Pine Island Home

Horvath, Polly. Pine Island Home. Toronto: Puffin Canada, 2020.
Feeling fatigued by the constraints imposed by this pandemic? Feeling irritable about life in general? Read a novel by Polly Horvath. She has an extraordinary ability to use life’s craziness to make us laugh. This latest novel is no exception. Four sisters are orphaned in Borneo when their missionary parents are washed away by a tsunami. Unfortunately, their great-aunt – who had volunteered to take them in – dies before they arrive. Now what will they do? Where will they go? The four girls decide to settle into their aunt’s rural home on an island off the coast of British Columbia and pretend that a grumpy neighbour is their legal guardian. Will their scheme work? Well, all ends happily but not before all sorts of crazy complications surprise everyone. This highly recommended novel will be enjoyed by readers 10 to 13 years old.

More novels set in British Columbia

More novels by Polly Horvath

 

Pesky Siblings

Today is a sad and gloomy day. It’s raining outside and I can’t play basketball. But today is a great day to spend an hour reading my novel: Hideout by Gordan Korman. Before I start reading, though, I’ll finish my schoolwork. 
When I am done reading, I will play a new game with my sister because she talks all day long without stopping. For the game, we’ll sit on my bed and I’ll tell her, “Whoever stays silent the longest wins.”  Then, I’ll turn off the light and not talk to her. We’ll see what happens! I bet I’ll win! 
Later, I’ll go down to the garage and dribble my basketball for half an hour or so. This is the most rainy it has been for the past two weeks.
P.S. I played the silent game with my sister. She lasted for 20 minutes. I won! – Manshan in grade 6

 

The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer

Cali, Davide. The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2016.
What did you do this summer? A boy energetically responds with a wild tale of world travels.
The author of numerous picture books, including The Enemy: A Book about Peace, Cali excels in creating alternate visions of reality. Highly recommended for readers 7 to 11 years old.

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Clean and Tidy

Gravett, Emily. Tidy. London: Two Hoots, 2016.

Pete, a badger, likes everything to be neat and tidy. So he starts cleaning up the forest. Grooming the animals, sweeping the ground, polishing the rocks…even pulling up the trees. Oh dear! Pete has gotten carried away. How will he put everything right again? This humorous story-in-rhyme will amuse children in primary grades.

More stories in rhyme

Wehrli, Ursus. The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013.

What if everything was taken apart? Organized? Put in order? How would the world look then? A humorous wordless book highly recommended for all ages! 

More wordless books

Ernst, Lisa Campbell. This Is the Van That Dad Cleaned. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005.
In the pattern of ‘This is the House That Jack Built’, this rollicking picture book tells the story of three children who make a mess of the vehicle their father has just cleaned. Full-page pastel, ink, and pencil illustrations will appeal to readers – and listeners – three years old and up. Highly recommended for kindergarten and grade 1 classrooms, but older students will have fun reading it, too.

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Pay Attention, Carter Jones

Schmidt, Gary D. Pay Attention, Carter Jones. Boston: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

Life can be chaotic and a bit crazy. That’s normal in a busy family with three kids and a father stationed overseas with the U.S. army. Well, it was normal until a bowler-hatted man appears at the door and announces that he has come from England to help them. His former employer, the children’s grandfather, has left a bequest providing the services of a full-time butler. Mr. Bowles does a lot more than keep the household in order. He helps sixth-grader Carter see life from a new perspective and supports the whole family when there’s a painful surprise. A humorous yet serious story recommended for readers 11 years old and up.

P.S. It’s worth reading all of Gary Schmidt’s novels.

More stories of soldiers

More stories of coping with life

 

 

 

 

Very Rich

Dear Reader,

Isn’t life astonishing? There are so many wondrous things in this world, so many amazing people. And each life is uniquely valuable. 

You already knew all that?  I thought so.

But this novel says it in a whole new way, one that will make you walk away laughing and feeling happy. 

Horvath, Polly. Very Rich. New York: Puffin, 2018.

Ten-year-old Rupert is hungry and neglected. Neither of his parents care for him. But one Christmas he’s invited into the wealthy home of an eccentric family. Suddenly, his life is completely changed. If you’ve read other stories by Polly Horvath, you know that at least a little wackiness is ahead. Be ready for the unexpected! 

More humorous stories

 

 

 

 

Oliver and the Sea Monkeys

Dear Reader,

A bit of wacky humour. Brief loneliness. Lasting friendship, courage, and adventure. An easy-to-read novel that you will finish in no time at all. Only 193 pages, many of them filled with funny illustrations. Read this book when you want a rest from serious novels. Have fun!

Reeve, Philip and Sarah McIntyre. Oliver and the Sea Monkeys. New York : Yearling, 2016, c2013.

Then, when you are ready for a much longer science fiction novel, read Fever Crumb. It’s the first in a challenging series by author Philip Reeve. 

Reeve, Philip. Fever Crumb. New York: Scholastic Press, 2010.
Fourteen-year-old Fever has been trained as an engineer in a futuristic culture which believes women are not capable of rational thought.  When she leaves her home in London, she makes surprising discoveries and faces unexpected dangers.  For 12 – 16 year-olds. [England; Foundlings; Identity; Science fiction; Technology]

Happy reading!

Ms. R. 

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