Tag Archive | animals

W is for weaving & crafting with NETTLE & BONE she must master to stop great evil, by T. Kingfisher (book review) #A2Z

book cover of Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher. Published by Tor | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A kingdom threatened,
no prince as heir,
daughters as pawns… or not.

Third daughter of a king with no sons, 15-year-old Marra is hidden away at a convent, remaining within its walls for years and years, as her older sisters are married in political alliances to save their tiny kingdom.

The weaving and healing skills she learns there will serve her well as now-grown Marra flees the security of Our Lady of Grackles, seeking ways to save her sister from the brutal prince of the Northern Kingdom.

She travels far and then farther to find the powerful dust-wife who communes with the dead and has the magic she needs. The spell requires Marra to make a cloak from nettles and cursed wool, to fashion a dog from bones, and bring moonlight in a jar – three impossible tasks (and she does them).

Away they go to kill the prince – Marra and Bone Dog, the dust-wife and her demon-possessed hen, through enchanted marketplaces and haunted lands, releasing from ensorcelment a man who unwisely slept in a fairy fort.

Secrets of the Northern Kingdom lie deeply buried in the crypts beneath its palace – danger and doom.

Its king lost in madness, the terrible prince rules with an iron fist and paranoia.

How to infiltrate the crypts? How to steer all blame from Marra’s sister? How to escape with their own lives?

A princess exists solely for the kingdom’s benefit, but not Marra…

Just published yesterday (4/26/22) – read the first two chapters on the publisher’s website here, free!

What non-traditional princess story is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Nettle & Bone / T. Kingfisher. Tor, 2022. [author info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M is for THE MAN OF THE MOON AND OTHER STORIES FROM GREENLAND, retold by Gunvor Bjerre & Charlotte Barslund, art by Miki Jacobsen (book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Man of the Moon and Other Stories From Greenland / retold by Gunvor Bjerre; translated by Charlotte Barslund; illustrated by Miki Jacobsen. Published by Inhabit Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

So many folktales, you’ve heard over and over, with slight variations and “happily ever after” to soothe modern listeners.

Not so with this collection introducing us to long-ago stories from Greenland that most folks nowadays have never encountered.

These stories told by elders and parents during the long, dark Arctic winters reflect the difficulties of living in brutally cold terrain where one mistake during a hunt can doom a whole village.

Many begin with “Once upon a time…” like “The Wild Geese Who Made the Blind Boy See” as they punished his greedy grandmother and “Manutooq, Whose Daughters Drifted to Akilineq on an Ice Floe” after their father abandons them on a hunting trip.

It was dangerous to ignore warnings – don’t shout at a harpoonist hunting in their qajaq (kayak) like “The Old Man Who Trapped Children Inside a Rock” and never be rude toward a shaman or else their helper spirits can’t help you find “The Witch Who Abducted Children in Her Amauti.”

Some stories give the history of why things are, like why the Sun and “The Man of the Moon” are never seen at the same time and “The Great Fire, or How the Mussel Came to Be” a coveted food source.

Hunger and death are frequent visitors, and stories of orphans are common – some grow up to be good hunters who provide for all (even after constant bullying), others don’t survive their childhood (even with the help of supernatural beings).

There’s an Inuktitut-English glossary in the back, and illustrations help us place these stories in their habitat of sea and ice, white bears and seals, rocks and snow.

Inhabit Media is based in Nunavut, the northernmost province of Canada, publishing books in English and languages of the First Peoples.

What’s the most unusual “once upon a time” story that you’ve heard?
**kmm

Book info: The Man of the Moon and Other Stories From Greenland / retold by Gunvor Bjerre; translated by Charlotte Barslund; illustrated by Miki Jacobsen. Inhabit Media, 2016. [artist info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I is for the Impossible Task they must complete or stay mere WITCHLINGS forever! by Claribel A. Ortega (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Witchlings, by Claribel A. Ortega. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Not chosen for a coven,
doomed as a Spare –
or complete the Impossible Task!

Seven Salazar is sure she’ll be placed in the same five-witch coven as BFF Poppy at the Black Moon Ceremony, but instead the 12 year old is left out as a Spare with new girl Thorn and bullying classmate Valley.

When their coven bond doesn’t take, Seven invokes the Impossible Task so the three tweens don’t stay Forever Witchlings with limited magic. Even being outcast Spares in their witchy town would be better than no flying.

Consulting the Oracle, the Town Gran announces their Impossible Task: fell a Nightbeast in 21 days or be toadified!

Soon the vicious monstruo Nightbeast will fully waken from hibernation, fed by its minion cucos darting out of the Cursed Forest, seeking food like Seven’s powerfully magical baby brother.

Their families believe in them (except Valley’s haughty rich parents), and the Town Uncle puts protective spells on their houses.

The girls research in the Ravenskill Library and the bookstore that Thorn’s parents now own, practice useful spells (some unapproved for their level, but desperate times…), and begin to trust one another.

Days tick by, and their plan comes together – they’ll have to be as brave as the Witches of Heartbreak Cove in their favorite book series to make it work!

In the long history of the Twelve Towns, only one group of Spares has completed their Impossible Task and bonded as a coven – can these not-quite-friends succeed or will they become toads forever?

The name given at their birth is sign and prophecy – will Seven, Thorn, and Valley discover their true meaning during this ordeal?

Hurry along to your local library or independent bookstore for this exciting just-published book!

What spell would you learn to fight a huge, hungry monstruo?
**kmm

Book info: Witchlings / Claribel A. Ortega. Scholastic Press, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

H = he’s been HORNSWOGGLED! A Wacky Words Whodunit, by Josh Crute & Jenn Harney (Picture book review) #A2Z

book cover of Hornswoggled! A Wacky Words Whodunit, by Josh Crute; illustrated by Jenn Harney. Published by Page Street Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

One morning, Deer wakes up and realizes that something isn’t right.

Looking into the mirror, he discovers that he’s been hornswoggled!

He runs out to tell his friends about it, but at every stop, the thief has gotten there first.

The bison has been buffaloed, and the rooster cries “Poppycock” as they discover that their favorite things have been swiped!

So much robbery! So many strange words! Luckily, a helpful armadillo tells readers what the wacky words mean as the animal friends try to solve the mystery.

Grow your expressive vocabulary with this “wacky words whodunit” as you enjoy the many clever details of its lively illustrations. Ask for Hornswoggled at your local library or independent bookstore today!

What’s your favorite unusual exclamation?
**kmm

Book info: Hornswoggled! A Wacky Words Whodunit / Josh Crute; illustrated by Jenn Harney. Page Street Kids, 2021. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

G is young Bollywood fan’s GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING, by Uma Krishnaswami (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, by Uma Krishnaswami. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Singing and dancing,
true love overcomes all –
Bollywood is perfect, real life isn’t!

A dream is finally coming true – for Dini’s mom, who’s gotten a job as doctor at a clinic in a small town in India.

But for 11-year-old Dini, moving away from her best friend Maddie for two years is terrible! Who will watch Bollywood movies with her and sing every song and dance all the dances?

And Swapnagiri is far, far away from Mumbai and its Bollywood studios, so Dini won’t even get to see their favorite star, Dolly Singh. Just in case, Dini writes a letter, telling Dolly where her family will be in India.

Such a long journey from Maryland, and so many different things in their new home: monkeys on the roof, rose petal milkshakes, their little house on a working tea plantation.

Oh dear, her new neighbor Priya has taken a dislike to Indian-American Dini, and soon they’ll be classmates. Priya’s uncle is sad because his fiancee broke their engagement – his sweetheart, Dolly Singh!

Ah, if Dini can get Chickoo Uncle and Dolly back together again, they’ll film her next movie right here as planned – time for more letters, a big party, and Dini’s perfect Bollywood script.

Told by Dini, the mail carriers, the mechanic trying to find out what’s making the strange noise in Chickoo Uncle’s car, Dolly’s agent from the movie studio, and Dolly herself, this story is like a Bollywood special – start the music, cue the dancers, action!

When have you tried to help people fix a situation they couldn’t fix by themselves?
**kmm

Book info: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything / Uma Krishnaswami; illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is Florida & friendship for ABBY, TRIED AND TRUE, through so many difficult life changes, by Donna Gephart (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Abby, Tried and True, by Donna Gephart. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Best friend moving away,
big brother so sick,
seventh grade ahead…sigh.

Honestly, shy Abby doesn’t know how she’ll get over her lifelong friend Cat moving from Florida all the way to Israel. She does know that she’ll write in the journal that Cat gave her, this summer when she’s turning twelve (Fudge is a very good pet turtle, but their conversations are very one-sided).

Her 16-year-old brother Paul will play Monopoly with her (when he’s not practicing basketball with his buddies), Mom Rachel will keep inviting Abby to make cooking videos with her and Paul (nope, too shy to get in front of the camera), and Mama Dee’s sweet treats from her bakery make everyone feel better (but not Abby, this time).

Hmmm… who’s this boy moving into Cat’s house? Maybe she can be brave and meet him… Conrad, whose mom is renting the house after her divorce. He’s in her grade, good at basketball and board games and listening.

Paul comes back from summer camp so sick. Oh no…. cancer! After the going-away party for his cancerous testicle (boys are so weird), he’ll have surgery and start chemo. That means he’ll miss lots of school; it doesn’t mean his friends should stay away.

Seventh grade begins, and Abby is glad that Conrad is there so she doesn’t have to walk home alone with her worries (will they celebrate the Jewish high holidays in the hospital or at home?).

Many difficult days ahead for Abby’s family – she’s really, really glad to have Conrad by her side… maybe more than glad.

Available in paperback this week – find Abby at your your local library or independent bookstore.

When have your friends supported you through tough times?
**kmm

Book info: Abby, Tried and True / Donna Gephart. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is more adventure than THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE expected, by Amanda Foody (MG book review) #AtoZchallenge

book cover of The Accidental Apprentice, by Amanda Foody. Published by Margaret McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No running, no dirt,
nothing exciting –
especially no magical beasts!

One of Dullshire’s many, many rules: stay away from the Woods after one of its Beasts attacked the village and killed Barclay’s parents.

Forced into the Woods, Barclay encounters Viola, a Lore Keeper whose trap summons a Beast that chases him… no, that runs with him! A wolfish Lufthund that chooses to bond with the 11-year-old orphan!

No place for him now in rules-restricted Dullshire, Barclay goes unhappily with Viola to the magical town of Sycomore, filled with all sizes of Beasts and all kinds of people.

Barclay hopes that a Master can remove his Mark, the golden tattoo where the Lufthund dwells when not out in the world, but it’s not so simple.

Only if he places first in the Exhibition testing new Lore Keepers will he have any chance of losing the Lufthund!

Most youth preparing to test are jealous that such a powerful Beast chose to bond with a boring outsider, but Viola and a few others decide to help him learn some Lore so he has a chance to pass.

Barclay must quickly discover how he and his Beast can work together, avoid the bullies who will sabotage his Exhibition matches, and decide how much he’ll risk to go home.

So many fantastical Beasts, so many Lore Keepers with different abilities, so many chances to fail – or to win!

First in the Wilderlore series, followed by The Weeping Tide .

Which of your personal skills would you want your Beast to amplify?
**kmm

Book info: The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore, book 1) / Amanda Foody. Margaret McElderry Books, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

This summer could be the best ever for THE ISLANDERS! by Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May (MG book review)

Book cover of The Islanders, by Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May. Published by Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No videogames or wi-fi?
Driving a golf cart! Or a boat?!
Maybe summer will be okay…

As a military kid, twelve-year-old Jake knows that staying with his grandma Honey will help Mom as she’s at the Army hospital with Dad, but having no internet or cellphone (don’t ask) will be terrible.

Luckily, two kids his age are on Dewees Island for the summer: Macon, a facts-spouting Black guy from Atlanta, whose mom is on bed rest waiting for her baby to arrive, and nature-fanatic Lovie, who drives her own boat over from Isle of Palms every day to stay with her aunt.

Honey doesn’t seem herself after Jake’s granddad died a while ago, and her house on stilts needs lots of care. Dad grew up here, roaming these woods and beaches, learning to drive a boat, leaving his nature journal and favorite books in the loft bedroom where Jake is staying.

Doing chores for Honey still leaves Jake plenty of time to explore the South Carolina coastal island with Lovie and Macon. Lots of lessons too – driving the golf cart, learning his way around a boat, recognizing loggerhead turtle tracks, avoiding alligators.

An incident gets the three friends assigned to Dawn Patrol, checking the beaches early, early every morning for new turtle nests that the licensed specialists verify and encircle with warning tape.

Jake sketches in his own nature journal, writes illustrated letters to Dad, and listens to the worries that Lovie and Macon confide.

Can Jake earn his boating license before summer ends?
How can they keep predators away from the turtle nests?
How fast can Dad recover from the IED explosion?

Sometimes the island seems like paradise, other times it’s not. For these three friends, this will be a summer to remember! First in a new series, followed by Search for Treasure in June 2022.

What’s your favorite summer-with-friends memory?
**kmm

Book info: The Islanders (Islanders, book 1) / Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May. Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [co-author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s Mardi Gras! Let’s go TO CARNIVAL: a Celebration in Saint Lucia! by Baptiste Paul & Jana Glatt (Picture Book review)

book cover of To Carnival: a Celebration in Saint Lucia! by Baptiste Paul; art by Jana Glatt. Published by Barefoot Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The music, the parade, the food – little Melba loves so much about Carnival that she can hardly sleep the night before!

Oh, no! How could her family leave for the morning parade without her?

As she hurries to the bus stop, the young girl meets a steel pan drummer heading to town, too. Oh, there goes the bus!

When they stop to help her friend Kelwin get his kite down from a tree, the bus passes them by again…

Hurrying to town, the group grows as birds and animals of Saint Lucia join them.

Will they get there in time to see the parade?

The author’s childhood memories of this Caribbean island come alive with vibrant images by the Brazilian illustrator. This title is also available in Spanish and French!

Find Creole word pronunciations and meanings at the end of the book, as well as more about Carnival – celebrated in many nations leading up to Mardi Gras (that’s today!) and other times as locally chosen.

What costume would you wear to join in the Carnival parade?
**kmm

Book info: To Carnival: a Celebration in Saint Lucia! / Baptiste Paul; art by Jana Glatt. Barefoot Books, 2021. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WELCOME TO DWEEB CLUB & video of their future!? by Betsy Uhrig (MG book review)

book cover of Welcome to Dweeb Club, by Betsy Uhrig. Published by Margaret McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Youngest kids in the school now,
gotta find your place all over again,
“Join a club” they say, “it’ll be fun…”

Being the first to sign up for a new club means that Jason and other seventh graders get to choose how things go, right?

Hmmm… H.A.I.R. Club isn’t about hair care at all (half the kids leave the first meeting) – its members are the only ones allowed to view the new state-of-the art security system at Flounder Bay Upper School, Maine.

Their first task – find out who is stealing all the croutons from the school cafeteria.

So they watch the late night security recordings and see a skunk heading down the hall. Then, at exactly midnight, the cafeteria is filled with high school kids – how did they get in?

A few more viewings and the eight Club members discover that those teenagers are them, five years in the future – how is this possible?

And none of them really like how their future selves behave – what can they do about that?

After a liquid + security laptop accident, the Club seeks help from Jason’s techie uncle who’s mystified by the programs on the security system – really?!?

Are they really seeing recordings from their own futures?
Why would a skunk seek out croutons?
Who donated the security system anyway?

One humane skunk trap, midnight stakeout missions, the continuous mocking of Jason’s bratty little sister – upper school is definitely different than elementary school! (except that last part, of course)

If offered a chance to see into your own future, would you?
**kmm

Book Info: Welcome to Dweeb Club / Betsy Uhrig. Margaret McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.