amzn]
Bernard Waber
A hippopotamus learns to be happy with the way she looks in spite of the fact that the elephant tells her that she lacks ears, the leopard that she needs spots, etc.
The Biggest Bear [mvpl] [amzn]
Lynd Ward
Johnny Orchard brings home a playful bear cub that soon becomes huge and a nuisance to the neighbors.
All Those Secrets of the World [mvpl] [amzn]
Jane Yolen
Owl Moon [mvpl] [amzn]
Jane Yolen
Among the greatest charms of children is their ability to view a simple activity as a magical adventure. Such as a walk in the woods late at night. Jane Yolen captures this wonderment in a book whose charm rises from its simplicity. "It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling." The two walked through the woods with nothing but hope and each other in a journey that will fascinate many a child. John Schoenherr's illustrations help bring richness to the countryside adventure. The book won the 1988 Caldecott Medal.
A New Coat for Anna [mvpl] [amzn]
Harriet Ziefert
Illus. in full color. "A fresh and moving story of a mother's dedication to acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times. Anna's mother decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor. Lobel's pictures do a tremendous job of evoking the period. Insightful and informative, this may make children consider how precious the ordinary can become in times of turmoil."--(starred) Booklist.
Big Sister and Little Sister [mvpl] [amzn]
Charlotte Zolotow
A small girl runs away from her domineering older sister, only to discover how much she is needed and loved. `A heartwarming picture book for small girls.' —BL.

Children's Books of the Year 1966 (CSA)

Something Is Going to Happen [mvpl] [amzn]
Charlotte Zolotow
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September 16, 2006

Taking (newbie) kids fishing in the South Bay

I'll be the first to admit that we are newbies when it comes to fishing. After a couple months of practicing casting on the front lawn (and plenty of requests), we finally got a chance to take the boys this afternoon. Where to? The Parkway Lake "Sure Catch" pond a.k.a. the Huck Finn Pond [map]. It costs $2.50 per pole, and just about everything is provided, including a very courteous gentleman named Edgar who will take care of getting everything, pole, weight and cheese bait, together for you. What's the catch (no pun intended)? All fish caught must be purchased at $4.50/lb. A bit steep for catfish, but hey, it's the adventure right? Even if you elect to fish in the lake, there is no catch-and-release, so this is the right place. If you don't plan to go home right away, bring a cooler for the fish - you can buy ice at the shop at the entrance.

Muy peligroso. A word of caution. Kids + water = danger. This is no joke. Keep eyes on kids at all times, and leave if your children start to misbehave. Certainly wear floation gear if you elect to fish by rushing water. Better yet, do not fish by rushing water. Do read this sober article before going.

Timing. We went at 1:30. Do not go at 1:30. The fish will be sleeping. Go at about 3:30, they wake up at 4.

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September 11, 2006

The mind of Christ

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. -- I Corinthians 2:14-16
What does this mean, this "mind of Christ"? It is different than the mind before Christ:
Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. -- Romans 8:7
The mind of Christ is friendship with God, subject to the law of God. From the carnal mind to the mind of Christ, this is the renewing of our minds that is in
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. -- Romans 12:2
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September 8, 2006

Sizing up your feet

It amazes me that we actually buy shoes online. Recently we switched from Zappos to shoes.com. I got sold on their very user-friendly "fit assistant". Click on the icon of choice:

I'm 9 wide. You?

(On a completely separate note, the underlying code for the imagemap above is interesting. Why didn't they just have three graphic images? Alignment issues?)

Posted by torque at 1:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Upgraded, swapped hosts, I'm alive!!

I'm pleased to report that you have reached the new home for Tim's Journal. I procrastinated for quite a while, worrying about losing my laminate flooring hits, but finally realized that I had completely lost sight of why I started blogging in the first place - to capture ideas, thoughts, hopes and dream so that tomorrow I can remember yesterday.

The backend has been updated to Movable Type 3.32. What an upgrade from 3.14! Plugins are much easier to manage and it even comes default with a style swapper. Installation was a breeze. Overall, very professional.

After about 3 months of testing, I have swapped my preferred host, from Globat to Lunarpages, and couldn't be more pleased. Performance is zippy, scripts run 3-4x faster. The File Manager which includes an option to extract tar.gz and zip archives. (I had written a silly little PHP script at Globat which thankfully is no longer needed.)

If you can't tell I'm really excited to start blogging again. Welcome!

Posted by torque at 12:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Upgraded and moved.

I finally got around to upgrading to Movable Type 3.32. I love the upgraded plugin system. Not sure if I'll ever get around porting my old entries - but the besides upgrading I'm ditching Globat for Lunar Pages. Much faster, sweet control panel. The new Tim's Journal is at torque.gig8.com.

UPDATE: Temporarily I'm back, I'm going to move oncloud8 to Lunar Pages!

Posted by torque at 12:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack