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
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.
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.
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
I saw this reviewed somewhere and thought Mr. Curiosity might enjoy it. Luckily, our library had it so I requested it.
Illustrator: Lissa Treiman
Genre: YA fiction graphic novel
Length: 128 pages
Setting: a British University, present day Continue reading
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.
Genre: YA time travel fiction
Length: 199 pages
Setting: New York City, 1978 Continue reading
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
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
Genre: middle grade fiction
Length: 233 pages
Setting: mostly Green Lake, TX, recent past
Interest: I was looking for an audiobook for a trip to a gymnastics meet. This one was a perfect length and a Newbery winner to boot. Continue reading