The Gammage Cup

The Minnipins live in a remote valley, cut off from the rest of their world. They remember how their ancestors got to the valley, but nothing that comes before that event. Why did they leave their former home? What were they fleeing? These questions feel irrelevant to the current inhabitants of the valley. Instead they... Continue Reading →

A Parcel of Patterns

Mall Percival lives in England during the days of the devastating Plague of 1665. Her village is rather remote, with very little contact with the great London Town. Until the new minister's wife wants a new dress, cut in London fashion. So the tailor sends for patterns from a relative in London. And with the... Continue Reading →

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

E.L. Konigsburg is best known for her wonderful book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  She also wrote one of our family's favorite books, A View from Saturday.  Now, I have to tell you about another of her books, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver. This book focuses on the historical... Continue Reading →

Black Horses for the King

Galwyn Varianus is down on his luck.  His father is dead and his fortune gone, so Galwyn must apprentice to his uncle, a boat captain.  He hates life at sea, but seeing no other option, does his best to fit in and work hard. Then, his uncle agrees to take on passengers - passengers who... Continue Reading →

Catherine, Called Birdy

Normally, I am not a fan of diary-form fiction, but I am making an exception for Karen Cushman's excellent book Catherine, Called Birdy. Birdy is an energetic, sharp-tongued girl living in medieval England.  She hates wearing skirts, hemming sheets, spinning, and needlepoint - basically everything about being a daughter of a knight.  She is especially... Continue Reading →

Shadow of a Bull

Manolo has grown up in his father's shadow.  His father, the great bullfighter Juan Olivar, was killed during a fight when Manolo was just a small child.  But Juan is never far from Manolo's thoughts - the old men in his village won't let him forget.  He must always remember his father was the greatest... Continue Reading →

The Giver

Jonas' world sounds perfect.  Everyone realizes when they've given offense, and apologizes.  Those who've been offended always accept the apology.  Each evening over dinner, Jonas' family discuss their feelings, and every morning over breakfast, they discuss their dreams. Their lives are regimented.  Controlled.  Everyone does what he or she is supposed to do.  Jonas knows... Continue Reading →

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby, a timid, widowed mouse, has a dilemma.  And it’s dire.  Her youngest son, always weak, has taken seriously ill.  Thankfully, he’s recovering, but he cannot move to their summer home before the plow comes through the garden and wrecks their winter home. What can she do? Courageously, she seeks advice from some unlikely... Continue Reading →

Words in the Dust

What is truly amazing about Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy is that this young man could write such a beautiful book from the first-person perspective of a young Afgani girl. Zulaikha (thankfully, there’s pronunciation guide in the back of the book) loves her family, especially her older sister and her father.  They don’t... Continue Reading →

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