Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
The Clackity (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2022) by Lora Senf is an eerily spooky book.
Twelve-year-old Evie Von Rathe is used to ghosts and strange things. After all, she lives with Aunt Desdemona, the paranormal expert in Blight Harbor, the seventh most haunted town in America. But when her aunt goes missing in the abandoned slaughterhouse, it’s up to Evie to save her. The strange creature The Clackity gives her a set of rules–she must go through seven houses in order and bring him/it the ghost of John Jeffrey Pope a serial killer. Will she be brave enough to get through all the houses without being caught by Pope or tricked by The Clackity and save Aunt Desdemona?
This is a compelling read–I just don’t want to see a movie if it’s made as it would be too scary for me.
Lora Senf says, “I write for kids who like their books a little dark and a little scary – and for the adults they grew up to be. But dark and scary is no fun without some light and hope as well, so you’ll find them both in my stories.” This book is the first in a planned series set in Blight Harbor. Read more about the author here.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Heart of a Shepherd (Random House Books for Children, 2009) by Rosanne Parry is a lovely book. I enjoyed the intergenerational relationships, the faith of the main character, and a look into a military and shepherd family’s life.
12-year-old Brother (Ignatius) is not happy. His dad, who is in the Reserves, has to go to Iraq. His older brothers are away at school and he and his grandparents have to keep the ranch going. Brother thinks that keeping the ranch the same will help bring his dad home safely. But sheep ranching is not really his thing.
Here’s encouragement for other writers from Rosanne’s site: “It took me seven years to go from my first idea for Heart of a Shepherd to a finished book. But in those seven years I also wrote another novel, two mysteries, lots of short stories and many newspaper and magazine articles.”
I next plan to read Second Fiddle, another book by Roseanne about military families.
What do you do when you’ve always wanted a dog, but your mother gives you a guinea pig instead? In 5th grader Rufus’ case he decides to keep Fido since she annoys his clean freak dad (the reason he can’t have a dog). But then something strange happens. Fido starts acting like a dog.
Guinea Dog (Egmont, 2010) by Patrick Jennings is humorous and a bit bigger than life. Quite the enjoyable read. I know my 9-year-old grandson would love it. (This book is available both in hardback and paperback.)
Be sure and visit Patrick’s website and read his funny bio. There you can also read about his many other books.
P.S. Today, September 15th, Patrick wrote to me and said: “It was just announced today that the book won the Washington State Book Award. :)”
A BIG CONGRATS!
The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Simon and Schuster, 2009) by Mac Barnett illustrated by Adam Rex is one funny mystery. The story is modeled after the old time kid detective novels, so expect some corn.
12-year-old Steve Brixton is enamored of the old mystery books about the Bailey brothers and himself gets mistaken for a detective by the Librarians (under cover agents) when he checks out a book on quilts at the library. He’s on the run from the police, including Jerk Rick who’s dating Steve’s mom. The only way to prove himself innocent is to solve the case.
Author Mac Barnett bills himself as “writer and strongman-for-hire” on his website. Check out the piano keys for more details.
But wait! There’s more. The sequel Brixton Brothers 2: The Ghostwriter Secret came out last fall and is on my to-be-read list. The next in the series, It Happened on a Train, will come out this October.
Illustrator Adam Rex is the author/illustrator of The True Meaning of Smekday. What? You haven’t read it? Learn more here about that title and stuff about Adam on his site where Abraham Superlincoln tells you to “choose wisely.”