Here are five delightful 2017 books I recently enjoyed:
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (2017) *****
Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are flying back to England from Manaus, Brazil. The small plane they’re on crashes in the Amazon, and the pilot dies. They must learn to get along, figure out how to survive in the jungle, and try to find their way back to civilization. Just as they’re running out of luck, Fred finds a map that leads them to an abandoned ancient city and its one mysterious inhabitant. Explorer is a thrilling survival story with interesting characters!
The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (2017) *****
It’s 1919, Henrietta’s brother has died in a fire, her mother is severely depressed, and her father has taken a job abroad. She, her mother, nanny, and baby sister are now living in a new house full of strange secrets. Things start to get difficult when a doctor wants to place her mother in a mental hospital and his wife wants to take away her sister. How can Henrietta—who’s just a child— save her mother and baby sister and restore her family? Help comes from her brother’s lingering presence and the mysterious woman living in Nightingale Wood. This is a wonderful story of courage and perseverance in the face of overwhelmingly negative circumstances.
Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray (2017) ****
Molly thinks her mother, a potion maker, and her unusual family life are too different from her classmates’. She longs to be “normal” like her best friend Ellen. Molly’s grumpy neighbors are angry because of her mother’s noisy rooster, so her mother decides to make a potion that will quickly grow a tree between their houses. Unfortunately, she accidentally drinks the potion and turns into the tree. Now Molly must figure out how to save her mother before the neighbors start cutting down the tree branches that are reaching onto their property. With the help of her inquisitive classmate Pim, she starts to appreciate the value of both the normal and the wondrous.
The Doorman’s Repose by Chris Raschka (2017) *****
Have you ever wondered what the lives of people living in a New York City’s posh apartment building are like? Here are ten fascinating stories about the inhabitants (including the mice) of one of those old buildings. The book gives young people a glimpse of adult life and an awareness of how people (and mice) living in close proximity affect each other. And did I mention that the elevator has feelings? A fun and poignant read!
The Murderer’s Ape by Jacob Wegelius (2017 English Translation) *****
Sally Jones, an extraordinary and super-talented gorilla, and the Chief are friends and partners. They operate a cargo boat business and live a pleasant and carefree life traveling from port to port. Unfortunately, their way of life is upended when one of their jobs turns out to be a dangerous con that ends badly, their boat sinks to the bottom of a river, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. Sally Jones escapes and embarks on a quest to prove the Chief’s innocence. Her talents and good heart win her some good friends, but there are many–especially the ones behind the botched job–who seek to destroy her. This fabulous story is told from the gorilla’s point of view and contains wonderful characters, exotic settings, and exciting adventures.
“If I were a wizard, I’m pretty sure my Patronus would be a steaming cup of coffee.” –Anonymous