Thursday, September 29, 2016

All American Boys

Image result for american boys reynoldsAll American Boys
Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
Atheneum, 2015 310 pgs
Grades 7-12
Realistic Fiction

Two alternating first person accounts tell the stories of two different young men who attend the same inner-city high school: one white and one black. Rashad, an African-American ROTC student is getting ready for a big night out. He stops to pick up some chips at a corner deli. While looking through his bag for his phone, a police officer spots him and assumes he is stealing. The officer drags Rashad outside the deli and brutally beats him, accusing the teen of resisting arrest, landing him in the hospital. Meanwhile, Quinn is also getting ready for a night out, planning to go to the same party as Rashad. He walks past the deli and witness the beating. The police officer in question is the brother of his best friend and they have a deep personal connection. We now see both boy's journeys. Rashad attempts, through his art work and discussions with family and friends, to make sense of the attack and the role young African-Americans are forced to play in society. He decides to except his position as a symbol for injustice and to not accept the prejudice and abuse formally endured by his ancestors. Meanwhile, Quinn struggles with doing what is right, even if it means losing his best friend and going against what his mother wants. Quinn's father was a community hero who died fighting in the middle east and he draws inspiration from Dad make the ethical choice, even if it is the harder path. Both stories come together at the end at a demonstration where the boys stand with other members of the community of all races and ages to protest the violence against people of color and to remember those who have died at the hands of law enforcement.

Even though there has been so much buzz about this book for the past year, I have put off reading it. It seemed too serious for me and I would rather loose myself in fantasy than look into a mirror of what is happening in American society today that might make me uncomfortable. American Boys is a riveting book that once I felt brave enough to tackle, I couldn't put down. Yes, serious issues are discussed, but the book is written in a way that brings the reader right into the story. The first person accounts help the reader to care about the narrators right away and we personally feel their struggles. The writing captures the voice of teen boys perfectly and the language used and the way they communicate is spot on. The plot is clear-cut and linear and even though two narrators are used, it is never confusing as to who is talking. This would be a wonderful choice for reluctant readers, book discussion groups, and classrooms. It is an important and timely book, as it reflects today's society and current events. Teachers and other professionals working with young people should read this book, regardless of whether or not they serve in an urban environment. Both sides of the controversy are explored, although one side is certainly favored over the other. The agenda of the authors is clear from the start, but the wonderful writing, interesting plot, and important message make this okay. It is an important story to tell. After reading this book it makes me question what I would do in this situation. I would hope that I would stand up to do the right thing. American Boys brings the news to life and places the reader in a position of making a choice and to realize that by doing nothing you are perpetuating the problem.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Glitter

Image result for glitter pikeGlitter
Aprilynne Pike
Random House, 2016  384 pgs.
Grades 9-12
Science Fiction-ish

Danica is a privileged teenage girl living in the Versailles of the near future. A big corporation has bailed France out of financial ruin and in exchange now owns the palace of Versailles. The corporation has reverted the palace back to the court of Louie the sixteenth with all of its excesses and intrigues. The CEO is the king and rules with absolute power and various lucky shareholders now hold positions within the aristocracy. Through a cunning move of her mother's, Danica is currently engaged to the king, who is a ruthless and horrible person capable of extreme violence, especially with his women. In order to escape the marriage Danica leaves the palace and connects with a kingpin of the underworld in Paris. In order to raise the exorbitant sum required to secure her permanent escape Danica resorts to selling a new kind of drug. "Glitter" is highly addictive and potentially dangerous. She puts small amounts into cosmetics and begins to peddle it to her friendemies at the court, starting a trend. Before long, most of the court is addicted to the drug and business is booming. Only, it is catching on a little too well. Danica tries to keep her best friends away, but they discover glitter with disastrous results. Danica is making money hand over fist and a handsome and mysterious helper is sent to the palace, masked as a servant, to aid her in mixing and distribution. Danica begins to develop feelings for her new partner, which further complicates her situation. Will she raise enough money to escape marriage? Will the king figure out her scheme? These questions are answered, although a cliff-hanging ending will keep readers guessing as they wait for the second installment in the series.

Just when you think there is nothing new under the sun, someone writes an original story. This is such a book. I labeled it as science fiction only because it is set in the future and utilizes technologies not yet invented, but this is a loose genre description. It is set in the near-future and is a cautionary tale about the power of big business, but is not really dystopian. I love that the book is set in the court of King Louie the Sixteenth, but it is not historical fiction. Robots take the place of servants and cutting-edge communication technology is in use by all of the court. This book is long, but I didn't mind. I loved the original workings of this world and immediately fell into Danica's story. Danica is a survivor and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to save herself, even if it means hurting those around her. Because of the lack of control she has over her own life, she has an eating disorder of the eighteenth century variety. Whenever her life feels out of control, she tightens her corset and finds comfort in the pain this provides. The plot moves along nicely with both good, yet mostly evil, characters interacting with our hero and trying to elevate their own stations. Both of Danica's parents are of no help to her and she must make her own way in the world. She has friends, but the reader is unsure whether they can be trusted, as is Danica herself. Plots twists abound and back stories of the some of the characters offer surprises. Be warned: there are some deaths and Pike is not afraid to kill off key characters. It was interesting that the main character becomes a souped-up drug dealer and the ways and means in which she pulls off her business are pretty cool. Usually I get mad when I realize that all of my questions won't be answered and I have to read the sequel. In this case, I thought the ending was cool, provided a satisfying twist at the end, and, frankly, I didn't want to close the book on Danica's story anyway. Very entertaining, highly original, and almost as addicting as the drug our hero peddles.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Secret Coders

Image result for secret codersSecret Coders
Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes
First Second, 2015  91 pgs.
Grades 3-8
Graphic Novel
Secret Coders series #1

Hopper is the new girl at school. Hoping to make friends, on the first day she introduces herself to a group of boys, only to be ridiculed and have pudding thrown at her. Retaliation only leaves her as lonely as before. Sitting by herself at lunch, Hopper notices something weird about the birds. One of the boys from earlier, Eni, joins her and confirms her suspicions. The birds around the school have four eyes. They open and shut them in different ways representing binary codes. Eni explains to Hopper how binary codes work and together the new friends see numbers and strange communicating birds all over the school's property. Breaking into a locked shed reveals another cool discovery: a little turtle-looking robot. A sheet of codes is by the robot and the two sleuths figure out how to get the little guy going. This leads Hopper and Eni to a secret tunnel and the worst of the gang of bullies, a boy named Josh. Josh joins the team as they enter into the tunnel only to encounter more bird strangeness and  a school employee, who appears to be behind the whole operation. Upon discovering who Hopper's estranged father is, the mysterious mastermind gives the three coders an even bigger challenge to unravel. If they can solve this codded maze the secrets of the school will be revealed to them. If they fail they will need to leave the school FOREVER. What will happen? Crack into the next series installment Paths and Portals released last month to find out.

In an author's note at the end of this humorous graphic novel Printz winner, Yang, explains his love of coding and the desire of himself and his co-author/illustrator Holmes to share this love. Yang got his start in 1984 at a summer enrichment class and was hooked. Ironically, I also took an introductory coding class in 1984, but found it quite boring and didn't really understand it. Because of the class I became comfortable using computers as a tool before many of my peers, but never really had a proper grasp on how they work. This has changed after reading Secret Coders. Coding is explained visually and simply and in an interesting fashion that even an easily bored old timer, such as myself, can understand it. But don't be fooled by the technology, this book also delvers the fun and has an exciting plot. There are mysterious characters who turn out to be more than they appear at first sight (the real identity of the Mandarin teacher was an interesting plot twist). The book is designed nicely and is separated by chapters with binary numbers demonstrated by the birds. The panels scan easily and the comics are expertly drawn and add to the story. Black, white, and green are the only colors used, which helps readers to connect to the story and makes the book less hectic than most graphic novels for this age group. This series will be a great choice for schools, libraries and home use and will appeal to both tech nerds and novices, who might walk away having learned something.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Seventh Wish

Image result for seventh wish messnerThe Seventh Wish
Kate Messner
Bloomsbury, 2016  224 pgs
Grades 5-8
Fantasy

Charlie decides to join her friend Drew and his grandmother ice fishing, even though she's afraid of the ice, in order to earn a sparkly dress for her upcoming Irish dance competition. While staying cautiously close to shore, Charlie reels up a small fish with a sparkly eye. The fish pledges to grant her a wish if she lets it live. Charlie is no stranger to folklore and takes advantage of its offer. She wishes to loose her fear of the ice and to have a boy she is crushing on feel the same way about her. Both wishes come truth; although not in quite the way she hoped. Other encounters with the magic fish and ensuing wishes follow, each with predictably not-quite perfect result. Finally, when it is discovered that Charlie's older sister, Abby, who is away at college, is addicted to drugs the family needs more help than even a magic fish can deliver. Abby enters a rehab center and the family must focus on her recovery. Charlie's dance competitions and school projects are pushed aside as she and her parents lend support to help Abby get better. Eventually, Abby is released and seems back to her old self--mostly. Life resumes and Charlie once again attempts to move forward in the Irish Dancing ranks. The only problem is, recovery is not as easy as it sounds and there are no magical fixes to bring back Abby to the girl she once was.

Veteran author, Kate Messner, explores new territory not often featured in books for this audience. I have never encountered a book featuring ice fishing and the world of Irish Dancing and now feel as if I know a bit about both. I also have not encountered a book for this age group about heroin abuse and the terrible toll it takes on a family. I would love to say that this should not be a topic for middle readers, but anyone who follows the news knows that it is a very timely and crucial topic for young people. The statistics are staggering and more and more young people, lured in by seemingly harmless prescription drugs, are falling prey to its clutches. I picked up The Seventh Wish thinking it was a fun and frothy "be careful what you wish for" story. It starts out that way. When Charlie reels in the magic fish I got a delicious chill down my back knowing that the magic was starting. And then Messner changes gears on us. At first there are hints: a bag of strange powder in the car, bruises on her sister's arm. I was hoping that I was wrong as I was reading the clues, just as Abby's parents must have felt. Messner does not shy away from the devastating effects of heroin addiction on a family. She shows that it can happen to smart soccer stars from strong families. Is Messner luring readers into a message driven novel by the pull of a magic fish? Quite possibly, but with all of the young lives we are loosing to drug addiction in this country I applaud her attempts at enlightening young people of the realities of drug use. Coming from a family that has experienced the effects of addiction first hand, I know personally that there are no short cuts to recovery, even from a magic fish.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Saxby Smart

Image result for saxby smartSaxby Smart: The Curse of the Ancient Mask and Other Case Files
Simon Cheshire
Roaring Book Press, 2009  169 pgs
Grades 3-5
Mystery
Saxby Smart series #1

Saxby Smart supplies the private detective needs to the young people of his suburban town. Three separate mysteries are presented, worked through and solved by Saxby with the help of his brainy friend Izzy. Saxby methodically solves each case by taking careful notes, which are presented within the context of the story, and making hypothesis's. In each instance the situation seems hopeless and the desperate child calls on Saxby as a last resort. The first mystery is that of the title. Saxby must  figure out if a mask belonging to a schoolmate's father is truly cursed and therefor the cause of her Dad having troubles at work, jeopardizing his job and the family's main source of income. The second case takes place in Saxby's class. A student's essay is destroyed by a mysterious purple goo. As the investigation continues, further destruction ensues, eventually impacting Saxby himself. For the final case Saxby must locate a missing broach belonging to the town's biggest busy body, a crabby old lady who threatens to report a friend to the police if the missing item isn't retrieved. In all three case the mystery is solved and the resolution is offered at the end of the story. Two more editions complete the series, although more are available in the author's native United Kingdom.

I was looking for a mystery for my third/fourth grade book group that would not be too overwhelming and would teach them how to read a mystery; looking for clues, weeding out red-herrings, and making their own deductions. This series is a perfect fit. A bit more developed than Cam Jansen and a bit simpler than Encyclopedia Brown, this is a great choice for my group. On the first page of the story Saxby invites the reader to be his sidekick, thus engaging them from the very beginning. Readers then attempt to solve the mystery right along with Saxby and we track him and his process every step of the way. The mysteries are all solvable, yet are not too easy. The format of the book itself is also perfect for this age group. Even though there are three distinct stories in the volume, each story is still broken into short chapters. The typeface is clear and large, the margins are wide, and simple cartoon-like illustrations are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. Saxy himself is a likable character, although not particularly developed, but then again, its not that kind of a book. Although the series was originally published in the UK (as Saxby Smart: School Boy Detective), it does not feel particularly British and will appeal to a young American audience seamlessly. A solid choice for young mystery readers who have exhausted all of the A-Z Mysteries and are looking for something new.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Lemonade War

Image result for lemonade warThe Lemonade War
Jacqueline Davies
Scholastic, 2007  177 pgs
Grades 3-5
Realistic Fiction

Alternating points of view tell the stories of siblings Evan and Jessie. Evan is very annoyed that his younger sister will be skipping third grade and will be joining him in his fourth grade class. Jessie is so smart that he feels stupid and slow in comparison. Jessie is terrified to start fourth grade with older kids. Will they accept her? She never has been great at understanding social cues. To make matters worse, her brother is angry at her and she doesn't know why. When Jessie suggests that they host a lemonade stand, an activity the siblings have always enjoyed together, Evan proposes a competition. Whoever makes the most money gets all of the earnings. The contest is on. Evan enlists the help of the nastiest boy in his class and Jessie partners up with the girl Evan has a crush on. Different salesmanship tips are employed as the teams change up their strategies to earn the most money. Finally, out of desperation, the children begin to resort to deceit and dirty pool. The once close brother and sister are now enemies and it seems like they will never come back together. Finally, the Labor Day heatwave breaks, the line of communication opens, and the brother and sister begin to work out their differences and formulate a plan to set everything back to rights.

What is my favorite book? Usually the one I have just finished. I have loved the Lemonade War ever since its release almost ten years ago and find it to be the perfect choice for an introductory book club book for my younger readers. The Labor Day setting makes it the perfect end-of-summer read. Kids can relate to the anxieties of starting a new school year and how we tend to take those anxieties out on those we love. Here in New Jersey we had such a hot summer and I also related to the heat wave in this suburban town and the boredom and misery the dog days of summer can bring. Most siblings can identify with the rivalry behind the brother and sister team in this book. Jessie is smart, yet does not understand social cues. Evan struggles academically, yet is popular and has many friends. They both bring something to the table, yet are a little jealous of the skills the other sibling has in which they themselves lack. The plot moves along in an entertaining fashion and builds to a final climax and a thunderstorm, ending both the war and the heatwave. A newspaper article and visual at the end of the book supply an epilogue on how the situation was remedied in a non-tradition and entertaining fashion. Best of all, math is sprinkled throughout the book, showing children that math is important in the real world and demonstrating, through Evan's voice, how to figure out problems in a different way. Economic concepts are also included, shown and defined as chapter headings and then modeled in action by our super-sales teams. The reading level is comfortable for this age group, the plot engaging, the characters are relatable, and there are sequels to hand to children when they finish this book to keep them reading.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

Image result for trials apollo hidden oracle
The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle
Rick Riordan

Disney/Hyperion, 2016  385 pgs.
Grades 5-8
Fantasy/Mytholgy
The Trials of Apollo series #1

Riordan goes back to the familiar territory of Camp Half Blood in this new companion series offering. Apollo displeases his father, Zeus and is thrown into a New York City alley as punishment in the form of a teenage boy. He meets a young girl, Meg, who turns out to be a demi-god. Apollo must serve Meg in order achieve favor with Zeus and reclaim his status as a god. Meg and Apollo first connect with Percy Jackson, who is busy preparing for his SATs and graduation. He directs the new friends to Camp Half Blood, where they eventually arrive, after some dangerous situations. Once at the camp Apollo meets some of his children, as well as the other young demi-gods. Apollo and Meg learn of the evil "Beast", who is trying to capture all of the oracles. There is one oracle still at large: the "Grove of Dondona", which is under control of the hippy-goddess Rhea. Apollo and Meg race to save the grove and attempt to rescue Apollo's kidnapped children before the Beast can destroy it all. Only, Meg is harboring a troubled secret and a hidden connection to the Beast. Is she really a friend? And how can Apollo save both his children and the world without his powers? Find out in this series opener sure to appeal to Percy Jackson fans.

Riordan knows how to appeal to his readership. This new series will delight his fans and give them some fresh new characters to dive into. Percy makes appearances throughout the story, but this is Apollo's show. Although very unlikable, we see in his first-person account his struggles adjusting to mortality and his growing empathy and caring for the new acquaintances in his life, including his once ignored off-spring. Meg is an interesting character and offers some surprising secrets and plot twists as the story progresses. The book contains the modernized-versions of traditional ancient gods that we have come to expect from Riordan and the plot has action and adventure at every turn. Readers will keep turning pages and will eagerly await the next installment, The Dark Prophecy, due for release in May, 2017. The Percy Jackson series felt like it went as far as it could for this age group, so Riordan has introduced this new set of characters to keep his fans happy and the stories fresh. Knowledge of the Percy Jackson books is helpful for understanding the plot, as it does build off of past events and characters. Fast-paced, humorous, and clever, Riordan never fails to disappoint.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sea Change

Image result for sea change vivaSea Change
Frank Viva
Toon, 2016
Grades 4-8 115 pgs
Realistic/Graphic Hybrid

Eliot is Sent from his comfortable life to spend a summer with a great-uncle he has never met working on a fishing boat in remote Point Aconi, Nova Scotia. Eliot is nervous for many reasons: he's never been on his own before, he has never met this uncle, he has no idea how to fish, and he is not a strong swimmer. Once arrived, Eliot is met at the airport by his crabby old grandmother, which puts the summer on an even worse foot. At first Eliot hates the drab house, strange food, and gruff ways of his great-uncle Earl, but as time goes on he warms up to both the place and the people. Eliot learns to navigate the boat and begins to enjoy fishing: maggoty bait and all. He instantly makes friends, who he joins every afternoon for swimming and adventures. One new friend, a girl named Mary Beth, becomes both a first love and a big concern once Eliot suspects that she is being physically hurt by her father. Further complications arrive as the local bully threatens Eliot and his new pals. Eliot learns how to stand up for himself and to do the right thing, as he figures out who to trust and begins to appreciate this remote area of the world and starts to grow up. All too soon the summer ends and Eliot returns home, older and wiser with new skills and new friendships.

I was under the impression that Sea Change was much like Roller Girl or Smile directed at boys. The heart-felt coming of age story is there, but it really is not a graphic novel. This story is more of a graphic/fiction hybrid. It is a traditionally written fictionalized memoir with illustrations. I thought it would fly off the shelves of my library, but it has proven to be a slow mover. Why? Kids tell me they don't like the cover and think it looks boring. Even though the author/illustrator is a critically-acclaimed artist, I think the illustrations are too stylized and old fashioned looking for the audience They prefer something a bit more "cartoony". The real star of the book is the interesting and unusual design, which I personally thought was very cool, although may also be underappreciated by the intended audience. The story itself and the writing is very strong. I love that it has a Nova Scotia setting, which is highly unusual and the characters are all fully realized, especially the grandmother and great-uncle. The plot may be, again, more appreciated by adults and perhaps too reminiscent in nature for kids. The motivation for the bully's behavior and rehabilitation is offered and Eliot makes the right choices in both that situation and in finding help for his friend, who is being physically abused by her father. Eliot learns to navigate a boat, fish, and becomes more comfortable in the water, but he never swims to the dock with his new friends. This is realistic. Growth was demonstrated, but there is still something left for next summer. A beautiful and sentimental offering that will appeal more to adults than kids, but certainly worthy of the time spent.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We are the Ants

Image result for we are the ants hutchinsonWe are the Ants
Shaun David Hutchinson
Simon & Schuster, 2016 451 pgs
Grades 9-Up
Realistic Fiction

If you had the opportunity to save the world from certain destruction, would you? This is the dilemma facing Henry. Henry's life is not easy. He is still reeling from the sadness, anger, and guilt associated with the suicide of his boyfriend the previous year. His family is not much help. Dad has long abandoned the family, Mom is "checked out" and escaping her trouble with wine and cigarettes, nasty older brother has impregnated his girlfriend and moved her into the family home, and Grandma's Alzheimer's is advancing. On top of these problems, Henry has no friends and is constantly bullied in school. Even worse: one member of the gang of bullies is his secret sometimes "hook-up". The bullies call him "Space Boy" because he is regularly kidnapped by aliens and deposited back to Earth wearing only his underwear with hazy recollections of what happened. The aliens have assigned Henry the task of deciding whether or not to save the world. Enter new student, Diego, who is super cute, has an infectious personality, an amazing artistic ability, and harbors dark secrets of his own. Henry and Diego form a friendship, which evolves into romance. Both boys are trying to come to terms with the heartache of their past, which makes forging new bonds difficult. Meanwhile, the year marches on with family members gradually changing and facing challenges of their own and Henry gradually comes to terms with some of his losses and starts to learn to love himself. The deadline approaches and Henry finally has to decide: will he press the button to save the Earth?

This is a great book. It reminded me a bit of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, as well as The Marbury Lens, a book that continues to haunt me, though a little less dark. Henry is a sad person dealing with lack of confidence, grief, rejection, and bullying. We are unsure if he is a reliable narrator. Is Henry really kidnapped by aliens or is he having a psychotic episode? Hutchinson leaves the ending ambiguous, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. We never find out if the world ends, which usually would bother me, but as Henry states, "Honestly, it doesn't Matter". This story is more about the journey and Henry's learning to allow himself to be happy and finding self-love and acceptance. The bullying Henry endures is pretty terrible, especially since one of the bullies is a boy he is romantically involved with. There is consequences to the bullying, which will have readers breathing a sigh of relief and Henry manages to find peace in this situation. Diego is an awesome character and it is impossible not to root for both him and for the relationship. Henry also reconnects with a former best friend, a character who remains a bit undeveloped, but since Henry is in a state of self-absorption, this may be merely his perception of her. The book is written in the first person, which allows us to really get into Henry's head and see first hand his mental anguish and the transition to affirming life. Many of the adult characters are flawed, but there is an awesome teacher character who makes a positive impact on Henry's journey and once they find out about it, the other adults take the bullying very seriously. In our present youth culture, where teen suicide is on the rise, this is an important book and one that will prove popular with young readers.

Friday, September 2, 2016

In Due Time: Going, Going Gone

Image result for in due time nicholasIn Due Time: Going, Going, Gone
Nicholas O. Time
Simon & Schuster, 2016 145 pgs.
Grades 3-6
Fantasy
In Due Time series #1

Simon & Schuster introduces a new time-travel series for chapter book readers. Three friends, Matt, Luis, and Grace, discover a book courtesy of their school librarian that they cannot refuse: The Book of Memories. This special book appears to be an old and dusty library book, however when you write your name and a date on the old-fashioned check-out card, the borrower goes back to that date written. The catch is: you can only stay for three hours and then you must sign the current date or be stuck in the past forever. Other rules include: you can't change major events from the past, you are allowed to change one thing that will effect your family, and you cannot show or talk about anything from the present. The three friends chose to return to 1950's Brooklyn to help Matt's Grandpa Joe change the fatal event that kept him from entering major league baseball. The team enters a world of egg creams, poodle skirts, and strange slang, and no social media or cellphones. Matt realizes the highlight of his life as he not only interacts with his beloved Grandpa as a young man, but gets to see a legendary game played by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Our three heroes must prevent Grandpa Joe from his clandestine accident at any cost, although they realize that by preventing the event they also may be preventing Grandpa from meeting Grandma, thus eliminating the existence of Matt. Some fast thinking is in order and the gang does not have a lot of time to save the day and return to the present--or be stuck in 1950's Brooklyn forever.

I have always loved time travel books. They make my head hurt in a delicious way. This new series is no exception. It breaks down the rules of time travel in a simple and digestible way, provides a simple yet librarian-friendly travel conveyance, and makes time travel seem possible to a young audience. Perfect for fans of The Magic Tree House who are ready for the next step, this series is an ideal choice for readers ready to tackle chapter books without pictures. The plot is solid and linear, there are just enough characters to add interest, but not so many as to confuse, and the action never stops. There is a historical element to satisfy those who like to learn and humor to keep those who don't turning pages. Diversity both in race and gender of the characters allow the book to be welcoming to all. Of course I love that the "keeper of the book" and time travel guru is a kooky librarian along the lines of Miss Frizzle and that all of the interesting action happens from the library. So far, two installments have been released this year in the series and three more are on the way; all with great covers, zippy titles, and featuring different characters. The second series entry, Stay a Spell, travels to the 1970's and features a disco cover, which is not only an unusual period for time travel books for kids, but is of interest to me personally, having grown-up in the 1970's. Unfortunately, (or fortunately-whichever the case may be) my library's copy was already checked out. In Due Time a is fun and age appropriate introduction for young readers to the time travel genre.