Last week I read some interesting and different books. The first book was The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey. Set in medieval times, when superstitions run high, and anything different is seen as an omen or curse, the people of the village are on edge. They’ve been dealing with one unexplained hardship after another. Perhaps there is a fairy curse set upon them – perhaps a changeling lives so far unknown in the village. The child must be left to die so the rest of the villagers can survive – at least that’s the rumor running through the town.
Elric is running to the village church to get out of torrential spring storm. The whole village is gathered there for warmth and safety. Elric is the keeper of the village sheep and he’s lost them all in the storm. He knows he has muddy cold work ahead of him as he talks to Hereward the keeper of the pigs. Everyone is crowded, uncomfortable and on edge, and then a baby starts wailing.
“Shut him up,” the townspeople yell. “We’ve been cursed.”
It’s a changeling.”
“Cuthburt take the child and leave it outside where it belongs. The fairies can just take it back if it’s supposed to live.”
“What does it matter, it’s just a halfwit,” yells Hereward. That’s all Elric can take. No one should live in fear of losing their child, half-wit or not. He helps the mother of the crying baby escape the church mob by throwing a punch at Hereward, the one who has claimed that halfwits have no reason to live. The brawl is ended by the priest. Elric can’t explain himself, nor will he apologize so he leaves.
He does this to keep his biggest secret. His mother is hiding and living with his disabled, “halfwit” sister in the forest. With all the talk or curses, he must go and warn them and in doing so he set out on a quest bound by love and duty to his mother, to keep his sister, Wynnfrith, safe. How can you stay safe when the place you seek is a place in a fairy tale. How can can trusting in fairy tales help them survive? Read The Silver Gate to find out ~ sometimes you have to bring magic of your own to open doors.
It’s summer on Woodlawn Street and all the neighborhood kids have the whole summer before them. Minty Fresh and Pax a Punch (their derby names) are practicing their roller derby routine in the 4th of July Parade. Their older teen-age sisters are talking about music, babysitting jobs and offering advice about how to survive middle school. Lennie, Pax’ s younger sister wants to join in the skating moves, but she’s lumped in with her “not-old-enough” younger brothers and so she’s moping. Of course the “Mean Boys” – David and Troy – come by. They are always playing pranks that no one thinks are funny.
It’s all pretty ordinary until Paz get’s a terrible cramping stomachache, there is an unusual rustling and some sudden flashes in the woods. Lennie is convinced it is the Man-Bat – a local legend said to attack and eat it victims. On her way home to get her dad, a doctor to check on Pax, Minty chases the source of the flashes. She can’t catch the person but discovers a note in Crazy Ike’s tree: The Secret Tree. And just like that, Minty’s summer was centered on discovering which secrets belong to which of her friends. There’s a lot of spy work involved and Minty “…was learning this thing about secrets: Even if they’re not about you, once you know them, they feel like they could be about you. Every secret connects to something inside of you, whether you know it a first or not.” (p. 148) There are good secrets and bad secrets – The Secret Tree has both. Here are just a few: I put a curse on my enemy. And it’s working. I’M BETRAYING MY BEST FRIEND IN A TERRIBLE WAY. No one loves me except my goldfish. Which secrets do you tell? Which secrets do you keep? Read The Secret Tree to find out what Minty does with the secrets she discovers – you’ll be glad you did.
The Special Survival Issue ~ Mooch is the 13 book in the Aldo Zelnek Comic Novel series. If you know anything about Aldo, you know that is does not like the outdoors and he definitely does not like anything that makes him sweaty. His mom’s a nature health nut and she’s planned a four day backpacking trip hoping to help Aldo become more mature so he will be successful in middle school.
She planned it with Mrs. Shoemaker and her son Marvin. Things begin interesting enough with stops at Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde National Park and Four Corners. The last stop in the forest in Utah to find the rare Mexican Spotted Owl is where things turn for the worse and Aldo finds that he has to hike for four days with a “50 pound” frame pack on. It heavy and it’s hot…
Can he do it? You’ll snicker and chuckle, maybe, even laugh out loud, as you read to find out what Aldo will do to stay mature, win the sling-shot and keep his dog alive. You can start with this book, but you may want to begin with Artsy-Fartsy, Bogus, Cahoots…and so on through the alphabet until you get to Mooch. Aldo and his friends are great!
We’d love to know what you are reading and what you recommend. Leave a comment to lets us know. Happy Reading!📖