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Spinebenders: New books

New books for children

THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY / THE EAGLE: Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Preston McDaniels: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers: Picture Book: 60 pages: for 2nd-3rd Grade

The Lighthouse family is a hodge-podge. It all started with Pandora the cat, then Sebold the dog was added when he became shipwrecked near the lighthouse, and finally three small mice are rescued by Sebold in a terrible storm. The two oldest small mice are very adventurous and decide they want to explore the woods near by. Pandora is worried, but Sebold teaches them to use a compass and finally they set forth on a half-day journey. After they lose the compass they become hopelessly lost or are they? Instinct and a friendly eagle finally help the two children find their way back to the lighthouse.

An early chapter book full of excitement, family and friends.

CALABASH CAT AND HIS AMAZING JOURNEY: James Rumford: Houton Miflin Company: Picture Book: for children of all ages

Calabash Cat wants to see the world. He walks until he come to a large desert, which he figures is the end of the world. But no, the camel tells him, and helps him travel across the desert until they come the grasslands. The camel says the world ends here. But no, the horse says, and helps him travel to the jungle, which the horse says is the end of the world. But no, says the tiger, and helps Calabash Cat travel to the ocean. "This is where the world ends," says the tiger. But no, the whales helps him travel across the ocean to the other side. The whale says the world ends at the beach. Calabash Cat thinks of all he has seen and wonders if there is more. Eagle flies down and takes the Calabash Cat to see the whole world.

This book is written in both English and Arabic. The story is intriguing and repetitive. The engravings on each animal are very intricate and detailed. This is a fascinating book.

SAHARA SPECIAL: Esme Raji Codell: Hyperion Books for Children: Children's realistic fiction:175 pages.

Sahara's dad has disappeared, leaving her and her mother to fend for themselves. Sahara withdraws into herself and writes letters to her father asking him to come home, letters she will never be able to mail because she doesn't know where her father is. School becomes the hardest thing she has to endure, and so she withdraws even further going from a good student to one that has "Special Needs" and sits in the hall for class. Through the unlikely friendship with another "Special Needs" student and an extraordinary teacher, Sahara finds herself and her special talent, writing. Even though the cover does nothing to attract a reader, once started the story draws you in until you find yourself savoring the very last sentence. For upper elementary age readers.

CHARLIE BONE AND THE INVISIBLE BOY: Jenny Nimmo: October, 2004: Orchard Books / Imprint of Scholastic Inc.: fantasy: 408 pages: 3rd grade and older

Charlie Bone is in trouble again at Bloor's Academy. He always wants just the opposite of his grandmother Bone, the Yewbeam aunts and the administrators of the Academy. This time Charlie is out to find and help the invisible boy living in the attics. On the way he encounters a mistreated, rare boa and decides that he will help the snake too. Uncle Patton tries to help Charlie, but becomes deathly ill and Charlie must come to his rescue as well. Is the beautiful Belle all she claims to be or is she an evil shape shifter in disguise? When the art teacher, Mr. Boldova: A.K.A. Samuel Sparks, is secreted away, Charlie must do his best to find and release him from the spell he is under. And then there is Billy Raven who has been a spy for the headmaster in the past two books — is he finally becoming Charlie's friend and will Charlie be able to find him the loving family he so much desires? But these are not the only ones Charlie ends up helping. Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy is full of those that need Charlie to come to their aid.

Third in the Children of the Red King series. Book No. 1 Midnight for Charlie Bone, and book No. 2 Charlie Bone and the Time Twister. Although there are parts that are too simplistic or the opposite: extremely inconceivable, this book is a great addition to any library. Children who are Harry Potter fans will probably like this series equally well.

LEAVING PROTECTION: Will Hobbs: October, 2004: Harper Collins Children's Books: realistic fiction book: 178 pages: 5th grade and older

Alaska once belonged to Russia and has a impressive relationship to that country, but all Robbie Daniels who has just turned 16 wants more than anything to go salmon fishing on an ocean going ship and to earn money. He goes aboard the Storm Petrel without permission and discovers some very unusual metal plaques. Then just at that moment the skipper returns to his boat. Tor Torsen is reported to be the best fisherman on the Alaskan coast and he knows more Alaskan history that Robbie has ever heard. Fishing has taken a toll on his body, so he hires Robbie to help his fish — and hunt for Russian treasure. Times are not easy, the work is hard, and at times Robbie is suspicious that Tor plans to use him just until he has achieved his goal. Robbie begins to take precautions so that he won't end up bones at the bottom of the vast ocean.

This book holds some very intriguing stories of Alaskan history, but the best part is the dedication of Robbie to keep the tradition of salmon fishing alive if at all possible. It is a hard life and more and more fishermen are leaving to pursue easier jobs, also the environmental issues come into play causing this type of fishing to become harder and harder to do.


Vicky M. Turner, American Fork Children's Librarian, love2read20@hotmail.com