Spells by Emily Gravett
“Spells is about a frog who dreams of being more than a just a small green animal and who finds a torn-up magic book that gives him the hope of turning into a handsome prince. As he tries to piece together the appropriate enchantment, split pages offer mixed-up spells that will turn him into half another creature, from rabbit to snake, in lots of permutations. When he finally matches the correct parts of a word, he transforms into a bare-bottomed prince and is delighted at the chance to kiss a beautiful princess. This has unforeseen consequences, which prove that he should have read the small print.” [JPB GRAVETT]
Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
“Andy Shane did not want to be in school. He did not want to be at morning meeting. He did not want to sit up straight on the rug.
“Andy Shane would much rather be home catching bugs with Granny Webb than sitting in class with the likes of know-it-all Dolores Starbuckle. Any minute, Dolores is likely to shout out, “Ms. Janice, someone’s not sitting properly!” or “Ms. Janice, someone’s misusing the math materials!” (meaning him, of course). At rhyme time, the words bug and rug get stuck in Andy’s throat while Dolores yells out of turn, “Hullabaloo!” and “Kalamazoo!”
“I hate school,” he blurts out at the end of the day to Granny Webb, who is sympathetic but firm. But when Granny makes a surprise visit to school with a monarch caterpillar, everyone is mesmerized, and Andy remembers how much he knows about insects himself. Even Dolores Starbuckle can’t help but be impressed!” [JE JACOBSON]
Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond
“It was very deep, Kit. Very dark. And every one of us was scared of it. As a lad I’d wake up trembling, knowing that as a Watson born in Stoneygate I’d soon be following my ancestors into the pit,” so Kit’s grandfather tells him.
The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit’s recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family had both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him to play a game called Death. As Kit’s grandfather provides stories of the mine’s past and the history of the Watson family, the boys search the mines to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors.
Written in haunting, lyrical prose, Kit’s Wilderness examines the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and explores how meaning and beauty can be revealed from the depths of darkness. Originally published in 1999. [J ALMOND]
Everything You Need To Know About Science by Dr. Mike Goldsmith
Young researchers will dive into the fantastic world of science with this authoritative one-stop reference that’s packed with all the information kids want to explore. Grouped into five clear sections—Numbers, Energy and Matter, Materials, Living Things, and Space—this encyclopedia includes activities, key vocabulary, web links, and tons of fascinating trivia that will keep kids coming back for study and for pleasure. [J503 GOLDSMITH]