This week, as a follow up to the previous post about magical animals, we have a post about regular ol’ animals. Except the one about a girl whose brain is put into a chimpanzee. That’s not necessarily a regular ol’ animal. But otherwise we’re featuring dogs, chimps and whales, just your usual backyard pets…
Half brother / by Kenneth Oppel.
“Thirteen-year-old Ben Tomlin’s whole world is changing. His parents, research scientists, have moved them across Canada to be with their newest subject, Zan. Intending to prove that chimpanzees are capable of intelligent thought and communication, the Tomlins teach the baby chimp sign language and incorporate him into their daily lives. Thrust into a new school and, essentially, a new family, Ben is caught in a whirl of new emotions, especially when the lovely Jennifer comes onto the scene. Though Zan learns sign language relatively well, his animal instincts gradually become more pronounced and Ben and his parents must make some important decisions about the chimp’s future.” (School Library Journal)
Jamrach’s menagerie : a novel / by Carol Birch.
“Jamrach’s Menagerie tells the story of a nineteenth-century street urchin named Jaffy Brown. Following an incident with an escaped tiger, Jaffy goes to work for Mr. Charles Jamrach, the famed importer of exotic animals, alongside Tim, a good but sometimes spitefully competitive boy. Mr. Jamrach recruits the two boys to capture a fabled dragon during the course of a three-year whaling expedition. They even succeed in catching the reptilian beast. But when the ship’s whaling venture falls short of expectations, the crew begins to regard the dragon—seething with feral power in its cage—as bad luck, a feeling that is cruelly reinforced when a violent storm sinks the ship. Drifting across an increasingly hallucinatory ocean, the survivors, including Jaffy and Tim, are forced to confront their own place in the animal kingdom. ” (Syndetics summary)
Wolves, boys, & other things that might kill me / Kristen Chandler.
“The only daughter of a fishing and wildlife guide, KJ Carson can hold her own on the water or in the mountains near her hometown outside Yellowstone National Park. But when she meets the shaggy-haired, intensely appealing Virgil, KJ loses all self-possession. And she’s not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they’re assigned to work together on a school newspaper article about the famous wolves of Yellowstone. As KJ spends time with Virgil, she also spends more time getting to know a part of her world that she always took for granted… and she begins to see herself and her town in a whole new light.” (Goodreads)
Lost dogs / Garrett Carr.
“Ewan is back in the city for his father’s trial, while May has come to join a school for girls with special talents. Andrew wants only to keep them all out of trouble. But trouble is sure to find them. Crates of genetically engineered dogs are stacked down by the docks. They rattle their containers and smell of death. Vicious and unstoppable, they will soon be exported to fight in foreign wars. Unless someone releases them first.” (Syndetics summary)
Threatened / Eliot Schrefer.
“Luc lives with other young orphan boys under the roof of Monsieur Tatagani, an unscrupulous man who exploits his charges. Professor Abdul Mohammad, a prosperous-looking Arab, meets Luc and hires him as his assistant, taking him deep into the jungle to study chimpanzees. Luc discovers he has an interest and aptitude for the work, and he thrives under Prof’s tutelage. All too soon, though, Prof disappears under mysterious circumstances, and Luc must survive on his own. With only Prof’s tiny pet vervet for company, Luc watches and learns from the chimps.” (Booklist)
The boy with the tiger’s heart / Linda Coggin.
“The wild is danger, the wild is fierce, the wild is freedom. Raised by dogs and feared by humans, Nona, suspected of murdering her guardian, must run from the authorities with the only poeple she can trust: a frightened boy called Caius, a mixed-up boy called Jay – and a bear by the name of Abel Dancer.” (Back cover)
Edge of nowhere / John Smelcer.
“Seth, an overweight teenager who is grieving over his mother’s death is washed overboard his father’s fishing boat during a torrential storm. He and his dog Tucker must make their way home from island to island along the Alaskan coast, and Seth gains new insights into himself, even as his father searches desperately for him. Based on true events, interwoven with Alutiiq myths.” (Syndetics summary)
Singing home the whale / Mandy Hager.
“Will Jackson is a city boy reluctantly staying with his uncle in small town New Zealand while he struggles to recover from a brutal attack and the aftermath of a humiliating Youtube clip gone viral. Will discovers an orphaned orca and they form a deep bond through music, but Will must rally to protect it from hostile locals, worried about the whale’s effect on the town’s salmon farms.” (Syndetics summary)
Eva / Peter Dickinson.
“Following a terrible car crash, Eva, 14, awakens from a strange dream and finds herself in a hospital bed. Medical science, in this book’s future setting, has allowed doctors to pull her functioning brain from her crushed body and put it into the able body of a chimpanzee. With the aid of a voice synthesizer, she communicates with others and adjusts to her new body; because her father is a scientist who has always worked among the chimps (who have been crowded by the massive human population out of any semblance of a natural world, and into iron and steel jungles), Eva is comfortable with her new self. She takes on the issue of animal rights, setting up (with the help of others, of course) an elaborate scheme to release chimps back into the last of the wild.” (Publisher Weekly)
The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Terry Pratchett.
“It’s time for the rats to tell their side of the Pied Piper story. Think rats can’t talk? These rats can, and not only that, they also read, disarm mousetraps, and concoct schemes with a genius cat known as the Amazing Maurice.” (Syndetics summary)
This week, TV, dance, and a literary legend.
Homecoming, Kass Morgan. This is the final in the 100 trilogy, which the TV series The 100 is based on, so cover your eyes maybe because there might be spoilers! “Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space. These new arrivals are the lucky ones – back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone – but after making it safely to Earth, Glass’s luck seems to be running out. Clarke leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, Wells struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and Bellamy must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind. It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything – and everyone – they love.” (goodreads.com)
Dance of Fire, Yelena Black. The sequel to Dance of Shadows. “All dancers dream of the chance to try out for the Royal Court Ballet Company. Only two dancers from the elite New York Ballet Academy will have this honour. Vanessa is one of them. She dances with grace and elegance, and a fury that is unmatched. Justin – strong, sexy and caring – will be her partner. But the thrill of travelling to London for this once-in-a-lifetime competition is shrouded by their past and the demands of an ancient organisation. The Lyric Elite needs them to win the contest and to infiltrate the Royal Court Ballet in order to seek out a dark society of Necrodancers. Vanessa will dance like she has never danced before, but not for them. Vanessa is there to find her missing sister, Margaret, and she won’t let anything get in the way of that … Fierce rivals, dark forces and hidden motives weave together in a gripping thriller for fans of Black Swan and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments.” (goodreads.com)
A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the first Sherlock Holmes mystery, first published in 1887. This edition is unabridged. “See how Holmes and Watson met for the first time. A baffling murder with puzzling clues and evil villains takes place and the … cold and quirky detective, with his razor-sharp deductive mind and obsessive attention to detail, is on the case. Told from the journals of his faithful companion, Dr. John Watson, join us for a trip to 221B Baker Street and the beginning of the legend of Sherlock Holmes.” (goodreads.com)
Wings, by Aprilynne Pike (Young Adult Fiction)
I thought it was a really interesting book with lots of different genres like romance, fantasy, adventure and more. it changes your whole view on fantasy creatures and makes you wonder what could be out there. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait the rest of the series.
Reviewed by Nadya from Brooklyn, 11 years old
Firelight, by Sophie Jordan (Young Adult Fiction)
It is a well written book, but I found that not much really happens. The conflict is not really resolved, which I was slightly disappointed at. Apart from that flaw, it has its fair share of suspense and action.
Reviewed by Julia from Brooklyn, 11 years old
If I could be anywhere in the fashion world this week, I would choose London so I could check out the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition that started last week at the Victoria Albert Museum in London.
Celebrating the extraordinary creative talent of one of the most innovative designers of recent times, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe.
We also have some other sweet new reads about Alexander McQueen…
Gods and kings : the rise and fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano / Dana Thomas.
“More than two decades ago, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen arrived on the fashions scene when the business was in an artistic and economic rut. Both struggled to get their businesses off the ground, despite early critical success. But by 1997, each had landed a job as creative director for couture houses owned by French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH. Galliano’s and McQueen’s work for Dior and Givenchy and beyond not only influenced fashion; their distinct styles were also reflected across the media landscape. For both Galliano and McQueen, the pace was unsustainable. In her groundbreaking work Gods and Kings , acclaimed journalist Dana Thomas tells the true story of McQueen and Galliano. In so doing, she reveals the revolution in high fashion in the last two decades–and the price it demanded of the very ones who saved it.” (adapted from syndetics summary)
“The definitive biography of Alexander McQueen which reveals the source of his genius and the links between his dark work and even darker life.” (Syndetics summary)
The homecoming, Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Dave McKean
The WISP series (Wonderfully Illustrated Short Pieces) represents an ingenious marriage of two creative forces: the artistry of today’s foremost illustrators and the literary legacy of beloved authors of popular short works for adults. The resulting offspring of this union are captivating, full-color illustrated editions of timeless classics that readers will want to savor and collect. For the first time ever, the series makes selected popular short works previously offered only in collections available in a unique, stand-alone format. Also for the first time, WISPs harness the talents of top illustrators for the benefit and delight of a new, older audience. This WISP presents RAY BRADBURY’S THE HOMECOMING, a little boy’s tale of his family reunion of vampires. This story was initially published in 1946 and later refashioned into further stories. Bringing this story to life are the wondrous illustrations of Dave McKean, whose delightful artwork perfectly matches the tale. (Goodreads)
First lines: “Here they come, said Cecy,” lying there flat in the High Attic dust.
“Where are they?” cried Timothy near the window, staring out.
Unleashed, Sophie Jordan
Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man. Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she’ll be ruled by the kill gene or if she’ll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn’t even know if she can trust herself.
First lines: The man I killed won’t leave me alone. He comes to me at night. The first time he intruded on my dreams I thought it was an isolated thing. A sudden troublesome nightmare that would fade with the night, never to return. But it does. He does. And I begin to realise he’s never going away.
Zafir, Pure Mason
Six months after Zafir has moved to Homs from Dubai with his parents, the excitement of living in a new city has worn off. But then he sees a body thrown from a moving car, and when no one stops to help – and he’s told to forget what he’s seen – he realises there’s a lot he doesn’t understand about life in Syria. A lot that no one will tell him. Soon after, the campaign for revolution in Syria begins, and Zafir’s parents argue about their country’s future. Things get worse when his father is arrested and his mother must leave Homs. As the conflict in the city escalates, everyday life becomes dangerous for a boy alone. (Goodreads)
First lines: Zafir shivered. It was an icy morning in the city of Homs and the wind felt sharp enough to strip the skin from his body. Tetah, his grandmother, has said it might even snow. Zafir hoped it would, but he wished winter didn’t have to be this cold.
The five stages of Andrew Brawley, Shaun David Hutchinson
Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived. Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts. But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all. But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
First lines: The boy is on fire. EMTs wheel him into Roanoke General’s sterile emergency room. He screams and writhes on the gurney as though the fire that burned his skin away burns still, flaring deep within his bones, where paramedics and doctors and nurses crowding around him, working desperately, will never be able to extinguish it.
The bargaining, Carly Anne West
The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house. Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.
But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future…(Goodreads)
First lines: The first thing I should see is Pop with his belt. He called me from the top of the stairs, so that’s where he should be waiting, leather and buckle in hand, knuckles bulging against his grip.
The winner’s crime, Marie Rutkoski
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret. As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
First lines: She cut herself opening the envelope. Kestrel has been eager, she’d been a fool, tearing into the letter simply because it had been addressed in Herrani script. The letter opener slipped. Seeds of blood hit the paper and bloomed bright.
Under my skin, James Dawnson
Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams. But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’. (Goodreads)
First lines: I can’t say I wasn’t warned. This is what all those stories told us about. This is the dark at the heart of the forest; this is the Big Bad Wolf; this is both the serpent and the apple. There are warnings everywhere – in the Bible, on TV, in nursery rhymes. I always thought they were metaphors or allegories to get me to go to bed, to make me eat my vegetables. I ignored them. I think we all do.
Frozen Charlotte, Alex Bell
We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died. (Goodreads)
First lines: The girls were playing with the Frozen Charlotte dolls again. The schoolmistress had given them some scarps of fabric and ribbon from the sewing room to take out to the garden. They were to practice their embroidery skills by making little dresses and bonnets for the naked porcelain dolls.
“They’ll catch their death of cold otherwise,” the teacher had said.
Quake, Patrick Carman
Faith Daniels and Dylan Gilmore are in love, and they have a special ability called a pulse: they can move things with their minds. They’re caught in the middle of a deadly war with two other pulses: Clara and Wade Quinn, who have joined forces with Hotspur Chance, the most wanted man in the world. At the start of Quake, Faith and Dylan are holed up in a spectacular abandoned mountain lodge (once used in the film The Shining 71 years before), and their Intel friend Hawk leaves them in the middle of the night, in spite of a newly blossoming love with a girl named Jade. Hawk’s plan is to penetrate the Western State and make contact with a sleeper cell working on the inside that will give them valuable information about Hotspur’s violent plan. But while Hawk is searching for answers on the inside, Faith and Dylan are still fighting on the outside. In a series of hair-raising battles, the second pulses duel it out, only to raise the body count on both sides. During the battles, Faith and Dylan discover an even great strength: the power of their combined love. Together, Faith and Dylan might just be able to save the world with a quake that is big enough to change the course of history. (Goodreads)
First lines: I used to draw things and make little notes but I don’t do that anymore. I’m too tired. I’ve let so many details slip away these past months because living is a lot of work or because I grew out of writing things down or I just got lazy. I woke up one day and realised I wasn’t writing things down anymore. I guess it happens.
Burning Kingdoms, Lauren DeStefano
After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.
The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park. It is also a land at war. Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them? (Goodreads)
First lines: Snow. That’s the word the people of the ground have for this wonder.
“Goddamn snow,” our driver mumbles for the second time, as the mechanical arms sweep the dust from the window. It’s like a stab to the heart hearing a god referred to so unkindly. I wonder which god he means.
Got an idea for a website but don’t know how to develop it? Get along to these two free coding classes during the April school holidays. They’re perfect for beginners and a great way to learn how to code using CSS/HTML, and you’ll get a chance to create your own live website. BYOD.
Places are limited and bookings are required: bookings and info
Sunday 12th April, 9am – 3pm, Central Library: for 12-14 yr olds
Monday 13th April, 9am-3pm, Central Library: for 15-18yr olds
Well Insurgent begins at the movies tomorrow, Thursday, the 19th of March. Here at the library we are ready for it: if you want to refresh your memory about what happens in the book (by Veronica Roth) we have:
An also Divergent, the film.
And just because, here’s the final trailer:
Hey cool cats – school’s back which is great because knowledge is important. I mean Herminone Granger was the true hero of the Harry Potter series.
For those of you who are wanting to extend your mega minds – I’ve got a list of epic Shakespearean-themed stories.
If you’re feeling like the cleverest kid in town don’t limit yourself to just reading retellings of the classic plays. Shakespeare’s own writing is moving and hilarious. Just check out how mad he was with writing insults:
“Thou art as loathsome as a toad!” Titus Andronicus
“Away you three-inch-fool!” Taming of the Shrew
“Thou art a boil, a plague sore!” King Lear
“You, minion, are too saucy,” The Two Gentlemen of Verona
“Thou art as fat as butter!” Henry IV Part One
Here’s a list of retellings for all you Shakespearean fiends:
“William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope” by Ian Doescher.
Star Wars meets Shakespeare – I can’t think of anything better. “The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.” (Goodreads)
“As You Wish” by Jackson Pearce.
“Ever since Viola’s boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes. Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can’t deny that he’s falling for Viola. But it’s only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she’s in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.” (Goodreads)
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead” by Tom Stoppard.
This comedic play would be ideal if you were looking for something cool to do in Drama class. “Hamlet told from the worm’s-eye view of two minor characters, bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, reality and illusion mix, and where fate leads heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.” (Goodreads)
“Ophelia” by Lisa M Klein.
This looks awesome. “In this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes centre stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting. She catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, and their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and ultimately, Ophelia must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life.” (Goodreads)
“Wondrous Strange” by Lesley Livingston.
“17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks… In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley’s off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.” (Goodreads) Also available for download from OverDrive! eBooks are cool as.
“King of Shadows” by Susan Cooper.
“Only in the world of the theatre can Nat Field find an escape from the tragedies that have shadowed his young life. So he is thrilled when he is chosen to join an American drama troupe traveling to London to perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a new replica of the famous Globe theater. Shortly after arriving in England, Nat goes to bed ill and awakens transported back in time four hundred years — to another London, and another production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Amid the bustle and excitement of an Elizabethan theatrical production, Nat finds the warm, nurturing father figure missing from his life — in none other than William Shakespeare himself. Does Nat have to remain trapped in the past forever, or give up the friendship he’s so longed for in his own time?” (Goodreads)
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