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Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from storytelling maestro Pam Munoz Ryan.
Lost and alone a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre and form, and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories. The result is an impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
I found this book to be beautifully executed by Ryan who begins with a fairy tale involving a mystical harmonica to set the stage for her three characters whose stories become interconnected. Three children, Friedrich, Mike and Ivy, growing up before and during WWII, are brought together through this harmonica and along the way we learn about their lives and the struggles they endure. Set before and during WWII, we get a fictional glimpse of life in Nazi Germany, hardscrabble American society, and social injustice and segregation in California. The story is immensely satisfying and inspiring and I was impressed with the historical research. A must read for 2015!
Reviewed by Christine at Books Inc. in the Castro
James Marshall’s George and Martha books have a permanent spot on my bedside table. I read them when I’m trying to get to sleep, or for a laugh in the morning, or when I’m wanting inspiration, or feeling low. They’re everything I think children’s books should be, from the hilarious illustrations to the pitch-perfect dialogue to the comic timing to the heart.
Everything is wonderfully deadpan in these hippos’ respective worlds, and their problems — from Martha’s diminishing confidence as she walks a tightrope, to George’s hatred of the endless split-pea soup he’s served — are treated with the upmost importance and sincerity. The action begins from the very first sentence and, two or three pages later, everything is resolved. Well, sort of.
Much like a comedian, Marshall generally opens with an absurd premise, and then simply commits to it until it makes a certain skewed amount of sense. But these aren’t just absurdist stories — they have plenty of warmth and emotion, as the hippos demonstrate genuine feelings and what it takes to maintain a real friendship.
Marshall writes and draws with a seemingly effortless touch, making humor look easy. But according to his friend, Maurice Sendak, in his foreword to the posthumous Marshall collection, George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends, Marshall labored over his work, endlessly redrawing his hippos, to achieve just the right expressions, the right looks, the right moments.
George and Martha books never disappoint me. No pressure, but please immediately add them all to your collection if they’re not already on your bedside table.
Jory John is the author of Goodnight Already!
and co-author of The Terrible Two series and
the national bestseller All My Friends Are Dead,
among many other books.
The first book in an epic new series for fans of The School for Good and Evil and The Land of Stories.
All his life, Prince Caden has dreamed of slaying a dragon. But before he has the chance, he is ripped from his home in the Great Winterlands of Razzon and finds himself in Asheville, North Carolina--a land with no magic and no dragons.
Or so he thinks. The longer Caden spends in Asheville, the more he comes to realize that there is unexpected and dangerous magic in this strange land. There just may be dragons here, too. But what if Caden's destiny isn't to slay a dragon, after all?
Why we can't wait: I love the concept of fantasy entering reality, and I think this is going to be an awesome read for those who love Harry Potter, School for Good and Evil, and Thrones and Bones. Also, that cover is just really cool. Kind of medieval, kind of modern, a dragon!
A "magical" new series from Pseudonymous Bosh, the bestselling author of the Secret Series. Magic is BAD. As in fake. Cheesy. Unreal. At least, that's what Clay, who has seen one magic show too many, thinks. When words from his journal appear mysteriously on his school wall as graffiti, he never imagines that magic might be to blame. And when the same graffiti lands him at Earth Ranch, a camp for "troubled" kids on a remote volcanic island, magic is the last thing he expects to find there. But at Earth Ranch, there is one strange surprise after another, until Clay no longer knows what to expect. Is he really talking to a llama? Did he really see a ghost? What is the scary secret hidden in the abandoned library? The only thing he knows for sure is that behind the clouds of vog (volcanic smog), nothing is as it seems. Can he solve the riddle of Earth Ranch before trouble erupts? Elusive author Pseudonymous Bosch introduces an extraordinary new series that will have you believing in the unbelievable.
People may be wondering if Pseudonymous Bosch's new book, Bad Magic, can live up to the high expectations garnered from his popular Secret Series, and the answer is absolutely it can. Bad Magic has the same cheeky wit Bosch is known for combined with a fast paced story of intrigue, self discovery, and wonderfully bad magic. His footnotes are hilarious (and educational with allusions to such famous pieces of art as Gilligan's Island, The Loveboat, and William Shakespeare's The Tempest), and the story is never dull as the main character, Clay, is put in exceedingly more ridiculous situations where he is forced to uncover the truth on a mysterious island. Even though it has elements any fantasy or mystery lover would enjoy, ultimately Bad Magic is about standing up for yourself and believing in your own abilities. Clay begins his journey shy and troubled, and ends with courage, a sense of adventure, and friends he never thought he'd have. A perfect read for those who loved the Secret Series, but also anyone who loves a good old rollicking adventure.
Reviewed by Irene from Books Inc. Palo Alto