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 →

The Lost Kingdom

Matthew J. Kirby is back! I was so very happy when I found The Lost Kingdom, his latest book, at the library. I actually grabbed the audio book, which is excellently read by Charlie McWade. The Lost Kingdom is another entry into Kirby’s unique genre, which I call historical fantasy. It’s historical - set right... Continue Reading →

The Ranger’s Apprentice

So many people have recommended that I read The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan, I've quite forgotten who first mentioned it to me.  But it wasn't until after reading book recommendations from my writing classes - almost a third of whom chose to write about The Ranger's Apprentice - that I finally picked up... Continue Reading →

The Mapmaker’s Sons

Tom Hawkins does not remember his parents.  He feels compelled to climb around the buildings at his boarding school in England - especially on stormy nights. One night, as he climbs to the school's bell tower, he runs into trouble. He's not sure what kind of trouble, exactly, which makes it worse.  Men in black... Continue Reading →

The Lord of the Rings

Technically, JRR Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings as a sequel to The Hobbit.  However, while The Hobbit is a great story for upper-elementary-aged children, The Lord of the Rings is a darker story, much more intense and scary. And like The Hobbit, learning how to read The Lord of the Rings will greatly increase... Continue Reading →

The Hobbit

I will admit to trying to read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien many, many times as a preteen and a teenager.  I could not get through the first chapter. It wasn't until I was an adult, and took a class on Tolkien, that I was able to force myself through the book. So why am... Continue Reading →

Through the Skylight

The cover illustration of children riding stone winged lions through the air caught my attention.  It looked interesting - and unusual.  And Through the Skylight by Ian Baucom certainly was both interesting and unusual. Set in modern-day Venice, siblings Jared, Shireen and Miranda are stuck exploring every. single. art. exhibit. in this Italian city.  Their... Continue Reading →

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