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Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Percy Jackson fans have been asking for a similar series set in the Norse mythos. Rick Riordan has promised to get on that right after he finishes his current two projects, that will probably be in 2015. Until then we can enjoy the exploits of the modern-day kin of Odin, Loki, and Thor in this first volume of The Blackwell Pages.

Matt Thorsen knows he's a descendent of Thor, the god of Thunder and He-Man Action Stuff, but it's no big deal. In fact, nearly everybody in Blackwell, South Dakota can claim ancestory to either the bearer of the hammer Mjölnir or to Loki, his infamous rival, god of Fire and Dirty Tricks. The old gods died a long time ago through unspecified stupidity, but left behind mortal lineages who occasionally manifest pale glimmers of divine powers. Matt, like most of the townspeople, take this fantastic heritage for granted. He
is more worried about his science fair project than creaky old legends.

Then the town's elders proclaim that the runes show that Ragnarok, the End of The World, is coming. Matt has been chosen to stand in for the valiant warrior Thor. Matt would rather have a dirt bike. He realizes that according to lore, the gods are not supposed to win this Final Battle, he is being offered up as monster chow. With some prophecy out of left field he splits town with two school mates to search for other special Asgardian descendents to see if another fate is possible.

These two new companions are Fen and Laurie Brekke. Their family comes from mischiveous Loki and most of that clan has inherited sinister traits. The Brekkes are known for loose attitudes to the truth and property, often have rap sheets, and oh yeah, some of them turn into wolves. The Thorsens tend to be athletic, civic leaders. In fact Matt's dad is sherrif and soon has the whole state's law enforcement uot to bring the runaways home. With scarce information and resources the three embark on a mystic quest among the famous landmarks of South Dakota (yes, that region has more than one landmark, you cynics). Creatures from legend spring up left and right and
even the ones not actively trying to eat them may not be all that trustworthy. The heroes of this book are not nearly as cocky and entitlied as the protagonists of other, more famous children's lit franchises.

These kids are smart, resourceful, brave, and way out of their depths. This frightens them because, duh, they're smart. They are finding out things not just about ancient legends, but about the regular world, their families, and themselves the wish they didn't know. Once the plot picks up, the action thunders along and grows darker. There are laughs along the way and we get to know and feel for these kids. They are going to need all the help and friends they can get because a big storm is on the way.
--Reviewed by Chris of Compass Books

Zac and the Dream Stealers By Ross MacKenzie

In this book there is a boy named Zac who lives with his Grandmother. One night he notices her walking in to a pool and decides to follow her.

He soon finds out that the pool is actually a portal to a world where all dreams happen.

He soon finds out there is a society of people known as the Dream Stealers who were supposed to have been defeated long ago by another society known as The Knights. 

But the Dream Stealers are growing stronger, and are beginning to feed more openly on dreams. To make matters worse, The Grand Master, Leader of The Knights has disappeared, supposedly kidnapped by the Dream Stealers. Now Zac, his Grandmother, his new friends Tom and Tily, and the last of The Knights must go and try to save what might be the only thing that can stop the Dream Stealers and save both the dream world and the human world.

Reviewed By Henry, Age 12, kid reviewer, MV Books Inc.

Our Children's Specialists love... IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE!

Whales are tricky beasts. To see them, you must not be too distracted by roses, or pelicans, or the oceanwaves breaking along the shore.  If you are patient and wait long enough, you might just spot one! This is a lovely book with plenty to look at and dream about, courtesy of Erin Stead's signature pencil/woodblock style. --reviewed by Elizabeth of Books Inc. in the Marina

This charming little picture book was enjoyable to read.  In a simple, poetic style, Julie Fogliano offers instruction on what to pay attention to, and what not to pay attention to, if you want to catch a glimpse of a whale.  The illustrations by Erin Stead capture the essence of this simple story beautifully. --reviewed by Amy of Books Inc. in Burlingame

 

Better Nate than Never by Tim Federle

This very cute debut novel had me actually laughing out loud. Nate is a 12 year old from a small town in Pennsylvania, and has huge dreams of being on Broadway. When he hears about an open casting call for a musical in New York City, he realizes that this is his big break; he devises a plan to take the bus into the city, ace the audition, and make it home before his parents even realize he’s gone. What could go wrong?

As you might expect, things don’t go as smoothly as Nate hoped. But with the help of a long lost relative in the area, Nate gets to experience some of what New York City has to offer for people who are little different. Even though he doesn’t fit in in his normal life in Pennsylvania, Nate goes home knowing that there definitely places in the world for people like him. This book is funny yet heartfelt, and Nate is the kind of character you really want to root for. Ages 9+

--Reviewed by Caitlin, our intrepid book fair buyer and general pal

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