Tag Archive | animals

She thought her home is WHERE THE HEART IS, but is it? by Jo Knowles (MG book review)

book cover of  Where the Heart Is, by Jo Knowles. Published by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Gotta get a job,
help with the bills…
what a 13th birthday surprise!

Rachel and best friend Micah want to have a summer filled with lazy days at the lake, ice cream, and her little sister tagging along.

But money troubles are piling up for Mom and Dad, so she gets a job caring for their new neighbors’ hobby farm animals. Are they really raising that mean ol’ pig for bacon?

Too many things are changing – next year is eighth grade, the Townsends built their big new house on the best winter sledding hill, Micah wants to be her boyfriend… no crushes on boys for her.

Does Cybil want to be more than a casual friend?
Will Mom and Dad ever stop fighting about money?
Will Rachel’s pay as a farm helper be enough?

Rachel’s summer seems more like a raging river of worries than their favorite calm lakeshore beach as she tries to navigate around so many new obstacles.

Read the first chapters here free, courtesy of the publisher, to meet Rachel and family on her big birthday.

Is home really “where the heart is”?
**kmm

Book info: Where the Heart Is / Jo Knowles. Candlewick Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU stop the evil? #mglit by Jan Eldredge (book review)

book cover of Evangeline of the Bayou, by Jan Eldredge. Published by Balzer+Bray | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Gator-skin boots with silver tips,
brain full of remedy recipes,
heart full of worries…

Evangeline has to be braver than ever when the otherworldly forces affecting their client in the too-busy city send Gran to the hospital, leaving the haunt-huntress-in-training to complete their mission – with the help of Julian, who will have to push past his self-imposed limits to save his mother.

Johnny revenants from Civil War battlefields and bayou banshees are easy to banish compared to the evil preparing to pounce on the Crescent City!

Is there a power within you that you’re just waiting to manifest?
**kmm

Book info: Evangeline of the Bayou / Jan Eldredge; illustrations by Joseph Kuefler. Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins), 2018. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy won in contest; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In the city on a mission with her haunt huntress grandmother, twelve year old Evangeline longs for their bayou cabin and hopes that her own abilities stabilize before the supernatural menace stalking New Orleans gains full power!

With Daddy working offshore and Mama dead before Evangeline could know her, it’s up to Gran to teach her every skill needed to be a haunt huntress who expels shadow crouchers and dixie demons from the parish.

In their big city house (on a corner – unlucky) Mrs. Midsomer’s sickness worsens at night, Mr. Midsomer is so upset that he’s leaving Mardi Gras float details to others in his Krewe, and their adopted son Julian rigidly adheres to rules of his own making.

All symptoms point to the bite of a rougarou, perhaps from the same powerful werewolf clan that attacked Gran years ago, and the moon will be full very soon!

That black grim follows them to the city – whose death is it foretelling?
Her thirteenth birthday is nearing – where is Evangeline’s familiar?

Evangeline and Julian must track down the alpha rougarou before it’s too late for Julian’s mother and all of New Orleans!

She must gather all of THE HIDDEN STAR stone! by K. Sello Duiker (book review)

book cover of The Hidden Star, by K. Sello Duiker. Published by Cassava Republic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Math is her best subject,
collecting stones a fun hobby –
the newest one is special, maybe magical!

South African parents warn kids to stay indoors all night so the creature called Zim won’t take them away. This is true in Nolitye’s shanty neighborhood where children are disappearing!

Her mother says neighbors are wrong about her late father’s amazing abilities, the school bullies steal her tiny lunch every single day, the local stray dogs are talking to her – and she finds a special stone that makes her feel giddy with joy!

Someone else wants that stone’s power, the full power of all its pieces that Nolitye is finding….

Published after the author’s early death, this tale of myth, reality, folklore, and family is worth requesting at your local library or indie bookstore – if they don’t have it, they can get it for you!

What would you wish, holding this hidden star?
**kmm

Book info: The Hidden Star / K. Sello Duiker. Cassava Republic Press, 2017. [author obituary] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Math is easy, avoiding the school bullies isn’t, but young Nolitye and her best friends are called on a difficult quest to save their South African neighborhood from an evil wizard’s control.

The lovely stone that Nolitye finds gives her such happiness. Then a mysterious woman stops time to tell her its secrets and that the eleven year old must collect its missing pieces before the wizard can gather them!

The stray dogs warn Nolitye to stay indoors one night – do they know who is stealing away children from their Soweto township?

Why does only Nolitye see that Ma Mtonga’s necklace is a living snake?

Can Nolitye, Bheki, and Four Eyes find all the pieces of the stone and stop the evil ones?

Her mother’s behavior suddenly changes, the neighbours think the mythical Zim may be the kidnapper, but only Nolitye and her friends know the truth!

Where is her brother who loves the Scarlet Ibis? by Gill Lewis (book review)

book cover of Scarlet Ibis, by Gill Lewis. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When a parent can’t parent,
when interventions don’t work,
when “what’s best for you” isn’t…

Only Scarlet understands how Red’s mind works, how his systematic collecting of birds’ feathers satisfies a deep-seated need for her younger half-brother with autism.

In a brief calm moment with Red in the zoo aviary where she actually can escape into a book without worrying about him, Scarlet notes “I close my book, imagining the characters frozen in their own time until I open the pages and start reading again. I wonder if our own lives are written down, unchangeable. I wonder what would be written down for me” (p. 42).

Their mother just sits in their London flat, so Scarlet takes care of shopping, laundry, and everything else – until it’s wrested from her control.

How do you cope with sudden changes?
**kmm

Book info: Scarlet Ibis / Gill Lewis, illustrated by Susan Meyer. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a disaster separates Scarlet from Red, the twelve year old is ready to search all of London so she can help her little half-brother with autism.

Scarlet and Red share the same mother (who’s not functioning well right now) – would the social worker have kept them together if they looked more alike?

Observing birds is the only thing that calms her autistic brother – where might Red go to find them (and Scarlet find him)?

Being called “my little cousin” by foster brother Jez gives Scarlet a safe identity – but what if her new schoolmates discover the truth?

Family bonds, racial identity, labeling others who are different, the haves and have-nots – life has just become even more complex for this young woman trying to do everything for those she loves.

Mutant space-cat? Oh, Sanity & Tallulah, what have you done?! by Molly Brooks (book review)

book cover of Sanity & Tallulah, by Molly Brooks. Published by Disney/Hyperion | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A pet would be nice,
especially a soft one that purrs…
even if it does have three heads!

Life aboard an old space station alternates between boring and emergency, even for its kids. (Please say that school won’t be same old routine in the future!)

With something loose in the maintenance tunnels disrupting power and other essential services, our genius middle-schoolers are on the search team, trying to locate Princess Sparkle before anyone else finds their three-headed kitten – or anything else goes wrong!

What’s your favorite cute/oops pet story?
**kmm

Book info: Sanity & Tallulah / written & illustrated by Molly Brooks. Disney/Hyperion, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: When her lab-engineered (cute, but very illegal) pet escapes, preteen genius Sanity and best friend Tallulah must find the three-headed kitten before it causes any more critical outages in the space station!

Sanity used only outdated (very unstable) tech and her own energy allowance to create Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds, but the Wilnick’s lab director (Tallulah’s mom) still confiscates the cute carnivore. Three heads are smarter than one – Princess quickly gets out of confinement and into the station’s maintenance tunnels.

Sudden power disruptions all over Wilnick! Something has been chewing on the coolant lines.

Weird noises on the supply shuttle! Tallulah’s dad and little brother can track that down.

Power outage locks their class in the chemistry lab! Sanity can find a way to get them out safely.

Everyone’s on alert so they can eliminate the “huge beast” threatening this old space station’s life support systems – Sanity and Tallulah must find the kitten first in this futuristic graphic novel!

Can Fox Girl and the White Gazelle become friends? by Victoria Williamson (book review)

book cover of Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, by Victoria Williamson. Published by Floris Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A wounded wild animal,
Two sad-at-heart girls –
What can heal them?

“Immersion” into school when her Syrian family arrives in Glasgow is more like drowning for Reema – new words, new accent, new dangers to face.

Fighting keeps everyone from getting close to Cailyn or discovering her mom’s problems – being a bully is better than being in foster care.

Cautiously, Reema and Cailyn might edge toward friendship as they care for a wounded fox and her babies in this story from Scotland that puts human faces on headline news.

How are refugees welcomed and assisted in your community?
**kmm

Book info: Fox Girl and the White Gazelle / Victoria Williamson. Kelpies/ Floris Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Reema and her family have run away from the bombings and gas attacks, away from their home in Syria to far-off Scotland, separated from big brother Jamal.

Fox limped away from the metal monster that hurt her, away from the no-longer-safe woods, too close to the tall boxes where the beasts dwell, her babies come now.

Caylin won’t run from anything after Grandad’s death, covering up as Mum mourns in the bottle, stealing to keep them fed, bullying any who mock her lisp or shabby clothes.

Reema and Cailyn find the wounded fox and her small pups, both vowing to keep them safe and hidden from the nosiest neighbor in their small Glasgow apartment block.

Running – like she and Jamal did in the souk of Aleppo, Reema can run school races as fast as the white gazelle she is named for – if Baba and Mama will allow it.

Running – pups will grow and explore, the beasts in the box nearby will find them – mother fox must heal to lead them to safety.

Running – Gran was a national champion and Cailyn could be, too – but if Mum is wrong, kids would make fun of her even more.

This story of risk and safety is told from all three viewpoints as the two junior high girls discover that their differences need not separate them when important things are at stake.

Baseball (and bullies) and The Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser (book review)

book cover of Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser, published by Margaret K McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBaseball practice needs a flat open space,
so the city park is a great place!
But sharing the outfield with the zoo can be beastly!

Nick and his buddies love baseball, practicing whenever and wherever they can (no Little League yet in Wisconsin in 1948). They’re thrilled when the new owner of the town’s pro team promises a chance for kids to be on the field for opening day! (or is it just for boys?)

Read the first chapter here to meet Nick and the rhino (free, courtesy of the publisher), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for the rest of the story.

Your close encounter with unusual animals and/or minor league baseball?
**kmm

Book info: The Rhino in Right Field / Susan DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For the chance to be Mudpuppy batboy for day, 12-year-old Nick will do anything – work harder in Pop’s shoe repair shop, help uncle Spiro with mysterious errands – as the baseball team’s new owner plans an extravaganza for Opening Day.

That bully Pete thinks he’ll be chosen batboy, but Nick can win this contest based on essay-writing and baseball skills – if only his Pop would sign the permission slip… hmmm

He and Ace practice fielding with Penny (wow, can she throw!), hoping Nick’s baseball won’t wind up in the rhino enclosure (again).

His Greek immigrant father is sure that working hard in the family shop is Nick’s destiny, but Uncle Spiro wants to make his own way in post-World War II Wisconsin.

Where will Nick be on Opening Day – in the Mudpuppy dugout or listening on the radio in the shoe shop?

G is Gorilla Dawn on dangerous days, by Gill Lewis (book review)

US book cover of Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comWe depend on our smartphones
which depend on tantalum found in coltan
whose mining destroys families – human and gorilla!

Why does corporate greed incite kidnapping and environmental catastrophe in the Congo and elsewhere?

How can we individuals make it stop, save children like Imara and Bobo from being kidnapped and enslaved to mine coltan, protect habitat for gorillas?

This middle-grade novel reminds us how interconnected we are and how our unthinking consumer choices can drastically affect others.

When is a smartphone a dumb choice?
**kmm

Book info: Gorilla Dawn / Gill Lewis; illustrated by Susan Meyer. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017 hardcover, May 2018 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Her luck foretold by Three Pennies? by Melanie Crowder (book review)

book cover of Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comAsk the pennies, get the answer.
Always 3 pennies, always Mom’s pocket book of I Ching,
Mom should be her answer, but where?

So-quiet Marin has bounced around the foster care system so long.
Young owl’s injury has kept him in city, away from big trees for so long.
Earth beneath their city has stayed in tension for so long… too long.

All children need loving homes – too much to ask?
**kmm

Book info: Three Pennies / Melanie Crowder. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Foggy San Francisco – where any moment can bring an earthquake or the right home or a loving family – young Marin searches for her birth mother, and a wounded owl feels the faraway forest calling him…small beings trying to find their right place in the big city.

From foster home to foster home, quiet 11-year-old Marin seeks answers daily from the I Ching book of changes left behind by her mother seven years ago.

Silently gliding in the night sky, a young owl feels his wounded wing become stronger and soon may leave this not-forest place.

How can Dr. Lucy become her parent when Marin knows she must find her birth mother?
Will young owl go to the giant trees of his ancestors or stay here to watch the small girl?
When will the slowly moving rocks under the city finally slide too far?

Many voices – Marin, the owl, lonely Dr. Lucy, social worker Gilda, the earth beneath the city – tell this story of loss, love, and hope.

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!

**kmm

Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book: