Still riding the success of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal in 2013, Katherine Applegate has added a fourth tale to the “Ivan and friends” series with The One and Only Family (Harper Collins, 2024). This book details Ivan’s experience in becoming a silverback and a father in the wildlife sanctuary.

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The Pigtail of Ah Lee Ben Loo with Seventeen Other Laughable Tales and 200 Comical Silhouettes by John Bennett (published 1928) is an uneven collection of original stories and poems taking place around the world. The varied settings of the stories include somewhat realistic to fantastical and magical other worlds. About half of the stories were

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As is so often the case with Kate DiCamillo’s wonderful books, I finished reading Ferris, her newest offering, and I felt immediately that I need to go back and read it again. It left me with a satisfied feeling that everything will be alright, even when things don’t work out like you’d want them too.

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In Not Quite a Ghost by Anne Ursu (Walden Pond Press, 2024) Violet moves to a new house that has surprising secrets. When she finds herself battling a lingering illness, she suspects something in the attic’s yellow wallpaper is watching her. All of this complicates her new year in middle school, which is already bringing

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Painting the Game by Patricia MacLachlan (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2024) is the last novel by the late great MacLachlan, who wrote my childhood favorite Sarah, Plain and Tall. In a similar understated tone, this short novel tells about a young girl, Lucy, who wants to prove her own baseball abilities as a pitcher, so

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The Wonder Smith and His Son by Ella Young (published 1927) tells traditional Irish tales about the Gubban Saor, a magical builder (spelled elsewhere on the web as Gobán Saor). I had not been familiar with this traditional character from Irish history, so these stories were all new to me! They were quite strange. Unlike

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A Little Bit Super is a collection of stories about teenagers with superpowers, but their super powers are, unfortunately a bit limited. One teen can talk to animals, but only one day a month. Another can get his wishes granted when he crosses his fingers, but it only works for small, somewhat insignificant wishes. Yet

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With a strong Nantucket setting, Downright Dencey by Caroline Snedeker (published 1927) is the story of a developing friendship between a Quaker girl and the young, poor orphan boy who lives on the outskirts of town. More deeply, however, it is a sweet old-fashioned story of Christian conversion and what it means to find forgiveness and

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