Tag Archives: friendship

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I decided to read this book to the kids. I remember enjoying it significantly when it first came out. This is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

Published: 1996

Genre: middle grade fantasy

Length: 399 pages

Setting: it felt like England and northern countries, including Svalbard, 1800s, but it wasn’t really Continue reading

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The Penelope Qingdom by Aidan Moher

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: December, 2016 in Mothership Zeta

Genre: fantasy

Setting: Prince George, Canada, 1980s

Summary: Penelope Qing and her family move in next door to Ivan and his moms. They’re the same age, 11, and meet when Ivan’s moms introduce themselves. Penelope takes Ivan down into her basement to show him the Penelope Kingdom – a fantastical medieval world made of various dolls, action figures, household items, and buildings. The amazing thing is it comes to life in Penelope’s presence. We even get excerpts from a history book from the kingdom sprinkled throughout the story. Ivan and Penelope play down there for years, although at the end of middle school he becomes more interested in kissing Penelope than playing. However, when Penelope’s family moves right before high school, he’s willing to set up a colony in his basement.

Final thoughts: This was a delightful story. Penelope and Ivan have an imaginary world they’ve put together in Penelope’s basement that is real, at least when Penelope is there. Luckily, they both enjoyed playing in the world, although Ivan started growing out of it before Penelope did. There was an impressive progress of time, since several years pass in the story. We get just enough detail to know time is passing, but not so much to make it boring. At the end, it looks like Ivan and Penelope will just be memories to each other. However, online gaming is just starting, so it’s possible they will connect in a MUD instead of just fading away.

Title comes from: Penelope was King of her fantasy world, so it was called Penelope’s Kingdom. Her name was Penelope Qing (pronounced King), so Ivan made it a play on her name – Penelope’s Qingdom.

 

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The Never War by D. J. MacHale

This is the third book in the Pendragon Series, following The Lost City of Faar. We needed a book to listen to on our drive to Baltimore for vacation/conference. My husband remembered we’d started this book and was able to find the next book in the series in audio form.

Published: 2005

Genre: middle grade fantastical fiction (hard to judge if it’s science fiction or fantasy as the Travelers move between worlds by flume)

Length: 352 pages

Setting: mostly NYC in First Earth (1940), with a trip to Second and Third Earth, immediately following the events from The Lost City of Faar Continue reading

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Giant Days Volume One by John Allison

I saw this reviewed somewhere and thought Mr. Curiosity might enjoy it. Luckily, our library had it so I requested it.

Published: 2016

Illustrator: Lissa Treiman

Genre: YA fiction graphic novel

Length: 128 pages

Setting: a British University, present day Continue reading

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Audiobooks have been our saving grace as we drove 20 minutes to rehearsal four times a week. I was first introduced to this book by The Modern Mrs. Darcy and it caught my eye because A Wrinkle in Time is a major plot point. I’ve heard it made a good read aloud, and was excited to see the audiobook was available from our library.

Published: 2009

Genre: YA time travel fiction

Length: 199 pages

Setting: New York City, 1978 Continue reading

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Booked by Kwame Alexander

Published: 2016

Genre: middle grade fiction in verse

Length: 314 pages

Setting: somewhere near Dallas, Texas, present day

Interest: We loved The Crossover so much that when we saw Booked sitting on a shelf at the library as we returned The Crossover, the kids made me get it and read it next. It helps that Mr. Curiosity is a big soccer fan, and this book focuses on soccer. Continue reading

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Smek for President by Adam Rex

Published: 2015

Genre: middle grade science fiction

Length: 272 pages

Setting: mostly New Boovworld (one of Saturn’s renamed moons), soon after the events of The True Meaning of Smekday.

Interest: It’s the second book in the series. We loved the first one so much, we had to start listening to the second one as soon as we finished the first. Continue reading

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