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216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355

(320)693-2483

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Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

What's That Fragrance in the Air?

Next to the fragrance of lilacs and peonies, I like the smell of new books!  Here are a few that just crossed my desk at the children’s department of Litchfield library.

Incredibly Alice, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, brings high school to an end for Alice, as she graduates and faces the age old “now what?” question.  Fans of the series begin with Alice in elementary school, and have grown up with her. This young adult novel is not for younger children, but if you’ve grown up with Alice, you will love this book.

Gail Carson Levine, winner of the Newbery Award in 1998 for Ella Enchanted,  has stirred up a plot that includes a clever heroine, a dragon detective, and a shape-shifting ogre.  What more could a fantasy reader ask of this talented writer?  Written for ages 9-12 A Tale of Two Castles has a touch of adventure, a hint of magic, and a bit of mystery, as Ms. Levine introduces us to her new heroine, Elodie.  I hope this is the beginning of a series.   It’s a promising beginning!

I was a socially awkward child with a huge imagination.  I remember pretending to ride a horse across the plains, and seeing and smelling and feeling like it was real.  I remember  Barbie and Ken having adventures in outer space or a deserted island, all real. Like magic.  But one day the “magic” ended. Suddenly my horse was just the railing of my bed, and my room had four walls and Barbie and Ken were just dolls.  Nora Raleigh Baskin captures that same feeling of girls growing up in her novel, The Summer Before Boys.  Two best friends, Julia and Eliza, share the magic of imagination, constantly pretending elaborate stories.  The girls are torn apart when Julia begins to grow up.  As the friends resolve their problems, they realize that boys will come and go, but friendship lasts. Their wait for Julia’s mother to return from military service in Iraq adds a poignant twist to the story.  This is simply a great read, written for ages 9-12, but sure to be enjoyed by anyone who has discovered that one day the magic ends.

Patricia Hermes writes the Emma Delimma series, and her new book, Emma Dilemma, the Nanny, and the Best Horse Ever, is one of the best. Written for ages 9-12, this series reminds of the Amber Brown books by the late Paula Danziger.  Whacky dilemmas, great characters, and a family that loves each other add up to a delightful series.

What do pirates cook?  Scurvy soup and peg leg pickles?  The Pirate Cookbook has six kid friendly recipes, introduces  basic cooking tools and techniques, and just might turn the young pirate at your house into a young chef.

 Several new picture books by beloved authors have been released. Slightly Invisible, by Lauren Child, is a hilarious book continuing the story of Charlie and Lola and lets us meet Lola’s invisible friend, Soren Lorensen.  Tricky creatures, beware.  Wordless picture books can be tricky, but Chris Raschka, a master at telling a story with very few words, pulls it off with A Ball For Daisy.    Learning to tell a story from beginning to end, called narrative skills, is an important step in developing literacy.  This book is a perfect choice to give a young pre-reader some experience in telling a story.  It’s also a beautiful story of loss and new friendships.

Finally, Douglas Wood, who lives in Sartell, has produced another lyrical picture book that is a feast for the senses.  The gorgeous illustrations by Irish artist P.J. Lynch, done in oil, are the perfect complement to Mr. Wood’s eloquent words.  No One But You can learn so many things about our world, and no one but Douglas Wood could write this perfect picture book.

These books, and more, are waiting for you at the library.  See you there!