Twelve-year-old Blue thinks no one else misses her twin Iris, who died three years ago. Blue chronicles her life through a diary and videos, capturing her workaholic parents, moody sister Flora, and younger siblings Jasmine and Twig, who keep pet rats to entertain everyone. Their new babysitter Zoran is in for some challenges with this unlucky family. When another near-tragedy occurs they manage to rally and work together. Blue's struggles are handled with honesty and compassion as she works through her grief. The final chapter depicts Blue laughing, as she has learned to enjoy life - a poignant and memorable story. Ages 9-13
Count the Monkeys
Mac Barnett's trademark humor and comic timing are at their best in this almost monkey-less counting book.The title page invites kids to count the monkeys, "all you have to do is turn the page!" But, on the first page, a king cobra has scared them away. Next, two mongooses frighten the cobra, and of course, no monkeys are in sight. Three crocodiles, four grizzly bears, and ten polka-dot rhinos are among the animals who join the melee. Cornell's vivid illustrations capture the fun with oversized characters and costumed animals. The question remains: do the monkeys ever appear? Ages 4-6
Noble is a knight who fights monsters with help from his magical sword, Smite. Together they fight their way through vicious lands, defeating evil guys and hoping to rescue a princess. By chance they meet Rufus, a skinny kid who questions Noble's motives: "I'm a freedom lover, power to the people and all that stuff." Rufus doesn't play by the usual rules, he negotiates instead of fighting. Noble joins Rufus in a quest to change his computer world. This action-packed fantasy tale is filled with fun, spirited characters and unpredictable events. From the award-winning Australian author of Evil Genius (2007) and Paradise Trap (2012) Ages 9-12
Twenty-Six Pirates: An Alphabet Book
This swashbuckling alphabet book features a named pirate with a rhyme that describes him: "Pirate Arty. First to the party," Pirate Lee needs to pee, Pirate Quaid is not afraid, and Pirate Tony is full of baloney. Lively comic illustrations show exaggerated brawling, cheering pirates grinning as they entertain. The final two pages show all 26 pirates together on a boat, sharing their silliness. Ages 4-6
What Floats in a Moat?
Archie the goat and Skinny the hen need to deliver three barrels of buttermilk to the queen in her castle. A moat surrounds it so Skinny suggests they use the drawbridge. Archie nixes that idea and proclaims "This is a time for science!" Through trial and error they discover a full barrel sinks, an empty barrel rolls, but a boat built from a half-empty barrel will sail. Cordell's energetic watercolor and ink illustrations are amusing and goofy. A wonderful read-aloud that teaches the Archimedean discoveries about water displacement in a most entertaining way. Science was never so much fun as this eccentric float-your-boat-in-a-moat story. Ages 6-8
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