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Welcome to Books to Hoot About! the children's book review blog from InfoSoup librarians and users!

fantasy

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Author: P. L. Travers

Understanding that this book was written in the 1930s, when books for children were just becoming popular, I was amazed at the imaginative story lines in this book.  Each chapter really a short story, I found myself wanting to compare and contrast with the classic Walt Disney movie, Mary Poppins.  There are some movie scenes not in the book.... and some book scenes not in the movie. Then, after seeing Saving Mr. Banks (Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson) which is the story of P. L. Travers and her reluctance to give up the rights to her story to Disney, I really wanted to read the book.  In the end, I think Mr. Disney did P. L. Travers a huge favor in making sure her story of Mary Poppins lives on for generations.

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Author: J.M. (James Matthew) Barrie

If you or your children- or better yet, you and your children!- love classic children's literature, you're in for quiet a treat. There is so much more to Peter Pan than what you have ever seen in a cartoon movie or a play. Peter Pan and Wendy is beautifully written and totally enchanting. J.M. Barrie's imaginative storytelling and sweet asides to the reader, as if telling morsels of secrets just between the two of them; will keep drawing you back into the book. 

Peter Pan, in case you haven't heard, is the tale of a boy who lives in the magical locale of "Neverland", where he and all its other occupants never have to grow up. So Peter Pan is an eternal boy. And he embodies and gives life to all the characteristics we love about boys: their mischievousness, their teasing, their curiousity, and their need for adventure. And his home of Neverland is home to such creatures as fairies, pirates, and mermaids. The stuff of childhood dreams! 

In perfect harmony with the beauty of the written words, in this particular edition are the stunning illustrations. Every chapter has its own work of art. The large size of the volume, the sturdiness of the book, and the attached satin bookmark give this book a timeless and classic feel. My seven year old and I absoultely adore this volume!

Get the book so your children- or yourself!- can fall in love with a tale that's been captivating hearts for over a century.

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Author: Matthew Skelton

We read this book aloud as a family a few weeks ago. We chose it because we had listened to Endymion Spring, another book by Matthew Skelton, a few years ago on audio. I prefer Endymion Spring because it is more complex and because of it’s historical roots and being set in the library in Oxford. Cirrus Flux is a good book, though. It is the story of the orphan, Cirrus Flux, an orphan in 19th century London, whose father left him a mysterious artifact that a bunch of adults all seem to want. Oh, yeah, and he gets to ride in a hot air balloon that is powered by a bird whose wings set on fire. There’s cool stuff like that in the book. Overall, a good book. A-

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Author: Adam Jay Epstein

I actually liked this book better than the first one. This book really picks up speed and it shows the talents of the co-authors. (It is so cool that Adam and Andrew are able to write jointly--how do they do that?) I was really impressed with the vocabulary in this book. It was very rich and challenges the reader to think deeply.

The focus in this book was the familiars: Aldwyn (the cat), Skylar (the bluejay) and Gilbert (the frog). They are separated from their loyals (Jack, Dalton and Marianne) for most of the book and I missed them. However, there are a couple of additional characters who were fun: Scribius, the enchanted Quill, who travels with Skylar and Shady, the shadow pup, who follows Gilbert.

There is a very intricate poem that the familiars follow (it contains several clues) to get to their destination and find the Snow Leopard Crown before the next full moon. If not, it could mean the destruction of their land called Vastia by the "Dead Army". The poem was also referred to as a nursery rhyme and I really liked this because in times past nursery rhymes "covered" for messages or had allusions to reality. This book is greatly set up for book three!

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Author: Adam Jay Epstein

I'm not much of a fantasy fan yet loved this concept of familiars helping out wizards and seeing from their point of view. Action packed--one mishap or adventure on top of another. I think kids would love this and be anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Gregor the Overlander

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Author: Suzanne Collins

Book 1 of the Underland Chronicles

In this fantasy, eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister, Boots, fall into an amazing underground world underneath New York City. This Underland is populated with humans and various giant-sized talking creatures. These creatures include bats called “fliers”, cockroaches called “crawlers”, spiders called “spinners”, and rats called “gnawers.” They have all lived in harmony but “The Prophecy of Gray” has changed that existence. The prophecy states that Gregor may be the “overlander” destined to save the humans from the warlike rats. Gregor is more interested in finding his way home, until he discovers that fulfilling the prophecy might also mean finding his father. Thus there are two quests unfolding in this story. One is that the Underlanders must fulfill the Prophecy of Gray and prevent being annihilated by the rats. The other is Gregor’s quest to find his father and bring him home.

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Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

The Magic Half

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Author: Annie Barrows

The middle child between two sets of twins, Miri feels overlooked and out of place even in her own family. Not only that, but, unlike most of her friends, she still likes to play pretend games and still wants to believe that magic is real even though nothing magical has ever happened to her. Miri and family have just moved into an old house, and her small bedroom, with its worn and ugly wallpaper, seems strange to her. Sent to her bedroom after hitting her brother, Miri discovers a glasses lens taped to one of the walls. Looking through the lens, she is suddenly pulled back in time to the house as it was in the year 1935, and discovers Molly, a girl very much like her, who longs for magic to save her from her abusive relatives. Upon meeting, the girls share a moment of joy when they realize magic is indeed real. But the magical twists and turns of events have created problems for both of them. Will Miri be able to get back to her own time? Will she ever see her family again? Will she be able to help Molly escape from her horrible cousin Horst? Is Horst a thief? A killer?

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Author: Sarah Thomson

This book celebrates how you can make your own story any day!

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Author: Sarah Thomson

This beautiful book celebrates the places that are and that can be!

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Author: Joan Carris

If you like books about pigs, birds, cats, and dogs all being friends, you'll like this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Editors's note: This book is the sequel to Welcome to the Bed & Biscuit