November 15, 2015 Booklist 55 www.booklistonline.com
Nick back in time for the cotillion. But Thad
has an ulterior motive, one that will complicate the reconciliation. Alternate chapters
are told from Thad’s and Mabry’s points
of view, cluing readers in on the full story.
Chapters from Mabry’s point of view open
with Spanish vocabulary words: romper,
herder, doler—all words to express her anguish. Thad’s chapters reflect his feelings as
well: crash and burn, crime and punishment.
Margo Rabb’s Kissing in America (2015)
would be a perfect read-alike. — Teri Lesesne
The Last Bogler.
By Catherine Jinks.
Jan. 2016. 336p. HMH, $16.99 (9780544086968).
Working as an apprentice to Alfred the
bogler was always a risky business, acting as
bait for child-eating monsters lurking in and
below buildings in Victorian London. Now
that a government agency has hired Alfred to
rid London of its bogles, Ned finds himself in
a particularly dangerous position. Unwanted
publicity brings unexpected consequences,
and events begin to spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, the grand scheme to flush the bogles from the sewers seems likely to backfire.
Ned, who will do anything for Alfred (though
in his heart he does not aspire to be a bogler),
is a well-drawn, sympathetic character. Birdie
and Jem, the young protagonists from the earlier two books have minor roles here as well.
Jinks offers an exciting, large-scale bogle-hunting scene, provides a bittersweet ending
to the series, and lets readers know why boglers are no longer needed today. Fans of this
richly atmospheric adventure trilogy, which
began with the riveting How to Catch a Bogle
(2013), won’t want to miss the final volume.
Pippa Morgan’s Diary.
By Annie Kelsey. Illus. by Kate Larsen.
Dec. 2015. 176p. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, $12.99
(9781492623281). Gr. 2–4.
One lie can easily snowball into a bigger
lie—and make it nearly impossible to come
back to the truth. Pippa is devastated when
her best friend moves away, so when she’s
seated next to one of the most popular girls in
her grade, she’s ready to do almost anything
to win her over—even make up a story about
wowing the judges on a reality-TV singing
competition. The only problem is, Pippa
can’t sing at all. A charming story about the
lengths you can go to win someone over, this
is a great addition to the perennially popular
illustrated-journal trend in middle-grade fiction. Although the character-created sketches
can draw Wimpy Kid comparisons, the tone
more closely matches Marissa Moss’ Amelia’s
Notebook (1995). Though the sections on
Pippa’s angst over her parent’s recent divorce
seem a little clichéd, they are balanced with
her vividly described daydreams. This is the
perfect quick read for any student with starry-eyed aspirations and a big imagination.
Pugs of the Frozen North.
By Philip Reeve. Illus. by Sarah
Jan. 2016. 224p. Random, $12.99 (9780385387965).
Young orphan Shen rescues 66 pugs from a
ship wrecked on frozen seas and puts them to
good use: pulling a sled in a once-in-a-lifetime
race to the fabled Snowfather’s palace at the North
Pole. Accompanied by new
friend Sika and competing
against the likes of Helga
Hammerfest (“I am always
getting mistaken for a man,
on account of my size, and
also my beard”) and Professor Shackleton Jones (packing a carbon-fiber
sled driven by robotic Woof-O-Tron 2000s),
the young mushers undertake an Arctic odyssey that carries them across 50 different kinds
of snow, over the aptly named Kraken Deep,
and past such typically northern hazards as
trolls and singing, noodle-loving yetis, to
their inevitable, successful conclusion. Reeve’s
narrative, never dull, is surrounded on nearly
every page with McIntyre’s black-and-green
cartoon scenes of snowy foolery (picture it:
pugs in sweaters). The properly happy close is
emotionally heightened by a poignant meeting between the benign Snowfather and Sika’s
beloved, dying grandfather. It’s an effective
combination of off-the-wall tomfoolery—
the 66 pugs alone are a laugh—and deeper
themes, and the end result is a story that is
rich in humor and meaning both. Pug power!
Ruby Lee and Me.
By Shannon Hitchcock.
Jan. 2016. 224p. Scholastic, $16.99 (9780545782302);
e-book, $16.99 (9780545782326). Gr. 3–6.
Twelve-year-old Sarah Beth was in charge of
watching her little sister Robin when a car hit
the six-year-old, and now everything is uncertain. Will Robin walk again? How can Sarah
Beth admit her guilt when
her family may blame her?
Sarah Beth must go stay
with her grandparents while
her parents guide Robin
through the healing process,
and with the integration of
her new school, life takes
on even more challenging
questions. This endearing story set in 1969 is
reminiscent of the charming friendship seen
in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Faith, Hope, and
Ivy June (2009) but with a feel similar to that
of the Little House books. As in The Ballad
of Jessie Pearl (2013), Hitchcock deftly weaves
her narrative through history to gently bring
important past events to light. Excellently
written, the novel’s characters avoid stereo-
typing and are well developed, and Hitchcock
perfectly captures Sarah Beth’s voice as she
wrestles with big questions. The somber
themes of race relations and personal guilt are
handled sensitively and with a good dose of
flour, courtesy of Sarah Beth’s grandmother’s
baking lessons, and hope for racial healing is
offered. A heartening and important offering
for younger readers. —Melissa Moore
The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow.
By Jessica Haight and Stephanie
Robinson. Illus. by Roman Muradov.
Dec. 2015. 256p. Delacorte, $15.99 (9780385744713);
lib. ed., $18.99 (9780375991820); e-book
(9780385391023). Gr. 4–7.
When 11-year-old Fairday Morrow moves
into a crumbling Victorian manor with her
parents, who intend to open a bed-and-breakfast, she knows she has a perfect case
for her club, the Detective Mystery Squad.
The house is clearly haunted: bagpipe music
wafts from the third floor; a rickety balcony
overlooks a willow tree that, in the right
circumstances, comes alive; and a standing
mirror acts as a portal to the same house frozen in the past. The DMS discovers the fate
of Ruby Begonia, who went missing 50 years
ago, and the magical secrets of the house.
Though their investigation relies on exposition from run-ins with an elderly reporter
and a hidden diary, and the awkwardly formal word choices (“Her eagerness about the
upcoming weekend empowered her fingers
to move in rapid keystrokes”) are plain odd,
this paranormal mystery will be of interest to
young readers looking for something spooky
but not violent or scary. Muradov’s quirky, angular illustrations complement the story well.
Some Kind of Courage.
By Dan Gemeinhart.
Jan. 2016. 240p. Scholastic, $16.99 (9780545665834);
e-book, $16.99 (9780545665834). Gr. 5–8.
Says a grateful admirer to Joseph and his
unlikely traveling companion, “You boys.
You got some kind of courage.” In the Wild
West of 1890 Washington State, Joseph, not
yet 13, has lost his mother
and sister to typhoid and his
father to a tragic accident.
When his beloved horse is
underhandedly sold by the
greedy man to whom Joseph was entrusted as his
father’s dying wish, Joseph
will stop at nothing to reclaim his four-legged soul mate. Guided by
memories of his late parents’ caring wisdom
and befriended by an abandoned Chinese boy
named Ah-Kee, who happens to be both bear-and baby-whisperer, Joseph’s odyssey toward
reunion features Indians and bandits, a sturdy
canoe, a speeding train, cold racism, and the
kindness of many strangers. Gemeinhart’s follow-up to his lauded debut, The Honest Truth
(2015), makes for a wonderful addition to the
man-and-beast tales of devotion that include
Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse (2007) and
Cynthia Kadohata’s Cracker! The Best Dog in
Vietnam (2007). Exhilarating and enthralling, this promises even the most reluctant
readers a breakneck adventure that will keep