Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

Do you love dollhouses and all their miniature furniture and decorations? If you do, this is the book for you!

At the Art Institute of Chicago there are 68 miniature rooms, just like the rooms of a dollhouse. These rooms were the idea of a real person, Mrs James Thorne, who had them built and furnished by craftspeople in the 1930s. Each room depicts a true-to-life room at some time in history, some place around the world. You can go to visit the Thorne Rooms in Chicago.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone is based on the real Thorne Rooms. The two main characters of this story, Ruthie and Jack, do just that on a field trip with their class. Ruthie loves these rooms and imagines what it would be like to visit or live there! When Jack finds a way to sneak into the hallway behind the rooms, they find a mysterious key. This key gives them the power to shrink and fit right into the rooms! At first it is just an adventure to explore the rooms but soon they discover mysterious objects that don't belong there. Who left them? What is the real story of the rooms?

Click here to examine photos of the real Thorne Rooms. Click on a photo to enlarge or begin slide show. Fascinating!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saving the Baghdad Zoo by Kelly Milner Halls

The Iraq War made a shambles of its capital city, Baghdad. When bombs fell, people ran in fear for their lives. If the animals in the zoo were even a thought, they were taken for food or to sell. Many were left behind in the main zoo and in the Luna Park zoo. Some exotic animals were left behind in Saddam Hussein's palace and that of his son, Uday. A team of U.S. Army officers and volunteer set out to save them and rebuild the zoo.

Today the zoo is reopened. Follow the stories of some the animals that survived and the people who helped them. Included are animals such as Arabian horses, a camel, pelicans, lions, tigers and even a bear (oh, my!).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Isabelle Bean isn't like other children. She doesn't fit in. She hears noises that no one else hears. Some of the other kids tolerate her, but most just leave her alone. She doesn't have any friends.

One day she falls into the closet in the school nurse's station and finds herself in an entirely different world! She meets up with a young girl named Hen and an old woman named Grete and suddenly she feels like she's home.

Find out what world Isabelle has fallen into. It's downright magical!


Rory Swenson has been waiting to turn twelve for most of her life because twelve is the magic age at which you are allowed to do almost everything! Now she can get her ears pierced, get a cell phone, take babysitting classes, go to the mall without a parent and even sit in the front seat of the car!

Many mishaps befall Rory as she completes all those things on her twelve-year-old To Do list. Along the way she meets a mysterious woman who tells her, "You will get what you want when you see what you need." What can that possibly mean?

Wendy Mass is also the author of 11 Birthdays. This book is about someone else, but there is a connection. Can you figure it out?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford

Newt Newman is almost invisible. He's the younger brother of the town's star football player and something of a nerd. When his brother is injured in the big game and is hospitalized, he is left to fend for himself. It's Halloween and his two best friends fix him up with a costume--Captain Nobody.

When he wears his costume, Newt becomes another person. He really is Captain Nobody. Before long he is wearing it everywhere, including to school. He saves the day in many situations. Is it because he has superpowers when he wears the costume or is something else happening? You'll laugh out loud at the adventures of Newt and his friends!

Click here to visit the author's website. You can read or listen to a sample chapter, watch a video about Captain Nobody or take a fun quiz!