By Jan Pease
As I’ve mentioned in the past, as we work on ordering books for our Meeker County libraries, Beth and I use a tool called standing orders. These are lists of authors and series that we can choose to receive automatically in the next year. I have many authors that are predictable and that I would purchase. Think of a writer/illustrator like Eric Carle. His books have that “Eric Carle” look, are bright, cheerful, and sure to be a hit with younger children. He never fails to bring out wonderful books, but he never surprises me with a full length novel.
When I think of Donna Jo Napoli, I think of her retelling of fairy tales, like Beast or her version of Cinderella, set in China, Bound. Ms. Napoli does an extensive amount of research for her novels, so it isn’t surprising that she would write Treasury of Egyptian Mythology. This beautiful book follows her impressive Treasury of Greek Mythology. Egyptian mythology is loaded with colorful images and information about little-known major and minor deities.
Another standing-order author, Alexander McCall Smith, has begun to write Precious Ramotswe Mysteries for young readers. I haven’t read the whole “No. 1 Ladies Detective” series, but I am a big fan of Precious Ramotswe. The first book in the children's series,The Great Cake Mystery, introduces Precious. The second book, The Mystery of Meerkat Hill, tells the story of how Precious used her detective skills and found her family’s cow.
Jenny Nimmo, another well-known, standing-order author, has continued her “Chronicles of the Red King” series with Leopard’s Gold . Leopard’s Gold features the nine children of King Timoken and is a fantastic family drama, full of fantasy, magical siblings and friends, and a spectacular story line.
Jan Brett is a favorite of mine. The cover of her new book, Cinders: a Chicken Cinderella, features an ornately dressed chicken in a sleigh pulled by large ducks, driven by mice footmen. Ms. Brett visited St. Petersburg, Russia and was inspired by the architecture and the snowy landscape for this retelling of a favorite fairy tale. The fold out page of the hens and roosters dancing at the ball would make a beautiful poster, if you really like chickens. The real chickens who inspired the characters are Edwina and Elof, who are both beautiful Phoenix chickens.
Finally, fans of the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series have been waiting for book 12, The Royal Ranger. John Flanagan is another author on the standing order list. This is the final book in the series. It’s time for Will Treaty, who has become the finest Ranger in the land, to take on an apprentice. His companion series, The Brotherband Chronicles will continue with the fourth book coming out next year. Could Will’s apprentice begin a new series of adventures? Time will tell. See you at the library!